The word “selling” or “sales” has very a negative connotation among writers. So much so that I often avoid using the word in my content.
Many of us associate selling with talking people into doing something they don’t want to do. High-pressure tactics. Used car salesmen. Telemarketers.
But that’s not selling at all. Selling is all about having a conversation. And when you start to really understand what selling is about and how to do it well, with integrity and without an agenda, your business will improve in a big way.
You’ll start landing more and better clients at higher fees. You’ll look forward to prospect conversations. And you’ll feel much more confident about your value and your ability to bring more of the right kind of business in the door.
My guest today will give a very different way to think about sales and selling. Her name is Nikki Rausch. Nikki is a selling coach and the CEO of Sales Maven. She has over 25 years of selling experience. And her specialty is helping entrepreneurs, small business owners and solo professionals sell successfully and authentically.
Nikki has written 3 books, which you can find on Amazon. And she’s the host of the Sales Maven podcast, in which she interviewed me recently to discuss how I break down and approach complex challenges. Check out that episode here. And check out my prior conversation with Nikki about the Selling Staircase.
In this interview, you’ll discover:
- Why most of us think about selling the wrong way
- A much healthier and authentic way to approach the selling process.
- How approach prospect conversations much more effectively and with greater confidence.
- And how to frame and pre-frame sales conversations so you can get the information you need faster (no more one-hour conversations!) while presenting yourself as the obvious choice.
The notes that follow are a very basic, unedited summary of the show. There’s a lot more detail in the audio version. You can listen to the show using the audio player below. Or you can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you listen to podcasts.
(01:49): For those who are not familiar with N L P ( Neuro-Linguistic Programming), how does that factor into your work?
It’s really the study of communication.
Neural – the way we process information in our brain.
Linguistic – is language. So, how do you speak to others and how do they speak to you?
Picking up language patterns and it also addresses any of that internal dialogue that we’ve got going on in our head.
(05:23): How we can change the way we think about and use sales in, in our business?
Sales is something that you do with somebody. It’s not something you do to somebody.
(09:41): Could you speak a little bit about the importance of real conversation in the sales process?
A conversation is a two-way back and forth.
(15:02): I like to show them that it’s A or B and I’m good with either one of them. I don’t have an agenda other than trying to find out if we have a potential match.
Do you go to that extent or do you kind of leave that part out?
I truly believe you can say just about anything to anybody, but how you deliver that, and how you frame it is going to determine how that person typically will receive it.
(16:43): What questions do you typically start with?
The questions that you want to ask are questions that lead people down this path to hiring you.
(19:27): I’m wondering if going with too high level of question might feel a little bit detached?
Think about the way you’re framing your questions. We want to be planting seeds about the things that you are capable of, the things that are your expertise, your superpowers.We’re not trying to make the client feel less than, we’re just trying to help them understand you’re talking to an expert here. – you’re talking to somebody who can help you in these particular areas. Because I wouldn’t ask the question if I couldn’t offer a solution.
(23:00): I like the fact that you’re approaching this call with, with real curiosity. You’re putting yourself at the same level instead of being subservient in treating it as an interview that goes both ways, right? They’re interviewing you, but you’re interviewing them because you’re really trying to find out that there’s a match that’s very different from approaching that with an agenda of, I need to close this deal.
There should always be a balance of power. And the way you can balance power out in that conversation is – yes, you’re asking them the questions but you give them the opportunity to answer.
(26:40): One category of questions that I find most people shy away from is what I call the decision making process questions. Can you share some more questions in this category?
One question that people often are afraid to ask is who’s going to be involved in the decision making? But there’s a way to frame that question so it lands softly.
Whom besides yourself is involved in the decision making?
Because you assume you presuppose that of course they have influence in the decision, otherwise they wouldn’t be on a call with you.
What’s your timeframe for getting this project done? When are you planning to start?
It’s okay to ask those very direct questions now. It’s what you do with your voice that’s also going to impact how it lands.
I’m curious, what’s your timeframe for making a decision about who you’re going to hire?
The last one that people are always afraid to ask is budget.
What are you looking to invest in a program like this? Or what are you looking to invest in hiring somebody to complete this project for you?
(32:32): I’m curious if you do this, and I usually do this in the pre-qualification form – why did you reach out to me? Or why did you decide to reach out to me specifically? Because I want to know what caught their eye.
Ask it as a what question instead of a why question. So, what prompted you to reach out?
(35:37): At the end of the call you schedule a circle back call, tell us a little bit more about that.
I don’t want you to end those calls without having your next step scheduled. So, I schedule what I call circle back calls with people.
(38:32): How can we pre-frame so that when prospects do reach out to us, they’re way more likely to hire us?
Make sure that your message, the things that make you unique, the things that make you stand out, are the things that you’re talking about.
(46:03): I want to make sure that folks know how they can reach out to you, learn more about what you do, get your content and learn more about your coaching work when we send them.
Your Sales Maven
Closing the Sale
By the way… whenever you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:
1. Grab a free copy of my book.
It’s called Earn More in Less Time: The Proven Mindset, Strategies and Actions to Prosper as a Freelance Writer. The title says it all. 😉 — Click Here
2. Join my implementation program and be a case study.
I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’re earning $5k+/month (or the part-time equivalent) from your freelance business … and you’d like to grow your income quickly with better clients … just email me at [email protected]
3. Work with me privately.
If you’re a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time, with less stress, I might be able to help you get there faster than you think. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Breakthrough” in the subject line, and I’ll get back to you with more details.