ok, this will be uncomfortable reading for some, if not most readers.
But, alas, real growth comes from facing your demons and gently pushing the boundaries of your comfort-zone,
so, read on in the knowledge that this is meant to help you;-)
Probably THE most popular type of “offline marketing” course you can buy is of the “this is how you generate lots of lovely leads”.
You get excited.
Because this one promises to give you leads by the boatload, and all without having to do any cold-calling, face-to-face prospecting and selling.
Instead, ‘they’ will see the value in what you have, immediately jump off their sofa and go “this is what I’ve been looking for”, and call you eager, with credit-card in hand.
Only it never works out that way.
Even if you were to take action, and it actually worked (quite of the methods do actually work and give you a nice stream of leads), once they phone you up, it’s not as easy as “hey, just follow this script”.
“Dang, those pesky prospects just don’t follow scripts” (how dare they!;-)
Here’s why “tons of lovely leads” courses generally don’t work for you:
Your Brain Is Stopping You From Actually Reaching Out
Early on in my ‘self-employed’ career, right after leaving the safe harbour of corporate life, I put mhyself through one of the toughest direct-selling experiences you can ever have:
selling insurance through cold-calling.
When I got started, I was blessed with a mentor and supervisor, who didn’t let me buy into my own BS “hey, I’ll just take this list of phone-numbers home with me, and I’ll make the phone-calls from there”), but instead, sat down with me, the list of numbers and one very scary looking telephone.
And then we started dialling.
And calling people.
And despite my brains every effort to get me to stop doing it, because surely people on the other side were going to bite off my head, nobody did.
Some even had a good laugh, like the head of another insurance company (one of our main competitors) who played along very nicely and at the end actually complimented me on my selling and said he was going to use some of the elements for his own people.
Overall, the experience was extremely valuable, insightful, and of course, bloomin’ brutal.
One of the most rapid expansions of my comfort zone EVER!
Here’s the thing:
without that mentor, I would not have done it.
Because my brain, just like your’s, is hardwired to protect us from harm.
No matter if it’s real or imaginary.
And, just like you, I had imagined that the other side was definitely going to bite my head off.
And “head off” is definitely considered “harmful” by our brains, and therefore to be avoided.
So, is “yet another lovely leads breaking down your front-door” course going to change that?
No, the ONLY way to do it is to take whatever you have, and start facing the demons.
Who – as your comfort zone expands – will (most likely) turn out not to be demons, but lovely people instead.
But your brain doesn’t know that … yet.
But, as they famously say: “wait, there’s more”:
Not content with expanding my comfort zone through selling, I then added public speaking to the mix, and started teaching sales to newspaper advertising sales-reps.
The people who sell advertising so small business owners. AKA: your competition;-)
Without fail, before our trainings, they’d go into a business, and launch into their sales-presentation.
And without fail, they’d close 1 or 2 out of 10.
And it was all down to 1 thing:
they didn’t (don’t) listen!
Hardly anyone knows how to listen.
Here’s what I mean by this:
The REAL secret to selling is to put yourself in the shoes of the other person, see the world from their perspective, and then ‘transfer confidence’ – from you to them.
Your confidence that your stuff works, translated into a representation THEY understand, and that makes THEM feel comfortable.
In our trainings we’d often go out on client visits and I’d be sitting in.
To listen in, so I could give feedback later on.
And you won’t believe how often I’ve been listening to a business owner express in so many ways that THE most important thing to them is “being perceived as ‘high quality’ and reliable”.
only for the sales-person to hammer home the message that they’ll reach a wide audience at the cheapest rates in town.
Well, don’t beat yourself up.
Walking in someone else’s shoes is probably THE hardest thing to do in your lifetime.
I intellectually ‘get’ early-risers, they must see something magical in being there with the rising sun.
but only intellectually.
I’d rather have a nice lie-in!
And exactly the same is true for selling to anyone, especially business owners:
before you can sell, you MUST be able to walk in their shoes.
And that does take a bit of practice.
Er, ok, a LOT of practice.
If you don’t know how people make buying decisions, if you don’t know how to find out what they really value, if you don’t even know what clues to look and listen for, then no step-by-step script is ever going to get you there.
I guess in a next post we should look at some of those factors, but for now: what’s your take?
What’s your experience with this?
What’s working for you, and what isn’t?