In this 4 post series, we will explore the world of sales and talk about how to create a new (and fun) experience. In this post, we will explore what role vulnerability plays into sales.
Maybe you’re reading this on your way out the door, juggling hot coffee—just wanting to be done with a make-or-break sales pitch, so you can exhale.
Or maybe you’re snuggled up watching Netflix, wondering how the hell you’re ever going to launch and experience business success… and how that once-fresh inspiration left you staggering through sales conversations.
In either case, the question hangs: how, and when, did sales become so terrifying?
Here’s a small but powerful and pokey word to consider:
Society seems to implant the belief that vulnerability, in the business world, means weakness.
Paradigm shift alert!
The more we resist vulnerability, the more that resistance makes the sales experience stressful and scary.
But, the more we understand how vulnerability can actually become one of our greatest assets (when used correctly), the more sales conversations can become effective… and fun.
The more fun sales become, the greater business success we experience.
“Seriously? Fun and sales in the same sentence?!”
I know. I get it. Maybe you’re dreading the 100 calls you need to make this week. Or perhaps you’re doing everything else first just to avoid sales conversations (like perfecting your website’s color scheme—trust me, it can wait ;-) ).
In order to experience sustained business success, that all has to shift.
Let’s take a step back.
Remember that little spark? That feeling of deep purpose and passion that led you down this crazy road of entrepreneurship? Maybe it brewed from your imagination while watching steam curl from your coffee… or perhaps it lit your heart during a two hour soul-to-soul with a dear friend.
However it began, is that pilot light still lit?
Or did that flame become a flicker and a spark that sputtered out?
The desire for freedom is powerful fire. But amidst the pressure and buzz of a thousand to-do’s, podcasts, and courses telling you to do a million different things to do to be successful, running your business can start to feel like a burden; like an obligation—and those feelings drain business success. Not to mention, the thought of having a sales conversation—the most essential ingredient of business success—can feel overwhelming.
Why are sales so scary, and how can we make them not so scary?
How do we reclaim the sense of freedom that inspired our business in the first place, when it feels like the pressure of sales robs our freedom to just “do what we love?”
These are essential questions beneficial for every entrepreneur to dive into. These key foundation points lay the foundation to understanding how to shift our mindset around sales for business success:
Shifting our perceptions of sales from scary to fun.
Understanding how vulnerability can be a tool for business success, rather than a stressor.
How your perspective fuels your business success.
Shifting the Sales Paradigm from scary to fun
Here’s a wonderful little bubble buster:
Sales are not scary. Only the stories we create around sales are scary.
Bear with me. I know you may be thinking, “Don’t’ get too esoteric on me… I have to get on the phone in 30 minutes with a super important prospect, and I’m terrified!”
And yes, feeling terrified is real.
Let me break this down:
“Sales” has become a scary word because of the ideas and stories we (society and individuals) create about it. Ideas and stories like:
Selling means I have to push someone into buying from me.
Selling means I have to be manipulative.
I’m scared of rejection and I feel vulnerable (we’ll talk more about this).
I’m not qualified and my prices are too high (self-doubt).
Selling is usually thought of as the “not fun,” but necessary, part of business—which is completely unfortunate, because if selling is the most necessary component of your business success, then why is it so often thought of as a burden? And what can we do about it?
Let’s start by looking at vulnerability.
How Vulnerability can Become one of Your Biggest Tools
Part of shifting sales from stressful to fun has to do with getting back to basics:
Realizing and revisiting what selling actually is, and what it’s not.
And recognizing how vulnerability can be a tool to make sales fun, rather than something that causes stress.
Traditional thinking often teaches us to do the opposite of what creates a successful sales conversation. Traditional thinking leaves us believing we have to hide our vulnerability. We’re taught to not be vulnerable; to just slap on a professional face on and hide our agenda. But the problem is, prospects know a sales conversation when they’re in one. And while professionalism has its place, the notion that we have to hide our true selves behind some sort of manipulative sales conversation actually hurts our business success and our confidence in selling. It makes sales stressful.
Plus, it makes sales into all the things you and I, and our clients, don’t want to feel, like:
Stress and strain
Instead of all the things sales should feel like, which are:
Abundance and ease
· A win-win exchange of energy
All that sales are, in the truest sense, are an exchange of value and energy.
And a successful sales conversation is simply persuasion using honesty and trust-building.
It’s making the value you have to offer clear to someone who needs it.
Think of the last time you talked with a close friend.
Why were you part of the conversation? Were you listening when they needed loving feedback or a kind ear? Were you offering advice when they needed insight? Or, were you both just soaking up the mutual benefit of “a good time?”
A sales conversation is really no different. Just as friendship conversations exchange the energy, so do sales conversations—which is often why some of the most successful sales result from conversations that allow vulnerability and build trust (rather trying to manipulate).
When we are vulnerable, we are relatable. And when we are relatable, we are able to connect more deeply with others and establish trust. Ultimately, your clients want to feel a sense of connection and trust with you and the services or products you offer.
Here’s a simple example:
During a recent conversation with a potential client, I ended up sharing my story of how I started my business. In other words, I didn’t just talk about my coaching packages and how coaching could help this person. I shared vulnerable parts of my story—like how I moved 10 times during the past 2.5 years, and tried twice before to start a business and failed.
But I also shared how, the third time I started my business, I learned from so much of the past and used the synchronistic events in my life to springboard my business success . I shared how, when I started my current coaching business, I literally paid all my bills (and then some) from my own sales during the first 3 months after launching, and I’d spent zero on marketing at that point.
You see, I combined sharing the vulnerable aspects of my story with other aspects of my experience that demonstrated my credibility as a coach. It felt amazing to have a completely honest, inspiring conversation, and because I shared so authentically, she was able to see how the sales skills I teach had made a measurable impact in my life—and could do the same in hers. We ended up working together.
So, what does all this about vulnerability have to do with sales being scary?
Sales are often scary because they require us to be vulnerable, on some level.
Having a sales conversation requires us to open ourselves and share our value; that which we’ve poured our hard work and hearts into. And this opens us up to the possibility of rejection.
And here is why this fear of rejection gets so loud: So often we associate our self-worth with our prices. And when those prices, or our offer, is rejected, we interpret that as a blow to our self-worth…
When in actuality, the truth is:
Price tags on our services are merely a reflection of the amount of abundance we’re willing to receive… and not our actual value.
What does this mean?
This means that when a prospect says “no” to an offer, sure, we may feel a sense of rejection, but the key lies in remembering this is not personal rejection of self-worth.
Rather, the rejection of the sale (not you) could be for any number of reasons, like:
The prospect doesn’t understand the value.
The prospect simply doesn’t have the money and it is not a good fit for either of you.**
The prospect doesn’t value their own business enough to invest in your services.
(**Important note: Just because a sale is rejected the first time does not mean it’s a “forever” rejection. Keep them on your list and your radar. Follow up. Don’t reject that prospect as a possibility and a lead just because they said “no” the first time.)
Getting clear on how the fears of rejection (which we’ll talk more about soon) and vulnerability play into our perception of sales is critical for business success. The concept of sales has undoubtedly been warped and skewed in modern business.
But as authentic, passionate business owners, we have an opportunity to transform how sales fuel our business success and how sales conversations feel for us and our prospects.
Your Perspective Fuels Your Business Success
There are many ways we can start to shift our perception of the stress of sales to “fun,” so that selling feels collaborative and cultivates sustained business success. We will dive deeper into these in later posts, but here are a few, to start with:
Detach from the outcome (I know, it seems counter-intuitive).
Realize that vulnerability, when paired with professionalism, can actually build trust between you and your prospects and clients. Example: this may look like: sharing your story and how you overcame past challenges to achieve personal and business success, or empathizing with a prospect’s struggle.
Recognizing what stories and motivators drive your sales conversation. Example: are you busy anticipating rejection during the conversation (prospects can feel this), or are you fully and authentically listening to your prospect’s needs and challenges so that you can provide the most helpful value?
Simply being open to the idea that sales can be fun, and embracing a new paradigm.
Tips to Consider:
In re-cap, here are some sales-shifting takeaways:
How do you set your prices? Do your prices reflect the value you’re providing, or are you limiting what you can receive? Remember, your prices are simply a reflection of the abundance you are willing to receive.
A successful sales conversation is nothing more than a win-win exchange of value.
Rejection is not a reflection of your worth. It’s simply a reflection of a mis-match collaboration or a lack of your prospect’s understanding of the value you can provide them. More on fear of rejection in a future post
Vulnerability is an asset to your business success. When you allow transparency in the sales conversation, let your fear of rejection take a seat on the sidelines and detach from the outcome, your prospects are more likely to feel they can trust you. Plus, the conversation is more likely to feel natural.
Ironically, much of our business success lies in stepping out of our own way and into our own power. This starts with transforming our perception of sales from scary to fun, while harnessing the power of vulnerability and trust.
It’s a process well worth the journey! Stay tuned for Part 2 next week
Learn more about how you can transform your confidence and leverage vulnerability the right way to increase sales.
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