When it comes to having a sales conversation, you may find yourself melting into a puddle. You might hear yourself say things like, “What’s the big deal about asking people to do business with me? I know it’s just a conversation between two people, and that people don’t bite, so why can’t I seem to do it? I wish I could just get over myself.”
Often when you’re feeling this way, there are inner critic conversations running around the back of your mind that aren’t useful. Some of the more persistent ones are:
- “I don’t know what to say.”
- “Selling is sleazy.”
- “I’m not going to sell my soul to the Almighty Dollar.”
- “I could never impose myself on someone like that.”
- “If they want to work with me, they’ll let me know.”
There are two fallacies that contribute to these inner critic conversations; understanding these lies can be a lifesaver because only then can you get over yourself and become the sales pro you’re meant to be.
Fallacy #1: PR, Marketing & Sales Are the Same Thing
There’s a continuum of actions that are often lumped together; pulling them apart can be helpful to see where you’re putting your efforts (and where you aren’t), and allow you to adjust accordingly.
Let’s use hors d’oeuvres as an example (everyone likes snacks, right?):
PR (Public Relations) is an announcement. Attention! There are hors d’oeuvres over here!
Marketing is sharing the features and benefits of what you’re offering. Look at the fine hors d’oeuvres on this tray, so tasty and nutritious!
Sales is asking someone to do business with you. Are you hungry? Would you like an hors d’ouevre?
If you’re like many of my clients, PR and marketing seem easier than sales. Well, maybe not easy per se, yet perhaps more approachable. When trying to make sales, you need to be overt and ask people to work with you. They won’t necessarily pick up on hints; sometimes they will, yet that’s not something you can count on. Being straightforward about wanting to work with someone, and letting them know, is the best way to ensure you’re doing what’s needed to get business in the door.
Fallacy #2: There Must Be Something Wrong with Me
Whether people buy your services or not has nothing to do with you personally. Let me say that again: if people don’t buy what you’re offering, it’s not about you as a person. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad human being, or there’s something wrong with you, or that you don’t know what you’re doing, or that you’ll never get the hang of it. It means you made an offer, and they said no; it’s that simple.
When you work for yourself, it’s easy to take everything personally. It’s easy to think that you and your business are one entity, and that the ups and downs in your business are all about you personally. They’re not.
Your business is separate from you. Yes, you may need to hone how you ask for business, or what you’re offering -– that’s part of the art and science of business. Yet that’s not the same as you personally being rejected. Business is business, and the more you’re able to see it as separate from yourself, the bolder you’re likely to be in having sales conversations.
Be conscious of when you’ve taken these fallacies as facts, and give your inner critic the day off. You’re a business owner, a person who’s in the process of mastering the art of sales. Acknowledge yourself as such, and you’ll be well on your way to breaking the sales logjam.