HOW TO SELL WITHOUT FEELING SLEAZY
Today, we’re gonna talk about a 4-letter word.
No, not those kind of 4-letter words. 😉
A different 4-letter word.
It’s the most cringe-worthy of all if you’re like most business owners. And that four-letter word is:
[cue dramatic music]
Stay with me. We’re going to get through this.
Today, we’re going to talk about selling. Sell. Selling — and all the feelings and thoughts around selling — is something that pops up a lot among my students, and it’s something that I have really strong opinions about, so I figured it was time to talk through it, unpack it, and make peace with it (more on this last one in just a sec).
As it turns out – unfortunately – the consensus among a lot of business owners out there is that selling is sleazy. Maybe you feel that way, too.
But, not only do I not believe that selling is sleazy, I think to sell is the ultimate way to serve.
And if that made you squirm uncomfortably in your chair, good! Stick with me. Because I can set you free from that hesitant mindset over the next few minutes.
If you have a business that is struggling or not getting to where you want it to be, then you really, really, really need to stick around for this. Cool?
P.S. If you want to see this blog post in video form, check out the video below. (If not, keep scrolling and reading. I got you.)
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Now, let’s get back to basics.
Today, I’m gonna call on my friend, Merriam Webster to remind us what the word “sell” actually means in the first place.
Here’s the dictionary definition of “sell”:
1. Give or hand over (something) in exchange for money.
2. Persuade someone of the merits of.
Let’s break it down.
Sell: Give or hand over (something) in exchange for money.
For that first definition of “sell”, that “something” being exchanged for money is your product or service. Or, as I like to identify it, a solution to a problem.
You may not believe me today, but whatever product or service you sell? That IS a solution to a problem.
Maybe you’re not saving someone’s life (or you night be), but I’d bet you’re at least improving the quality of their life with your product or service.
So, not offering a product or service, a solution, keeping it to yourself and playing small? That just leaves a bunch of people with unsolved problems. Which is faaaar from serving.
And I don’t know about you, but as a consumer, I want my problems solved. And if I have to spend some money to get some of those problems solved, awesome! Whatever gets me on the other side of the problem.
Sell: “Persuading someone of the merits of…”
Now, let’s break down that second definition of the word “sell”: “persuading someone of the merits of…”
We need to persuade someone of the merits of something to help them see that the product or service we have could be the solution to their problem.
If they don’t see the value or even the utility of your product or service, they won’t want it or feel they need it. Which leaves their problems un-solved. Which is no good. So, selling is a must.
Furthermore, if they don’t even know yet that something is a problem of theirs, if they don’t have the awareness of it, we also need to shine light on that problem in order to persuade them at all. It’s like priming a surface before you paint it. (If you don’t sand and prime a surface first, the paint won’t stick.)
But persuasion is a triggering word because so often, people make it synonymous with the word manipulation. That’s when selling can feel… icky. Sleazy. Slimy. All those words.
However, persuasion and manipulation are not the same thing.
Of course, I know that some people sell more aggressively than others, and that may not be your jam. But that’s not your problem, that’s their problem. That’s the way other people sell. You don’t have to sell that way.
Don’t let your dislike for someone’s choices be a reason for you to not make any choices at all.
Persuasion as Problem-Solving
In essence, persuasion is problem-solving. It’s making a strong case to someone for something.
Bringing it full circle: One of the best ways to do that is to sell to them.
Now, if that still sounds a little counterintuitive to you, think about it this way:
Say I have a magical elixir, and this magical elixir can cure disease, it can put more money in your bank account, and it can make people love you.
(Needless to say, it’s a very magical elixir. So just go with me.)
Now that thing I just described, that sounds pretty awesome, right? That’s not something I should keep to myself. And if it really did do the things I said, and if I was able to produce more of it (somehow), I should share it with the world, because it would make the world a better place. It would save lives, it would make people happier, richer, more loved-er-er…
However, I don’t share it with the world by simply placing it in front of the world.
No, that wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t get anyone’s attention. People wouldn’t know the value of what you had, they wouldn’t understand the benefits. They wouldn’t even know they needed it if you didn’t communicate what it could do. It would just look like any ol’… magical elixir. Or just a regular elixir. Or just — you get the idea.
Instead, you have to tell people about it, and like our dictionary definition said, “persuade people of the merits of [it].”
You don’t just stand behind it; you serve it.
And that’s why I say that selling is serving.
Selling is Serving
If you have a good product or service that will help someone, whether it improves the quality of their life or even saves their life… Well then, not selling that thing, quite frankly, is selfish.
And, if we take it one step further: Not selling is not only selfish, but self-sabotage.
If you believe in what you do or what you offer, if you want to make it your life’s work, if it’s your purpose, if it’s the thing you enjoy doing the most, if it’s your calling, if it’s the area in which you want to manifest the most abundance — or whatever buzzwords you need to hear to understand this — you need to make money from it. You have to.
Otherwise, it’s not your life’s work. It can’t be. It’s just a hobby you do, or at best, a side hustle. And if something is a side hustle, it can’t really be your life’s work.
Because at the end of the day you need money (you know, to buy food, clothing, shelter, etc.).
So you either make money doing your thing you feel called to do, the thing you want to do that helps others in the way that you most enjoy helping others… Or you don’t.
Or you do that on the side. While you do something else which means you can’t commit yourself to your calling. See the sad trombone domino effect here?
That is the reality of playing small and not selling. And therefore, not really serving.
So, you’ve got to sell. You can be as aggressive as you want to… Or not.
There are lots of different and creative ways to persuade someone of the merits of something. That’s a personal choice based on you and what you’re selling.
Maybe you focus more on selling the way something makes someone feel…
Perhaps you sell the lifestyle…
Or you sell through entertainment…
Point is, there are many ways to sell a thing.
Whatever you do, the moral of the story is this:
If you’ve got something good and real and helpful, let people know about it.
And don’t just stick it in front of them; Serve it to them. Sell it.
Because selling is serving and solving problems.
And there’s nothing sleazy about that.
HI, I’M COURTNEY!
I’m here to help you build, grow, and scale your business.
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