In a socially distanced world, building trust faster will bring your prospects & customers closer.
When the economy tanks, uncertainty engulfs our outlook and panic obstructs our problem-solving. In heightened fear states, building trust fast between you and your prospects becomes impossible. Mindful Selling – applicable in any environment – becomes more important under such conditions. Particularly in a post-COVID economy.
Once upon a time Sandra worked in digital marketing for a property company. She was working on the company’s newsletter, which targeted their landlord customers (B2B), when the financial crisis hit and sadly, she was made redundant.
After a stroke of inspiration, Sandra approached Neema, her boss from a previous job, for a chat. She shared her experience of email marketing and wondered if Neema’s company needed help.
‘We’ve thought about it,’ said Neema, ‘but we’ve just been too busy to get started.’
Since Sandra had been her employee for 18 months, Neema was confident Sandra knew enough about their business to trial run their email marketing. Sandra was over the moon; she had won the first ever client in her freelancing life.
‘Wow, someone wants to pay me to do this! I can work from home. Work my own hours. And my first customer is really nice!’
Three months later, Neema offered to make an introduction to a supplier that expressed interest in the newsletter Sandra had created for Neema’s business. A month later, Sandra signed her second client! This was really becoming a thing. She started having dreams about hiring a whole team of people to run and deliver the newsletters, branching out into other services. So much was possible.
The Referral Trap
Two years later Sandra had a sweet roster of ten clients and a team of eight people operating in a buzzing newsroom-type environment where they churned out email newsletters. They had also expanded into making websites and sorting out the web copy and social media for clients.
The majority of their business was generated through repeat business from referrals. Sure, they got the occasional inbound inquiry through their website, but it wasn’t significant. Referrals were their bread and butter.
In quick succession and seemingly out of the blue, Sandra’s three biggest clients decided to bring their newsletter in-house, meaning they would no longer need her services. This was a huge blow to her cashflow. The following month, two more clients switched to in-house services after hiring new marketing people, so Sandra had to let four of her own team go.
She was running out of cash, fast. The referrals dried up. Furthermore, she didn’t have a pipeline, a CRM, or sales process (let alone knowing what any of these things were).
The Stink of Desperation
Sandra’s business had grown steadily through referrals and it was comfortable and easy. Like a waiter in a restaurant, Sandra took the client referral like an order, delivered the goodies and billed them. But there was no one out front on the street drumming up interest, inviting people in to have a chat or take a sample.
In a wave of desperation, she began looking at job vacancies and pitched outsourced assistance to them. She spent hours replying to those job ads with a templated essay and attachments of her portfolio. Nothing worked. She started attending networking events to try and grab a new customer, but her jovial persona was overshadowed by her frantic need to win a new client. She didn’t realise her desperation was making her a bit weird, inauthentic, and pushy and it was turning people off. Three months later, she had to close the company.
Fear kills sales & service
You see, stress activates your brain’s fear centre – the amygdala, if you want to get technical about it – flooding your blood with super-charged chemicals – the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline – and ramping up your blood pressure. In the simplest terms, your brain is preparing your body to run or attack. Survival mode activated.
The impact of stress on your behaviour is enormous and the vast majority of us do not perceive it happening. It makes us irritable and selfish. We are more likely to snap at people. And it reduces our access to self-control, empathy and problem-solving, all the cognitive functions crucial to serving others and selling well.
In the best of times, we have all sorts of personal and daily situations that generate stress and hinder our ability to serve our clients well. Is it any wonder then how much more difficult our job becomes when everyone, collectively, becomes fearful of the future?
Shift from selfish to service
Where traditional sales principles and techniques have historically been about persuasion and externally-focused motivations, Mindful Selling is about being internally focused. It’s about awakening the seller, helping them rise above the fearful self-serving states to truly serve from a place of abundance and generosity. Operating from this state helps build trust faster, engage prospects deeper, and win sales sooner.
The principles of Mindful Selling are about taking stock of the incessant mental chatter causing you to get stressed about the future, your job prospects, your targets, your ability to do this selling thing – basically all the self-focused issues paralysing your progress and preventing you from focusing on serving your prospects, partners and clients.
Mindful Selling helps you gain awareness so you have the power to make a choice and pick a different way of showing up. Instead of reacting from survival mode, where techniques come across as pushy and desperate, you can respond from your wiser self.
Survive or thrive – Mindful Selling is vital for freelancers in a post-COVID economy
You can’t control circumstances or events, but you have a choice in how you respond. In this stressful moment in time freelancers are facing in a post-COVID economy, with mounting uncertainty, the human tendency is to operate in survival mode. Lack of awareness leaves you without a choice. Selfishness results in no sales.
Mindful selling in a post-COVID economy is vital for freelancers. When you’re selling mindfully, you always have a choice. You can either let your fear take over and survive or you can get present and thrive. Which do you think will result in better outcomes for you and your business?
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My book Mindful Selling shares seven principles to help you rise above fear-based states, so you can build trust faster.
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