Long ago when I was a Boy Scout, we had this fundraiser where we sold donuts door-to-door. They kept track of who sold the most – it was a type of leaderboard… and I always came in dead last. I probably could have done better, but I was always afraid of being rejected. This week’s blog is about how I learned how to get out of my own way (and move a little higher up the leaderboard)…
Video Transcript and Relevant Links
So have you ever bought any Girl Scout Cookies®? I might've. Have you ever bought any Boy Scouts’ donuts? Probably not – especially if I was the one selling them to you…
So I've been thinking about sales and marketing. I think about those things quite a bit lately and I was just remembering back when I was in the Boy Scouts many decades ago and Boy Scout doughnuts. I don't think it's like a thing like Girl Scout Cookies are, but the Boy Scout troop that I was in when I was 12 or 13 years old, we would have a fundraiser and we would sell donuts and all the kids in the troop—the Boy Scout troop—were supposed to go out and sell donuts door to door. And every year we did this fundraiser.
I was the absolute last place out of everyone. They would have a little bit of a leaderboard. I would be the last place. I was super competitive when I was a kid, but I wasn't competitive with selling donuts. I was just scared to death of going out and it was fear and it was just awkwardness and worried about what people would think of me.
And so each year I would sell a bag of donuts or usually two bags of donuts to my parents and then I have one next door neighbor who was always super, super kind and super, super sweet to me and I go over… I'd screw up my courage and I go over and knock on their door and I'd ask them if they wanted to buy a bag of donuts and they would say yes. And so then I would basically sell three bags of donuts—two to my parents and one to this neighbor of ours—and I would just refuse to go out and go knock on any other doors and ask and do any kind of sales in any way and try to get people to buy these donuts.
It was a nonstarter for me. I was worried about rejection. I was worried about what they would think. I was just scared to knock on those doors. I was an introvert then just like I'm an introvert now and it's sort of funny if you think about it really, how hard is it to sell donuts? Of course we're in this new low carb era. Maybe it's a little harder, but the fact is, right now anyone comes to my door, any kid comes to my door, I'm basically going to buy whatever they're selling whether I'm going to consume it or not. If it was donuts, I'm probably not going to eat them, but I'll find someone to give them to. Really how hard is it to sell donuts? But in my head I had all kinds of this mental head trash about rejection, about what they're going to think about… I'm like taking something, I'm taking their money from them.
And it's taken me years to reprogram my head about sales. And I think what's helped is marketing because the difference between marketing and sales, well, marketing is where you attract people in so they're set up to make that sale. But if you look at the work I've done in the world, I've spent the last 22 years basically perfecting this thing we call the Product Launch Formula® and the last, I don't know, 13-14 years teaching people about Product Launch Formula. And really, if you do the Product Launch Formula right, you almost don't have to sell because the marketing is so effective that it leads people up to that sale.
But at the end of the day if you're going to make the sale, you still have to ask for the order. It's a term we use a lot, “ask for the order” and I think the rewiring that has happened in my head, how I think about sales now… and this is from a friend of mine, Bari Baumgardner, she says “sales is service” and that's the way I look at is sales is service. If you've got a great product and you're selling it to the right person, then it's the highest service you can be to provide the solution to whatever their problems are to provide this solution, to give them more pleasure or take away some kind of pain.
Like right now, what do I do? I mostly sell coaching and for entrepreneurs, that's what Product Launch Formula is, that's what all of my products are—some type of a coaching or a service to help people grow their business. And I just have to look at the results I've gotten and the results my clients have gotten to know that, if it's the right time for them, and they're the right person, (and my marketing brings those people in), but when it comes time to ask for the order, I just have to think about the incredible impact I've had on so many other people over the years and the incredible impact that could have on them.
If I could get out of my own way and get over that fear of rejection, get over that idea that I'm taking something from them and just understand that what I'm doing is I'm delivering massive value and I'm just asking for them to step up into that value, to step up into that brighter future for themselves and whatever you're selling, it's going to be the same. You have to look at … If you create a great offer, a great product that's truly going to help someone that's going to give them pleasure that is going to take away their pain, then you're doing them a disservice if you are not selling effectively.
The great thing is, there's amazing sales training out there, there's amazing marketing training… but the thing you have to get through your head first is that you're not taking anything from anyone when you sell to them. And maybe you don't have this feeling, maybe I'm the only person that had this feeling, but I think this holds a lot of people back. A lot of people are scared to ask for their order. And the reality is it's the greatest service that you can do for someone. And as soon as you can start to rewire your brain to start to see your selling as truly serving, well the more effective you're going to be.
So I'm Jeff Walker. Wherever you're watching this, scroll down, leave a comment for me, and let's go get 'em this week.
Great video, Jeff !
When are you going to open the next sale of your Formula?
Very inspiring messages Jeff
Wow, that really resonates with me. That was me when we had Bob a Job week in the UK. Thanks Jeff
Yes, sales can be a big source of conflict, especially if you are a sincere person who is sensitive about value. Of course sales are essential, I offer high value digital services here in Perth, Australia and I know that there are a lot of people being held back by their lack of digital media skills.
Good video, Jeff and I gain a lot of encouragement from your approach, I am also a guitar player, so we have much in common mate!
Loved this video about selling. I’ve always struggled with trying to sell someone anything. Over the last few years, I’ve come to be able to do a better job at it. Jeff, I see guitars in the video. I assume you play? I am a 71 year old guitar player and teacher and love to play and teach guitar. I have several beginner guitar courses on the web that I market. That’s why I follow you here as you have so much information to offer about selling products. I truely wish I could afford your PLF course. I enjoy your videos here so much.
As someone who was terrible at sales in my corporate career, I completely relate! In my business now I view selling as serving (as long as I know I can truly help the person I’m selling to) and this perspective shift has allowed me to create a thriving coaching practice with incredible clients from all around the world. Thank you as always for your inspirational and value-packed videos!!
“ fear of selling/ taking” has been a huge handicap for me. I used to buy the stuff I was supposed to sell then give it away!
I’m finally shifting to the understanding that my work is serving and that receiving appreciation is far more truthful and respectful to myself and my clients. Thanks for the reminder.
I am the greeter on the horizon of true capital value.
As soon as you realize that you are improvimng someone’s life then your motivation to sell totally changes.
J.R.: Exactly… well said!
Thanks for such a great insight into selling.
It has completely changed my perception. Here l go on my next giving of service to people.
Thank you Jeff
This is exactly how I feel when I find myself having to ask for the sale. I’m afraid that I will be rejected or that people will think that the price is too high. I find myself giving away information for free which further damages my business and self confidence because when I do finally get up the courage to ask for the sale, the prospect has gotten what they wanted from me for free and moves on. I have to learn how to strike a balance on how much information to give for free and when to stop talking and ask for the sale.
Such a great video Jeff. You’ve taught me a ton in the past few years and one of them has been “to sell is to serve” which is so true!
Can’t wait to see you at PLF Live in 2 weeks!
@Mary: And you are doing an amazing job serving! Looking forward to seeing you!
Great video and so true especially for me! That’s such a great way of looking at it and i’m looking forward to giving it a go! Thank you
I surely can relate. Like donut sales for you, Jeff, Girl Scout cookie sales were the WORST part of my year every year. I hated selling those cookies. My parents were beyond frugal and they would only buy one box total from my sister and me – and lecture us about the ridiculous price, etc.. I got the message – ‘selling people stuff is really bad’. Fast forward 40+ years – I’m slowly eroding that embodied belief. Thank you for the donut story – it made me laugh out loud.
I’m looking forward to meeting you at PLF in April.
WOW Jeff !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What you shared hit me like ton of bricks!!!
I have 4 products that I have invented but can’t sell (because of this rejection thing) They are awesome products but I can’t sell them. Now I see why. Wish I had heard this years ago..
Great message Jeff! I for one resonate with you as I am an introverted entrepreneur. I also dreaded school fundraisers and being tasked with selling stuff door to door. I have also sucked as sales throughout my younger years. It’s a very powerful and liberating feeling knowing that you can be an introverted entrepreneur and still excel at sales and marketing online (without resorting to any sleazy tactics).
Selling is serving!
Simple and Brilliant. : )
“Selling as serving.” I love that! And having been a salesperson for 16+ years, I agree wholeheartedly that reframing it this way and focusing on providing clients the best service does the selling itself. And feels way better.
Yes. I totally can relate to this as well. Sales never came easy to me either. I wondered how people could do it. I was afraid of being rejected. Selling is not about convincing someone, it is about making them aware of what you are offering.
As a person who is about to take a some time off after graduating with my undergraduate degree to develop my entrepreneurial skills, I love these life upgrades! You are helping me understand aspects of the shifting paradigm of business.
Thanks Jeff great message!
Jeff, even as a thirty year veteran of the capital markets and having long teamed up with entrepreneurs and their early stage micro-cap’s, I’ve found your offering’s to be most inspirational and many of your great insight’s have translated into my new and workable direction’s. I’m most grateful. Thank you. I would urge any entrepreneurial minds reading this to work with you and your programming.
Lol! I can totally picture you selling donuts as a little kid! Poor thing. :o)
@Leslie: well… I mostly DIDN’T sell donuts as a kid. 🙂