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Do You Suck at Sales and Marketing? Here’s How Not to Get Bitten in the Butt!

“Let’s face it. You’re brilliant at what you do, but you SUCK at marketing,” said my business mentor when we first started working together. “You’re going to need to fall in love with it.”

“And pigs have wings.” I thought, while nodding in pretend agreement. I was paying him so I at least needed to show willing.

Back then, marketing and sales was something I wanted nothing to do with. I wanted to do the fun stuff, the change agent stuff: retreats, workshops, deep transformation stuff.

Sales was for people with toothy smiles, perfect hair and pin stripe suits who said things like; “But wait, there’s more!’ or “So, Mr. Jones, would you like to buy your policy on Tuesday or Thursday?”

Other people were good at it. Not me. Silly, I know. All exaggerated projection. I didn’t want to admit it, but it scared me.

Which is kind of weird given my life up to that point. I’ve travelled to the world alone, lived in all sorts of exotic places, climbed remote Thai mountains with freedom fighters brandishing AK47′s, scuba dived in the dark, jumped out of airplanes, spoken in front of hundreds. And here I am afraid to close a $2000 deal? Really?

I know it sounds silly but the rejection piece was more potent than the physical safety thing. And therein lay a solution. I just needed to translate the skill set.

This is a silly, but potent example. I remember when I first moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, back in my twenties, I rode a bicycle around the city. On occasion I became a moving target for rabid looking stray dogs. They would chase me, fangs a flaring. I knew not to flee (I tried, unsuccessfully several times) as they could always outpace me.

Very quickly I figured out what to do instead. I would stop in my tracks, get off my bike, stare directly into their eyes and start walking menacingly towards them. It worked like a charm every time. Off they would skulk, tail between their legs. It actually became quite a game.

After a while I found myself actively looking for dogs who had the foolish audacity to come after me.

Lesson: Turn and face what you’re afraid of, look it right in the eyes and start moving towards it. If you run away it will keep chasing you and bite you in the butt.

I simply had forgotten to apply that to sales.

Now, facing a challenging dip in business and no longer having someone else doing the sales bit for me, I had to finally turn and look this snarling beast in the eye.

What I didn’t expect was that it would become so much fun. You see, in reality, marketing and sales is all about psychology. And I’ve always been fascinated by people and what makes us tick. And that’s sales all over – why do people do what they do? What makes them buy? What makes them run away?

In fact, for many years when I lived in Asia, I was a freelance writer, writing feature articles about travel, and people. People who did interesting things. I just hadn’t translated that into the sales arena yet.

Now, necessity was the mother of my reinvention.

I began to have a blast. I started creating videos, writing blogs, doing tele-classes, creating campaigns. All the things I’d been dancing around and never quite doing. And not only was I applying my new-found passion for sales into my own business, but showing others how to do the same too.

I found that my niche is in fact messengers and change agents, entrepreneurs, who are amazing at what they do, but who generally suck at sales and need to get out of their own way. By the end of my courses, they are gutsy, out there and owning it in a powerful way. It’s a pleasure to behold.

Not only that, but we have a LOT of fun.

So, if you’re feeling a little queasy at the thought of sales and marketing here are a couple of things you can explore. Get a notebook and answer the following questions (colored pens will help):

1. What are you really afraid of? Be honest. (Rejection? Looking stupid?)

2. Where in your life are you courageous or audacious? (e.g. Have you bungee jumped? How are your karaoke skills? Are you un-squeamish at the sight of blood? Do you ride a Harley? Is your hair pink?)

Find ways to translate that courage into sales and marketing. Be creative.

And most of all, stop taking yourself so seriously. Sales can actually be fun. And the more fun you’re having, the easier your clients will feel in your presence. Which means, when you get to the conversation about money, they will barely notice the close because they were converted to you a long time ago.

A smart phone with a camera helps too, because videos are among the most powerful tools you can use – if you know how.

That’s for another blog. For now, my parting thought is, if you do suck at sales all you need is a bicycle and an attitude and you’re off to a great start.

And remember, only when you walk towards your fear will you find your greatness.

So tell me, do your pigs have wings too? Chime in below and let me know if you’re about to take flight.