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Highlights from this episode include:

  • The devastating sales mindset that can kill your one-person operation (2:49)
  • Why mastering selling will do more for the success of your business than any other skill you can learn (5:25)
  • The single best way to set up future sales, even when the prospect doesn’t need to buy now (8:17)
  • Why only looking at sales numbers is a soul-crushing mistake (9:48)
  • How to build a thriving business even when no one in your circle is a prospect (10:38)
  • Why digital marketing will never replace selling (12:07)
  • The secret to selling without feeling like you’re taking advantage of people (13:58)
  • Why the Grant Cardone approach to sales leads to failure (19:50)
Read Full Transcript

Hey, you're off to a great start listening to this episode. This one is special. It's with a dear friend of mine. Dear, dear, dear. My best friend, Jenna, who is a Pinterest manager and actually teaches VA's how to leverage Pinterest as a service in their own businesses. If you'd like this episode, go ahead and leave us an honest review when it's over and catch us online at HeyHeyShawnamay.com.

There's two types of people who hear consensual sales in the first go, Oh, Eww, Shawna, that is not what you want to say. There are better words to use and the second type here, consensual sales and say, you know what? You're right. I don't want to talk my way into the sale. I don't want to memorize a script. You just want to work with clients who are excited to work with you. Now that's consensual sales.

(00:49): So anybody listening to this episode, I want you to know that it's a word, consensual sales was actually invented by Jenna and I can't wait for you guys to meet her today because she's here talking to us about how she has approached her business using this method. So Jenna, what's up. Hey, try not to act like we didn't waste like nine minutes with our audience. Totally fine. Cool. Okay. So catch us up to speed with like what you do so we can talk about how you're actually applying the consensual sales method in your own business. Yeah. So I have been a Pinterest virtual assistant Pinterest strategist for almost four years. And then within the last year I launched a membership to teach other virtual assistants how to offer Pinterest services in their own business as well. So, you know, four years is pretty good while to be in business.

(01:51): And like, man, since meeting you, it just made everything so different with sales because like you can't sell, you're not going to have a business because you're not going to be making any money. Do you think that sales is often like an afterthought for people? Or like how do you see sales fit into the way people are thinking about running their business? I think that a lot of the times people don't think a whole lot about fails because in a business like mine where I'm literally a one woman show doing everything, you just don't think about it. Like you, you know that sales exists. You know, even when I started my business, like my husband has been in 100% commission based sales positions. And so, you know, like sales is a thing and it's part of things, but I think you're doing all the things to where you just don't think about it.

(02:42): And you know, it just, it's so easy to overlook it, especially like I know when I first started, I was doing all the things, you know, trying to do the blog and trying to grow my email list and just expecting all of that to just do it for me, like right out of the like, Oh, you're going to make this website, this blog and people are going to want your freebie and then they're gonna want to work with you. And that's just how it's going to work. And it's not, you know, now that's a big part of my platform with my membership is like, you don't need to be doing all of these things right. When you first get started, like you need to go find people that you can help. And like that's where the big turning point was for me. It was like I was wasting and have noxious amount of time doing everything other than talking to people because people think that they put these pieces in place for their business. It's just going to magically make them money. Yeah. That's not how it works.

(03:35): At what point were you like, okay, what I'm doing, isn't working. Like if I'm doing all this other stuff, but I'm still not quite hitting the sales that I want. Like what was happening in your life at that time?

(03:45): Well, I mean, it was like I'm putting money into Facebook ads and you know,

(03:51): I didn't know that you put money into Facebook ads like before, just recently.

(03:55): Yeah. Yeah, I did. And I thought they were doing really poorly. It turns out like it really wasn't too bad, but it was like, this is ridiculous because you know, at that point I was like trying to sell. That was a teacher. I was a teacher for seven years before I did anything online. And so I've always wanted to teach people how to do Pinterest. Like it just came naturally to me. So I had courses and this, that, and the other for teaching other business owners, how to manage their own Pinterest account. If you know, they weren't ready to like hire me to do the full services for them. And like when I was putting money into Facebook ads and trying to write a blog post a week and you know, managing accounts and at that point, none of the kids were in school. I had, you know, everybody at home, everybody being all two of them, but you know, it's like I'm spending so much time trying to make this work when, you know, then when I was having these conversations and getting clients like at that higher price point so much quicker, it was just like, well, why don't I just do more of this rather than putting money into Facebook ads and waiting for people to go through your funnel and potentially convert.

(05:13): We know at some point, absolutely. It was like that it takes so much time and you, you can starve to death in your business, like waiting for things to convert when you know, like what I've learned with you is go find people to talk to and people to help. And, you know, you can go get as many clients as you want, just talking to people and not have this waiting period of like seeing if it works.

(05:40): Yeah. You'll know pretty fast if what you're selling is going to work or not, or like how to tweak things in the conversation.

(05:47): Yeah. I use the same methods even with the membership, you know, being a, a different price point. It was still like, well, if I could just like go talk to enough people, you know, and tell them about what I have, then I'm going to get people enrolled in this membership. And that's exactly how it went. Like I joined conversations and answered questions and, you know, started talking to people one on one and told them about, you know, what I was doing. And it, it really grew, you know, quickly within the first couple of months just doing the same thing

(06:18): You say that like, you just started talking to people, like, how do you do that? If you're like scared? Like what do you like, who do you know who to talk to? And what do you know? Like what to say?

(06:28): How do you know what to say that? So that was definitely, I believe that I cried on a couple of calls with you about that. Like, I don't know what to settle on or talk to, I don't know, who do I go find a conversation to start with and the whole thing. And, you know, it was super stressful and really, really introverted, but it gets so much easier when you just like, for instance, in like a really big Facebook group, you know, at the beginning of like, when schools were shutting down, somebody posted about like, Oh, you know, we're actually really excited because we're going to use, like, the kids would be out of school as an opportunity to like, do a trial run of homeschool. Well, did it has nothing to do with Pinterest. Right. But it was a starting point of a natural conversation for me with this person, because that's exactly what we were doing.

(07:17): Like, we were like, well, you know, I've always wanted to homeschool the girls sales, let's try it. And so you just started a conversation with someone, you know, based on something that you have in common. And inevitably when you're in the right grip me, you always talk about what you do. Like, especially nowadays and entrepreneurial groups, especially, Oh, you know, like what, what do you do? And then that's, you know, a really great way to talk about, you know, how you can help each other in business and what you do. Like it doesn't have to be, you're looking for someone making a post about needing Pinterest services. Right?

(07:52): Yep. It's going to be a really rare and very, very small group of people who are like, I need a Pinterest manager today, or I need help with my Pinterest account. Like that amount of people it's going to be so small. And so when you're not opening yourself up to other conversations, so they can become connectors to your clients, you're going to miss out on a lot of opportunity.

(08:13): Yeah. I mean, it cannot be just like looking for people that are looking to hire right now. You know, just what I say all the time. It's like, when you're connecting with people, you have like, you're investing in future opportunities as well. That's deep. I've had several people that have come back to me two, three years after, you know, we've talked about Pinterest services and they just were not ready. And so, you know, it took two or three years for them to get the pieces together in their business. Like, it just wasn't like, they just weren't there yet. And, but, you know, they've come back to me. But then because, you know, first of all, like we had open about like, no, you're not ready. I'm not just going to take your money and provide the service, knowing that you're just not in a place where it's really gonna benefit you. I'm like, it builds that trust. And so like, they knew then like what, who I was, what I did. I built that trust because I was really upfront with them about everything that they needed to have, you know? So they had that knowledge and those were the people that sent me tons of referrals over the years, as well as, you know, coming back to me when they were ready.

(09:27): Oh, there's so much good stuff here that you're saying. And the first couple of things that come to my mind is that I think the reason why, like what you learn online, doesn't emphasize this approach because you can't always measure it. Like you can't measure a conversation that you had that turned into an offer two years later. You know what I mean? So it's really shortsighted if all you're doing is just like looking at the numbers.

(09:52): Yeah. The other thing that I always say with that is like, because people now know what you do and you know, you're building that even just a teensy bit of like, trust with them because you've had this conversation, like you're accessing their network as well. So like when you're first starting out and you don't know anybody, you know, like specifically with, you know, the work that I do and what I train people to do, like maybe you don't know anybody that has an online business. Well, then you need to start building out your network of people that know people that have an online business that will need your help.

(10:26): Totally. That was what happened to my I used to clean houses right. In the first two. Like I could literally trace every single client that I got to, like the two or three people, because they just happen to know everyone. And I did a really great job. Right. So the hundreds of clients that I had literally came from like two or three people that just connected me to them. And then that connected me to someone. And then that connected me to someone that's the same thing you can do in your business. I think we like to think of like opportunity as something that's just going to fall from the sky. Right. And just land in our lap randomly and just like a strike of good luck, but really like every opportunity that you want. Like every, every person that you want to buy from you is connected to a conversation.

(11:14): Yeah, absolutely.

(11:16): So as you started transitioning to, like, I'm just going to connect with people and I'm going to start conversations and I'm going to get rid of all these things that are like stuck in, you know, that our time, second me and not getting me results. Was there any thing that surprised you or anything that you wish you would have known when you started?

(11:33): I mean, I think that the biggest thing was, it was actually a lot faster for me to have these conversations with people then, like there's so much delay in digital marketing. They're just as, I mean, that's what I do for a living. Like it is, you know, I work with people that have all the digital marketing pieces in place, but it is, I mean, it's, it's delayed. And so like, if you need clients right now, you need to make sure that you are either have the time to do both, go have conversations with people and write blog posts and get them on Pinterest and, you know, do the digital marketing piece. Or if something has to give, I would drop the digital marketing piece. If you just cannot do both and say like, if you need clients right now, go talk to people. Like, don't wait on someone to find this blog post and get on your email list and go through your funnel. And it's so delayed. Like just go find people that you can have a conversation with. And you know, like what I say is, yeah. I mean, definitely look for people that you can connect with that you see have a need that you can meet, but you also just need to be like purely having conversations and like networking

(12:50): Ever feel like you were using people like you without like you were tricking them or you were just like, I dunno, we're using them. That seems to be a fear that a lot of people have.

(12:59): It is. It definitely can feel that way because I, for me, I'm introverted, like the talking to the people all the time, just isn't something that I do. So what I really liked to do that made me feel better was, you know, obviously if there's a need that they have, then they need what you have to offer. So like, you're not just taking anything you are serving and helping them. But then like if you're starting conversations and you're like, well, like in my case, they don't even have a website. So there's literally nothing I can do to help them. As far as my business goes, you are still connecting with them. And I like to say, I can send referrals to them just as much as that gets them referrals to me. So it's like still a give and a take, you know, it's not just like taking up someone's time and you know, a wasted conversation because there's always more that can come from that for both of you.

(13:53): Like it, as long as you're not approaching it from a selfish standpoint, like, you're not like you're either trying to help them with a service that you offer or the products that you have, or, you know, you are helping each other by, you know, saying, okay, like you do website design. I do Pinterest. If we like to work that the other person does and think highly of them, then obviously I'm going to send everybody I know to you for sales. And, you know, I have people that I send you referrals to for website design and graphic design. And, you know, you become, again like that champion for the other person as well. You don't just expect that from them. You're doing it for the other person.

(14:30): Well, who is, so I love that you're emphasizing, like you have to become a champion for other people. And there's like famous clothes out there that like, to get what you want. You have to give people what they want. And that's something that all business owners and people who try to are trying to make money want, like they want exposure. Like they want people to say, like, I see you. And what you're doing is interesting. And here, let me give you an introduction. And like, if you can reciprocate that, it's really going to go a long way for other people, even if it's just sharing out a blog post or a podcast that you listened to, like really kind of connecting in a conversation with the writer or the producer or in any capacity is going to go a long way.

(15:09): Yeah. And I mean, I just think that you can really get over that fear if you come from a place of serving, regardless of how it ends up for you. And then, you know, 95% of the time you're going to get that reciprocation from other people as well, which is going to help you grow.

(15:29): I also think that if you feel like you're tricking people, that one thing that helps is just getting like, really specific about who you help and what you do. So like, I'm not trying to like, just sell you everything, right. I'm just saying like, I'm here to help people get this resolved. So like, if you can get specific about that, it's like, if you don't need that, it's like no big deal, but rather than just like him and hot and not be honest, or like not be clear, I think those are the things that make it feel weird, not the fact in and of itself that you're like selling something or telling somebody what you do. Yeah. Definitely people just don't want to be tripped. And so if it's not clear, obvious, or you're not upfront about it, I think that's when it gets weird. That's what I'm trying to say. Yeah, definitely. How has like the consensual sales framework impacted your life and your business?

(16:16): Oh my gosh. I wouldn't have a business without it. I mean, legitimately I was going to have to figure out something else because I tried to do all the things and avoid, you know, the one thing that I needed in my business to actually make it, which was sales. Like you can have really pretty branded photos and a great website and beautiful fonts and colors. And you know, all of these outward appearances of a great successful business. But if you're not making sales, you're going to have to go get a job. That's pretty much what it boils down to. And so like I had tried everything and just it wasn't working. And so being able to have a system that worked that was simple, that I could easily implement around providing full services for people which, you know, takes a good bit of your time and like raising two kids, it made it workable and it made selling something that I got a lot more comfortable with. And so of course, like when you get more comfortable with something, your closing ratios and you know, all the stuff that you hear here, sales gurus talk about like, it gets better because you feel good about what you're doing.

(17:30): What do you think that you have changed? Like as a person

(17:33): I have gotten so much more confident in, I know my businesses for real, because I know that I'm making money and then I'm not like, worried about where my next client or, you know, member's going to come from. Like I had so many times before, like you all would get just frozen in fear. Like, I don't know what to do. I don't know what I'm going to do next. Like I don't, I don't know how I'm going to make enough money to continue doing this. And it's like, I feel really good when I get on calls now, you know, it just grown tremendously because of, you know, your support and the consensual sales, just the framework that, gosh, it's just makes it so much easier.

(18:16): Yeah. You had said, can you share a little bit about, like you said that your husband has been in sales and he had experienced all sort of the old school tactics, the grant Cardone style of selling, and that was something that didn't quite resonate with you.

(18:30): Yeah. So Josh has now in his second sales position and you know, the first one, like I remember he was practicing like scripts and this was a door to door, life insurance sales. And so it was like, if you didn't get in the door, you were not making any sort of sales. And so like, he, you know, with the guy that he was working with, like you developed the script and know go through it with him. And he was, it was just always so awkward because you feel like you have to say the right words at the right time to like literally get in the door in his case. And it just felt so awkward for me, like for me to try to say like, okay, you know, I'm going to develop this script for when I get on calls with people and, you know, make sure I say the right things.

(19:18): I can't do things prerecorded. I pretty much have to know of, like, here's an outline of the things that need to happen, but I get caught up on literally saying the right words in the right order and just completely fall apart. Like I can't do it. So any sort of like sales script idea and anything that was like, you need to dominate the conversation was soup and that's not me at all at all. I would just, it may be so uncomfortable that people can pick up on that. Like I know you talk about that a lot. Like people can tell when you're uncomfortable with the conversation, so why are they going to want to hire you when you're making them uncomfortable? Because you're so uncomfortable,

(20:03): Make sure you close the sale that you so desperately need.

(20:06): It was like, I need something other than that, because I'm going to fail every single time.

(20:13): I was reading something recently that suggested that the sort of like the old way that we used to sell, like the aggressive approach, like where you were like, you know, you're always closing and you're just like, you've, I don't know. Like, you're kind of smooth talking your way to the sale that has changed so much because of the buyer now is like so educated. It's like 90% of people before they purchase, they're looking at reviews. Like they know more, they have probably researched you and your competitors before they're even talking to you. Right. So this idea that they come into like this funnel and

(20:48): You're the only ones, I mean, they come in and out of that funnel all the time. And so I'm sort of going on a tangent here, but what I'm just seeing is the people, the buyer is so much more educated that it needs to be like a collaborative, consultative approach where you say, okay, like, because I'm hearing you say this, this is my honest recommendation. And when you give your clients like wiggle room, your potential clients, like wiggle room to back out or say, no, you're going to get more yeses simply because of that freedom you're allowing. Yeah. I mean, and you get a lot less buyer's remorse. Like you have people that really truly want to work with you and they feel great about that decision because it's their decision. They're not being like forced into it almost because a lot of the times about high pressure sales people will say yes, because of that pressure.

(21:39): And then you get that buyer's remorse. They have this super gross association with you because they have that buyer's remorse. And like in a lot of things, you know, it's like they buy and then you get like charge backs where then they back out and not like when you're working commission based sales, those can really hurt, like having to give people their money back because they have buyer's remorse because you push them into making a decision that would literally be the worst feeling ever. And then like the financial repercussions of that for you are not good, but like, just that I would never want to be associated with people feeling like I pushed them into a sale. And then once they like had that distance from me that they changed their mind. I'm convinced that this is why there's so many like overpriced programs on the market.

(22:28): It's because they've got to deal with high turnover rate. They've got to deal with pay people who are on like these crazy payment plans. Like the cash flow is just not consistent. I mean, I know that there's great people out there with great, great expensive programs, but I'm convinced that this is often why these programs are overpriced. Yeah, definitely. Okay, cool. Jenna, what's going on in your life? Where can we find you? And we'll go ahead and wrap this bad boy up. Yeah. So I am, most of the time hanging out in my private Facebook community. It is escape the hourly hustle. If you search that, you'll, it'll pop up, you can find me. But then I also have all my information on my websites generally yacht. So I'd like to hang out with my, you know, my members and my internship, teaching them how to provide pincher services.

(23:16): And in my Facebook group, like teaching people all about like what exactly you do as a Pinterest virtual assistant and really excited to be able to do all of that and start homeschooling my kids. Oh my gosh. What was the best compliment you've ever received from somebody that you sold into your program? So I had someone that I did services for like my, my Pinterest marketing services. And either they told me that on the like discovery sales call that just that this district colleges went really well. And they, I think they use, like, they had a really good vibe, you know, that's, that's not really me, but like that was the terminology that they used, that it was just like, I felt so confident and they picked up on that and that was so vastly different than the way I felt, you know, just at that point in my business, like the week before, where I didn't have any confidence, I didn't feel good about what I was doing. Like, so for someone else to pick up on that and to actually mention it, that was huge. Like that. It made me feel really good.

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