Integrative Productivity Coach Angela Kristen Taylor joins us for a conversation on sales aversion, where we dive into the reasons behind why we don't reach out to prospective clients to generate leads and attract clients.
In this episode, Angela dives into the top roadblocks stopping us from reaching out for leads, including what we believe about our offerings, ourselves, and about how people will receive us.
As an Integrative Productivity Coach, writer and speaker, Angela serves as a transformational catalyst to business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals. Angela’s signature method, Productive Flow, integrates emotion, energy, time and focus to help clients create natural productive flow and achieve higher levels of success in business and more importantly, in life.
Mentioned in this Episode:
JACOB RATLIFF: Hello, and welcome to the Client Attractor Show, where we talk about concrete tactics and strategies that you can use to attract your dream clients. I'm really excited today because we have Integrated Productivity Coach Angela Kristen Taylor here today for a conversation on sales aversion, and as an Integrative Productivity Coach, writer and speaker, Angela serves as a really transformational catalyst for business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals. Her signature method product Productive Flow integrates emotion, energy, time, and focus to help clients create natural, productive flow and achieve higher levels of success in business and, more importantly, life. Angela, I am thrilled to have you here today, and I'm really excited about the conversation that we're about to have.
ANGELA KRISTEN TAYLOR: No, thank you, Jacob.I'm excited about having this one too. It's gonna be good.
JR: Yeah, so let's go ahead and dive in. You're here today to talk with us about sales aversion. Let's go ahead and just start with what do we mean by that? What is sales aversion in the first place?
AKT: Yeah, it's an interesting concept. Sales aversion really is just being averse to reaching out and making sales. That’s the concrete definition, but it's interesting because I actually have been in commission-based sales since I was 14, and I never realized that I had sales aversion. I didn't know. I thought, Well, I'm pretty good at sales. If I get on a call with somebody, like, 90% conversion rate. I'm like, That's pretty good, right? I never had any trouble selling at the mall, you know, commission-based sales at the mall when I was a kid. That worked out well, and I never had issues there.
I was watching a video on sales aversion, thinking, this will be a great fit for my clients, and I'll learn more about sales aversion because, of course, I don't have that. And what was interesting was that, as I was watching the video, I realized, I do have that; I have sales aversion. How could I possibly have sales aversion with all these years and years of sales experience? And really, what came to me was that we have this whatever it is that we that we offer, right, a product or service, and putting it out there to someone else is a combination of two different things. There’s a belief in ourselves and what we offer, but then there's also the belief in how other people perceive who we are and what we have to offer. Does that make sense?
JR: Oh, absolutely. Yes.
AKT: So I was watching this video, and it was Eric Edmeades—I think I'm pronouncing that right. It was a Mindvalley video, and he's talking about sales aversion. He was talking about how this friend of his was always trying to convert him religiously, and he was telling his friend, “Don't do this. You don't have to do this. I'm not converting to your religion. I'm happy where I'm at.” And his friend said, “If you think that I can do that, then there are two things that you don't understand about me. One is that I take my religion literally, which means that if you don't do what I'm asking you to do, then I believe that you're going to be punished for that, and I don't want to see that happen to you. The second thing is that I truly do care about you; therefore, I don't want to see that happen to you.”
AKT: While this had nothing to do with him selling anything in particular—it was just the conversion of religion—he used it as an example in his talk about how we feel about what we offer, and how we feel about the people we're offering it to. And that just brought up this whole thing for me because I realized that, while I believed very much in my clients who I wanted to serve, who I wanted to help, and how I helped them, I didn't believe that other people believed that I could help them. Does that make sense?
JR: It does, yeah. 100%
AKT: I shut that video off and I thought, Hmm, there's a belief here that I need to reframe, and what is that belief? And I realized that my beliefs that I had were that I can't change people, that people don't believe what I believe, and that people don't don't want to change. Those were the beliefs that I had. Then, I thought, Hmm, well, where did that belief come from? And I realized that, you know, my parents, they're inflexible. They thought of me always as a kid, as a problem to fix, and they were always unwilling to see things from my perspective or really believe me to be someone to learn from. I thought, Wow, well, that was interesting, because that childhood experience still persists today. I mean, I'm certified as a health coach, as one of the things that I pull into Integrative Productivity, and my dad is a type 2 diabetic that absolutely refuses to follow any of my advice because I don't know what I'm talking about, right?
AKT: I asked myself, “Okay, well, why does that persist? Here I am, and I'm an adult. I'm grown. I have grown children. Why is it that something that he said would still bother me?” and I realized that they don't value or believe in my knowledge or experience; they still see me as that child who was their problem to fix, so I couldn't possibly fix any of their problems. I was their problem to fix. That just kept persisting, that voice inside, saying, “This is what other people think of you.” It would stop me even though I believed that everything that I offered was really great, and I knew that I could change lives; I’d seen it.
AKT: It was something that I would question when I would reach out to somebody. I'd reach out to somebody or think about reaching out to them, and I would think, Oh, but they might see me as my parents see me. That's not my conscious voice, but my subconscious would reach out and do this thing where it was like, “No, they don't need you. They probably don't need you. They probably don't need your help.” And I realized that it was that little subconscious act that was happening in my head that was really stopping me from just reaching out to people who could have needed my help, who could have used it. I didn't know and I didn't think to ask because, in my subconscious mind, they're going to feel the same way your parents feel. There's always this little childhood factor that feeds into it.
Then I thought, Where else? Where else does this show up? And I realized that I hold people at arm's length often because if I get close enough, they might believe that same thing about me. Then, someone who may have believed in me once would stop doing so and begin seeing me as a problem. I thought, Oh, my goodness, I bet that's affecting my business. I realized that connection where I don't reach out to people who would need me because, deep down, I didn't believe that anyone really wanted what I had to offer.
AKT: Then I thought, How can I reframe this? How can I make this different? How can I reframe that belief? And I realized when I was writing that down, I said, “I've already successfully helped hundreds of people, I've been a coach for 20 years, and what I do works for me. It works for countless others, and the people that I have served, they're all grateful for me being in their lives, and they've experienced profound transformation. Plus, I'm always researching, studying, improving upon my knowledge, so that I can continue to grow and support others in new and better ways.” That was when it was like, you just feel like there's something different. There's a new mindset; there's a new perspective there.
AKT: So, the aversion to sales, I realized it wasn't that I was trying to not sell to people. It was just I had a belief in there that they were going to feel for me the way my parents felt for me as a child, and that that would come across somehow. I had to really look at myself and what I was doing, and I realized I’m really stopping myself from being this person that other people really truly need. I'm here and I have the ability to help; I have the ability to create transformation for people.
AKT: So if I was choosing not to reach out because I was worried about what they might think or what they might say, what they might feel about me reaching out, then what was going to happen was that I was going to get to a point where I wasn't going to be able to help anybody. And that's not where I wanted to be. I wanted to be the person that was putting myself out there specifically for the purpose of being able to reach those people who needed it, making that impact, helping them make that transformation.If I wasn't showing up because I had a fear about selling to someone, then I wasn't showing up for the people that I was actually in this business to begin with for.
JR: Yeah. Thank you for that. It sounds like there was this intense process, once you discovered that you had this sales aversion, of identifying those beliefs that were causing this aversion in the first place, and working to reframe them, and moving forward from that place of these new beliefs. I have personally struggled with sales aversion as well, and one of the things I tried in retrospect in an effort to avoid doing that work, and identifying those beliefs, and reframing them is this idea of, “I'll just bite the bullet. I'll just grin and bear it. I'll make myself do it.”
JR: When I did that, it didn't really work out that well for me. I made some sales, but I didn't feel good about it, and I found myself in this place of “I'm reaching out to this person, and I'm kind of, like you said, looking for any excuse not to,” and then when I do reach out, it's “Please make them not be interested in talking with me.” I'm interested specifically to hear if you have experienced or made yourself do the thing, where you just bite the bullet, grin and bear it, force yourself to do it anyway, and what that experience was like for you.
AKT: Yeah, you know, it depends on what it was that I was doing in that bite-the-bullet moment. One thing that I've found works really well for me is, when I'm speaking publicly, when I'm just having a conversation, when it's something that's natural—podcasting, speaking, doing an event with someone or with a group of people or for a group of people, that to me never felt like sales; it felt like “Well, I’m just spreading my message.” Those were the opportunities where I saw the most sales and sales conversions. When I would actually go and do direct reachout, I felt like I had such a hard time with it, and it was interesting because the older I've gotten, the more it was a problem.
AKT: Here’s what I found was the big kicker for me: when I was a kid in high school and I worked at the mall, people showed up, and I knew how to start a conversation with people. I knew how to take a conversation with someone that I'd never seen before, never met before, and within 20 minutes, they were leaving the store with a bag in their hand, feeling like they had a new best friend, and so did I. That I could do no problem, and it wasn't something I was forcing, wasn't something I was doing as a trick or a facade or anything. It was just how I was; it was just naturally me, and a lot of clients that came in and out of the store would come back and ask for me because of that. I had a natural ability to build rapport with people and make friends.
AKT: But when I started my adult career, I started in real estate, and as a real estate agent, you don't have anybody walking into a store, asking for you. It's a very different situation. All of a sudden, I had to reach out and connect with people and offer my services that they may or may not have known about. I started—they didn't have training back then for real estate agents like they do now—just calling For Sale By Owners basically.
AKT: I would call For Sale By Owners, and I would talk to them, and they'd want to hang up on me, and if they hung up on me, I'd call them back and I'd say, “I'm sorry, we must have gotten disconnected,” and they’d say, “No, I hung up on you.” I say, “Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. What did I do wrong? Why would you do that?” and they say, “Well, I'm having a bad day. Realtors keep calling me, driving me crazy.” I would say to them, “I'm really sorry to hear that. I'm sure you do get a lot of calls, and I bet everybody's trying to list your house, right?” and they say, “Yeah, that's exactly what's happening.”
AKT: I'm like, “Well, I actually respect what you're doing, a for-sale-by-owner, and I just wanted to see if I could come by, preview your house, and get an idea for the feel of it so that, if I'm working with a buyer that it's a good fit for, I can do a match. So if you'd be interested in that, I'd be happy to help you, and meanwhile, I can drop off samples of blank contracts and things like that that you could use. And if you ever need any help filling them out when you find a buyer, I'd be happy to help you with that.” They're like, “Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much!” and I’m like, “Yeah, sure!”
AKT: So I just kind of came across it very nonchalantly, like, “Hey, I'm not trying to sell your house. I just want to help you,” and what would happen is they would either use me eventually to sell their house because I actually stayed in touch with them and helped them, or I had this one guy who did sell his house on his own, and he sent a check for $100 to the brokerage with a little note about how helpful I was. Well, that's nice, you know, that kind of stuff. Still, I felt like I could handle that. That was easy, and I didn't mind the rejection; it wasn't a problem.
AKT: But I feel like as I got older and my business became more personal to me, to my own challenges and how I overcame them, that my business became very tied into my personal story. And as that happened, I became more and more resistant to the idea of making a sale, where I was reaching out to someone and saying, “Hey, this is my story. Is the story yours too?” because it felt like an awkward conversation to have, whereas with speaking, it was kind of like high school with the store, like people would just show up and say, “Hey, I like you. I want to work with you.” and I'm like, “Cool, let's do it.”
AKT: This is just a very different situation. So I think for me, the biting-the-bullet has come in many different forms. When it comes to reaching out, for instance, to people on LinkedIn, I'm very averse to that simply because of the fact that I get so many messages on LinkedIn, and they're terrible. I got one today that said, “We saw your website on productivesouls.org, and I'm like, that's not even my website anymore. That was my website, like two years ago; I have a whole new website, a new domain. You haven't seen that site because I pulled it. I don't even own the domain. But I didn't say anything; I was just sort of thinking.
AKT: That's one of the reasons I'm so excited about your class coming up for LinkedIn because I definitely want to hear more about what you're doing with it and how you're doing it, because I want to take advantage of those things. I feel like I'm in learning mode right now, when it comes to reaching out to people in a way that it's not them coming to me, but it's me going to them. I think it's a very important space to utilize as…I want to say marketing, but it's really not. I don't feel like it's marketing. I feel like it's creating a direct connection with another human soul who either needs what you have to offer or knows someone who does.
AKT: It’s not so much a sale in the traditional sense that we would think that, because I think when we think of sales we think of pushing something that somebody doesn't want on someone who doesn't need it, but in reality, it's all matchmaking. It's just connecting with someone who needs something and saying, “Well, I know how to fix that leak. You need to fix that; I know how to fix that. Let's work together.” And it's either a personality fit or it's not a personality fit, but it's not a question of “You’re the you're the the guy that lives in Canada, and I'm going to sell you an ice cube.” No, it's not like that. I think that when it comes to biting the bullet, it just depends on the situation and where I've been in my life and what I was doing.
JR: In my own journey with sales aversion, it really hits home, what you said about when what you're selling or what you're offering is so tied into your own story and your own identity, it becomes this reflection on who you are as a person, not just what it is you're offering. Looking back, say, three or even just two years ago, my conversion rate of prospects into clients was abysmal. Actually, a lot of people would say it was good or average, but it was about 20-25%, which I don't see as great, personally, so I had to take a hard look at “How am I actually showing up for these people that I'm trying to serve, that I am serving just by getting on an initial call with them?”
JR: The problem that I started to see was “I'm showing up, but I'm pushing a product or a program or an offer, rather than just showing up as myself and focusing on connecting.” I talk about this specific piece of advice a lot, but one of my biggest business mentors is actually my grandfather, who has had a really illustrious career as a business consultant, and a big part of that was teaching sales. He always said, and still says today, that when you're on a call with a prospect, the first person to mention a product or a service or an offer loses because you want to just put the focus on that connection piece of things. And when I started to make that shift—I committed to not even mentioning a product or a service or anything on an initial call with the client—and just focused on that relationship-building thing, it didn't just improve my conversion rate; I also enjoyed it a lot more.
AKT: Yeah, right?
JR: It wasn't this part of me where I was just absolutely avoiding it and was just like, “Oh, gosh. I have another sales call today. Geez.” I'm curious to hear about where you are now with all this, because it sounds like you've done a lot of really intentional, great work about your own sales aversion. Where are you now with that compared to, say, 2…3…5 years ago?
AKT: What I realized about what you're saying about connecting with someone on a call is that, first and foremost, my business is not about me. It's not about me at all. It started out being about me because, when I was coaching people in their productivity, that was me solving my own productivity problem first. Then I was saying, “Okay, well, I know how to fix this, so now I can help other people fix it.” I was doing it for clients when I wasn't working as a coach yet. Then, when I figured out this is something called coaching, and I can make money from this, I thought, Wow, that's doing something I really enjoy and love, and I didn't realize I can make money from that. Yay. But it was about me because it was about me proving my concept and saying, “Yes, this worked for me, but it works for other people, too.”
AKT: I realized that there's a huge shift that happened somewhere along the line, and I had to catch up to that and realize that the business wasn't about me anymore. It was about the people that I serve, the people that I help. It was about their transformation and what they were experiencing. When I really dove into that, it changed everything in my business. It changed how I spoke about my business; it changed how I promoted my business. All of a sudden, things like creating content or putting together a program or something became effortless and something that I didn't have to think about. I knew what my clients were struggling with, so I could just turn on a camera at any given time and say, “Today, we're talking about this because I know you guys struggle with this, and here's what happened when I did it. Here's what happened when this client did it.”
AKT: That just makes all the difference. It takes away all the fear because there shouldn't be any fear of you helping someone with solving a problem. It doesn't matter what you do or how you do it; you're solving a problem. I mean, if you sell strollers, and there's somebody out there that's getting ready to have a kid and they need a stroller, well, guess what? You are solving their problem. It doesn't matter what you do; you're solving a problem. When we make it about who we're solving that problem for, the fear just dissipates; it just goes away. You just make it about them, not about you.
JR: Yeah, that is absolutely massive. I've had a very similar experience, and at first, my ego was fighting me every step of the way. It was saying, “It should be about you. We want it to be about you. Everything needs to be about Jacob.” That was a massive struggle for me because I was like, “What do you mean? I started this business, but it's not about me? It’d better be about me!” I think that is massively important, though. For myself and for a lot of people listening as well, that might be a hard pill to swallow, in all honesty.
AKT: Yeah, and what else is interesting is that, when you're working with people, coaches, or whoever, the natural training that is given is “You’ve got to set your goals,” and, “What's your big why?” and all of this stuff. And the goals are about you, right? The goals are about you, what you want, what you want your lifestyle to be, what kind of freedom or security that we want to have and have for our families, and then we get that mixed up with the purpose for the problem that we're solving. I remember way back before I started coaching, thinking I needed to earn a certain amount of money so that I could have a certain type of house or a certain type of car, and it was about those things because that's what they told you to put on your vision board.
JR: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
AKT: I realized—it actually took me six years of being a single mom—and I remember being at a point where I was struggling so badly financially. At the time, I had only coached realtors coming from the real estate industry as a realtor myself at one point. And the real estate market had completely tanked. It was 2006, well, 2005 to 2011, that six year pattern there, so realtors were just dropping out of the business like crazy. And people that I had coached, that were very successful realtors, were all of a sudden getting jobs at Starbucks and Target.
AKT: I was going, “Oh, my gosh. What am I going to do?” I remember just sitting on the floor of the shower, crying, and I had water running. I didn't want my kids to hear me because they were little. They were five and two when I got divorced. I didn't want them to hear, so I was just crying on the floor of the shower and thinking, “What am I going to do? How am I going to make ends meet? How am I going to make this work? How do I keep my business? Do I go get a job? I don't know what to do.” I was just falling apart, and I thought I didn't have anybody to help me. Like, I had no one, and that's when I realized that I was going to have to be the one to pick myself up off of that floor. I didn't want anybody else to have to do that, and that, for me, is when it became about them instead of about me.
JR: Thank you so much for sharing that. I think one of the most valuable things we can do, not not just as entrepreneurs but as humans as well, is to be vulnerable and to share our stories. I think we, myself included, don't do that nearly enough, so I'm really, really grateful to you for sharing that. There's a lot more to this conversation, of course, and we are going to be wrapping up here in the next few minutes, so I'm curious: could you talk a little bit more about you, the message that you are spreading today, who you're helping today, and how, if people listening want to connect with you, how can they do that?
Yeah, sure. So Integrative Productivity Coaching is something that I made up…
JR: All the best things are!
AKT: …something I created. What happened was I realized as a productivity coach that other people that were coaching others in productivity—business productivity, specifically—that they were very type A, organized, efficient people, like, they had never had a productivity problem. I was seeing these people flunking out of productivity programs left and right, and I thought, Why is that? They were setting reward- and punishment-based goals, and I realized that doesn't work for people like me. And the reason that it doesn't work is because we're so deep into our own childhood trauma, usually. It doesn't have to be an abuse; that just means somebody said the wrong thing to us, we took it the wrong way, and it did not go well. Our subconscious…
JR: …turned that into a belief that you carry with you.
AKT: Yeah, exactly, exactly. So we're so deep into this childhood trauma that if there's a reward or a punishment, we'll tell ourselves we deserve the punishment, not the reward, and we'll self-sabotage, so that's not going to work. So I started to think, Okay, well, what will work? and it was basically these four different pieces: emotion, energy, time and focus. You had to start with focus because you had to know where you were going and how you were going to get there, why you wanted to be there in the first place. Then, you needed to figure out what you wanted your day to actually look like, how you wanted to spend your time, because how we spend our time is what our life equates to. Our life is not something way out in the future; it’s happening right now. How do you want it to feel? What do you want it to look like? What do you want to be doing?
AKT: Then, how do I get the energy to actually go out and do those things? That's why I got my health coaching certification; I realized that nutrition and exercise were a big part of our gut health, and that our gut health was affecting our emotional state, and that our emotions—from just childhood trauma and also what we were creating based on how well we were sleeping, or what we were eating, and how we were moving our body, and our stress levels and things like that—it all fed into how we felt. So there was a cycle that was happening in which if we didn't feel right, we didn't feel well, then we would do all these things to crash our energy, like eat crappy food or not decide not to move our body, just stay in bed or lounge on the sofa and binge-watch NetFlix.
AKT: Then, that would create this lack of motivation, this lack of desire for us to actually go out and do the things that were going to make us successful. I took these four elements of productivity, as I call them, and put them together and said, “We have to pull all four of these together to actually get our productivity under control. It's not just time management or focus. It's all of these things.” That’s why I call it integrative, because it's more of a mind-body approach to doing the things that are going to make you successful in your business. I work with entrepreneurs, I work with sales professionals, and we work on improving those four elements so that they can go out and do what they're here to do in the world. That's pretty much it!
JR: Yeah, yeah, thank you for that. As you're talking through all this, I'm thinking, Wow, like, where were you a year ago when I was in the lowest of the low, really struggling with my own product?
AKT: I was joining your group on Facebook.
JR: And over the past year, as you're talking to something, I’m thinking about how I've had to incorporate each of these things in my own journey and how my journey would have probably been a lot shorter if I had a little bit of guidance along the way.
AKT: I tell people it took me 20 years to come up with all of this, and that we go through a four-month process in my program. 20 years or four months, right?
JR: When you have that right guidance. Exactly. I'd love for you to tell us just real quickly before we end this episode where people can find you online to connect with you.
AKT: The easiest way is to go to productiveflow.com. That's easy-peasy. It points to my mind domain, which is Angela Kristen Taylor. productiveflow.com will take you right there, and if they'd like, they're welcome to schedule a productivity breakthrough session with me. I'm sure you'll put the link in the show notes and things like that, but they're welcome to do that. That's 30 minutes one-to-one with me, and I have a lot of questions that I ask before that appointment gets set in the booking, but it gives me all the information so that we can get right to the root of their issue, usually, within about five-to-10 minutes.
JR: That's pretty impressive. Yeah, I will put a link to your website, into the productivity breakthrough session, down in the show notes.
JR: Thank you so, so much for joining me for this episode today. I've really, really enjoyed the conversation that we've had.
AKT: No, likewise. Thank you so much, Jacob, for having me here.
JR: Of course, and thank everyone for listening to this episode of the Client Attractor Show. Thank you so much, and I will see you for the next episode. Take care.