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How To Sell Without Being a Slimeball

As business owners, we all need to sell. But nobody wants to sound like a slimeball.
So how do you sell in a natural and authentic way without sounding slimey? I’ll share my secret strategy that works like CRAZY in this episode.

Big Ideas

Discovering My Own Selling Strategy [1:20]

Recently, I was in conversation with the lovely Carrie Green, and one of the things that we were talking about was how to sell, and the different styles of selling. Years ago, I had a mentor of mine who was a phenomenal salesman, and his specialty was selling from the stage while you’re delivering a presentation. He was so good at it that he created a whole side business teaching others how to do it. Hundreds and hundreds of people would fly in every single month to learn how to sell from the stage.

I was helping run his company as his operations manager, so I got to experience and learn from him every single day. There was so much that I took away from that experience but the way in which he sold it just never totally jived with me. It was this really weird thing where I was trying to learn from him and apply what I was learning, but I never felt good about selling. There was a big aha moment for me at my first TRIBE live event, where I was going to be making an offer from the stage for the first time in years. I was really nervous, and I was going back through all of my old notes from when I was with my mentor, but I really wasn’t feeling good about it. I didn’t want to sell it in that way. So I thought, “Screw it, I’m going to do this my way!”

Collect Stories [3:38]

Now, my way was a little bit different. Instead of focusing on fancy closes, scripts or anything of that nature, I focused on the people that I was about to serve. Anytime that I am going to sell something, one of the very first things I am looking to do is to create a library of stories of the people that are just like those I’d be selling to. For example, I’m selling TRIBE,  and for me it’s about accumulating and creating a library of the stories of people in common markets like health, business, etc. And then stories of people who are in completely uncommon markets like balloon artists, or decorative door hangers painters. The stories become so effective because people see themselves in those stories.

Stories are a tremendously powerful way to sell without sounding like a slimeball. But how do you use them?

Step number one, you have to collect the stories. In the moment when you are helping people, inevitably, you’re going to have people who will experience success, and they’re going to share that success. But then most often, people just forget and leave it from there. You have to have the intention of capturing those moments when they happen, and you have to save it so that you can refer back to it a little bit later. In the beginning, it’s going to start with one story. And maybe that first story is actually your story of overcoming some problem or challenge, or your story of coming up with a solution, or your story of success stories. But then, you’re going to shift your energy to transferring the success and the progress to your people, and start helping them.

So when somebody says to me they don’t have those stories. To me, that’s lazy thinking. The question you should be asking is, how can I get more stories as quickly as possible? That might mean that you start working with people for free, because the most valuable thing that you can get from that experience is to help them experience success and make progress. Your story is your most powerful marketing asset.

Align Stories to Top Objective [9:16]

Step number two is to align your stories with top objections. I’ve talked before about creating an objection matrix. And basically, it’s just a very fancy word for listing all of your top objections on one side of a page, and then listing all of your stories on another side of the page and matching them up accordingly. This is really important, because when you have a list of objections, and somebody says, “I’d like to try and buy, but I don’t really have a big audience.” I’d say, “Oh, that sounds a lot like [someone’s story]”, and then I get into the story of talking about how Wendy Batten launched with a tiny audience of 354 people and welcomed 52 members. Or I’d tell the story of Anna Saucier, who had a tiny audience of 326 people, did her founding member launch and generated $5,024 in the first 24 hours. And that’s how these objections become obliterated. That seed of belief now eliminates the friction that the objection would have created.

Align Stories to Market Segments [12:45]

Number three, align stories to market segments. You want to talk to your audience in terms of where they are on their journey. For example, if somebody you know is in their earlier stages and may not have a big audience, they’re going to relate to stories of people who are in a similar boat. So in my case, I might say, “That sounds a lot like Brandy’s!” Brandy had a tiny audience of less than 400 people, but she moved forward regardless, and did a founding member launch and ended up welcoming 23 members. Now Brandy serves service providers, Facebook ad managers, social media managers or VAs. Those 23 members led to more than 250 members and her rolling out courses and masterminds. Her business has blossomed since then to the point where now she has brought her husband home from his corporate job.

Or you might have somebody who already has an audience, but they’re not generating recurring revenue. An example for us would be Lisa Corta, who had a successful blog while she was on her maternity leave. As her maternity leave was coming to an end, the reality that she’d have to go back to her corporate job was beginning to set in. Lisa didn’t want to go back there, she wanted to stay home with her new baby. So, she started thinking creatively. She had started to build this blog and it had traction, she had an audience there. Because she had an audience, she started a membership for moms who want to feed their family better. Since she had already had this audience, it was an easy transition for her into a paying membership.

Another example would be those who already have an existing membership. And that’s a lot like Carrie Green. She reached out to me because she, through blood, sweat and tears, had grown a membership site from scratch to about 1100 members, but she couldn’t get it beyond that point. So when we met, it was clear to me that there were just a few tweaks that she needed to make that would instantly make a world of difference. And to her credit, she immediately went into action and tripled her membership within a year.

Keep Using Stories! [17:25]

When you’re thinking about your stories, it’s not enough to just have the stories, you’ve got to be equipped to be able to know when to use the stories and what stories are relevant. The way we think about it is early stage, middle of the road, and more experienced.

This is not about hard nosing anybody or trying to convince them into buying anything new. It’s about showing them what’s possible. It’s about creating belief that they can do it too. And the best way to do that is by effectively using stories. So, I never feel like a slimeball when I’m selling because it has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with my audience and shifting the attention to them by showing them what’s possible.

Memorable Quote

Stories are a tremendously powerful way to sell without sounding like a slimeball.– Stu McLaren


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