by Dill Ward
Imagine this: You’ve just had a great lunch date with a new business girlfriend. You think she could be a perfect prospect for an upcoming program you’re launching, but the thought of asking her to join makes you cringe.
Imagine this: There’s a woman you’ve known and followed peripherally on social media for awhile. You think she would be a great match for your new product launch. You begin a casual chat on Facebook—but then, as the conversation winds down, and a window opens up when you could potentially make a pitch, you freeze.
Imagine this: You strike up a conversation with someone at a networking event. You get along beautifully, and think she would benefit from being your client! But you’d rather jump off a cliff than risk getting rejected, so you decide not to schedule an initial session.
Selling can make even the most seasoned of business owners squirm—and for good reason! Sales can feel vulnerable and personal, particularly if you run a business that you are emotionally invested in—or if you are a solopreneur, and your business is intimately connected with every aspect of who you are.
But here’s a bit of real talk: Capturing sales truly is the difference between a struggling business and a successful one.
Selling may be scary, but it is also undeniably the ticket to your success. And in order for a business to continue growing, you have to continue to have sales conversations. Yes, even if you don’t want to. And yes, even if you’re afraid of being rejected.
So first thing’s first: let’s spend a moment redefining “sales.” The word itself can feel sticky, stuffy, and uncomfortable! But what if sales can be about kindness and generosity? What if sales can be about helping the people who can most benefit from your company, product, or special sauce? With a simple reframe, you can bring clarity and lightness to the whole sales process. You can begin to see cold calls, emails, and meetings as a space to express your deep passion for what you do, your commitment to the importance of your mission, and your desire to help the demographic you cater to!
Besides using sales as an opportunity to express your deep humanity, humor, and humility, here are a few quick tips to help you shake your aversion to selling yourself:
There’s a few things you can do to bring a bit of levity and perspective to the situation. Here’s one idea: before you hop on the phone with a client, make a cold call, or arrive at a meeting that feels intimidating, ask yourself: “What’s the worst that could happen?” and also “What’s the best that could happen?” Then let your imagination run wild! Most likely, the consequences that feel challenging in the moment will pale in comparison to the potential benefits.
tIf you have a little more time, you can use the Fear Setting method popularized by Tim Ferriss, which starts with making a written list of all the potential positive and negative outcomes—of reaching out, or not; of making the sale, or not. Then detail what you could do to prevent and repair any possible worst-case scenarios. This simple rationalizing tool can help bring perspective—and even playfulness and adventure!—to the sales process.
Starting small is a great way to practice putting yourself out there, and to begin to familiarizing yourself with the sales process. What challenge feels surmountable? Tease yourself by dipping your toe into a sales scenario that feels easy or low-risk. Practicing in situations where your sell can feel casual, or when there’s not so much on the line, is a great way to begin dabbling in rejection. Yes, the more you put yourself out there, the more you’ll inevitably hear that big scary “no” word—but remember, the right people, at the right time, will ALWAYS say yes!
Study the masters. Find someone you see demonstrating the incredible values and success that you desire. Perhaps she’s in your particular career field, or not—what’s more important is that she demonstrates a set of values that you admire and would like to exemplify. Imagine all the qualities you’d like to cultivate in the sales process: kindness, generosity, optimism, straight-forwardness; genuine care for clients, and commitment to the business mission. Many women like this would be happy to talk with you, or might even offer sales programs or private coaching! Which leads us to the most important piece of advice…
The best thing you can do for yourself? Be open to support! It’s very hard to learn how to do something without having a model for how to do it, or without ever having it shown to you. Once you’ve found a woman whose success with sales you’d like to replicate, reach out with a simple ask! Or do a little investigation into what programs are available in your network. Perhaps the particular woman whose sales prowess you admire doesn’t offer a program herself, but knows someone who does—or can offer you resources or tools that she used to help get off and running!
And yes, it feels vulnerable to reach out with an ask like this. But it’s probably a little less intimidating than that terrifying sales call you’ve been putting off for weeks 😉
Here’s the final takeaway:
It doesn’t matter how well thought-out your business is if you’re not closing sales, getting new clients, growing your newsletter list, increasing profits, and achieving the markers of success that are most important to you. Sure, it’s easy to feel fear and resistance when the time comes to initiate a sales conversation, but there are lots of things you can do to make the selling process feel a little less daunting and a little more exciting. Perspective, practice, and persistence are key. Finding a mentor, coach, or program to help you learn and expand your capabilities is key.
Most of all, you have to be willing to tell a new story of who you are as a business woman: smart and savvy, competent and kind, and undeniably capable of closing sales and finding great success.
Here’s to YOU owning your worth!
Dill Ward,CEO of Women with Moxie
Dill has activated and inspired thousands of women through the Women with Moxie network, by providing innovative in-person & online networking events, personal & professional development, and leadership opportunities intended to empower, connect and, care for women on their path to success!
She is a best-selling author, sought after consultant, speaker, and event host known for her optimism, enthusiasm, and effectivity.
As a trained and certified master negotiation expert and networking maven, Dill has helped hundreds of families achieve their real estate goals and closed over $100 million dollars in sales during a time she was starting her life over in a new city.