Many sales “techniques” are based on using the fear centers of the brain to trigger you into survival mode. They are manipulative, pushy, and remove agency from the buyer. To my mind, they are also why many voice professionals have a real hard time doing what they need to do around sales. We’ve got to get rid of uncomfortable sales is a must if we’re going to thrive in 2021.
If you ever run into a sales tactic that feels “off” to you – ask yourself why.
Usually – it’s because you’re feeling:
- FOMO (the fear of missing out)
- Pressure to be liked/accepted
- Potential loss of opportunity
- Something seems “too good to be true” – high gain for low risk
- A promise of more [something] with the only thing you’ve got to trade for it is more money (friends, nothing costs only money)
These tactics work. That is why they are still in use.
I can’t say this loud enough: the kinds of sales tactics that seek to take away autonomy from the buyer are unethical.
In the online business world, we have come to call this “bro marketing”. BRO is an acronym for “boiler room operations”. (Yeah, I know, people connect it with certain kinds of males being asshats, and while that may be true at times, there are plenty of female bro marketers. Correlation and causation and all that jazz.)
Boiler Room Operations is a slang term for using high-pressure sales tactics. It came from the days of companies using rooms of cold callers to sell (sometimes fraudulent) stocks. These “get them to like you and don’t take no for an answer” salespeople now show up in the form of countdown timers, (falsely stating) limited seating, no way to click away on sales pages, increasing fear of failure, and using false equivalencies.
I won’t teach bro marketing. Mostly because I am not very good at it. I sweat too much.
In SECO, for example, we teach service-based marketing, discovery marketing, and nurture marketing. We want you to guide your potential clients into something that actually solves their problems. We want our clients to say “hell yes” without feeling manipulated into doing so.
Here’s the thing though: IT IS HARD. It’s harder to dig out your unique value proposition; to ask “what brings more value”, and “what leaves me with integrity and a paycheck”. It’s easy to create sales templates. Easy to swipe copy. It’s hard to tell the truth and ask directly for a sale because you are positive that what you have will change a person’s life.
It’s also hard to honestly tell a person that you know that what you offer isn’t right for them – especially when you’re hurting financially. Yet, sometimes, it must be done.
Listen – you have to know how to sell. If you own a business, you have to sell. You have to market. You can’t get away from that. Even if you’ve got all your students via word of mouth, that is marketing. The email back and forth/phone calls to set up the first lesson are sales conversations.
We owe it to those reaching out to us to provide five things:
- A clear picture of who we are and what we are about (the who)
- An overview of the results that our work brings our clients (the wow!)
- A concise and thought out description of how we work with people (the how it works)
- The investment that they’ll make (the how much)
- Timing (the when to proceed)
It’s our responsibility to understand the value we bring to our clients. It’s on us, the studio owner, to determine why our work is important so that we can ask the right questions in a sales call to determine if what we do can meet their needs. Assuming that people should already know exactly what they are looking for is presumptuous.
It’s 2021. Let’s normalize selling in the voice field, finally, please.
Let’s get off this myth that it’s inherently bad to sell, that it’s always dirty or shady.
And for the love of all that is voice-holy – PLEASE – let’s stop getting so bent out of shape when we see other people trying to make a living. Have agency. We aren’t helpless against spammy advertising. We are smart people: if we sense the bro marketing vibe, all we need to do is walk away, or scroll/hide post, and we don’t have to buy.
When people ask me, “What do I get in SECO?” I often point them toward The SpeakEasy Cooperative landing page. Let them check it out, and reach out with any questions. If the questions are numerous, and it’s obvious some coaching would help, I ask them to book a paid call and explain why. Clear and straightforward – and up to them to decide what they’d like to do next.
Well, here’s something that you get in SECO: Learning how to sell with integrity. Getting rid of uncomfortable sales.
And freedom from that narrative is worth its weight in gold.
All My BeastyBoss,