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Why It’s Not Enough To Follow Your Bliss

Been hearing a lot of “Do what you love and the money will come” bromides lately.

  • Build the audience first, worry about sales later
  • Love your customers, don’t focus on metrics
  • Follow your passion and the money will find you

No. No no no nonononononononoooooooooooo

Money doesn’t “come.” It doesn’t find you. It doesn’t fall out of the sky and into your hands.

Last week in The Arena we did a Sales Page Smackdown and the woman in the hot seat said her sales shot up when she “directly asked people to buy.”

If you’re thinking, “well, yeah, no kidding,” hold on a sec. How often are you asking people to buy directly? Most entrepreneurs sell like this, “Hey guys, I made something! If you’re interested click here. Anyway, [moves on to next topic].”

That works sometimes, but it doesn’t ever work well. Interest isn’t why people buy.

I’m interested in how you make $700 shoes, but I’m not going to buy a course on it. When I’m on vacation, I’m interested in amazing art I find on the street, but I don’t buy it. I’m interested in a lot of things that I don’t pay for.

Because interest isn’t why people buy.

You need more than interest. You need desire.

If I desire to have a home that’s impressive to others, I’ll buy your $7,000 painting. If I desire to own handmade Italian leather mules, I will pay $700 for them. It’s DESIRE that you’re looking to fan the flames of.

You build desire over months or weeks (sometimes even years). Think about a movie trailer. Why does it come out months before the movie? It’s building desire. You build desire through all the marketing activities that piss you off because they don’t deliver a tangible ROI. A gorgeous photo on your Insta. A FREE webinar that offers tremendous value. Influencers recommending your book. An email that makes people feel something (is it working?).

All of those things work together so that when you finally go in for the sale, your prospect is primed and ready. They want to buy.

People don’t want to be sold, they want to buy.

If you’ve been wanting to see a movie for months (ehem, desire), and it’s finally out, would you be annoyed at the theatre for charging you a ticket? No. You are excited because you’ve been wanting to see that movie for months and you’ll pay whatever (often standing in long line) just to watch it.

Can you imagine if movie trailers were just directors and actors looking at you going, “We created a story about dragons. It’d be nice, if you wanted, for you to go out and watch it next week when it’s in theaters. If it’s not too much trouble.”

I believe it was Shakespeare who said:

“Passivity does not a sale make.”

We’re passive because we’ve been fed a narrative that sales is “icky.” And the type of sales we’re thinking about in our heads is icky. You have an inner Jordan Belfort in your mind making you throw up a little in your mouth each time you try to “sell” someone. It’s the wrong approach (plus it’s a buyer’s market, that stuff doesn’t work anymore. It takes one pissed prospect before your Glassdoor profile is drowning in bad reviews).

People like to buy. They want to buy. And they probably want whatever it is you’re selling.

There’s not much I can do to silence the life coaches or “business coaches” or whatever TF coach is telling you “love > metrics” but I can remind you that if it sounds too good to be true it’s because it is.

Love and metrics aren’t diametrically opposed.

Neither is love and sales. Or passion and sales. Or building an audience you care about and making money.

Can we please stop placing the two in competition?

They’re not at odds with each other.

Just like vulnerability is the gateway to courage (h/t Brene), love/passion/audience building is the gateway to sales. But only if you’re direct and ask for the sale. It’s not coming out of thin air. It’s not mana from the sky.

If you’re having trouble selling and you’re a coach, then apply to our Sales Dojo (see what I did there?). If you’re having trouble selling and you’re not a coach, consider the narrative you’re telling yourself.

Are you waiting for the money “to come”?

Do yourself a favor and take another approach: build something of value, that people actually want. And then ask for the damn sale.


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