Entrepreneurship is about more than just making money.
It’s about self-discovery, self-actualization, and being of service.
That should be your driving force, the central reason you pursue entrepreneurship to begin with.
That being said, making money is important – by definition, you only truly become an entrepreneur when you have a cash-flowing business.
And this can create a disconnect for those who think about entrepreneurship similarly to how I do – they feel like selling is not conducive to being of service, like the act of influencing, persuading, and convincing – or packaging and exchanging their gifts, skills, and expertise for money – somehow robs them of their authentic expression and that the act of selling at all is inherently disingenuous.
But this is a limiting perception and couldn’t be further from the truth.
Selling is simply a mode through which energy is exchanged. Your energy as an entrepreneur, in the form of your guidance, value, and expertise – and the energy of your prospect in the form of their money, which is nothing more than a crystallized representation of attention, energy, and time.
After all, that’s likely what they’re paying you for to begin with – to reduce the attention, time, and energy they need to commit in order to get the results they’re after.
And so it isn’t selling, but the way you sell, that matters.
If you’re selling in a way that prioritizes, first and foremost, the benefit of the individual you’re trying to sell to, and if you believe that what you’re selling can and will genuinely improve their life for the better, that is a form of service and exists in alignment with the highest good and greatest benefit of both you and your prospect.
And so today, I want to introduce you to my primary sales philosophy – one that puts service before the sale and honors a more conscious form of entrepreneurship – what is known as the Socratic selling method.
The first phase in the Socratic Selling Method is conversational prospecting – an intimate, thorough, and connective deep dive into learning who your prospect is.
Instead of pushing for a quick sale, using exploitative sales tactics, or trying to persuade your prospect, this process is based on understanding the challenges your prospect is facing, what they’re seeking, and whether your offer can genuinely serve them.
It’s not about interrogating your prospects, but engaging in a meaningful conversation where their needs and pain points naturally surface.
By creating a safe, respectful, and caring space for dialogue, you’ll identify gaps that your product or service might fill, fostering trust and demonstrating that you value the needs of your prospects over whether or not you can sell to them.
To facilitate this, begin the process of conversational progression:
- Why they resonate – Ideally, your personal brand is the primary attraction point of your business, meaning you will almost always be prospecting within your audience and with those who are already familiar with who you are. This allows you to start your questioning process around pre-existing resonance – asking them why they engaged with a specific piece of content you created, asking them how that particular piece of content spoke to them, or DMing them directly to thank them for their engagement and initiating the conversation once they reply.
- Who they are – Start asking questions about what they present on their social platforms. What do they say about themselves in their bio, replies/comments, or in their own content? Use this stage in your prospecting to communicate that you care about who they are, what they’re interested in, and to find points of relatability or commonality between you.
- What they’re seeking – Begin to ask questions that naturally arise from your previous conversation into questions that are relevant to your product or service. Seek to discover their present and future intentions, perceived challenges or obstacles, and potential gaps they feel they may have in their knowledge or process, and determine whether or not your offer can provide benefit, direction, or a solution.
Depending on the receptiveness of their responses, you can directly express your interest in potentially working together, but make a point to mention that you’d like to freely help them further prior to discussing what that might look like.
Once you’ve determined that there’s a fit between your offer and your prospect, you’ll begin the exploratory propositioning phase – leveraging your newfound insight to present valuable solutions, advice, and guidance.
The aim is to demonstrate your commitment to their journey and to lead with service before attempting to sell.
This isn’t about exemplifying or showcasing your offer but presenting thoughtful suggestions tailored to them and what they’ve conveyed to you specifically.
Channel your knowledge, understanding, and expertise through thoughtful, caring, and considerate replies – allowing them to witness firsthand how what you know can directly benefit and facilitate their goals, aspirations, and desires.
You’re positioning yourself as a trusted advisor committed to helping them reach their potential and allowing them to come to the conclusion that they could stand to benefit from working with you without ever having to explicitly state it.
To facilitate this, focus on furthering your exploratory progression:
- Strengthen rapport – Use this opportunity to deepen the connection you’ve established with your prospects. Use their name, mirror back to them what they’ve previously stated, and uplift or compliment them where applicable and natural. You want them to walk away from their interaction with you better than they were before having had it, regardless of whether or not you’re able to convert them to a customer or client.
- Convey expertise – Start communicating the expertise you possess relevant to your offer. You can mention your offer at this point if it makes sense to do so, but you want that to be a secondary priority and conveyed casually within your dialogue – your main priority should be to display your expertise as it relates to them specifically, your conversation up until this point, and predicated on what they’ve told you about themselves and their life.
- Begin transitioning – Once you feel you’ve provided thorough advice, have experienced positive reception, and at the very least feel confident that your offer can serve them (but ideally feel an ethical sense that your offer is what they need), you can transition to a more direct form of selling. Start working specific aspects of your offer into your responses. Be willing to convey that what you’re sharing with them is expanded on within your offer, and make sure to acknowledge that you are excited by the possibility of working with and serving them, instead of wondering whether or not they feel excited about the possibility of working with and being served by you.
Now that you’ve listened to them, gotten to know them, and have provided a substantial amount of nuanced value to them, it’s time to move into making the sale.
Inspiring a better future
Your final phase is to help inspire the vision of a better future within your prospects – to appeal to their imagination and paint a vivid, compelling, and enlivening picture of what their reality could become through the process of working together.
This future should draw on natural conclusions relative to the insights you’ve gathered through your conversation and exploration.
It should showcase what their life looks like once they’ve overcome their challenges, removed their blockages, and fulfilled their desires – highlighting the ways in which your offer can bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
This is the time to tap into their emotions, exemplify the benefits that come with change, and instill a sense of confidence within them that you’re the one who can help guide them towards it.
To facilitate this, focus on painting a picture that engages their imagination:
- Reflect their dreams – Repeat back all of the positive, beneficial, and hopeful aspects conveyed within your conversation as a part of their future experience. Show them what their life looks like when they’ve completed the work you’re proposing to do together and help them see how it directly nurtures and facilitates those aspects. Provide them with clear insight regarding the opportunity, possibility, and optionality that can unfold for them on the other side of your offer.
- Reframe their nightmares – Repeat back all of the negative, detrimental, and hopeless aspects conveyed within your conversation as absent from their future experience. Show them what their life looks like when they’ve completed the work you’re proposing to do together and help them see how it directly eliminates and relieves those aspects. Provide them with clear insight regarding the mitigation, alleviation, and transformation that can unfold for them on the other side of your offer.
- Reinforce your reasons – Don’t shy away from the fact that you wouldn’t be offering your product or service if you didn’t feel an ethical obligation to do so, and if you didn’t 100% believe that what you have to provide can and will benefit them and their lives. Make sure they know that the most important thing to you is their benefit and not what you can get out of them – this should always come off as sincere and genuine, because it should always be sincere and genuine.
From here, follow up with any natural questions that may arise. Depending on your perception of rapport, you can try to directly sell in the DMs (you can do away with sales calls entirely using the timeline to telegram method, which is what I recommend and teach inside of the Academy) or schedule a sales call (if you prefer) to speak with them face to face – which, after using this strategy, should feel less like selling them and more like commemorating your future work together.
Service before the sale
Before I even consider selling to a prospect or asking for the sale, I always go through a specific ritual.
I ask God to act through me as a vessel and guide me in serving whoever I’m about to interact with at the highest possible level.
I ask that we both get exactly what we need from the interaction, and that the person I’m interacting with feels better after the interaction than they did before – regardless of the outcome.
And when it’s time to actually speak to the person, whether through a voice note or directly on a call, I always start the same way.
I thank them for honoring me with their time, energy, and attention. I express gratitude for their willingness, openness, and trust in exploring what a working relationship with me might look like.
I make sure they know – without any doubt – that I prioritize service before the sale.
I encourage you to do the same.