Let me say that again (It’s that important): If you’re selling, you’re doing it wrong.
Picture the last capital-S Sales pitch you got: Maybe it was a car (there’s a reason car salesmen have such a bad rap), maybe it was a cell phone plan, maybe it was even a nice young man on the street trying to get you to sign a petition.
No matter what it was, the earmarks are the same. You can sense the pitch coming even before it’s there — and you get tense. You know you’re going to have to deflect and refuse and it’s going to be uncomfortable and unpleasant.
Even if you went into a car dealership with the express purpose of buying a car that day, you don’t want to get pushed and pressed into doing it. Buy now! Buy now! Buy now!
Nobody wants to get sold.
The same people who get those feelings of dread when a salesperson is spotted, who might even avoid the lady with the free cheese squares at the supermarket, those same people are using those tactics to try sell products and win clients.
These solopreneurs are hustling and sending email after email, pushing service after product after service…and wondering why it’s not working.
The truth is: If you’re “Selling,” you’re doing it wrong.
Now, obviously, I don’t mean the strict definition of making a sale; getting someone to pay you for your product or service. You need sales. Without them, your business is just a (very) expensive hobby.
But if you’re trying to get sales by “Selling,” you’re doing it wrong.
You have two options. One: You can try to get sales by incessantly messaging your target audience, hoping that some of them will get so “worn down” by your repeated sales messages that they’ll finally give in.
Or…Two: You can make what you offer seem so appealing, so irresistible, so perfectly suited to solve their problems that instead of Selling, you’re virtually just fielding requests to purchase.
Which one feels better to you? Which one would you rather be a part of — and which one do you think your ideal customers would rather experience?
The opposite of “Selling” is building authentic, open, and generous relationships with your ideal customer.
Which all sounds…kind of made up, doesn’t it? Doesn’t that just sound like all of the buzzwords people are throwing around right now?
And, to be honest with you, “building authentic, generous, and sincere relationships” IS just buzzwords…until you know exactly how to do it.
Authenticity is an overused word and a vastly underutilized trait. Look, I love Instagram like the rest of us. But the Instagrammable life isn’t generally the authentic life.
It’s one thing to post pretty pictures; it’s another to give the impression that your entire life is pretty pictures. People may <heart> pictures, but they want to listen to (and buy from) people who cut through the B.S.
Be unapologetically yourself. That’s what people really want from you anyway.
Openness comes from telling your true story, and not being afraid to get into the not-so-pretty stuff. Don’t just tell people you struggled with paying your bills—tell people that most days you had to decide between eating lunch and eating dinner.
Don’t tell people that you used to have a problem with binge eating; tell them exactly what you ate on your worst binge.
Don’t tell people that you hated your last job; describe sitting and sobbing in your car every morning before work.
Details are more interesting and details make you feel real to people. Show them your heart.
There’s a difference, though, between being open and being transparent. There may be some things that you don’t want to be a part of your story. And that’s fine. You can be open without being an open book.
Generosity means that you give with each interaction. Each email should teach them something worthwhile. Each social post should inspire them — or even just give them a smile or a laugh.
When you give people things that are truly valuable to them, they appreciate it. Just as importantly, though, they come to understand and value your expertise.
And they buy from you.