10 Leads in 10 Weeks Challenge: Sales 101 for Creative Entrepreneurs Who Hate Sales

 
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In my previous post, I wrote about how to take the entire December off without feeling guilty (and having battle plan for January) by start planning for it in late summer. The whole point of this idea was to accentuate the importance of understanding what your top three must-accomplish projects are for your business. (You can revisit that post here.)

Now in early September, we only have 10 solid weeks left this year, not including the time after Thanksgiving week. That’s right, just 10 weeks!

I was startled by this cold fact, when I was staring at the calendar a couple of weeks ago, to map out a few projects I wanted to get done during this year. Technically, we have four full months left before this year ends, and “four months” makes it sound like we have plenty of time left to wrap up this year.

In reality, you and I know that no big decisions are made, and no new projects are begun, during the month of December. That leaves us three months. And if you’re in the U.S., you may as well forget the last two weeks in November, due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Although I was aware that Q4 flies by very quickly, somehow realizing there are only 10 solid weeks left made me feel a bit panicky for a moment. 

Every time I face a situation that overwhelms me, or makes me feel anxious, I quickly look for something positive about the situation. So, I immediately thought, “Wait, I can get a lot done in 10 weeks. It won’t be that bad, if I can plan it out now.” This is how I ended up writing about the concept of taking the entire December off, and how to do it right.

Well, I decided to take it even further by asking myself the following question:

“What if I document one task that I aim to accomplish over 10 weeks, and share the experience with others. What would that be?”

It had to be something that entrepreneurs and small business owners care about the most, and I knew just the thing.
 

Getting more leads & prospects, and finding ways to establish a solid MRR (monthly recurring revenue) ranks #1 on the priority list for many.

In other words, generating more revenue opportunities is top of a business operator’s mind at all times. That is what I hear from about 9/10 business owners.

As you might have gotten an impression from my older posts, I am a strong advocator for building robust back-end office functionality, which consists of streamlined logistics, a clean financial management system, and a reliable team you can depend on. Yet, time and time again, when I ask business owners what their main concern is, they reply by saying they want to increase revenue.

I finally came to the realization that increasing revenue is the mental hump most of business owners need to get over first, before they can think about straightening up the organizational structure of their business and being sustainable.

It is what it is. Although I have witnessed some of these same people in a frenzy over how they “don’t have enough people!” This is after focusing solely on business development tasks while giving no time and attention to their back office, and leaving them to handle all the new orders they worked so hard for. But, I digress. That’s another post for another day.

It makes sense, however, that many business owners consider it to be a “good problem to have” when they have an overwhelming amount of orders. Not having enough orders, on the other hand, naturally, is a “bad problem to have.” 

What then, is the most effective method to bring in more leads quickly?

Hands down, the answer is to do some good sales work.
 

Why not focus more on content marketing? Why not spend more on Facebook ads?

You certainly can. But, remember, this is about generating positive results quickly. Let me share key reasons why sales work is the way to go:

1.    It provides first-hand insight on what your prospects are thinking about right now.

2.    You get to sharpen your skills in spotting opportunities you would not have considered before.

3.    It gives you a chance to overcome your fear of selling.

4.    It will force you to rethink both your message and offerings.

5.    You will become more aware of things you can improve in order to serve your customers better.

Not to mention the sales skills you will acquire can save your business from getting into the classic “feast and famine” issue later on.


“I hate selling.”


I hear this all the time. This is an awfully short statement, but packs so many different thoughts and reasonings behind it. It is incredibly fascinating to me. 

The deeper I dig, with my questions to business owners, the more definitive patterns emerge, and some of them I can totally relate to. 

“I don’t want to sound like a used car salesman.”

(Translation: I do not want to be perceived as a person who is only motivated by satisfying his/her needs by pushing something that they don’t want and get rejected.)

“I feel like I need a shower after trying to sell.”

(Translation: It is so uncomfortable to switch gears to be someone else to sell my offerings, and I am not proud of who I forced myself to be.)

“It is a waste of time to put so much energy into finding new leads, and come back completely empty handed. I don’t want to ever do that again.”

(Translation: I finally gathered enough courage to overcome fears of selling, yet I generated no results from my effort, and I am embarrassed. This thing doesn’t work.)

“I ended up attracting all the wrong prospects. I just don’t have it in me.”

(Translation: Due to a lack of confidence, I ended up promising things I can’t (or should not) deliver just to get them to say “yes” because I avoid being direct. As a result, I get them in the door, but things fall apart badly because they are not the right fit for my business.)

Do any of these sounds familiar to you? 

Well, I have some good news...


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You don’t have to be someone else in order to sell.

Somehow, we all decided as a group that sales is a bad thing, or sales is done in a way that we don’t agree with.

This creates a gap between us being just ourselves, and someone we feel we have to be, who we don’t like. This is the disconnect which causes us to go about sales in the most unnatural manner. Because it is so unnatural, it shows. And because it shows, it generates very little results. It’s a vicious cycle.

Where did this idea come from and how did it get engraved in our brain?

The stereotypical idea of a sales person probably comes from our own bad experiences in life dealing with salespeople who are not top producers. The sad truth is that majority of so-called account executives and sales people are untrained and unfit to be in sales. I, for one, have countless examples of bad encounters with salespeople that I can talk about all day long. 

After being assertively sold something I don’t give flying rats about, my impression of sales was always, “Ugh, I don’t ever want to be one of those people.” You know, who come across someone with no substance.

When all we are shown bad examples time and time again, our understanding of sales can become awfully skewed.

Sales can be particularly hard for creative entrepreneurs, who take pride in their creative work. If you are one of them, you might feel that your work should speak for itself, with no additional explanation necessary. However, at the same time, you must know in your gut that this simply is not enough. At least, not in the growth stage of your business.

The good news is that there are plenty of free resources out there that outline “how it’s done the right way” by top-producing sales people. What their blogs, podcasts, and free downloadable white papers will tell you is, “You don’t even notice you are being sold to, when you talk to top producers.”

The bad news is that you want those tips fast, in a systematic manner that you can easily follow.

What if there is a sales system that allows you to be yourself, makes you excited about doing sales work, and gives you results you want?

I’m glad you asked.
 

Let’s make sales THE priority for the next 10 weeks.


That is how I came up with the idea of throwing a sales challenge. Mind you, I am not challenging you. This is about putting myself through a challenge and you getting to watch my progress. Better yet, you can take a ride with me.

I have a sales system that I created for my own business. However, I never claimed that I could get ten new leads in ten weeks. My thought was, “If I can gamify the process, I might just be able to do this.”

Foolish? Perhaps. But, just as with anything else I do with my own business, I’ll do it anyway.

So, 10 Leads in 10 Weeks, it is. Game on.

There is only one thing I would like you to do. That is to send me a quick email below with the subject line "1010" so that I can the share tools and resources that I will be using via email. While you check in on my weekly reports, you can also work alongside me, and do what I do. 

What does 10 new leads mean to you? If you are offering your service or product for, say, $300, it means an additional $3000 you could possibly gain. If your offering averages about $1500, then you are talking additional $15K you would not otherwise have.

You get the idea. This is a big deal.

What’s even greater about this challenge is that you don’t need to put a spotlight on yourself. The pressure is all on me! 

Want to know more about the rules I am setting up for myself with this challenge? Want to make the last 10 solid weeks left this year super meaningful for your business? Click below to find out how.