The biggest barrier to your success as a small business owner is your definition of selling.
The wrong definition of “sales” affects newbies and to those who’ve been in the game for years. It’s the reason you tie yourself in knots before a sales call, worrying about everything from your voice cracking to Zoom crashing. It’s why you second-guess your pricing or compare yourself to other consultants, afraid you will come up short.
I get it. I get it because it happens to me. And when I feel that anxiety and uncertainty creep up, I know I have to ground myself in a new definition of sales.
The problem is that most entrepreneurs, consultants, and small business owners think about selling all wrong. We think it means asking for money, favours, or approval. It makes us feel needy and desperate. It’s no wonder we struggle with nerves and confidence!
That definition of “selling” is 100% FALSE.
I’ve discovered that THIS is the true definition of what it means to “sell”: adding value and making a difference. Let’s unpack what that means.
You didn’t start your consulting business for your health. No, you started for a purpose. Perhaps because you saw a gap in the marketplace, or a new way to provide a valuable service that would improve people’s lives. You’re doing this to help people. To make a difference.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget your purpose when you jump on a sales call with a corporate decision maker.
Suddenly, it’s like you’re back in the primary school cafeteria or playground. You start wondering, am I annoying them? What if it’s a bad time? What if they don’t like me? What if I mess up — I’ll be so embarrassed. What if they think I’m a fraud?
With these fears crawling through your mind, you lose the fire in your belly that made you start your business to begin with. You forget that you are on this call to add value and make a difference!
This happened to me recently when I undertook a big project for my business: Reaching out to my network for introductions to potential prospects or partners. This made me feel pretty vulnerable! I was asking my network to trust me enough to refer people to me — I was “selling” myself, skills, and expertise.
So even though my Land Corporate Clients Intensive program has a proven track record of adding huge value and making an enormous difference, I was nervous about asking for referrals! I teach how to sell, yet even I can get tongue-tied and worry that I’m interrupting someone’s busy day, or asking for too much.
I had to sit back and ask myself, Kim, you know you will add value and make a difference for every one of these referrals. What’s going on here!?
When I really reflected on where my nerves were coming from, I identified three mindset shifts I had to make to stay grounded in my new, true definition of sales: adding value and making a difference.
I don’t like bothering people or asking favours — I’d rather give favours because I really love helping people. But then I realized two flaws with this thinking:
I had to remind myself that “selling” is never about needing something, it’s about giving my skills and expertise so others may benefit and do the same with their skills and expertise.
Once I updated my mindset from “favour” to “service,” I got stuck in the fear that I was asking too much or overwhelming my network.
So I committed to keeping it as simple as possible — I decided to ask everyone in my network to refer ONE person to my program. Asking for one introduction is a simple, easy ask compared to something open-ended.
I also made sure to ask what I could do for them in return. You never know what possibilities will open up from a wonderful new dialogue!
I KNOW from experience that there are people out there who need what I have to offer and will hugely benefit from my Land Corporate Clients Intensive program. So why was I nervous about sharing it with my network?
Well, I realized I had a subconscious assumption that it was “safer” to stay silent. If I didn't tell anyone in my network around the program, then I wasn’t opening myself up to their judgment or disregard.
I had to remind myself that by staying silent, I’m limiting how much I can add value and make a difference — the whole reason I’m here! I realized that silence isn’t safe, it stalls. It keeps me from making a bigger impact, and in turn from enabling my clients to exponentially increase their impact.
Once I reflected on what was fueling my angst, I felt 100% more confident in my ability to sell in its truest definition: add value and make a difference by requesting referrals from my network.
I’m not disputing that you can feel very vulnerable asking others for connections or to buy from you. But asking for the sale is what puts your purpose in action. Asking for sales, referrals, or whatever you need is how you make your impact.
And nerves are normal! Just like actors, writers, singers and dancers, we all get butterflies when we “expose” ourselves to someone. And just like performers, consultants and small business owners can practice “auditioning” skills until selling is confident and joyful.
When you keep yourself grounded in my new definition of “sales,” you begin to understand this powerful truth: selling is NOT about you at all.
It’s about THEM — your customers and clients, your network and colleagues — and the VALUE you can bring to their organizations.
People are buying the VALUE you deliver and the DIFFERENCE you can make in their lives. When you sell, you are giving your prospect that powerful END RESULTS you know you DELIVER.
So next time you are facing a meeting with a corporate decision maker, or a reach-out campaign to your network, breathe deeply and remember the value you add and the difference you make. The rest will take care of itself.
Are you curious about my Land Corporate Clients Intensive program? My next cohort kicks off September 26, 2022.
Clients in this program experience a huge improvement in their business development process, gain loads of confidence, understand how to navigate corporate as a service provider, engage with corporate decision makers at any point in the sales process, and exponentially expand their network— that’s the value they get and the difference this program makes! They come for the value and land corporate contracts as a result!
Wondering if the program is right for you? Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kim Chernecki helps high-performing freelance executives, consultants, coaches and other experts, land lucrative corporate contracts. She is the creator of the Land Corporate Contracts Fast-Track System, and is a top-rated sales performance executive, facilitator, coach, advisor, speaker and strategist. A 25-year entrepreneur, Kim has consulted with executives from 100+ leading North American and Fortune 1000 companies and has, herself, started up and helped grow 10 businesses and business divisions. She’s closed millions of dollars in corporate contracts, and provides powerful strategies and proven formulas to help her clients do the same.