Do you find yourself resisting sales and marketing at times? Or all the time? The impact of feeling resistant can be subtle. If you don’t like marketing or selling, don’t feel like you should have to do it, or just plain don’t want to do it, those activities often slide lower on your to-do list without you consciously noticing. You may tell yourself you are too busy, decide other tasks are more important, or conveniently avoid looking at your to-do list until the day is over. The result is that your marketing doesn’t get done.
But most of the time, repeatedly avoiding what is difficult is much harder than facing it head on and doing it. Every time you think of your neglected marketing plan or sales calls, you beat yourself up for your poor performance, or experience the pain of imagined rejection. You may not even be able to enjoy your time away from work, because those crucial incomplete tasks are always hanging over your head.
If you want your business to succeed, it’s time to stop resisting marketing and sales. Here are five steps to help you.
1. Learn to notice that you’re resisting. Detecting marketing resistance can be elusive. You may not even know you have it until you realize that your marketing and sales activities aren’t happening. The best way I’ve found to help my clients and students notice their resistance is to create accountability for themselves around sales and marketing. Using approaches like calendaring, reminders, the buddy system, an accountability group, or a coach will help you to get honest about what isn’t getting done.
2. Explore your beliefs and feelings about marketing. List what’s running through your head when you think about marketing. Note what feelings you’re experiencing. Don’t hold back. Do you have thoughts like “no one will want to hire me,” “I don’t know how to sell,” or “asking for business is sleazy?” Write them all down.
3. Investigate alternatives to your current beliefs. Consider what would help you dispute the beliefs you currently hold. According to positive psychology expert Martin Seligman, disputing a belief can take the form of finding evidence against it, identifying an alternative explanation, or putting it into perspective.
“No one will want to hire me” could be disputed by the evidence that you have already been hired by people in the past. “I don’t know how to sell” could be countered with the alternative explanation “I’m new to selling and need to practice.” “Asking for business is sleazy” could be put into perspective by noticing “People I respect ask for business, and I don’t think they’re sleazy for doing it.” If you have difficulty seeing these alternatives on your own, ask a trusted friend or coach to assist you.
4. Commit to seeing and feeling things differently. A self-limiting belief can be replaced with a more helpful one over time, by repeatedly presenting yourself with more empowering views. Notice how you feel after disputing a negative belief as described above. Most people feel more energized, capable, and hopeful. This is the moment to tackle marketing or sales tasks you’ve been resisting. Make a commitment to yourself to dispute your sabotaging beliefs whenever you find them holding you back.
5. Help yourself move forward as you work to change your beliefs. Use supportive techniques to keep your marketing going, such as creating a detailed marketing plan to follow, getting positive feedback from people you trust, or setting up rewards for yourself. It’s possible to take action while still feeling resistant when you allow yourself some extra support.
Marketing and sales resistance can be overcome with dedicated effort. Practice these five steps to counter it, and you’ll soon find yourself transforming your resistance into sales and marketing persistence.