In today’s episode, I’m going to share with you sales conversations that do NOT feel gross.
I know for a lot of people, they either try to avoid sales conversations or they do sales conversations but they absolutely hate it.
If that is you, I want you to pay attention to this episode. If you LOVE sales conversations, I still want you to read along because I’m going to help you make them even more effective and successful for you.
Let’s dive in!
The number one thing we need to get clear before I jump into improving your sales conversations, is the agreement that sales conversations are absolutely amazing.
They are awesome for you, they are awesome for your ideal clients, and they are awesome for your business.
Sales conversations are brilliant.
Why is it that we avoid sales conversations or don’t like them?
In most cases, it’s because we don’t know how to do sales conversations effectively, or the way that we are doing sales conversations just feels yucky and so therefore we try to avoid them.
Why do I believe sales conversations are amazing?
They create so much connection. You’re having a one to one conversation with someone about what they want, what they need, what’s getting in their way, and how YOU might be able to help them achieve their goals.
That is a brilliant opportunity for connection.
Therefore it’s one of the highest conversion activities you can do in your business, and it gives you really deep insight into what your audience is thinking, feeling and wanting in your area of expertise.
This is such an amazing insight to assist you in getting your messaging clear, in making sure that you are speaking to the right outcomes with your value proposition, in refining and changing up your packages, and looking at your pricing structure – there are so many benefits to doing consistent and regular sales conversations.
Not only that, you get a chance to practise speaking about your work to new and different people, and you get an opportunity to refine your messaging in your broadcast marketing activities because you’re keeping up to date with what your audience is wanting and looking for from you.
We resist those marketing and sales conversations because we don’t have a way of doing sales conversations that feels great, or we’ve got some mindset blocks about being salesy, upsetting someone or being pushy or aggressive with them.
That is why I see so many women trying to avoid sales conversations, and instead making sales only via broadcast methods such as sending emails, sending someone to a sales page, jumping straight into doing group programs instead of selling one to one packages, selling via their social media and making offers into Facebook groups. But they never actually have great quality sales conversations with potential leads.
That means that you are missing out on so much juicy insight for your business as well as conversion and growth.
I learned sales conversations the wrong way.
When I first started my business, I had two coaches that I had worked with who taught me how to do sales conversations. Both of them took that sales conversation training straight out of the bro-marketing book – very aggressive, very manipulative types of sales conversations.
Because of the way that I learned sales conversations, I tried to avoid them as well. I absolutely hated doing them.
Not only did I try to avoid them and hate them when I did them, I also experienced physical symptoms when I actually had some sales conversations.
When I was doing sales conversations, I would get what I called The Rash of Despair. I’d have this rash that would creep up out of my cleavage, take over my neck and then envelop my face. Many times people would end up asking me if I was okay because I had turned bright red, and I would just brush it off saying that it was hot, but really it was because I was so uncomfortable with the process that I was taking people through.
That led to me going through a significant period of time where I didn’t really do sales conversations at all unless I was doing the upsell at the end of a single session with people.
Even then when I did the upsell at the end of the single session, I mostly made sales by people asking me how we could keep working together and me very briefly stating what the next package was and how much it was.
That was it, that was the extent of my sales conversations.
I’m very lucky, however, that about four or five months into the growth of my business, I realised that sales conversations would be so valuable for me in really refining my messaging and copy because I was struggling to understand how to speak about the value proposition of my work in a way that really converted effectively and at scale.
I decided to reconcile the differences that I had with sales conversations, but also learn how to structure them and do them MY way in a way that felt comfortable for me.
At that point, I threw out the sales conversation structure that I had been taught, and instead, I developed a sales conversation structure that felt really good for me.
I also had a little check-in with myself after every single sales conversation by asking myself:
- How can I improve this?
- What bits did I miss?
- What happened?
- Why did it happen that way?
I developed something that was going to work really well for me and felt really good.
When you’re doing a sales conversation or avoiding a sales conversation, I encourage you to tune into how that feels, and why it feels that way.
I want you to really pay attention to that.
You might find that it comes down to one of three S’s:
It might be that you just don’t have good sales skills. Sales skills are a bit of a non-negotiable when it comes to being an entrepreneur and having your own business, so is this an opportunity for you to improve your skills in doing sales conversations?
Perhaps you don’t have a structure that feels like it works effectively for you, that guides you and your ideal client through that process so that it feels like you’re ticking the boxes that you need to tick along the way, and you’re getting to the point where you’re pitching and feeling confident and comfortable doing that. Sometimes it’s a structure issue.
Is it just a shady practise that you’ve been taught, and it’s not aligned with your values and you don’t want to do it? That is totally cool as well.
I’m going to go through these three S’s with you and give you some advice on how to address these depending on what the combination is for you.
There are two ways for you to grow your skills in sales conversations.
1. Learn sales skills from people that you trust, and whose sales processes you love
Many women in the Take Off program are in there because they want to learn how to sell the way that I sell.
The way that I sell really resonated for them, it felt very comfortable and empowering, and that’s what they want to learn in their business as well.
Learn some sales skills from people that you trust.
There are lots and lots of sales mentors out there. The number one piece of advice I would give you is before you sign up to learn selling from any of these people, go through their sales process.
If you are signing up to learn sales conversations with someone, I want you to ask them if you can have a quick chat about working together, and see how they make you feel in that sales process.
Tune in to what’s coming up for you when you’re being sold to.
Sign up for their newsletter and see the way that they treat you when you are a lead in their business.
You might also like to unsubscribe from their newsletter and see how they treat you when you become someone who’s not a lead in their business. I have unsubscribed from some things, and I can tell you, the way that some of their unsubscribe options were worded were absolutely manipulative and really gross. That actually helped me make the decision that I didn’t want to stay on that person’s list and I wasn’t going to go back to them because that was really gross and I didn’t like it.
Learn sales skills from people that you trust, and go through their sales process.
Listen to their podcast, get onto their mailing list or follow them on social media and see what happens in that process.
Even just sliding into their DM’s or sending them an email and seeing how you are treated will tell you a lot about the types of sales strategies that that person employes, and how they’re going to teach you to make sales in your business as well.
You build skills by practising.
You aren’t going to jump into doing sales conversations and be brilliant at it from the very start. It’s going to take some practise, it’s going to take some tweaking and refining and also just learning how to find the words that work for you.
Your words are not going to be the same as my words.
The reason for that is because we have different voices, we speak differently, we have different topic areas that we’re helping people with and that is actually a good thing. You want to sink into sales conversations that feel like really comfortable conversations for you, therefore, you’re going to need to find your words. That comes with practise.
The first S is building your skills.
I’m going to give you a really simple structure to a sales conversation, and I’m going to explain why each of those elements are part of that sales conversation so that you can see how empowering that structure can be.
For me when I’m doing sales conversations, my basic structure is:
1. Connect with the person
When we start the call, I don’t just jump right into whether they’re going to buy the program or not, I ask them where in the world they are, and for some information on their business. I want to understand a bit about that person and have some form of connection with them. I just keep that nice and brief, and I make sure in that connection that we have a shared understanding of what we’re talking about.
So I’ll ask them how they are, I’ll talk a bit about my day and whatever’s been happening for me, and THEN once we’ve had a little bit of connecting time, I will clarify exactly what we’re there to talk about.
I make sure that we confirm that together as well.
Some people can jump into a sales conversation with you and assume they’re going to get a free coaching session first, so I want you to be really clear on the structure of what’s going to happen in that call.
You can give people some insight into how it’s going to unfold so that everyone’s on the same page.
This is where you learn how to ask really good questions.
Qualifying is the process of working out what that person needs and whether that is something you can actually deliver for them.
This is where a lot of sales conversations let you down, especially when you’re learning that aggressive sales strategy where you dial up the pain points.
That strategy isn’t about understanding whether it’s the right fit for people or not, it’s about helping the person to see that it IS the right fit for them regardless.
I approach this very differently. I’m on a journey of discovery with the person that I’m speaking to, I’m not on a journey of discovery of how to sell this thing to that person.
When I’m talking about Take Off with someone, I tell them that I’m not going to pressure them into buying it, and that I just want us to work out whether it’s the right fit for them or not.
I genuinely want to do that in that sales conversation because I’m not interested in pitching Take Off to people who it’s not going to help.
I’m not interested in selling to people who I don’t think are a really good fit for it, and who I’m not going to enjoy the process with, they’re not going to enjoy the process, I’m not going to help them get the outcome, and they’re not going to get the outcome.
If there are any red flags coming up for me, I want to know about them in the sales conversation.
I don’t want to just push all of those down and make the sale at any cost.
I think that that’s where some of those more masculine, aggressive, pushy sales conversation structures can make it really difficult for us because they do tend to silence the other person and only get them saying yes to you.
That’s not how I do these things.
In the qualifying process, I’m asking really good questions about:
- What that person wants
- What else they’ve tried
- Why they haven’t been able to get that before
- What worked and didn’t work for them
- What they think is going on
I will often also ask people for a bit of information about their business, what their income level is, what works for them, what they’ve tried in the past and all of those insights into what’s going on for them.
This helps me to get a really clear picture of whether this is just going to be the same as what they’ve done before, whether there’s going to be something different here, and also what stage of business they’re at so I can accurately diagnose what their challenge is going to be and how they’re going to get the most value for money either from working with me or from getting support from someone else.
That qualifying process really does make up the majority of the sales conversation for me.
Once we’ve done that and I feel like we’re on the same page and that I really understand what’s going on for them, I will have a confirmation section of my sales call.
In that confirmation section, I’m just making sure I’ve understood accurately what they need and that we’re both on the same page.
I will say something like, ‘Look, it sounds to me like you’ve got all of the key pieces in terms of you understanding your niche, you know what your message is, you know what it is that you’re offering, but you don’t know how to bring all of those together to bring in good quality leads and convert them. Would that be accurate?’
I’m just confirming and giving my expert diagnosis of what I can see, to get insight into whether that diagnosis is accurate.
In that confirmation, I also confirm what it is that they’re looking for.
I will say something like ‘It sounds to me like if you could get a little bit of hand-holding and direction on …, and a step by step process for …, that you’d really feel like you’d be able to get that momentum, achieve your income goals and be able to do it in the 20 hours a week that you’ve got limited to in terms of how long you can work in your business. Does that sound like I’ve got it right?’
I’m saying these things and I’m confirming these things just to make sure that we are on the same page.
Another thing that I might confirm (and it’s usually a 50/50 as to whether I feel like this is necessary or not) is what the timeframe is.
For example, if your client has a deadline that they need to be making $4,000 a month before they go on maternity leave, then I will confirm that timeframe as well to make sure we’re on the same page.
If we haven’t discussed timeframes in the qualifying section, I make sure that I ask that question about timeframes.
I ask the questions:
- What are you thinking in terms of how quickly you need to get this up and running?
- What income level are you looking for and by when?
If I don’t have confidence that we’re going to be able to do that, I will be really clear about that.
For example, if someone is looking for a really quick growth trajectory without having any ad spend or team members and they’re relying completely on organic strategy, I will confirm that with them and then be upfront with them that I don’t think I can help them achieve that goal.
In that confirmation section of the sales conversation, we are being really upfront and honest with each other, we’re getting on the same page, and I am confirming the value proposition that this person is looking for, and when they’re looking for it by.
It’s a really important part of the sales conversation.
Then and only then once I have that confirmation, I know that we’re on the same page, we’ve agreed on some kind of timeframe that would be an appropriate goal that I would be comfortable with and that they would be comfortable with, THEN I make the offer.
I usually make the offer through the lens of a recommendation.
My words are, ‘Well here’s what I would recommend…’
The reason why I make that recommendation is because I have just put all that energy and effort into understanding the person’s business, what they’re looking for and what they want, if I then say, ‘Well, here’s my offer’, it actually disconnects from what we’ve just done.
I make it as a recommendation. Sometimes I’m recommending a program, sometimes I’m recommending VIP, and sometimes I’m recommending that they go work with someone else.
I make those recommendations based on my understanding of that person that I’ve just got from this sales conversation.
That means that when I do make that offer – when I make that recommendation – I’m very confident that it’s the right fit for them. This also means that when I ask them how that sounds, I can be confident and quiet and listen to their response without being really attached to them agreeing that that’s what they need.
If that recommendation is not the right fit for them, it’s not what they are able to afford, it doesn’t fit into their timeframes or they don’t have the capacity to do that right now, we can talk about that, but at least I’ve made that recommendation with confidence.
For people who aren’t adding structure to their sales conversation, when they do the pitch of what the offer is, they’re doing it blind – they haven’t done that qualification, they haven’t done that confirmation, and so they’re just basically saying what their pitch is without really having that shared understanding that the thing they’re pitching is going to help them achieve the goal that they want to achieve and address the challenges that they’re facing.
Making that offer, asking and being quiet happens only once I’ve done the qualifying and the confirmation.
I need to be clear and confident that I’m making the right recommendation for that person.
I give them a simple recommendation – I don’t go into all the details of all the inclusions and bonuses, I just say what I recommend, why it would be the right fit for them, and what they’ll get from it.
Then I ask the question.
Sometimes I will say the price and the investment upfront, sometimes I’ll just confirm that they actually want to do it.
I’m constantly checking how everything sounds to them. I go offer, ask, be quiet. Offer, ask, be quiet. Or recommend, ask, be quiet.
If any objections or challenges come up, I will refine as needed.
In the close, I tell them what’s going to happen from here.
It’s a really simple structure – you’ve got the connection and introductions, qualify, confirm, offer and ask, and then refine and close.
That simple structure has really helped me, and I’ve built that based on my experience and practise doing sales conversations that feel really comfy for me.
There are often some things that we are told we need to do in sales conversations that make us feel really gross and that is why we’re avoiding them.
In terms of shady, I just want to give you a couple of key tips here.
1. No means no
If someone says ‘No, I can’t afford that right now’, that is not an opportunity for you to then convince them of the value proposition.
If they don’t see the value proposition in it through the qualifying and the confirmation process, and when you present the investment, they tell you that it’s out of reach for them even with a payment plan, then no means no.
That’s something that’s really important to me.
I always make sure that I respect the no.
I know that for other sales conversation strategies and teachers, they don’t teach that, but for me, that’s really important.
It’s an issue of consent and rape culture, it’s an issue of gaslighting and making women unsure of what their decisions are and making them doubt themselves, so for me, it’s very important and it is a matter of principles and values that I respect the no.
2. Do NOT dial-up people’s fear or pain in the process
I don’t use any sort of manipulation in my sales process.
I will never try to manipulate people into buying my program by presenting them with what the negative consequences of not buying my program would be, and using emotional blackmail to get them into it.
It’s none of my business, and I just think it’s very manipulative.
It doesn’t actually add to that process or empower people in that process in any way.
3. No pressure tactics or false scarcity
- Say there’s only one spot available when there’s more than one spot available
- Say they have to sign up in the next 24 hours if they want it, if they don’t have to sign up in the next 24 hours
- Apply any pressure
If someone says that they need to talk to their partner and they’ll get back to me, I’ll tell them that that’s no problem and ask when they would like me to follow up with them.
What I do NOT do is judge them.
I will NOT tell them how I thought they were an independent woman who made empowered financial decisions on their own.
I don’t in any way, shape or form, create any pressure, make any false scarcity or make people make a decision there and then on the call, because I don’t like doing that, therefore, it’s another matter of principle and values from me.
4. Does it feel empowering?
Then the final tactic and the final thing to think about when it comes to the shady stuff is to just ask yourself the question: Is this sales conversation empowering for them? And is this sales conversation empowering for me?
If the answer is no to either of those questions then there’s something shady going on, and it’s a call for you to look into why that doesn’t feel like it’s empowering, and how you can change that process.
I know that there’s a lot in this podcast episode, but I also know how valuable it is to deal with the skills, structure and shadiness that come up in sales conversations.
If this is something that you realise you haven’t actually put any time and energy into learning in terms of growing your business and how to get those foundational skills and learn how to do sales in a way that is empowering for your audience, I would love for you to come and check out my free training.
It’s called Fast Track Your Startup.
In this training, I cover the core base-level things you want to take care of in terms of skills, structure and strategy.
Make sure you go and check that out at tashcorbin.com/fasttrack.
I hope that you have found this really valuable.
If you’ve found it valuable or you’ve got follow up questions or lightbulb moments you’d like to share, make sure you come on over to the Heart-Centred, Soul-Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook group, use #podcastaha, let me know you’ve been reading podcast episode 242 and let’s continue the conversation there.
Until next time, I cannot WAIT to see you SHINE.
Hi, I’m Tash. And I am so excited that you’re here. As you may have noticed I’m a total business and marketing strategy geek and I absolutely love helping women to create online businesses and courses that are perfectly aligned with THEIR zone of genius, AND that have a super-specific and strong value proposition for their ideal clients. Connect with on social media (links below) and come join the #ladyposse on Facebook.