Why Do I Feel Sleazy When I’m Selling?
The Fictional Used Car Salesman
Everyone’s got that picture in their head of the greasy hair slicked over to the side, plaid full-body suit, fake alligator shoes and a bad attitude guy. The fictional used car salesman. As a buyer, you know in your gut that this guy doesn’t have your best interest at heart. That he’s going to take advantage of you in some way shape or form by selling you something you don’t want, for a price that you can’t afford. But TRUE selling doesn’t have to be that way. True selling isn’t actually selling at all. True selling is sharing. True selling is believing so deeply in what you sell that you can’t not tell someone about it.
But Are We Manipulating Others When We Sell?
Marketing’s basis is in psychology. Therefore marketing can be used to manipulate another. I call this “Dark Marketing” and believe me, I have been there. Using human psychology principals to get others to buy what you want them to buy. Dark Marketers prey on a person’s blind spot or their unconscious patterns. Smart Marketers see a need and attempt to alleviate it. One is based in opportunism for self-gain and the other is based in compassion.
But there’s also this stone cold fact: Someone cannot be forced to believe or do something. Technically, no one can be manipulated.
You can only be ripe for what you are hearing and DECIDE to comply (consciously or unconsciously) or deny. Even by merely thinking we might be manipulating somebody else through selling to them, takes their power away.
It is when we feel unworthy to take up space or when we feel unworthy to be listened to, we oftentimes have the same thoughts that we are manipulating somebody into doing something they don’t want to do. But that’s just not true.
It’s nobody’s responsibility but the buyer if they get duped by a Dark Marketer.
- Ended up with a product the buyer didn’t really want because they just couldn’t say no? That’s the buyer’s responsibility.
- Didn’t read the fine print? That’s the buyer’s responsibility.
- Didn’t see that the salesman snuck in an extra fee before they signed a paper? That’s also their responsibility; albeit it’s gross and not-transparent and THE ACTUAL DEFINITION OF SLEAZE
The buyer CHOOSING to give their money to something they felt like would add value to their life? That’s also THEIR responsibility. So why aren’t you letting them exercise their right to spend their money where they please?
Shine Bright Like a Diamond
You, my friend, are simply trying to spread your message. Spreading your message is not sneaking in an extra fee before somebody signs on the dotted line. Spreading your message is not bait and switch. Loving your work and trying to make other people’s lives better with it is not price gouging.
You are fully worthy to be listened to your fully worthy to be purchased from and you are not burdening anybody by being paid for the work that you do. Even if nobody asked you to do it.
Because people don’t know what they need until they are told they need it. Then if they are ripe to help themselves they will want to buy your product. if they are not ready to help themselves they will simply not even see that you’re offering something.
6 Ways To Not Feel Sleazy When Selling:
- Believe you’re allowed to take up space.
- Tell a story from your perspective. Human brains love a story and they love social proof that what you’ve done before works. Simply use your own story to sell it for you. There’s no guilt in telling a true story about your product’s affect on your life.
- Don’t take anything personally. If your potential buyer doesn’t want to buy your product or they’re not interested at all, it is not a reflection of you or your work that you put time and effort into. It is only a reflection of their state of mind. It is a no for just right now and not I no forever.
- Listen intently to what they tell you. Try to get a holistic picture of how they are viewing their life. And if you’re really really listening to their excuses or their rejection, then you can start to paint a picture of what’s really going on so you can sell to them better. This also helps you shape questions to ask that will take a deeper look into how they view the world.
- Talk to the Right audience. You wouldn’t go into a room with doctors and start to sell Construction equipment, would you? No. That would fall on deaf ears. when you were talking to the right group of people, they tend to be more open to what you’re saying. And at the very least you can get more information on how to sell to them better. And at the very most you’ll make a new client. Make your solution specific to your buyer.
- Share your message clearly with authenticity. Too many bloggers and influencers these days will use #2 above to “hotwire a connection” with their audience. It’s tricky and hard to spot. It’s present as that little kernel of grossness you feel in the back of your mind. This is Modern Sleaze to the Used Car Salesman of yesterday. Speaking clearly and authentically helps you avoid guilt because you’ve said #allthethings and this person still chose to give you money. LET THEM!
Here’s a great video by Marie Forleo on selling with integrity. Go forth and make money. You have my permission!!
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Need help digging into these feelings of unworthiness more? Write to me by hitting the contact button to set up a marketing mindset coaching session!
But in the context of data storytelling (AKA analyzing your metrics properly), they have no flipping clue what they’re talking about.
And you know what? I feel bad for them because they just don’t know. They’re an artist-of-sorts and were never taught the value of marketing or mining your data. And you don’t know what you don’t know, ya know?
This person’s got TONS of followers. They get thousands of likes and shares on everything they post. And unfortunately this person, like most others, is caught up in the “My Likes Are My Self Worth” game. What’s even more unfortunate is, this person passes that ‘mis-belief’ on to others who want to learn from and be like them. AKA future storytellers (or influencers-in-training).
Likes or shares (what we call vanity metrics–because they mean next to nothing) is not a whole picture of your worth or your value as a content creator.
There are times when you should have tunnel vision for your business, but data is not one of them. In order to tell your whole story, you need ALL THE CONTEXT.
As I discussed in this article about “Are Your Customers Screaming At Your With A Cryptic Code”, I talk about how data is the way to really get to know who your customer is and their needs on a collective level. It is also one way to assess if each piece of content you make is providing the value you had hoped for. Which is the baseline requirement for all your content–to provide value. (Please don’t confuse this with YOU are valuable. A piece of content providing value and a human life full of value are two drastically different things.)
For this baseline judgment to work well, you have to have as much aggregated data as possible. For example, I keep track of my Instagram posts on my alter ego account @lifewithlaker. I have a comprehensive spreadsheet that keeps track of ratios, percentages, call to actions etc. #allthecontext. Edit: I did this for one year, which was plenty of time to see how my customers and Instagram worked at that time. I’m totally over Instagram for growing your business. Shocker, I know.)
Likes are a nice way to quickly gauge the success of a certain post, but by all means PLEASE STOP JUDGING YOUR WORTH ON YOUR LIKE COUNTS. This is not a good way at all to determine whether you should leave business-ing to someone else. Your mental health depends on this. And when you’re practicing happiness, the world is a better place.
Sometimes I have shitty ‘like’ days. And then I feel shitty. And then I got to my BFF, Microsoft Excel and I plug my numbers in. And I see the entire picture. I see that on that particular day, I wrote a compelling-ass caption. I notice I asked my followers to leave my post and do something. On this day it was to click the link in my bio to get a free guide. I also know from personal experience, people can’t really do more than one thing at a time. If people are SO COMPELLED to leave my post to take action on something, they will forget to like my picture. And if I continue in the short-sightedness of like count, I will subsequently feel like a social media failure.
But you know what my friends?! I fucking won that day. I got 100 people to click away from my post (1 action), click a link in my bio (second action), wait for a page to load and leave me their email for which I now have to sell them stuff later on (third action) and then downloaded my guide (4th action). I’ll be damned if I trade compelling people to take action over a fucking double tap… EVER
This guys, is why getting the whole view of your data is important. And it’s also addicting. You can know and do SO MUCH when you know the story your data is trying to tell you. And then you can spread that shit around instead of the ‘likes are your self esteem’ ebola virus that people not in the know do.
Be mindful at marketing. Spread the good marketing vibes. And keep doing what YOU deem as successful, which may be comments, downloads, shares etc. The point is, you chose your success metric, and you can feel powerful with that.
Watch this video below to see more about how I feel about this subject.
When I was in fourth grade, I sat in the back right corner of the classroom. Day in and day out, trembling at the thought that I would be called on during math.
My palms would sweat, my heart raced and I even thought I felt some hair stand up on the back of my neck. Math was SO NOT my thing, and it was perpetuated with the beliefs of everyone around me. Nikki can’t do math, therefore a mathematical brain was never fostered within me.
I’m hyper-analytical. I fricken LOVE the story that numbers can tell. I may not enjoy calculating the numbers, but once they are all laid out in the open, I feel like all the numbers come together on the page to tell a story, in A Beautiful Mind sort of way.
Maybe you are like this too. Maybe your disdain for numbers really is only about mental calculation and, in fact, you are actually good at distilling the story at which your numbers are telling you.
Numbers don’t have to be scary. They can actually be quite beautiful in a unique way by stringing events together that culminate in a story. The story your customers are collectively trying to tell you.
Without being tapped into this cryptic customer code, you are essentially flying blind in your content creation (and all of your other business efforts).
Data is the way you get to know who your collective customer is and what they want. This is your magic sauce, amulet, wand etc. It’s precisely the thing that takes you from Katherine Kane to Batwoman or from Clark Kent to Superman.
Remember, your story is not made up of just the last ten minutes of your life, just like your data story cannot be told by looking at only one piece. A story is about the whole, big picture view of your business world. Telling a data story is about taking all the pieces, stringing them together and choosing one moment to distill to tell the story.
For example. I wanted to write my ‘About Me‘ page. Now, I know I have lived many many hours on this planet. I could not possibly tell my entire life story here on one page. So I had to choose the parts that were most relevant to you. I could not MAKE THAT CHOICE though if I did not know the entire story to begin with.
You must know all your numbers and imagine getting inside your customer’s head in order to be able to tell the story that’s most relevant to what you need to know right now.
3 Things to remember when looking at your data:
- Likes don’t mean shit.
They are not the proper way to see what your customers are telling you. They’re called ‘vanity metrics’ for a reason. they’re shallow and insignificant. Don’t be that yourself by allowing them into your consciousness.
- One post does not make a story.
I am hereby granting you permission to stop worrying about every single post you write. This one post does not tell your entire story, or in rather, your entire self-worth. You’re worthy because you are human. So don’t let the likes get to you.
- Hire someone like me to look at your data for you.
Sometimes it’s hard to distill your own picture. You are too close and it’s too personal to get down to the nitty gritty truth. I hire someone to look at my numbers for this exact reason. Click here to get started with me.
Leave a comment below to tell me what you think your customers are trying to say!