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Why Surrender to Your Hired Expert

For anyone, it is an act of humility to surrender to what is. When we surrender, we turn our ego and self-will over to deeper wisdom and improvement. As a creative service provider, there are times when people reach out for Unglitch.io’s marketing strategy, branding strategy, or design expertise. Most are willing to accept they need to hire for what they cannot do themselves for their own business. But some, have trouble surrendering to their hired expert and releasing control. Why?

“It’s My Vision – No One Else Will Understand It!”

We invest a lot of energy into going after what it is we want, and when what we want to elevate our business -behind that energy is a deep longing for something. Success. Acceptance. Acknowledgment. Money. When we let go, stop pulling or pushing, or step away, we feel the impact of that—we might feel loss, grief, terror, or disappointment that someone else can do it better. The sensation of these feelings can be overwhelming and many of us weren’t necessarily taught how to express them; especially as business owners.

When you hire a trusted, proven expert the process only works when the client surrenders to the expert’s knowledge. You wouldn’t hire someone for marketing strategy and management and then undermine everything they do to boost your business because it’s not “your moves” or the path you would take. Your marketing expert has done research on the actual target market you need to serve (and in most cases…) – this is not the target market you had in mind. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that “everyone is my target market!”. That idea is simply not going to help your business grow.

So let’s say you’ve surrendered to accepting your (new) niche target market. Your strategist, designer, and promoter have presented you with the plan, content, and visuals to grow your brand and build a loyal audience-to-customer fan base. You don’t like it. You find the urge to go back to doing the same thing you have been doing all along by yourself. We all know the definition of insanity, right?

To simply think that your vision will not be understood by anyone else is a big red flag that in fact, is the case. Neither your current audience understands your vision either – because your messaging in your marketing reflects that and you’ve thought all along that you are marketing to please yourself and not your target customers.

“I’ve Been in Business for 20+ Years – Why Do I Need to Change Now?”

Pride, on the other hand, maintains our idealized self-image—the self we think we need to be for self-preservation. Pride presents itself as a kind of invulnerability, or a need to be right or perfect. Because surrendering to an expert is an act of humility and an acknowledgment that out of our perfectly imperfect humanness, our business may be out-of-date and out-of-touch. We’re losing old customers and we are gaining no new ones. In many cases, this is why. While change can be hard and it only gets harder the longer you’ve been doing what you’ve been doing – when questioning do you need to re-think or pivot your business strategies, branding, marketing, etc… The answer 99% of the time is always: “Yes”.

“I’m Not Going To Let You!”

The final point is that some people find pleasure (albeit negative) in not surrendering. The unconscious pleasure we get from holding on to something too long can be a real hard to let go. As I mentioned up top, I’m a creative service provider. As anyone who worked in customer service knows, some people just thrive off making others feel small.

I remember when I was in my early 20’s in this business, this would always ‘erk me the wrong way. I would be reeling from a client’s bad behavior in this arena for days, if not weeks. They would then go onto a naughty list of people I would never work with again. I still have a naughty list, but when you’ve been doing this as long as I have (12+ years), you start to realize that psychology plays a big part in providing anything to your clients.

We state in many new client contracts, that if you are not willing to surrender to what will better your business, you simply will not be able to be helped…but still be billed for our time…

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Why Your Sales Funnel No Longer Works

Wait, what…?

I get kind of a twisted kick watching the reaction of people in the digital business world when I say this. I have always said this. The sales funnel is inappropriate for professional services. My stance always creates quite a stir. Turns out the sales funnel is central to the way most people think about how to acquire new customers.

Now I’m a millennial and if anyone who was alive in the ’90s and early ’00s remembers all the old diet supplement websites we fell for. “Just pay Shipping for Dr. Smith’s Fat Buster Pills!” These terrible-looking websites were the original basis for platforms like Cl*ckFunn3ls™ and other similar funnel platforms that are still being peddled by influencers today who have affiliate links to promote with.

This exact template is still being used by modern coaches and funnel enthusiasts alike.

Aside from these websites just making users fell gross… The idea of a sales funnel is not just useless in the world of professional services, it is a distorted and misleading model. The sales funnel model causes otherwise smart people to do the wrong thing when trying to drive business development.

You know the sales funnel. Everyone does, and that is part of the problem.

At the wide end of the funnel are prospective customers who are believed to be primed to buy your product or service. Leads are filtered. The uninterested are culled. The rest are pre-qualified, pitched, and (hopefully) closed over time.

When selling consulting or professional services, the goal is not to find leads then process them like your digestive tract. The objective is to identify a community and position yourself to serve that community over time.

The Math

Now I’ve said it before I’m bad at math, but even I questions the traditional sales model numbers. When managing sales, traditional sales funnel theory tells us to measure yield from one step to the next:

  • 20 of 100 leads result in an initial meeting (a 20% yield).
  • Half of those meetings lead to an opportunity to make a proposal (a 50% yield).
  • 2 of 10 proposals yield a sale (a 20% yield).
  • So, the overall lead-to-sales yield is 2% (20% × 50% × 20% = 2%).

2%! 2%!? What a waste of time…

And from the consumer’s end, millions of dollars are being gained by attracting them in with a small offer. An offer that any TikTok marketer will tell you only takes the professional a bit of time (ex. Record a video of professional tips) to make. Charge for that video and never work again as all that passive income comes rolling in every time someone pays and automates the already recorded video. And to the consumer, they often are getting sub-par info or info they already knew. By 2021, consumers are onto you AND seeing sales funnely website or offer, feels gross.

But instead of jumping into a sales funnel business model what should you do instead?

Are you selling a product?

  1. Start with quality leads: Know who might buy your product. In addition, have someone who can separate themselves from the business pick the products. (Ex. If you’re a boutique owner who loved the color yellow and you end up only stocking yellow products, you won’t sell much). Gather intelligence. Ideally, interview someone who used to work at a company that you want to emulate. The object here is not complicated. You are trying to amass a list of human beings you might call on who would be in a position to authorize the purchase of your product. Keep a list of those people.
  2. Sell! Sell! Sell!: This is where previous sales experience is essential. Which I know is hard to hear if you’re starting your eCommerce or brick-and-mortar boutique. If you do not have sales experience either find another business to run or hire a salesperson to run it for you. Selling is a conversation. The goal is to get a customer to express a “felt need” for which the salesperson or shop can propose a solution. If you have products that can be bought elsewhere, you won’t make sales that can sustain you full-time.

Are you selling a professional service(s)?

We all know that consulting and professional services are sold differently than products. Expert services are sold on reputation, referral, relationships… not selling features of the service. The purchase of professional services requires a leap of faith beforehand.

Despite this, the temptation is to pretend the purchase of expert advice or services is the same as buying office supplies. We’ve been encouraged to accept that the funnel and step-by-step sales process is appropriate. It’s not, and here’s why:

  • The number of relevant leads is limited in a funnel
  • The duration of relationships between client and professional is often long, which causes issues when you are constantly thinking of the client as a new lead to toss back into a new funnel
  • Each client is special, your measurable client data will change per client and the progression of your relationship with them cannot be reduced to anywhere in the funnel process

The super-salesperson is a myth when it comes to professional services. Now there are tons of people online. You see them in Facebook ads and everywhere else convincing you with great charisma to buy their course. You buy. You start the course. You learn nothing. But that person still sold the hell out of you in the beginning, because he’s a salesperson, not a professional service provider. Focusing on the meeting and the art of the sale suggests that some people have some special way with others that causes the target of their affection to bend to their wills. Make sense!?

Salespeople who are thought to be really good with people often come off as just inauthentic and slimy. Call it the backfire effect. I myself am a terrible salesperson. I always have been. I’m here to provide professional creative services, not sell you something you don’t need or want.

The sales funnel assumes that you first create awareness, then uncover interest and desire, and finally that you manifest action. (This is the “AIDA” model of client engagement to which you were exposed in undergraduate marketing.) But what if you stumble on desire first which causes you to get yourself in front of a prospect (awareness)? You decide to do a pilot (action) that leads you to lift the stone on what turns out to be their real problem (interest).

In short for professionals… Do good work for a client. Stay in touch. Keep a long-term relationship with them. It’s that simple. Don’t toss them into a garbage disposable known as a sales funnel.