Advice from a Horrible Salesperson

The worst job in the world, if you ask me, is selling anything. I see those guys demonstrating at the State Fair and I run past their booths, terrified of making eye contact. I’ve always equated salespeople with phony manipulators trying to get me to do what they want me to do, rather than what’s good for me. No, thank you!

Starting my own divorce practice has put me in the untenable position of selling myself and the services I offer almost every day.  To make matters worse, I hate talking about myself, I’m uncomfortable being the center of attention, and I occasionally find myself in hot water for telling people what they need to hear, as opposed to what they want to hear.  All of these traits make me a great mediator and parenting consultant, and a horrible sales person.

Following are some of the valuable marketing lessons I’ve learned since starting my practice.

  • Authenticity is Key. Didn’t I just say that, in order to sell anything, you had to be a phony manipulator? Not true! I’ve learned the most important part of selling yourself is being yourself. Most people can see through insincerity so don’t bother using a phony sales pitch. Let your qualifications and skills speak for themselves.
  • Be more interestED than interestING. If you are meeting with a potential client or referral source, listen more than you speak. Be genuinely interested in what the other person has to say. Not only will you learn something about them, but they will feel good after meeting you.
  • State why you do what you do. People are generally aware of what you do so it’s not necessarily important to spend time talking about the specifics. Talking about why you do what you do is usually more impactful. For example, I started my divorce practice because I am passionate about helping kids. Parents in conflict often have kids who are hurting; the best way to help the kids is to help their parents. Telling potential clients and referral partners this makes a much stronger statement than getting into the details of the mediation and PC process.
  • Passion sells. Selling something you believe in is not actually selling, it’s inspiring. I truly believe the work I do benefits my clients so it’s easy to “sell” my work authentically.
  • Ask for what you need. Be clear about what you are looking for from your potential clients or referral sources. For example, when I meet with a family law attorney, I specifically ask for referrals for parenting consulting clients (assuming that’s what I’m looking for at the time). You won’t get what you need if you don’t ask for it.

Not only are these lessons valuable in marketing, they are valuable in life. All of them apply to how we develop and sustain relationships, as well as how we sell ourselves and our businesses. I’ve been able to naturally put these lessons into practice professionally and personally. They have allowed me to connect with others in authentic and meaningful ways. Watching my business grow as a result is just a bonus.

Erin Kassebaum provides mediation, coaching and parenting consulting services on a sliding fee scale. She is located in Bloomington. Please feel free to contact Erin with any comments or questions at 612.599.8366 or erin@resolutiondivorceservices.com. “Like” her on Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/erinkassebaumrds.

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