Learning how to sell can seem icky, but in reality if you’re solving a problem for your audience then you’re doing it with soul. When you focus on the program that you solve rather than selling it makes everyone involved more comfortable.
IE 109: How to Sell without Selling Your Soul with Meredith Messenger
Meredith Messenger’s background is in teaching emotionally disturbed children. It’s the thing she is most proud of. Unfortunately, it’s a job with a high burnout rate. And that’s exactly where Meredith found herself at age 24; burned out and no idea what to do next. She went to work for a medical start-up where she learned about financing, payroll, and IT.
What she discovered is that the start-up world is almost completely dominated by men. She continued to work for start-ups as a consultant and learned a lot about what worked and what doesn’t. New businesses go under every year simply because they don’t know how to sell.
Seeing the impact that knowing how to sell has for entrepreneurial businesses lit a fire under Meredith and prompted her to start her own business teaching these entrepreneurs everything she had learned about selling for success.
Selling with Soul
I find it interesting that Meredith was an inner-city school specialist. You may know that I was also an inner-city reading specialist and a large part of my audience are also teachers or former teachers.
And I think this trips a lot of us up; trying to figure out how to go from teacher to seller. We don’t think it’s a natural transition and we can’t figure out the best way to do it.
Meredith stresses that not only can you sell with serving others in mind, but you can sell with your own personality style as well. You can infuse your morals, your values, your personality, and your authentic self into all of your sales conversations.
There is not one way to sell. You can 100% be yourself, have casual conversations, and still effectively sell.
Don’t Underestimate Your Ability to Sell
As moms, as women, as teachers…we have a tendency to underestimate so many things about ourselves. Throw selling in there and we really struggle to believe that we can do it effectively and without giving up some part of ourselves.
Meredith believes that moms and teachers are the best salespeople there are on the planet!
Did you convince a 2-year old to put on shoes today? You are a saleswoman!
Did you get your picky eater to taste a new vegetable? You are a saleswoman!
Are you a math teacher? Have you finally seen the lightbulb go off in that child’s head that you thought would never get long division? You, my dear, are a successful salesperson.
Let’s take it home…have you ever tried to convince your husband to eat at the restaurant you want to go to but maybe he doesn’t? You are selling!
If we can expand our view on what sales is, we’ll all be more comfortable with it.
How to Sell in the Real World
So you’re great at getting your kid to eat broccoli and your husband took you to that Thai place last weekend. You may be saying, “Okay, Jenny, that’s all good but how do I apply that to the real world with other adults in my business?”
I get it. It’s one thing to sell your kid on veggies but it’s a whole ‘nother thing to sell yourself or your product.
Meredith offers several suggestions to make it easier.
- Be the leader. Look at sales as leadership; in other words, you are leading another person in a decision-making process that could benefit them. You are putting aside any of your personal feelings and getting into that person’s struggles, their goals, their mindset issues. This is how to be service-minded and sell at the same time. If you understand their pain and you have a solution for it and you don’t offer that solution, you aren’t helping them. You aren’t leading them to the solution that could change their life.
- Ask questions. Take the focus off of yourself, don’t talk about what you have to offer or your products or your experience, and just ask them about them. Discover their struggles and where they want to go from here.
- Know when to walk away. If the person’s need is one that you can’t meet, you have to be okay with telling them that you aren’t the right person to help them. It is okay to walk away. Tell yourself that you are only there to help people and if you can’t help them, there is somebody else who can. You aren’t trying to cram your products down people’s throats.
Making a sale is simply a series of small commitments you get from another person.
How to Know if Your Idea Won’t Be Successful
So you’ve got an email list of 100 people and you’ve sent them a sequence of emails on your product and how it can solve their unique problems. But nobody is biting. Not one sale and you are getting discouraged.
How do you when your idea is dead? Should you give up?
The first thing to know is that with a super small list like 100 people, you actually have a negative probability that someone will buy your product or sign up for your course. Anybody who says they earn $30K from a course launch likely has over 100K people on their email list.
If your avatar isn’t crystal clear, you will also have a difficult time marketing a product. If you don’t know your audience, where they hang out online, you can’t talk to them. Once you find them, you can begin to ask those questions that will help you identify their pain points and their felt needs.
One great way to decide whether or not your product is viable is to get some people to go through it and provide honest feedback. Offer it at a steep discount for honest feedback. Once you have that feedback, you can figure out if you have enough information to keep moving forward or if you should stop and regroup.
Before you put too much stock in your email list, ask yourself if the people on your list are actually the people you are targeting with your product. Maybe your list is larger but it’s full of people who aren’t your ideal avatar. If that’s the case, you need to clean up your list so that you are communicating with the people who are your target audience.
Selling to Your Current Customers
It isn’t only difficult to sell to new customers; it’s equally difficult to sell more to existing customers if you aren’t on your game.
I’ll be upfront and say that there are times a customer or one of my members will ask me what their next step in my programs should be. And I always feel awful that I haven’t made it more clear how they can purchase another product from me for their next step.
Meredith says that for every person that asks you what their next step should be, there are dozens more who didn’t ask. The question then becomes, what opportunities did you miss out on because you didn’t have a strategy in place for this?
If you’re focusing on getting new clients, ask yourself where there are opportunities – and less costly opportunities – to generate revenue in your business? Oftentimes, that’s looking in your current client base.
Remember that 80/20 rule? 80% of your income comes from 20% of your customers.
Bonus Tip- Institute a referral plan.
Whether your business is digital, part-digital, or virtual, you are talking to people. Meredith works with people every day to implement referral programs. She likes to call it the BOGO strategy. You couponers know what that stands for – Buy One Get One.
In a referral strategy, it means that for every client that you bust your butt to get into your business, you should get another one that they bring along. You treat your clients and customers well enough that they become a walking, talking testimonial for you.
Your current customers should be generating more sales for you without you having to do all the work again. Serve your people so well that they bring new clients to you.
Free Masterclass with Meredith
Meredith is offering a master class on 3 Simple Steps You Can Employ to Sell Anything to Anyone Anywhere. This class is focused on the servant mindset and the idea that sales is what you make it.
There will be strategies on how to deal with the steps that trip you up when it comes to sell. If you struggle with selling, you’re going to want to use the strategies that Meredith shares to increase your selling success.
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