EP160: Heart-Based Selling

“If you have love and have empathy for and excitement about your audience, then you can love sales and enroll the people who are absolutely the best possible fit for you.”

 

So many consultants are repulsed by selling and struggle to make it feel good to them. They think of it as a necessary evil. When they do that, they miss out on everything that is possible from a different point of view. Selling is truly one of my favorite parts of my business. I love making a meaningful heart connection with potential clients, and I want to take the opportunity to give to them generously, whether they end up working with me or not. That’s what heart-based selling is really about. Dive into heart-based selling—and how to fall a little more in love with sales—in this episode of Profitable Joyful Consulting.

 

Key Areas Discussed:

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:41 What I love about selling 
  • 2:32 The client who said “The Universe tells me I have a $2 million business”
  • 4:00 What you’re really doing when someone comes to you in a sales situation
  • 5:04 What objections are about (and why they don’t have anything to do with you)
  • 6:02 Having non-attachment in the sales process
  • 6:26 Why sticker shock is okay (and where we go from there)
  • 7:01 How heart-based selling can bring the right people to you and help you show them their potential 
  • 9:10 Empathy and listening in the sales process
  • 14:10 The magical thing I do before sales calls 
  • 15:14 The secret sauce of my heart-based selling process
  • 19:44 The behavior-changing mindset shift you must make

 

Whether you love or hate selling, tune in to this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/m3sLyFd05Js, or your favorite podcast app: http://www.samanthahartley.com/blog-podcast to learn how to sell in a way that serves the highest good of everyone involved.

 

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Heart-Based Selling

In this episode, we are talking about money. We can’t even talk about money in business without touching on the subject of sales. That’s how we bring in the money. Many consultants are repulsed by selling or they can’t find a way that feels good for them. It’s like a necessary evil as opposed to being your favorite part of the business and it is almost my favorite part of the business. I love making this meaningful heart connection with my clients. That’s why I wanted to talk about heart-based selling. It’s what I feel like I’m doing.

I’m in love with so many of the people who come to me. I want to take the opportunity of a sales call to be able to give to them generously whether they end up working with me or not. To me, that’s what heart-based selling is about. It’s about being generous and loving. I’m going to talk a little bit more about what that is and what that means. If you are not into selling at all but you know you need to be better, then this is for you. If you are rocking and amazing at sales, then I want to share with you some tips that I’m learning.

Heart-based selling is about being generous and loving.

Every day and every year I continue to sell, I learn something more fulfilling and wonderful that makes me love sales more so I’m going to share that with you. I’ve been selling for decades. It’s been a core part of my work. I’ve never felt more connected to the people that I sell to and the people who are my community and my target audience like you, those that I want to connect to, consultants, women, females, and founders. These are the people I love.

I love to get in conversations where I’m asking about like, “What’s going on in your business? I want to learn about you. What’s challenging? What’s hard for you? What have you tried?” I never get tired of hearing that information. If you have that love, empathy, and excitement about your audience, then you too can love sales. You can enroll the people who are the best possible fit for you.

Years ago, I had a client come to me and she said, “The universe tells me I have a $2 million business.” I said, “I believe in the universe.” We began conversations about her working with me and what that might look like. It was a long sales process, as long as it took because I felt sure that she was my client but she didn’t yet. She had a push-me-pull-you thing where she would feel like, “I know this is the right thing to do but I’m so scared. I want to do this but I’m so scared.”

The interesting thing to me is that dynamic and I’ve told her story many times before. She was referred to me. She needed one of everything, everything from strategy to what I did at the time for clients, which was a website and signature system. It needed everything. That was when I first began to do transformational engagements. Instead of doing each of those things individually for a small amount of money, I said, “We should string this together, work together a year, and do all of this.” We are still working together. It’s working out. That’s the happy ending to the story.

At the very beginning, during the sales calls, what was happening was her coming to terms with. “The universe is inviting me to up-level and take a huge giant step forward in my business. To do that, I’ve invited this person into my life. She’s showing me this possibility,” she’s saying. When someone comes to you in a sales situation, what you’re doing is saying, “You’ve heard this number. This is what you want your business to look like. I believe you. I’m going to reflect that to you.”

 Profitable Joyful Consulting | Heart Based Selling

Heart Based Selling: When someone comes to you in a sales situation, what you’re really doing is saying, “You’ve heard this number and what you want your business to look like. I believe you. Now, I’m going to reflect that back to you.”

 

Sometimes when you mirror that back to them, they go. “That’s big.” The person in our positions is like, “That’s what you said. It looks like this.” “Stop showing me that.” That, to me, is this beautiful wonderful dynamic in selling. When somebody says, “I think I’m big,” and you go, “You are big,” they go, “I’m big.” That is the process of enrolling someone to work with you. It can be better and different. “I feel like it should be like this.” “It could be,” and then they shout. That’s the process of selling a lot of times, even if you’re working with companies and if the person you’re selling to is a VP of whatever.

That person is still a person who’s like, “I’ve been given this task to do this thing or solve this problem. This could be easier.” You’re coming in there to say, “True so let’s talk about how that could happen.” We then get into all of the issues about that. What will happen in sales calls a lot of times is that people will voice their concerns like the screaming sound like, “That dream sounds scary. Now that you mirror it back to me, I’m not sure. Even though I’m called to it, I’m afraid of that.” You’re going to say, “That’s okay. I know how to get there and how to do that.”

It can sound a lot like “objections.” “I don’t know if I can do that. I don’t know if you can do that. I don’t know if I believe you. That’s a lot of money. Are you kidding? That’s what you’re going to charge me for this?” All of those things are reactions that people will have in the sales process to have the dream, the solution, and the possibility mirrored back to them by you. It didn’t have anything to do with you. That is a person working through the process of accepting that this is what it would look like to be on the path to achieving their goal.

You have to have non-attachment. You have to be in a place where you can say, “I’m going to tell you this stuff and you’re going to take it. If you want to work together, then let’s do it but I’ll understand also if you don’t want to work together.” Sometimes they’ll get frightened by what they’ve heard and they won’t work with you. Maybe they’re not the right fit. Maybe this is not the right time but that doesn’t have to do with you. I had a client contact me. Somebody got back to him and said, “We’re in sticker shock.”

You’re in sticker shock. Sticker shock is not fatal. That is part of the process where someone is working through getting used to the fact that the thing that they want or the solution that you think is the best solution for them is more than they expected it to be. 1 or 2 things will happen. They’ll decide we still want to step up and do the thing or we want to do something other than that, either nothing or something lower. Nevertheless, sticker shock is not fatal.

These are ways that heart-based selling can bring the right people to you and get you involved in a conversation where you are showing them their potential. That’s what I’m going to talk about in this episode. The first thing that I want to mention is it’s the opposite of classic push selling. “We have to close this many people and always be closing,” and that kind of thing. That’s a hyper-masculine, patriarchal, and old-style like previous centuries’ ways of selling. We don’t do that anymore and you don’t do that.

Heart-based selling can bring the right people to you and get you involved in a conversation where you are showing them their potential.

Mirroring

That’s not going to serve you to do any of these techniques. If that’s the way you’re trained like me and a lot of us, then great. We can let go of that stuff but we need something to replace it with. If you never were trained in that style of selling, then you don’t have a bunch of stuff to unlearn. You just get to adopt a new way of doing things. Those are the things that I want to offer to you. The first thing that I’ve been talking about is being a mirror for your clients and listening from a heart connection to what their hopes and dreams are. That is the sacred thing. That is the possibility in all this.

What we are looking for with the standard of is for that. The standard for selling to me in that situation is I’m looking for the highest good of all concerned. It means I don’t want to close someone because it’s a good thing for me. I don’t want to close something that’s a good thing for them. This can look like someone comes to you and you feel like, “They’re not a great fit for me but I feel like I should help them. They’re asking for help. I could do this for less money. They can’t afford me.”

Those are things that are in their highest good but not your highest good. You want to watch out for that. It needs to be in the high good of all. The highest good of all means also anybody that they serve like their clientele, your team, and your employees. It’s got to be good for everybody and the right clients will be. This isn’t a high standard. This is the easiest right standard. You’re going to feel it in your gut and it’s going to make sense in any logical way that you look at it that this is the right thing to be doing. That is the highest good of all concerned.

Empathy

The next thing that I want you to look at is having empathy in your sales process. You can hear when I’m talking about that client. “I heard her having a hard time dealing with this,” or dealing with the idea that it was going to be expensive to work with me. It was going to be the most money that she had paid for anything besides her house. That’s a lot of money. It was a hard idea for her to think I was going to be doing things as a result of this that I didn’t know how to do. I can’t imagine the things. She couldn’t imagine the things that I was telling her because she’d never done them before.

A lot of times when clients come to you, they’re asking you to help them achieve an outcome. They don’t know the path to get to that outcome or the how. If they did, they’d be doing it already. Sometimes, they do know it and they’re not doing it already because they can’t do it without support or help. That piece right there, the part that they’re not doing or they don’t understand how to do, it’s hard to imagine that they will be doing it when they’re working with you.

A lot of times, what is missing in this whole piece is their belief in themselves. They believe you but they don’t believe that they can do it. They believe that you can do it. A lot of the time, if you’re bringing your testimonials, case studies, and success stories, the piece that’s missing for the clients is like, “I believe you can do it but can I do it?” Get clear with them that it is possible for them. To me, that empathy for them being in that position is important.

What is helpful for me after so many years in business and having worked with so many consultants and clients, especially self-employed people, is I rarely hear of a situation that I don’t have a connection to or I haven’t worked with someone who was in. I can share real stories of people like them and what they did to overcome any obstacles. Whether it was fear of selling or inability like ignorance, not knowing how to sell. It’s all of those situations I’ve seen and experienced before so I can speak knowledgeably to someone being in that situation.

You can speak knowledgeably to that no matter how long you’ve worked with people. You’ll be able to find someone that you’ve worked with and say what that reminds you of when you connect to your client. A lot of times, you can connect it to yourself and the way that you felt when you were in their position before. Think broadly about life empathy rather than work empathy. Even though they may be struggling with a situation that you may never have been in, you understand what it’s like to be there.

Conveying that empathy is helpful for people in sales situations because they want to believe that you understand them better than they understand themselves. That’s a big bonus if you can. It’s that empathy piece. You know their pain, others like them, and also their desires, goals, hopes, and dreams. Kicking into that and connecting with it is the key to heart-base selling. Help them to believe that things are possible for them even when they don’t.

Profitable Joyful Consulting | Heart Based Selling

Heart Based Selling: Conveying empathy is really helpful for people in sales situations because they want to believe that you understand them better than they understand themselves.

 

Listening

The next thing that I like to do is to always talk about listening. I’m always listening for a few things here. “Is this someone who reminds me of my other perfect clients? Is this someone who the challenges that they’re talking about are challenges that I want to solve and I’m excited about?” A lot of times, people can come to you and you can be like, “I’ve already done 1,000 of those. I don’t want to solve that problem anymore.”

For example, I have a client who does financial work but she doesn’t work with any companies that are in financial distress because that can be unfun. That’s a harsh vibe and you might not want to participate in that, and she doesn’t. You’re allowed to say whether you choose to work with companies in these situations. I’m listening for, “Do I want to solve those problems?” One of the reasons I don’t work with brand new consultants, and I make this show for brand new consultants but I don’t personally work with them, is that a lot of the challenges that happen in the very first year are ones that I have solved with people for many years.

I’ve done those with my clients over and over again. They’re not as fun for me. I love and want to support beginner consultants. I feel like I’m creating materials that are free and accessible to help with those beginning challenges but the work that I want to do is when people are in a different stage in their development. Not better or worse but different and more of a fit for what I want to do. You have the right to choose that for yourself so listen. Do your clients express that they’re in a place with challenges that you want to solve? Are those the hopes and dreams that they are looking for? Are those things that you want to help them to achieve? Do they excite you? Do they spark passion in you? If so, then this person is likely a fit for you. I’m listening with that in mind as well.

I’m going to tell you one odd tip that I do whenever I have a sales call. Before I get on the phone with someone on a discovery call, I will ask this question in meditation. I will connect with my heart with their heart. I will say, “What is the thing that this person most needs to hear from me on today’s call?” I always hear an answer. I always hear something. I want to say challenge but I don’t want to use a harsh word like that or else it’s a sensitive topic. I invite you before your next discovery call or your next meeting with your client, even if it’s coaching calls, to ask, “What’s the thing that my client most needs to hear from me on this call?”

I ask that at the beginning of my coaching calls, “What’s the number one thing I can help you with?” That’s different from, “What does my client most need to hear from me?” On discovery calls, “What does this person most need to hear from me on the call?” Keep that in mind and listen to it. You’ll find amazing information in that. You are connected to them with your heart, even if it’s your very first phone call with them.

The Real Truth

The next thing that I do is a superpower. This is the secret sauce. It is the number one. I’ve buried this in the middle of this episode but this is the thing that I want to tell you about. I’ve had a sales calls. The most important thing is whether or not I close a call, I need to be able to tell someone the truth. When you tell someone the truth and they know it’s the truth, it’s the harsh truth. It’s the thing that nobody else will tell them and you’re like, “I need to tell you that if you keep doing it this way, you are going to burn yourself out or what I’m going to tell you is.”

The most important thing, whether or not you close a call, is that you need to be able to tell someone the truth.

I said to someone once on a call, “You are tired of this topic that your expertise is in. You want to do something else. I don’t want to help you grow a business that is going to be more of something that you’re exhausted from.” Sometimes, when I tell someone that, I will get them as a client and they will hear, “I don’t think I want to be doing this anymore.” I will not get them as a client because they take another direction. Either way, I told the truth that they needed to hear according to me that I believe they needed to hear and that served the highest good of all concerned.

Would it have been easy for me to sign somebody up by telling them something different? Sure, but that to me is not the key. I have worked with some of my clients for a long time. Even if I only work with them for a year, I don’t want to enter into any situation unless I know that I can tell them the real truth. On every single call, what I will do is tell someone the not harsh truth but the real truth that they need to hear. It’s not always something unpleasant. Sometimes, it’s like, “I think you can do this. You’ve been playing small up until now. Now, you’re ready to go big. You’ve been wearing yourself out and you’ve been doing it in the absolute hardest possible way. We need to find you a different way that’s going to work for you.”

Whatever is the thing that I need to say, I will tell the truth on that sales call. Here’s why I do this. I want to establish a precedent for all of our future work together that not only that I will tell them the truth but also they have an experience of it so I get to see how they respond to that. Not everybody wants to be told the truth or hear the truth to their face. They do not take it well in some cases. If you’ve told someone exactly what they need to hear. they don’t always say thank you for that. If you get a freak-out reaction, you need to know that.

Profitable Joyful Consulting | Heart Based Selling

Heart Based Selling: Not everybody wants to be told the truth to their face.

 

If I go back to the beginning of this call and I talk to you about the client who began to make peace with the transformational engagement and the price that she was going to pay, she did not have an easy reaction to that. I wouldn’t say she had a freak-out or a temper tantrum but it was close. It was a big reaction that she had to that. Here’s what’s wonderful. Over the years of working together, she and I had run into other conflicts. I knew from that first phone call that she wasn’t going to be a lunatic and freak out on me because I’d already seen how she accepts harsh truths. I have established a working relationship in which I am able.

As consultants and coaches, we have to be able to tell them this but what’s the real thing? A lot of times on a sales call, somebody won’t tell them the harsh truth because they want to close the sale. A lot of times in a coaching relationship, they won’t tell the harsh truth because they don’t want to get fired as a coach. If my client knows no amount of money is more important to me than if I tell you the truth and that you hear what you need to hear, that is a valuable working relationship and a basis for trust.

I want you to think about when in your discovery calls and those early connections, listen, have an opportunity to tell someone something like the real truth, and see how that’s going to go. For me, in my case, that has led to long-term relationships with amazing clients. I adore my clients. I could go on and on. The closeness I feel with them, the trust I feel, and the way that I’m making a contribution to the world through them and their work is incredibly gratifying for me.

Do Things Differently

The last thing I want to leave you with is if you think about sales in the way of making and creating long-term relationships, then you’re going to do things very differently. That is what is so exciting about it. I want to share about one of my clients. This is one of my newer clients. Hopefully, we have many wonderful years together. She said she was very nervous about transitioning from hourly to transformational engagements. She was also very nervous about sales. We’ve been working on that for not very long and she’s doing amazing at it.

If you think about sales in terms of making and creating long-term relationships, then you’re going to have to do things very differently.

She closed her second transformational engagement. I said to her, “It was easy, wasn’t it?” It wasn’t and she said, “Yes, it was easy.” I said, “It was fun.” She said, “It was fun.” I said, “I told you sales would be fun.” She said, “When you told me, I didn’t believe you and now I do.” It’s fun when you know what you’re doing and you have new skills and you use them and they work. It’s fun when you feel nervous about doing something and you try it and then it turns out great because you’ve been prepared for what’s going to happen.

I love to work with my clients on this. I love to work in sales because of the intimacy that is related to it. I love the idea of heart-based selling as a way in for consultants who feel like it cannot be that and then they do discover that it is that way. If you would like to get help in this area, I urge you to reach out. I would love to have a conversation with you. It’s going to be a conversation in which I’m not going to try to sell you anything because that’s not how I do.

It’s going to be a conversation in which I say the truth because that is what I do. It must be in the highest good of all concerned. A lot of times, our sales calls are a gift to the universe. It’s a gift to somebody and we send that out into the universe. We don’t get a direct return on that particular call but it will come back to us someday from somewhere, and usually tenfold. That’s what I believe. With that, I am wishing you a profitable and joyful consulting business.

 

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