Telling is not selling. Only asking questions is selling." - Brian Tracy
We’re onto our final chapter in The Business Blunders Chronicles!
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been digging into some of the lessons I learned at the start of my business. We’ve talked about trying to do it all, squeezing into a business straightjacket, and not buying into our own worth.
Part Four is all about not asking for the sale!
One of the biggest ‘blunders’ that directly impacted my income and growth as an entrepreneur at the start of my business was avoiding sales.
I know, even hearing the word ‘sales’ is triggering for some of you. The thought of asking for money can make our throats dry up and anxiety course through our veins.
If you’re nodding your head as you read this, know you’re not alone, and I’m about to tell you how much I buried my head in the sand when it came to sales at the start of my business.
If you’re hoping I’m going to end this post with a magical way you get to keep hiding in plain sight and make money without asking for it, you should stop reading now.
Let’s rewind the tape to a few years ago when I officially started my business. I put up my questionably effective website with the black-and-white polaroid photo of me, started a shiny new Instagram account, started blogging weekly, and found a few places in NYC where I could teach workshops.
I started by working with a few clients for free to build my confidence and clarity, and I was lucky to book my first few paying clients not long after. This meant I was officially in business and making money.
This all sounds great, right? Getting paying clients right off the bat and making money doing what you love...Not bad things, but here’s where the ‘blunder’ comes in...I continued doing exactly the same thing and had this idea that if I just showed up enough, people would figure it out and want to hire me.
This isn't my first rodeo with this tall tale. My acting days had a similar plotline: “If I hone my craft, work hard enough, and if I’m good enough, people will notice, and I’ll book work.”
This is such a sneaky story that holds us back. It’s sneaky because it’s not entirely incorrect, and we often do see some results from it.
So what’s the ‘blunder’, then? Turns out, this is a VERY limiting story, and it’s a story that keeps us hiding in plain sight and from upleveling our business and revenue.
Hoping people will just notice us, pay attention, and throw money at us is a pretty passive approach to business.
It also means our results are limited to the people who happen to see us, connect the dots for themselves, and are willing to go out of their way to figure out how we can help them.
In my case, this meant you had to go through the following: find me on social media or sign up for my blog, read my posts and connect with them, seek out my website by spelling my long-ass last name correctly, navigate through my website to my work-with-me page, and be willing to sign up for a call with me.
That’s a long walk for most people with lots of places to get lost and distracted along the way.
Looking back, it’s actually mind-blowing to me that I did have paying clients because I couldn’t have made it much harder to hire me if I tried.
The blunder? I wasn’t selling.
I wasn’t showing up and telling my people loud and clear what I did, who and how I could help, and that I had a service available. I wasn’t asking for what I wanted.
That’s what selling is all about. We have to feel good enough about our work and have the clarity to know who we serve and what problem we solve.
We also have to know what we want and be willing to ask for it, and this, more than anything else, brings the mind gremlins out to play.
What did this sound like in my head?
I don’t want to seem salesy...I don’t want to annoy people...I don’t want to seem like I need the money...I don’t want people to think I’m just trying to make money (gasp)...What if no one says yes?...What if people say no?...What if people think I’m greedy for charging this much?...What if people think I suck because I’m not charging more?...What if people unfollow me or unsubscribe because I’m selling?...I don’t want to be one of “those” people...What if people can’t afford it?
Or to piggyback off of last week’s blunder, “I don’t know if I’m good enough...if I’m worth it.”
And so it went, and meant, I didn’t show up and sell.
I want to paint this picture really clearly, so you can see how the thoughts and beliefs we have, how the stories we tell ourselves, end up affecting the actions we do or don’t take, and impact our results.
All of my beliefs about selling were pretty subconscious. If you asked me, I would have probably told you I had no ‘problem’ with it. After all, I’d sold a course and a program and those required me to ask for the sale and sell.
All of those thoughts were buried in there, and they resulted in zero sales effort.
If I remember correctly, I sent one “sales email” on my birthday with a discount for coaching my first year in business. I’m not even sure it was really a sales email as much as it was a blog that included an offer buried way at the bottom.
That’s one whole sales email my entire first year in business. ONE.
That one email resulted in new clients, one of whom I’m still working with years later. Could you imagine what would have happened if I had embraced selling and did it regularly with intention and belief?
But it took me a while to connect the dots. My business grew but with a ton of effort and at a slow pace.
I made things much harder on myself, and in truth, I did my people a disservice because I made it much harder on them to find me and get the support they wanted.
I’m sharing this blunder with you because I KNOW I’m not the only one who’s resisted sales and hidden in plain sight just hoping the universe would bring me paying clients if I just worked hard enough.
Sales can bring up all the icks and churn up gunk we didn’t even know we had around money, being seen, asking for what we want, and receiving.
I know because now I LOVE sales and selling, and support so many of my clients with exactly this.
First and foremost, it was seeing, oh shit, I haven’t been selling at all and noticing I get triggered every time I see someone else sell. I had to get curious about what that meant.
Then, it was mindset-work city for me. There were definitely some money blocks to work through, but I found it wasn’t even really about the money as much as it was about fears of being seen, disliked, or not good enough.
I had this deep-rooted fear that if I showed up confidently and asked for what I wanted by selling, people would hate me, and I’d have no friends. THAT became my work.
Then came the easy part, leaning into sales and taking action. The truth is, most of us could stand to sell WAY more than we are.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m now kind of obsessed with sales mindset and strategy. Not only do I show up and confidently sell regularly and get massively better results in my business, I also love supporting my clients with the same. We teach what we know, or what we once needed to know, right?
I’ve found the strategy side to sales to be a beautiful structure that allows us to strengthen our mindset and squash fears around selling. With a heart-centered approach, it feels like you have support to combat all the stories that want to keep you playing small and avoiding sales. Mindset supports the strategy and taking action on the strategy supports the mindset.
Last year, I tripled my income, and I’m closing January with a record-breaking income month. I’ve helped my clients do the same over and over again by helping them smash beliefs around income ceilings, blocks around money, and fears around selling, so they stop hiding in plain sight and make more money than they ever imagined was possible.
The ‘blunder’ hits on both mindset and strategy, and it held back my growth big time. Yet, I’m also grateful for this one. This ‘blunder’ was a needed teacher that taught me so many lessons and allowed me to uplevel internally and externally (it’s inside-out, always).
As we close out The Business Blunders Chronicles, my invitation to you this week is to take inventory of your business. Are you confidently showing up and selling? Are you consistently communicating with your audience what you do well, how you can help, and how they can invest through you?
How can you take one small step forward towards embracing sales more?
Wishing you your version of success!
P.S. Want to create your own sales process that feels good and gets you paid? I put together this free guide to help you Master Your Heart-Centered Sales Process! Click here to get instant access to my 7-Step Sales Framework!
P.P.S. Know you're ready to face your fears around selling, bust through your income ceilings, stop hiding in plain sight, and make more money doing what you love? I'd love to support you! Click here to book a free coaching consultation!