You’ve hung your shingle outside your front door and are excited at the thought of the work you’ll be doing to support your clients. However, excitement soon turns to dread when you realise that prior to being of service to your clients, you need to become skilled in not only marketing, but also in the selling of your services – with the latter being an activity that makes you cringe. Can you relate?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’, you’re certainly not alone. Many service-based businesses who have to sell ‘themselves’ can struggle to reach their income goals due to their dislike and extreme difficulty in selling their services to a prospective client.
Here are 5 simple yet very effective steps that will support you in promoting yourself in an authentic way that will have your prospects lining up at your door ready to invest in you.
1. Challenge ‘unhelpful’ beliefs
One of the first and foremost steps is to confront two unhelpful beliefs that can block and inhibit you from effectively promoting your products/services.
>> Belief 1: Your belief that all sales people are pushy and would say practically anything to get the sale
We all have a story to tell where we have been put under pressure by a hard-nosed sales person, who had as much tact as a gnat when trying to get you to say ‘yes’ to their offer.
This is certainly not the approach that a heart-centred service-based entrepreneur wants to adopt – right? Well, just because there may be some annoying and unpleasant sales people in the marketplace, doesn’t mean that you have to use the same approach.
In fact, I highly recommend that you do the exact opposite. So what approach would you rather take that will enable you to incorporate your values and what’s really important to you when speaking to people who show an interest in what you are doing?
>> Belief 2: Your self-belief that you are unworthy
The first sale you have to make is to yourself. Would you invest in your own services? Do you believe that what you have to offer is of real value to your clients?
If you have a lack of confidence in your services or can’t list the benefits that your clients will receive through working with you, it will be very difficult for you to promote these services in a confident and professional manner.
These 2 mindset issues, along with others (including fear of rejection if the client says no, etc; fear of success, etc) are often what keeps people blocked and is something we dedicate quite some time to in our coaching programs.
However, an exercise that I’d encourage you to do is to spend some time identifying your strengths, your talents and the results you can support your clients in achieving. The true value you bring to your clients is a combination of all these things, and it’s extremely important that you are able to recognise and speak confidently about this when talking to a prospect.
[Note: this may be something you’d like to address during our complementary Business Breakthrough Strategy Session].
2. Reframe ‘selling’ to ‘service’
Once you recognise the amazing benefits your service (and/or product) will deliver to your prospective client, it’s then time to reframe your thinking around ‘selling’ into the mindset of ‘service’. When thinking of ‘selling’ we can often imagine a person trying to influence and persuade another person into purchasing something that they don’t really need, which is not the mindset or the approach we want.
Instead the mindset of service is one where you are offering them the value support and accountability they need to overcome the problem/issue that prompted them to make contact with you.
Allowing your struggles to continue and by not sharing information on how your product or service can support your clients, could mean that they continue to remain stuck with their issue. So, you’re actually doing them a disservice by not sharing this information with them.
Sharing information about how your service can support them in overcoming their issues means that you are being of ‘service’ – which is something all heart-centred entrepreneurs aim for – right?
3. Think ‘connection’ not ‘conversion’
Connecting and building a relationship with a contact is far more empowering than trying to convert your prospect into a client before you’ve even had the opportunity to build rapport with them or before you have taken the time to find out the reason they contacted you.
Remember, people do business with people they know, like and trust, so spending time to build a strong connection with your contact not only helps you both be more at ease, it will also give you the opportunity to build a level of credibility and trust.
Don’t think conversion, where you concentrate on your needs. Instead think connection and showing a genuine interest in THEM and THEIR needs.
4. Transform your ‘sales pitch’ into a ‘strategy session’
Jumping in and trying to ‘sell’ your services to a potential client often fails when you haven’t truly identified the needs of the client or haven’t yet had the opportunity to demonstrate that you have the ability to help them overcome their problems and issues.
Rather than launching into a sales pitch that tries to ‘sell’ your client into one of your programs, create a strategy session so that they can begin to experience what it is like to work with you.
This session could involve some powerful questions that focuses on what they WANT to achieve; getting clear on some of the action steps they need to take; while also sharing some of the success stories of how other entrepreneurs who were initially struggling with similar issues, are now reaching goals they had once only ever dared to dream about.
A strategy session that uses this approach is far more empowering and will enable you to build credibility, believability and desirability in your services, as they will have gained first-hand experience of how you can support them and the outcomes they can expect to achieve.
5. Conclude with a compelling call-to-action
We all like to make our clients feel special, so why not offer them an amazing package that covers all of the areas that they will need to work on. You could also consider including bonuses to make your offer even more irresistible. Or perhaps offer a ‘quick decision’ bonus that rewards them for taking action and enrolling in your programs.
My article 3 reasons why discounting could be damaging your reputation provides further information about how to make your offer compelling and irresistible and have them say ‘yes’ to investing in you.
So there you have it; 5 simple yet powerful steps to support you – a heart-centred service-based business owner – in promoting your products and services in an authentic way that will have your prospects flocking to your door ready to invest in your amazing services!
What do you think? Was this helpful? Let me know if the comment section below. It’s always great to hear from you!
I found your article on "5 Simple steps to follow when the product you are promoting is you." extremely encouraging and simple to follow. I have been struggling to promote my business and turned to the internet in desperation and I happened to come upon your web-site. Thank you.
Hi Romie, I’m so glad you found the article useful. Marketing and promoting your business is one of the most important things you should be doing. I’m sure you’ll find other articles on this website useful as well. By the way, feel free to access our 7 step audio series on how to get noticed, hired and paid what you’re worth. Here’s the link: https://annemariecross.com/free-articles/free-7-step-biz-building-audio-series. Enjoy!
Thank you for very helpful article. 🙂
You’re very welcome Emmylou – glad you found the steps helpful!
You’re welcome Emmylou – glad you found this helpful!
Hi Annemarie, thanks for these tips. Your articles are always very helpful. I have a question about #4, strategy session instead of sales pitch. Which form would you recommend that that takes? I now and then answer online marketing questions received by email for free, but where do you draw the line? If everyone’s signs up for your free strategy session, you never make any money.. Or do you mean to write about strategy instead of writing a sales pitch? Love to hear your thoughts on this~.
Hi PapaverComm, this is a great question.
The strategy session is really about creating a list of where the client is now (ie issues and challenges he/she is facing) as well as get an indication of what the client’s goals are. When comparing the two, you’ll see some pretty significant gaps in many areas, all of which you will be able to provide the solutions and support around. Work on planning some steps for some of the issues that don’t require significant planning/action steps so that the client is able to have some breakthroughs through getting clear on what he/she has to do for those issues. Then, explain how you can help them fast-track their journey to success and achievement of the other areas they are struggling in their business.
This process works extremely well if done correctly, and will often have the prospect say ‘yes’ to you offer. Hope that helps.
Annemarie, what a good article!
I like how you’ve switched the way of thinking from a selling standpoint to a service perspective. I especially like the concept – “think connection not conversion”. This little phrase will be helpful next time I’m networking.
Thank you for sharing.
Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by. These are such great mindset shifts that really do help when having a ‘service’ conversation with a prospect. When you think ‘service’ – you concentrate on the needs of your prospect and how you can help them, rather than how to ‘sell’. People can tell when they are being sold to and will often be put off – I know I do when someone is trying to ‘sell’ me.
I like what you had to say about connection rather than conversion.
My challenges are: Giving away too much too soon, and improving my call-to-action.
Thank you for sharing your insight!
I think that is something that many ambitious entrepreneurs struggle with. They are so passionate about what they do and they are so committed to helping people that they give away far too much. The important thing to do is to provide great value (which also builds credibility), identify where the prospect is stuck from getting to where they want to be, from where they are now, and proving a great reason to work with you so they see the value of investing in your services. Once you use that formula in a way that flows, is authentic and empowering, you’ll have people flocking to your door! I just love watching my clients go from stuck to unstoppable in this area – it’s such a common challenge! So you’re definitely not alone!
I found your article on “5 Simple steps to follow when the product you are promoting is you.” extremely encouraging and simple to follow. I have been struggling to promote my business and turned to the internet in desperation and I happened to come upon your web-site. Thank you.
I really liked your take on the strategy session and using that to introduce what you can offer your client. At least a couple of times a year I email my list and ask them to fill out an application to get a free 30 minute strategy session with me. I then get some qualified prospects and more than 1/2 of them end up buying a coaching package with me. Very successful practice!
Hi Betsy, glad to hear you are using strategy sessions successfully in your business too. It’s a win-win situation I feel in that both you and your prospective customer can get to know one another and see whether you would be a good fit, and of course brainstorm some great ideas.