Imagine a single mother of 3 walks onto a car lot.  Her car died for good and she’s upset.  She hasn’t been saving for a car and doesn’t have much extra money.  (Feeding a family of 4 on one salary is not easy these days!)

The salesman on the lot is a very sensitive guy.  He feels her stress and tries to think of how he can help.  He remembers that the son of one of the mechanics has a tiny and tired 2 seat car – just a tad more functional then the Citicar in the picture – that he’s selling.  The woman leaves the dealership having only spent $1,800 and she now has a running car.  Problem solved, right?

She’s going to be miserable.  She’s the only parent of three children. Duh!  Despite his good intentions, the salesman contributed to a stressful and challenging situation …

Underselling is NOT Spiritual

In business lingo, we would call the salesman’s actions “underselling.”  In other words, the mom really needed something like a good used mid-sized sedan or perhaps a minivan.  Something reliable.  With the best financing available …

In a culture that tries to push brand new, $40,000 SUV’s on our example mother, it’s understandable that our sensitive car guy went in the opposite direction.  But the truth is both are distortions compared to her real needs.

Understanding this dynamic is key to understanding why so many spiritual entrepreneurs struggle and ultimately fail.  Our own intensity around money and business often interact with and amplify those of our clients.  The result is a distracting haze that gets in the way of important needs being satisfied.

Stepping Out of Ego Based Distortion

I encourage you to cultivate a Zen fierceness about listening deeply to what your clients REALLY need.  As best you can, train your awareness to leave cost out of the picture in the first part of a conversation.  Instead, focus on asking questions and listening very deeply to the true nature of the challenge.  These are the basic spiritual principles of compassion and mindfulness in action.  And just by the fact that your called to be a spiritual entrepreneur says to me that you got what it takes!

In other words, you’re already well equipped for business success.  Just turn down the volume on the ego based fear.  Instead, listen.  And then deepen the conversation.  Repeat at least several times.  Once you get good at this, the next step is relaxing into the conversation about how best to meet those needs and how much the various options cost.  But don’t rush.  Start with listening, mindfulness and true compassion.

What’s your experience with underselling, overselling and being a spiritual entrepreneur?  I’d love to hear about it in the form of a comment below!

Paul Zelizer
Paul Zelizer
Paul Zelizer is one of the first business and marketing coaches to focus on the needs of Wisdompreneurs – people who have a business is based on the principles of wisdom and spirituality. In addition to conscious entrepreneurship, Paul is passionate about just about anything you can do in the mountain high country, power yoga, dark chocolate, sustainable living, ecstatic poetry and deep centering breaths. He lives in a solar adobe home in the mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico.