Highly Sensitive Sales

May 15, 2024

Aversion to sales is one obstacle to starting a business for many. A common refrain I hear as a business coach for highly sensitive women is, “I just want to do my thing, I don’t want to have to promote myself.” Or, “I hate sales!”

Unless you hire someone to bring you clients, this process is a central part of running your own business. If you’re not selling anything it’s a hobby, not a business. However, a mindset shift and a cultural reframe can make the sales process an enjoyable part of connecting with your potential clients and customers.

One of the first steps is to acknowledge and dismantle long-standing societal norms. This includes women’s work being equated with volunteer work and the ongoing wage gap between men and women. Women have been historically indoctrinated to value their own work less. Studies have shown that a woman will apply for a job only when she feels 100% qualified whereas a man will apply for that job when he is only 60% qualified. You can call it self-doubt, but I call it oppression. This cultural programming may show up in your own business when it comes time to ask customers to pay for your work.

There’s a process of becoming aware, making an empowered choice and taking action to do it differently. Making good money - selling what you offer - then becomes part of a cultural revolution.

As a sensitive woman, you have an advantage because you can read someone’s emotions and intuit their concerns. You’re a good listener and an excellent problem solver. You’re interested in a deeper conversation. All this contributes to organic, comfortable and compassionate sales.

A while ago, was talking with a woman at a yoga retreat in the Bahamas. She was there taking gorgeous pictures of the food, the happy people and the serene beach scenes. When I asked her what she did for work, her eyes cast down and her shoulders slumped. In a quiet voice she said, “Marketing”, and then shook her whole body as if to shed the shame of this unseemly field. She was in the marketing department and used her incredible photography skills to help a company sell. But she identified it as something negative. We were in an environment that was all about selfless service, a simple lifestyle and the transmutation of desire. Here, sales and marketing were dirty words.

Spirituality and sales may seem incompatible. But because what you’re offering is true and good, this becomes part of your good work in the world. Check in with yourself. Do you have any spiritual or religious programming around “the eye of a needle” or any other concepts related to selling and making money?

Another reason sensitive souls may feel averse to selling is that it can be associated with psychological manipulation for unethical gain. Have you ever felt pressured to purchase or felt like someone used tacky tactics to sell you something? Here too awareness and reframing can be useful. You don’t have to do it that way.

Marketing, sales, promotion – all these terms can be renamed. What we’re really doing in a heart-forward business is developing relationships. Whether you’ve got an ice cream truck, sell jewelry, offer pet services or coach people on craft making or business building, it’s all about authentic connections.

That feels much better, doesn’t it?

It’s like you have this delicious homemade organic white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. You made it with love and pure ingredients. And it’s still warm. This is what you have to offer the world. When you “make a sale”, someone gets one of these cookies. It will delight them, improve their life, and help them experience what matters most to them.

So often we approach a sales conversation as if we’re asking for a piece of their cookie. We’re pained to ask them to give us something when the real value is in what we offer. You know you can make a difference in someone’s life, but if you don’t tell them about it, they don’t get the benefits.

Sensitive sales involve reframing and focusing on the value you have to offer. This is the mindset shift to modern marketing. Authentic relationships, authentic offers and authentic results. A tantalizing triple dip cone, a well-cared-for pet, or a transformed craft project or business.

You wouldn’t hesitate to offer water to someone who's thirsty. Your right-fit clients and customers are thirsty for your unique offer or product. Your “job” is to educate them about that and let them decide if they want it.

That’s what heartfelt selling is about - education and connection. And yes, giving a clear call to action. For example, “This has been a great conversation, I’ve enjoyed learning more about you. I think we’re a great fit and I’d love to work with you. Would you like to hear about the package, course, cookie I offer?”

Own your value and get clear on the results you offer. Recognize and dismantle the cultural baggage we carry around marketing and money. Sales then become another way to connect, build community and transform the world through good work.

Highly sensitive person (HSP) is a personality trait that 20% of the world's population has. Do you? Take this quiz to find out.

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