Confession time: While I write this, I’m actively putting off creating a presentation at the Greater Vail Area Chamber of Commerce I’m giving next week.
It’s a presentation I signed up to do. I’m sponsoring their August breakfast (which will be fun and by the time you read this will also be over, which means you can check out pictures from it on my Instagram or Facebook page).
I’m not dreading it because I have a fear of speaking in front of people (I don’t). I’m dreading it because selling is uncomfortable. And this presentation? It’s not about dropping some educational bombs on a group of awesome small business owners like I usually do at speaking gigs. It’s about full-on, sell-your-stuff, show-’em-what-ya-got speaking, which means it’ll be all about me, me, me. (Or us, us, us more like it.)
But should selling be uncomfortable?
I’m going to step out on a limb and say no. After all, I’m a copywriter by trade and written sales is what I have done for a living for years.
Sales shouldn’t feel bad when you believe in what you’re selling, which in this case, I absolutely do. So, in order to not feel like I have to run home and bathe immediately after this presentation, here’s what I’m doing. It’s sales without being sleazy, if you will. And it’s the same thing I do when I approach any new piece of written sales copy.
I’m opening up with a story.
Storytelling is HUGE in marketing these days. So much so, in fact, that the term “storytelling” has turned into a buzzword. Although I normally avoid buzzwords like a locust filled plague, this one seems appropriate because it’s so spot on.
The story I plan to tell at the breakfast in a few short days is this: My story.
When I first started The Savvy Copywriter (now Savvy Copywriters), I had just come out of a tough time with my former boss. He couldn’t pay me because investor income had run dry and no income was coming in. That’s because we didn’t have a product to sell. So, it only made sense to part ways.
I found myself with a lot of free time on my hands but instead of searching for another job, I decided to take the plunge and try doing something for myself – start my own business.
My ever-frugal husband gave me the go-ahead with a budget of $100. That was just enough to do what I knew I needed to do the most – get a website.
Then, I created my free social media profiles and got to work.
At first, I signed a handful of clients doing SEO writing. Then, copywriting work came my way in the form of landing pages. As my presence grew, so did my client base. And on and on it went.
I grew my business from a one-woman show at a stained kitchen table to a full marketing agency here in Tucson with a team of five people. And I did it on a budget of only $100 using the same tactics I offer my clients.
In other words, I can feel comfortable selling what I sell because I’ve walked the walk and seen it pay off first hand.
I’m sprinkling in some stats and social proof.
But that’s enough about me. Yes, it worked to grow Savvy Copywriters, but does it work for other small businesses too? Absolutely.
In this upcoming presentation, social proof will be another big deal. Ultimately, the people in the room are going to be searching for themselves in the stories I share just like they search for social proof in the copy you have on your website. Your story is only one story. The stories of your clients are another.
In this presentation, I’ll have a handout with a stat and a few testimonials from people in the room.
Because here’s the thing about testimonials: They’re meaningless if they’re not from real people about real projects.
By strategically placing the testimonials from people this audience already knows, it’s easier to get their attention and develop that insta-trust every business owner craves. Hear me on this?
On your website, or in any of your marketing materials, you can do the same by putting faces next to the people who have given you a testimonial and linking to their businesses. Not only is that good etiquette, but it also proves that you didn’t just pull the statement out of thin air.
Then, I’m going to talk about what I do, dammit!
This is the hard part. This is the part where most people trip up. The storytelling (buzzword) is done and now it’s time to get real. It’s time to ask for money in exchange for a service (please don’t hate me).
And it’s time to upsell (please don’t think I sound like I’m begging).
There’s a self-talk that many business owners do no matter how much we believe in what we’re selling and the value it brings. We can tell our stories about what we do but when it comes time to push the proposal over the table and leave the awkward silence hanging with the price tag attached to each service, we sweat a little bit. Okay, we sweat a lot, actually.
It’s uncomfortable, no matter how confident you are in what you sell.
But here’s the thing: It’s also really appreciated.
No one can benefit from you if they don’t know what you offer. No one can put your talents to good work for them if they don’t know you or your products exist.
Yes, it can feel uncomfortable. But remember, you’re doing your clients a disservice by not asking for the sale or offering a little extra in your proposals. You’re actually robbing the world of your intelligence, your skill, your craft, YOU.
So, the next time you are invited to share about your business – whether it’s online, in a 30-second shpiel, or as a sponsor of a networking breakfast – do it with confidence. Be proud of what you have to offer because you know it is valuable. And potentially life changing.
Marketing changed my world in the best of ways. I can now stay home with my beautiful child (soon to be children when my second baby is born in October 2017) and still contribute to the outside world. I can be flexible in when, where and how I work as long as I and my team are achieving great results for our clients. It’s a beautiful life I’ve built and without telling others about my experience, I couldn’t help others achieve that same success.
As business owners, we’re in this together. You started your company because you saw a need not being met. Tell others about how you solve that need. Be proud of what you offer. With the confidence in place, the sales will come.