You know that feeling you get when someone presents you with an amazing opportunity to present and sell your course, class or program and part of you is like YES! But as you picture the scene in your head the sense of jubilation begins to fade. Instead of seeing yourself jubilantly delivering your life affirming talk, you want to curl up and disappear. In place of the confident words that should be exiting your mouth, you feel a little bit of vom, climbing up the back of your neck as you burp in your potential clients face.
Not a good look.
Having worked in sales for 12 years, before deciding to follow a more meaningful path, when it comes to 'selling stuff' I've seen the lot. Some people are born naturals. They'll wax lyrical about anything and everything for hours and have people practically begging to sign up on the dotted line. Other people - not so much. If you fall into the latter camp, do not worry I have a secret sauce that works as well in the birth world as it did in a global media organization.
The first thing you need to do if you're a bit crap at selling your awesome services is:
1) Stop Selling
Well, maybe stop selling is a bit strong, but start to reframe what you are doing as giving or sharing, so you can drop the 'used car salesman' cliche. Sales is definitely something you can learn. And the more you practice the easier it becomes - if you have the right tool set. But one of the easiest ways to get rid of the queasy feeling is to not think about how to push your service onto someone. That just feels urgh. However, sharing how you can help solve the problem that is preventing them from enjoying their baby/pregnancy/birth is so much comfortable. If you feel like the work you're doing is important you have responsibility to get your message out there. So, take a deep breath and swallow down that fear and get sharing.
2) Build your Network
You can do this in a formal or an informal way. One of the best things that I did when I first set up my in person practice was to join an established collective, where I paid 15% (which was probably on the high side) of my fee to the lady who ran the website for every booking I made. This was a really good move on my part as my first full group class was filled by people who had come from that website.
Informal networking can be just as effective, but takes more time as your referrals will come from building your relationships with other practitioners and then doing a good a job. If you're looking to build relationships, yes you can go for a coffee, but look to see how you can add value to the person you are looking to get referrals from as well. How can you help them? Maybe it's work related, but perhaps it's not. How can you check in with them without necessarily having to take them out for a drink as that can eat into very valuable time. Think creatively and know that a huge part of the 'sales' process comes before you're actually selling a thing.
3) Provide Value
Start thinking about your potential clients in the same way you're now thinking about your networking peers. How can you add value before they have something to give to you?
See where you can provide a gift, information or something of use, in an obvious way as soon as that person lands on your site. If you are a hypnobirthing practitioner, can you offer a PDF worksheet that provides 5 tips for staying calm during pregnancy and birth? A prenatal yogi, could create a 3 part video guide that shows clients the best way to keep their posture aligned as they get bigger in order to help baby stay in the optimal position for birth. If you specialise in baby massage perhaps a 2 part video or a PDF that shows how to massage your baby if they are unsettled and you suspect it's wind, would be of helpful.
Your task is to provide value in way that makes your potential client remember you for your generosity and gives you permission to contact them in the future with more helpful, valuable content. So by the time they are ready to buy the relationship you have built over time means of course you are their go to person.
So, if you're feeling stuck around sales check the systems and structures you have in place to help grow your network and therefore your referrals. Ensure you have a way to capture email addresses so you can start to add value on a regular basis to your ideal clients and reframe selling as you start to share your invaluable talents with the world. You're changing the world one pregnant or new mum at a time - so go for it.
Still feeling sickie? Join me for my masterclass on putting first things first when it comes to creating a business, hint. It has NOTHING to do with websites, sales or marketing! Sign up for my free masterclass here