This post comes to us via Michelle Ward, PCC (aka The When I Grow Up Coach). She helps creative women get out of their soul-sucking jobs and into work that feels like play. Her first book, The Declaration of You (co-written with the artist Jessica Swift), was recently published and encourages everyone to clarify their purpose sans super seriousness.
Are you afraid that talking about your biz turns you into a used car salesman overnight (greasy pompadour and mismatched suit included)?
Then you’re gonna wanna buy this article you’re reading now, 5 Ways to Bring In The Money Without Feeling Sleazy! For the low low price of just $19.95, I’ll throw in a set of steak knives! Get your credit card ready and call –
When we think of Selling, we usually think of steak knives, Crazy Eddie and operators who are standing by to take our calls. We think of in-your-face aggression, one-way conversations, and telemarketers who interrupt our dinner.
Do me a favor and wave goodbye to the slimiest of salesmen that lives in your head. Smile. Give him a hug, even. Watch him go, dejected.
See, in your world, that slimy salesman won’t ever be able to make an appearance. Not only because you won’t let him, but because you can’t possibly become him. Ever.
You have too much of an interest in connecting with others, in bringing them goodness and improving their lives so that you’d never strong-arm someone into buying something from you that they don’t need.
It’s just not who you are, what you offer, and how you want to build a relationship - and you can bring that into all aspects of your business. I pinky swear it.
Stop Calling it Selling
Thinking of having to “sell”, “market myself”, or “advertise” brings on a big case of The Icks.
I decided long ago to group those things under one umbrella, and call it Hooplah - something silly, and fun, and a bit ridiculous, too. I had another client decide to call it Ballyhoo (isn’t that the best word ever?), and it immediately brought a sense of celebration to it all. Conversely, a coach I had called it Inviting, and it immediately created an intimate, personal connection.
Find your word for Hooplah/ Ballyhoo/ Invitations and ban the Selling/Marketing/Advertising from your vocabulary for good.
Create Your Client Profile, and Speak to Her Directly
Who will read your blog, buy your product, or hire you for your services? Think demographically + personality-wise. By starting to answer them and create a client/ customer/ reader profile, you’ll be able to have a picture in your head of who needs to pick up what you’re putting down and why. You can even cheat and use your favorite client or best friend!
Once you have that person in your head, you can write your copy and blog posts for her directly and tailor your products and services to her specifically, too. It’s so much easier than writing for My Audience, I promise (because really – who the heck is that?)!
If you’re having trouble answering these questions, grab a magazine and start leafing through. Rip out anything and anyone in those pages that speaks to you, even if you don’t know why. When you’re done, create a collage and hang it in your office space, or make it your desktop. Keep it in plain view when you’re writing, and write for the person(s) included there.
Be Yourself, Loud and Clear
When I started my blog, I was initially under the guise that, as a life coach, I had pretend that my life is perfect and I have it all figured out, instead of disclosing that I still worked a day job and was pretty damn scared and vulnerable at the time, I realized pretty quickly that my blog was so boring that even I wouldn’t read it. That’s when I chucked the mask I was wearing and let it all hang out – my “real” life, my challenges, my loud personality, my enthusiasm, my sense of humor, my silliness, my day job, my wins and the excessive use of the word “amazeballs.”
Uncoincidentally, that’s when I started getting steady readers and clients who were already excited to work with me despite never having a consultation call. I inadvertently realized that I never have to sell anyone on working with me who’s read anything I’ve written online because they know what they’re gonna get. That’s THE BEST!
Make It Valuable
Quick - which statement below makes you want to Click Here?
“I wrote a book! It’s so great! Click here and buy it!”
“Want to uncover your own declarations around life’s big, scary topics in a fun, creative way? Click here to make it happen!”
I don’t know about you, but I see Option 1 more than I’d like - on Twitter, on Facebook, on blogs - they’re all over! If someone comes to your home on the Interwebs, they want to get to know *you*, and what you sell is just a portion of that. I gotta tell you, nothing keeps me away from the Follow button more than someone with a feed full of outgoing tweets that link back to their own stuff and/or only talks about themselves. Yuck.
So, swap it around and start crafting your copy to be about what your audience will find helpful (yes, that includes sharing what other people are putting out there) - not what you wanna tell them about yourself.
Have a Conversation
There’s a reason we have two ears and a mouth – it’s to listen twice as much as we speak.
On my consultation calls, there’s never a schpeel. I’m never waiting to “close” them. I’m there because I get to gage whether I can help someone, or know someone that can help them. I’m there to answer their questions and give them the information they’re looking for so they can make the best decision for themselves. I’m there to listen to dreams and offer encouragement and make a connection.
Honestly, the Hooplah doesn’t even come into the equation, and I don’t think of my consultation calls as “prospects” or “sales.” I think of them as “creatives” and “go-getters” and, um, “people.”
How do you feel about selling? What tips/tricks have you found useful? Share in the comments!
photo by tax credits // cc