Fair week just passed. For those who do not live in agriculturally driven areas….think back to when you read Charlotte’s Web…(if you haven’t read Charlotte’s Web you have been robbed of an important part of your childhood….stop, go read Charlotte’s Web…come back and resume.)
It is a time of year where a lot of invitations come forth:
to ‘hang out’
to go to the rodeo
to go to the dance
to go to concerts
…you get the idea
Anyone (besides me) allergic to small talk?
I suck at it. Worse, the more seasoned on the planet I become the less I can even fake it. I can’t fake anything.
My 20s were about proving I could do it on my own.
My 30’s were about approval and being enough, and worrying about what people thought of me.
The magic that is my 40’s…well I am calling it the ‘fuck it’ decade so far.
I have a hair trigger on the bullshit meter and zero tolerance for not being real. Sometimes I just want to call it out right there in the moment and be like, “Can we just be real for minute?” Sadly, I have found, depending on the setting, being this direct or blunt can make you a social leper. Ask me how I know. 🙂
I also find people make a lot of assumptions about my availability, since I own my own business that must mean I infinite amounts of time flexibility. The reality is, I do have time flexibility. I flex on when I work so I can support my family’s endeavors. Yet, sometimes I still work 100 hours for myself to avoid working 40 for someone else ever again. (I have simply become unemployable.) I am positively terrible at having a boss. It just slows me down and kills my efficiency!…and meetings? Lawd help me! I don’t love meetings.
What does this all boil down to?
I think I am circling in on a point.
There’s no such thing as not having enough time, only what you choose as your priority.
I am in a season that a lot is required of me to live by my priorities. I am ok with it. It is a choice.
When living a life of balance….it’s really rarely a straight 50/50 split.
Things tend to ebb and flow in one direction or another. When living by your priorities sometimes this can shift hard in one direction or the other for a period of time, not an ebb and flow, but a HEAVY imbalance. When this occurs, I call it ‘Intentional Imbalance’. We choose to shift the weight significantly in favor of one direction over another for a period of time.
We give up something(s) in favor of other(s).
I have chosen priorities. In order to live those priorities I have to give up some things in favor of others. I do this intentionally and with purpose. Currently i am giving up social engagement. It is not because I am antisocial; though I am a deep introvert. It is not because I don’t like people; though sometimes it for sure gets a little too people-y out for me. It’s not because I don’t like having friends; through I am quality over quantity.
I could go on illustrating this. I am sure you get my meaning.
I have come under fire, I have been questioned, I have been judged, I have had others try to impose their personal priorities and standards on me and tell me that ‘its simply not healthy’. Lovingly, I say…it is up to us to determine what is healthy and what serves us. Currently, I just don’t have space or desire to do and be everything. I have goals, and plans, and things I want to do. These things require my focus, time, energy, and attention. I know that I can’t do everything sustainably so I have chosen to do a few things really well…..and social focus isn’t currently one of those things. If you don’t put your house in order and keep it in order there is no room for anything else.
Anyone else ever feel this way? How do you consciously shift your priorities in favor of your goals, and how do you stand in your truth when others share their good opinions about it?
Everything works better if it gets unplugged for a little while.
What is any tech support line’s number one solution before all things? Unplug it…leave it unplugged for enough time to FULLY power down, and then plug it back in!
Guess who else that works for?
Recently I was in a gorgeous beach location, for a class if you can believe it, and I took a few days on the outset to unplug. The nature of this location left me with VERY limited internet and no cell service so, truth be told, I couldn’t have been fully plugged in if I wanted to. The types of experiences that take the power of being plugged in out of my hands really are best. Sometimes I need protection from myself and my love of work. Do you ever feel that way?
I took the time to get quiet and notice things I don’t often take the time to notice about myself and learned a few lessons.
Some things I ‘knew’ but needed reminded of, other things were a little more slow to soak in, kind of like the sunshine that quickly lead to a little extra rosiness.
Here is what showed up:
Everyone will be ok…
you are not as important as you think you are….This is not a bad thing! In reality, we are all replaceable, especially in the short term. The team could take care of anything that was needed, the ‘Village’ and Grandma were available to the kids. Everyone’s needs were met.
The people who have true emergency that directly impacts you always know how to reach you.
FOMO is real, and sometimes you don’t even know you have it until you don’t have access to the constant stimuli.
For those who suffer from this one particularly, you won’t die if you aren’t plugged in, and neither will anyone else. I promise.
To some this can be a big one. The dopamine trigger from social media and constant flood of your inbox is REAL. It can hijack your brain and make you think you need it, and you might be missing ‘an opportunity’ if you don’t have constant access. Put on your vacation reminder, make a socail media peeps know you are taking a time out and promise all the juicy details AFTER you get back on the grid.
People understand, they might be jealous, but they understand and are happy for you and actually work NOT to bother you. When you pre-frame your departure as ‘unplugged’ and you explicitly tell them what you need ahead of time they will work hard not to have to bother you.
Re-entry can be a bitch.
Nothing like the off grid hangover….in fact the fear of it is actually a big reason people won’t go unplugged too many days in a row. If you get over the idea of FOMO, you fear the beast you come back to.
Give yourself the gift of pushing a little harder before you leave so you don’t have to when you get back. Also add a reentry day that no one knows about (vacation responder still on) to get grounded and set yourself up for success and ease back into reality.
Zero contact is AHHHH-Mazing for your mindset AND your momentum.
Taking a full and complete break gives you greater creativity and recharges energy stores you didn’t even know you had. While off grid I had epiphanies and clarity and ah-has in totally randome places and random times. It’s like the flow that I didn’t know was missing was restored. After re-entry recovery… business picked up, sales for my clients skyrocketed and everything I touched felt like magic. I was laser focused and maximally productive.
And you can be too!
Go all in…no half ass unplugging, no “I’ll work a little or just work mornings, blah blah blah.” Don’t touch it…put a vacation responder on your email You can clean up on your re-entry day.
You don’t have to go ‘off grid’ in some exotic location to get this. You can CHOOSE IT FOR YOURSELF right at home. Have a staycation and just unplug the internet and the phone. Get in touch with nature. Get in touch with YOU. You don’t even have to have an agenda for it. Just be and do things you love and only things that you love.
Go put you ass in a chair, toes in the sand….umbrella drink in your hand, and all that.
What prevents you from unplugging? Share with us and let’s see how we can help you get that time without hassle and headache! Comment below or share with someone who needs this message!
Grab our free tool to get helpful tips and tricks to get more out of your business and life with less hassle at www.thebalancemaven.com/cashflowkillers
I talk to businesses all the time who are experiencing symptoms related to peaks and valleys in cash flow and they all have lots of reasons that they think it is happening. They also have lots of places where they think they should invest or cut back in order to solve the problem. I’m always intrigued by the creative solutions that they will employ or problems they will shift these symptoms to in order to avoid what, in my experience, is the real answer….the buyer’s gate. What is the buyer’s gate? It is the entryway to your business. It is the gateway through which leads travel to become your patron. It is the magical solution to cash flow problems and the success of your business.
So if that’s all true why would anyone want to AVOID attention on such a thing?
Because it requires selling, and not everyone loves selling.
Many service entrepreneurs don’t feel confident in their sales process. It is hard to sell yourself as a commodity. They know it is important…if not crucial to the success of their business, but they will still avoid it when they can. Typically a lack of confidence is a symptom of not having a masterful process that allows them to have a consistent system that leads to consistent results.
I often hear business owners struggling between a win that they can’t explain….they don’t know what they did differently or why it worked this time and hasn’t so many others, but “YAY! just be grateful for the win,” and then repeated failures where the lead either gives the dreaded, “I’ll think about it,” or worse, the Houdini act where they disappear entirely and just stop responding to calls and emails.
It isn’t easy for some to step into vulnerable space, risking what people will think, and talk about something as personal as other people’s money. The money you want them to give to you, let alone do it confidently like it’s any other conversation.
The reality is…it IS like any other conversation with the buyer in many ways. We listen, we talk, we serve. The key is to have a repeatable process that allows for a confident experience that honors both parties. We also have to understand that we are not really the commodity at all. We are, simply put, the vehicle through which they invest in themselves. You aren’t competing against your industry competition. You are competing with your buyer. That can add to the challenge.
When you have these conversations, what comes up for you? Do you love it or hate it? Perhaps it’s a mixed bag. We would love to hear what challenges you face most often in your sales conversations with prospective buyers. How can we help?
Join us for our next FREE ‘Getting The Yes’ Masterclass where we unpack the mistakes most service-based entrepreneurs make when opening their buyer’s gate and the secrets to keeping it open. Head over to thebalancemaven.com and get out a free tool that helps you move from cash flow killer to killing it here: thebalancemaven.com/cashflowkillers. Not only do you get a free tool with a bonus video series in the meantime, but you will also get notified of the upcoming free class! Now that’s a bargain!
I have been having a lot of conversations with entrepreneurs lately about their business…not a shocker given my profession right?! However, lately I have noticed a pattern erupting.
If you have followed me for very long you know that I LOVE business strategy and helping entrepreneurs and small business owners get the most out of their businesses. I love crafting the big vision and then showing them exactly what we need and how to get there. We set this up for them to have lots of passion and enthusiasm while avoiding overwhelm and burnout. You also know that I put an emphasis on sales as the gateway to your business.
In my recent discussions I have been getting a lot of feedback around the belief that you have to be an extrovert to be good at sales. Meaning you must be things like a: gregarious, verbose, social loving, mingling, weekend warrior kind of person. To the contrary, you can’t be great at sales if you tend to be quiet, prefer to stay home with a good book or hugging the wall at a party and keeping a general low profile in the social arena.
The truth is….none of that matters. Yup…you read that right. It’s all bullshit. What matters more than if you are an introvert or an extrovert or ambivert…or any ‘vert’ at all is your skill set. I have seen the most socially apt person suck at sales, and I have seen the quietest wall flower around that you might have mistaken for a deaf mute at a party absolutely glow in a 1:1 conversation. All you have to do to be good at sales is uplevel your skill set.
Too often when we hear people talk about sales training or skills they immediately feel like they need to take a shower because they immediately get a picture of a scumbag sleazeball who is pushily chasing them around a used car lot. This could not be further from the truth.
In its purest form it isn’t really about selling at all….it is about moving, motivating and inspiring people through conversation. We all move people. We move our children to do chores, and homework, and behave and eat vegetables…eventually move out. We move employees to be more productive and take on more responsibility, to be good leaders, etc. We move our customers and clients to invest in themselves through us and our products or services. We are all in the business of moving and inspiring people.
Sales is nothing more than moving people. We are moving them to a decision or an action for their highest and greatest good. Without this ability our business do not reach their fullest potential. Without mastery of this skill, I do not get to use all the other fancy tools in my bag to strategize, leverage and uplevel their business. Without sales there is no business to grow. Why? Because people have to first say yes and become a buyer of what we offer before we can serve them.
What roadblocks do your prospective buyers run into when trying to move them to take action?
Where do you see yourself struggle in inspiring them in this process?
Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming free masterclass to help you uplevel your skill set without feeling sales-ey or pushy.
How can I get more people to the conversations so it’s not so hard to convert them when they do get there?
It all begins with how you are seeding the sale. What is ‘seeding’? Seeding is dropping things into conversation or the sphere of awareness of your prospective buyers. It is piquing the curiosity and interest of others and trusting that if the ground is fertile it will grow with a little watering. The lovely thing about seeding is it can be subtle and does not require pushy sales tactics that make you feel sleazy.
A few ways to seed the sale that are within easy reach and you can start today! I am going to give you four that are always top of mind for me. Please feel free to reach out with questions or comments below!
Testimonials/ Social Proof
We know testimonials exist. We make decisions to buy or work with someone based on them, but we are often afraid to ask for them.
People want to know that the path they are considering has been traveled by someone else. They want to know they are not alone, and that others have had an experience that they too desire to have. They also want to be in the ‘cool kids club’. People want to be the person in those stories and experiences that your testimonials describe. Can you imagine how great it also feels to be the person sharing those stories? Your people are dying to be asked to share their wonderful experiences! They often simply don’t know how or where to do so, and they likely don’t understand the impact they would have and how much it would serve you. People are good. They want to make a difference for you the same way you make a difference for them.
Invite them to be part of the ‘cool kids club’. Let them know they are the elite amongst the elite in your tribe and that you would love to have more people like them in your world. It is the greatest compliment to be asked to give a testimonial or send a referral. They are often wishing they could have given back already.
How to ask for a testimonial:
When they give you a compliment, graciously accept it and then let them know how much you appreciate them and say, “Would you mind sharing those words with others who may not know us as well yet?” Give them a form, or ask them if you can put those words into an email for them that you will send for thier approval.
If you weren’t offered a compliment..elicit one. Examples: “How was your visit today?” “What were your takeaways from our time together?” “ How do you feel about the experience you have been having with <insert, you, your business, your team etc>?” “What do you like most about working with us?” When they offer kind words go back to item #1 and ask to share their words.
How to ask for a referral:
When they give you a compliment, graciously accept it and then let them know how much you appreciate them and say, “I really love serving you and I would love to have more people just like you. Who do you know that could benefit from the same experience you have had?”
If you weren’t offered a compliment..elicit one. Examples: “How was your visit today?” “What were your takeaways from our time together?” “ How do you feel about the experience you have been having with <insert, you, your business, your team etc>?” “What do you like most about working with us?” When they offer kind words go back to item #1 and invite them to refer.
What about those people who don’t refer because they don’t want anyone to know that they are getting ‘help’? Acknowledge and give them permission to feel how they feel….AND then give them verbiage. “Sally, I know that our work together is very private and I take confidentiality very seriously. I love working with you and I am proud of your results. I hope you are too! If I could give you a way to send me referrals without you having to say you work with me, would you be willing to do so?” Most people will say yes here. If they don’t it is a prime opportunity to find out what you don’t know and ask some questions. This is your chance to educate them. Help them be able to identify the pain points and signals of people who are your ideal target market. When they are in contact with friends family and colleague who exhibit these struggles, they can gently say, “I have a friend who works with people just like you to help them move from <insert pain> to <insert results>. May I make an introduction for you?” Nobody is ‘outing’ themselves and people are getting the services and support that make a difference for them in a way everyone can feel good about.
Think like they think
You have to get inside the heads of your ideal clients. Please do not misunderstand. I am not proposing we manipulate or coerce. We are already trusting that the soil is fertile and theses seeds we are planting can be nurtured to grow. We are here to serve Use language that is in alignment with how they think and how they make decisions to not only put them at ease during the decision making process, but to also build trust and rapport in letting them feel understood and honored. When we use words that are in alignment with their natural ways of thinking we build relationship. People will break contracts but they won’t break relationship. Get in a relationship.
Don’t sell the way you buy
It’s a trap! To my point above. You have to get into their natural way of buying. Too often we sell to others they way we like to buy. This can lead to a lot of people being left behind or out in the cold. If they make decisions in a way different from you, they will feel isolated and misunderstood if you sell to them in YOUR preferred way if it does not align with your own. To really serve we have to be flexible in our methods and always come from a place of serving in the highest and greatest good of the person we are in conversation with. How can we know how another person buys? Listen. Any sales conversation begins with a plain old conversation. Listen for what motivates them. Find their big ‘why’. Learn what they value and what is important to them. If you listen with purity of heart, they will lead you to how to best serve them.
Features vs Benefits
So often we talk features and fail to put enough attention on the results and benefits of working with us or engaging in our products or services. Features tell someone how something works or what it may do, but they fail to help someone understand the difference it will make to them or the end result of the experience. This is most importantly put in the context of ‘What is in it for me?’ They want to know ‘why’ they need what you are offering, ‘how’ it is going to change their life for the better, and why ‘now’. WHY. HOW. NOW.
If you naturally lean toward feature its ok to talk about them… AND you need to put in context of outcomes. Use this formula to convert features to benefits and results:
<Xxx feature> so that you can < insert benefit or results here>
Look at sales conversations as just what they are: a conversation. Be really present in the moment and listen for what they are looking for.
Strive to serve them not sell them and your authenticity and truth will stand out against the competition because you gave them the gift of connection and relationship. Seed the sale with these tips to warm them up and then give them the choice to learn more. If they reach out to take the conversation further then you know the soil is fertile. Water away!
If we can help, please reach out via your favorite social media channels or drop us a note below in comments.
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