In my line of work I meet lots of women who are bloody amazing at what they do, but who actively resist promoting their services because it feels so uncomfortable.
And I get it because I have a lot of the same resistance to selling.
For my generation of women, much of this is linked to conditioning around fitting into the crowd...being seen and not heard...not rocking the boat.
We've been taught that we shouldn't be 'too loud' and modesty is the most attractive quality.
Many of us have also been subjected to unsavoury 'bro marketing' tactics that have tarnished our overall perception of selling (I know I certainly have).
And then there's the fear of putting yourself out there and failing, or being rejected…
Put these factors together then, and it’s easy to see why selling can feel like a huge mountain to climb.
But just hoping that people will find your offers and love them enough to reach out is not a strategy. I know that you’ve got valuable gifts to share with the world, and it’s not helping anyone to have them hidden away.
(And believe me when I say that I’m talking to myself here as well. I know what I should be doing…many of my blog posts end up being a pep talk to myself :)
When selling feels hard.
In an ideal world, you have something to sell which solves a problem (or fulfils a desire) for a certain type of person.
That certain type of person is aware of their problem and when they find you, they understand that you have the solution.
It's an easy exchange as soon as they find you.
Invariably though, there is some energetic resistance between the two of you that means that:
A) You don’t feel comfortable making an offer or talking about your services
B) They are not warm to receiving an offer
C) A combination of both of the above
And this is exacerbated on social media where everyone is at different stages of the buying cycle - some of your audience are in blissful ignorance even to their need for your product or service, whilst others are ready to buy with one nudge in that direction.
How can we reduce this resistance to make selling feel more effortless?
It seems to me that we have to take a multi-pronged approach to this.
1. Get comfortable with knowing you're really good at what you do
Yes, you are!
To put the right energy into selling, we first have to believe in what we are offering to people...we have to see ourselves as the expert in the room.
If internally we're thinking that a client will be better off working with Jane Jones down the road, then we're going to be unconsciously sabotaging our marketing efforts. It's that old imposter syndrome rearing it's head.
This might feel like a big ask, how might we find this inner confidence in practice?
Take time to congratulate yourself on your successes.
Reflect on your experience and qualifications that give you a unique perspective vs your competition.
Remind yourself of reviews from happy clients (and if you aren't gathering these, START NOW!)
Iron out your process and fill gaps in your knowledge to boost your confidence.
Know that you're not meant for everyone, but that you'll be the perfect fit for some.
Trust that wherever you are is exactly where you are meant to be - look for the lessons.
Spend time with people who will encourage your dreams rather than rain on your parade.
2. Content foreplay
If you were at a networking event and met someone new, and the first thing they did was launch into their service offering and prices without even getting your name, you’d think it was very odd. And you probably run a mile.
The same is true online.
Like it or not, if we want people to buy from us, we need to spend quite some time in a courtship dance, because that’s the nature of being human.
But when we’re not dealing with people face to face, it can be easy to forget the importance of putting energy into the warm up exercise.
If the only time you post on social media or send a newsletter is when you want to present an offer, it’s likely to fall flat. People want connection and to be nurtured into a buying decision, they want to feel that you're not only in it for the sale.
What does this mean for us?
In content terms, engagement content is the equivalent of foreplay - it's content which is primarily focused on providing value, building your know-like-trust and establishing you as an expert in your field.
It's not about making a sale - although it does ensure you'll be front on mind when the time is right.
What might this look like then? Engagement content is content that:
Addresses their reservations.
Challenges myths in your industry
Speaks to the tangible benefits of what you do.
Explains how your services can help solve their problems.
Addresses a limiting belief stopping them from buying.
Explains what alternatives are available to them (and why these aren't ideal)
Changes the way they see the world.
This kind of content is great for building rapport and establishing trust, and it means that when you do need to make an offer, people are receptive.
And because you’ve been investing in your people, you’ll also feel energetically good about making an offer - which is exactly where we want to be for it to land.
The next point I have for you when it comes to making selling feel easier, is this:
3. Dive really deep on your purpose
Your purpose needs to be something so much bigger than just you - it needs to be something you can imagine people campaigning for. These are the themes of freedom / opportunity / rights / inspiration.
I’m going to use one of my services as an example for you:
I create websites for female business owners so they can stand out online
I create websites for female business owners so they can stand out online and create fulfilling work doing what they love
I create websites for female business owners so they can create positive ripples in the world and inspire the next generation of girls to do the work they love.
Can you see the difference between these options? This last one is rough but getting there - I can imagine a movement for it.
When you’re connected to a purpose that’s so much bigger than you, the process of selling becomes less about you and more about your greater cause.
Figuring this stuff out is going to make you show up, because people are relying on you!.
People are looking for worthy causes to back all of the time - and we can give them something to believe in.
Can you imagine a campaign march for your purpose...? If not go another layer deeper.
4. Don’t do what everyone else is doing, find your own ease
I’ve lost count of the number of webinars I’ve sat through which share some free content and then present an offer at the end.
Sometimes, if the value and price is right - I’ve purchased. But more often than not, I’m only there for the free content, no matter how much time they’ve spent warming me up with content and emails. If the intention isn’t there, the intention isn’t there.
This format of selling has been doing the rounds for years now, and it’s worked very well for many. But my sense is that people are wise to it and we’re looking for something different.
Just because the marketing gurus are doing it, doesn't mean you have to if it doesn't feel authentic to you.
Likewise you don't have to launch into talking to camera if that doesn't feel the right way to go - do what feels in alignment to you.
5. Lean into your Human Design selling style
Human Design helps explains why one selling style will work for one person, but flop for another - even if the content were exactly the same.
This is because we’re all energetically hard wired to travel through life in different ways.
As a Generator Type, I’m here to work, build, and create. When I do this in an area I love I’ll draw people towards me.
But as my strategy is to RESPOND, I have to make sure I’m building in response to an external human cue from my network (and not just because I want to do something.)
This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn over the years - I can create all I want for myself (and I should) but when making offers I need to check in to ensure I’m creating in response.
This is true for me, but your chart will hold clues about what kind of selling style will suit you.
Another place to look for clues to our selling style is in our profile lines.
We each have 2 profile lines which make up our role profile, all of which have different qualities (if you’re new to HD you can think of these lines a bit like a Myers Briggs profile).
I’m a 4/6 which means that my marketing style is to share stories, wisdom and create connections with people. When I’m doing this, I’ll call in opportunities.
But people will need to know me before they decide to work with me, so pitching on a mass webinar of cold leads might not be the best option.
It’s all an experiment though and that’s the beauty of it - Human Design not about labelling or 'should do’s'. It’s about noticing what’s in your chart and playing with it.
6. Support your confidence with a strong brand foundation.
I get asked a lot whether you need a website and brand when you're just starting out.
And whilst you might not need a fully fledged 4-6 page website and brand identity to accompany, in my opinion you do need something in both of these areas.
And I can help to create this brand and online presence…but I’m not interested in doing it JUST for the sake of doing it. It’s what having a brand and website GIVES my clients that I’m really interested in: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
It gives you the confidence you need to go out there and actively promote your services.
It means you’ll push yourself forwards for different opportunities knowing you’ve got a credible online presence behind you.
It means you’ll approach your business with the energy and positivity you need to help it flourish.
All of this means you’re able to put yourself out there in the world to create impact and spread positive ripples.
THIS is the real reason you need a brand behind you, IMO. And it’s what lights me up to help you create.
7. Sometimes you’ve just got to do it. And practice.
There’s no point in shining your light in a room for one. If you want to help others with your services, at some point you just have to get out there so that others can be attracted by your light.
It’s going to take practice to figure out what works for you
To summarise then, selling and putting ourselves out there might feel hard, but it's a necessary part of running a business so we have to find our way with it.
Here are some things that we can practically do to make it a little easier.
Build your confidence in your skills
Nurture your audience with connection content to break down the barriers
Make your cause bigger than just you so you have a reason to show up
Don't do what everyone else is doing if it doesn't feel authentic to you
Lean into your Human Design strengths
Practice, practice, practice.
Does this resonate with you? How do you find the process of selling in your business?
I'm a brand designer, photographer and Wix website designer based in the UK. I help wellness & creative businesses build their brand and online presence through photography and web, brand & human design, so that they can create positive ripples in the world.
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