Ever since I decided to build a coaching business last year, I’ve had to learn to sell. I’d avoided it before. I got good at marketing, so I could let my writing do the selling for me.
But as a coach, I had to learn to be with another human being, and sell my services.
Selling has a bad reputation. Yet it’s probably the skill that has the single biggest impact on a small growing business.
I was lying awake in bed a few nights ago. And I had an interesting thought…
Selling is like kissing.
It’s a two-way meeting.
It may lead to a deeper relationship.
It’s full of potential. For either expansion or contraction.
You remember the bad experiences.
Sales doesn’t have to be invasive and icky
The connotation many of us have for selling is the vacuum cleaner salesman.
The guy who doesn’t connect with you as a human, doesn’t listen or notice your reactions, and is only focused on getting what he wants – you buying his thing.
It’s highly unpleasant.
If you’ve ever had a really bad first kiss, you may know that feeling is rather similar. Like the woman at the party who’s drunk, and without even noticing who you are, crashes through your boundaries and sticks her tongue down your throat (yes, this did happen to me years ago).
But sales doesn’t have to be like this.
Good sales and good kissing are based on connection
A good first kiss is the result of connection. You’ve spent time with someone. You’re coming closer to one another. You’re creating shared reality. You’re feeling the pull to be closer.
And then one of you initiates the kiss.
They lean in, slowly, perhaps hesitant about whether they moved too early.
You stare deeply into their eyes as their face tilts upward gently.
They slide up from a neck nuzzle, as you turn your face down toward them.
A good kiss is born from mutual want. You both want to go deeper. You both want to come closer. And the kiss seals the beginning of that deepening.
A good sales conversation is like that too.
You’ve spent time to get to know one another. You can feel the click, the flow between you. You’re in connection with one another, and are both wanting to know what happens next.
One of you initiates the questions.
“So, how do I work with you?”
“Would you like to hear what working with me looks like?”
And then the sales conversation begins.
Selling is a result of mutual desire
You both want it.
It’s not one person asserting their agenda unconsciously on the other. It’s not a pushing past boundaries. It’s mutual desire.
“This has been so powerful. So, yes, I’d like to work with you more. What’s the next step?”
“Yes, I think you’d be perfect for this program. I’ll send you the registration details.”
I will never initiate a sales conversation with someone that I can’t feel desire with.
It could be my desire to coach them. I think I could serve them so I ask whether they want to know more.
It could be their desire to work with me. They’re really opened by our conversation, and want to hear about next steps.
It could be that we’re both feeling the deep click.
When you don’t pay attention to the felt sense of desire between you, and attempt to override a lack of desire with charm or pushiness, you’re entering vacuum cleaner territory.
It can get icky. Fast.
Follow the feeling of desire. Feel whether the conversation wants to go deeper.
It’s not about getting to yes. It’s about getting to truth.
“Yes, I would.”
“No. Thank you.”
Selling is the start of a deeper relationship
When I offer my coaching services to someone, and they accept, I’m stepping into a deep relationship with them.
I don’t take these things lightly. I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this person. We’re going to talk about the things they don’t talk about with other people. They’re going to grow. There will be challenging moments. Painful moments. Joyful moments. Intimate moments.
I’m helping them as they step into a deeper commitment to their work, their business, their mission.
I think about my clients when I’m not on the phone with them. I care about them. I only work with a handful at any one time, so that the depth is honoured and given space.
Selling is about deciding whether you’re going to step into deeper relationship.
And a deeper relationship requires deep connection, mutual desire and the willingness to step into the unknown together.
Great selling is the same as great kissing.
And remember it’s a metaphor, not a strategy.