002 - The Hard Sell

Insurance salesmen do it, banks do it, supermarkets do it, for christ’s sake even vets do it! But you don’t have to.

Image by Roman Kraft

Insurance salesmen do it, banks do it, supermarkets do it, for christ’s sake even vets do it! But you don’t have to.

Hard selling really gets under my skin.

The hard sell is a sure sign that a business doesn’t know it’s customers, doesn’t know its products and services, and couldn’t give a shit either way.

I generally treat it with a long, hard, silent stare. That generally does the trick nicely. Snuffs it out in a heartbeat.

More on that in a bit…

I’m a writer, and this week I’ve started an experiment. I’ve been writing pretty solid every day for about 2 months now on my blog without any tangible goal other than to establish the habit.

I’ve also been writing on Medium, often repurposing articles here from the blog. Traffic has increased steadily and signups to my newsletter Sunday Letters too.

That’s all good.

The only problem is that writing using WordPress is a little more labour intensive than using Medium, and so takes longer to produce an article.

Here on Medium it’s so much quicker.

So, I’ve decided to jump on here for a bit and write every day, see what happens.

Today Is Day 2

Today is day 2 of the practice and in line with that I’ve decided to get a couple other things in shape too.

  1. My body

  2. An early start

Yesterday I told you about my intention to establish a habit of rising early, working out (most days) and writing before the world wakes up.

Today continues that, and so, back to the story…

The Hard Sell In Action

My missus brought Tilly, our 9 year old brindle Lurcher to the vet recently for vaccines. She’s going to the kennels while we’re away.

My wife has been dreading the visit for days.

The reason?

The practice has all its staff well trained in the cynical upsell. Suggestions for unnecessary drugs and treatments come thick and fast every visit.

Amongst other things we got to choose from;

  1. Scan for a suspected heart condition because “you never know”.

  2. Dental treatment because her teeth “aren’t in great condition”.

  3. High grade food because she’s under weight (-1lb from last visit)

Why are we still going!?

Good question.

Inertia, laziness I’d say. They have the dog’s records and because it’s a yearly thing we forget to move to another vet until the next visit is due, then say;

“we should really find another vet…”

Now, I understand a business needs to make sales, and I also understand that in some industries there’s a lot of pressure not only to perform, but to survive.

But businesses really need to understand that the practice of hard selling over and above their duty to deliver to their customers products and services in an honorable way, is damaging and ultimately counter productive.

I know a hard sell when I smell it and it truly makes my blood boil. It shows a distinct lack of professional integrity in my opinion and completely disenfranchises customers.

Businesses who try the hard sell must think their customers are thick as shit, really, it’s so exasperating and unprofessional.

The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

You Don’t Have To Hard Sell

As a creative person you write, you make stuff, you might provide a service and it’s likely you need to sell that service to make a living.

If it’s a hobby thing then maybe money from your art is not so important to you, however, exchanging that thing you do for cash is not only right, but it’s important. It feels good to do so too.

There’s nothing that kills the creative spirit quicker than unfair exchange.

It doesn’t matter whether you make coffee for a living or you paint landscapes, receiving adequate remuneration for what you provide or make is vital.

It’s what helps you and that thing you do grow.

The Problem For Creatives

The biggest problem for creative entrepreneurs is asking for money, I mean enough money, a reasonable payment for what we’ve made.

We’ve kind of got this hang up about money. We think that for some reason we’re selling out, which manifests in a couple of different ways;

1. All Selling Is Nasty

Many small business owners and creatives believe that selling is somehow nasty and dishonorable. We have a negative association with it, picked up from somewhere along the way.

We think that all selling is hard selling and we’re not going down that road. We’d rather starve than put ourselves in that bracket with the cheesy car salesman.

Or maybe it’s that money itself that’s bad. It represents a greedy consumerist society that we have strived so hard to remove ourselves from.

Either way this negative association with exchanging our creations for cash is not good. Yet, we need to make money. We need to pay the bills, keep the lights on.

2. I’m Charging Too Much

Another way this hang up can show itself is in the idea that we are charging too much for what what we make.

We look around at others who are doing similar and we decide to price ourselves under what they charge in the false belief that being cheap will mean more sales.

This is such a damaging idea, one I know only too well. Many creative types fall for this notion and end up broke and cheap.

As soon as we price ourselves under the standard rate we are immediately associated with being the cheapest and people just don’t value us.

The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

What To Do Instead

I’ve been in business for myself since I was 25 and I’ve made all the mistakes in the book, so maybe I can offer something here that helps you see things differently.

First Thing - Value Your Work

Money is a means of exchange, it has no inherent value in itself other than what we have decided it has. Money is representative of wealth, it is not wealth.

Wealth is a mindset, and we either value ourselves or we don’t. If we don’t then we have some work to do to reverse that negative mindset. This might take some time.

If you’re chasing money then you’re chasing a ghost, and you’ll unlikely catch it. And if you do then you’ll probably be hard selling. However I don’t believe too many creatives have this problem.

You’ve got to value yourself and your work. Without that in place you’re flogging a dead horse and you’ll always struggle. The universe will give you exactly what you ask for in that regard.

Second Thing - There’s No Competition

The most important thing creative people need to know is that the idea you have competition is a flawed one.

There is no competition!

How To Beat Your Competition: What Creative People Need To Know | Larry G. Maguire
How can creative people beat the competition, share some beauty in the world, make a living and be free? It's been a…larrygmaguire.com

Unless that is you believe there is competition. If you do then there is.

Know what I mean?

If you think that there is one pie and you need to scrap to get your piece then everything you do in your business will follow from this.

Get out of the idea that you are in competition with anyone and start pricing your work with value in mind. There’s nothing else for it, because if you don’t then you can never truly call yourself an artist.

Our Work Is Unique & Valuable

All work is art in my view, but not everyone knows this. That’s why the world of people are at each other’s throats, scrapping for the same money.

You and me are entitled to receive as much as people are willing to part with for our work. How much we value ourselves will be reflected in what people pay us.

I think our idea of money, work, business and value needs to change.

How about you?

The Artist’s Manifesto is a short book about staying true to our art. It is a call to Artists and Creatives like you to create from the heart with passion and integrity, disregarding the need for applause and recognition. It’s available from 13th May 2017. Grab your FREE copy here.

Like Some More of This Kind of Thing?

Howdy, I’m Larry, Writer & Artist. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. I write about art & creativity. When I’m not doing that I write short stories about the ordinary lives of people and the challenges they face. My stuff can be edgy, hard hitting, and sometimes controversial, but never contrived. If that’s your bag you can Sign-up To Sunday Letters Here.