Conscious entrepreneurs love to pick apart and bash sales tactics. It’s kind of like the World Cup of the conscious business community. 🙂
Just the other day, a colleague of mine on Facebook started a thread on the large number of internet business gurus who are currently offering glitzy programs on how to get people to opt in to your email list (get them into your “sales funnel”). It was a long thread, and by the end, it degenerated into a collective rant against sales tactics.
Why Traditional Sales Tactics Feel Slimy
Picture for a moment the archetype of The Used Car Salesman. That guy with the fake smile and shiny clothes who’s so focused on making his numbers that he’s got very little of his attention on who you are, what your life looks like, and what you need.
He’s not paying attention – in any meaningful way – to YOUR needs. That’s the secret to understanding when sales tactics start to feel pushy. It’s more about the needs of sales person than the client.
And sales tactics have gotten very sophisticated about how to help sales people meet their goals. For instance, here’s a quote from SalesBrain.com:
“Neuromarketing is an effective discipline to improve sales and marketing results by applying recent discoveries on the brain. SalesBrain is the world’s first neuromarketing agency which developed a NeuroMap™, a unique process combining neuroresearch, neuromessaging, neurocreative and neurotraining services that help you reach the true decision maker: the reptilian brain.”
In other words, business scientists are learning how to sell directly to your “reptilian brain” – a non-rational, highly emotional part of you. And many are studying sales tactics like this with no consideration to the deeper needs of the client or ethics of the situation. I don’t know about you, but for me that’s just YUCK!
Why Even Care About Conscious Sales?
The job of marketing is to help people become aware that you exist as a transformational resource. If you are doing it well, people will notice and start wanting more information about your services and/or products. The assumption I’m making for this post is that this is happening to some degree in your business. If it’s not, than I suggest reading this post on developing a marketing plan
So, people want more information about your offerings. This is a very poignant moment in a business journey. Because there’s quite a distance from “I want to know more” to “I’m a happy paying client.” Being a guide who helps people explore that journey is traditionally called sales.
In fact, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who thought they had a marketing problem who really had PLENTY of prospects. Their problem was they got so twisted up in knots about sales that they couldn’t convert even people who really “fit” their offerings into paying clients.
When you choose to be conscious about your sales tactics, you get to:
- Take on ONLY clients who really are a good fit for your offerings.
- Increase the percentage of prospects who become paying clients.
- Raise the amount you earn per hour you work.
- Have more FUN! 🙂
What to Do Instead of High Pressure Sales Tactics
As an alternative to high pressure or manipulative sales tactics, I teach my clients these 5 Steps to Ethically and Effectively Enrolling Clients:
1) Connect with this unique person. Back in counseling school, my professors were addicted to the word rapport. Rarely did we have a class when they didn’t mention about how important it is. Before you jump into exploring her problem or describing your fantastic offerings, spend a little time CONNECTING with this human being.
2) Discover her strengths and challenges. Once you’ve started a heart connection, I encourage you to get curious and ask questions. Some of my favorite questions for this point of the conversation are:
- Can you tell what led to you reaching out?
- How long has this been going on?
- Is this challenge (or desire for change) you are facing more intense, less intense or about the same as 6 months ago?
- How does it feel to have this challenge (or desire for change) taking so much of your attention?
- What strengths have you used to get through other challenges (or make other changes) in you life?
3) Explore what life could be like. What is your prospect hoping that life will be like in a year? If she could work through this stuck point in her life or build skills to be in a new era, what would it look and feel like? Help her taste the details of what the life she’s wanting (a fitter and more relaxed body, a happier marriage, a more thriving business, etc) FEELS like.
4) Answer questions about your offerings and how you work. With the foundation you’ve created in the above 3 questions, your wisdom is likely already talking to you about whether this prospect might be a good fit for your offerings or not. If she’s clearly not, I encourage you to be forthcoming about that and refer her to a more appropriate resource. If your wisdom is sensing alignment, I encourage you to ask your prospect: “What do you need to know about me and what I offer in my business to see if it’s a good fit?” Be concise and authentic in your answers.
5) Make an action plan. One of the things I do differently in my sales process is that I work with the prospect to create an action plan. Some people make an appointment immediately – that’s their action plans. For those who need more time, we find a step that feels good like reading a blog post, doing a simple exercise, checking out the offerings in another business, etc. We agree to a time frame for the action step and then I check in via email. This permission based followup is a game changer.
What’s Your Experience?
Sales tactics can be an emotionally charged and confusing topic for many spiritual entrepreneurs. However, by understanding what sales really is and having a consciously chosen sales process, it doesn’t have to be so hard. The process I’ve outlined above has greatly increased my conversation rate and those of my clients. All the while being based on love and permission at each step.
What’s worked for you in terms of sales tactics? What hasn’t? I’d love to hear your experience in the form of a comment below!