The truth is I can be persuasive. I’ve been given the gift of gab, the power of words, and I can spin and weave language in a way that is intoxicating, in a way that calls people to me. I can feel those tender places where I can push, just a little, to get my point across. I can make a devastatingly logical case for why someone should work with me, and an emotional one as well.
I can sell my self, sell my services. I know how. But I no longer do.
I no longer “sell” people on my services in a conversation, and I no longer write “persuasive” sales pages.
I don’t have the heart for it.
I do have conversations with prospective clients.
But I no longer use scripts or techniques designed to get to yes.
I don’t give lectures about the moral superiority of making fast decisions.
If people raise money concerns I acknowledge them. I commend them for being thoughtful about what they spend and where they spend it. I don’t assume that buying from me is their best choice or their only choice for growth.
I don’t ask them on a scale of 1 to 10, how important it is to them to change. Or how badly they want the outcome they might get from working with me.
I don’t connect the dots for them between their desires for themselves and my services.
More importantly, I don’t lean in energetically.
I don’t use the significant force of my being to tip the scales, to turn a maybe-but-I-am-not-quite-sure into a yes.
Kelly Diels has recently written some blistering assessments of what she calls the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. She dissects the strategies of online marketing, of launching, and looks at them through the lens of cultural messages and social justice. (Read some of her work here: www.kellydiels.com).
One of the statements she wrote that pierced my heart was that many of the techniques that are taught as good sales techniques (establishing your likeability, establishing authority, setting up reciprocity, and asking for a series of small yeses) are the identical techniques that sexual predators use to groom their victims. Yikes.
I am willing to lose sales by not pushing for the yes.
What I do is talk to people who want to work with me. I ask questions. I feel into their energy. Sometimes I look at their current work. I state clearly what I think we can accomplish working together.
And then I let them decide.
I charge a rate for my private work that is a stretch for someone whose business is not well established, who is starting something new, or in transition, or riding out a rough patch.
I know that my work could well be the path out of the rough patch, the path to fuller presence and likely fuller income. But I can’t guarantee it.
I can guarantee the quality of my work, the power of the words we’ll find. But I can’t promise how quickly the work we do will translate into more income.
So I don’t want someone spending their precious dollars on work with me unless they are clear that it’s the right path. Unless they are convinced that the unique service I provide of bringing out their Potent Expression is what they most need to move forward and move out in the world.
I listen for their clarity, their certainty.
I don’t prioritize my certainty over theirs.
Besides, I prefer working with clients who are certain. Who know they want the support only I can give. We work more fluidly, we move faster.
If I persuade an uncertain person to trust me, to come on board, that uncertainty often follows us. It lurks in the shadows, it lessens the trust, it reduces the miraculous openings.
If I believe in my client’s brilliance and magnificence, why wouldn’t I trust that brilliance to be present even before they become a client? Why would I question their capacity to make a wise choice about working with me.
The standard line is this. Change is hard, people are afraid, so in essence, you have to push them. If you don’t push them, they won’t take the leap, they won’t say yes, they won’t invest and they won’t change. So it’s actually a service to push them to a yes.
But I don’t buy it. Yes change is hard, and investing money in a service that isn’t guaranteed to work is scary. But people do it every day. People do it every day without someone pushing them and prodding them to jump. They jump when they are ready. And when they jump when they are ready, the work that follows is qualitatively different.
If someone isn’t ready or able on their own to make the leap into working with me, how able will they be to make the creative leaps I ask them to make in their expression?
My job as I see it is to be clear who I am and what I do.
My job is share things, like this e-note, or on Facebook that transmits clearly what you can expect from me.
My job is to be explicit about what I believe.
My job is to make promises that I know I can keep. To guarantee only what I know I can deliver. To be clear what I can’t predict about their outcomes.
My job is to tell stories about what happens for clients when they work with me.
It’s the job of the person I am speaking with to decide what’s right for them. To know themselves. To have some independent assessment of what they need. And to determine if I can provide that.
If I do my job, I can trust them to do theirs.