No one wants to be “sold” anything. Ever.

Judy Jossi, owner of Slice Consulting, has spent 20 years working with the national advertising agencies Grey Direct, Carmichael Lynch and Fallon, and as president of a small agency. She will be presenting “Designing your own sales approach” as part of the “Getting Serious” series for solopreneurs, on Thursday, Dec. 6 at Fueled Collective Uptown.

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How many times have you clicked “I want to talk to a sales person immediately” in a form?  

Probably not many.

Early in my career, I was an account executive at Grey Advertising. The then president, George Wiedemann, came to Minneapolis to give a talk on how to grow our client base. He gave a piece of advice I would never forget: “You must give your clients ‘something to buy.’ “

No one wants to be sold something, but almost everyone wants “something to buy.”

There is the rub.  

How do you sell your “something to buy” when that something to buy might just be you?

“Selling” when you are a solopreneur or a consultant is not about “making a sale.” It is about building relationships, based on trust and creating a reputation for delivering quality work.  

Your clients, or customers, are not buying your portfolio or even your case study. They are buying your promise to provide a solution to a problem. They are saying they trust you and they believe in you to help. That is the most important thing they are “buying” from you.

When I was in college, my first job was selling print advertising for the MN Daily, the fifth largest paper in Minnesota. There was no salary, only commission. No sales — no cash. And I had to share a phone. It had a cord.

My first call went something like this…. “Hi, I’m Judy your ad rep at the Daily. Do you want to buy an ad for next Thursday?” The universal reply was “No thank you.” Repeated many times. I was likely the lowest paid salesperson on staff.

I finally learned what my accounts needed to buy. It wasn’t an ad. It was access to over 40,000 students who need to buy many things— whether that was a beer or a tube of toothpaste. Advertisers needed my advice on when to place their ad, what was the best section, how often to run their ad — and eventually they trusted me to guide them when they needed it.  

My consulting business has been built over the past 15 years, one relationship at a time. From each trusting, collaborative relationship comes a connection to another like-minded individual. By delivering quality work my reputation has been built, my relationships have grown, my business has flourished.

My “sales cycle” is long. Really long. Sometimes years.
You wonder how this could be? You are thinking you don’t have years, right? If you are in your business for the long-term, trust me, you do have years. More than a process, a spreadsheet or a proposal (and I have all of those things) selling your services takes time, patience, curiosity, and persistence. It is an endurance game. And it’s really fun when you win.

Real examples I will share in my session at the “Getting Serious” solopreneur series:

  • How I nurture my network and create the right referrals.  
  • Proposals, Presentations and Process. Which to do?
  • Inevitable decisions: Knowing when to stay and when to go
  • Why I keep creating “something to buy”
  • Staying persistent when the going gets tough.

Reserve your spot to hear Judy speak at the at the “Getting Serious” solopreneur series!