As a business owner, it’s likely been hammered into you that you have to be aggressive or sleazy to sell your services. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, by focusing on cultivating genuine relationships with your prospects, you’re much more likely to win the sale…when the time is right, of course.Copywriter, consultant, and founder of Las Peregrinas, Stella Orange, joined Straight Talk About Sales host Dr. Nadia Brown for an in-depth conversation around the new, relational approach to sales – whether it be through your copywriting or during a sales conversation.
Here is the full transcript:
The New, Conversational Marketing
Dr. Nadia Brown 00:02
Welcome to another episode of Straight Talk About Sales with Dr. Nadia. And I must tell you, I’m super, super, super, super, super excited to have my guest today, Stella Orange, with me on the show. I’ll read Stella’s bio later, but one thing I do want to share is Stella and I have known each other for years. And before I actually met Stella in the flesh, I had been cyberstalking her, in a way of just looking at her website, being on her newsletter list, looking at all of her content that she was sharing. It really resonated with me. And now we’re good friends and colleagues. And I’m excited to have this conversation today with Stella. So welcome, Stella.
Thank you. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be here, Dr. Brown. I almost called you Dr. Spice. Sorry, that was my slip up! Let’s include that. Let’s include that.
Dr. Nadia Brown
That’s a whole ‘nother story that one day I may share.
So, what one of the things that I am curious…that I would love for us to talk about as we look at, you know, marketing and messaging and sales, is, one, you have a philosophy around marketing that I believe is quite different than what many of us may hear in the marketplace. So, let’s just kind of dig in to that a little bit around, you know, your ideals or philosophies around, you know, messaging and marketing. Because that’s one of the ways that we really connect is that and why she’s also a partner with me at the Convert Lab, because I really resonate with your philosophy. So, I’ll turn the mic over to you.
Stella Orange 01:48
Perfect, thank you. Um, so I’m gonna introduce myself a little bit, because I always think it’s helpful to understand, like, who’s speaking and, like, how they got this knowing. I’m a copywriter and consultant on business and marketing going on 13 years now, and I got my start writing online campaigns and sales emails. And I specialize in sales writing. That’s how I came up in this world, this professional world. But I specialize in doing it in a way that doesn’t feel like sales writing; it feels like you are one person with a friend, in a room, talking to one another with just looking at each other in the eyes. And I’ll be real, I don’t know how I do that.
Um, so I think that is also different because that’s my perspective on marketing is stop marketing. And you’ve heard me say this for years: we have this marketing bullhorn voice, where we think we need to, like, project our voices to the back of the room. And you and I were just talking about this yesterday when we were catching up, because we’re both working on updating our websites. And one of the distinctions that my business partner and I have been talking about – that I shared with you – was this idea of a neon sign on the side of a highway trying to get drivers off the highway to come into your bar, right? Or, are you having a conversation with a friend? And those two voices are very different.
And so, that is…my philosophy is there may be instances or businesses that for which using the bright flashing neon lights is the way to go. If you don’t have a relationship with your customers, if you’re doing a mass market email, info, services, business, and you’re just trying to get buyable units in your door, and you actually don’t give a fig as long as they’re attached to a heartbeat and a credit card, and maybe you don’t worry that much about the heartbeat, like, that works. And for many of us, that’s not aligned with our values. It’s not aligned with our practice of business. It’s also not attuned to who we are as human beings. And that feels and has felt for many of us who’ve been in this world for a while, when we were told oh, do it the big flashing neon sign way – and you got to sound like this, and you got to put your three benefits in, and here’s how to write a headline professionally – like, that never felt right in our bones. And it felt like oh, I should be doing this because I want to be successful and don’t I want people to come into my dive bar on the side of the side of the highway, right?
But in truth, like, that’s not grounded in reality about how we do business, and how we treat our clients, and how clients come in our door. So, I think there’s a lot in that visual, but I think that distinction sums up a lot of my philosophy about marketing, which is talk to the people, use your real words in your real voice, and let that be enough.
The work that people listening to your podcast do is meaningful work. So, when we set to the side, the “Heya! Heya!” marketing slash language, talking about egos and how great a game we are and yada, yada, yada, if we set that aside and just use our real voice, there is a power of truth and a resonance that can grow up and connect us with the people that we actually need to be connected with.
The New, Conversational Sales Conversation
Dr. Nadia Brown 05:45
It’s so true. And it’s something that you taught. You live it, and you taught it, because I’ve had people come back to me that are on my newsletter list and say, “I don’t know how you do it, but when I open your emails, I feel like you’re talking directly to me.” I’m like, Stella taught me how to do that. But it was really also you giving permission to just show up as Nadia, right? Like, I don’t have to overthink it, because I just show up, and I talk the way I talk. And I sit down and I write to people as they’re people, like you said, and just you know, heart to heart. And so it makes a huge difference, not only in your marketing, but also it shows up differently in your sales, too – in a good way.
Stella Orange 06:29
And what do you see in terms of sales? Can I ask you questions, too?
Dr. Nadia Brown
Like, so I do sales writing. You do sales conversations, and sales processes, and sales systems. Like, what do you see, like, heart to heart in a sales context? Like, how does that look and feel different?
Dr. Nadia Brown 06:51
One, it’s similar to the neon sign but in sales. And so, when you’re looking at sales conversations, it literally is just having a conversation with the person that’s right there, whether it’s on the phone, or Zoom, or in person.
And it’s hard, because sometimes people feel like, if I’m the salesperson, right, I need to show up as this expert, and I need to demonstrate how amazing I am, and all the results, that I get clients, and all of that great stuff. And so, they feel like they have to basically come to a sales conversation to perform, right?
Whereas, what I believe, and demonstrate, and teach clients is, you show up the conversation and have conversation. You get to know that person. And one of the ways to do that – and also, simultaneously demonstrates a level of your expertise – is just in the questions that you ask, by showing a genuine interest in that person. And so, it really…it takes out all of the showmanship that you often feel like or you may have been taught that you need to do in sales, and you just get to show up as you. So, I show up to my sales conversations is Nadia. And I ask questions because I’m genuinely concerned and curious about the person in front of me. And we may laugh; we may cry. There have been times my husband, Toby, has been like, “I thought you were in there talking to a friend.” And I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I just got a new client.’ Right?
So, it’s that that sort of thing and not feeling like you have to put on a mask, or a costume, or you know, or a persona and show up as this different person because now you have to do these hard things, and to have a sales conversation, to put on a show. And that’s not required.
Gaining Confidence in Your Sales Conversations
Stella Orange 08:35
That. And I think, for me…so, there’s something that you said – and this is just for everyone listening. This is how Nadia and I jam, right? Like, Nadia knows her lane. I know my lane. And this is how we collaborate and, like, make the magic happen. Like, so what I’m hearing you say is this distinction between performance and response or relating to something.
And you were telling me yesterday, like, as you’ve got a new book coming. It’s dropped end of September, right? So, your new book is out. And you’ve had a book launch party for that, and people could not stop talking about the difference between, like, this – I think you were saying, like, how, like – men classically do sales or how we’re trained that sales must be done versus like this relational, responsive, and I might say, radical vulnerability and radical transparency approach to doing sales, which can feel sort of disarming.
Like, like, I’m remembering in my early days, when you’re starting out learning sales, there’s a way in which you almost feel protected by performing. Like, I know, for me, if I at least had my script, and I knew my talking points, and I knew how much my offer…I mean, I know you’re laughing because I resonate with this. Like, and you and I, how many years have we written down sales sheets? Here’s my offer. Here’s what’s in the box. Here’s how much it costs. Here are my bullet points of who it’s for.
And my younger self needed that so that I could at least fake a little bit of confidence in those conversations and those extreme changes. It was almost like the performance helped me maintain a – I’ll say it – like, safe distance between me and another human being. And now that we’re here, what – I was thinking about this this morning – like, what I would like to tell to my younger self who was starting out, is you’re going to be uncomfortable. Doing sales in the way that you’re advocating and in the way that I’m advocating is actually saying, be vulnerable with another human being. And I will totally own the fact that, you know, you’ve been doing this work for a while. I’ve been doing my work for a while. It is way easier for us to say, “Be vulnerable with other people,” because we have a level of earned credibility and expert status because we’ve been out in the wild, right? Well, when you’re starting out, you’re just trying…I remember that feeling of just, like, I feel like an imposter. Why would people pay me money to do this? Like, this is just something I really enjoy doing and I happen to be good at, but I don’t know how to ask for money. It makes my armpits sweat, right?
So, I want to, like, acknowledge the, like, heebie jeebies and the butterflies in the stomach around that. And I also would say to my younger self, like, this is a long road. And I would also say, expect that you are going to talk to hundreds and thousands of people in the year ahead. Literally. And it’s just an iterative process. And the more people you talk to – and I learned this with you, The Courage Diary – you encourage us all. Like, get 100 “no’s.” If you put in your sales goals, make your goal to talk to 100 people and hear 100 of them say no to you.
Dr. Nadia Brown 12:16
Mmm hmm. Here’s the juicy part about that, Stella. I’ve been talking about that for years now. And I have yet to have a single person come back to me and say they got their 100 “no’s.” Not one person has ever come back and said, “Dr. Nadia, one hundred people have said ‘no’ to me.”
Here’s what I do here, is I started out on this whole “I took you up on your offer, your challenge,” right? And then I started talking to people, and then I started getting yeses. Then I started getting clients. And now I’m happily off doing my client thing, and I forgot that I was supposed to be getting 100 “no’s,”, so no one has ever come back and said, I got a hundred “no’s.”
Stella Orange 12:52
They’re like, “I’m failing at the getting ‘no’s,’ Dr. Nadia. Do you have a program for that?”
Dr. Nadia Brown 12:57
Right? “But I’m getting clients, so I’m really happy with your challenge. Thank you.”
Stella Orange 13:00
But I think that’s…so this is…I was thinking about after our conversation yesterday, like, you’re, like, Nadia’s world. And when you get in that process of saying, “Okay, the game isn’t to get X number of clients or make X number of dollars. I’m changing the game. The game is now to get 100 ‘no’s,’ because Dr. Nadia and this Stella Orange character said, ‘Oh, that’s the tool.’” Okay, great. That is the beginning of taking back your power and opening up the door to magic. And I just want to point that out for people that are feeling like,” I don’t know how to start.” It’s games like that that help you bring the power back to your own body and your own self and create room for something new to happen. And yeah, it’s scary. And yeah, you’re, like, not sure how it’s gonna turn out. Have you had that experience multiple times in your tenure as an entrepreneur?
Dr. Nadia Brown
Oh, yeah. Many times.
Building a Do-Not-Do List
I have, too. This is the game. And I would say it’s entrepreneurs, and it’s also being human. Like, this is just going to keep happening, but we get used to the fact that we’re at a threshold again. It’s new. We’re not sure how it’s going to turn out. We’ve got all these feelings about it. We’re not sure if it’s going to work or not. But we can’t stay here, because where we are is not working. And so we’ve got to, in your parlance, to make the leap.
Dr. Nadia Brown 14:28
Yeah. Yeah, I remember when I pivoted and launched the agency – you remember that? You were a part of that. One of the things that the council suggested at that time was, “Nadia, basically put your blinders on and only focus on getting your first six clients.” That was it. It was all these…I had a whole list of things not to do. Like, they literally wrote it down.
Stella Orange 14:54
A do-not-do list. Yes. Oh, that’s a good one. Yes.
Dr. Nadia Brown 14:58
Don’t do these things. Like, don’t focus on your website…don’t…like, it was a whole list of things. And I needed that to really help me stay focused. But when you talk about, like, just, like, even gamifying it, right, it was just, Nadia, just have conversations. You know how to do that, right? Focus on the things we know you know how to do. Have conversations with people you already know, and let them know that now you’re up to this new thing. And before you know it, I have plenty of clients.
And so, it was just taking that whole, that pressure off, I think, making it so hard. And I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I gotta do all these new things. And I have to come up with a name for the company.’ For the longest, my agency didn’t have a name. It was just…we just operated as we were. And it was, there is no updates to your website. You know, there are no big…there was no big launch campaign or Facebook ads. Like, it was not complicated. I simply scheduled conversations with people I already knew, and I just told them, ‘Hey,’ – you know, in our conversation – ‘here’s what I’m up to now.’ And you will not believe the number of people who were like, ‘Tell me more,’ or ‘I need that,’ or ‘I know someone else who does,’ and they would connect us. And that was how the agency got started. And it was so easy. It was so easy that I look back now, like, why did I make my life so hard prior to that? It was so simple.
Stella Orange 16:23
Because smart people make things more complicated. Like, we, I mean, that’s the thing. And also, I’m convinced, like, it takes us a minute. And I feel this from you so strongly right now. Like, it takes us a minute to realize, what if we can have everything we’re doing? And like, let’s also just be real. Like, it may not happen in our lifetimes. Okay, like I’m talking several layers deep. So yes, I’m talking about individuals in their own families and their loved ones. But I’m talking society. I’m talking, like, the road is long, friends. It’s not…I’m not going to be Pollyanna about it.
But there is a certain shift that happens when you start to get a glimpse of oh, if I’m willing to talk to 100 people and get 100 no’s, what if that is actually what unlocks the door to what I want? What if it’s not how many followers I have, these sort of, I’ve heard someone call them vanity metrics. How many followers you have, or how many likes you have. Somewhere along the way, many of us got our attention pulled to these things that actually don’t matter.
Dr. Nadia Brown 17:46
Stella Orange 17:50
And a lot of the work I do…you know, you mentioned we worked together when you started your agency. We helped you pivot, get the vision, and then you’re like, “Well, shoot, I gotta keep working with y’all. Because this is a…no one else is building businesses like this. Please, keep going. Let’s keep working.”
Stella Orange 18:04
But…where was I going with that? Often what we need to be doing is making a do-not-do list for ourselves.
You Don’t Have to Be On Social Media to Be Successful in Sales
Stella Orange 18:16
And like, do not manipulate people. Do not think that you need to have all the answers or you even need to have a name for your agency before you make a list of people you know, who have known you for a while, and love you, and whatever you’re doing, and want to know about it, plus those strategic people who are in a place to possibly refer you business or connect you to someone if you’re trying to get in to a company contract, or to meet wellness practitioners, or whatever that is.
There’s this distinction – I’m on my soapbox on this today, for some reason – between leaning into our social network, our genuine web of relationships that we have cultivated over our lifetimes – with other human beings, with other communities, faith-based organizations, with schools, like, whoever’s around you – using those networks and what’s happening online, which are “social networks.” But often they’re not as powerful. And they…I don’t know, like, we don’t have to go that direction today. But I just, I want to just kind of insert that here, because you and I do in our workshops in our conversations. We talk a lot of people down off “Oh, I don’t really like being on Instagram” or “I haven’t really gotten traction on Facebook.” And we’re like, “Fine. Step away.”
Dr. Nadia Brown
And they’re like, “Wait, what? I can do that?”
You have an option. Like, and the same thing. You don’t need to be sleazy. You don’t need to be manipulative. You don’t need to perform in a sales call. So that…but then it’s like, so what the heck do I say to people? Now that’s an interesting problem, right?
Dr. Nadia Brown 20:03
Yeah, and you know, speaking of that, I think it is worth talking about, Stella. Because it comes up so often where we have clients, and they’re just like, “Well, if I’m not doing all of the things that the gurus, or my business coach, or whomever told me to do when it comes to Facebook, or LinkedIn, or whatever…and a lot of them will admit to us, right, “I don’t even like social media.” And it’s like whispers, right? Like,
Stella Orange 20:27
We’re talking to those of you who are like, “Really, I don’t even like it,” or “It makes me tired when I’m there.” Like, and I know that’s not everybody, because I’ve got friends that are, like, radical extroverts, and they love it. And, like, they just…it’s still fun and joyful for them. But for the rest of us, yes. Sorry, I got excited.
Creating a Gourmet vs. a Fast Food Experience
Dr. Nadia Brown 20:43
“I don’t even like social media.” And we’re like, “Okay,” but then you’re like, “If I’m not…if I don’t like social media, then what do I do?” And then we go jump in, and Stella is definitely the ringleader. She’s like, “Alright, so what do you like to do?” Right? And then you put together a strategy that you’re actually going to do. Your focus is people and relationships, right?
Stella Orange 21:04
Well, I was gonna say, what have you seen or what have you put together for clients or with clients lately that you’re, like, here’s an idea? Like, one thing it can look like. Like, I can think of an example, but I would love to hear what’s showing up in your neck of the woods.
Dr. Nadia Brown 21:16
Oh, boy, I can think of a couple. But one is a client and a good friend of ours that we both share, who you remember, had her events. And I was like, so, really what your events…because we had tried and done it for years of having the social media, and a big page, and all of these things, right? And then I was like, ‘But really, your people, it will really work if you just sent them an invitation in the mail.’ Remember that one?
If it’s the same person I’m thinking of, I’m like, “Oh, I’ve given her that advice as well.” Yes. Okay, good.
Dr. Nadia Brown
She finally listened. And we go to her event, and it was so amazing. It just felt so right. And it wasn’t…it’s not this whole big, like, if you were to look for it, you probably will only see pictures, maybe, from people who’ve been to the event. But there isn’t a registration page or isn’t the event hashtag. Like, there are all these things that we feel like we have to do. It was literally her reaching out to people and inviting them personally to come, and they did. And then from there, we were like, you can ask those people who might they know, right? And that…but again, it was the direct connections and the relationships. And it’s this beautiful thing that is just now blossoming.
But she chose, and she had the courage, frankly, to do it different. Because she was trying it the other way. And we were like, “I think that that works best for you.” And then finally, she was like, “I’m gonna try it this way,” and it totally knocked your socks off.
Stella Orange 22:52
Well, I if..if I’m remembering – and I haven’t talked to her about this stuff in a while – but she was hosting, like, a private dinner for executive leaders on GOT. This was a couple years ago. And she was gonna…her vision was, “I want to serve them champagne and strawberries when they first arrive.” And so, it was that caliber. And so, I think one of the things that you and I talk a lot about with folks is making sure that if that’s your vision for what you want to do with people, give them that experience.
And I just saw this on your book promo page from the beginning. It doesn’t start when they buy the ticket to the event; it actually starts before. And all of the little marketing decisions that you make, need to actually be aligned with that vibe for the actual offer, the actual event. And I think that’s – I’ve talked about this in years past about being a distinction between a gourmet experience and a fast food experience. I can hear echoes of Nadia and Stella in the past talking about bargain basement, or department store, or boutique. And so, it’s all in play.
And that’s kind of the creative part about what you and I both do. It’s like, well, how do you create an experience where people do feel listened to from the work-go? How do you write an email? What? Like, that makes it feel like we’re talking to one another. So, I feel like I’m getting us a little bit off track. But I think, like, that’s what I’m hearing inside of this is, like, you gotta line up to vibes.
Dr. Nadia Brown 24:33
We do. And it also is a relationship, because I’m also thinking about something that you and I also have done in our businesses. But I want to say we probably put our collective heads together and totally geeked out on it and why it came to fruition was, remember, we were sending stuff in the mail. Which I know we were still doing on a smaller scale, but we want to ramp it back up. Where…and I remember it was sending out newsletters in pink envelopes. And just the number of people who I would either jump on a call and they were on their desk they were having, like, “Oh my gosh, Nadia.” Or I remember we had some folks that went to our church. We’re literally in church. We’re trying to pay attention to the pastor. And someone was like, I have your newsletter in my car.”
And you know, but it was just, again, doing something different. How often are you invited to actually touch base with your community, your tribe via snail mail, right? Like something that is so old school and antiquated. And you guys sent actual newspapers. Oh, amazing, reading them all, right? I was so excited when I would get them. But it’s something different. So, I think also being willing to really align with what really makes your heart sing, because those things make me so much more excited than doing my social media posts. I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, what are we sending?’ And I totally geek out on all of that.
Even down to…Stella mentioned my new book that just came out. And I remember talking to my team, and I was like, “Oh my gosh, why didn’t we just align this with Amazon and just have everyone go to Amazon and buy this book?” Because you know, it was so much more work for us to actually personally send the books out. But we get to control the user experience. So, people get other goodies, but they get their books in pink envelopes, or if they bought the collection, they get it in a box that has a pop of pink. And we bought, oh my god…so, and that was my reminder to myself that that excites me. That was what made my heart sing versus just sending them over to Amazon.
How Do You Want People to Feel?
Stella Orange 26:50
This is important. And I want to just ask you like to, like, for the benefit of folks listening, like, what do…so, you mentioned excitement. Like, how do you know you’re onto something personally? Like, you’re you as a business owner making decision. I can do fulfillment, like drop ship. They’ve made it very easy on Amazon. Easy, probably inexpensive, probably cheaper than what you’re doing now. Versus you having your team build out everything, and send the pink envelopes, and do the experience that you want for your people. How do you know which way to go?
Dr. Nadia Brown 27:23
For me, it really does align to, one, how excited I get, because I don’t get excited about everything. But I will also think about – and this is a question that I ask clients when we’re, like, mapping out your client journey – I’m just like, how do you want people to feel even before they become clients, right? And so, when I think about how I want people to feel, although they purchase my book, I want them to feel special and taken care of and not just feel like it’s just another book, right? And so, this is why we made this decision that we are doing this, because we have more control over how our clients feel when they receive this book, and when they get to dive into it, and that entire experience. We get to have that control over it and really impacted and that was a big driver for my decisions.
Stella Orange 28:20
Thank you so much. And I just, you said…so the question is how you want people to feel, like, how you want your people to feel and you Nadia wants them to feel special and taken care of? I know in our business that Rebecca and I run together, we want people to feel seen and heard from the beginning, whether they’re in a meet and greet call with us or a sales call with us. And I remember when that started happening, where people would, at the end of the sales call, thank us. And you know, which people, like, were like, our whole thing is, like, don’t be instant. Good results take time. Like, so we will…thank you for filling us in on what you need. We’re gonna go away, talk about your situation, we’ll send you a proposal, then we’ll meet on the phone again. Typically, not always. It’s different for different people.
But we want people to feel seen, and heard, and understood. And often they’ll thank us at the end of that. They’ll be like, “I just gotta say,” they’re like, “I feel so much better.” And you can see it. Their, like, bodies relax, and they’re arch, like, opens up. And so, there’s two, as a like…I do a lot of sales writing around feelings. Like, what are we trying to get people to feel and let’s stay out of the manipulation, and sales, and sleazy. Please, and thank you.
But this idea of you want your people to feel special and taken care of and that you want that from the beginning, I want them to feel seen and heard from the beginning. And then that just helps you guide all of the decisions. Even if it doesn’t…it’s not the cheapest thing. That’s what I think is really cool. Like, like, you’re like, I don’t care. I want my people to feel special and taken care of and, like, dear Jeff Bezos is not going to deliver that experience.
Dr. Nadia Brown 30:19
He’s not. He just isn’t. He isn’t going to deliver the Doyenne experience, right? And I think that that is important for us to really tap into as business owners making those decisions. Because cheaper isn’t always better, right? It just isn’t. And a lot of people could just say, “Well, it’s just a book.” Yeah, but not really. It’s so much more, right?
Stella Orange 30:41
But that fits with, like, selling like a lady. Like, that fits with your message and who you are in the world and also how you want to move through that world and what your message is to the rest of us. So it’s huge.
Seeds vs. Switches: Setting Realistic Expectations for Success
Dr. Nadia Brown 31:00
I just want to add something because you talked about how you guys operate over at Las Peregrinas. And I remember when I first…well, we were kind of in that part of kind of creating new stuff and pivoting at the same time. And I got to be a benefactor of what you guys were over there cooking up. ‘Cause I remember I was like, I need all three of y’all to kind of help, and so, I selfishly was like, I feel like this happened just for Nadia. I knew it was for other clients, but I was like, I feel like this just happened just for me, selfishly.
Um, but one of the things that really drove my decision in working with the council was that – and I remember having that conversation with Toby – is that definitely feeling seen and heard. And I was like, no one else is creating that safety, right, of helping me to really figure out what it is I want to build. Because at that time, I wasn’t clear on a whole lot. But I was really clear that I don’t want to be a coach, just another coach out here, you know, having a coaching program. And, like, that was…it was really kind of what I didn’t want.
But then I also, as we were going through our process together, got really clear – and you mentioned a little bit of it – around, like, legacy. And I remember saying I want to build something that will outlast me and wasn’t always solely reliant on me. That was a scary admission. I had never said that out loud or admitted it to anyone. But working with you and the team, you all really made it safe, right, to share some of those bigger dreams and those deeper visions inside. And then to work together for – what? –three years, I think we worked together, to build that foundation. And to now look back and listen to some of those early calls – I still have some recordings of Rebecca, right, of just “I see…” And one time I remember, I was like, “I see some things coming together really different, but I don’t see the full picture yet.” And that was kind of where we picked up.
And now to look back, or even look around, right, and to say, ‘Oh my gosh, what I was thinking about or what I had envisioned is now here,’ and that is super cool. But it’s also a testament, right, to the values that you guys demonstrate in your work and to be able to create those environments for your clients. That’s huge. Even a book. Can we talk about that? Stella didn’t even remember this. We were having a conversation. She was like what? Stella had this event. So, of course, you know, I had to be there. We were in Cincinnati sitting around her living room. And I was just all in my head, really heady, about making this transition from really being focused on working with women in leadership to now encompassing this sales skill set that I developed. And Stella, in Stella’s way, was just like, you know, well if we have Leading Like a Lady, why not Sell Like a Lady? And I was like, ‘Really? You think so?’ That was – what – six years ago? But she started planting those seeds and watering those seeds. And now we have that fruition of that.
But again, creating that space and allowing people to really just kind of talk it out and, you know, to think about it. And I would also say, it wasn’t an overnight thing, right? You didn’t push it, right? And you could have been like, “Nadia, seriously, we talked about this how many years ago?” But it was never that. It was always let’s just focus on what it is we need to focus on and in due time. I think that’s the other thing, right? It’s not a microwave kind of thing. So, it’s an idea that came up several years ago and, honestly, things that I started working on several years ago. But it didn’t come to fruition until now when I feel like it was time.
And so, I think sometimes, too, as business owners, when we look at our messaging, or our marketing, or even our sales cycles, we’re like, it needs to happen now. We’re only focused on those immediate sales, and sometimes we lose sight of the relationship and all of the sales that come later, that will come later. And don’t forget the people that come back. So, you have clients that their time for this period or the season is done. But don’t throw them out with the bathwater. I’ve seen it where you feel like because I didn’t renew it immediately, that you are now of no value. Whereas you continue to focus on a relationship and when it’s time, people come back when it makes sense.
Stella Orange 35:51
Amen. 1,000%. Whew. Are we in church? I feel like I’m in church, like, I’m like ‘Preach!’ Say the nice things about me!
Stella Orange 36:00
Um, so there’s a lot here. One thing I want to just point out…a couple things. I want to give a little bit of context, which is you keep mentioning your counsel. That was you pivoted, and I think you were our first client. Like, I had been in business for eight years by myself as a copywriter. And I was getting frustrated, because even though I knew my lane, and I was not a business coach, and I told everyone in my marketing, I am not your business coach, and I had this big membership program before everyone had membership programs, and it did really well. And I did a big launch. And I made a bunch of money, and it changed my life, and blah blah blah. But like – I shouldn’t blah, blah, blah. That was amazing. And I realized that I could only go so far by myself. And my vision for my personal life was bigger than I could hold by myself in one woman’s body. I wanted to have kids, and I knew that I couldn’t have kids running the business that I was running. It was not sustainable. Right, five people working for me. I was working 40 hours a week. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but for me it is. And
I also knew that my clients and customers weren’t being well served, because they were following really dumb business advice. And they would come to me and say, “Okay, how do I write 21 days of emails and an email drip sequence? How do I do that in good writing?” I was like, ‘Why do you want that?’ “Oh, I want to get six one-on-one clients paying me $300 a month.” And I was like, ‘You’re not gonna get it from emails.’
And so, I realized the limits of being in my lane, that I wasn’t helping…I wasn’t serving to the depth I knew I could serve. And so I was like, I need more people that are as good at what they do as I’m at what I do. And that’s when I went into business with Sarah and Rebecca, and we formed this consulting shop so that we could work to support people like yourself. You were my first call. I called you, and I was like, ‘Nadia, I think you’ll be interested.’ You’re like, “Oh, yes.” So, I just want to give a little bit of context, so people get what we’re talking about.
Um, the second thing I want to point out that you just said is – and I bet you and Nicholas…it’s in your book. I know you, so I know it’s in your book – this first book, Sell Like a Lady, is about mindset. And one of the mindset distinctions that you’re talking about right now is, like, what are our expectations for how long success takes?
Stella Orange 38:28
And one of the images
Stella Orange 38:29
that I use to help clarify, in my own mind, what my expectations are, is seeds versus switches. When you plant a seed, you put the seed in the ground, and then it looks like nothing’s happening. Water that seed, put sun lights on that seed, and pack it. Maybe you plant that seed, and it’s wintertime. And so… and maybe it’s not wintertime in living in Arizona. Maybe it’s wintertime in Buffalo, New York, where things don’t grow. And so, it takes a minute. But inside that seed, things are happening. And then after the time is right, you’ll start to see the sprout pushing up from the ground. Over time, if you tend, and protect, and the slugs don’t get it, or the birds don’t come, or the insects don’t wipe down the weeds, that little seedling grows up into a plant.
Like, that is the kind of time that you’re talking about in writing this book. That’s the kind of time I’m thinking of that my ear picks up on as you’re talking about building this global sales and sales training business. It’s not overnight. Versus a switch, like this switch right here, a light switch. We’re really used to just flipping a switch, and the lights come on. And there is an entire industry in our social media feeds that is telling us it works like that. Just follow my X number format. Do they still do that? I don’t even know.
Dr. Nadia Brown 40:06
They do. Unfortunately, yes.
Stella Orange 40:09
Unfortunately. And some people that actually works, but for most of us, it doesn’t. And I’ve got to say, like, for me, it did actually work like that. I’m a writer. So, I made a bunch of money on the internet writing emails. So, I also want to acknowledge I’m late to the relationship-building party. It took me a minute to wrap my brain around. And I might have said this to you years ago, but I was like, ‘So you’re telling me, if I just follow up with six people every three months, and I listen to them and tell them what I’m working on, and they genuinely want to help me and I genuinely want to help them, I could make a business?’
Like, and I still…that’s not my personal story. I did have one of those classic internet marketing blow up, not overnight, but like, I have writing skills. I know how to do, like, that sort of thing. So this whole relationship-based, could it possibly be enough to just show up and have conversations with people and do it consistently and methodically, and follow up, and be who you say you are? Like, I now hear all sorts of stories every day about how that works for people, about how that’s built. $100,000; $200,000; $300,000; $400,000; $500,000 businesses and up. It’s not bargain basement. It is, like, the those black MasterCards or the the American Express Black. That’s how I think about it. Like, you can have this very elite behind-the-scenes business that’s all word of mouth, and relationship, and referral, and who do you know, and who do they know? That is an absolutely lucrative, profitable, and deeply of service way to travel for many of us. I just ran my mouth.
Dr. Nadia Brown 42:01
No, it just gets me excited. Because it feels like you just gave me a big hug. You’re like, “Wait, you don’t have to do all of those things if you don’t want to. You could do it this way.” And I’m like, ‘More of that, please!’
Stella Orange 42:17
Right, and that’s more of that. And that’s…I think that’s the sermon that you and I both deliver in our ways. Yeah, and like you said it, too, and I love that turn of phrase, like, in due time. In due time.
All In Due Time: Clarifying Questions vs. Overcoming Objections
Dr. Nadia Brown 42:35
Yeah. Because it doesn’t always happen overnight. And I just…I have way too many stories or instances of people who have…I’ve either had a conversation with, and they weren’t ready for whatever reason, and they’ve come back. Sometimes, I didn’t even reach out. Like, I’ve just picked up my phone and randomly receive text messages, and they’re like, “Alright, Dr. Nadia, I’m ready.” And I’m like, ‘Ready for what?’ Like, you know, in that moment, I’m not even thinking about that. But they are.
And then, I remember a couple of years ago, I worked with a client. And we had known each other for years. She’d been on my email list for years. And she goes, “I always knew I was going to work with you, and now’s the right time.” And so, it’s those reminders that yes, sometimes you’re gonna get those quick, quick hits. But a lot of times, like Stella mentioned, it’s planting the seed, watering the seed, nurturing the seed, you know, having those conversations, checking up on people, like, being a human, and treating others like humans that do really help build your business. And I have way too much evidence at this point that I know it really works. I think in the beginning, I was hoping it works, but now I know it works for real. It really works.
Stella Orange 43:55
Yeah, well, and that idea of…I’ve gotten this in writing sales emails, because I still I consult with folks on business and marketing plans and visions, and also I still do copywriting. And one of the things that I’ve noticed inside of copywriting is lately that…back in the day there was this idea of in sales, “overcoming their objections.” So, a lot of sales trainers – I know you don’t do this – but a lot of sales trainers will be like, “Alright, so if you want to train in sales, think about what people will say back to you.” And they’ll say, like, one of them is, “I don’t have enough time.” Another one is, “I don’t have enough money.” You know, “Is now the right time?” “Is this for me?” Those are kind of the classic objections.
What I think one of the things that you and I do differently in sales – and I certainly see this in my sales writing – is when people tell me now is not the right time, I flipping believe that. Which I mean, let’s also…like, there’s all sorts of cultural weirdness and, like, patriarchy, oppressive, like…why would we not take people at their word when they tell us that they don’t have the money, or they don’t have the energy, or they got a kid who’s special needs and needs their attention because their focus is on the family right now, and they’re not going to do your thing but maybe in the fall, why on this good green earth would we be like, ‘I know better than you do about your own life’? That’s messed!
And I didn’t have the words for it back in the day when I was learning how to overcome objections in these very, like, interesting psychological gymnastic techniques. But, like, no. Now I’m…we know better, we do better. At least, that’s what we’re trying to do. And I’m like, okay, no. When someone says, “I don’t want to buy your thing,” and they say, “because the time is not right,” trust them.
Dr. Nadia Brown 45:52
Stella Orange 45:56
Dr. Nadia Brown 45:59
It’s so funny. I have a section in the book called, “What if there was no such thing as overcoming objections?” And a whole thing about respect. Like, it’s a whole thing.
Stella Orange 46:06
Bless you. I cannot wait to read that chapter.
Dr. Nadia Brown 46:08
Oh my gosh, yeah, because it drives me nuts. And even…I’ve been working…I still slip up, because it’s industry language, but in my own language – and we actually make this edit to The Courage Diary – is that I don’t call it “overcoming objections.” I call it “clarifying questions,” right? People have questions. And you can answer questions, like, right? Like, who’s afraid to answer questions. But like you said, if it’s not the right time, trust them, respect them, respect their buying process, respect their values, respect their priorities, and, again, focus on the relationship. Because when you treat them well, you pay attention, and you respect them, when the time is right, they will work with you. It’s as simple as that.
Additional Resources to Continue the Conversation
Dr. Nadia Brown
Well, I know you and I could probably talk for hours on this, because this is how we jam all the time. But, um, I want to just wrap up with some final words from you, Stella, and then also just share with people how they can connect with you and possibly work with you, because you’re amazing, and you guys do amazing things. So, turning it over to you.
Stella Orange 47:18
All right, well, um, connect with me. I receive emails. I also write them. But you can just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And I answer my emails. I’m not the world’s quickest, because I have two little kiddos. And so, I work part time for the next couple years and don’t work Fridays, but I will get back to you. Feel free to ask me a question or share something that sparked for you from this conversation.
You can also check us out…the consulting and creative shop that I run with a business partner and a team is at lasperegrinas.org. I’m assuming that you’ll post that in the show notes. Yeah, the way that it tends to work is people that feel like they’ve got to talk to me, reach out. So, do that, and don’t feel like it’s got to be now, in the now times. Like, again, when the time is right, I look forward to chatting with anyone that feels like they’ve got things to say to me. So, um, yeah, thank you, Nadia. This is as always, our conversations always, like, light me up and leave me thinking in a new way. So, thank you.
Dr. Nadia Brown 48:21
Thank you. Thanks for being here. And thank you all for tuning in to another episode of Straight Talk About Sales. We’ll see you soon. Bye-bye.