The sales copy hack that makes everything easier and less pushy

THIS IS HOW IT MAKES ME FEEL (also I envy this person's hair)

Sitting at my desk, I stared at the floor with my jaw jutted forward.

I swore under my breath and looked back at the computer screen. The cursor on the blank document was blinking at me, like it had a question. I imagined it asking,

MARSHA
WHAT
ARE
YOU
GOING
TO
WRITE???

“I don’t KNOW,” I said, sulkily.

A year after I started my business, I decided to get serious. I spent more money than I’d ever spent on anything hiring Kendrick Shope — the best Sales Coach I knew — to work with me one-on-one. She’d made huge strides into my sales-resistant brain, helping me understand that it was ok to charge people who have money for my services, showing me how to do consults and teaching me the lost art of following up.

But there was one last mountain I was struggling to climb.

Writing sales copy.

Kill me.

The thing was, I knew that the language I needed to write it was in my brain somewhere.

When I was deep in conversation with people, it came out. That was how I’d got my first few clients. The next few came from word-of-mouth. And I was really good at coaching! I got rave reviews.

So… how come I couldn’t tell other people about what I did in a way that made them get it straight away? Whether it was introducing myself at a networking event, writing my About page or… Sales Copy. Ugh.

I knew I was supposed to talk about their pain points and desires. But articulating those felt like trying to pull something out of my brain that was shrouded behind that heavy material people put on furniture when they’re painting. I just couldn’t get to it.

Kendrick and I had a Skype call later that afternoon. Part way through, in her delightful Southern accent, she said,

“Marsha, ah wanna try a thought experiment on you. If ah were to give you $500 to spend on your business right now, where would you spend it?”

Without missing a beat, I said…

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How to get your friends and family to sell for you (without being a slimy creep)

When I first started this business, I thought the best way to sell my services would be to throw money at the marketing. Facebook ads! Celebrity endorsements! Giant billboards! Except, there was a pretty big obstacle…

…I HAD JUST STARTED MY BUSINESS SO I HAD NO MONEY.

What was left instead?

Word of mouth. Here, there was another problem:

Most of the people I’d done sessions with so far had been pro bono. And they’d been happy to do those sessions for free, because those people had no money to spend on coaching. Which meant most of the people they hung out with also had no money to spend on coaching.

You might have this same issue. But you know who does have some money they might spend on your thing? SOMEONE you know. Which sounds easy…. but:

How do you tell people you know about what you’re doing, without sounding like you’re trying to screw them out of their well-earned money as an act of charity?

Two parts to this answer:

1. Remember that the…

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How to make yourself likeable when you write online

AKA advice from my past self to you)Cleaning out my Evernote recently, I found a folder called “BLOG PERSONALITY IDEAS.” It came from, years ago, when I was working with Kendrick Shope and she said [imagine deep Southern accent]:

“Marsha, I don’t know anyone who pours their whole personality into their emails better than you do.”

I was thrilled, and her suggestion eventually turned into me starting the service, Put The You Back In Your Business. But somewhere in between, I decided to test out if this could even be a thing, by getting on a call with a business buddy who wasn’t having any engagement in her emails and blogs.

I honestly don’t remember which chum it was (and if it comes to me, I won’t name him/her, because: discretion). But clearly, I made ten notes, and these were written up on the one file inside that was inside that BLOG PERSONALITY IDEAS folder. I just read through them, realized that Past Marsha made some good points, and thought I’d share them with you! With a little explanation under each one.

1) YOU ARE WARM! So be warm in your emails!
I have seen this issue SO MANY TIMES. I meet someone in person. They are so warm that standing next to them basically feels like being hugged by someone you really like. Then I look at their blogs and emails and they write like they’re politely informing me of my next dental appointment.

If you are a warm person in real life, we warm online and in your emails. If you are not warm, be the way you are. Either way, your people will find you and be grateful for it.

2) You don’t have to tell them anything about your life
OH this one. “I’m a really private person. I don’t want to talk online about my life.”
I get it a LOT. But here’s the wonderful thing…

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How to promote yourself without feeling gross; How to stop drowning in your to-do list

If I might briefly be not very British or Canadian, I got to give some REALLY good advice last week. Some of my favourite questions to answer, in my monthly live Advice column, Yes Yes Questions.

Q1: What is the art of writing posts to promote yourself on social media without feeling like a self-obsessed narcissist and annoying everyone you know?

i LOVE this question. Because so many people…

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If you feel like everyone else is doing their lives just a little bit better than you are, you may need this

It’s mid-April. Over a quarter of the year in. What goals did you have? Anywhere close? So much time has passed and you haven’t done nearly enough towards them, have you?

Did you even get around to making any goals?

I didn’t. I printed out my YearCompass, over several days in January and Feb I got about…

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Need to convince someone of something? Here’s how to READ THEIR MIND (by Chris from TellPeople)

This is him, on the right. He could convince Patrick Stewart to buy hair care products

Ever felt like you’re explaining something that – to you – seems so obvious, but the person you need to convince just isn’t getting it?

Recently, I was asked to run a workshop on buyer empathy (aka how to understand what your potential client wants), so I turned to get some help from my (very, very smart)(he’s been a lawyer representing Wall Street companies and indigenous rights) friend Chris from TellPeople.

Then, I asked him to share some of his smarts with you! Here’s what he has to say about how to READ MINDS (or at least, have a good guess at what’s inside them):

Make sense of your audience

When you’re trying to convince someone of something – whether it’s a potential client to hire you, or a family member to please stop doing that annoying thing they keep doing – do you ever wonder what’s going through their mind while they read your writing or listen to you talk?

What about when you’re talking to a group of people – how do you keep track of what all those people are thinking?

The truth is: you can’t know what anyone else is thinking about what you’re saying.

But – while you can’t read peoples’ minds, there is one thing you know for sure about every person you talk to. Actually, it’s the only thing you know for sure.

Can you guess?

Other…

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I used to be TERRIFIED of selling. These tips changed everything.

Getting to the end of Sally’s email, my heart sank. Well, I thought. That’s that, then. Time to give up.

I was a few months into starting my business, and my hopes for getting my second ever client seemed shot.

On the advice of my new business mentor, Kendrick Shope, I’d offered my (then, very small) mailing list the chance to have a “mini-session” with me: a free, 15 minute consult on Skype. I’d started working with Kendrick – famous for her skills as a Sales Coach – because, having spent my entire pre-entrepreneur life in jobs where people were always selling to me (as a radio DJ, and a music supervisor for hit TV shows) I had NO IDEA how I was supposed to sell anything to anyone.

The idea of selling utterly terrified me.

But Kendrick was changing that.

In a gentle way, she (virtually) took me by the hand and started teaching me the basics of non-icky sales – what she calls Authentic Selling (TM). Part of that, was doing free 15 minute calls, where I cold get to know potential clients, and add value to them before asking for anything in return.

The first call I’d done had gone BRILLIANTLY. Sally* was a coach – exactly the kind of client I loved working with – and we’d really clicked. During the 15 minutes, I felt like I gave her loads of helpful advice, and she seemed really keen to work with me.

Afterwards (again, on Kendrick’s advice), I’d sent a follow up email, reminding her of the tips she’d learned in our call and – the scary part for me – telling her how she could work with me. My prices were going up the following week (from $99 to $149!), so I reminded her of that too.

Then, that afternoon, she’d finally written back

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V quick tip to avoid p*ssing off someone who just helped you out

A move keeps being made by people I’ve just favours for, that makes me want to stop doing them favours.

Running True Stories Told Live, my live storytelling show, I get a lot of requests to be put in touch with this person and that person. Because I <3 getting people tell their stories, I help these people out. I give them email introductions - and what happens next, is what almost always happens, and what REALLY annoys me: I get sucked into the email chain between these two people. Here is a very quick and classy way to get around that:

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How my patronising altruism WILDLY benefitted me

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t publicly admit having had this thought process. It shows that I can sometimes be an egotistical dick. But I like the end of it so much that I want to tell you.

I come to you from the train I’m taking from St Catharines (no apostrophe) back to Toronto. Last night I ran a workshop – my third in a year – for Brock University, on Networking That’s Effective and Actually Fun, for their entrepreneurial students in their BioLinc incubator.

One of the things I teach the students was how important it is to add value to people, long before you ask for anything.

An amazing way to add value is to thank people for teachings you’ve enjoyed, being specific where you can. Another is offering to make…

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That time when all the networking advice I give got truly tested

I’ve spent quite a lot of the last month nauseous with nerves. What time I haven’t been nauseous, I’ve been feeling deeply moved.

I have a book coming out tomorrow. I know! It’s very exciting. Sort of. What I mean is, it is very exciting – I’ve been working on it for four years, it’s being published by Bloomsbury who also publish Harry Potter, and mostly, it’s MY NAME ON AN ACTUAL BOOK.

But… it’s also involved me having to do something that makes me deeply anxious: putting on…

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