MOJO # 7: Slime-free sales: How to get clients without resorting to sleazy tactics or making people uncomfortable.
What if being picky was in fact the key to increasing your sales and number of clients?
I’m going to share with you two real-life examples and my perspective as the buyer.
I will explain why I bought from one person, but not another.
You can watch this video, or keep reading.
So the other day, I got “Pitch Slapped” on LinkedIn.
If you don’t know, a “Pitch Slap” is when someone you don’t know sends you a connection request, only to make a cold sales pitch shortly after.
This guy was a little more sophisticated than average though.
The gist of his message was to help me build a “commission-only sales team”.
It was a good offer, but not for me.
So I politely declined, and I explained why.
I told him that I didn’t want to hand a checklist to a salesperson to go “hunt” for buyers. I liked to be present for the calls and know who I was working with.
I was hoping that my feedback would help him find better-fitted audiences to target.
What comes next is a comical message that shows the absurdity of the sales tactics and scripts that most of these people follow.
“Totally! The idea is for you to IMPACT even more people. You can still check if you RESONATE with them”.
The thing is, I never said I wanted any of this in my message (and this guy definitely doesn’t talk like that).
What happened is he jumped to a conclusion about me and tried to pin me to a stereotype.
A woman who looks and sounds like a softie who cares about feelings? Oh, she must really care about creating impact and resonating with her clients.
And it’s true that I want these things. But it’s deeper than that.
The root of the objection is that the highest motivation of a commission-only contractor will be to sell as much as possible, and what I need is someone whose incentive is client results.
But wasn’t listening to understand.
He was listening just enough to know what to say next to move the sale process in a typical mechanical manner.
“If the prospect says X, respond with Y”
He was also subtly trying to make me feel like we were alike in some way by manipulating his speech. I started to laugh because I could imagine him attempting to get the sequence of words right, as though it was some secret code that can unlock my wallet.
This is the problem with these traditional sales & marketing tactics. They want to believe that you can put humans into “prospect” profiles which are really nothing more than stupid stereotypes.
They want you to believe that there is a “step-by-step blueprint” that takes people from strangers to raving buyers. When in reality, it’s NEVER a linear process.
I’ll come back to this in a bit, but let’s talk about the person who did sell me on their offer.
On the other hand, I thought of the last person who closed me on a 5-figure package.
First, he was someone I already knew and trusted. And by “knew” and “trusted”, I mean we never met in person, we only connected a few months ago, online. We had a video chat once, where we talked about stuff that was a bit deeper than the weather. And maybe we commented on each others’ posts a few times here and there.
He didn’t start the relationship with the intention of selling me something. He might have seen me as a potential client, but he was genuinely interested in me as a human being first.
Months later, he casually emailed that he was running a new program. The message was simple and straightforward:
- Here’s my offer (the deliverables, time, etc)
- The main benefits of doing it
- Some outline of what to expect in the program
- Price and how to book a call to answer outstanding questions
His prices were fixed. Obviously, you don’t have to mention a price if yours depends on the project. But the point is, I appreciated his sincere, no-nonsense approach, because that’s how I am. So naturally I “resonated” with his style.
I reached out, we booked a call that lasted less than 10 minutes. He answered all my questions without beating around the bush. I told him I’ll get back to him within 1-2 business days. And I did, with my card, ready to sign up.
Done. Simple, easy, no manipulation, no games.
It wasn’t what he said or how he said it.
It wasn’t even what he did.
It was his energy.
He was genuinely unattached. Not because he didn’t care about me. But because he truly understood that he couldn’t control me or manipulate me into buying. He understood that selling is about helping me make my buying decision.
The truth is I didn’t really “need” what he had. I just wanted it, and I liked/trusted him enough to go for it.
You’ve heard this before, people don’t want to be sold to, but they want to buy. That’s exactly how it was. I felt like I was making a choice to say yes every step of the way.
I felt safe approaching him and asking questions because there was no pressure.
And again, this is NOT an act. He wasn’t listening to think about what to say next. He wasn’t there to make assumptions, he wasn’t trying to pin me into a category. He was really present in our conversations. He was comfortable having a normal conversation with me.
He wasn’t super sleek either, he did stutter a couple of times. Heck, he even had his notes which he would look at every now and then to remember what to ask next. But it was clear that his intentions were in the right place.
I want you to let this sink in:
One guy’s offer was “taking” something from me: a 5-figure price tag, several weeks of my time & energy, etc.
I said yes.
The other guy’s offer was “giving” me something: A team of employees who don’t get paid a penny until they have increased my revenues.
I ran away.
One person wanted to know me as a human being first. So when it came time to sell, he knew how to make the offer TRULY relevant, and I had already known and trusted him.
The other person didn’t care to understand me. He wanted to understand just enough to know what to say next so I would buy his stuff.
—> First comes the relationship, then comes the transaction.
The hardest thing about marketing and selling is not even knowing what to do, or how to do it.
The hardest thing is to care consistently about your audience without knowing when or if you’ll ever get a return on your investment.
This is why I keep talking about the importance of following your heart and doing what you love.
Because unless you absolutely LOVE what you do and who you do it for, everything starts to feel like a mechanical process.
“If I give them this free e-book, they better give me their real email address”.
“If I offer them a free consultation with a lot of value, they better sign up as a client”.
And when that doesn’t work, you start to blame yourself and feel like your marketing is failing.
But marketing and sales don’t work as simple cause-and-effect processes.
We like to think that if we could only create the perfect journey, the right step-by-step process, then we can take them from stranger to buyer. But in reality, people’s buying process is much more personal. And it’s NEVER linear.
Someone can go from being a complete stranger to a deeply engaged buyer within days or weeks of the moment they first hear from you, if you hit the right spots.
Technically, this is all you need to do for them to buy:
- You have identified a painful problem or deep desire that a group of people seeks to solve/have.
- You know how to solve that problem/help them get what they want.
- You create content to point out the problem to those who have it (because sometimes it’s not obvious).
- You create content to motivate them to solve the problem (what are the benefits if they take the action)
- You position your offer as the obvious solution.
That’s really it.
When you understand this, you understand you have FULL FREEDOM to choose what to sell, and who to sell it to, because you understand that all sorts of people have all sorts of problems.
And wouldn’t it be more fun to work with your kind of people on your kind of topics?
The internet is used by 5 Billion people today.
Forget about reaching 1%. If you only resonate with 0.1% of them, you’ll have 5,000,000 people to talk to.
And if only 1% of those could become your clients, you’re looking at 50,000.
If you only “close” 10% of your highly targeted, highly-engaged audience every year, you are working with 5,000 clients.
A mere $100 digital product will bring you $500,000 yearly income on auto-pilot.
But with that depth of resonance, you can also sell high-ticket offers, bringing in $1 million or more per year while working part-time hours.
Of course, it will take time and effort, but you’ll have fun while doing it.
Don't try to change your nature to fit with a client. Be comfortable as though you are around a friend, and you will naturally attract people who resonate with you.
And get this: Your ideal client will also tell their friends about you because their real friends are like them anyway. Talk about audience targeting!
So here is my message to you today:
Don’t go wide with too many. Go DEEP with a few. Be in your element, and trust that those who are an energetic match will naturally be magnetized to work with you because you touch something that’s already within themselves too. But the rub is to trust. And that’s hard to do because sometimes we have to make money yesterday, not in a few months or years.
But what if you made a clear-cut decision?
What if you decided today, that although you think you “need” to do work you don’t love, with clients you don’t vibe with — what if you decided and trusted that you’ll be fine?
I had to let go of and say no to multiple clients, at 6-figure packages each. I took a huge financial hit, despite having multiple obligations towards myself and others. I decided I was going to find a way to make money without ever sacrificing my well-being anymore, and that meant taking a few steps back before I make leaps forward.
My worst fears never materialized. It’s that they didn’t happen. It’s that they happened, but weren’t as bad as I thought they would be. In fact, they helped me do even better later.
On the upside, I found total freedom.
Freedom from the need to gain approval.
Freedom from thinking that my safety and security came from money.
Freedom from feeling like I owed the client because they were paying.
Freedom from thinking and feeling I wasn’t good enough.
Freedom to explore my creativity and fullest self-expression.
Freedom to say no to jumping on draining calls and meetings or working with people I didn’t mesh with.
Freedom from pretending I was excited to be working on a project that was in fact draining my soul.
Freedom from needing to fix my clients & other people or wondering why they wouldn’t be as I wish them to be.
Freedom from feeling like I was selling out, or like my work was a commodity.
I turned up the volume on who I was, and I never looked back.
With that, I found the freedom to be my fullest self-expression. A type of freedom I never felt before, even when I thought I had everything.
“Your best work is your expression of yourself. When you do it, you are the only one.” — Frank Gehry
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