I suck when it comes to being a salesperson. Well, at least in the traditional sense of what it means to sell. This might seem like a problem given I’m self-employed. I don’t believe my ability to sell actually matters.
Truthfully, I hate selling people anything. By definition selling means to persuade someone to buy something. To convince them the product or service is something they need. I don’t want to persuade anyone to buy anything.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about my services or something I’m selling to get rid of it. I just hate the thought of trying to persuade someone to do something.
If I persuade you to buy my services, I see this as being similar to giving advice. Advice is one of the worst ways to help someone. The problem is there’s an exchange which comes with giving advice. When I give you the advice, you give me the responsibility for the advice succeeding.
I prefer to enter into a relationship with you and help you figure out if what I’m offering is of value. This is why, for example, I start all my coaching relationships with a free call.
The call gives us the opportunity to experience being in relationship with each other. At the end of the call, I simply ask what’s the next steps for you. If it includes hiring me as your coach; wonderful! If it does not include hiring me as your coach; wonderful!
Either way, I am not going to try and persuade you to do anything you don’t want.
Thought of the week
When someone is asking you for advice it is because they feel stuck trying to make a decision. They are likely feeling anxious about the decision. So, they look for someone else to tell them how to make the anxiety go away by providing the answer.
As the one being asked to provide advice you will feel their anxiety. It would be natural for you to want to escape this anxiety. Giving advice will provide a temporary relief to the anxiety. However, you then own the responsibility for the outcome if they take your advice.
Despite the discomfort the most powerful thing you could do for others is to not give advice. Instead, it’s more powerful to help them find their own answer.
Ask them some powerful questions to get them reflecting on what they already know. Questions like “What has you unable to make this decision yourself?” Or “What do you want?” Odds are they’ll find their answer through this conversation.
In the end, if they still want your advice never provide less than three options. I’ll explain why next week.