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How do you feel about selling your service, your product, or yourself?
Chances are excellent you’re not crazy about the idea at all.
I heard a familiar refrain from a consultant in a workshop I did recently. She’d tried out a new way of talking about her business, at my suggestion, and she didn’t much like it.
“It felt too salesy,” she said.
The whole idea of sales strikes fear into the hearts of so many professionals, business owners, even high-powered executives.
In fact, you’ll find people at every networking meeting and professional association gathering, IRL or virtual, who are scraping to get by. Because no matter how good they are at the service they provide, they’re so bad at selling it.
You’ll hear people say they hate selling. They feel pushy. Or sleazy. They don’t want to bother people. They hate to hear “no.” They can’t take the rejection.
We need to get over it. All of us.
The truth is: If you’re in business … you’re in sales. Notice your own reaction to those words. If it’s “Oh no, I’m not,” it’s time to think again.
Don’t you know entrepreneurs who wish, in their heart of hearts, that they could go back to a job – doing what they love, and what they’re good at, and letting somebody else go out and beat the bushes for people who need it. That’s why God made the sales department, right?
In truth, even those who do work for big (or small) companies do have to sell, even if they’re not account executives. They have to sell their ideas, their projects, and their value to the company. Otherwise, they’re likely to miss out on the best assignments, be passed over for promotion, or fall victim to the next round of layoffs.
Pondering all this, I reviewed my notes from a seminar with David Neagle, the Master Income Acceleration Mentor. Mostly, it was not about sales. It was about personal freedom. It turns out that’s connected to sales. Here’s how …
When David said, “The cause of sales is – desire,” I thought, well of course. If they desire what we’re selling, they buy it, right?
That’s not what’s he meant at all. It’s not the would-be buyer’s desire that matters. He’s talking about the seller’s desire.
“You have to desire the sale more than you desire to avoid the possibility of being rejected,” he explained.
A lot of sales training programs suggest there are no natural born salespeople. Selling is a learned skill, they assert. And anybody can learn that skill—the trainer’s there to help you learn it.
David says, “Bullshit. Everybody is a natural born salesperson. The question is when did you stop doing sales?”
He has a point, doesn’t he?
Remember when you’d go to Mom or Dad and sell them on, say, an extra story before bed? Or having one more cookie after school? Or going to the park all by yourself? As a youngster, you were doing some serious selling a lot of the time.
And here’s the thing. Maybe the parents said yes, maybe they said no. Either way, you didn’t cave in and decide never to ask them for anything ever again.
In fact, odds are, when they turned you down, it wasn’t long before you came right back to the Head Grownup in Charge with another red-hot idea. Why? Because you were a natural-born salesperson.
Somewhere along the way, most of us get uncomfortable and stop asking.
By the time we’re adults with a business or a job, we ask for less.
Or maybe we do ask. And then in the very next breath, we give the person an out that makes it easy for them to say “No.” Or maybe it’s giving ourselves an out? Either way, we give up way too soon.
If David Neagle is right, we’ve firmly adopted the middle-class mindset. “Middle-class mindset says don’t be rude, don’t be pushy, don’t ask people personal questions,” he says.
“Entrepreneur’s mindset is vastly different.”
And you can have that entrepreneur’s mindset whether you own your own business or work for someone else.
Entrepreneurs have the personal freedom to ask. And then to keep asking.
Entrepreneurs know they can be of service, they value what they do for people, and they expect to be paid what they’re worth. Or, as David said, “There’s no amount of money for coaching I’m afraid to ask for.”
Now that’s fearless. I’m not there, are you?
But here’s a question worth asking. If you were that fearless, what would your business look like?