Episode #005 - Consent: How to Sell Your Service Ethically and Profitably

Apr 13, 2021

Exploring the magic of 'consent' in sales and networking conversations.

Katy Prince, Business and Sales Coach, runs through why consent is so important during sales and networking conversations. In this episode, you'll find out how asking for permission not only feels better for you and your prospect, but also increases sales rates. Katy offers scripts to structure consent-led sales conversations and pitches, so that you can claim the title of 'ethical entrepreneur' with confidence.

Remember to tag us on Instagram @squirmfreeschoolofbusiness as you're listening so we can give you a virtual high five 🎉

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Episode Transcript: 

Katie Prince:
Do you want to barf at the thought of sliding into someone's DMs? Do you have message requests from strangers telling you that you can absolutely crush your way to 10K months with their help and equally wanting to bark at these? I have a feeling I might know why. In this episode, I'm going to run you through why consent is absolutely non-negotiable in sales and how it can help you sell more.

Katie Prince:
Welcome to the Study Notes podcast, the podcast for all things, sales, service, and strategy for ethical entrepreneurs brought to you by the Squirm-Free School of Business. I'm your host, Katie Prince. And I am obsessed with helping creatives, business owners, freelances experts, make money and reach their goals without the outdated business tactics that make us squirm. On this show, we're all about inclusion, confidence building honesty and fun. So if you want to level up your business, but maybe you don't quite see yourself fitting within the traditional entrepreneurial model, then pull up a seat, you are in the right place.

Katie Prince:
All right. So I'm starting this episode with a bit of a moan. So I apologize in advance, but if I receive one more message saying, "Hey hon, love your content. Have you ever thought about scaling your business to six figures? Well, I can help you reach this goal. Check out this link to www.pushysellerbs.com." I am going to scream.

Katie Prince:
All right. Maybe I'm being a bit dramatic or maybe I'm being too harsh. I do think that the majority of folks who are using these copy and paste messages, I think they mean well, right? And they're probably just doing whatever their upline or their favorite lady boss... Need to barf is returning. They're just doing what was taught to them. But continuing to just do what you are told, even when the results suck and you get ignored on repeat, it's not a very good idea, is it? So I'm creating this episode as a reminder that when you treat people like people and not just as leads to be converted, or prospects to turn into leads and start to think for yourself, instead of just hastily following whatever shiny unicorn method the kids are following these days, you're going to get a much better reception when you slide in that DM. So during this episode, we are going to see how consent is always the most important ingredient when trying to establish a squirm-free sales conversation. So let me run you through this and let's dig into it.

Katie Prince:
Okay. So first of all, I feel like we should just unpack quickly why trying to sell without asking for permission first is so goddam gross. The thing is no one wants a surprise pitch. You don't want to feel cornered or uncomfortable when someone enters your space. And this space can be a virtual space, so your inbox or your DMs. And so before hitting someone with your offer, asking, "Is it okay for me to share my offer?" It shows respect and it builds trust.

Katie Prince:
Secondly, not asking for permission is why you feel icky about selling. So not only does it feel icky to be on the receiving end of an unsolicited introduction to a business, but when you are doing it, being stealthy, being a stealthy seller, it does not feel good. It doesn't feel good because you know that you're perpetuating the same feeling and feeling crappy about following up. It actually means that your brain will subconsciously tell you to avoid sales in the future so that you can avoid this crappy feeling. And when we're opening the old self-sabotage can of worms, that which we really don't want. And finally to bring it together, not asking for permission at the start of every conversation actually hinders your ability to sell. And so it leads to lots of missed opportunities.

Katie Prince:
So I want you to think about this and let me ask you these questions. So tell me, have you ever spent 40 minutes listening on a discovery call only to completely bail on sharing your offer at the end? Have you ever drafted out the same DM three or four times only to decide no, actually no, I'm not going to do this at the last minute? Have you ever got yourself all fluffed up to knock them dead with your elevator pitch at a networking event only to bottle it and just stare at your phone all evening instead? Have you tried every money mindset video that YouTube has to offer only to keep on sabotaging your own opportunities? If this is sounding familiar, then you are not alone. This used to be me too and I am willing to bet that I can tell you why this is happening.

Katie Prince:
It's simple. You are not asking for permission yet. So in other words, your current strategy is wait for a gap and then surprise. Ready or not, here I am. Here comes my pitch. And chances are, if you're listening to this episode, that's not working out quite how you'd hope. So the main takeaway that I want you to take from this episode is that your sales will thrive. They will thrive when you cultivate an environment of mutual respect and prioritize consent in your conversations. So what I want you to give a whirl is asking for permission before you share an offer, drop a link, offer advice or feedback. Who likes unsolicited advice? Not me. Pitch your services or make any kind of invitation, whether that's to book a call, sign up for a webinar, or invite to an event that you're hosting.

Katie Prince:
Not only will checking in to ask before dropping links or sharing offers make you feel so much less slimy, but it actually allows the person you're having a conversation with to feel much more comfortable and in control of that conversation. There's also the beauty of the double yes theory, meaning that if you get a yes at the beginning of a conversation, it's much more likely that you will get a yes again at the end of the conversation. And I'll run you through how to structure this in just a moment. But not only are we now prioritizing asking for permission, but we're also always going to ensure that we're giving before expecting to receive.

Katie Prince:
So, that example that I gave you at the beginning of the episode, let's bin that off. It loosely translates to, "Click my link. I really need this sale from you." And instead, what we're going to be doing is sliding in authentically without copy and pasting and without leading with these massive asks. Because being like, "Hey, do you want to scale to 10K months with my coaching program? Here's the link." It's a gigantic ask. And to expect a yes from someone who you don't know and haven't built a relationship and didn't even ask if they were curious or interested, you haven't even qualified them. It's absurd. I could go on a massive rant at this point.

Katie Prince:
So what does it look like to slide in a little bit more authentically? It might look like something like, "Hey, Anna, or first name, whatever their name is. I noticed something really specific that you're actually interested in." So it might be like, "Oh, I noticed that you have been enrolling folks in your new fitness program. I love the post-its that you've been sharing on your stories. How did those clients find you?" And a message like this, you would never even send this before building some kind of rapport or relationship first. So engaging with them over a period of time. So, there we go.

Katie Prince:
Okay. What we're going to do now is I'm going to walk you through some actual steps of how to really get this smell of like authenticity, mutual respect, boundaries in place. Delicious, delicious. And after an opener, after some back and forth conversation, if you do find that you are aligned with the person you're chatting to and you realize, oh, now that I actually know what that goal is, that is something I can help with. Asking for consent in a DM is going to sound something like this, "Hey, do you know what? This is definitely something I can run through with you via a discovery call. Would you be happy for me to share a link to my calendar with you?" So notice how we're not just being like, "Oh, hey, I can totally help you with this. Here's a link to my calendar. Find a time that works." Instead, we're saying, "I can help. Would you like the link to my calendar?" It's a subtle difference, but it matters.

Katie Prince:
On the discovery calls themselves, it's important to ask permission upfront and also set yourself up for success at the end of the core, by saying something like, "At the end of the call, if it feels like a good fit, we'll have a conversation about what working together looks like. Is that okay with you?" And then you wait for a yes. And also, notice that by doing this, there's no way for you as the service provider to wriggle out of pitching and missing an opportunity because you've agreed. They have said, "Yes, I want to hear if I'm a good fit and I want to have this conversation at the end, if we are." So it's going to be pretty weird if things go great on your call and then you don't share your offer at the end. So it's also a really great way to hold yourself accountable.

Katie Prince:
And this is an example of securing a double yes. The person is seizing the autonomy awarded to them and has agreed to listen to you has agreed to hear you talk about your offer and has highlighted that they would be open to work with you. This makes another yes at the end of your conversation feel a lot more familiar and a lot easier for them if it does turn out to be the right choice.

Katie Prince:
Finally, let's use the networking event example. I know that I know that we are in month N of lockdown, but if you cast your mind back to the world of networking events, I remember there were always those people who would just walk into your little circle and just start passing out business cards. And it always just felt so icky because they never asked, "Do you want one?" And so at a networking event, it might be something really simple. If you are striking up conversation with someone and actually this can apply if you're going to online events at the moment and you're going into a breakout room. "Hey, really happy to meet you. Would you be open to me sharing a bit about my business with you?" Wait for a yes. "Yeah, that sounds great." You've asked for permission. You have got consent from that person. And not only are they going to feel so much more open to listening to you because they've said, "Yeah, I'm happy to listen." But you are also going to feel so much lighter about sharing because you know that they want to hear it.

Katie Prince:
So, you might be thinking, "Well, what if I ask and they shut it down straight away?" So what if they say, "No. I don't want you to tell me about your business." Or, "Actually, no, I don't want you to send me a link to your calendar." Then you can ask a follow-up question, like, "Hey, that's totally fine. I respect that. Would it be okay if I stayed in touch with you on Instagram?" Or, "Would it be cool if I sent you a LinkedIn request?" If it was maybe at the end of a sales conversation and you said, "Would you like me to share the program that I feel is the best fit for where you're at right now?" And they say, "To be honest, no. I know that I'm not ready to take a decision today." Then you might say, "Do you know what? I totally respect that and I'd love to check in with you in a few months. Would that be okay?"

Katie Prince:
Then you have a strong and consensual foundation for a future interaction. So you're leaving whatever conversation you have today in a really great place and there's agreement there that it's okay for you to reach out later, which feels good for both of you. So let's commit to putting those icky smoke and mirror, like, "Oh, I have the answer for 10K if you just agree to this right here in the DMs." Tactics that are so expected in sales. Let's put those tactics to bed now. Your time has done, icky tactics. Goodnight. And instead let's start building more consensual and strong relationships that make both ourselves as salespeople and other people feel good. And that helped to secure an ethical sale that feels like a win for everyone.

Katie Prince:
All right. So that is a wrap for today's episode of the Study Notes podcast. Thank you so much for listening. If sales conversations still scare the heebie-jeebies out of you, or you're not quite sure how to follow up in a squirm-free way, then I would love to invite you to apply to join us inside of Squirm-free Sales Masters. This is my signature sales program that runs over six months and it helps entrepreneurs get the sales they deserve an ethical squirm-free, obvs, way. Plus inside the program, we provide all kinds of scripts and templates as you're getting to know every step of the sales process. We train you to direct sales calls with confidence and we teach you how to stretch your business in a way that makes you and others feel good. So get yourself over to squirmfreesales.com/apply to find out more, apply to join us and get involved. The link is in the show notes.

Katie Prince:
One final thing before we head off today, do take us on Instagram, @squirmfreeschoolofbusiness with your biggest takeaway from this episode, or just let us know what your biggest win was this week so that we can celebrate it with you. Also, if you're enjoying the podcast, leave us a review. Subscribe and leave us a review. It really helps the podcast fairies help other ethical entrepreneurs find us. So yeah, do let us know your thoughts on the show. I'm really excited to hear what you think. All right. Have a good rest of your day. And I will see you in the next one.

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