Emma Moran

Empowering Creative Women

3 Beliefs That Will Make Sales Easier, Even for Introverts

SalesEmma MoranComment

Over the last 10 years, I made a very unexpected transformation. I used to hate everything about sales, but now I love it and love talking about it. What changed?

I discovered the truth about sales, and it radically shifted my understanding of myself, what I do, and how to talk to people about what I do.

What I Used to Believe About Sales (and What Changed)

I feel like we’re conditioned as a culture to view “sales” and salespeople negatively. I (and most of the people I know) generally grew up to believe:

  • Sales is manipulative or sleazy

  • Everyone hates salespeople

  • Sales is about the salesperson and making more money, not the customer

We also perpetuate the “used-car salesman” narrative — the idea that salespeople are masters at selling us useless things in an obnoxious way. In fact there are plenty of salespeople who do just that, so our experiences with them give us further evidence to support these beliefs.

Unfortunately, when we creative business owners need to sell our own services, each one of these ingrained beliefs makes selling harder and more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

My story of personal transformation started when I worked in a college admissions office.

It was the place where I began learning what great selling really is, how to be successful at it, and how to admit that these myths about sales had conditioned my mindset for years.

Aside from creating and implementing the design and marketing strategy for our office, my ultimate task was to “sell” the university to students and parents from New England. I had sales goals, a pipeline of leads, and a heftily priced “product” in which many people struggled to see the corresponding value — a college degree costing more than $120k.

Admittedly, this was the most uncomfortable part of my job. I felt completely at ease doing design and marketing, but I dreaded the moments I had to cold-call students or listen to angry voicemails from parents.

(This is also how I started building grit and resilience to rejection, but that’s another story.)

Thankfully I worked for (and with) some of the most incredible leaders. Through sales training and daily experience recruiting families, I learned what was most effective and what wasn’t. I developed my own confidence and style in selling the school and addressing concerns.

I guess it worked because, in my boss’ own words, I became one of the best admissions counselors she’d ever had in her thirty years on the job. But I never could have anticipated how useful those lessons would become.

Years later after starting my own business, I’ve reflected on what made the difference.

In contrast to each sales myth above, I realized:

  • Sales is not inherently manipulative or sleazy. (But the individual salesperson can be, meaning I could still sell well and choose not to manipulate.)

  • Everyone does not hate salespeople. We hate bad salespeople, but we actually love great salespeople.

  • Long term success is not possible unless sales is at the service of the customer, first and foremost.

This new unraveling of my previously held paradigm allowed me to free myself from fears.

But there was still a bigger shift that took place than overcoming fear. It wasn’t really about being better than everyone else, charging my worth, or finding the perfect way to pitch my price.

The change was much more fundamental than that.

It was a mindset shift in which I adopted three beliefs about myself and what I had to offer.

Interestingly, sales and business and marketing is all about psychology. This means the underlying, psychological principles that worked for me will also work for you, regardless of your creative field.

They form the backdrop for how I learned effective, authentic sales — even as a serious introvert — and I guarantee you will start seeing different results if you adopt these beliefs.

Even now I work on retaining this same mindset for my own creative business and have coached others to do the same.

So here are the three beliefs that completely transformed my ability to sell.

Belief #1: My value is never (actually) in question.

I went to a great university and had an incredible experience — socially and academically. Every institution has its flaws, but I very much grew into the person I am today because of the deep friendships and personal mentoring I received during college.

So when I started working in the admissions office, I had complete confidence in the full value of becoming a student and its return on investment.

If a prospective student or parent questioned the value of the school, it didn’t change my mindset or my confidence. At all.

An individual student or parent might question the value of getting their degree there, but I knew firsthand the results they would get if they invested. I simply needed to help them see it as well.

What this means for me now as a creative business owner

When I adopted this belief as a designer, it completely transformed my conversations, just like it did when I worked in admissions.

When my value isn’t in question:

  • I can freely and passionately share the amazing benefits clients will receive if they choose to work with me

  • I don’t stress over price

  • I don’t offer free work / discounts

  • I don’t waste extra time “educating” or convincing clients of my value if they just don’t want to be convinced

  • Rejection isn’t personal, regardless of who is doing the rejecting (me or the potential client)

  • I don’t lose sleep over a “lost” client

  • When a client objects, has questions, or seems unsure of the investment, I can address them directly — with confidence — instead of fear or self-doubt

My question for you…

What would happen in your business if every day felt like this for you?

Belief #2: What I have to offer isn’t for everyone.

Working at the college, my job wasn’t to “sell” every single person and convince them our school was the best. My job was to determine if what we had to offer was best for them.

Essentially, this meant I was constantly evaluating if the student was a fit for the university, and if the university was a fit for them.

By enrolling students who were more likely to thrive at the school, we increased retention rates and “customer” satisfaction.

This is where the counselor part of admissions counseling in — being honest and transparent with each student about what we had to offer, the pros and cons for them personally, and the investment needed.

What this means for me now as a creative business owner

Once again, sales conversations and my mindset completely changed when I realized that the design and strategy services I have to offer aren’t for everyone.

When I know my offer isn’t for everyone:

  • I only work with my ideal clients

  • I know when to say “no”

  • I keep a professional, emotionally detached perspective when talking with potential clients

  • Sales conversations become effortless because I am asking questions and evaluating “mission fit” instead of desperately trying to close the deal

  • I still provide great value to people who are not my ideal clients by properly evaluating their situation and referring them to another business

My question for you…

How would it feel not to chase after every potential client and know that you’re seen as an expert?

Belief #3: Building a relationship is the most important goal.

The college admissions process was a long term game, one that often took several months. This meant building relationships was absolutely necessary. I learned that trust was the foundation to a great relationship, and authenticity was the foundation to trust.

Authenticity, trust, relationship — three things I had never associated with “sales” before.

Yet I learned each one was essential to success, especially when we needed to have difficult or uncomfortable conversations.

What this means for me now as a creative business owner

I will always prefer to have a positive, long term relationship that’s built on trust and authenticity instead of just a sale. It’s simply better business in the long run — for client satisfaction, future sales, referrals, good word-of-mouth, fulfillment in my business, etc.

When I make relationship-building the most important goal:

  • Sales conversations are no longer focused on closing a deal — they’re focused on relationships with real people

  • I release the pressure on myself to “succeed” based on one conversation

  • Clients don’t mind paying me what I ask because they feel understood and confident in my work

  • I focus on the long term instead of short term

  • I can have candid conversations about money and expectations

  • It becomes more obvious what the right thing to do is in a difficult situation

My question for you…

How would it feel to not be afraid of rejection, conflict, or pricing conversations?

That’s it. Integrate these three beliefs into your mindset, and I guarantee sales will become easier.

And if you’re introverted like me or have a long history of terrible sales experiences, don’t be discouraged. Practice changing your mindset every day by meditating on these beliefs and being honest — what’s the most challenging aspect of sales for you?