Just the word “selling” caused almost a physical reaction, a kind of shrinking sensation inside my body.
It immediately brought images of con artists trying to trick me into buying things I didn’t need. Or car salesmen swarming when I stepped on to the lot. Most of my heart-centered coaching clients feel the same way.
But I’ve changed my mind about this.
When you offer a client the chance to invest in herself and her results, through her work with you, yes – you’re selling.
When you offer that in a way that you know in your bones is for her highest and best good, you’re selling with integrity.
And when you offer something that you know is going to make a huge difference in her life or business, you’re selling with service.
When I started my first business, a tiny solo counseling practice, I only had one client for the entire first year. Today, in addition to my work as a business coach, I manage a full practice with 13 practitioners and more traffic than the parking lot can handle.
That means a whole lot of people are getting a whole lot of help, day in and day out, at that office. Do those folks just show up?
Or are we selling something?
The counselors certainly don’t think so. They’d say they’re just meeting the needs of those who want their services.
But they are selling. They’re selling authenticity, respect, compassion, genuine concern for the well being of others. They’re selling competence, skill, guidance and relief.
Their selling is an act of service.
As my coach often says, your purpose may be to make the world a better place, but the purpose of your business is to make money.
And that means, yes, you actually have to sell something. But that doesn’t mean convincing anyone to do anything. It means offering someone a way to get something they need and want.
Here are 3 keys to selling with soul.
1. Know your client better than they know themselves.
What do they say they want, what do they really want, and what’s holding them back?
For example, my people want to make more money in their business. But what they really want is more confidence, a deep sense of their own value, and the courage to share that with the world.
Scary stuff. And powerful.
Some may say they don’t have the time, or the money, to take advantage of your offer. And of course, sometimes that’s true.
More often though, it’s fear. Fear of stepping in to what they really want to be, do or have.
2. Know your offer inside and out.
Recently, I got a text from a client celebrating a new $3600 client of her own. “I knew what to offer, because my coach made me figure out packages! Who knew?!” she said.
Most entrepreneurs are “quick starts” who like to move fast and think on their feet. But winging it is also how soft-hearted business owners get themselves into trouble.
Get clear about what you offer, and what you don’t. Be able to explain how you work with people, how you get paid, and why you do things the way you do.
3. Know what’s best for your client – and yourself.
If you know you can help a potential customer, you have an obligation to tell them that, in a clear, confident way. But if they’re not a good fit, tell them that too.
And don’t stop there; help them find other options.
I’ve always cared more about people getting what they need, than I do about whether or not I’m the one they hire. So if I am not the one for them, I’ll do my best to help them find other resources.
These 3 principles will make all the difference.
Don’t push anyone into something they’re not ready for or don’t need. But don’t avoid the opportunity to serve them either – that is, to sell – if what you have is right for them.
And the next time you have a conversation with someone who just might be ready to buy, you’ll be ready, too…
…to sell, and to serve.
Photo Credit: Metropolico.org on Flickr