Today I’m going to try to put a full Molly Gordon e-zine script here (which usually messes up my html for some reason so after I paste it I have to leave everything alone and hope it all goes through) because, while she is writing about being a coach, she is also writing about selling….in our case about selling art, which is much like selling yourself as a coach. She talks about getting past the resistance I feel and I hear so many others of you feel and her process is right on. So no thought for the day today because I don’t think it’ll work. Here’s Molly:
In response to last week’s article, "Why your elevator speech makes people tune out," reader Jim Mitten wrote:
I have a customer that is working on his elevator speech…. He is memorizing it and working on getting the "ums" and "uhs" out of it.
His biggest problem now is what you mentioned in your article — establishing the connection with the lawyer first. You didn’t mention in the article any methods for establishing this connection. Do you have any recommendations?
Jim, who is a coach, then listed some of things he’d suggested to his client, whom I’m going to call "Bob," for clarity:
- Use a small give-away, such as a legal pad with the client’s contact info on it, to break the ice.
- Produce a simple information give-away that showcases the client’s skill or knowledge base, for example, a note-card listing ways to eliminate stress.
- Start a conversation by asking a lawyer if s/he is working on a personal injury case.
These are good suggestions, yet Bob still balks. Jim explains,
He "doesn’t want to bother them if they are busy" or "feels awkward talking to strangers" or "feels that just waiting to make eye contact" is enough.
Obviously, soemthing else needs to happen before Bob can implement Jim’s suggestions. Bob needs a reason to approach the other person, and "getting a client" is not enough."
Bob needs to connect, first, and that’s a good thing.
Why it can be so hard to connect
Whether you’re talking on the phone, making love, or playing catch, the moment you are distracted, you lose connection. Even if the other person doesn’t notice that you’ve gone away, you do.
When you feel vulnerable, you may even welcome distraction because it keeps you in your comfort zone. You might hate yourself for not moving forward, but the gravitational pull of safety is stronger than the desire for action.
And let’s face it. You’re pretty vulnerable when approaching a prospect about doing business? Even if you have an engraved invitation to talk about your work, you may feel shy and hesitant.
It’s no wonder it’s hard to connect.
Intention => Attention => Connection
It takes take preparation and practice to counteract distraction so you can make an authentic connection with prospects.
The first step is to establish an intention. (By the way, your intention is not "to get business." If that worked, you wouldn’t be reading this article.)
The second step is to fix your attention on the immediate value in the process and not on the future outcome. In other words, focus on your intention and let go of the result.
The third step is to connect. Believe it or not, that’s the easy part.
Intention, or "Let’s pretend you’re a good person"
I don’t know about you, but I can slip into a clammy, jaded, dissociated state when I’m faced with promoting my work. For some reason, it starts to feel downright phony to claim that I care about the people I serve.
Whatever the reason for such reflexive judgments, you need a way to get past them in order to set an intention you can believe in. The best I know is to ask yourself, "What if I were a good person?"
Sit yourself down and find out what a good person (like you) wants for his or her clients. What would your best self love to give others through your work?
Notice any push-back. For example, "I love to see people light up when they realize they’ve made a profit, but I know perfectly well that a lot of folks can’t or won’t follow my program."
Say "Yes, and…" to the push-back. "Yes. That’s so. And people who are trying to walk the path I’ve walked can have a much easier time of it with my help."
Stick with it, formulating your intention and integrating the push-backs until you feel yourself settle.
Attention, or keeping your eye on the ball
When you can feel the sincerity of your intention, commit to it. Make a decision to act as if this intention were true (it is, after all), even when the distractions and self-judgments start.
This step requires focusing on your intention while letting go of the results. You may already be good at focusing and good at letting go, but you probably need practice to do them at the same time.
All the same, this is well within your grasp.
Connection, or walking your talk
You already know how to connect. It’s just that when you believe that your reason for connecting is selfish, you tend to shut down.
But with a clear intention to serve others and having let go of the outcome, you are up to something entirely different. You aren’t connecting to persuade or convince, you are connecting to see if you can help.
Does this mean that anyone you approach will be ready and willing to listen?
You probably wouldn’t tap a friend on the shoulder in the middle of the 9th inning of the 7th game of the World Series to ask if s/he wanted a soda. Likewise, you aren’t going to spring your elevator speech on someone who is clearly upset or in the middle of something.
This article has just skimmed the surface of connecting with a prospect. If it feels right to you, check out my forthcoming book, The Way of the Accidental Entrepreneur, which will go into detail about how to make these connections so you can have a business that fits just right. Details at http://www.authenticpromotion.com/thebook.html
Talk Back: I love to hear from you, and I read every email personally, even when I can’t reply to all of them. Send your thoughts to . And if you prefer not to be quoted in a future article, just let me know.
Pay it forward: Please feel free to pass it on or to reprint this article on your Web site or in your own e-zine. All I ask is that you forward the newsletter in its entirety and/or that you include the following paragraph and copyright line with live link if you reprint the article.
This article originally appeared in the Authentic Promotion e-zine and is reprinted with permission from the author. Molly Gordon is president of Shaboom Inc., a coaching and training company that delivers hope, help, and hilarity to Accidental Entrepreneurs so that they can build a business that fits just-right. For more information, visit http://www.shaboominc.com, Copyright 2007, Shaboom Inc. All rights reserved.