There’s a lot of negative connotation around selling, something Jason Marc Campbell seeks to address in his book, Selling with Love.
In this guesting, Jason shares his five-part framework for selling with empathy, responsibility, and yes, with love.
In the podcast:
Love is not a word we usually associate with selling. It was for Jason, and that’s how his book came about. [2:10]
Selling has gotten a bad rap, but the fact is there’s no avoiding it. [04:56]
What is selling? It’s an energy exchange between conscious beings, says Jason – even when that exchange is made online. [08:45]
How do you inject love into the process of selling? [13:29]
There’s a difference between manipulation and good selling – or is there? [15:47]
Some people are selfish by not charging enough. Jason explains how charging more can let you help your client better. [18:31]
What are the repercussions when you close a sale? [23:09]
Loving your client means knowing and understanding the customer, maybe better than they know themselves. [28:48]
Selling with love means making the best product possible, that solves a problem and that you’ll be proud to sell. [38:41]
Selling with love is a novel concept in most of marketing. That’s why James has invited Jason Marc Campbell to talk about his book by that title, and show that selling with empathy, care and ethics is both possible and sustainable.
From loving selling to writing about it
First off, what inspired such a book?
Jason has always had a passion for sales, he said, to the point where most people thought he was weird. He’d never had the common negative beliefs around sales being bad or manipulative.
One of Jason’s first memories of sales was selling chocolate for charity in high school. He’d offer chocolate, people would give him money, and everyone was happy. Sales must be a good thing.
Like James, he picked up a lot from books like SPIN Selling, and Sell or Be Sold. What he realized, however, was that many good people trying to run ethical businesses were not reading those books, much as they needed the ideas in them. Selling for them was at best a necessary evil, not something you sought to get good at.
That’s when Jason realized he needed to reach out to these ethical businesses, make people understand that sales is a beautiful thing and something we do all the time. It can be done with authenticity, integrity and impact. And for anybody who wants to start a business, the first thing you’ll need is the lifeblood, which is revenue. And the only way to get that is through the sale.
Jason actually opens the book by putting love to the side – it’s a heavy word. Why not start by just seeing if you could possibly like sales? And if you get that far, you might be curious enough to want to educate yourself on the topic.
You can’t get around it – selling is everywhere
James loves it. It’s a way of cutting through the negative associations and resistance that surround selling. He recalls a training he made himself once for Darren Rowse, along the lines of, how to sell and remain friends. He’d thought it bizarre at the time that people could actually hate selling, when the reality is that everyone is selling all the time, whether they know it or not.
“The reality is that everyone is selling all the time, whether they know it or not.” – James Schramko
As Jason rightly said, if you’re going to be in business, you absolutely have to, have to learn how to sell. And in James’s industry, the people with the most sales, likes, audience, reverence, and so forth are very good at selling themselves, at the very least.
It’s in every industry, says Jason – politics, religious institutions, countries. Any place you go, a sales component is required.
Are you listening to this podcast while driving? You probably bought that car. You likely bought the house you live in, or you signed a lease agreement. What device are you listening on? An iPhone? An Android? Your laptop? It’s in your hands as the result of a sale.
Everything was created by humans through the transaction of a sale.
Where selling is an energy exchange
In Jason’s book, he defines a sale as an energy exchange between conscious beings. Just things moving between two humans.
And the premise he wants to bring forward is, when you know what you offer is so much more than what you ask in return, that’s when the emotion of love comes in. And it makes the whole process fun, exciting, coming from a place of caring and responsibility. And not only does it feel good, it actually works.
When you show up, deliver massive value, use the techniques needed to speak the language required for people to understand the value you want to give to them, that’s the art of selling, and Jason loves it.
Now, that energy exchange between two conscious beings, says James, how does that apply to the surfboard he bought online, that arrived on a truck?
The marketing PR author, David Meerman Scott, says Jason, spoke about how certain surfboard companies build an entire community culture around the purchase and the manufacturing of their surfboards. They put together a creation they’re proud of, then make it available to people in a way they know their customers can understand.
Now Jason speaks in his book about loving the product. If you look at different surfboard companies, you get a feel for which ones build a product they love. It’s in the way they speak, the way they offer, the way they present it.
And Jason’s second love of selling is loving the client. Some surfboard companies have a profound understanding of their customer. They know someone like James doesn’t go for the cheapest board on the rack, but for one that speaks to his identity and resonates with his values.
The whole purchase experience, Jason asks James – was it good or bad?
Uncharacteristically good for a digital purchase, says James. When he called to organize shipping, the people he spoke to were very excited about it. They felt that he was going to enjoy the board, and they were excited for him that he’d chosen that model.
The truck that delivered the board was from a specialist company. You’re like Santa Claus, James greeted the delivery guy. Oh, yes, he said, everyone’s frothing when I arrive. They’re always at home waiting for their board.
Then there was the whole feeling around the board, says James. From the time you order it, you’re mind-surfing it and imagining what it’s going to be like, and thinking about that first wave you’re going to catch on it.
So thank you for clarifying that, James says to Jason. It was a brilliant answer on why sales is an energy exchange.
Loving the process
There’s also the fourth love of selling, says Jason. He apologizes for jumping around, but he brings up each point as it’s relevant. He calls this one, love the process of selling.
This company James bought from, they understood him, they understood they had a great product, and they actually, really loved helping people to surf. They were off to a great start. Now, the process of selling is like, how do I reach more people, faster?
When Jason worked in online marketing at Mindvalley, the whole website, the design experience, the live chat, the calls, the checkout page, the optimization, was all engineered for maximum conversion. Campaigns were managed with care – copy had to be good, headlines had to be perfect. Because if they could get three percent optimization in total sales, that meant they’d sell to three extra customers and make a couple more thousands of dollars.
All the energy put into optimizing a launch equaled more people buying an amazing product that would transform their lives. Now the danger there, says Jason, is focusing just on the process and ignoring the first three loves of selling.
Is it manipulation?
Jason lays out five different loves in his book, and he says to start with the first three – love the impact and be aware of the impact of every sale you make, love the client and understand them, and love the product so you know you’re delivering something awesome.
Once you’ve got that down, then be relentless. Go and make those sales calls, optimize that website, do what is necessary to convert, because it’s not manipulation. It’s empathy.
James would argue it’s still manipulation, but with good values basis.
Jason would translate manipulation to empathy with one difference, which is intent. But good manipulations, he likes it.
James was thinking along the lines of a surgeon who manipulates a scalpel to save your life. He hasn’t any issue with the word, though granted, there is negative manipulation. That would be an energy exchange without positive intent. That’s why James prefers the sales definition from SPIN Selling – the process of change from one situation to a better alternative situation.
“The prime filter is always, will my customer be better off?” – James Schramko
That’s what James thinks selling should be. The prime filter is always, will my customer be better off? If it’s yes, he’s all in. If no, he’s letting the customer know straight off. That’s a deal breaker. And he likes Jason’s fifth love, love yourself, because it would be hard to feel good about manipulating someone for your own gain, where the other person would be worse off.
Why charging too little is selfish
James wants to tackle this line from Jason’s book: Some people are selfish by not charging enough. What does he mean by that?
When you make your price too low, says Jason, then you don’t have as much budget to play with, to truly deliver a solution that might be perfect for the customer. So you’re actually under-serving the industry.
And there’s a negative vibe. If you’ve ever had someone try to negotiate for pennies, you might agree to the deal, but it won’t come from a place of excitement or abundance. And while you might deliver the service, there’ll likely be that bit of resentment.
On the other hand, if you charge the maximum price that you know the market can sustain, that gives you the buffer, if you will, to go above and beyond and deliver the best solution to people’s problems.
Very often people who are getting started and are insecure about their product default to a lower price, hoping to convert. But the price is always a resistance that’s in the mind of the seller, not the buyer.
So Jason often suggests, if you feel like you want to give a discount, imagine your solution was priced, say, 10 times more, and instead be creative. If you had something that sold for 10 times more, what could you throw in so you’d actually feel good about selling it?
Maybe it’s better onboarding, better communication, a better guarantee. A lot of times these are things you can package around your product to ensure you can charge the most possible, because you really want to solve the client’s problem.
Low pricing can spark a vicious cycle, says James. You need to build team, but can’t afford it. You need to run marketing, but can’t afford it.
And while some people are under confident, others are simply blind to their skill – they find something so easy to do that they fail to place the value on it that someone else would.
How does that sale impact the buyer?
James wants to go back over Jason’s loves, the first being impact. What kind of impact can you have for your buyer, and how does that impact go beyond just that first customer?
Jason likes the analogy of throwing a pebble in a lake. You’ll have an impact point, and then ripples going out from that. If you take time to consider things from that vantage point, you could be more excited about every sale you make. And it’ll probably be great fodder for your marketing material and About Us page.
Take, for instance, surfboards. For someone like James, surfing is a great hobby that gives him fitness, peace of mind, and freedom. And that in turn lets him work more effectively in his business, do his podcast, create his products and impact more lives.
Take the idea broader and you might imagine all the stressed out, burnt-out anxious people who could benefit from taking up surfing. If everyone could spend time in the water, relax, catch a wave – or not – maybe they’d be less at each other’s throats. People might be a little more chill, which is probably what the world needs right now.
For someone with a surfboard company, wouldn’t that be a great motivator to sell?
So not the surf industry, says James. It reminds him of the Patagonia book, Let My People Surf, which is great. But if everyone surfed, they’d all be at each other’s throats. Lineups are crowded enough as it is.
Jason admits he hasn’t James’s second love for the surf industry.
Do you really know your client?
Love number two would be the client, knowing who the customer is. The way to show love to the client is to understand them.
You’ve started with the impact, because there’s something you’re trying to change in the world, there’s something you’re trying to create in the world, there’s a problem you’re looking to solve. And that should be the place you start.
The second place you go to is, who has this problem? And who am I going to go and solve it for? In more traditional terms, it would be, go get your buyer persona, create your client avatar.
This is a way of showing empathy, connecting, understanding, and getting curious. Because the more specific you get in understanding your client, the more effortless your copy will be. You will be speaking to them like you know them better than they know themselves. That’s when you start getting inside people’s heads and having them think, wow, they understand me.
“Go out, love the client.” – Jason Marc Campbell
It was Steven Covey, Jason thinks, who said, before trying to be understood, you should seek to understand others. This is true in business, too. So go out, love the client.
Consider how your product can solve the problem
Let’s talk about product, says James, because it’s Jason’s third love. He talks in his book about a brainstorming process where you go a little bit over the top, just thinking about how the product can solve the problem in every possible dimension before eventually reining it back.
“Don’t fake it, just make it.” – Jason Marc Campbell
Love the product, says Jason, means don’t fake it till you make it, which is the line he hates in the industry. Rather, don’t fake it, just make it. Make the best product possible for where you’re at right now.
Oftentimes, we’re close-minded to what could be a possible product, because we’re so focused on our capabilities, as opposed to being focused on the problems we truly want to solve for the client. By changing the price point, at various levels, it actually makes you go, maybe there’s different ways I can deliver this based on the type of customer that I choose.
So imagine you offer a $300 coaching session. What if it was a $3,000 offer? What could you offer for $3,000 where you would feel comfortable solving a big problem for a specific type of customer?
This opens a range of questions: Is it even possible someone with this problem would pay $3,000? And if so, how would it be delivered? What would be included? Am I changing the target market in the process of doing this? Am I adding features and benefits to the product? Am I including more things? Do I need strategic partners I could deliver this with?
You start being much more open because you’re not tied to your capabilities.
Now imagine that it’s 30,000. Someone with, say, a product on teaching online marketing, could say, if it was 30,000, well, maybe this is a full implementation workshop for a million-dollar company. Plus, I’m flying into their office, I’m working with their team. I’m giving them a full support for three months, maybe that’s it.
Note, Jason is not thinking about discounts. He’s not trying to maximize and bend towards the insecurities he has. You open yourself up to possibility. Then you pull in the reins back and think, which one is going to make the most sense for me to deliver? Now you start seeing which ones work. And you might realize that your price point needs to be completely different, because you pulled some ideas from here and there and packaged them together.
And it’s always great, says Jason, to have a really expensive product next to your core offer. A $3,000 program will look quite reasonable next to a $30,000 package, and could convert more. At the same time, you’ll have something to offer the person who can afford $30K.
James likes the rule of thumb that 10 percent of your audience would pay 10 times more. It’s certainly been true for him.
Another handy tip of Jason’s, says James, is around the sale after the sale.
Yeah, says Jason. We’re not closing deals, we’re opening accounts, we’re starting relationships. There’s so much you can do to the product by saying, the moment they’ve purchased, what’s that experience like? What’s that funnel like? What’s that conversion system looking like?
And now it’s not necessarily a conversion for money, although it more than likely will increase your lifetime value with that customer. But pay it no mind for now. Think about conversion as, how does it actually start applying the product to truly solve the problem? So you can optimize that product, just like you would optimize your marketing funnel. This would be something that ensures that the person really gets the transformation that they paid for.
A quick recap, says James: the five loves – impact, client, product, process, and yourself. The book under discussion is Selling with Love, and that’s at sellingwithlove.com. You can also check out Jason’s website, jasonmarccampbell.com.
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