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This week’s episode is a follow up to the previous episode on ‘simple selling’. I dive into some of my own challenges and explain how I am using simple selling to course correct.
As a reminder, simple selling is inspiring people to take a specific action and doing it in a way that aligns with your values. You know you’ve nailed this concept when it feels good and natural.
When I recorded the previous episode, I was in the middle of a launch for my group program. And as I created the podcast, I realized that I was not taking my own advice!
My launches did not feel ‘good and natural’ – I felt out of alignment.
Listen in to learn how I explored what was ‘off’ in my launches and the changes I decided to make to my group program.
What you’ll learn on today’s episode:
- How I realized I was not practicing ‘Simple Selling’ in my launches
- Why it’s easy to ignore your inner wisdom and get distracted by outside voices
- Some changes I’m making in my business to get back in alignment
- Why self-improvement and constant striving do not always serve you
- How to manage the inner struggle and stay consistent with your values
Featured on this episode:
Doors to Business Growth Lab are open (and staying open)! Get more information and join here: sallyannmiller.com/thelab/
Welcome to Introverts Thriving in Business, the podcast for introverts who enjoy the comfort of her, hate the idea of selling, and want to create a thriving business on their terms. If you’re ready to go from overwhelmed and anxious, to feeling calm and accomplished in your business, then keep listening. I’m your host, Sally Miller.
Hey, everybody, welcome back to the podcast. So today, I want to do something a little bit different. This is going to be a follow up from an episode two weeks ago, called “Simple Selling”. And I’m going to be sharing some of my personal struggles, some of my lessons, and just going deeper into that concept, that concept of simple selling, which, incidentally, has been one of my most popular episodes, in that, it received the most response, the most positive response. I got messages, I got emails from people saying it inspired them, they really connected with what I was sharing, it made sense to them, they had ‘ahas’, they learned a lot, they went away with something that they could apply to make selling different for them.
I’ll recap what the message was. I really do recommend you actually go back and listen to that episode, if you haven’t already done. So I think it probably makes sense to listen to that episode before listening to the rest of this one. But I’ll give you the definition, the recap of what I talked about. So simple selling, I defined as follows: its inspiring people to take a specific action, and doing it in a way that aligns with your values. And on that episode, I really emphasize that that was the important part, selling in a way that felt aligned, that when you are in an integrity that felt good and natural.
And what I actually said at one point on that episode is, you know you’ve nailed simple selling when it feels good and natural. Now, here’s the interesting thing. When I was recording that episode, it was a couple in several weeks back, I was in the middle of a launch of my own group program. It was the second launch of this year. And it was not feeling good and natural to me. People were buying, things were happening, but something felt wrong, something felt off. This is what’s really interesting. And if you’re also a coach or a teacher or an influencer, or you just teach or share ideas with people, you might find the same in your business, is, very often what we’re sharing with others is actually the medicine we need ourselves. And that was very much the case for me.
So in this episode, I’m going to be really sharing honestly with you some of my struggles around simple selling, specifically with my group program, the lessons I’ve learned, the thought process I went through, how I’m applying my own tools in my own business, and how I’m course correcting now. And it’s my hope that you’re going to learn several things. First of all, we all struggle in business. And yet, it’s still possible to create results on the outside. You can still be “succeeding.”. I already have a business I love. I’m doing work I love, I’m making over six figures a year, my business fits in with my lifestyle, it’s part time, I can fit it around my family and my other interests and other things that are important to me in my life. I have created all that. And I still struggle.
So I’m hoping that in some ways that can be reassuring to you all, even though the underlying message is perhaps the struggles are never going to go away. Secondly, I’m really hoping you can see how I use the tools, specifically, simple selling and that concept, in practice. So it’s going to be a deeper dive into the idea of simple selling using myself and my business as an example. Now before I jump into that, one caveat, or one kind of note of warning that I want to offer you is as you’re listening to this episode, I would love for you to focus on learning from my process, my decision making process, my thinking, but not from the conclusions I reach because I will be giving you specifics; specifics of how I’ve sold in the past, what’s worked, what’s not worked for me, but that’s the important part. Remember, the definition of simple selling is doing it in a way that aligns with your values.
The concept that I teach inside my group program on this podcast is build a business that’s right for you. And so what’s right for you me, what’s aligned with my values is not necessarily what’s right for you. So just to repeat, listen and learn from my process but not my conclusions, not the specific actions I’m taking my business. This is not a ‘how to sell, do these specific things’ episode, this is ‘how to understand and come up with the best selling process for you.’
Okay, so with that said, here was my struggle, like I said, as I was recording that episode, it began to dawn on me that I wasn’t taking my own medicine, that the selling that I was doing at that time in my group program was not feeling good and natural to me. And I actually had a point of contrast. In the past, in my business, I’ve also sold my books, and I’ve also sold one on one coaching. And in both those cases, I reached a point where selling did feel good, it did feel natural, and I did create results. And that’s what I wanted in my group program. So I knew something was off, I could sense it, I could feel it in my body, it started with a feeling. Like I said, the external results were happening, people were buying and people have been by my program, but something was off on the inside. So that was my first sort of red flag, my first warning flag.
So I took my own medicine. So two weeks ago, on the Simple Selling episode, the first one, I said to you, I suggested that you examine your thoughts around selling, and look for any negative thoughts that are creating negative feelings. And in my case, it was just a sense of off, a sense of not being aligned, not feeling good. But for you, it might be a sense of pushing this fear, doubt, deserving, frustration, creepiness, whatever it is, those are all signs to explore your thoughts, and your behaviors, what you’re doing, but what you’re thinking about what you’re doing.
So, I did that. I explored my thoughts about my offer, about the lab, my thoughts about myself as a coach, and how I’m showing up, my thoughts about my audience that I was selling to, and I really couldn’t find anything striking that was a problem. Yeah, there were little things that I felt I could tweak, I could change, but nothing significant. And then I looked at my thoughts around my selling process. And I realized it was my selling process or my selling method that felt not aligned for me. And I’m going to talk a lot more about this. But again, that warning, don’t take my conclusions about selling. This is not a judgment on launches and my selling process as being wrong, it’s just a conclusion I’ve reached that it felt wrong for me, I was not in alignment.
So a second thing that highlighted this to me was, I like I said, I received multiple emails as a result of that episode. But I was also receiving lots of emails from people who were interested in joining the lab, couldn’t make up their mind. And one person said something that really highlighted that this was the thing that was making me feel off in my business. That’s the simplest way I can describe it. And what this person said was that as an introvert, they felt bombarded by my emails.
So for those of you who are new, and maybe you’re not an email subscriber, you just listen to this podcast, I will recap. This is the way I launched, it’s very much a recognized method to launch, I open and close my group programs several times a year, and it’s only open for four days. And I call that my launch period. And during that launch period, I send 15/20 emails over a couple of weeks leading up to that four-day period, and a lot of emails during that four-day period. I also kind of have a webinar or a live Q&A where people can come and sell. In a nutshell, that’s my launch process. All right, very standard.
But this person said to me, as an introvert, they felt bombarded by emails, and something in their comments really struck a chord with me. Now, again, I want to be careful here. It wasn’t in the case that I felt attacked, or I felt judged, and I was just having a typical defensive reaction—that can and does happen to me and it will happen to you and your business. It wasn’t that. When that happens, then that’s a different thing to deal with. That’s a case of going inside and questioning yourself. Why do you feel judged? Why do you feel attacked? Why are you closing down and never act from that place? You need to come to a clean place where you can look more objectively at the person’s comments.
No, my emotional reaction to this email was that I agreed with the person. I agreed with them that for me, it’s true, that as an introvert, I also feel bombarded when I receive a lot of emails or a lot of messages. This is one of the reasons why I’m not traditionally on social media personally, because I find it very noisy. And I know this is common for introverts. So I agreed with that comment. Again, when someone says something—I can repeat this because it’s so important—says something negative to you, it’s important that you decide, do you agree with them? Is it true? Not just to react from defensiveness or react from self-doubt
So if that person had said that, but for me and for my core audience, that wasn’t a problem, I could reach a point where I’m like, “Yeah, but my people, the people who are like me, the people who I want to join my group program, they love receiving hundreds of emails,” then I could happily disregard and respect that person and realize that they had a different perspective to me. The thing is I did agree with them, to me, it resonated as true. So again, this isn’t a comment on sending lots of emails during a launch, just for me, as an introvert, it feels intrusive, and it feels noisy. It feels like unnecessary loudness noise that isn’t aligned with who I am.
So the conclusion I came to was, yes, I could shift my thoughts around launches. That’s something that we teach as coaches; when our thoughts are getting in the way, I could shift my thoughts around launches. But I could not see a way to do that and still stay in alignment. And so I thought, well, what if I just shifted the way I’m selling to be more true to myself? Something I, again, this is a little bit of a sidetrack, but it’s worth noting here, you can very often shift your thoughts, but I’d never believe in forcing your thoughts. That does not work. Certainly, in my experience, that puts you in a place where you’re trying to think something, you’re trying to force a thought that just isn’t true to you. And if it doesn’t resonate with who you are at the deepest level and your core values, I personally believe that’s kind of setting yourself up for failure inside, like internal failure, like continual internal battling. I don’t think that is a natural and easy way to go about managing your brain as you work in your business.
But I also want to point out, before I share some of the conclusions I came to, I want to point out some of the reasons why this was so hard for me, and I think it would be hard for you, is when you identify something, and it really, truly isn’t aligned. But what you want to do, or what thoughts you’re having are not consistent with perceived wisdom, this can be so challenging. And I know this because I’ve actually been in this exact place before, where I’ve recognized that the way I’m showing up in my marketing, the way I’m showing up in my sales, doesn’t feel aligned, doesn’t feel true to me, doesn’t feel consistent with who I am, doesn’t feel authentic. Or to put it another way, does feel like I’m kind of faking it, pretending to be the extrovert or the kind of internet online influencer that deep down, I know I’m not.
I’ve been there before, I’ve made changes in my business. And then I’ve always reverted back to the tried and tested methods. And I think this is so challenging for various reasons. First of all, these tried and tested methods work; sending lots of emails, having particular launch sequence does work. I do make sales, I always have made sales. In fact, I even teach that as a method to sell. Because if it feels aligned to you, then go ahead and do it. There are many coaches and online influencers, who I know and love and respect, who teach and use this method. And for them, it feels good. So, like I said, don’t take my conclusions. Just listen to my process, and then apply it to yourself.
So one reason why it’s so hard is if you ever identify that you’re out of alignment, that you’re doing something that is kind of popular wisdom, let’s say, it works. And we don’t want to fail, you know, deep down, none of us want to fail. So there’s a lot of fear around if I change, if I sort of burned down parts of my business, or if I tweak parts of my business…Let’s not be dramatic about because I’m definitely not burning down any of my business. But if we just change something, then maybe it’ll stop working. That’s a genuine fear for me and it will be for you if this ever happens to you.
There’s also this idea that we kind of want to fit in with the tribe. This is what everyone does. Everyone does launches, and so I need to, too. So there’s this desire, this inner drive, this more primitive part of us that feels the need to fit in, to do what other people are doing. So it’s hard to break away from that. These are all the reasons why it’s so challenging sometimes to listen to our own inner wisdom, instead of the voices outside of us. The bottom line is this: and I’m just going to say this, but to go deeper into this idea is a whole separate podcast episode in itself. But we do live in a world that values self-improvement. I would even dare to say, we live in a world that puts self, the individual, at the center of the universe, and I’m beginning to question in my life, not just my business, is that really most beneficial to me, to have this idea that I’m the center of my universe, I am the master of everything that I create, is constant self-improvement?
Now, I want to pick my words carefully, because I am a coach. And I do believe in continuous improvement and seeking to always be progressing in certain ways. But putting itself at the center of the universe is something that can backfire in my life, personally. Here’s another way to look at it. I believe that the culture we live in, for better or worse, we’re taught to be constantly desiring, constantly wanting, we’re a consumer world, and asked to be constantly striving and striving towards some goals, some success, some sense of somewhere we need to be that’s not here.
Whereas, what I found practically in my life, that things flow a lot more easily when I come to a place where I’m settled with who I am now, I recognize the ways in which I don’t have the answers, the ways in which I am small, I am not the center of the universe, and I actually make peace with that. And more than that, I have gratitude for who I am and where I am now. Like I said, this is a big topic, slight sidetrack. My brain can go off on tangents, it’s something I’ll almost certainly return to in greater depth on a future episode. But this idea that we’ve grown up in this world, and we’re constantly bombarded by this messages of improve, improve, strive, strive, want, want, desire, desire, makes it extraordinarily difficult to listen to our inner voice, if our inner voice is trying to whisper another message. But that was the case for me.
But I do believe the solution is to listen to that voice, the solution is to trust yourself. And always bring yourself back to alignment with your values. So to bring this back to simple selling, and the definition of simple selling, which is inspiring people to action, but doing it in a way that feels aligned, I want to help you do that. And this is what I’ve done in my business. I went back to my values in my business, and they are simplicity, fun, and honesty. At this point in time, my business, those are my three values. And so I asked myself this question, how can selling my group program be simple, fun and honest? And I offer that to you as something you can do if you ever find yourself at a similar point in your business where you’re struggling, you’re feeling out of alignment, but you’re not sure how to get back in alignment. Just go back to your values. And then ask yourself a question. How can I be that consistent with these values? So for me, the question was, how can selling my program be simple, fun, and honest?
And the things that I wrote down were the following: is I want to keep it always open. So that is the first announcement. As of today, Business Growth Lab is open. And it’s not a launch, you’re not going to be receiving lots of emails, it’s not going to close again next week. The lab is always open. I do want to keep it always open. Also, I write down keep reminding and inviting people in, but without the intense sales periods. Because as an introvert, that is just exhausting and draining to me. And clearly, it’s exhausting and draining to my audience, it’s not aligned, but still keep offering that invitation. Keep the door open.
The visual I had as I was journaling on this, was me having this open door and inside the room was, not a party because I’m not a party person, but this is an inviting place. And I was just going to stand at that door and keep reminding people and saying, you know, when you’re ready, you can walk in. That was the visual I had when I was coming up with this. I also don’t give people a taste of what it’s like. So maybe they just want to kind of step a toe in through that door, but they’re not ready to fully commit yet. And I’ll be honest, I haven’t figured out exactly how to do that one, but I’m still thinking about it.
So if you’ve got ideas for me, email me, respond to my email, go to my website, get on my email list and email and let me know what you think. Because I would love to give people a taste of what it’s like to help them decide whether they want to come in through that door. Make it easy for people to ask me questions. I already do this one; that’s always been a value. Every single email newsletter I send I say, “Write back, let me know if you’ve got a question. Let me know how I can help you.” And I always respond personally to anyone who contacts me. So those are some of the thoughts I had. Some of the changes I’m making is not dramatic, but it feels aligned and true.
So I want to share some final thoughts on this. Because here’s the problem. Like I said, I’ve been here before in my business where I’ve recognized I’m out of alignment, I’ve made changes in my business. And then I’ve kind of fallen out of alignment again, it’s almost like I’ve been drawn back into doing the things that I’ve been taught that I see everybody else doing, and I’m shooting myself that I should do. And so the question I’ve been asking myself is, how do I stay in alignment? Like I said, at the beginning of the episode, I do believe this is going to be a constant struggle for me and a constant struggle for everyone. And I think that’s okay. I think we can make peace with the struggle, in fact, even embrace the struggle, smile at it and enjoy the challenge. I think resisting the fact that the struggle is going to exist in our lives, is not fruitful.
But what we want to do is be vigilant, be constantly checking in with ourselves. You can do that with coaching, self-coaching, journaling, what other methods work with you, to help you be aware of your thoughts, your feelings, your actions, and constantly questioning where is this coming from? What is driving me? Is it my ego? By which I mean, desire for something, desire for achievement, a result recognition to fit in with the tribe. Is it resistance that you’re resisting where you are right now in life and you’re not sort of accepting and allowing? Is it that outside voices are influencing you? Are you coming from what I think of as your soul? Are you aligned with your values? Are you listening to the quieter inner voice? Not the ego, not the part of you that wants and desires, but that quieter, wiser part of you?
I’m going to leave you with this one final question because I find questions very powerful, is this. Ask yourself, does this feel true to me? That one question I find very helpful to get me back into alignment with my values. Okay, that’s all I have for you this week. I’ll see you on the next episode.
If you’re ready to thrive in business, I want to invite you to join Business Growth Lab. This is my group program where I teach you the exact process I and my students have used to grow profitable businesses we love. When you join the lab, you get lifetime access to everything you need to grow a six-figure business, the training, expert coaching, accountability, and community. The approach we take is scientific. We don’t dabble in business, and we don’t waste time. You’ll create your business on a solid foundation, using proven methods. To join, go to www.sallyannmiller.com/thelab. We’ll see you inside.