Why is it that the majority of artists seem to be allergic to the concept of selling?
Here’s what I think: too many of us believe that to sell is to bother someone– that someone is reluctantly doing us a favor by allowing us to pitch.
To be fair, all the annoying telemarketer calls, door-to-door-solicitors, and spam in your Gmail and physical mailbox only reinforce that belief- a lot of salespeople DO cross the line into “bothering.”
>> But that’s a very different kind of selling than when you’re on a sales call a client requested.
Let’s talk about that.
When the product you offer solves a problem your client is experiencing, selling is a service, not a sin.
ESPECIALLY if they’ve raised their hand and told, “I have a problem and I think you might hold the solution.” (If they’ve filled out your contact form, that’s a huge hand raise.) So WHY do we get so weird about selling to the very people who’ve asked to be sold to?
It comes down to three major shifts YOU need to make in how you’re approaching these calls. Because I guarantee you, the selling itself isn’t the problem.
1. You must learn to think the way your ICA thinks (instead of assuming they think exactly like you).
Understanding who your client is, beyond a surface-level bio of “where do they shop” and “what level of higher education have they completed” is absolutely crucial.
Best way to do this? Talk to a REAL PERSON who fits your description of “ideal client avatar”.
In talking to real humans, the ones who are most likely to actually pay for the services you’re offering, you’ll find new insight into how they consider making purchases, what drives them, their concerns or hangups when considering booking a service like yours. And in those conversations, you’ll be able to begin to use your clients own words to speak those issues back to them to demonstrate that you understand their problem, and thus, you’re qualified to help them fix it.
And a side perk of talking to real humans- you’ll be reminded that what is ordinary to you is extraordinary to them. Your expertise and skills are worth paying for.
2. Understand that your prospective clients actually WANT to be sold to.
This quote from Dr. Darnyelle Jervey Harmon has stuck with me ever since I heard her speak at a conference in February: “when I sell, it serves humanity.”
If your clients have a real problem and you have a real solution, there is honor in letting them know you can help. The unique set of gifts you carry are not meant to terminate on you- you were given those gifts to serve those around you. And using your gifts to help solve problems that others cannot solve for themselves is a respectable way to make a living.
And this one is also straight from my notes from Darnyelle’s talk- if they’re on a call with you? They already consider you as a potential solution to the problem they’re having. Unless you conned them into a discovery call, they WANT to be there.
3. Your confidence is contagious.
When you act bashful or self-conscious, clients can taste your insecurity, and as my girl Ashyn says- “if you can’t sell me on your services, who will?”
(If your lack of confidence is due to low self-esteem, that’s something to work out in another area.)
But *maybe* that lack of confidence is actually due to a nagging feeling that your offer isn’t as good as it could be, or that something’s missing from the promise you’re making to your clients about how you can help them.
If I don’t have validation that an offer works in the form of feedback from clients + a solid body of work, I feel really insecure selling, because it means making promises I don’t know for sure I can keep.
…but on the other hand, when you have a proven process that yields results and when you’re confident your services are effective, selling becomes a heck of a lot easier because you actually believe in what you’re selling.
Case in point: I love selling Brand Photography Academy because I know it works.
Selling my signature course doesn’t feel sleazy because I’m not pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes- I believe in the product, so promoting it is just a matter of providing a solution (the A-Z roadmap for shooting your best brand session) to folks who have a particular problem (photographer wants to offer branding sessions, but feels overwhelmed re: getting started, figuring out a new workflow, etc.)
TLDR: When you know your target audience and understand their needs, and when you’re confident in the service you offer and how it solves the problem they’re experiencing, you can sell from a place of certainty, not self-consciousness.
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