Me: How about calling the buyers directly?
Client: That’s someone else’s job.
Me: What about meeting a colleague for lunch?
Client: They already know me; not sure how that’ll help.
Me: Maybe you could get in touch with your current clients, and connect with them more deeply?
Client: They already hear from me once a month.
Me: That’s a generic message crafted by someone else, right?
Client: Yes.
Me: Perhaps something from you personally would help foster greater loyalty; subtly encourage them to stay around longer?
Client: Maybe. I’m not sure…..


This is how a recent conversation went with a client. She came to me because some of her clients were wrapping up soon and she wanted to bring in some new ones before they left. Yet everything we brainstormed seemingly wouldn’t work for some reason. She’d already tried it, or a colleague was responsible for that part, or she wasn’t good at it, and on like that it went for most of the session. It was a hard conversation; I could feel her desire to do something and frustration at not knowing what to do. She was starting to feel like things were hopeless and nothing she did would make a difference.

The thing is, she’s not alone.

No matter what, if you’re in business, you need to do marketing and have sales conversations. I know I just stated the obvious, yet just in case you missed it, I’ll say it again: if you have a business, you need to do marketing and have sales conversations. It can either be done by you, or by someone else, yet if it’s not getting done at all, then your business is not likely to thrive.

What stops you? Fear. Resistance.

Fear and resistance often show up as whining in your head. Whining is a smoke screen that covers up the fact that you’re scared, which makes you resistant, and that makes you human.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I don’t like marketing
  • It’s all too hard
  • What I like to do doesn’t attract clients
  • Other people know how to do this better than me
  • Selling is pushy
  • I don’t want to impose
  • People are busy
  • I need business yet I can’t market / ask for the sales because [insert excuse here]

Smoke screens, all of them.

Not everyone is born knowing how to network, or how to make an enticing offer so that people say yes. In fact, from my experience, most people aren’t. That’s good news for you! You can learn how to do one or two things that work for you and are good for your prospective clients, and do them over and over, forever. It really can be that simple. Pick one or two things that are easy for you, and if nothing seems easy, pick ones that you may be curious about, or that seem less awful than the others.

Things like:

  • Coffee with someone who might make a good referral partner
  • Writing and posting one article a week to your blog / newsletter / Facebook / LinkedIn / on a colleague’s blog
  • Attend two networking events a month with the intention of making one genuine connection
  • Follow up with a phone call to people you met at a networking event
  • Foster relationships on social media

When talking to people you’d like to work with, be “normal” rather than turn into “someone who’s selling something.” Listen to them, let them know how you can help them. Gently, yet directly, offer your services; ask them to work with you. You can read more about this in Selling is a Conversation between Two People.

Why do you think I write several articles a month? It’s one of my things. It’s easy for me, I like it, and it resonates with potential clients. It keeps my name in front of them and delivers value. And one day, when they’re in need of something, another article of mine will appear in their inbox, they’ll think of me, and we’ll have a conversation about working together. During that conversation, I’ll talk with them person to person with no sales-y gimmick. I’ll hear what they need and offer them something that can help fill their need. The words, “Are you ready to work together?” will come out of my mouth, and there’s a high likelihood they’ll say yes. Yes, because they’ve gotten to know me through all those articles they’ve read, because I talked with them like a human, and because I asked them to work with me.

Notice your own smoke screens, the whining in your head. How fear and resistance stop you from taking action in your business, actions that put you out there, where potential clients can find you. Even if it feels scary, or you don’t know how, if you want to stay in business it’s something you need to sort out. I have every confidence that you can — and will — sort it out.

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