You've put in a tremendous amount of time and energy to build your dream business, and now it comes time to sell. It can feel unnatural, but it's the necessary root that leads to the growth and sustainability of your business.
Luckily, we have Michele Perry with Designed to Thrive Creative here to teach us how to sell. As a content strategist, creative director and educator for creative entrepreneurs just like you, Michele shares the mindset of how to sell without selling.
Here's Michele on how to sell:
I'm going to walk you through my S.E.L.L. approach. I don't know if any of you are like me on this, but anything that feels salesy or overly slick marketing speak turns me off. I'm not someone who loves to be sold to, but I do love to be educated. I love to learn.
I was working with a client one day, and they do many business coaching and things for creatives. She was not comfortable with selling, and I'm like, I am raising my hand. I am right there with you, but when you're a creative business owner, an entrepreneur, you are your marketing department. So, selling does come along with the territory.
I found a way to wrap my head around how to sell by shifting a few mindset things. It banished a lot of self-doubts, second-guessing, and, "Oh my gosh, am I being too direct?" And, "What are they going to think?" Thinking I'm just trying to sell toward them and not to be there to help hold them up and support them. So, I want to jump right into what the SELL approach is, S-E-L-L. Serve, engage, learn, lead. I will wrap all of this up into how you can apply this in your email marketing strategy. First, let's go over what those four words mean as part of this approach.
S – Serve
S is for serve. It's serving from the place of abundance instead of trying to sell from the place of lack. I don't mean that just as this heady theoretical sort of concept. I mean practically knowing that when you come into this and our mindset and way that we're viewing all our interactions with our clients is from this place of serving them well and making decisions that are going to serve them—knowing that when they are served well, we're served well as well. It is a win-win instead of a win-lose, and that takes so much pressure off, right? So, serve from a place of abundance. It's like that's the place of serving is the foundation, and it is the foundation of everything you do with your marketing process and with your client experience. Service needs to be the foundation of how to sell.
E – Engage
E is for engage, and it's a focus on engaging your audience where they're at instead of where you're at. It is so easy to be hyper-focused on what's our value proposition. What are we bringing in? What's our sales? What's the copy? We almost forget where our clients are at. That's the most important thing because our audience, our reader, our client is always the hero of our story. So being able to step back and really assess, realize, and intentionally pursue where they're at and trying to climb inside their story, climb inside their understanding so that when we're communicating, we're communicating in a way that connects.
Then in terms of email marketing, if your list never hears from you except when you've got something to sell them, as in like you want them to buy or a specific action you want them to take, that's not engaging where they're at. That's asking them to come where you're at and what's important to you and your business. If we are proactive about gauging where they're at, guess what? It all comes together, and it works so much better. You're going to build a community instead of just making a few sales people feel pressured into where they don't come back.
L – Learn
The first L is for learn, and it dovetails right along with the E. When you're working with your audience, when they're giving you feedback to learn and dig deep into what their presenting problem is but also what's going on behind the scenes and under the surface to find those root issues. Then speaking to that, and yes, you can do that in email engagement.
Here's one way you can do it. I use this in my welcome sequence and periodically in my newsletter. I take a moment to ask, "Hey, what's going on for you?" "What do you need? "What's your biggest struggle?" Or, "What's your greatest joy?" Asking them where they're at, and Flodesk lets you put buttons in your layout. So, you can hit a button and link back to your email address so they can click right from the email you send them to answer your question. Then, take the time actually to reply.
"Great email isn't really about email. It's about relationship building."
My students often hear me say, or if you hang out with me, I'll probably say it a lot, but you're great. Your greatest email marketing strategy isn't about your email. It is about building relationships, building community, and building trust.
Finally, we have our second L, which is lead. As leaders in our business, as leaders in the SELL process, serve, engage, learn, lead. We've got our foundation through serving. We've engaged with them where they're at. We have learned what they need. Then the last L is about stewarding the conversation that helps them make the right decision for them, and the right decision for them is going to be an excellent decision for you too. Getting a client that isn't the right fit for you as a business owner is more complicated than it needs to be.
Believe me, adding in the value of that trust of you and being able to say, "Hey, I loved that you want to do X, Y, and Z" when you do P, Q, and R over here. "So let me refer you to someone who does X, Y, and Z," and lead that conversation in a way that is from a place of abundance and that serves them well. I've got client referrals from clients that didn't work with me simply because I referred them and was transparent and trustworthy with my process.
Again, you can build that into your email strategy everywhere, from the tone and the way that you write your emails to periodically putting a little button at the top saying, "Hey, shoot me an email and let me know," "What is it that you're looking for?" "Am I meeting your needs?" "If I'm not meeting your needs, here's a link that you can unsubscribe." Ultimately having people that aren't engaging with your email list isn't going to build your business. It's extra stuff that you're carrying with you, and it's better if they're able to focus their attention on what is best for them.
So, that's my how to sell approach. S.E.L.L. is something that you can weave through your marketing. To recap, it's Serve from a place of abundance. Engage with your client. Learn where their real need is, and then lastly, Lead the conversation in a way that stewards the relationship well. When we steward relationships well, people are going to be able to make the decisions. That's going to be best for everybody involved, and that's how you build brand and consumer trust and integrity, especially in today's atmosphere that cannot be underestimated.
I hope you guys have found something practical to you as you build your email list. If you have questions, you are always welcome to email me, and I look forward to seeing you in my inbox shortly. Thank you so much!
What to Watch Next
5 High-Converting Places on Your Website to Add Your Opt-in Email Form
How to Increase Email Open Rates