Did you like math when you were in school? If you did, you are my hero.
I hated math as a kid. I loved reading & drawing. The place I wanted to live in forever was a fantasy land where fairies existed & I could use magic.
Naturally, daydreaming was my jam and daydream I did. But it all had to change when I was at a halfway into junior high.
I was sick of the public school I was attending because of the many meaningless rules & restrictions that came with it. Stupid rules made me feel worthless as if I didn't know any better on how to conduct myself. I hated it. With a passion.
Then I learned about how getting into a prestigious high school would grant me more autonomy because all teachers cared about was how many students would get into…prestigious universities & nothing else mattered--like how I modified my school uniform, how I did my hair, how I wore non-white socks, or whether or not I wore makeup.
My mom may have lied about this. But I bought it. I bought it HARD.
One problem - I had to nail both math & science exams in order to get in to the one I had chosen...the best in the region. My teacher begged me (and my parents) to reconsider. He said I had lost my mind & it was virtually impossible with my grades even if I aced all 5 subjects with perfect scores.
You probably know how this story ends. So, I will fast forward it for you. I learned to LOVE what I hated by gamifying everything. I aced. I got in. People cheered witnessing the impossible becoming possible. End of story.
“Selling” is kinda like math in business. Many despise it. But business needs to sell. No getting around that.
So, what do we do?
My friend, Lisa, coats meds with peanut butter before giving them to her dogs. Clever, I thought.
Can sales be like that? Can we put peanut butter on it? Then we close our eyes & swallow our pride?
The answer is no. Sales is an ongoing activity. Administering meds isn't. Strategy to combat your negative thoughts about sales cannot be solved by short term thinking. There’s no magic pill. There are no clever & quick fixes.
But do not despair! I wouldn't be writing this if I had nothing to offer you as a solution.
Let me ask you… do you want a flourishing business more than you hate sales? Like I wanted autonomy more than I hated math?
Think about it. How badly do you want to have a successful business?
This is NOT about *forcefully pretending to love* what you don't like. The reason I became good at math was because I manufactured a completely different way to think about math that was good enough to get my own buy-in. And it became fun.
I want you to experience the same thing. I want you to have a whole new approach to sales.
If you are realizing that hating sales no longer serves you well, like hating math for me was getting in the way of what I wanted so badly, it’s time for you to try something different. Do you agree?
The solution is…(drumroll please)… Abundant Selling framework.
What's cool--well at least I think it's cool--about this is that I am not a sales expert. It gives me an edge to know all about how you’re feeling as a business person with no sales background. On top of that, you can safely assume that I won't tell you what those salespeople tell you to do.
After all, I’m the self-proclaimed queen of counter-intuitive strategy.
My source of inspiration was drawn from this high school entrance exam drama I went through. My thinking had to derive from the question, “How can I make it fun and get the result I want?”
Before diving in, this post is broken up into 2 parts:
Abundant Selling – Overview
Abundant Selling – Step 1 / S.O.S. method
Step 2 and Step 3 will be covered at a later time. It’s because Step 1, I’d say, is 80% of the battle. You will know why as you read along.
Abundant Selling – Overview
Let’s start with what this entire process look like. In this post, once again, we are only going to focus on the first part which is the “make or break” part.
This is because if you don’t get the first part right, the rest doesn’t even matter. Or I should say, if you don’t get the first part right, the rest will GUARANTEE that you will continuously hate sales.
Yeah, please make a note of that. I can’t emphasize this enough.
You must do the front-loading work so that the rest becomes so easy. This is the recurring theme of everything I practice and teach.
The entire cycle of the Abundant Selling framework looks like this below:
Be Seen (Cultivate Curiosity)
Invite (Extract & Learn)
Offer Possibilities (Offer Beyond Their Desires)
There are 3 steps to the process, and that is all you need when you are starting fresh with your sales effort. Down the road when you are ready to expand your reach to a wider audience, there are a couple more steps to be added. But for now, this is all you need.
Let me ask you another question: Have you been feeling that networking & being active on social media is a waste of time? If so, my guess is that you feel this way because you expect to gain MQL (most qualified leads) directly from your effort. This is the reason you think these are ineffective and feel discouraged.
But notice, in this Abundant Selling process, interaction with MQL does not even show up until the 3rd stage!
You’ve probably heard this analogy from seasoned marketers that goes something like, “Don’t just meet someone at a café and ask them to marry you!”
You might say, “Gosh, I don’t have those kinds of expectations! I know I need to build & nurture relationships.”
But are you sure about that? If you are secretly expecting to find your next customer or client at conferences or networking events or over social media, you are asking for marriage.
What’s happening is, your logical side of the brain tells you that you understand this concept, but your emotional side is totally stressing out about your never-ending feast & famine cycle. So, you say you understand, but your actions may not be aligned with it.
Let’s just come clean now so that we can move on. OK? Alright, so let’s go over each step.
Share | Connect | Grow
Abundant Selling Step 1: Be Seen
Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about the whole process. The first thing that needs to happen is for you to increase your chances of “being seen.”
For small service businesses without a sales dept, business owners are the ones to take on this role of being seen. Regardless of whether your business is in B2B or B2C, you are ultimately selling to humans, and you are the product of your business.
The point I’m making here is: People need to see you first to determine whether they want to trust what you are selling.
If you consider yourself as an introvert, you must be clinging. Well, don’t. There are ways for you to be immensely effective at being seen and being helpful to others. More on this later.
The ultimate goal at this stage is to “cultivate curiosity” from people you encounter. That’s it. Simple, but not always easy to pull off without tapping into your magnetic element. This is why I made the decision to dedicate this post to deep dive into this first step to talk about what this means.
Abundant Selling Step 2: Invite
Not everyone you meet will be interested in moving forward with nurturing a professional relationship with you. That’s a fact that we all need to be OK with.
But mastering how to cultivate curiosity in the Step 1 will dramatically increase the number of people who want to get to this point of “wanting to learn more about you” by seeing you again or reaching out to you.
Even at this stage, though, your focus isn’t about telling the other person what your business offers or what you like to do on the weekends. Instead, you are going to shower this person with your intention to learn more about him/her.
That’s why the ultimate goal for this stage is to “extract (information) and learn” by having an open dialogue with the person you met. You are inviting people to your world to do show & tell about what matters to them.
This step is 2-fold. First, you want to master asking high-value questions. Then, second, you listen carefully.
Needless to say, your listening skills will be tested, especially when it comes to what they are not telling you. Listening skills are not just about listening to what you can hear. It is all about your ability to decipher their underlying motives, desires, and what they are not revealing.
Abundant Selling Step 3: Offer Possibilities
Just as I mentioned in the beginning. If you get the first step right and are patient with the second step, this last step will come very naturally to you. At this point, what you should be feeling, if done right, is how comfortable and ready you are about what you can offer this person.
Because you feel at ease, you will be able to present what can be possible by working with you and/or your business without feeling awkward. Here, you talk less about benefits and features unless specifically asked. Instead, you focus on depicting the desired outcome this person is longing for and how you can help with the process.
The beauty of this is: “Abundant Selling” completely eliminates the need for “convincing” anyone.
This is the part everyone hates – convincing. Am I not right? It makes you feel like you are obligated to coerce someone into buying your stuff. You may even have experience being on the receiving side of this treatment on more than a few occasions, and you just can’t stand it.
I don’t blame you. Who in the world feels comfortable with that?!
Actually, if someone is totally fine with forcing people into buying something, then he/she has no moral boundaries. Certainly not the type who would succeed in business. So, if you feel disgusted by it, the good news is…you are a good human.
But what if your sole job is to help this person make his/her decision on his/her own? Can you say, a game changer?!
The ultimate goal here is to offer possibilities that are beyond their desire (without lying, of course) so that he/she feels empowered to make a decision on his/her own. You are helping this person understand what’s possible for him/her that they may not even have considered.
Remember my math fiasco?
What I was doing, without realizing that’s what I was doing at that time, was making offers to myself to show what’s possible despite my teacher & tutors screaming at me not to go through with it.
I believed I could pass the exams if I approached studying math differently. I offered myself the possibility of a better life by getting into a school I wanted to attend. I made myself the offer of seeing what’s possible beyond what stood in my way.
By then, I was committed to making changes in my life. I was ready to give up on all sorts of feelings I had about math.
See this? In your case, you will be doing that with someone else. Wait, but is it really? Let’s find out by diving into the first step in detail.
Abundant Selling Step 1: Mastering the S.O.S. Method
In order to be seen the way you need to be seen by others, I have a practical method that makes the process easier for you. It’s called the S.O.S. method. But…we need to have a little talk before getting into it. A kind of talk you might not want to have.
Can you guess what that is? It’s a mindset talk.
Time and time again, I meet business owners who approach me and tell me how much they hate sales. Just hearing it, to me, is such a downer. At this point, I lose all interest in getting to know them. I’m not excited about what they are about. They no longer pique my curiosity. At all.
Do you want to hang out with them? I didn’t think so.
Now let’s put the spotlight on you. If you have been telling others how you don’t like to sell or you don’t like sales, you are pretty much repelling everyone with your low-quality vibes.
This has to change.
Here are 5 things you are going to do so that you can start this journey off right.
1. You are going to unlearn the conventional ways of selling. They don’t exist.
2. You are no longer obsessed about outcomes like a clingy, pestering boyfriend (or girlfriend.)
3. You decide your negative thoughts about sales or selling no longer serve you, so drop them.
4. You are going to get your own buy-in on what you offer by owning the new identity of an enthusiastic business figure.
5. You are going to be genuinely excited about meeting people whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. These are irrelevant.
In a nutshell, if you want this to work, you are going to have to start from a clean slate with the right frame of mind.
I know you got this!
OK. Now, let’s move on to the S.O.S. method. It stands for:
These are the only 3 things you are going to focus on for the next 3 months. It may take longer to get used to this new routine. The key here is to not give up too early. You continue on until it starts to show results.
How to “Show Up” the Abundant Selling Way
First, you need to create an environment where you are seen more often. Physically, preferred at first. The reason is simple. Physically meeting people will help you craft your magnetic element much faster. The faster you master this, the faster you can implement this via online.
So, what is magnetic element? It’s part of your true and comfortable self that cultivates curiosity from people you meet.
It could be your sense of humor.
It could be your calm presence.
It could be your warm & approachable demeanor.
It could be your way of opening up to people.
We are all different. What you want is to identify what your magnetic element is by meeting as many people as possible.
You might nervously ask, “Does that mean I need to hit all the networking events in my local area? Do I need to even sign up for conferences?”
Yes and no. These are an easier way to put yourself in a space full of new people, for sure. But these are not the only ways to meet new people. In fact, you are meeting new people all the time.
All you need to do is to shift your thinking.
For example, you see the same people in the elevator, but you never speak to them. They are new people to you since you don’t know them well. Someone asks if it’s OK to sit right next to you if it’s not taken at a coffee shop. You pick up your dry cleaning at a new place and interact with a new person. You walk up to a bank teller you have never seen before. A stranger asks for directions on the street… You are meeting new people every day.
“How are these people relevant to my business?” You might ask.
They are all relevant in the Abundant Selling framework because these people are providing you with ample opportunity to practice your magnetic element.
I used to walk up to Starbucks looking completely exhausted. Maybe you can relate. All I wanted was my coffee & that’s all I cared about. Once I adopted the Abundant Selling framework, though, I used this opportunity to practice my small talk to the point where I don’t even feel burdensome or remember to do it.
“What’s my name? (They always ask, right?) What’s yours?!” I jokingly ask. From then on, she won’t forget what my usual order is. We quickly chit chat about how each other’s day is going frequently. I don’t even spend an ounce of extra energy carrying these conversations.
Soon you will notice something inside of you shift and you will feel completely different about meeting people. This is how we show up as the Abundant Selling way.
How to “Own Up” the Abundant Selling Way
The more you meet new people, the better you will become at introducing yourself. You don’t need a rigid pitch or tagline to cultivate curiosity from people. Instead, you will learn how to adapt to any setting, situation or occasion by customizing the way you introduce yourself.
How do you know if it’s working?
From my experience, when you get a comment like, “I don’t quite know what you do, but I really like what you are about. So, I started to follow you on Instagram.” Or, it could be something like, “So and so told me I should speak to you. He couldn’t really tell me what you do, though.”
That’s when you know you have nailed your magnetic element.
Once you start spotting evidence that you are giving lasting impressions to people, you will do more of it because you like what you see. Getting to that point can take some time but know that you will get there if you are consistent with it.
Owning who you are as a business owner means you are continuously crafting your business identity by welcoming all chances to meet people without attaching yourself to the outcome.
Too many business owners are obsessed with what their ROI could be by going to networking events and conferences. Even when someone approaches them for a call or a coffee date, the first thing they think about is, “Is this person worth my time?”
This is what I call, “quality hoarding.”
On the flip side, some go for the volume game by cold emailing and cold calling, thinking a handful out of 100 people they hit up will respond.
This is what I call, “low value quantity play.”
That’s a sign that these people are getting “quality vs. quantity” completely mixed up.
When it comes to the Abundant Selling framework, you want to pay attention to both – quality and quantity but not in the way that’s described above.
The only quality you care about is the way you show up. Quality of people you encounter is not your concern. Stay humble and offer the best version of yourself, ready to showcase your magnetic element at any given moment.
You don’t get to complain about how only 2 people showed up at the event you signed up. You don’t get to measure their worth against your time. You are thankful that you get to practice.
Quantity equals how many people you will interact with. As I mentioned under How to Show Up the Abundant Selling Way, your intention is to increase the number of new people you meet.
Lastly, you OWN UP all the outcomes. Take notes and keep track of your progress especially on how you feel about interacting with people. The more you look at this as an experiment, the easier it gets for you to keep going. In no time, you will become a master of observing people’s behaviors.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve purposely asked many questions to learn about the person I was speaking with, and the person never once thought of saying, “Enough about me. Now I’d like to hear about what makes you excited” for the whole 45 min. It happens. A lot.
But I own up to the conversation and never feel I’ve lost my precious time because I always learn something from each conversation.
How to “Serve Up” the Abundant Selling Way
Serving up here means helping and/or offering value during your interactions with people. While you intentionally lead these conversations as a good listener, you will spot opportunities to offer your two cents or to offer connecting them with someone else.
You are going to do this abundantly.
After I give some suggestions, I always say, “Hey, if you want to know more about this, you can shoot me an email.” Some come through & some don’t. That’s totally OK.
The act of offering help and giving suggestions or ideas is the best way for people to know what it’s like to have meaningful conversations with you. Serving up is the critical component of eliminating the need to convince someone to buy. Consider this to be your demo opportunity with zero agenda.
You might be wondering if you have to give away everything you know in order to serve up. I hear people ask this question a lot.
I can only offer my take on this strictly coming from my experience exercising Abundant Selling. The bottom line is, even if I try to give everything away, it’s nearly impossible. To me, this is the least of my concern in the scheme of Abundant Selling.
First, with a limited amount of time having a conversation with someone, there is only so much I can give.
Second, the chance of them actually implementing what I suggest is slim.
For example, I’ve said something like this more times than I can count. “How funny, I just wrote about this. I’ll send you a link if you are interested in checking it out.” As you know, we can all track links. I also know that they didn’t click on the link.
So, there is no point in worrying about giving away too much for nothing in return. Remember, you are not to be attached to your desired outcomes.
Are You Ready to Implement the Abundant Selling Framework?
There you have it. I know this was a hefty read. Not to sound like a broken record, but “Be Seen” is the chunkiest part of the Abundant Selling Framework and the most important.
As you might have noticed, being seen more in situations where you can showcase your magnetic element has nothing to do with conducting a major PR campaign or running paid ads. It’s a simple, honest and perhaps the most old school way of approaching sales. Interact more in-person & practice how you show up. Truly that’s all it takes.
If you are ready to say, “I’m done hating something that is getting in the way of me achieving something magnificent,” be sure to sign up to receive the latest on Abundant Selling. You will be the first one to find out when the S.O.S. method challenge will commence!
In the meantime, get out there, meet people every day & craft your magnetic element! Don’t forget to comment below if you have stories to share by giving this a try!