In his survey entitled “What Do You Do at Work?” Daniel Pink asked participants the question— When you think of sales or selling, what’s the first word that comes to mind?

Of the twenty-five most frequently offered responses, only five had a positive sentiment (necessary, challenging, fun, essential, and important). The twenty other most commonly offered responses were negative and portrayed discomfort, disgust, and deception. The most common answers included pushy, annoying, difficult, hard, ugh, yuck, sleazy, slimy, dishonest, and manipulative.

Pink then asked respondents what picture came to mind when thinking about sales or selling. The image was usually male, specifically an extroverted man in a suit selling cars. Not someone that most healers, creatives, or people who care about social change would identify with.

In his book, To Sell is Human, Pink writes—

Sales?  Blech. To the smart set, sales is an endeavor that requires little intellectual throw weight— a task for slick glad-handers who skate through life on a shoeshine and a smile. To others, it’s the province of dodgy characters doing slippery things— a realm where trickery and deceit get the speaking parts while honesty and fairness watch mutely from the rafters. Still others view it as the white-collar equivalent of cleaning toilets— necessary perhaps, but unpleasant and even a bit unclean. I’m convinced we’ve gotten it wrong.

I agree with Pink that our thoughts about sales are out of date.

In the twentieth century, sales took place within an environment where buyers had much less access to information than sellers. Nowadays, this is almost rarely the case.

Enrollment and sales are a normal, human skill.

No matter how you make a living, you enroll people all day every day— when you ask your kids to do something, when you convince your partner to go to your favorite restaurant, when you make a proposal at your board meeting. The problem is that when you exchange your services for money, a lot of limiting beliefs can get in the way.

You will connect much more skillfully with prospective clients when you let go of your limiting beliefs around sales.

Before you get on your next enrollment call, I invite you to take a look at your old beliefs.

Let’s do this now—

1. Write down any negative past experiences, feelings, and beliefs you’ve had with sales or enrollment.

That idea that sales are done by someone slick who’s just in it for the money. That there’s some level of un-truth that goes along with sales. More like “I want your money” than “I want to give you something you need or can use or will help you.”

When I’ve had certain sales calls, I do feel as if I’m giving them my truth and my honesty. It becomes my heart. And sometimes that doesn’t enroll them. How to respond to that?

2. Offer yourself self-compassion in response.

Sales is something I can do. It’s a way I can make money. Its… going to help me live the life I truly want to live.

3. Get curious about what else might be true about sales. What stories might serve you more? How would you like to feel? What would you like enrollment to be like?

4. From now on, make a note of when you feel nervous or blocked in your enrollment calls. Afterward, review the conversation and take time to shine light on the stories you’re telling yourself such as the story that people don’t like you if they don’t sign up. Then, respond with self-compassion.


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