For the Professional Business Owners: Five Fatal Flaws that lead to Selling Resistance
Sometimes, your people don’t, won’t, or can’t sell because of your selling resistance. Whether you like it or not, as a business owner, you set the tone for the values considered important by your staff. At least in the work context, your employees look to you for guidance and to lead by example. Don’t let your own selling resistance negatively influence them to underperform. Here are the Five Fatal Flaws of Professionals that hate to sell.
1. “It’s contradictory to ask for money.”
Clearly, you value people and their needs, perhaps similarly to how much you value your own worth or services – but I’m willing to bet you value yourself less if this statement resonates with you. Keep helping to make the world a better place, keep helping people in need, and keep getting the satisfaction from giving, but don’t do it at the expense of your or your employees livelihood. The way I see it, customers pay me money because they value the services I provide, and because they would have a bigger problem if they didn’t exchange their money for my services. It’s a simple exchange where both parties gain. Me not asking for money is tantamount to them not asking me to help them.
2. “It’s easy and it doesn’t take much time.”
When you are selling a service, it’s easy to fall into the false idea that you have no costs. Again, I’ll use myself as an example here. I have over 25 years of experience selling things and ideas to people. I have 10 years of experience in teaching others how to do it well. I have the expertise that makes complex issues seem simple, so the time it takes me to do things is minuscule in comparison to what it might take someone with less experience than me. Does that suggest my output is less valuable? Should I charge less because it takes me 10 minutes to do something that might take someone else 1 hour? Absolutely not. I’ve invested years of my life into that experience; my creativity, my insights, my abilities and talents have all been honed by it – that doesn’t come cheap! Something we’ve been doing here at LiveseySolar is moving away time-based billing. Time billing for us no longer makes sense. As you get better and better at something, it doesn’t make sense to punish your own efficiency. No; charge for value – not time – value is what something is worth.
3. “I feel good when I give my service away.”
Your background – both educationally and professionally – may have prepared you to give as much away as possible for as little as possible in return. So, you’ve identified target markets that can barely afford your service. You reduce your fees to appeal to this market. These target markets also feel safe. Because they pay so little, they expect much less. You get a free pass on pressure, and therefore can deliver pretty much anything and they’ll appreciate it. I’ve worked with companies that value what I contribute and also for those that do not; the former inspires me, the latter sucks the life out of me.
Aiming too low is a crutch and it’s feeding your resistance to selling by addicting you to the easy road. If this feels right to you, I’m willing to bet you’re also not profitable. Be honest with yourself here. Look at your target market critically – did you choose them because they challenge you, value what you do highly, pay you well, and expect you to deliver better and better outcomes than anyone else? Or did you choose them because they are easy, paying you a reasonable amount while expecting you to simply show up?
4. “I’m just starting out, so I’ll charge less.”
Many new professionals slide into this flaw. Underpricing hurts everyone. It sets up a dynamic where you attract clients who can only pay small fees. You work so hard to earn so little, and burn out quickly. Your service and quality suffers, and nobody is happy. More so, you are doing a disservice to your profession by undervaluing the service, solely because you fear selling things for what they are worth.
5. “I don’t have a product, so I don’t have many expenses.”
You have loads of expenses! You have taxes, insurance, supplies, rent, marketing, IT costs, and anything else that helps you be more efficient. And if you ever want to grow, you will have wages, commissions, and benefits to pay the people who deliver the service. One crucially important thing: cost shouldn’t have any influence whatsoever on what you charge for your services. Set your prices to cover costs, the lean times when you have less business, AND the profit you aim to make. Profit, that’s after all why you’re in business, isn’t it? If not, why take the risks?
All of the flaws above lead to selling resistance. When you buy into them, your staff will do so too. Sort yourself out and fast. If you need me to come and talk you into it, call me. Rest assured though, given the value this advice would provide you, that conversation won’t come cheap.