dinner partyWhat to do when we get that queasy, uneasy feeling that maybe we should have gone to plumbing school instead of selling? (We’re not the only ones. Every seller has had that feeling at some point.)

Here’s what I do. I pretend I’m giving a dinner party, and calling people to invite them. That’s fun. It’ll be a great evening, people will be delighted that I called, and I’ll be enthusiastic about giving them the party info and finding out whether or not they can come! What’s not to like? Instead of feeling fearful or burdened, I suddenly feel eager and confident.

In fact, about the only difference between selling and inviting people to a dinner party is that there’s no cooking or cleaning involved. I can even use the 6 Soul of Selling steps to guide the way…

1. PUT DOWN YOUR BAGGAGE AND FIX WHAT YOU CAN. Before I call to invite people, is there anything weighing on my mind that might make it less fun? Oh, yeah. I kind of do remember that Thanksgiving when I experimented with nuking the turkey in a plastic bag…  But that was then, this is now, and I’m not going to do it again. Besides, I’m serving salmon and not going near the microwave.  And I’ve already scheduled cleaning those nearly opaque windows, so I’m set to go.

2. PINPOINT YOUR PASSIONS. This salmon is melt in your mouth. I’m also doing Vegetable Mornay and a faboo crisp salad, and bunches of other succulent things—plus a Chocolate Decadence Cake for dessert. And I love these people, some of whom haven’t even met one another, so it’ll be a treat for them as well.

3. CREATE YOUR SPEAKING BANK. What info do people need—date, time, dress, and what else? I’ll tell them I have a new, out-of-the-box salmon recipe, and give some intriguing details about the other guests whom they don’t know.

4. PROMISE YOUR RESULT.  How many people do I want? I’ve planned four, but do I want to expand to eight? Can I manage that? Can I commit to it?

5. CONDUCT THE 10-POINT HONORING SALES CONVERSATION. This is the easy part, calling to share the excitement and get people on board. Those ten points will keep me on track, with my attention on the other person getting clear, committed, and looking forward to the event.

6. KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU GET THE RESULT. If I’m planning for eight people and one can’t come, who is my backup invitee? Can some people say “no” without my going into a tailspin and thinking they hate me? If eight is really the number I envision for this dinner party, and I do hear “no” from a few people, can I have fun juggling and filling out the guest list?

We sell either because we’ve chosen it as a profession, or because we have something we want to offer people—and that means we have to get out and sell it. In either case, we’re better off if we’re having fun, and so are the people to whom we make our offer. Bon appetit!

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What Are You Really Selling?

handshakeIf you sell a service, you are probably selling a relationship.

Cleaning my bookshelves last week, I came across Selling the Invisible, by Harry Beckwith, a wonderful and nuanced book that I recommend to anyone who sells a service. I took Beckwith’s main premise to be that the more invisible the service you sell, the more you are really selling yourself and the relationship you will have with your clients.

More often than we imagine, people will make their decision based on what it feels like to be standing or sitting there with us, in that moment, talking about the service and our future together. And the more intimate their relationship with us will be after the sale, the more they are focused on how it feels to be with us, what they think we think of them, and how safe it seems to open up and give us what we need to help them.

The levels of post-sale relationship vary, and you may categorize certain services differently from how I do here, but basically we’re talking about four levels:

LITTLE OR NONE. If you sell a product like a car or toaster, you are talking about a physical object that is separate from both you and your customers. People can kick the tires, or plug it in and watch it make toast. You’re talking specs, known analytics, maybe some Consumer Reports data. Whether or not they like and trust you is still relevant, but less so. Once they’ve bought the product, they’re outta there and will probably never see you again.

WARMER. If you sell a service like legal work or accountancy, people know that they will see you again, share personal information with you, and maybe put a part of their lives in your hands. They need to trust you, and some will want to like you. Without any proof that you will do a good job, they need to feel good enough about you—if only on an intuitive level—that they’re willing to put out money before they know how well you will actually perform.

WARMER STILL. If you provide a service like hair styling, personal assistant or organizer, or coaching, trust may need to be even stronger. People need to know that you will not harm them or use their intimate information against them. They may actually be more vulnerable with an attorney, but they’re likely to feel more vulnerable with someone who is going to see their physical, psychological, or professional messes, and who may even be holding a pair of sharp scissors. When you talk with them, they need to feel secure that you are a good person—and perhaps more importantly, that you know they are good people and that you honor and respect them.

HOT. If you sell more intimate services like bodywork or spa treatments that involve physical contact, trust may be even more important. Certainly, they need to know that you are an honorable person who respects both them and the standards of your profession.

How can you give people this confidence? How can you begin a relationship that they want to continue, one in which they trust you and know that you honor, respect, and appreciate them?

There’s only one solution: Truly honoring, respecting, and appreciating them—and being clear that you provide a service that will benefit them, and make their lives richer, better, and/or easier.

If you do that, they will get it every time. Your sales conversations will be a fun, deep, clear, and relaxed. And that will be just as wonderful for you as it is for them.

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women-friends-talking-on-phone (1)I’ve been posting recently about selling yourself, since this is what people are asking about and is the subject of my Feb. 5 webinar on SELLING YOURSELF WITHOUT FEELING PUSHY, CREEPY OR WEIRD. You can get this ebook free by clicking it in the sidebar.

We’ve covered:

What do you do after you’ve adjusted your attitudes and asked the important questions? What’s the nitty-gritty, the nuts and bolts of a “selling yourself” conversation? [Read more…]

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dilemmasSelling ourselves is the #1 selling challenge for most of us. Those words have gotten all mixed up with being pushy, self-centered, egotistical, arrogant, and offensive.  That makes it tough, especially for business owners and solo-preneurs.

We’re faced with two opposite dynamics:

  1. We have to sell ourselves every day—to customers, to staff, to the world. We are the brand, and people may buy or not buy based on their impressions of us.
  2. We don’t want to be pushy and self-centered. We can’t sell ourselves. We won’t! We might even prefer gum surgery!

The Dilemma is: We have to, but we can’t.

After a wobbly start in selling, I figured out the Soul of Selling system and actually became a whiz kid—selling for other people.  But when I started my own book doctoring business, I found I couldn’t sell my way out of a paper bag! [Read more…]

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i'm-a-coach-salesbIf 2013 is really the year you’re going to master selling…
If you never want to worry or fret about it again…
If you want to sell forevermore with ease, aplomb, and the results of your choice…

Then this Sales Boot Camp is for you!

WBO has brought together 20 top sales coaches (including me!) and 20 engaging workouts designed to take you “over the hump” into sales mastery. My workout (webinar) is Feb 5, on “Sell Yourself Without Feeling Pushy, Creepy, or WEIRD!”

I’m strongly recommending this boot camp because I’ve never seen such a great bunch of presenters at such an amazingly reasonable price. Check it out here:i'm-a-coach-salesb

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giftThe #1 challenge many of my clients face is “selling themselves.” Somehow, those words have come to mean being pushy, self-centered, egotistic, and even WEIRD!  BUT if we’re business owners, service providers, or solo-preneurs, selling ourselves is what lets us keep doing the thing we love to do.

It’s an impossible dilemma: We have to sell ourselves, but doing so can feel frightening and even creepy.  What we need is a…

What if selling ourselves were simply “Offering our gift to others in the spirit of service.”  Let’s break it down:

  • Offering” is not pushing. It’s extending a generous hand, one that others can choose whether or not to take.
  • Our gift” is a talent we’ve been given, so that we can offer it to others. It comes from Whoever or Whatever put us together. We are just its representative—its sales rep, if you will. Each of us has gifts, and we are not meant to hoard them. We’re meant to take them out into the world so that they can help others.
  • In the spirit of service” means that we’re not blowing our own horn, or insisting that others see how wonderful we are. It simply means that we’re offering our gift in order to make life easier or better for other people.

When we “sell ourselves” from this point of view, it’s a lot easier, a lot more fun, and a lot more productive. [Read more…]

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The 7 Deadly Attitudes about “Selling Yourself”—and How to Bust Them!

My client Julia said she would rather have gum surgery than “sell herself.” By “sell herself,” she meant invite people into her wonderful new coaching business. People say:

  • “I can sell for other people, but not for myself.”
  • “If people think I’m pushy, they won’t like me or buy my service.
  • “I get tongue-tied, afraid I’ll turn people off, so I just stop.”

The 7 attitudes below are why we feel so queasy, uneasy when we talk about the gift we’ve been given to share with the world. At the end, I’ll give you a “fix” so that you can:

  • Talk about yourself and what you offer in a relaxed, authentic, and gracious way
  • Make a good living doing what you are here to do, based on integrity and service to others
  • Feel enthusiastic and empowered when you go out to sell yourself

When we’re not having fun or getting huge results “selling ourselves,” it’s usually because we’ve bought into one of these 7 attitudes:

Selling makes us think of used car salesmen in plaid sport coats and pencil moustaches, sleazy telemarketers, people who flood our inboxes with sales-y emails, and even pushy Girl Scout mothers hovering around the tables piled high with cookies!

We don’t like those people. We’re afraid that if we sell anything, let alone ourselves, people won’t like us.

This particular attitude carries a lot of sub-attitudes:

  • Nice people don’t do it—and we shouldn’t have to do it!
  • People who sell themselves are on an ego trip. They have no humility or spirituality!
  • It’s impolite. Unattractive. Seedy!
  • If people think we’re pushy, they won’t like us and they won’t buy. We’ll be double-defeated. We’ll have ruined our reputation for nothing!

If selling is bad, selling ourselves is worse! As kids, we learned not to “brag” or “blow our own horns.” Society tells us there’s something unsavory about selling ourselves, that it’s arrogant, cocky, and narcissistic.

Yikes! Who wants to be like that? [Read more…]

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