My passion is to teach female entrepreneurs how to embrace sales, overcome some of the negative perceptions around selling and help them live the life they imagined when they started their business. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming when choosing what aspects of sales to focus on. Today, we’re talking about a few of the keys to selling in your business and how these keys can crossover into your personal life.
“Take the words spammy and salesy out of your vocabulary. You SELL a valuable service – there is nothing wrong with that. You are only being spammy if you’re consistently reaching out to the wrong people that don’t want to hear from you without providing value.”
Okay, so this conversation came up in the Sales Skills for Women in Business Facebook Group this week by one of the amazing women in the group.
How do I talk to people without being salesy or spammy?!
And this question, while I know is real for so many people makes me irrationally angry. I feel as if I should apologize ahead of time for this one – because I’m probably going to get on my soapbox…. Are you with me?!
Sales is the exchange of a product or service for money.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
It happens everrrryyyy single day. You pay someone to clean your house. You buy a cup of coffee. You pay someone to mow your lawn. You buy wine from a girlfriend who reps a winery. And so on and so forth.
Then WHYYYYYYY are so many people terrified of selling?!
(this is where the soapbox comes in…)
BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE ARE DOING IT WRONG.
Yep, I said it. If you’re being spammy or pushy or annoying or obnoxious, if you feel icky or slimy – YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.
We’ve all received that message that makes you cringe, right?!
It’s impersonal. It’s generic. And odds are – it’s ineffective.
How do we avoid that?!
BY NOT SENDING THOSE KINDS OF MESSAGES.
You know what you don’t like. You know what makes you feel gross. Then DON’T do that to your audience.
I might be over-simplifying here, my friend, but it’s that easy.
Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes
If someone were going to try to sell you something (gasp, how dare SHE make money) – how would you want to be approached?
Would you be okay with a thoughtful, personalized message?
Would you be drawn into social media content that speaks specifically to you and your circumstance?
Would you be up for grabbing coffee with someone new to learn more about them and see if there is any opportunity to work together, if they were honest and genuine in their ask?
And, before you say “If I’m going to buy something, I’m going to buy it – I don’t need some salesperson selling it to me…” – that’s BS and you know it.
How many of you watched Bird Box? You weren’t looking for it – your FB friends sold it to you.
I wasn’t in the market for mascara when Thrive Causemetics served me a FB ad – but I’m in LOVE and tell everyone I know about it. (Also sales).
I had NO IDEA I needed a mindset coach to help me grow my business. In fact, I didn’t know that was THING until I met my mindset coach, connected with her, followed her content on social media – then reached out to her to schedule a call. (Social selling).
Whether you call it sales, influencer marketing, advertising, social selling – we’re all being sold things everrryyyy single day.
Does it feel yucky or spammy. I didn’t think so.
Now that we’re clear on what sales is and is not
Back to your question – then how do I connect and SELL, Ryann?! I am in business to make money.
Selling is about connecting. We buy from people we know, like and trust.
So, step one – get to know people! Get out there (both in person and online) and start talking to people.
Step two – continue those conversations and build a relationship with them.
Step three – provide value to start building trust.
Step four – ask for permission to share about your products and services.
If you’re following these four steps – then there is NO WAY you can be salesy or pushy. You’re being genuine, thoughtful, and helpful – which is what we all want in a sales situation, right?!
How do you change your mindset?
I know it’s not easy to just CHANGE your mind. Believe me, I know (remember – I have a mindset coach).
It’s literally a physiological response when your put in a situation where you could be rejected. Your palms sweat. Your heart pounds. You literally cannot control it.
So what can you do to change it. First of all – you have to take notice. Notice when you’re telling yourself something that’s not true! Like “I don’t want to bother that person” or “If they were interested, they’d reach out to me…” While those things MIGHT be true – unless that person says “you are bothering me” or “I’m not interested” – then HOW do you know unless you ask?!
Again, it might appear to be an oversimplification – but the first thing you have to do is stop the thought and change it. “Oh, I bet she’s super busy and just forgot to reach out – let me ping her really quick.” or “I know how much noise is on social media – she might not even know I’m doing this promotion -so I have to let her know…”
See how quickly that can change your approach!?
The two key things I consistently share with the women in my Facebook group are:
1 – Selling is Helping! It is your job to HELP your prospects make decisions – even if it’s a NO!
2 – You have an amazing gift to share with the world! You are INCREDIBLE at what you do. You are doing people a disservice by not sharing what you do and signing people up to work with you! When you look at it through that lense – it’s easier to put yourself out there.
Aaron produces her own podcast (The Cocktail Hour Podcast), is a published writer, and has been a speaker at Leadership Lyceum, Global Entrepreneurship Week, the University of Kansas, Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri, CultureCon, and Central Exchange, among others. She sits on the Marketing Council for the Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri and is a graduate of the business program, Scale Up! Kansas City.
How do I grow my audience?
How do I reach more people?
How do I get engagement?
How do I grow my email list?
How do I grow my Facebook group?
How do I talk to more people?
One of the BIGGEST challenges my clients face is audience growth. They’re constantly wondering how to bring more people into their circle of influence, giving them more credibility, more people to sell to, and more opportunities to grow their business.
While I will admit it took me a little while to figure this part out – I felt like the few tips I’ve been putting in play in my business could help YOU get started on reaching more people today.
Disclaimer: My audience is not huge, I know that. But, my audience has grown A LOT since January 1, by deploying these tactics.
Invite People In
The number one way to grow your audience is to invite people in.
Seriously. Aside from Facebook ads (which we’ll talk about later) – the number one biggest way I’ve grown my audience is by simply inviting people in.
When I am connecting with new people online, be it on Facebook or LinkedIn (even Instagram) – my goal is to invite them to my Facebook group. That’s the “bottom of the funnel,” so to speak. Yours might be an opt-in to your email list, following you on social, inviting them to a challenge, or a meeting. It will be different for everyone.
On LinkedIn, I find I can be more direct by letting people know I have a Facebook group, what value they get from being a part of it, and that I’d love for them to be a part of it.
On Facebook, if I’m in someone else’s FB group answering questions and providing value, I will let the person who I am talking to know that I have a FB group and that I’d be happy to DM them the link if they’d like to join. This way, I’m not breaking any rules in someone else’s FB group.
On Instagram (which I don’t use a ton) – I use stories to talk about the amazing things happening in the Facebook group. I promote the free trainings we do, the different conversations we’re having, and the awesome women connecting and growing inside the group.
Finally, my invitation to the my Facebook group is in my email signature. I use it as a P.S. in pretty much all of my email content. It’s all the call to action on my landing pages, when someone opts in to my email list. Finally, there’s a link for inside my freebies, too.
Regardless of where you interact with me, I am inviting you into my Facebook group – which is where I spend most of my time serving my audience.
Make It Easy
When I’m networking in a Facebook group, receive a new FB friend request, or connect with someone new on LinkedIn – I like to check out their pages and profiles to learn more about them. The number of times I’m unable to figure out what the person does is surprisingly high.
I know you’re not supposed to use your personal FB profile for business, BUT, if you’re connecting with people via your personal Facebook page, they should be able to tell what you do, if you have a business. On my profile, it’s part of my bio and there is a link to my Facebook group. It’s easy to tell what kind of business I have and who I work with.
That way, if someone is interested in what I do, it’s easy to for them to figure out how to connect with me!
On LinkedIn, it seems as if we’ve gotten really big into fancy, fun titles that aren’t really clear on what you actually do. This is a professional networking site! Be as clear as you can about who you work with, the problem you solve for them, and HOW they can connect with you.
I have my link to my Facebook group and a link to a freebie on my LinkedIn profile. It’s EASY to figure out what to do next.
Connect with More People
The more people that you connect with – the more people that connect with you. My goal is to add 10 new people to my network everyday on LinkedIn (I’m more successful some days than others). But, I find the more people I add to my network, the more requests that I get to join my network. Not sure if that’s an algorithm thing, but that’s how it seems to work.
On Facebook, the more people I interact with in Facebook groups, the more groups I join, the more pages I like, the more people that will come check out my content, download a freebie, or join the Facebook group.
I see this like I do most things – provide value before you ask. Show interest. Comment on other people’s stuff. Read their content. Hit the like button when you’re scrolling by.
On Instagram – the #1 way to grow your audience is to go out and like and comment on other people’s stuff. Follow people. Interact. Provide value. They will come back and follow you and interact with your content.
The more people you connect with AND the more value you provide – the more people will connect with you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention ads as part of this strategy. I have a FB ads specialist I work with to grow my email list. After they download the free PDF, the landing page gives them a link to the FB group.
It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s effective.
I know, I know – if one more person tells you to hang out in FB groups to connect with new people, you might throw something.
Sorry, friend, but it’s true. If your ideal client is in Facebook groups – YOU need to be in Facebook groups.
First of all, it’s a great way to get visible. Answer questions. Provide value. Post valuable content. Use the Promo Days to share your free stuff.
The more often someone sees you – the more interested in they become. Remember – you’re building the know, like, trust factor.
Facebook groups ARE NOT a place to sell. I’m going to say it again.
Facebook Groups ARE NOT a place to sell.
Facebook groups are a place to network. Use the guideline of how you would connect with someone at a networking event. Say hello. Ask questions. Provide value. THEN, if it makes sense, invite them into your world (whatever that looks like for you).
You can also start to establish credibility inside Facebook groups. If you’re offering really insightful, thoughtful advice to people – eventually other people will want to know more about you. Who is this girl?! She’s really on it! I love her advice.
Then, they go to your profile or page – and because you’ve made it EASY for them to connect with you – they download your freebie, join your Facebook group, like your page, connect with you on LinkedIn, etc.
In my personal opinion, and quite honestly, in my personal experience –in person networking is the fastest way to grow your audience, establish yourself as an expert, and grow your business.
Even if you have an online based business – connecting in person ups the know, like, trust factor BIG TIME. It’s easier to connect in person. It’s easier to establish credibility. It’s easy to position yourself as an expert and show more of your personality.
Finally, growing a network and connecting with like minded people are two of the most valuable things you can do for your business and for yourself.
I know, sometimes it sounds over simplified when someone puts together a list like this. But, this is 100% how I’ve grown my Facebook group by around 300 people since January. I’ve also added about 400 people to my email list. All with a combination of these things. I’ve launched my first group coaching program with these tactics. I’ve launched my four week sales foundation course using these tactics. I got my first B2B project using these tactics.
Get out there – invite people in, make it easy for them to connect with you, connect with more people, continually provide value and GROW YOUR NETWORK – and your business will grow!
One of the many questions or challenges I hear from clients and the women in my Facebook Group is that there is an endless list of things to do. The problem is – it’s hard to decide which things are mission critical and which things aren’t, especially when it feels like EVERYTHING is important.
The first exercise I have my clients do is write down ALL of the things they feel like they need to do. From content creation, to videos, to website updates, to email, to landing pages, to social media and beyond. Literally write down every single thing that needs to be done.
One, you should feel better just having it all out on paper. My coach tells me that the reason I get overwhelmed when I have a lot to do is because my brain is trying to remember what all needs to be done, which creates this crazy “OMG, how am I going to get it all done?” loop in my brain. Sound familiar?
First things first
After you have it all on paper – tackle the things that will take 5 minutes or less. My guess is you have sat down, set a timer for 30 mins, and focused on those tasks – you’d easily knock out 5-7 things. While none of these things have been prioritized they are now DONE and there is nothing more satisfying than checking stuff off of the list.
Now, with your new found sense of accomplishment – you get to start prioritizing.
If you’re in a position to hire a Virtual Assistant, even if it’s just for a few hours each week, you should start there. What 5-7 items on your to-do list do NOT need you or your expertise to get done? Outsource those thing. Not only will it save you time, that person will likely be able to get stuff done in half the time you can.
Now, my guess is there are somewhere between 8-12 things left on your list for you to do. While that’s better than 20+ – it can still feel like A LOT to get done. Especially if you’re juggling a full time job while launching your business.
What do I do first?
This is where the rubber hits the road, my burned out and overwhelmed entrepreneur. You have to start by prioritizing the money making activities.
Tweaking your website for the 4 million-th time – not making you any money.
Editing your email sequence – not making you any money.
Making pretty images in Canva – NOT making you any money.
Taking 3 hours to write your blog – NOT making your any money.
So what IS making you money?
This is likely to be different for everyone, in some capacity. But, at its core, money making activities are:
- Connecting with your audience
- Growing your audience
- Selling to your audience
- Nurturing your audience
- Live streams
- Training webinars
- Consult Calls
- Inviting people to your FB group or email list.
When you look at the remaining items on your list – do they match up with the above?! If the above items AREN’T on your list – we likely have an even bigger problem.
Before you freak out…
This is a GOOD thing. We’ve now identified that you are spending an abundance of time on activities that aren’t making you any money. Which means we can now actually start prioritizing your time and planning your days.
Whether you use an electronic or a paper calendar – blocking off time on your calendar to get things done is MISSION CRITICAL. If you need to spend 30 minutes responding to posts in your Facebook group each day – that needs to be on your calendar.
If you want to make sure you’re inviting 15 new people to your email list each day – that time should be on your calendar.
If you need to plan your social media for the week – that needs to be on your calendar.
I wish I could remember who told me “what doesn’t get put on your calendar, doesn’t get done” – but it is 100% true. If you do not have time earmarked for certain MONEY MAKING activities you will find yourself chasing the bottom of you to-do list and totally broke.
Sad, but true.
Tips and Ideas
What I do – might not work for you, but it’s the best experience I can speak from.
I have tried to create a system for myself as it relates to weekly and daily activities in my business. On the weekends, I focus on content generation. Blog content. Social content. Outlines for lives throughout the week. Landing page edits, email sequence edits, etc.
The more I can get done Friday – Sunday – the more time I have to connect with and nurture my audience throughout the week. I know a lot of entrepreneurs earmark Mondays for content. Doesn’t matter when you do it – just make sure it gets scheduled and done.
I have a daily to-do list. It’s a list of activity I do every single day in my business. It includes activities from posting new stories to connecting with new people on LinkedIn, to welcoming people to my Facebook group. Every. Single. Day.
Because I juggle my full time job with my business, I don’t do these things at the exact same time every day, I fit them into lunch breaks, after hours, etc. If I had a choice though – these activities would be the FIRST thing I get done each day (with the exception of Insta stories).
Primarily because there are often the “less fun” activities than things like live training inside my group or answering questions inside other Facebook groups.
Also, once it’s done – it’s done. My prospecting activities for the day are DONE – which is important, because those are the things that usually get “skipped” most often.
Block off Time for Client Work
This one I almost forgot to do, and it’s caught up with me a few times. If you wear ALL the the hate (sales, marketing, content generation, etc.) – it’s often hard to balance ALL of the things we should be doing with client work. Make sure you factor this into your day and your week.
The good news is – client work should be your zone of genius – and be the easiest thing to get done. But, nonetheless, if it’s not on your calendar, you’re likely to find yourself scrambling to get things done (speaking from experience).
I just gave you a lot of advice on how to manage your calendar. That likely feels overwhelming and very limiting – like I’ve asked you to plan every minute of every day. That is NOT what I am asking you to do.
It’s likely you become an entrepreneur because you were looking for time freedom and a calendar with every single minute planned is NOT freedom. I know that.
However, without boundaries and without a plan, we’re likely to spend an ENTIRE day writing a blog post instead of the 20 minutes it should take. Also, the bigger your business gets – the more you will get to out source, which will give you the time freedom you’re looking for.
The whole point of this entire blog wasn’t to make you feel restricted but rather to give you some insight into planning out your time and making sure that the MONEY MAKING ACTIVITIES get calendar-ed and get done FIRST. Then, you squeeze in the rest.
Take these tips as a guideline and find the system that works best for you. As long as your money making activities make it on your calendar first – you’re doing it right!