The woman on stage had done a brilliant job of showcasing her work. We, her audience, had thoroughly enjoyed watching her end-of-course participants show off their newly-learnt skills and I overheard snippets of conversations in the break that told me several audience members were keen to find out more about her next course and potentially sign up.
We waited expectantly to hear how we could get involved. But instead, she closed the night’s event with this:
“I’m not going to do a sales pitch. If you’re interested, call me.”
I felt let down. I imagined the others around me, engaged and eager, feeling let down too. We were waiting for the sales pitch. We were expecting the sales pitch. We wanted the sales pitch!
Because a sales pitch is not for you. It’s for us.
When you’re self-employed and you hold back on the details of your offer and how we can engage further, you make it hard for us. You make us do too much work.
How were we going to call this brilliant person? There were no business cards scattered around that would help us, and what would we say if we did find her number?
It would have been so much easier if there had been a little “expression of interest” flyer to fill out, or a list where we could leave our name and email address so she could get back to us to set up a conversation.
It would have given our engagement and interest somewhere to go. It would have made it easy for us to potentially benefit from what she was offering.
Want to know a (not very secret) secret?
I sometimes find the sales pitch hard. I wrote about this back here: Are You Apologising For Selling? Despite planning to take the due time to spell out next steps of engagement, when it comes to a live event, I can still find myself hurrying the “what’s next?” section.
My ego jumps in front of me. It blocks my best intentions because of fear of looking “salesy”. It protects its treasured self-image: that I’m someone who gives generously without thinking of self.
I’m guessing you can identify with this. When we’re self-employed and it’s easier to pay our bills when we have clients, we can mistakenly assume it must be self-interested to lead people towards becoming paying clients.
But the irony is that it’s actually selfish to hold back on a clear sales pitch. People who left my most recent talk without a copy of my book (because I didn’t do it justice sales-wise) missed out on an affordable tool that would have helped them immensely. That’s me letting them down.
It’s generous to sell
When you do work that helps people, then good selling helps people. This realisation is the way out of sales paralysis. When you see a strong sales pitch as a strong act of generosity, you can let the sale happen through you so that more people can benefit from what you’re offering. You can make your potential customers and clients more important than your ego’s (misguided) fears of looking self-interested.
I’m giving several talks over the next few months and I plan to sell boldly and generously. To scare my ego away so I can help more people get closer to the support they want and need.
I challenge you to do the same. Leave a comment below, letting us know where, when and how you will unapologetically sell your generous offerings. (Massage, yoga, raw food coaching, nutrition, e-books, improv comedy, design – what are you selling? And how will you ensure people are really clear how to take the next step?)
© Corrina Gordon-Barnes 2012