for selling your work Archives - Kristen Kalp

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Stay on it. (That’s what she said.)

stay on it sales graphic

Today can we talk about why I hate selling stuff, even though part of my job is teaching people to sell stuff? I hate selling because you have to stay on it.

You have to keep selling and marketing far beyond the point where you feel any reasonable person would have purchased, bought, added to cart, or checked out.

When I like stuff, I buy it. Period. On sale, not on sale, 3 left, 37 left, don’t care.

The vast majority of people hem and haw and put off decision-making and “think about it” and ponder it and ask questions and talk to their friends about what they should buy and then, eventually, buy the thing at the last possible second or when the ‘deal’ runs out.

I’m still learning this after 8 years, and it’s still frustrating as hell, but I want to reiterate: most people hate making decisions and avoid them at all costs.  I truly think I’m broken in this department, since I’m mostly like, YUP NOPE no nuh-uh no way YEEESSSSS no no no no no no no no no no fuck yah.

This is what I’ve learned about this staying on it by carefully watching my own impatient tendencies and my peeps’ procrastinate-or-bust behaviors for years and years.

Stay on it rule #1: at LEAST 50% of sales come in at the last possible minute.

When I launched my Sales Without Shame program a few years ago, over 50% of the introductory sales came in during the final 48 hours of the offer. This time around, that procrastinators’ percentage for the Brave workshop Early Bird pricing ending was actually 83%. Had I not sent a series of ‘This is your last chance’ e-mails about Brave, I’d have missed out on 83% of sales.

In case your eyes are glazing over that number: EIGHTY. THREE. PERCENT. Of sales.

That means that if you want to move $1000 worth of product, failing to let your peeps know about a deadline means you’ll walk away with only $170. (That’s an exceptionally procrastination high percentage, but it points to a bigger issue.)

Continuing to push sales at the last minute is the hardest part of marketing by a long shot.

By the time your promotion or your next product/thingie/service/class is even announced, let alone coming to a close, you’re sick of talking about it. You’ve had to come up with seemingly endless ways to discuss your own best features and benefits, and you’re all out of buy-it-now-juice to sprinkle on your potential customers. I know.

But if the doors close at 2:00 p.m., plan on a deluge of action from 1:30 to 1:59 p.m.. Don’t give up and say your efforts aren’t working during the hours beforehand, like your asshole brain will tell you in order to keep you from sending that last e-mail or making that last post. Don’t let your peeps coast through the deadline without mentioning it many, many times.

Humans need deadlines and will naturally put off decision-making until they are forced to make a choice. Your repeated messages as the deadline approaches will naturally cause decision-making, and therefore sales.

If your doors never close — if you’re always perceived as available and capable of taking clients — potential clients don’t have this sense of urgency. They don’t have to hop on board or get in line because you haven’t given them any reason to do so.

Deadlines for promotions naturally regulate the flow of income to your business.

No promos? No deadlines? No one is beating down your 1:59 p.m. doors, since absolutely nothing happens at 2 p.m.. That probably means lower income for your business.

Stay on it rule #2: you can always try again.

Since I launched the Brave workshop at a time when actual, literal tenets of fascism were being introduced in my country — SURPRISE THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN IN OFFICE FOR 48 HOURS IT’S ALREADY A SHIT SHOW — I got considerably less attention than I had planned with each marketing message I sent.

I could either a.) blame myself for being unable to rise above the collective dread, fear, and outrage sweeping through the nation, or b.) extend the timing of my offer and keep letting peeps know about what I had made and why it mattered.

Sometimes, events entirely outside of your control mean your promotion completely fails or you get precisely no attention when you had planned on hitting it out of the park. That doesn’t mean you give up and start over. That means you get creative. You can extend the offer, find a new way to talk about it, or start sending personal e-mails asking for help with promoting to your friends, one-by-one, who tell their friends, and you get your sales the painfully old-fashioned but incredibly effective way: by word of mouth.

For stay-on-it rules 3, 4, and 5, give the latest episode of That’s What She Said a listen.

Listen in, pick and choose episodes from the entire podcast right here, or subscribe in iTunes right here.

P.S.  You’re right, marketing sucks.  Make it better.

 

“But what if no wants it?”

There’s a thought process you can absolutely count on when you’re bringing creative work into the world. You make a thing. It’s available for purchase. And then your brain gets involved.

It whispers, “No one wants this thing I’ve made.”

Not “some people don’t want it.”
Not “a few people think it’s dumb but most people will think it’s pretty rad.”

“NO ONE wants this thing I’ve made.”

In just the past week, I’ve had this come up with two clients.

In our first case, a photographer has booked over 50% of the year’s sessions in January. Fifty percent. In January. We made a plan for when she actually starts marketing the sessions later in winter. (She’s still sure she can’t book the sessions. I told her for sure for sure, she’s fucked. Hosed. SCREWED…😉 )

In the second case, a photographer has booked weddings again and again with no webpage (not webSITE — just a mere webPAGE that’s part of a site) featuring her work. Word of mouth keeps on sending people to her, and she’s sure she can’t book 3 weddings this year.

Go ahead and judge: these people must be crazy, right? OF COURSE they’re going to get booked up!

But you, friend. You’re sure you won’t make rent or book that client. You’re convinced that what you offer has absolutely no value, even though people have sent you kind words and thanks and praise and your calendar is filling and you’re making a steady bit of income.

Hell, the parts of my asshole brain that are absolutely certain I can’t sell out Brave are just as strong as the parts that are determined to move seats and fill the workshop.

Check out the Brave workshop if your life feels two sizes too small and you know you’re living a safe/not-brave life — early bird pricing ends on the 31st!

We all have this little voice within us, particularly when we’re doing work we care about: nope, you can’t. Give up. No one wants this. It’s stupid. You’re going to go broke. You’ll end up loveless and penniless.

The horrible little voice of your asshole brain lies.

Case #1 photographer is booking the everloving shizbots out of her year and trying to figure out how to make space for more sessions during her busiest months.

Case #2 photographer is making a webpage for weddings and reporting back to me about it next week.

They’re both going to meet their goals and then some.

And you?

You can meet your goals and then some. But you’re going to have to get used to hearing that voice and then putting it in the corner. It’s not telling the truth. It wants to keep you small and scared. It’s just a troll trying to get you to stay hidden.

We all have that nasty ‘no one wants it’ voice, but not a single one of us has to listen to it.

P.S.  How to be Unreasonable-with-a-capital-U.

Photo // my own, from those 10 minute I owned a legit Polaroid before it died a painful death

The best $117.90 I’ve ever made.

Right around age 21, I internalized the idea that no one could make a living as a poet.

Being ever so wise and nearly 22, I quickly broadened that sentiment to mean that no one could make a living as a writer, either.

So, what’s a newly minted grad with an English Education degree who has cut off all hopes of being paid for the English portion of that degree to do?  Teach in the public school system, obviously!

Within two years of taking part in that system, I became disillusioned and said, “Oh hey, you know what I’ll do? I’ll be a photographer,” like you do.  Then I started writing to photographers about the business of photography, and then to other business owners, and I started ghostwriting some projects, too, and suddenly (over the course of a number of years) I WAS MAKING A LIVING AS A WRITER.

For seven years, that was enough. Brand Camp was lovely and vital and it kept taking interesting twists and turns and I kept making stuff and learning stuff and helping people, too. And then one day, it wasn’t big enough to hold me anymore.

Earlier this month, my first book of poetry was published.

I pre-sold a whopping 15 copies.

My royalties from those book sales total one hundred seventeen dollars and ninety cents.

Peeps, I’ve been behind the scenes for six-figure launches and even had one of my own. I have had paydays that equaled more than an entire year of my teaching salary. I have created deeper and deeper work, and I have been an agent of change in many clients’ lives, and still.

That one hundred seventeen dollars and ninety cents is the best money I’ve ever earned.

Not because I plan to be the world’s first billionaire poet. (Hell, I’ll be dead before I can use poetry to pay even one month’s rent, if we’re going by this 117 dollars every 17 years standard.)

Because my heart.

My heart is more open and alive than it’s ever been.

Brand Camp has to go because I don’t want people to visit and think that poetry is the anomaly. As in, “Oh yah, she teaches about business, and then there’s this one weird time when she released a book of poetry…?”

I can’t embrace that future, and I don’t want to keep crafting a world in which people think of me as a business owner first and a poet second.

Words are the heart of me, and teaching is intertwined in there, too, and these two entities form a wild and compelling core that I can’t try to shove into a box I’ve made any longer.

Thus, the end of Brand Camp. There’s nothing gossip-worthy. There’s no malice and there aren’t any lawsuits and there’s no drama of any kind.

I’m not even sick of talking about business or tired of working with business owners, I’m simply coming to the point where I admit that poetry and words and writing are just as interesting to me as helping my peeps come alive through entrepreneurship.

All the Selves I Used to Be is my great coming alive story, 17 years in the making, and it’s full of all the pieces of my soul that I’ve found worthy of keeping during my evolution.

I hope it helps you remember your own soul.

I hope it gives you hope.

I hope my poetry helps you feel more alive, more human, and more willing to own up to what you find most interesting in this moment.

…and may you, friend, someday know the joy of being paid at least $117.90 for bringing your dearest and most treasured work into the world.