Sales – Oh God Shoot Me Now!

There is only one reason small businesses fail — NO SALES.

Without sales there is no cashflow and without cashflow there is no business. Most small business owners and entrepreneurs are not professional sales people, they are better at doing what they are selling, not selling what they do.

Smile n Dial

My wonky career path has included professional sales, the smile and dial numbers game sales. I was kicking butt good at smilin and dialin, finding the decision maker, and getting in the door to meet. I had no problem making 40-60 dials a day, regardless if the product was Advertising, Online Review Platform, Financial Planning products, or Chinese Pump Jacks and Oil Pipe. I built qualified lists, found business, and even closed sales.

Today, I am standing on the cliff edge knowing that the only way my business will succeed is if I get on the phone and make appointments to talk to people about their personal branding to help differentiate them from their competitors. I know what my target market looks like, I know where to find their contact information, I know how to build a CRM database to manage these cold leads and guess what —

I’m frozen.

It’s not the sub zero temperatures that have gripped the Vancouver area that have me covered in ice… It’s fear. OMG – I’m scared to pick up the phone and ask someone to meet me.

How did I go from a kick butt cold calling appointment setter to frozen solid on a cliff’s edge? What’s different?

Well, the product I am now selling is – me – and I’m not confident enough.

Selling myself, sounds so dirty, like I should have a 1-900 number or be working some corner in DT East Van. I know I’m not the only woman to have an issue with self confidence and selling her services in a crowded marketplace. It’s one of those things we were taught not to do as young girls – “Don’t be too loud.” “Don’t toot your own horn.” “Don’t be so full of yourself.” Little boys were to cultivate confidence, we were to cultivate coyness and virtue.

My confidence has taken a hit from all the rejection, broken promises, disappointment, and crap life has heaped on me the last five years.

I know I’m good at what I do. I know I’m smart enough. I know I’m qualified. I know I have the credentials. I know that I work hard to ensure my clients succeed. I know I have a service Independent Professionals need at a price they can afford… I know all of this and more – However, I don’t want to hear “no” when it comes to selling myself. I’ve heard you aren’t good enough too often the last five years.

The Big Thaw.

Time to get over myself and stop coming up with excuses about why I can’t get on the phone and start calling my target market. It’s the only way small businesses can start, by knocking on doors and making calls.

The only way to cure myself of this affliction is to do it. To create a list of targeted Independent Professionals, pick up the phone, and dial. Once I’ve made the first appointment, I know I will be back, kicking butts and taking names.

All I need

My time is limited and what I sell is my time, so, I only need the following:

4 Monthly Marketing Management Clients
5 Personal Branding Consulting / Coaching Clients
12 Grape Peel Marketing Group Clients
The odd project management client would be nice too

So, I won’t have to smile n dial for long.

The time is now and now is the time.

UPDATE: I did not cold call… I advertised free brainstorming sessions on certain days and people came to me. My confidence is increasing and soon I’ll be back to kicking butt while smiling and dialling.


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more: Shannonpeel.com

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Empty Nest Transition

I haven’t posted anything for awhile, mostly because I have been all over the place mentally and emotionally. I didn’t want to come across as a miserable sot of a person whom no one wants to be around, because that is what I’ve been.

If you know me, have been following me on social media, or our paths have crossed, you probably know that life likes to hit me over and over and over again. It likes to keep things interesting for me and remind me when I’m not on the right path. Heaven forbid I get in a rut.

My kids abandoned me and I took it hard.

Losing my kids was my biggest fear, and what I mean by losing them, was that they wouldn’t live with me 24/7. This fear started the day my ex forced me out of the house and grew after he told my son that I didn’t want him living with me. When I finally got my son back under my roof, I constantly feared he would leave again and take his sister.

I wrapped my whole existence in being their mom. I tried to make friends, date, and find work outside the house… I failed miserably at all three and gripped onto my children even tighter.

I wasn’t a traditional mom, I was a single mom. If I’d been a traditional mom they would be more dependent on me for their care and not in such a hurry to take care of themselves.

In our home, we were a team, working together to build a life. Their chores were different based on what they wanted to do, which wasn’t emptying the dishwasher – I’m not sure they even know how this one works. They did the grocery shopping, their own laundry, and cooked their own dinners. I cleaned up after them, was their bank and their taxi service.

My son is 18 and it was natural for him to want to move in with his girlfriend and friends. That was hard enough. I was getting used to him not being a daily fixture in my life when my 15 year old daughter got angry with me for a decision I made and decided to live with her brother. Her brother, not her father, is the protective male figure in her life.

I did not take it well. I cried for days and needed some pharmaceutical help, so I didn’t go crazy… My mother called me daily to make sure I was still breathing, it was a scary time.

I spent days, weeks, months, alone at home – miserable.

One day I was a single mom, the next, I was nothing. I didn’t even have a job, as I’d just been laid off for the second time in three years. I was lost. I had no reason to get up in the morning. I had no reason to do anything and my environment reflected this. A hazmat suit was needed if you were to visit my home.

The main thing that saved me from jumping into the hole of despair was acceptance into a self employment program, which has enabled me to start a marketing management company. I’ve gripped this lifeline everyday to stay sane because it gives me a reason to wake up in the morning.

Some days, I even shower and go out into the world.

I’m getting stronger and finding my own way

My start up business has become my newest child and it is slowly beginning to thrive. It takes all my attention, resources, and love. Just as my children used to. The only thing I know is, it’s my life line and I will build it into something wonderful, as wonderful as my two brilliant, independent, resourceful children.

My kids will succeed in life.

We were a close little family unit and I watched them grow, become young adults, and did my best to be there whenever they needed me – no matter the time of day. I gave them all my resources, efforts, and focus. I made sure they got what they wanted and had as good a life as I could afford to give them, which was financially poorer than the one I had at their age.

I did the best I could with what I had, and it wasn’t much. I was a single parent with no support system and it took three years to get my ex to pay full child support – and a year for my kids to destroy that victory because when they decided to move out, their dad started paying the child support directly to them, leaving me no way to cover the bills of the bigger place I’d rented so we could have a home after my victory. The kids didn’t care, the ex didn’t care, the landlord didn’t care, that I’d lost all my income overnight.

Before you tell me he legally can’t pay the kids the child support directly, I already paid a lawyer to fight to get the child support and I chose not to fight again. Legal battles take more effort and emotional strength than I have. It would also mean upsetting my kids and I can’t do that. The divorce battle is over and I don’t want to open that door again. They moved out because they needed to get away from me and thankfully he pays their rent, so I don’t worry about their financial health.

My son has been accepted to a local University. My daughter is still a good student and will get through Grade 10 with good marks and strong friendships. The two of them are taking care of each other and have each other’s back. I’m very proud of my son for taking care of his little sister and being there for her. He takes care of the women in his life, his girlfriend, sister, and even his mom when he has time.

When your children moved out on their own, how were you affected and did you find a life line?

 

UPDATE: A year ago, I thought my life was over. Now, I have come to terms with my kids not moving home. I miss them being a daily fixture in my life, the noise, the laughter, and their friends. I miss being apart of their lives.

We do see each other for coffee, lunch, and I’m still their taxi every once in awhile. I love the time they give me.

My business is still kicking and I have some opportunities on the horizon that I am excited about. I network and have found a business partner whom I can rely on, it’s a new feeling knowing someone has my back – finally.

I’m moving downtown, a place I always wanted to live, but couldn’t afford a place big enough for my small family. My kids helped me find the place and move into it.

They want to see me happy and moving towards my own successful life. I look forward to them crashing at their new downtown crash pad, even if it is only one room.

My life is changing for the better every day and that dark time is fading in my memory, as I look out onto the future’s horizon.

I survived the transition.

My story is common.

Many people have lost everything they were scared to lose. Lots of people had to pick up the pieces on their own. The reason I share my story, is to inspire hope in others, because there is light, even when it’s too dark to see. The pain we all carry deep inside us is part of being human. We all make mistakes, what matters is how we handle life and what we learn from it. I chose not to let it beat me.

Both my daughter and my son are doing well. They take good care of each other and have each other’s backs. We’ve talked and they know I have their backs and will be there for them whenever they need me and our relationship has grown into its next stage. The empty nest is quiet and lonely, but at times the silence is golden.

 


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. She has authored three novels in three different genres. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more:Shannonpeel.com