Squirm-Free Sales Strategies with Annie P. Ruggles

Squirm-Free Sales Strategies with Annie P. Ruggles

“It’s so ironic that we don’t want to ‘hurt people’ and therefore we don’t sell to them, but what happens is we overdeliver for them and then ask what they’ve ever done for us.” - Annie P. Ruggles

Many entrepreneurs avoid selling, and for some the act of selling can be downright scary. If you’re in business, selling is necessary and today’s Brave By Design guest reveals how you can overcome any struggles you may have with sales by implementing the right mindset shifts.  

For almost a decade, Annie P. Ruggles has harnessed her Hulk-like disdain for hard-sales, tacky self-promotion, and overly competitive sleazeballs as inspiration to help people find better ways to grow their small bizzes.  She's guided hundreds of people toward making deeper connections, lasting impressions, and friendlier, more lucrative transactions and conversations.

Annie is the daughter of an award-winning motivational speaker and an always-ahead-of-his-time business strategist, and the granddaughter of a legendary used-car salesman, a perspicacious wordsmith, a singing waiter, and a cafeteria caterer with a raving fan base. (So clearly, she was literally born for this.)

She lives in Chicago with her hobbit husband (who is also in sales), her furkids, and her disdain for deep dish pizza.

As Annie explains, to sell isn’t to be manipulative. Selling our goods and services ( and ultimately ourselves!) to our customers is actually helping them in the best ways possible.

Connect with Annie: https://www.anniepruggles.com/

Remember to hit SUBSCRIBE wherever you listen to podcasts!

What You’ll Hear In This Episode: 

  • The real reason why your business isn’t getting off the ground [2:10]

  • Why marketing alone does not make sales [10:09]

  • How Annie redefines the term “sales” [16:10]

  • Why you are really hurting your clients by not asking for the sale [20:13]

  • Her tips and strategies for being proactive with objections [26:36]

  • Some of the big boundaries that needed in your business [36:52]


Additional Links & Resources:

Annie’s Website & Free Masterclass, How to Make Selling Easy – Without Getting Sleazy

Her Podcast

Annie’s Facebook & Instagram


Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/bravebydesign)

Transcript
Annie Ruggles:

It's so ironic that we don't want to hurt people air quotes, and therefore we don't sell to them. But what happens is we over deliver for them, and then go well what have you ever done for me?

Laura Khalil:

Welcome to brave by design. I'm your host, Laura Khalil. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking bake, exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from thought leaders and pioneers in business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started. Everyone, welcome to this episode of brave by design. When I saw the bio for our guest today, I basically was like in a fit of Glee, because NEP Ruggles is like, seriously, she and I'm looking at her right now on zoom. She is an alternate version of me and you guys know what I look like? I'm the light and Annie's the dark right now. And this is like incredible. So anyway, who is she NEP Ruggles, She is the founder and Dean of the non sleazy sales Academy guys, any I just want to get right into it? Can we just get into it? Because I am so excited that you're here.

Annie Ruggles:

I mean, I have never been introduced before and credited with causing a fit of Glee. So now all my one my bio to be is just NDP Ruggles induces fits of Glee. The End, thanks so much for having me

Laura Khalil:

come out, like people would be crazy not to have you on their show. And we just spent a bunch of, it's true, but we spent a bunch of time catching up before we recorded and I just adore you. And I wanted to have you on because I, you know, I run my own business. We have people who are listening to this, who are either going through a career transition, and considering starting their own business, starting a side hustle, we have people, you know, even potentially asking for raises and stuff like that, or re entering the job market. And the number one thing that I hear from people, when we talk about why their business isn't getting off the ground, is they say, I don't know how to sell and in fact, a level deeper than that. They think it's bad. Yes. And that's why I want you here. So let's start off. I want to hear your story about how did you come up with the non sleazy sales Academy? Did you always love selling?

Annie Ruggles:

Oh, hell no. No, oh, if you want to tell me like if a time machine exists in time, and you decide that you're going to take your opportunity, I don't know why. But to go back in time and tell me that I would be teaching sales, I would probably weep. Like, I would just be like, what are you even doing? Like? Why would you even tell me something so hateful and horrible? My background is in musical theater. I really, I mean, maybe I thought I would be in a musical about sales. But no, but you know, being just out of college with a musical theater degree, it's kind of important to find this thing called a job. And what were you thinking of doing? I was really thinking that I was probably going to act for a while professionally in Chicago, if I could, like hack it. And then probably teach, like theater or voiceover or something that I was doing, or, or teaching jazz dance or something, something in that vein, and I loved that. And that was great. But at the time, I was like, you know, 20 something and little and cute and wide eyed and, and so they put me on reception desk at my job, which was for like the major musical house in Chicago. And I loved being a receptionist because it just felt like improv, like, all the time. And, and they didn't even care although sometimes it was embarrassing, like when the CEO would call but like I would answer the phone and voices just like myself up. I feel like probably in Chicago and they help you like all the time and Annie enough with the void says I'm like, Okay. But I don't know, maybe because I was kooky. They were like, hey, she's memorable. So what happened was, they loved to incite hire, and their marketing assistant laughed and I was sitting there and they're like, let's make her the marketing

Laura Khalil:

lady with the voices. Right?

Annie Ruggles:

She seems well adjusted. Not at all like what? So I okay, so they gave me this marketing job and this team of interns and I'm 20. The interns are older than me. They have a marketing background. I don't and they're like, Hey, could you go order the three sheets and I'm like, What the heck is a three sheet What is going on in my life? And so that job was a miserable trial by fire of marketing. But it turns out years later that I did have some natural talent in it. Because after I bounced around as all 20 somethings with any communication based degree does we like, yeah, pop over here, and we pop over there. And I decided because it was, you know, the sometime in the arts, that I was going to be this brand new thing called a life coach that no one knew what it was. They all thought I was gonna like start coaching professionals boards, or like Dance Moms or something. I'm like,

Laura Khalil:

No, no, no,

Annie Ruggles:

I'm gonna like, have you have happiness in your life? Because I'm plenty and full of it. And happiness, of course, right.

Laura Khalil:

And but this is actually important, because we actually hear stuff like that a lot from life coaches. Yeah. I mean, who are older than 20 that are trying to sell fulfillment. And I love

Annie Ruggles:

that. And I love coaching as an industry. But my at that time, was looking for a foothold in entrepreneurship and coaching, trendy, and I didn't really have a whole lot of skills. And so I was like, oh, I'll be like, not to say that. Amazing, because coaching really is and now all of the coach listeners like hate me. I'm not knocking at y'all. But what I'm saying is,

Laura Khalil:

why did I interrupt you? Yeah. Because the point I was trying to make was not making fun of coaching. The point I was trying to make is that a lot of life coaches, a lot of coaches don't sell towards a tangible outcome that Christ, okay, and so saying, like, oh, like, you're going to be fulfilled, it's like, well, what does that even mean? Right?

Annie Ruggles:

What is the ROI on fulfillment? that's challenging, right? But that's all the more reason. So when I was selling that, many iterations ago, I started getting clients. And I was like, cool, I must be doing something right. But my clients were not interested in me helping them live a fulfilled life. They were other coaches, and new coaches who wanted to know why my coaching business was profitable. And the answer to that was my marketing. So I was like, oh, apparently, that crash course I took where I used to cry in the Broadway in Chicago closet was actually very valuable. Okay. So I was like, Listen, if I'm gonna do this marketing for coaches thing, I'm gifted with obsessive compulsive disorder, I was like, let's let this lead and just deep dive all the way into this rabbit hole of marketing for this new field of coaching. And I did that for many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many years. And I loved it. I loved it so dearly. I took a weird foray into software for a while, but my focus was always on super small businesses. But I realized that the best marketing in the world doesn't get you across the finish line of selling. What across the 55. Selling is asking for the sale. And so I started looking at myself, I always got to start my judgment with myself, which is why I'm like, I'm not picking on anybody who's sales avoidant. I'm not picking on anybody who sells fulfillment. I'm not picking on anybody, because I have done all of the things back afterwards, okay. Like just. But I would watch these clients of mine, who are knock down, drag out brilliant, driven, gorgeous, saintly humans, I would watch these supernova people. Yeah. And then I would watch their businesses, not even just start to fail, I would watch their businesses die, to the point where then they'd be hiring me to, like, go out back in Old Yeller their business with them. And I was like, This is not what I want for my life. Why is this happening? Why are some people killing it in this industry, and others, who are so talented are floundering? And the answer that I found was sales avoidance that we're not making that app because of the reasons that you said at the very beginning, we either don't know how, or we've absorbed enough from the culture to equate it with manipulation. And so again, I was like, Listen, I gotta figure out this sales thing because I'm not going to keep taking money on copywriting and branding and all these other things, if my clients are not going to succeed, so I started diagnosing sales avoidance and myself. Then I looked at my clients saw it in them and I said, Okay, I'm going to spend the next year and a half learning everything I can about how to sell with ethics and integrity. First, to remove all this leads from selling but most importantly, how to re educate people about what selling is and what selling isn't. And that was true. 29 T, okay, early, I think January 2019. And now we're recording this in early February 2021.

Laura Khalil:

I want you to go back to something you said, because I started screaming. So I want to make sure. So let's just talk about this briefly, because this is, quite honestly, also been when I learned that marketing does not make sales. I like I come from a marketing background, I was doing brand marketing for years. I'm like, I can market the out of myself. Mm hmm. But then I was like, it's not translating to sales. So I have experienced that personally. Yeah, tell us. Why is that? Why do? Where do we go wrong, because there's so much misinformation that people seem to think, oh, the doors will open, and people will just, they'll hear about me, and they'll just run in is that what happened? What happens?

Annie Ruggles:

So one of the things that is really jammed down the throats of marketers and people who need to market is the concept of no like trust. And I love this concept. But it's frickin incomplete. And that's the problem for heart centered business owners, or this is the same thing for people in corporate environments representing stuff they really love. This is not just entrepreneurs. But for people that want to share what they see as an inherent gift or talent in themselves with the world, we tend to be very precious about that. Right? Because it's a part of us. These are people that refer to their job, or their businesses as their baby, this is their mission. This is their calling, this is their purpose. They're using capital letters here, capital P in purpose, right. Because of that, we tend to be capital letter P very Lord of the Rings precious about these elements of ourselves. Okay, so what feels good, is telling people about these aspects of ourselves, and how we can help other people. If that feels juicy. That feels sexy, we love that we love standing on the corner and going Let me help you. Please, please, please let me help you. That's awesome. And then we're told along the way, what's the most important thing is when you're doing your shouting on the corner, that you're gathering those people together, you're staying Top of Mind, and you're garnering trust, know, like, trust, absolutely correct. Nothing wrong in that strategy, okay. But then, we take this little curve, into the fact that we've been marketing to the same people and shouting the same song over and over and over and over and over and not getting anywhere. And that is because we're in this bubble, that of our own making our own content, our own network, our own everything. That feels really good and yummy and juicy, because we're telling everybody how we can help. But sales feels like that is not the right energy for this lovely love bubble that I have created for myself and my prospects, and they love me without having to pay me. So why would I ask them to pay me? That'll cheapen everything? Oh, now all of this is subconscious. For the most part, some of it is going to creep up from time to time, right. But if we're sitting there going, whoa, I have created this beautiful home for myself on the internet. And now ask for money. Wait, whoa, no, I can't do that. That's a violation of the code of conduct of my bubble that I have created.

Laura Khalil:

Yep. And I think a lot of people, it's funny, because as you talk, I can hear some of the resistance that I've had in myself. I can hear it. And I think a lot of people listening can really relate to the story of saying, why would I cheapen what I do? Hmm. Or why would I make a commodity out of what I do? Yep. So then they're stuck. And then their business is going nowhere. And you're

Annie Ruggles:

launching a business. It's a non filed nonprofit. You're behaving like a nonprofit. But you're not getting any grants because you're not a nonprofit. So what's happening is, your client is getting ahead because of your blood, your sweat, your tears and your literal sacrifice. You get the joy of looking like a martyr, which is, you know, appealing, joyful. No, it's not. But it feels purposeful. Yeah, right. And it feels noble in a way to some people. But you know, the client goes on and on and on. And then what happens is, after time as our business erodes, as we exhaust ourselves as we burn ourselves out, in over marketing and under selling, and not including ourselves in our own success, we become resentful of the people that we're trying to help and by design, we're not in this to to Turn around and start resenting people. But it's so ironic that we don't want to hurt people air quotes, and therefore we don't sell to them. But what happens is we over deliver for them, and then go, Well, what have you ever done for me? I thought I made you all this money. Why are you still not paying me? Well, cuz I haven't asked you to. Yeah. Right. Like I gave you all of this free content. Why haven't you brought me five referrals? Well, you haven't asked me to. But that resentment creeps in creeps in creeps and creeps in until I wind up alienating a person that I've bent over backwards to help because our relationship doesn't have boundaries. And they can't figure out where I fit in in their life. That is what we have to undo when we include ourselves on our own success. And make that final step which is saying, thanks so much for hanging out in my bubble. I love having you here. You're welcome to stay hanging out in this bubble, download every single episode of the podcast, please send it to the folks you know, however, this is the beginners course. If you're ready for intermediate or advanced, I have more for you. Would you like to know more about that? Yes. Permission granted. Okay. How would you be interested? If I told you that the price for that is this? That's all that selling is? It's saying? All of this gooey goodness that I can give you cost this much. Does that work? Yes or no? There's nothing inherently bad about that.

Laura Khalil:

Right? Absolutely. So when you're dealing with clients who have this kind of resistance, where do you start them off? What do you advise for someone who's just trying to crack this nut?

Annie Ruggles:

You need to redefine what selling is and what selling isn't. And you need first of all, to practice some big time self forgiveness, because if you think that sales is slimy, sleazy, nasty, manipulative, whatever, guess what, you're right, because you've been sold too terribly in the past. And no one can take that away from you. And no one can argue that we have all been swindled, we have all been lied to we have all been taken advantage of every single one of us. And also in pop culture. It is constantly reinforced, that salesmen are

Laura Khalil:

Yeah,

Annie Ruggles:

grifters for lack of a different term, right? Like, we're always in it for ourselves. And so yes, okay, if you don't want to bring that into your business, because it seems like it's energetically misaligned, you are correct. But the thing is, that's not selling. That is manipulation and manipulation alone for profit. That is greed. Yeah, Tails is not the synonym of greed. Nor is it the mechanism toward achieving greed. As a definition. It's not selling is saying, I would like to be compensated, in exchange for what I am giving you based on a variety of factors, years of experience, and what's going to happen in the industry and beyond. That is what selling really is. So when you hear someone say, I'm allergic to sales, no, you're allergic to all the times that jerks made you buy stuff that weren't right for you. You're not allergic to selling. The next thing is to realize that if you are worried about hurting someone by selling to them if you're worried about cheapening relationship, cheapening your value, cheapening your reputation, remember that you can lead with ethics and integrity in the sale to buck that industry trend. That is not the only way to sell and you can sell in the exact opposite way. But, but if you do not start including yourself in your recipe, if you do not start saying, hey, I need this amount of money in exchange for that. I'm sorry that money is the currency of this planet. I wish it wasn't. I teach all the currencies, I ask people for energy, I ask people for time. Those mean a lot more to me than money does in most situations, but I can't pay my mortgage with frickin praise and podcast Bowsher exposure, right? Like all artists have been told a million times. Oh, well, exposure. Oh, well, someone's always gonna come listen to this thing. Great, cool. Just like my friends don't necessarily understand what it is I do. My frickin bank is not going to be super thrilled when I say Listen, I know I'm behind on the bills this month. But the exciting news is that I have 436 followers on clubhouse. They're gonna be like,

Laura Khalil:

what

Annie Ruggles:

I wish money was not the currency on this earth, but it is and when we're giving out goods and services, and especially services because there's only one of us. We have to have it be reciprocated. That's all that selling is. That's all it is. adds it.

Laura Khalil:

There's a few things you mentioned that I want to point out. The first one is when people when you say to people, hey, this is what I'm doing. Are you interested? You're giving them an opportunity to raise their hand, sell to people who if they don't raise their hand, then they're not the people who are going to buy from you. It's not, that would be a weird situation, you shoving something down someone's throat. But if someone raises their hand and says, Yeah, actually, I'm really interested, tell me more. They're asking to be sold to.

Annie Ruggles:

And therein lies the rub, right? Nobody wants to be the telemarketer that calls during Thanksgiving dinner. That's what we're concerned about. Right? Even the telemarketer that calls during Thanksgiving dinner doesn't want to be the telemarketer the call person, right that poor person Exactly. But what we don't understand is that if you get that permission, and then you drop the ball, you're actually hurting that person, if we're gonna be that black and white, if we're gonna be that old, in a sense, like, Oh, I can't do this, it'll hurt that person, you're hurting that person by denying them. What they're asking you to learn more about, you may not even want them as a client, they may not be able to afford you what you have may be entirely wrong, or they may be a nightmare. Red Flag everywhere client. You don't know that yet. Right. But the way that I rant about this normally is if you decide that it is your life, calling capital C purpose capital P to share your grandma's chocolate cake recipe with the world. You're like, I'm quitting my job in corporate advertising. I'm not going to do that anymore. I'm just going to open a cake cafe that only serves as one thing, which is my grandma's cake. Cool. All right. So you go to 97,000 grocery stores during a pandemic to get the exact right ingredients. Use special order the cake plate from Europe, you get a new camera a ring light for the cake that won't melt the cake. You know, you're doing all these experiments, you're instagramming the cake Grom clubhouse, talking about your whole LinkedIn and Pinterest, okay, you have this big grand opening, you run ads to it, you run ads to it, and you say, Hey, everybody, you're finally gonna get to experience this beautiful, magical, wonderful grandma cake that I keep talking about for years and years and years. You spent all this money and all this time and all this energy telling everybody about this cake, and then everybody comes to your big grand cake opening, your pumping cake smell through the vents. Everyone's so excited. There's giant, you know, holograms of the cakes everywhere. And finally you bring out the cake. Everyone is just like foaming at the mouth, just drooling themselves into oblivion. They're so excited.

Laura Khalil:

I'm drooling. I write the skate. Yes,

Annie Ruggles:

you bring the cake out. It's about the size of a hostess cupcake. And it's in a solid glass box with a lock on it. That is what we do. When we over market and under sell. We say look at this change you can have in your life. Look at this transformation. Look at this experience. Look at this moment. Look at this ROI. Look at this KPI, whatever it may be, look at the transformation possible to you. Look at the passion and experience available to you. Please come and participate in this with me. Never mind. You can't have it. Yeah.

Unknown:

Yeah, that's a great analogy.

Annie Ruggles:

But that's just cake. What if I'm saying what I'm selling is, you know, shamanic soul retrieval. Like I'm telling someone that every single thing in their life that's causing them pain is caused by this rupturing of your very soul and that through guidance, you can get that back together and become whole again. Okay, so I'm so in love with the idea of being Whole Again, I'm so excited about not having this pain anymore. And then the showman that I'm on the phone with goes, Well, you know, I'll give you like, 24 hours to think about it. Because you know what, it's a little bit overpriced, comparatively. And like, I can tell that you really want this so you know, like, do you Okay, here's what we should do. Why don't I give you one full retrieval for free? And then from there, you can write me a testimonial, maybe and then like, maybe tell your friends or you know, I? You know what, I'm sorry. I wasted your time.

Laura Khalil:

And you see this Annie?

Annie Ruggles:

Yeah. Wow. I see it all the time. And it's, it's one of those like, you gotta laugh about it so you don't cry about it situations. Yeah, the saddest and most fascinating things I ever did. Like I stopped watching all true crime and dateline for a while, because I was like, I've got enough drama. Once I started listening to other people's sales calls,

Laura Khalil:

oh.

Annie Ruggles:

And I would hear stuff like that all the time. Oh, man, we get right there. The reports there, the trust is there, the faith is there, in a lot of aspects, the credit card is in the hand. Yeah. And then the person goes. And just find the nearest off ramp out of the conversation out of that client's life. We got to stop being such teases. Because we talk so much about why we do what we do and how we can help others, there is a 1% commitment called crossing the finish line don't 1%. And that is the ask, and that is the 1%. Where we fall down, if we can just say this very simple phrase. And the cost for what I'm offering you today is this number here, if we can just get that sentence out, and then shut our mouth and let the prospect think that we will be mourning a lot less small businesses in 2022, than we do now in 2021.

Laura Khalil:

That is incredible. So there's a couple things you said, well, there's about a million things you said that I find interesting. That's, it's a 30 minute show, whatever. So one thing you said is you get the price out and then you shut up. And I wish people would stop talking. And I think that's really important to just highlight. Here's a question I have for you. And I'm going to get real with you about when people have asked me to coach them. And here's the thing I'm on like a lot of people in this industry, I love money. I'm excited. Like I'm like, hey, let's go I want to I enjoy what wealth can do for myself, and how it can support my community. And that really, is my motivation. If I'm like if I can take money from Peter to pay Paul. Yes, I will do it. Yep, no problem. It's why I worked in corporate and did corporate consulting for years. Because it's like, I can uplift the community with this money. That makes a lot of sense to me. Anyway, that's off topic. My point is, what happens when we are on it. Let's say someone says, okay, I've built up the muscle to ask, I've built up the muscle and say this is the cost, and I'm going to shut up. What do we do with clients at that point? that, well, I may have an objection to the price or may have other objections they bring up like they say, I've talked to my partner about it, or I need to talk to my boss to get this cleared. Or like, let me get back to you. And then you know, it's kind of like you're in a relationship or a bad relationship where you never hear from them again. And then that kind of decreases the confidence of the person who's trying to sell and they're like, Oh, my God, Did I do something wrong? Was was the pitch bad? What's wrong with me? So what do you say to that? What do you say one to handling objections? And to to people or prospective clients who do kind of disappear.

Annie Ruggles:

So okay, first off, you said the magic word like the P word of the day, which for me is objections. I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it.

Laura Khalil:

Wait, Annie, I need to stop you right there. Yeah, because I have to tell you, I just moved into my new house. Yes. And I said, when people asked what my design style was, I said, it's mid century modern meets Pee Wee's Playhouse.

Annie Ruggles:

Thank you.

Unknown:

So thank you feel me?

Annie Ruggles:

Yes, I feel you deeply, deeply in my soul. But yes, the Pee Wee magic word word of the day is objections. If you want an example of non sleazy selling versus sleazy selling the clearest night and day difference example is in how objections are handled. One of the ones you already mentioned was the I need to speak to my spouse objection. That is one of the big three objections of all time, you are going to hear that one all lot, and with good reason. I am a one woman business, I am married. I will still consult my husband for validation and the benefit of letting myself talk and hear myself say it before I make any financial decisions. I don't need Ryan's permission to do things in my own business. But I'm still going to ask a trusted adviser. Yeah, when I am even 1% uncertain now. The typical sales training that you will see even in coaching is Laura. You're an independent woman. What do you need to talk to your husband for Why like you want this? Is it his money? Do you have like a joint account? Like, is it? Is he paying for this? Because like, I thought your business was really successful. And this is for your business? And so like, why would you not? Yeah, my word ties this, like, why do you need to talk to him? How no screw that you don't know their life, you don't know their life. So if someone says to me, I need to talk to my spouse, I say, Okay, how can I help you get that conversation going? Number one, do they want to talk to me themselves? Sometimes, instead of you playing middleman, if you think that they're gonna have questions for me, the easiest thing to do is put them on the phone with me, how do you think that would land on them? Would they prefer that? Or do they want to hear this from you? Then they could pick if they say, hey, I want they want to hear this from me. I say, Well, what does insert name of spouse or significant other or advisor here? What do they value? How will they know if this venture is successful? What information can I load you up with? What evidence what factors so that when you go have this conversation with your whoever, that you have all the information you need to get them to see things accordingly? And by and appropriately it is the right choice? That right there is collaborative, that right that is so collaborative, active, it is not going, Laura, your husband, what does he have to do with any of this? Doesn't he want you to be happy? Like and the other one is money, right? The other one is money, you are gonna get money, objections, sometimes can

Laura Khalil:

afford it. Right? Sometimes you use

Annie Ruggles:

money objections to cover other objections, because we're like, nobody's gonna fight me on this sleazy selling, we'll go execute top that you have on? How much did you pay for that top? How often are you going shopping, you know, a lot of people during COVID are doing a lot more online shopping. I bet. If you stopped buying yourself cute tops, you can afford something actually important, like my coaching program. If you want to sell with integrity to offer a frickin payment plan, have a ladder of services, there's a billion different things you can do. But if you are parroting how you were taught to handle objections, by someone nasty, if you change, nothing else, change that. Look for the proactive way to handle objections because objections are not a sign that you're not selling correctly. objections are a sign that you are selling, interestingly, to a human being who is a complex individual with their own life and needs. Right? So first off, objections are not a red flag, they are a chance to double down on what matters. Find a win, win and be proactive, first and foremost. Now, on the flip to anybody who's like, well, then I have to deal with rejection, or I have to deal with this or that or, you know, right, like, don't show up. It hurts. Yeah, you will live. Keep going. Keep going. But like, again, like I wish that money wasn't the currency on this planet. I wish that rejection didn't suck. I wish reduction didn't suck. I really do. I wish that they just rolled right off of us. But the thing is, every time we get rejected, if we keep the door open for that client, unless we close it, they can come back I hear knows that then go out and refer me to other people, especially financial ones. They can't afford it, but their rich best friend in. So they're like, Damn, I met with this girl the other day. I wish I could have hired her I couldn't. But you should. If you slam the door in your own face after you hear a no. If you have these sleazy tactics, if you have people down and get really desperate about it, or if you're like, well, they didn't email me back within the five minute window that I said, so I'm out. Right? If we don't follow up, if we don't follow through, and if we throw any version of sales, hissy fits, we are killing the potential for that relationship to shift into something else.

Laura Khalil:

That kind of foresight is really critical for people to understand is even if you lose a sale, you don't know what's going to happen. Even if you make a sale, you don't know what's going to happen. They're kind of both leading and unknown directions in some ways. I will say for my speaking business. My biggest referrals have been from people who like I do not personally know. They have just been silently in the wings watching, referring me up or people who have said, I'm sorry, we can't bring you in now. But we're going to keep you on the list or we're going to keep you in mind for a future. Bye. And they do. That's really cool. My mom was a saleswoman. And she always taught me early on in my career, like 20 plus 20 years ago, I was doing magazine ad sales. And she said to me, and you know, I was literally pounding the pavement, like actually walking into businesses trying to sell. And I was terrified of it. And my mom always said to me, she said, Laura, it takes nine noes to get to one, yes. But if you every time you get a no, you just mark that? No, because every no is getting you closer to the Yes. And it really helped change. It is disappointing when people don't want to work with you. Absolutely. But it's also creating the space for the right client to come in for the right company to come in. And that's what I find really exciting. Yeah, it's like, okay, you don't want to do it. That's okay. We're creating space for the right person to move through.

Annie Ruggles:

But what if you could learn from those nine noes? What if you could refine your approach? What if you could listen really deeply and intently to the mark you didn't necessarily hit? What if you gather the language that they use that was resonant with them and include that in your next pitch? What if your nine noes can inform your pitch so beautifully, that you get to that one, yes, faster, and better and more in keeping with who you truly are. And also, what if those nine noes can become brand evangelists for you, and go out into the world and say, hey, there's something or someone you need to know about. And I'd like to tell you about it. Not everybody will be not everybody is peaches and cream, not everybody is a wonderful client potential or a generous prospects that will go out into the world and advocate for you. Not everybody will. But if you play your hand, right, and by that, I mean, if you show up in the version of yourself, that will best showcase who you truly are as a service provider, or maker or creator or whatever, if you show up in that vein, and if you are generous, if you are boundary read, and if you are professional. And if you are clear. And if you show grace and gratitude, they will go out into the world, and they will bring business back to you. Even if you got to know that relationship does not have to stop at the No, ever.

Laura Khalil:

You mentioned boundaries a couple of times. And I would love to under so sometimes when I think of boundaries, and I teach about boundaries, we're talking about more in relation. Well, I'm talking about, you know, relationships to people like relationships to your mother relationships to your family, your mother in law, when we're talking about boundaries as they pertain to your business, your sales cycle. What do you mean by that? And what kind of boundaries?

Annie Ruggles:

Should we be thinking about setting, I especially want to call out to people that are in career transition, or are thinking about starting a new entrepreneurial side, hustle or endeavor. This is when this is going to be super important. At the beginning of something new, there is a little bit of acquired desperation, which is natural, it's new, it's a grand opening, you want to get as many people there as possible. You have no idea what's going to work, you're doing spray and pray marketing and just you know, living on a prayer, okay, and that's natural, and that's okay. But what happens is, when we're trying to gather our first clients to us when we're trying to get our first testimonials, when we're trying to prove value for the first time, what tends to happen is we let our boundaries get loosey goosey with stuff like discounting. comping offering products that are not part of your initial scope. Delivering things on evenings or weekends, working 24 hours a day, skimping on family time or private time or personal time. A lot of that tends to go out the window because we're so fixated on blowing those first minds that will say Well, I'm not going to do this in the future. But for you for this one time while I'm getting established, I'm gonna throw you know my boundaries and my expectations and my rates and my contracts and my everything out the window and say yes, let's make a deal right now. The thing is, though, we don't often enough revisit what has gotten grandfathered in from those early times. And so we still may be operating in a business that is not boundaried enough to protect your number one asset which is yourself.

Laura Khalil:

I love that. I think that is absolutely brilliant and I think a lot of people are going to relate to that. Because when you are trying to get started, you're just trying to figure out sometimes what's going to work and what people want and what's going to stick. And that's, by the way, that's normal. Because for people listening, it's normal to try things out. Just try some stuff, see what works. They don't want that, okay? Try something else. Or try different people. You know, one thing, when I started my first business in 2013, I was doing marketing consulting. And when I kicked off, I just been laid off. And I said, To hell with the corporate world, I'm going to figure this out. I spent probably for the first couple of months, about 50% of my time doing business development, really just pounding the pavement. So I'd love any for you to give the audience a sense, because sometimes when people break out work, especially in service based businesses, they never account for the time it takes to get new business. Oh, Lord.

Annie Ruggles:

I know that pain, so well. Yeah, it's like magical math. It's like, well, if I want to sell 10, then I need to talk to 100 people, or 1000 people or whatever. It's kind of that like fake math of like, the time of acquisition per client shouldn't really be that long. I have a half hour consultation call. So it's, like 15 minutes for email. 30 minutes for consultation. Okay, so my cost of acquisition timewise is about 45 minutes, y'all. Oh, my God, just, here's the third truth, what was the first one like I can't change that currency, like money is the currency that rejects and sucks. Everything takes so much longer than you think. Just know that that's not you. That is not a personal failing, that takes a long time. But the thing is, the truth of brand impressions and touch points is very frickin real. There is a tenacity element here, and there is a consistency element here. So the thing that I'm gonna say to cut that curve down is consistency, consistency, consistency, cuz it's gonna take a long time, it's going to take a long freakin time. And when you do something consistently, it will make that time feel even longer, because you're doing the same things over and over and over. But if you only say your sales pitch one time, if you only invite people onto your concept, call one time, if you only show up at a networking event, one time, you're not going to get anywhere, it's going to take 15 times longer, you need to build into the time that you do have consistent ways to get in front of your market from different angles, over and over, and over and over and over again, you got to invest the time to save the time.

Laura Khalil:

So any, I love that you have to invest the time to save the time. For people when they think about BD. Do you tell them hey, I recommend you spend an hour a day on trying things to reach out? Or do you recommend a percentage of time or anything like that? Ah,

Annie Ruggles:

it really depends on where they are in their business. And like because there's so many seasonal and audience based things on top of that, but for me for my own business, which I can speak to, yeah, every single day that I'm working, because there's a boundary, every single day for Annie used to be seven, every single day for Annie now is like four or five, right? Every single day that I am working. I am making sure that I am increasing my visibility. And every day that I am working, I'm making sure that the processes of my business are pointing to being purchasable if every day I make sure that the mechanics are working enough that my buy buttons work that my ads are running that my emails are going out that the wheels are turning correctly that the cogs of the machine are doing their job. Yeah. Every day, I need to make sure that I am purchasable, then the only thing that I really need to make sure I do every single day is stay visible. And I do that through following up on my emails, working on my podcast being on your podcast, responding to the things I post on social media that people comment on. Like that's the other frickin thing is like we put stuff out on social, we blow minds people respond to us and then we just leave them hanging. That's the cake all over again. Don't just take time to socially listen as much as you post right so get in there. have conversations if you can, habitual eyes, if you can ritualize being more visible every day, which may be more verbal doesn't necessarily have to be your face. But if you can become exponentially more visible everyday what you will just by showing up every day, then you're on the path to profit.

Laura Khalil:

And you said something really important. You have the systems working in the background that enable people to buy. Mm hmm. So for people who are listening, you don't need to have a podcast, you don't need to have an every social channel, you don't need to have a blog, you don't need to do for, you know, pick something you want to do. And just keep doing it, but then have those systems in place in the background. And that's really, I think, the key to growth and I think that's where actually most service providers really go wrong, is they don't have that, yo Yeah,

Annie Ruggles:

cuz it's fun systems are fun. Like, you know, they're not fun, but you know what, they save you so much time that you can go do fun stuff that's actually fun. And not just air quotes. Work fun.

Laura Khalil:

Exactly. Okay, so we could talk for about, I don't know, a billion more hours in like

Annie Ruggles:

20 more hours probably.

Laura Khalil:

Yeah, this has been such a pleasure. I'm sure that the audience is really excited to understand how they can learn more about you, how they can also have non sleazy sales systems and sort of have a reckoning with those self limiting beliefs we have around sales so how they learn more about you.

Annie Ruggles:

So I have a free masterclass called Making selling easy without getting sleazy. If you are used to feeling nauseous, anxious, overwhelmed or gross when you sell start there. It's about 45 minutes. It's got actionable tips on how you handle yeses knows not now as maybes. But it's also got a lot of a mindset pieces to help you do those reframes. Now, whether or not you're sales avoidant, if you are running a small business of any kind, or you're about to take the entrepreneurial leap. I hope you'll also listen to my podcast to legitimate to quit, instantly actionable small business strategies with a pop culture spin. Every week, I pulled together some frickin brilliant whip smart geniuses have them nerd out about their zone of genius. But then we also pull lessons from some of their favorite pieces of pop culture. So that actionable feedback every single week, check out the show. But before you get on another sales call with that pit in your stomach, go check out my masterclass. It's exactly designed to get you out of that feeling.

Laura Khalil:

Annie, thank you so much for joining us on brave by design.

Annie Ruggles:

Oh my gosh, it's been a complete pleasure.

Laura Khalil:

I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date. And I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode. Please leave a review and comment on Apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You can find me on LinkedIn and I'm also on Instagram at force of badassery. All that information will be available in the show notes. Until next time, stay brave