No science was performed in the composition of this article.
Why Does Selling = Anxiety?
It’s the MOST important part of our business.
Business is not a hobby. Hopefully it's fun.
It survives or dies based on whether or not we successfully sell and make money.
Let’s get clear on the game for a sec.
Selling is emotional.
Money is emotional.
Entrepreneurship is emotional.
It’s supposed to be practical.
But nope, it’s emotional.
Even those of us who are strong are fragile too.
You’re good at what you do because your heart’s in it.
But your heart, like all hearts, can be broken.
Even and especially in business.
Where “your product” or “service” is just a thinly veiled objectification of you.
When you offer, you are saying: "Do you like me, appreciate me, value me, respect me, trust me, need me, want me? Do you have a use for me? Can I be meaningful to you?"
That's vulnerable as hell.
Selling feels like a dirty word.
It feels inherently unfair, selfish, imposing, deceptive.
Because I will give you something of myself that’s imperfect, untested, full of bugs, new, trial and error, not yet perfect and never will be perfect (because I am imperfect).
And in exchange, I will ask you for your money. Everyone knows money is the most important thing in the world! It's everything! Because money can get you anything.
In this world, money means you matter. That you’ve succeeded. That others approve of you, like you, want you, trust you, believe you, adore you.
Money is not special. Money is not scarce.
You are special. You are scarce.
Your shelf life is about 80 years if you eat broccoli.
Your story, talent, voice, perspective is scarce.
If you are interesting and thoughtful and insightful. Don’t repeat clichés. (Side Note: If you think in clichés, think better. Think more interesting. Think wider, longer, fatter, flexibler, hungrier, more painful. Don’t spread clichés. That’s not contribution. That’s repetition. How you GET interesting? That is another story).
Selling is NOT deceptively manipulating, pushing, imposing, bothering, forcing, shoving, pressuring, lying, misrepresenting.
It is NOT putting what we want over what others want. It is not selfish. It is not mean, unkind. Selling is NOT getting away with something. It is not tomfoolery. It is not a crime. It is not shady. It is not hush hush. It is not dirty.
"It's sort of like gardening. If you want to have a batch of carrots to enjoy a couple of months from now, you must first find a spot of ground that looks relatively fertile. Then you must clear that space, select good seeds, plant them at an appropriate depth and time of year, be sure they receive enough water and prevent too much competition from the weeds. If you do all that, you have every right to expect a harvest of good carrots." -Dave Kahle
Selling IS honestly discovering, serving, questioning, wondering, asking, inviting, illuminating, matching, helping, offering, giving generously.
Curiosity helps you sell. Empathy helps you sell. Love helps you sell. Kindness and respect for other humans helps you sell. Passion and intensity help you sell. Conviction helps you sell. Unique genius helps you sell. Shutting the fuck up even when you badly wanna run your mouth helps you sell. Being a good helpful human helps you sell.
Selling is vulnerable. “I made this.”
It’s not JUST a “numbers game.” It’s not a factory. It’s not a machine. I don’t care how automated or systematized you are. If you made it, putting it into the world, it hurts whether you sell it or not.
This thing you birthed comes from the most well-intentioned, vulnerable, hopeful, optimistic, brave, inventive, loving, trusting parts of me.
Do you like it, want it, trust it, need it, approve of it, want to trade your money for it?
What if they DON’T want what I have?
- Before you HAVE something, learn what they want.
- What you ALREADY HAVE is valuable to someone. BUT it might NOT be valuable to the people you’re offering it to. The gap in expertise may not be great enough. Your people may not be hungry for it in its current form. Or it doesn't solve their problem, just adds more complexity, annoyance, time and cost. Or they are not attracted to it in the form you’re offering it. Or in the way you’re offering it. You may have to find different people. AND you must be adaptable. Don’t fall in love with the idea, fall in love with the humans, They’ll help your ideas. If you care, they’ll help you help them.
Ego can cause more long-term pain and suffering than any other dellusion.
Sometimes I tell myself "Paloma, your ego isn't invited to this party." It's a reminder that it's not about me. Don't take things personally. Business is too difficult if you make every bump and jolt about YOU. You can't control everything. And that's a good thing.
Why does selling cause anxiety?
I have something, they want something else= Anxiety
They want something, I don’t have it= Anxiety
You have something you THOUGHT they want, they don’t want it= Anxiety
Of course, our goal is alignment.
I have what they want; they want what I have, they want it from me= Win Win
Selling is confident, honest, sensitive guidance towards your solution.
If they don’t want it, they don’t get to have it.
One piece of advice for the road: "Make them comfortable with you." (Kahle)
If they're comfortable with you, they'll trust you. Perhaps even listen and pay attention to you as you ask them about themselves. So that you can design a solution they love.
It’s easier to sell if you’re not a commodity. If you’re irreplaceable. If you have a unique advantage. If you’ve got a life story, you’ve got a unique advantage. Perhaps you’re not using it to your benefit. But you’ve got something no one on this earth has. The other day, I ordered a cab. I got into another cab. Not the cab I ordered. (Dude pressured me and I caved). Does that make me a bad person? Anyways, it’s a commodity. I had no compelling reason to pick one over the other.
You are there thinking “why aren’t they using me?” Everyone is self-serving. So they are actually wondering “how can I use this person?” Give them pathways, clear explanations of how, when and why to use you. If they understand and trust you, value you as unique among the competition, need you or badly want you and the process makes sense to them, they will use you.
People don't do business with robots, with machines, with resumes.
People do business with people. And 10 times out of 10, when they have the choice, they'll do business with people they like.
If you're feeling anxiety, it's coming from shame, guilt or a fear of vulnerability.
If you know that what you offer is good, you're speaking their language, building trust, asking the right questions, being flexible, making them happy, feel proud and excited to share what you do.
Scared it's not perfect? It's not perfect. It won't be perfect ever. Chill.
As I always say "They'll forgive you for improving."