How To Sell Without That Icky Feeling (Guest Post by Mike Gastin)

Selling is hard and most don’t enjoy it. In this article, Mike Gastin shares his approach to selling that will turn sales into an enjoyable, ethical, and good experience for all parties.

Selling or Root Canal?

Let’s face it, it’s the rare person who enjoys selling. For most, whether selling or being sold to, we’re left with an icky feeling, like something bad just happened.

But, here’s the thing. If you’re a freelancer, work for a non-profit, are an entrepreneur, or even if you’re a career professional, you need to sell. New clients, big donors, profitable projects, and plum positions don’t just fall in our laps—we have to sell to make them happen.

In this article I’ll share my ethical and ick-free approach to sales. It’s allowed me to close tens of millions of dollars in deals with a clear conscience and the security that comes from doing good. And the great news is my approach will work for anyone that needs to sell—even you!

Roots & Fruits

To feel good about selling we need to first understand why selling makes us feel badly. You see, those feelings are there for a good reason. It’s your heart telling you that something isn’t quite right. Once we understand what’s not right we can eliminate the root cause of those feelings and move on to ick-free selling.

What isn’t right? In a word: manipulation. At the root of most sales engagements is some degree of manipulation and that what makes us feel icky.

Metaphysics, FTW

We all know that people deserve respect—that each person has intrinsic value. This means each person is valuable regardless of any fact other than being human. It doesn’t matter if you can help me, buy my stuff, or even if you like me—you’re valuable and I need to respect your autonomy.

It’s when we disregard someone’s value and transgress their autonomy that we cross a moral line and begin to experience a crisis of conscience. This is what often happens when we’re selling. We use someone for our own gain, manipulating them in an effort to sell our product or service.

So, when we’re in a sales situation, we feel uncomfortable because we’re worried about manipulating that person, or we’re concerned that they might think we’re trying to take advantage of them.

The solution is to eliminate manipulation from our approach. Once we do this, sales becomes something much different, something that’s potentially positive and good.

You Got A Problem?

So, how do we remove manipulation from the sales process and still remain effective? It’s simple. All you have to do is to stop selling and start solving problems.

When you enter a sales engagement you have a goal in mind: to close a deal. This creates a dynamic that’s hard to escape, because your goal is to get what you want and the person you’re selling to becomes the means to your end. You can’t help but be in a manipulative mindset because you want a specific outcome.

But, when you enter the sales […]

April 9th, 2019|

3 Mindset Shifts to Make When Approaching Social Media

A few simple mindset shifts can be the key to unlocking success for you or your brand on social media.
They may be challenging and require patience, but they are crucial in getting you out from beneath the shadows and to getting noticed.

#1 Shoot From the Brain and Not From the Hip.

Average leaders dismiss social media as unimportant or an afterthought. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Social media is “the trenches” and quite literally a form of direct communication with your audience. Intentionality and care required.
Shooting from the brain looks like being as strategic and intentional with your social media as you are other aspects with your business
An “anything goes” mindset can lead to not being thoughtful and forget your purpose for being on social media in the first place.

#2 Treat your followers with dignity and respect.

Every follower is a person. You may feel discouraged by a low follower account, but if it is larger than 0 than someone is waiting to hear from you. What will you say if they were in the room?
Before you start reaching for a larger audience, focus on who is listening right now.
A popular (and wrong) social media tactic some implore is mass-engagement These methods look something like:
  • Follow / Unfollow – Following mass quantities of people in hope of a follow back, only to unfollow them later on.
  • Automating (often irrelevant) comments on others posts.
  • Paying for a service where robots like and comment to mass audiences.
How does this affect your audience? How do people from the outside see your brand? These are ways that we would never market our businesses or brands offline. 
As a first impression of your business […]
January 23rd, 2019|

3 Books to Read if You’re Ready to Share Your Work

I have far too many books in my house.

I grieve the day that we move, because that means taking all the books with me.

Out of all of the books on my shelves, I picked 3 of them to take with me on our travels this summer. I’ve been extremely busy with client work, but  bothered by the fact that I’ve been relatively quite on social media about the work I do.

Case in point: I would mention something about a project that I swore I had mentioned to my wife before, and she’d have no clue what I was talking about. I knew that I was at the point where I needed to (finally) begin sharing about the work I do with the world online.

These are the 3 books – so if you’re ready to stop stuttering when asked about what you do and ready to start communicating with your audience online in a way that works – look no further. Here are 3 books that I found insightful and provided actionable steps for me to take immediately.

Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered

Show Your Work! is about why generosity trumps genius. It’s about getting findable, about using the network instead of wasting time “networking.” It’s not self-promotion, it’s self-discovery—let others into your process, then let them steal from you. Filled with illustrations, quotes, stories, and examples, Show Your Work! offers ten transformative rules for being open, generous, brave, productive.

One of my favorite quotes from this book was:

“Teaching people doesn’t subtract value from what you do, it actually adds to it. When you teach somehow how to do your work, you are, in effect, generating more interest in your work. People feel closer to your work because you’re letting them in on what you know.”

If you’d like to get it on Amazon, here’s the link.

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching readers the seven universal story points all humans respond to; the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.

One of my favorite quotes from this book was:

“In every line of copy we write, we’re either serving the customer’s story or descending into confusion; we’re either making music or making noise.”

If you’d like to get it on Amazon, here’s the link.

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Since it was first published almost a decade ago, Seth Godin’s visionary book has helped tens of thousands of leaders turn a scattering of followers into a loyal […]

September 17th, 2018|

The exact tools I use to manage my client’s social media.