Make Sales Without “Selling”

Make Sales Without “Selling” - 8 ways to sell what you do without being THAT person

No one likes a sleazy salesman (or lady). No one wants to hear the same tired pitch over and over, but the reality remains that you need to make sales in order to stay in business. I've written in the past about selling the authentic way, which is essentially selling what you do... without “selling” it.

But how does that even work?

Well admittedly in the past, I've found it pretty easy to share what I do without being “salesy” thanks to an ever-changing roster of incredible clients where no two brands look alike. However, with the recent launch of my premier course, Illustrator Essentials, I found myself needing to expand my repertoire and get a big more creative when it came to sharing my offerings.

So how can you promote your product without obnoxiously repeating yourself or launching to crickets? Well! Today I'm excited to share my formula for just that—making sales without “selling.” So without further ado, let's dig in!

1. Share the journey.

While many brands prefer to build secretly in the background and launch with big reveals, I err on the opposite side. I believe it's much more effective to build suspense and nurture engagement by sharing what happens along the way to that big launch day.

In practical application, this meant sharing breakthroughs for Illustrator Essentials as I experienced them, peeks at designs as I completed them, and behind-the-scenes looks at my DIY soundproofing and editing setup. 🙈 By letting my audience behind the curtain as I crafted the course, it fueled their interest and ensured that there was no way I'd be launching to crickets.

How can you apply this in your brand?

Share peeks at your progress before things are complete. When you make a discovery, promote it. Don't be afraid to share the messy middle. Allowing people to watch it evolve into your polished final product makes them even more invested.

2. Inspire.

We designers often take our ability to inspire for granted since we surround ourselves with a gorgeously curated bubble of stunning visuals. Often by the time I complete a new logo and brand identity and deliver the final files, I'm no longer as excited about the visuals because I'm so close and have been looking at them so much. It's tricky to not take your own skills for granted, but it's key.

Look at yourself, your process, and your work through the eyes of a stranger. What do others find exciting and fascinating about what you do? I know inspiration is kindled by beautiful imagery and there are lots of folks who follow me just for the eye candy. However, inspiration goes beyond just graphics. You can inspire others just as much with your words, commitment to craft and quality, and how you carve your path.

How can you apply this in your brand?

Use the talents you've been blessed with to your advantage. Showcase your skills. And don't forget to embrace the process. How you do what you do can be just as inspiring as the final product itself.

3. Educate.

Within my branding business it's essential for me to educate as much as I inspire. Teaching others about my branding process and wellness perspective not only helps my community but also ensures that once someone from my audience is ready to hire me, she's already well-versed in how and why I work the way I do.

Education was clearly a huge part of creating Illustrator Essentials too. And it's a fine balance—sharing enough to provide value and prove your course is the real deal without giving too much away. This is where offering a free “test drive” (aka free lesson previews) came in, along with gearing my social posts and promotional emails about the course toward educating in some way, shape, or form.

How can you apply this in your brand?

You're able to sell what you do because you've got skills. Sure, there are others who do what you do. But to your audience, you're the expert at what you do. That means there are quite a few jewels of wisdom you can share that aren't common knowledge. Go beyond inspiration. Use those image captions wisely. Teach your audience something about your craft and why you do things the way you do.

4. Get excited.

I'm a genuinely excited person, and nothing gets me fired up quite like beautifully strategic design, nerdy business systems, yoga, and building community (and food of course).

Within every aspect of my brand it's essential for my voice to shine through, which means a whole lot of hype. And when I share my excitement, do you know what happens? It spreads.

How can you apply this in your brand?

Excitement is contagious. Good people want to support you and see you succeed. Share your dreams and passions and victories with them, and you'll be amazed at the connections you'll foster.

Provide as much value as possible, and the sales will always follow.

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5. Look for questions.

As I was building and promoting Illustrator Essentials, I noticed a lot of the same questions kept popping up. Is the course for beginners or experts? When does the course start? Will I be covering custom icons and seamless pattern design? And so on and so forth.

Each time I identified a common question, I'd share a post and email speaking to that subject. Because I know that if a few people are asking about it, then a bunch more are wondering the same thing without saying it.

How can you apply this in your brand?

Keep an eye out for those frequently asked questions. They represent your audience's pain points and the holes in your current promotions. Speak to those needs and bring clarity wherever you can. This might be the final straw that makes that glorious sale a reality.

6. Let your customers speak for themselves.

Within my branding projects, it's a crucial part of the process for me to collect feedback. I want to know how I can improve my process, and if my clients are over the moon for what I've created for them I want to share that with the world.

My course launch was the same way. Once I started receiving positive feedback from my beta testers and students, I made sure to share those words with the world. After all, it always means more coming from a customer.

How can you apply this in your brand?

While telling people about your product is great, testimonials are always better. It's much easier for people to relate to your customers and the language they use, especially when you include a photo of the person. Testimonials build trust and people need to trust you before they purchase from you.

7. Lift others up.

When I was planning my first launch for Illustrator Essentials, I didn't want to bombard people with a series of ads. So instead I used my launch as an excuse to collaborate with a bunch of my business-owner friends and brands I love. I planned a series of giveaways and live chats to bring my audience some free goodies and wisdom in the process.

Yes, this is counterintuitive since I'm technically promoting other brands (even other brand designers). But if we take a step back, we'll see that just as I'm promoting these other brands they're also promoting me by sharing these fun events. My audience is finding fun new brands to follow, but the audiences of those other brands are also finding me.

I know my customers do a lot of research before hiring a designer, and the fact is that if they want to work with me then they will. And if someone in my audience would rather work with another designer, then he or she wouldn't have been the best fit for me either and I'm happy if I can make that introduction for them.

How can you apply this in your brand?

Sharing the work of others doesn't make your brand weaker—it strengthens your foundation and amplifies your message. There's more than enough work to go around and sharing from a place of abundance will only draw more amazing things to you. Plus, when you share with others they're that much more likely to return the favor.

8. Be thankful.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the amazing talents, clients, and business that I do. Whether it's having new students purchase my course or a client approving her beautiful brand strategy, celebrating these achievements in public is absolutely okay—as long as it's coming from a place of gratitude.

While it's true that this is one more angle from which I can promote my products, I also find it essential to show how much I appreciate my clients and the work I'm blessed to do. So it's a win-win.

How can you apply this in your brand?

Being paid to do what you love is an incredible thing, so share your exciting milestones from a place of gratitude. This allows others to join in the celebration and allows you to promote your business with heart and sincerity.

Finding the Right Balance

And there you have it! These are 8 ways in which you can promote your business without “selling” it. Of course, the tricky thing is that you can't just share once and expect to be successful. Not everyone will see that one email or post the first time, and there will always be those who are late to the party. There needs to be a certain amount of repetition within your promotions if you're going to be successful.

I'll admit that this made me really self conscious. As a recovering people-pleaser I was worried about bombarding people and annoying them, so I took special care to find new angles and words and stories to communicate what I needed to. The key is to keep things fresh and push forward. And eventually, you'll get more comfortable with finding your place in the spotlight. I'm getting there bit by bit.

Long Game Goals

As you promote your product or services going forward, remember to use the strategies that feel right for you and your business. The key that I've found is to find as many different ways to talk about your product as you can. Provide value first and keep things fresh, but also provide a link to where people can learn more and purchase what you're selling.

This is the long game. These tactics won't bring you countless new sales overnight, but the followers and clients you get will be that much more invested in your business and your success. This is the way to build brand ambassadors and lifetime customers. You don't need to follow any sleazy sales tactics. Provide as much value as possible, and the sales will always follow.