How to sell without feeling gross

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about selling. Selling is treated like a dirty word by so many people I speak to and I completely get it.

No one wants to be sold to if they’re not interested in the product or service. So how can we share about our products + services and ensure that we’re not irritating people who don’t want to hear from us and who have no interest in buying from us? People put the fear of haters into you to keep you small. Screw them.

Whilst our fears are valid, we aren’t actually selling to those people. We are selling to those who are interested in what we make, sell, create, and do, they just don’t know about us yet and need more information. We avoid thinking about the people who are already following us because we’re worried they think we’re showing up too much but that’s why they’re following us. They WANT to know about what we do. We assume far too much of our audiences (no matter how big or small the numbers are!) We worry that they’re thinking about us negatively (oh she’s showing up too much) or that they might criticise us for re-sharing older content. Think about how often you’ve ever thought about brands or businesses you engage with. Chances are, you don’t! Because those brands you love know their ideal client = you. So think about what your ideal client wants and pay no mind to the rest.

People don’t think about us nearly as much as we are worried they are or hope they might be. What would you write you did if you didn’t give a shit what anyone else thought? I found this quote from an old Inc.com article about Snapchat from five years ago but I think it’s still wonderfully relevant now: “your customers love the things that make you different. If they didn’t they wouldn’t have been your customers in the first place. Cater to them and only them. Don’t pay attention to outside noise. Your haters aren’t the ones paying your bills.”

But I know what you’re thinking – it can still feel awkward, right?

Here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be. Here are the key learning points I’ve found to be useful no matter what you sell, make, create or offer:

Decide what you want to promote next (hint: it’s not everything) What’s your focus? As in, what do you want to sell more of? Be specific and focus on that with the content you’re creating. Don’t be afraid of sharing what you’re up to behind the scenes of what you’re selling. People are nosey and they like to be inspired by what you’re doing.

    • Blogging about the topic
    • Creating Instagram + Facebook posts
    • Creating Reels
    • Chatting about it on Instagram Stories
    • Creating a freebie download where people have to sign up to download it
    • By niching down with your content you’ll find it much much easier to bring in sales and bookings.

Talk about your day. Document what you do. People are nosey. Doesn’t have to be wildly exciting. Talk to your phone as if you were talking to a friend about your day

Show off your values and really get used to this being part of your spiel. Sourcing eco-friendly ingredients? Great! Talk about it. A lot. This shows that you are being transparent. You can get your audience involved in making decisions by running polls and creating a buzz around your products. This helps create a community around your brand which means a strong customer return rate (it’s always easier and cheaper to sell to repeat customers than brand new ones). I was reminded of the power of this when I asked Lou from Brighton Lace to come and speak to The Visible Vibes Community, the community I host filled with amazing women learning to become visible. In lockdown her business really took off by harnessing the power of the community she built on Instagram.

With running your own biz, get used to stepping out of your comfort zone every day, especially if you’re new. There will always be new platforms, new things to learn but it doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them to sell what you do.

We may get worried we look like we’re showing off. The hardest part of our job is learning how to be comfortable with showing off. You have to show off quite a bit. Keep it simple. Be consistent in showing up as you want to generate interest and you’ll be noticed the more consistently you show up. This includes those posts where you’re re-introducing yourself with an Instagram post and then going quiet again. Build up that consistency with momentum rather than panicking about what your competitors might be doing and collapsing in a pile of overwhelm.

Creating content that tells people what you do + what you’ve been loving recently really goes so far in showing that you care about the people who are listening.

  • You can write blog posts about recent projects or shoots or weddings you’ve worked on.
  • You can schedule to share a few favourite client image / stories on your social media along with how to book you.
  • You need to communicate – what is included in what you sell – what are they getting for their money, how does it work, how do they buy and what will they get at the end of it. Don’t be worried about including this information as often as you like in your blog and social media content. As humans we learn through repetition. This doesn’t mean copy and paste everything, but it does mean that we have to be prepared to share the same information again and again maybe in slightly different ways and on multiple platforms.
  • Don’t be worried about stating the obvious but don’t treat each post like it’s the first one your audience sees about you.
  • Make sure you tell people how they can book you whenever you post anywhere

If you’re worried about writing, write how you speak. Only boring corporate people call this unprofessional because their bosses wouldn’t approve. You’re writing with passion and you’re writing with care.

You don’t have to get everything right before you start making sales. Your website doesn’t have to be perfect before you start making sales. Stop focusing on your aesthetic over how helpful you’re being to your audience (what’s the point in a beautiful website if no one sees it)

Related episodes 22 – Stop Cancelling Yourself – Done is Better than Perfect

Instead, think about how you want people to feel when they buy from you. This keeps the focus on the buyer rather than you getting in your own head about what you’re communicating.

Think about one person reading what you share and then buying from you, how you make them feel and how they’re going to feel once they receive what they’ve bought from you. Are you giving them the info they need to make that one click decision to buy, or are you holding back for fear of being too obvious?

Pretend that every visitor is about to buy from you but don’t get upset when they don’t because they won’t but you have to be so obvious with everything they might need so that you are making it as easy as possible to do that – awareness of their problem, inform them of the choices, tell them how it works, tell them the price (or how to get the price as in what info you need from them to give them the price) and then tell them how to get in touch with you.

  • When you create content like social media posts or blog posts to draw people to your info / pricing / product or sales page, don’t try and cover all bases in everything you write + post, instead share extracts of info and encourage them to click through.
  • Show your audience proof (testimonials, reviews, photos of the products, screenshots of feedback)
  • Share tips that proved popular with your clients and customers
  • Give generously, don’t just ask for the sale all the time

Remember, it’s not about the people who aren’t interested, it’s about the people who are. If you do find yourself trying to retract, look at what you’re doing practically. Look at the end goal. I really do feel that entrepreneurs are the ultimate optimists – we want to create a better happier life for ourselves, our loved ones, we want to live a life that suits us and not jam our life in and around someone else’s dreams (and bank account)

How do you know if your efforts are working? It also helps to look at where in the chain our efforts are paying off. Sales notifications of course are the end goal but you also need to be looking at the bits in between. Measure the results. Analyse the impact. Marketing should be a constant cycle of measuring, analysing and improving. Nothing stands still – styles change, behaviours change, technology evolves…

  • Create content from questions people ask you
  • Make a note of the people who are replying to your Instagram Stories + interact with them more
  • Respond to comments at the very least by thanking them
  • Install Google Analytics and check the clicks – which content people are looking at
  • Create blogs using your keywords and the questions around this (listen to episode 5 all about keywords)
  • Use keyword ranking apps like SEO Edge (Apple phones) and SERPMojo (Android phones) and stop Googling yourself
  • Ask your audience SPECIFIC questions to find out what they want to know more about

You don’t have to do it all but you can’t do nothing and still expect sales

Related episode 15 – The game of managing expectations

Come join us

If you’re worried about putting yourself out there, I find it helpful to think about it like this – what would happen if you placed your business as importantly as everything else you hold important in your life as second nature?

So, if you’re a female-led business eager for more booking, and more sales but frankly, you’re overwhelmed with where to start, why not come and join my week-long free challenge, Show Up & Get Booked.

We start Monday 27th September and I would LOVE to see you there.


Listen in

For maximum inspiration, do listen to the full episode here on Spotify or here on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts.

I’d love you to pop me a DM which one thing are you going to try to be more visible today? You can find me on Instagram @Maddy.Shine

I so appreciate you listening and supporting the High Vis podcast. If you enjoy this episode, please do share the link with your pals

I would be so grateful if you would take a moment to rate the show and leave a review here. They help a LOT when it comes to reaching other fabulous people like you and I read every review that comes through, so thank you!

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Thank you and love,

Maddy x
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1 Comment

  1. Kate

    So much helpful advice and thought provoking stuff in this episode. A great reminder that seasons change

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Maddy Shine - Visibility Expert