“Sales is not about selling anymore, but about building trust and educating.”
~ Siva Devaki
I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by authentic business coach, George Kao. Now if you’ve known me for any length of time, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of George’s work and his approach to business.
George initially invited me to share about my most interesting insights and learnings when it comes to business growth and after spending not too long thinking about it, I decided that what I most wanted to talk about was how we sell. After making just a few notes on the topic, 4 distinctions emerged that I felt called to share. Distinctions that I think can help to reframe the sales process for you, the conscious business owner.
I share these 4 distinctions as an alternative to the mainstream marketing advice you might usually find online about how to sell.
Sales and marketing present the biggest struggle for the majority of people I work with. This is I believe, a result of what they think they need to do in order to get more sales. My hope is that the 4 alternatives I present below, help you to see that sales can, in fact, feel good for you, the business owner and for the people you are selling to.
1. Create Vs Attract
I talked about this distinction in some detail in another article. If you didn’t see it then, head here now to get the full low-down. Essentially, what I mean by creating clients versus attracting them is placing a focus on building meaningful relationships with people in your network and audience versus trying to present a polished image to the world so as to attract people to your business. Mainstream advice would have us focus on things like branding, web design, professional photos and persuasive copy as a means to sell but in this alternative approach, none of that is actually essential.
Instead of focusing on how your business “looks”, it’s possible to create clients by showing up for the people you already know and serving them deeply, whether that be through your content, complimentary sessions or any other way of being generous with your expertise. An analogy I share in the video is this:
Imagine you were looking for the love of your life and rather than spend your time going out and having fun meeting people and making meaningful connections, you spent all of your time focused on your appearance, working out in the gym to have the perfect body, spending all your money on the perfect clothes and spending hours each day trying to make your hair and makeup look perfect.
How do you think that would go? Sure you might attract some people but would they be there for the right reasons? Would the connections you make be rooted in what’s important? Most of us know this when it comes to finding a partner but when it comes to our business we fall into the trap of trying to present the perfect image. Today, I’m giving you full permission to let go of that.
2. Demonstrating expertise vs describing it
As part of the mainstream attraction model, we’re often taught that in order to sell our products and services, we must become masters of persuasion. In order to “convert” our audience into buyers, we must becomes experts at describing our services in such a way that the potential client can’t wait to buy. There are many strategies touted online designed to manipulate people into buying from us. Check out the ethical move for a set of tactics we advise you avoid in favour of more ethical alternatives.
In place of trying to convince people to buy your products and services with words, I encourage you to demonstrate your expertise instead. You can do this in a number of ways including, but not limited to, offering complimentary sessions, hosting free workshops, publishing free training videos so people can see your work in action and last but not least, sharing your knowledge in your content. And with this last point, I advise that you don’t hint at what you know to get the sale, instead share generously and in doing so cultivate deeper trust with your audience.
3. Serving vs Selling
This is where our primary objective when connecting with people in our network is to serve rather than to sell. Be that to potential clients, your colleagues and peers as well as mentors and role models. Whenever you find yourself thinking about making an ask of someone, see if you can find a way to serve instead. Here are two examples of what this might look like:
Instead of writing to former clients to ask if they know anyone who might be interested in working with you, write to them to offer a pitch-free, complimentary session to gift to someone in their network. In doing so you give the gift of giving to one of your former clients, the gift of your service to someone new and at the same time, ask for nothing in return. No selling is involved, yet you get an opportunity to demonstrate your experience to someone who may benefit from working with you.
Another place this distinction shows up for me is in your content, how often do we read newsletters and social media posts that go deep into a problem we might have, only to lead us to a solution we then have to buy — which goes something like…do you have this problem? Is it causing you all of these sorts of suffering? Then don’t despair because everything you need is available in my course, e-book, program etc.
When you serve in your content rather than sell, you cultivate trust, demonstrate your expertise and allow people to get value from your work whether they buy or not. Now you might be sat there thinking but I need to sell or I can’t pay my bills. In my experience the less I focus on selling and the more I focus on serving, the more my business grows.
4. Authentic pricing vs Premium pricing
Again this is one I cover in some detail in this article but for the purposes of this post, I’ll share the distinction in a nutshell. Whilst mainstream business advice will nearly always tell you to raise your prices, I’m here to tell you that you can build a profitable business without charging insane amounts of money for your services. In fact, often adopting the premium pricing model for your coaching, mentoring or healing services can have the adverse effect of making less than money than you otherwise might.
Big prices don’t necessarily equate to big income. In fact for many people the opposite happens. The bigger the price, the harder they have to work to get the sale and the less income is being generated overall. I invite you to tune out the noise online about pricing and to tune into what feels right to you as a business owner.
I hope you’ve found those distinctions useful and if you want to hear me and George chat about them, you can watch the video of our conversation here.