This episode is part of a 12 days of Christmas read-along of the Selling Like We’re Human book, recorded in 2021.
The book follows a similar concept to what you’re already used to here on the Humane Marketing show with the 7Ps of Humane Marketing and the Marketing Like We’re Human book: we start with the being and then go into the doing.
The 3 parts of the Selling Like We’re Human book are : Being, Knowing and Doing (compared to Rumble, Rise and Resonate of the Marketing Like We’re Human book)
Today I’m reading a small section of Part 1 on BEING, Chapter 3 called ‘Boost Your Sales Confidence:’"You need to peel back the layers of outside influences, conditioning, and adopted beliefs before you find thesoft center—your real, authentic you." -Sarah Santacroce @sarahsantacroce #humanemarketing #sellinglikeyourehuman Click To Tweet
Excerpt from Selling Like We’re Human, Part 1: BEING, Chapter 3: Boost Your Sales Confidence
Overcome the Expert Fear
The second most frequently asked question, after your name, is probably
“what do you do for a living?” From that short answer of what we do for work,
others will make assumptions about our societal level, income, ambition,
etcetera. No wonder people feel defined by what they do.
In the entrepreneurial world, we make up our own job titles, so there is less
But there’s still peer pressure, and often people get grouped into different
categories based on the number of zeros in their revenue. I won’t get into my
rant about the six-figure and seven-figure marketing headline club. I talk
about that extensively in Marketing Like We’re Human.
Besides the income, there’s also pressure to “be an expert.”
I admit, I even used it in my LinkedIn business, where my tagline was “I help
you position yourself as an expert on LinkedIn.”
What does that have to do with selling, you ask? Quite a lot.
Picture this: your muscles tense up just a bit, you clench your jaw, you
unconsciously hold your breath. If your child walked in the door right now,
you’d probably shout at him, shut the door, and turn the key this time. You’re
on high alert because you’re just about to enter an important sales call on
Zoom. You’re in “expert” mode! Feel familiar?
Maybe it’s just me, but that’s what many of my sales calls felt like when I was
selling big LinkedIn consulting packages. I put so much pressure on myself
and was afraid to lose face in front of my bigshot client.
So How Can We Overcome the Expert Fear ?
According to Wikipedia, an expert is “a person who has a comprehensive and
authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.”
Okay, that’s pretty impressive. What probably scares you is the word
“authoritative,” which means
a) Able to be trusted as being accurate or true; reliable, clear, authoritative
b) Considered to be the best of its kind and unlikely to be improved upon.
Fair enough, that’s pretty scary!
Reframing the discussion
What if we replaced the word “expert” with “specialist”? It’s not as exclusive,
and if you call yourself a specialist, it means that you specialize in this topic
and have valuable knowledge and skills in this area. And this can be true even
if it’s early in your entrepreneurial adventure. Because maybe you don’t have
ten years of experience offering this type of service, but you have previous
experience—maybe from a corporate career, maybe outside of work—that
you can tap into. You may also have passions and interests which aren’t on
your CV or your LinkedIn profile but which make you an interesting and
well-rounded person that people feel attracted to.
You don’t have to know absolutely everything, because of course there’s always
room for improvement. And there’s room for that transparency in a sales call!
Bring More of You to Your Sales
Transparency, vulnerability, authenticity, empathy . . . All these words, at
their essence, have a common denominator: truth and sincerity. What people
want now more than ever is the truth. They don’t want a fake version of you,
they don’t want a cookie-cutter template approach, they don’t want to be sold
to via a robotic-sounding script, and they surely don’t want your phony
What they really want is more of you, the real you.
“How do I bring more of me to my sales, Sarah?” I don’t have all the answers,
because only you can be more of you.
Have you ever eaten an artichoke? Not one from the can, a real one. It’s that
spiky thing that looks like a flower. You cook it in the pressure cooker and
then you slowly work your way to the center, pulling off the outer petals one
at a time. You can dip the leaves in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then
pull them through your teeth to remove the soft, pulpy portion of the petal.
Don’t try to chew the petals. They are not meant to be eaten. Once you’ve
made it to the center, you still need to remove the choke, a crown of pointy
fibers that can literally make you choke, so don’t eat them. Hallelujah, you’ve
found the artichoke heart! Sounds like a laborious journey, but believe me,
it’s so worth it! Cut the heart into pieces, season it, and enjoy!
The journey to find the real you is similar. You need to peel back the layers
of outside influences, conditioning, and adopted beliefs before you find the
soft center—your real, authentic you.
Here are some reflections to discard some of these outer layers to bring more
of you to your sales:
1. Stop comparing
First and foremost, you need to stop comparing yourself to everyone else.
“Hah! Easier said than done!” I know. I still catch myself mindlessly scrolling
through LinkedIn, envious of other people’s inspiring posts; livestreams,
which I can never get myself to do; and of course, my biggest procrastination:
other people’s launches. But whenever I do, I catch myself much faster than
I did a few years ago, and I remind myself that this person is not me. This
person has a different personality, different way to recharge their energy,
different definition of success, different business model, etc. Comparing
yourself with other entrepreneurs is only fruitful when you classify it as
research and do it for a good reason, like, for example, when you’re
researching prices (we’ll get to that in Part Three).
2. Ditch the script
There are thousands of templates and sales scripts out there. The
entrepreneurs who provide them (at least most of them) have good intentions.
They are trying to help you. The problem is, as we’ve seen in Emily’s story,
it’s not really helping! So ditch that script right now. Discard that sales funnel
template with the four cart-closing e-mails with the rest of the artichoke
petals. People are sick of these predictable e-mail series that have been used
for decades now. Instead, keep reading in order to give yourself the permission
to bring more of you to your sales. And in the integration part, you’ll find
some considerations on how to structure your sales conversation, but without
making it a linear script to follow.
3. Take yourself less seriously
Whenever I’m asked in a podcast interview what I would tell a younger
version of myself, I say “Sarah, dear, please take yourself less seriously.”
It’s true. It’s maybe one of my biggest regrets looking back at
thirteen years of business. I wish I’d had more fun. I wish I had felt
less like I needed to prove something. I wish that I had understood
earlier that I’m good enough and that showing up as I am is
sometimes good enough.
I think someone who can take themselves less seriously comes across as more
confident, not less confident. Being more casual in marketing and sales is a
sign of confidence. How can you take yourself less seriously in these
situations? Maybe you share an embarrassing story that happened to you.
Maybe you share with more vulnerability. Maybe you admit that you don’t
have it all together
4. Have your values top of mind
That’s it; you have arrived in the middle and discarded the choke. Now it’s
time to focus on you! If you haven’t gone through the exercise of choosing
your top five core values in a while (or never), I highly recommend revisiting
it. You’ll find the full list of values in the Marketing Like We’re Human book
or, if you prefer to do this exercise online, the Barrett Values Centre offers a
free online version in exchange for your e-mail: http://bit.ly/topvalues.
Knowing your actual core values has merit on both personal and professional
levels. And in sales, it will really help you with decision-making.
I give you an example: Joy is one of my core values. So when I listen to my
body and don’t experience a sensation of joy when talking to a prospect, I’d
rather pass on the opportunity. It happened in 2019 when I was invited to be
a LinkedIn trainer for a new offering for CEO’s. I said yes. But then of course
Covid happened and the whole project got delayed. Then they reached back
out early 2021 and invited me to a four-hour “let’s meet and brainstorm”
session with the organizers and the other three trainers. At the time, I couldn’t
say exactly why (well, other than the fact that I wasn’t excited by blocking out
a whole afternoon without getting paid), but it just didn’t feel right. So after
some encouragement from my business besties Valérie and Laurence, I took
all my courage and called the guy to tell him I’d rather leave the opportunity
to someone else. And I gave them the name of one of my colleagues who I
know would be a better fit for this project. Thinking about this again now, I
realize that it didn’t align with two of my core values: joy and curiosity.
5. Slow down the sale
In order to have an authentic experience with the real you, we need to slow
down—way down. “I’ve been on your mailing list for six months now.” I hear
that all the time. Sometimes they’ll say a year. Trust isn’t built overnight. In
order to really get to know you in this online world, you need to give people
more time. It’s the exception to the rule that someone hears you on a podcast
and immediately wants to hire you. And it’s rare that someone buys your
signature program after just going through a few onboarding e-mails. That
doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mention it, I think you should, but you shouldn’t
feel disappointed if they don’t buy immediately. If we want people to make
empowered buying decisions, then we need to allow them more time. The
same goes for sales conversations. If your prospect needs time to think about
it, then give them that time. Not endless amounts of time, because that
wouldn’t be fair to you, but for example twenty-four or forty-eight hours.
There’s so much more spaciousness when we don’t apply the pressure of time.
6. Go woo-woo
I truly believe that any kind of grounding practice helps your
confidence with sales. Just like our oak tree from the Serene Garden
is more stable thanks to its deep roots, you will also feel more
grounded and confident. A regular grounding practice will help
your body posture and your confidence. Whether it is yoga, prayer,
breath work, chakra work, visualization, or meditation doesn’t
matter. All of these techniques help you anchor yourself and deepen
your connection with Mother Earth. So if woo-woo is your jam, I
say bring more of that to your sales. Who says you can’t start your
sales conversation with three deep breaths in order to be in the
present moment and get rid of any money-related stress?
These are just a few ideas on how to bring more of you to your sales. Find
what works for you. Remember the artichoke analogy to peel back the layers
of conditioning. And of course, the best way to find out is to “do the work.”
This excerpt is from Part One on Being, and from the third chapter called ‘Boost Your Confidence’.
If what you heard today resonates with you and made you curious about the book, I invite you to get your copy of the new Selling Like You’re Human book at humane.marketing/book2. You can also download the whole 1st chapter for free to see if it resonates.
And I’m also planting a seed about my ‘Marketing Like We’re Human’ program that I’ll run in its live edition starting at the end of January 2022. This is where we take all these concepts from the two books as well as the 7Ps of Humane Marketing to a much much deeper level in an intimate group learning experience. Find out more at www.humane.marketing/program
Get your copy of the ‘Selling Like We’re Human’ book !
Marketing Like We’re Human – Sarah’s first book
Selling Like We’re Human – Sarah’s second book
Email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for listening!
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