How to not be salesy, slimy, or talk about money in your business...


Derek Halpern started Social Triggers and teaches all kinds of business owners how to blog. He shared this image in his most recent newsletter. Dan Pink, a bestselling author, did a survey of what people think when they think of sales- and this is what came  up. The bigger the word, the more often it was said in the survey. Are you surprised? I'm not. 

When I started my business 7 years ago, I thought the same thing. I did not start a sales business, I started a healing business. However, I quickly learned that I had to talk about money if I wanted to have a successful business. And guess what, I had to make sales if I wanted to have clients. Of course, I didn't call it sales. I called it "get clients." 

Is there a difference between selling your services and getting clients? 

No. Guess what, you don't have to be slimy or a jerk. But, if you want to know how to never talk about sales or money, you are going to have to close down your business. A business is how you make your living... in other words how you pay for food, shelter, and health care- with money. 

Work for a non-profit and feel like there are no sales? Ask the person who is doing grant applications whether there are sales involved. 

Ok... so does selling have to be slimy or salesy? No. 

What are the top 5 ways you can be slimy sales person in business? 

  1. Be dishonest

  2. Rope people in for things that you don't believe they need

  3. Rope people in for things that you don't believe can help

  4. Be unethical

  5. Be manipulative

Let's break these done and show you how you may be inadvertently doing this in your day to day business- even though you are trying to avoid being salesy and slimy!

Clinical Vignette: A client calls you reporting that they are really depressed, they know it is impacting their marriage, and they report problems at work as well. They report they need to get started right away. You go over fees and scheduling. When they report they can only come in twice a month because of their time and their finances. You get them scheduled for sessions every other week, but feel a bit bummed because you feel strongly after the phone consultation that they would really benefit from weekly sessions. However, you tell yourself that some therapy is better than nothing, and you really resonate with the financial struggle. You don't have a lot of extra money either.

You feel a bit anxious during the first session as they unfold everything that is happening- it is worse than they let on during the phone call. You go over your 50 minute session time by about 20 minutes attempting to make sure the client is stable enough to make it through the next two weeks. You offer to meet in a week, but when the client brings up finances- you don't push the subject. You would normally just offer to slide down farther in their weekly sessions- but you have realized that you can't keep lowering your normal fee and made a pact with yourself to not take more than 20% sliding scale in your practice- and you are already at 30%.

Are there any issues here? Have you inadvertently become a "slimy salesperson?"

Let's unpack the vignette. Over the phone you felt strongly that they needed weekly sessions. Did you go over the risks and benefits of weekly vs every other week sessions clearly? If not, you may have just "sold them what they didn't need."

If you believe clinically they need weekly sessions- isn't it your clinical responsiblity to share that with them clearly? Is it unethical to take them on in therapy in a mode or frequency of treatment that you don't think is recommended? Would you better off referring the client out to someone who they could afford to see weekly? 

Were you really honest with the client about the value of therapy? This person is looking at possibly losing their job or relationship. That costs much more than any therapist I have ever met. Did you have that conversation to ensure the client was really weighing the risks and benefits of investing in therapy at the level that they needed? 

Did you schedule him in for something that you didn't believe could help? Ok... so maybe you felt like "something is better than nothing..." But, is that what services with you should be like? Or should working with you be transformative? Should you ensure that each person who walks through the doors of your business is set-up for success? 

Did you manipulate that client into paying for services that aren't likely to get the client the outcome they need, in the timeframe they need it? Was that a waste of money? And what about going over session? How does it feel to your next client when you come out feeling a bit spent? 

I know you. I know you are an amazing person! Why? Because only awesome people are allowed to read this blog. If you aren't awesome, I'm not sure why you are here. You can run along now and play somewhere else! 

If some (or all) of this is feeling familiar- it is ok! It is awesome that you are noticing that and feeling it- that is what allows you to make change! 

You never have to be a pushy salesperson, but you do need to find your inner voice to be able to talk about money issues and ensure that people get what they are really looking for when they call you- deep transformation! 

The "M" Word: Talking to Therapists about Money

So this weekend Kelly and I presented at the 2013 Annual California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) conference. We go to present for 1 hour on Top Tips for Going Paperless. And while we did our best to pack as much in as we could in such a small amount of time- it wasn't enough! (We had sent in a 4 or 6 hour proposal for this topic and they gave us a 1-hour slot! (Which we are SO glad we got to talk and meet some awesome therapists!) 

So... as we were agonizing about what we include on our slides, I noticed how uncomfortable I was with the idea of putting any words up that related to money or profits. Why? Because I knew that it would set off alarm bells in our audience. 

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Drowning in Paperwork...

Are you drowning? While my work office is streamlined, efficient and paper-light, my home office is overflowing! I'm ready to get a handle on it once and for all! My husband has a home based business, while I have a fabulous office in a cute little builidng in Modesto, CA. He purchased a business printer for home office business use, and I have one for my office. 

Guess what? His is a pain in the tush! Seriously! My printer at my office was easy to set up so I could easily put papers in and have them "scan to email" or easily "scan to computer." That means if I had that printer at home, I could put in a stack of all of this paper nonsense, and it would scan the stack front and back, and put it in a secure file on my computer. I, of course, would have that file uploaded to myofficedrop for secure offsite, searchable storage and presto- no more stacks of paperwork! 

In addition, I'd be able to simply type in keywords when looking for a document later like "Valley Oak" to search for doctor's bills, or mortgage to pull up mortgage interest paid. 

However, for the moment, I am stuck fighting with this silly printer, and staring at a box of papers that need to be scanned... 

Anybody else get bamboozled when purchasing a printer? Thinking it was something simple and easy and find that it just doesn't work as advertised? Here are my top tips to purchasing a fabulous piece of hardware whether it be a printer, a smart phone, or a tablet computer:  

  1. Think about what you will really use it for.

  2. Make a list of the things you hate, and ask around- is there a technology solution for it that you may not even know about it?

  3. Talk to people who own one, check out amazon reviews (especially the 1 star reviews), but don't spend TOO much time doing that! (it can become a time suck and a stressor all in itself)

  4. Touch whenever possible! Go to a friend's office and touch their technology, go to the store and play, or ask your child, niece, or grandchild to show you how to do it ;0)

  5. Focus on what YOU need!

Here is what I need in a printer: 

  1. Wireless (I want as few cords as possible). This means I can print the printer from anywhere in the house, and all my printer really needs to plug into is a wall plug and be in a place where it can "see" the wireless.

  2. Airprinting- I'm planning on upgrading to a tablet in the next year and I already have a smartphone Airprinting will allow me to print to my home printer while in a coffee shop, at my office, or in an airport.

  3. Easy connectivity to email and to scanning to a file on my computer. Scanning to email makes it easy for me to scan a document to email to my bookkeeper, a client, etc.

  4. Duplex scanning. I don't want to be flipping pieces of paper over! I want to set it and forget it!

  5. A touchscreen that is easy to see and read when I am choosing my printing options.

What about you? What are your needs for the perfect printer? 

Shhh.... I have a secret.... Event

ZynnyMe might be coming to Fresno, CA soon! Love that a group is looking to help with the business owners in their organization and put on such a relevant training! This one will be a specialized talk for therapists: How to Have a Fabulous Website: What every therapist needs to know. I LOVE talking to small business owners from across the country. Every time I do, I am inspired that ZynnyMe is on the right track in providing real solutions and answers to the questions that all kinds of business owners are quietly struggling with.
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