PP 671: How to Gain Extreme Control and Confidence in Your Sales with Michelle Shaeffer
“One of the things that hurts us in terms of sales is we when really the only problem is, we’re talking to the wrong people.”
Have you ever felt that you’re not good at sales and never will be? Or have thought that what you offer may not be valuable enough? If this sounds like you, tune in to today’s episode and let’s break those mindsets with sensible and practical wisdom. Kim and Michelle Shaeffer talk about regaining your confidence so you can reach success in no time! As an Award-winning blogger and author, Michelle provides particulars on how to write a blog or speech that attracts traffic. She also let’s us in on some premium tips and priceless information about coaching, speaking, podcasting, sales and sales offerings, finding the right clients, and more! Authenticity and confidence is the key and we’ll dive more into that, no boring stuff, only real-life applications with a pinch of humor. Don’t miss today’s episode!
04:01 Website Design To Blogger
10:29 Be Who You Are
14:57 Best Blog Post
22:12 Transition To Coaching & Consulting
33:12 Take Ownership
39:57 Finding The Value & The Right Client
48:40 Don’t Make Decisions For A Potential Client
54:06 Difference In Selling Your Program, Coaching & Consulting
15:01 “There’s a balance between what I want to write about and what’s valuable for people to read.” – Michelle Shaeffer
25:03 “You can’t give up. Keep at it until you find it.” – Michelle Shaeffer
26:17 “A successful business can change somebody’s life and their family’s life.” – Michelle Shaeffer
40:10 “Everybody has something that they are amazing at that they have figured out.” – Michelle Shaeffer
45: 26 “If you’re confident in the value of your offer, and you’re talking to the right person, it’s not a scary call at all.” – Michelle Shaeffer
49:49 “Do not make the decision for a potential client. Give them the opportunity. Let them make that decision.” – Michelle Shaeffer
55:10 “You’ve got to be willing to focus. If you won’t focus, you won’t get a result.” – Michelle Shaeffer
About Michelle Shaeffer:
Michelle Shaeffer is an Award-Winning Blogger, International Speaker, Author, Marketing Consultant and Human Psychology junkie. She’s the creator of Lingo Dynamics; the HookLine Dynamic app and helps her clients discover exactly how to measure the way words “feel” so they can get noticed, get heard & get sales. She helps entrepreneurs and small business owners discover how simple it can be to get real results from their websites, transforming them from ghost towns into ideal client attracting, lead generating, authority building tools. Michelle has written 42 blog posts in a single day, mentored more than 15,000 bloggers through Blog Challenges, published 1,000+ posts on her own blog, and is currently at work on her book, The Art of Giving a Damn: Rise of the Empath Entrepreneur.
Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host, Kim Sutton. I am so excited to introduce you to our guests today, who, now that I think about it, Michelle is our guest. But Michelle, how would you like to co-host today because I had one of these experiences earlier this week where the guest actually offered I should have asked you this before I pushed the record to co-hosts and it just seemed to take it to a whole different level.
Michelle Shaeffer: Well, cool. I’m looking for that.
Kim Sutton: And it was so, the show is normally conversational, but it just seemed even more conversational. Michelle Shaeffer is the host of The Art of Giving a Damn Podcast, the co-host of Planet Business. My screen just got covered by my system tray on my computer. Welcome to Positive Productivity where it’s not about perfection, but it doesn’t have to be painful either. She’s a blog and content marketing genius, and the founder of Empath Entrepreneur Academy. Did I get that all right?
Michelle Shaeffer: You did. That was perfect.
Kim Sutton: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. Those darn Mac system trays, when you put your cursor down there and they pop up and then cover up, or you’re trying to read, that is precisely why I do not do introductions because things like that I have.
Michelle Shaeffer: Oh, yeah. You never know what’s gonna happen when you’re recording live.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely. But listeners, Michelle and I met almost, well, what? Two and a half years ago?
Michelle Shaeffer: Yeah, almost three years ago now, I think.
Kim Sutton: I know, which is just so crazy. I have seen that everything happens for a reason, delays happen for a reason. And there is serendipitous synchronicity with every time something gets delayed from when we originally planned on doing it, that it happens at exactly the right time.
Michelle Shaeffer: Absolutely.
Kim Sutton: Would you mind sharing a little bit more of your journey with the listeners? And then I’m just so interested to hear what you have to say because I know that we will have that serendipitous synchronicity today. And listeners, by the way, we got a whole one inch of snow last night so you very well might hear the Sutton clan in the background. That is not Michelle being an irresponsible podcast guest, that is so my kids just one door away.
Michelle Shaeffer: I love that. That actually ties right in with why and how I started my business. Back in about 2000, I had just had my oldest son, and he was a baby. I was one of those situations where I was like, Okay, I need to make some money. What can I do from home? Because I didn’t want to leave him all day. And any of us who are moms know, by the time you do the math on what it costs for somebody else to take care of your kid all day and all of the expenses that come along with that, you’re basically working just to pay the babysitter with the most out of jobs. So I started looking at what I can do online, and I had, as a teenager, built websites and done some things like that. So I thought, well, let me just try that. So I started a business designing websites and helping people get traffic because I understood the basics of SEO at the time.
And from there, it kind of just snowballed even to where it’s at. I tell people all the time, I really wasn’t actually an entrepreneur. I did not set out this grand plan of, let me build a business, let me create this empire, nothing like that. It was, I need to buy groceries, how can I afford to buy groceries? What can I do to take care of my kiddo? And fast forward a few years, I’ve been doing a lot of website design, virtual assistants work, basically any project that I could get somebody to say yes to that I had the skills for. I started a blog, also accidentally. I was answering the same questions for people who were clients or not clients yet over, and over, and over, and over again. And I’m like, I gotta save these answers somewhere so I’m not retyping it constantly. And I asked the assistant that I had hired at the time, I’m like: “What’s the fastest way to publish something online?” And they’re like: “Well, there’s this new thing, B2 just became WordPress. And it’s really easy to use, let’s install that.” I’m like: “Cool.” I didn’t even consciously know, it was a blog. It was just like, awesome. There’s something we could use, perfect. Get that installed. And every time I type out an answer for a client or somebody I was in conversation with, I would kind of take out the personal parts and turn it into something that I could have my VA publish.
So I started publishing, basically just my answers to people’s questions. And before I knew it, people were reaching out to me, which is weird because I had always gone after every client I got up until that point. And people started reaching out to me and going, can I hire you for X, Y, Z? I’m like: “How did you even find me? You’re not from this tiny, little natural parenting community where I get all my clients, how did you find me?” They’re like: “Well, I googled this question, and your blog came up.” And that was when I started to realize the power of content marketing, because I realized that the people who were coming to me asking you those questions, I didn’t have to sell them. I didn’t have to convince them that I could handle the job, that I knew what I was doing. They came to me after reading that content already realizing that I could handle what it was they needed, that I could solve their problem because I was answering questions. And so things started to grow from there, and I started to realize, oh, if I take this blog thing seriously, I won’t have to go after clients, for I’m a very introverted, very quiet person. And for me, that was like, it was amazing to have people coming to me asking me how we can work together. So I got more serious about the blogging, huge learning curve, like my early blog posts were horrible, no personality, the driest thing in the world. But I started to figure out as I shared more of my story of my personality in it that not only were clients coming to me asking how to hire me, but we were getting along better because they had an idea of who I was before they asked to work with me. I was finding people who were a better match.
And I remember, I had had my second kiddo. I was starting to try to figure out, okay, how do I turn this into an actual business? How do I get some consistency so that I can rely on it? And it was still at that point very focused on me, like this was my business so that I can make money. I wasn’t really looking, can I have an impact with this? What can I do bigger than just me? And I remember one morning, I woke up and I had this email in my inbox from somebody, and I shared a very personal blog post about how hard it had been to get started in business. Some of my struggles are the things that I had to work through mindset wise and all of these different pieces. And this lady wrote to me, and I remember looking at the timestamp on the email and it was like 3:00 AM when she had sent it. She told me that she wanted to give up on her business, but she found my blog in the middle of the night and that post gave her the courage to keep going because she saw the light at the end of the tunnel. And she realized she wasn’t alone. And that was the moment where things flipped for me. I realized, Oh, this really is about more than me now.
Kim Sutton: When was that? Do you remember?
Michelle Shaeffer: That was probably about 10 years ago, 11 years ago now? Maybe a little bit longer.
Kim Sutton: Wow.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yeah, it’s been a while. Well, let’s see? My middle kiddo was about one or two at the time so I guess that’s been, oh, my gosh, like 16 years.
Kim Sutton: Oh, my gosh.
Michelle Shaeffer: Time flies.
Kim Sutton: Well, I am just blown away because in the last two and a half years, we have spent a good month in the same room, different rooms, but the same room, and I never knew this story. But part of that is because I’m also the introvert
Michelle Shaeffer: Two introverts together, and it always makes an interesting conversation.
Kim Sutton: We always have good conversations, we’ve been in the same room which is full of, I would have to say non introverts.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yes.
Kim Sutton: And we were doing what we needed to do in this big room in our separate corners. Like not that we were putting corners, but we just never had that opportunity. Oh, it’s good that we didn’t have this conversation before, I just gotta say that because I have just started answering those frequently asked questions on YouTube or on our Facebook Lives, and then converting them into blog articles. I just can’t believe that I was scared of video. You’ve seen the major transformation with me feeling like I needed to be who everybody else. I don’t even know what I thought I needed to be. But including bangs, which is such a bad idea for me. I got my haircut for that first time that we met, and I was wearing all these clothes that I was just so uncomfortable in, and shoes that I was uncomfortable in because I felt like I needed to be something besides who I was. And you can wear heels, and you look good and heels. I’ve seen you wear heels and you walk like you’re meant to be in them.
Michelle Shaeffer: I appreciate that. But funny story, the first business event I ever went to, I basically had never worn heels because that’s not me either. I thought that I had to show up a certain way. At the time where I was in my business, I was not doing well financially, I was still getting started business. And I remember deciding to go to this event, and it was a huge decision for me because spending that money, I didn’t really have it. I know most of us as entrepreneurs, especially if we accidentally feel we would have been in that place where you’re making the decisions like, I noticed to invest in this, I’m not gonna be able to afford something else until you really get on your feet with it. And I borrowed clothes from my mom to go because I didn’t actually have anything appropriate to wear. She helped me find some things in her closet that I could borrow. But I was wearing heels and I was so uncomfortable. The first morning I walked into that room, and as I went to walk out one of the breaks, it fell all over myself. Like just a total wipeout all over the floor. I was so embarrassed. But it was that same feeling of, this is how I have to show up. I need to look professional, I need to wear heels. And I felt a lot of practicing walking in heels.
Kim Sutton: Oh, my goodness. Well, at that first event that you and I met at, on the final day, I was wearing this shirt dress thing that has been in my drawer not even hung up in the closet, but it has been in my drawer ever since. And there were videographers walking around the room, you probably remember that.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: I had made friends with one of the videographers and he’s like, Kim, check your buttons. Oh, my gosh, like, I am comfortable in T shirts, yoga pants and flip flops. And I have not worn a button down shirt to one of those events since or any event sets. Like, yeah, I need my boobs to stay in my shirt, thank you very much.
Michelle Shaeffer: But you know, that’s one reason it’s a good idea to make friends with people on the team and with the staff because they will head up you or things like that.
Kim Sutton: But I want to go back to the blog. I started a blog. My business was an accidental business as well. I started my business because my husband started school to become a videogame designer. He had lost his job the week that we got married.
Michelle Shaeffer: Oh, my goodness.
Kim Sutton: So right away, I was like, it was like the fourth or fifth job he had lost since we had gotten together. Like this is God’s way of saying, this is not what you’re supposed to be doing. You’re supposed to be pursuing your childhood dream. So he went back to school, and I lost my job when the economy crashed. I was making like $12 an hour as an administrative assistant so I started my business as a way to make side income, and I started blogging. I was writing what I thought other people wanted to read. Like, why does every small business owner need life insurance? Michelle, to this day, eight years later, I do not have life insurance. And thankfully, that same week that we met, my sites were hacked and all those blog articles went poof, those were some of the articles that were not retrieved from archive.org or whatever it is because they were not me. They’re out there somewhere, people, but I wouldn’t recommend reading them. It’s a waste of time. You have better things to do.
Michelle Shaeffer: Oh, man, can I identify with that feeling? I tell people all the time about my early blog posts and I’m like, Yeah, I started blogging way back in 2008, but please don’t ever go back and read those archives.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. What is one of your favorite articles that you wrote?
Michelle Shaeffer: Oh, boy, that’s a great question. I think one thing that I figured out was, there’s a balance between what I want to write about and what’s valuable for people to read. So some of my favorite articles to write have not necessarily been the ones that did the best, which I always find interesting. I think as far as best articles on my blog, some of those would be the ones where I do these massive list posts. Here’s 100 plus ways to get traffic to your blog. Here’s 42 things you can do in just five minutes to move your business forward, to build visibility, things like that. I’ve got one that’s a whole bunch of headline templates, that one did really, really well, people liked that. I found that one thing about blogging, it’s very different from sales because right content marketing is marketing, sales is different. And on the marketing side of it, one of the things that I found really works, first of all, of course, answering people’s questions. But also options, because if you see a blog post that like, here’s 101 ways to get traffic to your site, most people are going to click through and look at that because out of 101 ways, hey, I bet there’s at least three or four that I haven’t seen before and that’ll work for me.
So there’s that element to it. I think some of those have been my best in terms of what people found valuable when they comment on what they share. In terms of posts that have been turning points in my business, especially as an introvert have been really like aha moments for me, it’s probably been about 15 years now. Because it was around that same time that I mentioned where I was kind of figuring out, how do I make this work? How do I do this in a way that people want to read, that’s interesting? Because a lot of my early stuff, I didn’t necessarily write things like, why to get insurance? But I was reading from a very technical point of view that we were taught in school perfect English grammar. Every paragraph should be four to six sentences with a topic sentence at the beginning, supporting sentences, and then your conclusion. I was trying to write that way, it was the most boring thing in the world. I remember one blog post, I got really brave, and this actually took a lot of bravery for me, it’s gonna sound ridiculous, but I got really brave for me, I made a Star Trek [inaudible]. I got so many emails from people and comments on that blog post, not about the content, but about the fact that they were Star Trek fans. And that was when I realized that if I put a little bit of personality in this and I actually be myself, people like that. I was like, that was mind blowing for me to realize, and now I’m a lot more open with what I share on my blog, or in my emails. People know that I share personal stories all the time now. But as far as best blog posts from the perspective of huge mindset shifts, that was it.
Kim Sutton: I absolutely love that because I hate myself.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yep.
Kim Sutton: I don’t think this had happened yet when we were chatting about six months ago, but I had put off writing my book which I’ve been talking about for five years because I didn’t know how to write it. I was trying to find the voice and I thought it needed to be somebody else’s voice. Even though I had already figured it out in my business that I could be there, I hadn’t figured it out for my book yet. Michelle, I finally figured it out. I finally wrote the introduction. The book is Chronic Idea Disorder, the entrepreneurs guide to overcoming ideas overwhelm. I finally figured out, I was joking with somebody about how chronic idea disorder is like bad sex. You can go for it forever, but you’re just never gonna get there. A lot of people don’t see my humor, and my humor can be really bad. I mean, bad jokes, but I also mean like off color jokes. My introduction could very well turn people off. Yes, pun intended. But for the people that it does turn off, they’re not my ideal people anyway. But if I’m going to hide myself throughout my whole book, then it is never going to get written because I’m not going to know how to write it.
Michelle Shaeffer: Well, when you’re willing to share that kind of stuff, people really connect with it. You’re a real person to them. I think the thing that sometimes we forget, and this goes back to the story you shared about feeling like you needed to dress a certain way, show up a certain way, we feel that and when we’re so focused on that, perception piece of it like I’ve got to appear professional, I’ve got to appear all buttoned up, I’ve got to come across the right way, we forget that how people really learn is through their stories. And it’s things like that joke you just made that are memorable. I could sit and watch somebody present for 15 hours on how to do Facebook ads, or how to do some piece of things that they teach. But if there’s no story in it, if there’s no illustrations, no humor, no interest, I’m not going to remember hardly any of it. But if they draw those parallels, make those illustrations and share the stories, I’ll remember it. And that’s such an important thing, I think, for anybody doing business at all, especially any sort of content marketing. I mean, how boring would podcasts be if we never shared anything personal or like our perspective on things?
Kim Sutton: Oh, my gosh. Okay, this is not professional at all. And I’m sorry, and I will edit this out if you ask me to.
Michelle Shaeffer: Okay.
Kim Sutton: But it was just about a year ago that I stumbled into a restaurant where Michelle was, and there was a little contest going on, and I jumped into the contest. It was a drinking contest, and I promptly won. I will not even share how many shots won me, but the next morning, I had alcohol coming out of my eyeballs, but I did not have a hangover. I just need to share. What I realized in the last six months since we were last together is by not being true to myself. All that extra stress came along with it, and I was actually using drinking to subdue the stress and anxiety from not being myself. I stopped drinking, I’m now nearly three months without any alcohol. And I miss it. I miss it, I gotta say because there’s just some days that my five kids just make me want to drink at the very end of Margarita. But at the same time, I’m being so true to myself that I don’t feel so compelled to drink all the time. I’m not telling people to stop drinking, I just want to make that clear. This was a decision that I made on my own. But I found that the level of stress, when I finally let myself be me was amazing. How did your business transform after you really just started putting YOU into it? You were doing websites, you are doing VA work, what do you do now?
Michelle Shaeffer: What does my business want to be when it grows up?
Kim Sutton: I know, right? I still ask myself that.
Michelle Shaeffer: I think that’s an important question to keep asking yourself because there’s an evolution that happens in terms of not just what you do in business, but really who you are? How do you show up? What do you want to accomplish? I think some of that you really do figure out as you go. I can identify with the story you shared because I remember when I was going through my divorce, I was having a really hard time with it. My daughter one day said something to me about drinking. And it made me realize, okay, that has to change. And same thing, no judgment on people’s decisions. But I think we all have to know when something has become a crutch or has become something that we’re relying on too much. We have to be aware enough to say, okay, I can change that. Sometimes we draw those boundaries as a temporary thing to kind of get ourselves back, get our head screwed back on straight. And sometimes, it’s a more permanent thing. I think it’s really important to like, look at those things and figure them out. I have a coach who always says, if you want to grow as a person, start a business. Because it’ll be the hardest self development thing you’ve ever done in your life.
Kim Sutton: Amen to that, yes,
Michelle Shaeffer: It’s so true, right? All of your crap comes up when you’re trying to run a business. And as my business transition because I was doing a lot of website design, I was working as a VA. And as I started to transition it, oh, my gosh, so much stuff came up for me around, is this good enough? Am I good enough? Do I really know what I’m doing? Can I actually teach this? All of those things, and I went from doing a lot of website design and VA type work to writing E-books, I started to put together some courses. And it’s funny because, you know, we tend to look at people and go, okay, you’re successful. Everything must have always just worked out for you. People assume that. And when I’m working with clients, sometimes we get into these hilarious conversations because they’re like, put this out there and it didn’t sell. I’m like, Hey, welcome to the club. That’s success. Now we know what to change. And we get in the conversation and I’m like, Yeah, the first few books I wrote, nobody bought. Because I wrote what I thought people need it, instead of looking at what do people actually want. Because you’ve got to sell people what they want, and then give them what you know they need.
And I started trying to transition because I realized, first off, I was working crazy hours and I couldn’t keep up with it. I was going whole nights without sleep to keep my business running. So I started looking at how do I scale? How do I change things? And I wrote some E-books, they did not go over well. So anybody out there listening is like, this isn’t selling. Don’t worry. You will find the thing, you just can’t give up. You just gotta keep at it until you find it. So I put some E-books out and started to figure out, okay, what do people actually want to buy? What does my audience specifically want to learn from me? And I finally started getting brave enough to do teleseminars back then. And webinars weren’t really a thing yet so I was using instant teleseminar. I started teaching, I started doing a little bit more consulting and coaching, and slowly transitioned into that. I discovered that I really love that piece of things, especially working with entrepreneurs who are just getting started. Because I think one thing that happens is, there’s a lot of support for once you’re at 6-Figures, how do you scale beyond that? But there’s not as much for getting started under that because that’s a hard audience to work with. Because it’s not really tactical or strategic, it’s more mindset, and it’s more learning the ins and outs of how to run a business. How to be a CEO? How to show up as that better version of you versus the here’s how to hire, here’s how to get more traffic, here’s how to do ads, then tactical stuff is easier to coach around. Mindset stuff is a challenge, but I found that I really enjoyed working with people because I feel like in that space, you can make such a difference for someone. Because a successful business can really change somebody’s life, it changes their family’s life and there’s a domino effect on all the clients they can help. So I started transitioning into that.
And what I do today is a lot more coaching and consulting. So my business is a mix of, you mentioned Empath Entrepreneur Academy, I work with a lot of empathic or sensitive people who a lot of them are introverts, a lot of them the word sales will send them running, they want to hide under something rather than have a sales conversation. And so a lot of what I do is really helping people to reframe the approach that they’re taking to marketing and sales so they feel good about it. Because one thing that I know, like 1,000% for sure is if you don’t feel great about your offer, if you don’t feel great about having a sales conversation about what you can do, the problem you can solve, you will either avoid it or it will not go well. And then you’re stressed, and then you end up in a situation where you hate your business, and that doesn’t work, right? So reframing that conversation for people and showing them how to enjoy the sales process, how to really see it for what it is, which is rescuing people, you have a solution that people need. Putting it out there really is being of service. A lot of what I do publicly is that type of consulting and coaching, working with my clients, helping them get sales happen, get consistency in their business and really getting that solid foundation in place. And then the other side of my business is I do consulting with bigger companies, bigger entrepreneurs.7, 8, 9 figure businesses around marketing campaigns and things like that, I just wrapped up, I think you probably saw the project that I did with Agora and Rich Schefren. We did a 24 hour live stream where we had something like 40 guests that he interviewed. So behind the scenes, I was working on mapping out that strategy with Rich and some others, and then implementing it to relaunch Rich’s business in the Steel Our Winner’s newsletter. I get a lot of fun in my business because I’m working with entrepreneurs that are really just all over the spectrum, and I love that.
Kim Sutton: I’m over here thinking about the Empath Entrepreneur Academy, and I was thinking that you are talking to your ideal client. I just to put it into perspective, I had a banging interview with a dream client. Okay, like everything went great, and it turned into, yeah, we already mapped out eight months of work. But listeners, I’m sharing this all not to make myself look bad, but to let you know that you’re not alone. She said, I need to meet with my team just to make sure that we do all these things in order like the team wants. And then, can you text me next week? Michelle, this is so embarrassing to admit, but I texted her, and she went to straight talk. And then I just sort of, or not straight talk, small talk. Like, well, sales is so uncomfortable for me. I know I should have said, Okay, so how do we begin? Well, guess what? It’s been a week and a half, and I didn’t, like I was out of my own skin. Like, what do I do now? I wasn’t expecting small talk, I was expecting, okay, how do I get started with you? But then I realize, and now I’m starting to like, okay, it’s 10 days later. Is it too late to go back now and say, okay, and I feel really embarrassed now, but I cannot stay in the sales conversation.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: What I found was the biggest struggle for me. And I love that you said that you brought up that there were nights when you weren’t sleeping. I was saying yes to everybody and everything, and it sounds like you went through a little bit of that period too. If you could do it, you would say yes to it because that was a bit of that time. But when I finally got clear on who my ideal client was and the work that I wanted to be doing for them, then I was able to start. And this is only a recent, like in the last two years type of thing. Start charging appropriately, and even that has been incremental step ups.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yes.
Kim Sutton: And then saying NO to the people who really weren’t my ideal. Because even in the coaching space with business and life coaches, there are still business and life coaches who are not my ideal clients. Just because they are a business or life coach doesn’t mean that we’re going to work well together. But getting crystal clear, I see that have also seen that transition between the business and life coaches who are making less than 6-Figures a year, and those who are making over, because the ones who are making over 6-Figures are generally pretty clear on what they do and the value that offers to their clients. The ones under are more on in scarcity mindset, throwing pasta at the wall and trying to see what works. It’s a lot more of panic mode.
Michelle Shaeffer: It is, yeah.
Kim Sutton: It’s easier to place blame on the tech networking when something doesn’t go as planned. As you were saying, just because you create an E-book doesn’t mean it’s going to work. On my site, as of the date of this recording, I still have 9 to 12 different lead magnets up there because I was serving pasta. But I’ve finally gotten clear, and I’m redesigning my site now. There’s only going to be three because even for me, I’ve become clear. And that clarity, am I making over 6-Figures yet? No, I will admit that I’m not. But that clarity has provided me the light at the end of the tunnel that is coming. Because now, I’m not going to be confusing my audience because I’m putting 15 gazillion things out there.
Michelle Shaeffer: Absolutely. There’s a couple of things that bring up for me. One is a book that I recommend pretty much to every single client I work with, especially if they’re under 6-Figures, especially if they’re in that panic mode in business, and there’s a lot of blame happening is a book called Extreme Ownership. It’s really about shifting your mindset to, how can I take extreme ownership for everything that happens in my life in business? How can I choose to be responsible and figure out what is within my control that I can do? Anybody who is struggling with that, I highly recommend it. It really helped me to look at my own business and my own interactions in a different way. Really, really helpful because you realize you are in control. And that’s one of the biggest shifts you have to make to get past the 6-Figure mark is to take control and take responsibility, and know, is something breaking in my tech? Yes, it might be a platform thing, it might be somebody else pushing your own button, but I am the one who’s ultimately responsible for that.
The only way I can change things is to look at and go, okay, moving forward. What can I do differently to prevent this next time? But it doesn’t help you to go into play mode. Instead, you just have to take ownership of it and say, okay, that happened and here’s what’s next. This really goes into leadership. How to find that self belief to check your ego and to be willing to say, okay, here’s what I’m going to do differently, because we are the ones that are in control of our businesses. And when we blame other people for things, whether it’s the person we hired to do a funnel, whether it’s our VA, whether it’s the coach who gave us advice to do X, Y, Z, when we abdicate our own responsibility, we’re letting go of control and you cannot win that way. You have to take control, and you have to take ownership of it. That’s the first thing. Second thing, an exercise that I have my clients do, there’s actually two exercises around offers. Whenever people put an offer together, I asked them, and normally we do this the other way. We normally sit down and go, okay, so what are my clients, potential clients objections going to be? Which is a good exercise to do? You’ve got to know that. But you need to know what your own objections are because you need an offer that you have bulletproof competence in. I realized this a couple of years ago, I put together an offer that was basically about how to grow your list, how to grow subscribers quickly, and I was having trouble selling it. I didn’t want to get on sales calls. I wasn’t confident in them. I was like, what is going on? So I sat down for myself and realized that I had some objections to my own offer. And I went, okay, so what are the missing pieces? I realized there were a couple of really key things that if I added that to the offer, then I felt great about it. So that’s the first thing. Sit down and look at your offer and go, where are your objections to this? What are the things that you’re not confident in about your offer? Make that list so that you can fix it.
For me, I knew that for it to work, people had to have certain connections. They had to use a collaborative approach to marketing. When I added in training around that, I went, Oh, I can connect people. I have an amazing network. If I do that and I show them what to do with it, I know that this will work for everybody because it doesn’t rely on them having their own connections. I can fill in that gap that I felt great about the offer, and I was able to go out and enroll people into the program. So that’s the first thing, really look at your offer and figure out, what are your objections to it? Where are you not feeling that people might not get a result? What’s missing from it? How do you bring that in? The second piece has an absolute NO list. So anytime I put something out, now, I have a list, both have qualifications and have red flags. And before I get on a sales call with a client, I go off that list. In my head I know if there are certain things that aren’t in place in somebody’s business. I don’t care if they have a credit card that they can give me, I will say NO to working with them because it’s not going to work for them yet. I have to be confident enough in knowing what are my requirements to get the right clients. I have that list of, here’s the basics that need to be in place, or here’s the things they need to be willing to do, and here are the absolute red flags. So there are certain phrases, certain things potential clients say that I know that if I hear it, we are not a good fit to work together. I am happy to refer them to someone else.
Kim Sutton: Oh, my gosh. I can give you a huge, ginormous hug for all of that. I mean, just before we post the record, I told you that I had to do some of my own self reflection. Number one, the blame thing, because I had a lot of blame about six months ago. But when I took time to do my own self reflection and realize that I had to take ownership, that’s when everything started to shift. And then about the program, one of our mutual connections had provided me with a recommended name for a program that I’m putting out, and it was going to be profiting from Pinterest. I had real reluctance, I stoled building the program forever because I couldn’t connect with the name. I’m not profiting from Pinterest, so how can I teach others how to profit from Pinterest. But I know how to generate massive traffic from Pinterest. So I changed the name. I love how you just said that because there are elements, I realized that my own system was broken. I mean, you’re gonna love this part. I was leading people from Pinterest to blog articles that had no call to action in them. So if I just had that call to action, if I was clear about the freebie or the lead magnet, and I had a solid funnel on the back end, then goodness, yeah, I could have been profiting from Pinterest. So that will be like the secondary program that I offer. That’s not just for podcasters, but that will include the component, a component on lead generation and how to get people into the funnel without being a whole funnel program. So thank you for building my second program. Thank you.
Michelle Shaeffer: Awesome.
Kim Sutton: And then reluctance won’t be there anymore.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yes. That’s the thing is sometimes, we take what we know, and we think we have to teach something so much bigger instead of just going, this is my expertise of my experience, this little piece right here, start with that. Everybody has something that they are amazing at that they have figured out. You can teach the tiniest piece of something to get started and generate the results so that you are ready to teach the next piece. One of the mistakes that we make sometimes is we think, okay, I got to teach this piece right here because this is the money piece. This is the whatever piece and it works so much better. It’s so much easier to be confident in the offer when it’s a piece you know you are amazing at. And I love that you refocused it around the traffic piece. I think the bigger conversation around that is knowing the end goal, and this goes back to feeling confidence sales. One thing that I realized quite a while back in business was, too often, we’re looking at what’s the value of what we do in terms of, how many pages is the E-book? How many tactical things did we include? How many videos are in it? What are other courses going for in this area? Well, if I go to Amazon, I get a book for 29.95, that’ll teach me this. I guess that’s what my course needs to be priced at. And then we feel guilty for putting a higher price tag on something. We’re not looking at the value piece of it. It’s partially about finding the value, but it’s also partially about finding the right client.
Because if you look at what you’re teaching in a traffic course for Pinterest, if I’m just getting started, I don’t have call to actions, I don’t have sales pieces. Me generating a lot of traffic, I’m not gonna see the value of investing because I don’t know what to do with the traffic. But if I have a blog, or if I have a podcast that’s converting and I’m getting clients from, let’s say my average sale prices, anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 for a new client, if you teach me how to get traffic from Pinterest and I get just one new client a month, how much is your course worth to me? One of the things that really hurts us in terms of sales is too often, we either think what we’re doing isn’t valuable, or we feel like nobody wants it, or we feel like it’s not worth what we feel like it might be worth, like there’s all of that uncertainty. We feel like we suck at sales conversations when really the only problem is we’re talking to the wrong people. Wrong person will never see the value in what we have to offer. But if you get it in front of the right person who can get the biggest result from it, then it’s worth it, like an immeasurable amount. The campaign that I just worked on and mapped out to the right person, to the right company, that campaign’s worth a million bucks. But to somebody who has none of the connections, none on technology, none of the background experience, it’s not even worth $7. Because they don’t know what to do with it. So part of the problem that we run into sales is, if we get on 10 sales calls with 10 people who literally cannot afford what we’re doing and do not see the value in it, we will walk away feeling like we’re poor salesperson on earth and lose your confidence. When really the problem is you don’t have the right filter in place yet. Because you really want to help people so you want to get on the phone with anybody instead of going NO, who’s the right person for me to really make a difference for? And when you give yourself permission to do that, everything changes in the sales conversation because the person you’re on the phone with sees the value in what you do, and it becomes an entirely different conversation.
Kim Sutton: Michelle, just in the last month, this is the first time that I have ever had confidence in the value that I provided to clients. I’m embarrassed, but not embarrassed to admit that this is the first time I’ve had confidence in what I delivered to clients enough to ask them for video testimonials.
Michelle Shaeffer: Oh, that’s awesome. That’s great.
Kim Sutton: I don’t know what was stopping me before then. It might have also been because I was still undervaluing, just like you said, like I was undervaluing what I was providing. I was having to take on too much. When you take on too much, you’re under delivering, in my opinion, because you’re over committed, you’ve got too much going on, you can’t provide the service that you want to. I just didn’t feel confident in asking because I knew I hadn’t delivered to my utmost potential, and that felt like poo to me. But then allowing myself that time in that space to start saying NO to people and to start having conversations. I mean, I started having conversations with people who had purchased funnels, they had paid $10,000 or more for funnels and not had them delivered. And for two years, I was charging 2,500 for a fully built out funnel. So when I started to hear that these people were paying 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 or more, I was like, oh, my gosh, what rock have I been under? I was scared to go into that first sales call and double my price, and you know what happened? I got an immediate yes. It was that easy? It is that easy if you’re talking to the right person.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yes, that’s the thing. If you’re confident in the value of your offer and you’re talking to the right person, then it’s not a scary call at all. That’s where you’ve really got to find your confidence in what you’re offering. I had a conversation with somebody who was a relationship coach, like forever ago, and they were charging, I don’t know, something like $25 an hour or something crazy. And the conversation I had with them, this is something that I believe everybody in business needs to do, do the math on the value of what you bring. Not just in terms of benefits, not just in terms of, what can you make off of this? But what happens if the person doesn’t get help? When you look at something like relationship coaching, it’s easy to go, well, there’s not really a price tag, a number I can put on having a good relationship. I mean, yeah, there’s less stress. Yeah, you’ll probably live on. It’s hard to put a number on that, but it’s really easy to put a number on, what divorce costs? What does a lawyer cost? What does it cost to split up everything that you will? What’s it going to cost your kids in terms of therapy? When you start looking at the result of somebody not taking action and not getting help to solve a problem, you can quickly figure out what it’s going to cost them if they don’t say yes. And when you look at that, you suddenly realize the amazing value of what you can offer, whether it’s relationship coaching, health coaching, business stuff. If you look at the value of a funnel, if I don’t have a funnel in place, how many opportunities am I missing?
I mean, there’s so many things I can’t say. I missed 10 clients this month because I didn’t have a funnel that was in place that was working. But I probably do, if I don’t have a funnel in place and working, if the value of my lifetime is $5,000, I just missed out on 50K. And when we do that kind of math, suddenly we realize what a good deal most of us are offering in terms of the solutions that we bring to people. You’ve really got to look at both sides of that, not just what’s the potential gain, but what’s the potential loss if a problem isn’t solved. I found that that can really help in having the confidence to raise your prices and to go after things. But it’s one of those things that it really does just come from making a decision that you know what you do to the right person to the right person, 5K for a funnel isn’t easy yes.
Kim Sutton: I was having a conversation with a coach right before Thanksgiving, right before Black Friday. I was talking about how I wasn’t going to be putting out any offers around the holidays and she asked: “Well, why not?” And I said: “Well, in my experience, I’ve always had financial hardship around the holidays and I don’t want to put that type of financial hardship on other people.” She says: “Kim, what if having that funnel setup could prevent somebody financial hardship from this year forward? What if having your own funnel properly set up could prevent your financial hardship from this year forward?” Like, holy, moly, I never thought about that.
Michelle Shaeffer: The other thing with that is we have to remember, especially those of us who started our business from a place of desperation. A lot of people started from that place. I mean, I remember, I literally had no food in my apartment, and that’s a whole different story. But if I keep myself mindset wise, thinking about my client in that position, I am saying no for them because of some judgment that I’ve placed on them, and that’s not fair to potential clients. If some people have 5K, 10K, 100K in the bank, it’s easy for them to say yes. And it’s not putting them in any sort of hardship. We forget, because of our own personal financial situation, sometimes I’ve had people not making the offers because they didn’t want to ask me to spend certain amounts of money. I’m like, that actually would not be a hardship. I would be happy to invest in that. In fact, I invested with somebody else because you didn’t make me an offer. I wish you had. I’ve had that conversation with people before, do not make the decision for a potential client. Give them the opportunity. Let them make that decision.
I am really glad, looking back to the first business event that I went to, if the person who invited me had known my financial situation, they never would have invited me. But they allowed me to make that decision for myself. It was one of the biggest turning points in my business. I don’t believe I would be where I’m at, I know I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if I had not decided to take the risk and go to that event. So one of the things that I tell clients all the time is, do not make decisions for your clients. Because sometimes, don’t pressure people into stuff either. Don’t sell somebody something that is a bad fit for them just because you want to take their credit card. That’s equally horrible. I’m not advocating that at all. But what I am saying is, sometimes putting ourselves into a position of a little bit of stretch is actually what causes us to get the result. Because we’re motivated, right? You can’t make a decision for somebody else. We have to always remember, we are not our clients. Our ideal clients may be in a totally different space than what we see. That’s just that’s kind of a soapbox issue for me if you can’t tell, like don’t make a decision for the potential client. You don’t actually know their situation. There might be somebody that’s just waiting and has that money to invest in and chooses to invest it that way if they see the value in what you offer.
Kim Sutton: Oh, my gosh, I’m absolutely loving that. I mean, somebody could look at my driveway and see the 96 conversion van sitting in the driveway to judge me.
Michelle Shaeffer: Yes. It’s so funny what we judge people on. Our default assumptions tend to be, no, instead of yes. That’s one thing that I have to work on myself because that is, it’s easy to default to, they’re going to say, no. They’re not going to see the value in this so why am I even getting on this phone call? If I follow up with the person, they’re probably going to just say, no, or ignore me, or take the risk. You may be totally wrong. They may just really need that vote of confidence. That’s one thing I’ve realized. A lot of times, I’ve said yes to coaches or to programs because they followed up one more time, probably beyond what felt comfortable for them. But I’m so glad they did because I needed them to ask me that one more time. Because to me, that comes across as a vote of confidence in what I’m doing. To know that they feel like I’m capable of something bigger of something more, to know that they feel like now’s the right time. You’ve got to be in a position of trust with your potential clients to do that. But if you’ve had that consultation conversation, and you know that them saying yes to getting a funnel built, or hiring a business coach, or whatever that next step is, is really the next thing that’s going to transform their results in business than reaching out again and just saying, hey, let’s get started. I’m excited about your project. Maybe that little bit of faith that they need to borrow from you in order to take that next step, and we forget about the sales process sometimes, that it really is us being there to kind of loan somebody our belief in them so that they can feel confident taking that next step, that they’ve got to hand to hold.
Kim Sutton: Your opinion on one thing though, about that.
Michelle Shaeffer: Sure.
Kim Sutton: I see all the merit in that, and I totally agree with everything. I just put together my sales page to feel good funnels, that’s what I’m calling my funnel offering.
Michelle Shaeffer: Oh, I like that.
Kim Sutton: I actually tell people who I don’t want in the program before I introduce the program. The reason why is because I’ve worked with so many people who will make 10,000 excuses for why they didn’t get things done, instead of getting them done. So I put, if you are so overwhelmed with other projects, if you have so many other courses on your plate, if you do not know how you’re going to buy your next package of ramen, then–
Michelle Shaeffer: Yeah.
Kim Sutton: –this page and come back later.
Michelle Shaeffer: Don’t get it right now. I like that.
Kim Sutton: Okay, in your opinion, I would just love to know your opinion, that’s not making a decision for them?
Michelle Shaeffer: No. I think one of the things that’s really important that people get confused about a lot is the difference in selling you do it yourself program, and in selling coaching and consulting. Because there’s a huge difference in those things. When I invest in a program, especially if it’s self guided, it’s up to me to do the work. I think it’s important to tell people that this is what it’s going to take. If these behaviors describe you, you have to change those behaviors before you buy this course because it’s not going to work. There is a place in really well done sales and marketing to shift people’s beliefs. That’s what it should do. It should help people go, oh, you know what? I am doing that. I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m making the decision right now to approach this thing differently. They can’t do that if they don’t have that realization moment of, oh, yeah, that is what I’m doing. That’s not what I want to do. When it comes to a course or something instructional like that, if I buy it, it’s on me to go through that and get the result. It’s helpful to have that real talk of, you’ve got to be willing to do the work, you’ve got to be willing to focus on this. If you won’t focus, you won’t get a result. The difference in the coaching model to me is, when I’m having that conversation with somebody who could be a client. Ethically, I need to figure out, is this someone who I am confident that I can help? If I’m confident, I can help them? Yes, it’s partially on them to do the work, but it’s also my job as a coach to work with them to take responsibility to a certain extent for helping them work through the mindset crap that’s holding them back. So calling people out on things and holding them accountable is part of what a good coach should do. It’s not just about, hey, here’s your next three steps, go do this.
Kim Sutton: I absolutely love that.
Michelle Shaeffer: So there’s a huge difference.
Kim Sutton: I was on Twitter a couple weeks ago and I saw Laura Roeder, the founder of MeetEdgar. She tweeted, it was just a chance encounter on Twitter because I hadn’t been on there for four months, probably. But she put that she was looking for beta users for a new invoicing and scheduling tool that she was putting out for coaches and consultants. So I had a little conversation with her. So many of my clients, they sell a coaching package and then they don’t, their back end is messy enough that they don’t know how to track how many people are, who’s had how many calls. So Laura’s program actually takes care of that, then she wanted to know if it would work for my business. My first response was, well, no, my clients that I’m building funnels for actually have unlimited calls because I feel like limiting their calls would do them a disservice. And then we went on talking. It occurred to me that the clients who haven’t finished their funnels add the unlimited calls, some of them an obscene number of calls, and they’re still not making the progress. I was like, Oh, my gosh, you just shifted my whole offering. They don’t need 100 calls, or 50, or 25, they need eight max, and they need to do this, this and this before they scheduled our next call. You just freed up hundreds of hours of my time, thank you. I was afraid of doing the clients a disservice by not allowing them open access to my calendar. I realized in that very moment, I was doing them a disservice by not providing the tough love. Their excuse making shouldn’t be clogging down my calendar for them. I mean, some of these people have taken a year and a half, two years to build their funnel. That’s not okay. I’m driving to Orlando next week for a conference, and thanks to you, I’ll probably be listening to Extreme Ownership on the way down. I was also already thinking about writing emails for my funnel and my book into Siri while I’m driving. So if I can do it, so can you Michelle. This has been an amazing conversation. Where can listeners go to learn more about you, the Empath Entrepreneur Academy, your podcasts and all that other great stuff that you do?
Michelle Shaeffer: Cool. All right. Well, you can find me at michelleshaeffer.com. That’s Michelle with two L’s and S-H-A-E-F-F-E-R.C-O-M. Or you can find me at theartofgivingadamn.com, or social media. I’m all over the place there. I’m just on Michelle Shaeffer.
Kim Sutton: Awesome. Listeners, if you are driving, if you’re trying not to burn dinner, which I am really good at, you can go to thekimsutton.com/pp671. All the links, including about the books and any other resources that we’ve talked about will be right there. I feel like I just cut us off really fast. But I didn’t mean to, we have covered so much. Listeners, I would love to hear your AHA so make sure to leave them down below. And if there’s anything that you would like us to come back and do a part two on, please let us know. I mean, I’m up for it. Michelle, are you up for it?
Michelle Shaeffer: Absolutely. This has been a great conversation.
Kim Sutton: I completely agree. I’m wondering what to do about that person who was ready to sign? I just need to open up the small talk a little bit.
Michelle Shaeffer: Follow up one more time. The thing to remember is when people reach out to us, it’s because they want help. But it’s scary to say yes. If you really put yourself in the other person’s shoes, it’s so easy to get distracted by the bazillion things life throws at us. And there’s so many times, how many times do we even write it down on our list, follow up with X, and then we don’t do it. It’s even easier to let that fall off the list when I follow up in most investments. So the biggest thing, not just for you, but for everybody listening is follow up one more time. Just one more, give people that one more opportunity to say yes because they reached out to you for a reason.