Episode #293: The One About Sales
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 293 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m talking about sales. On to the episode.
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Hey, welcome to Episode 293 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. I’m your host, Taylor Bradford. I so appreciate you listening to this episode – and any episode sitting in the back catalogue. There are 292 additional episodes. We’re getting super close to that 300 mark. And I’ll just keep saying it every time I hit one of these achievements. I’m like, Holy moly, this is nuts. This is nuts. But I so appreciate you for listening. I so appreciate you for being a part of the Boss Girl Creative community.
If you would like to get a text message from me, feel free to sign up for my text community. All you got to do is say “Hey, Taylor,” to this phone number 817-587-1978. Follow the prompts and get yourself into that community and send me a text when you want to send me a text and I will text back when I see that notification pop through. And yeah, I won’t be super salesy with you. And I do send out a reminder on Wednesdays about the podcast and what that particular episode is all about. But beyond that, feel free to send me a message through my text community. Again, send me a text “Hey, Taylor” to 817-587-1978. And I apologize, I know they are working on outside of the US, so if you are a listener outside of the US, stay tuned. Because I know they are working on adding countries outside of the US to be able to text me as well. But you can always send me an email email@example.com if you’d like to get in touch. And I would love that I would love to hear from you. So if you’d like to send me an email.
Okay, so I have to say, I am really excited to talk to you about sales today because this is my weakest link when it comes to business. Hands down my weakest link because I have been of the mindset for the longest time. And I even have owned a used car lot in my life. Like, we still have our dealer’s license. But I’ve been of the mindset that you either want it or you don’t. And I can tell you the benefits of the thing, but I’m not going to pressure you into anything. And so selling when it’s something that I’m passionate about – and thankfully everything that I do, I am passionate about it – but I do realize that there needs to be a process and there needs to be structure in order to go through a sales process. And it’s what I have been on a mission to get better at for a couple of years now. Like I went – I believe it was last year. Well, I should say that, it was definitely not last year because of COVID, it was definitely 2019 – I made a trek to Oklahoma City. to hang out with my friend, Angie up in Oklahoma City market. She is a wedding planner and designer and also owns a specialty rental business. And she is the bomb dot com at sales. And so I took a trip up there to kind of watch her in action. And just my luck, a tornado came through Oklahoma City and shut down their power. Thankfully, she didn’t have any damage, but it basically turned our or it turned my trip of learning sales from her into a ‘let’s make sure we don’t die in this tornado’ episode.
So I’ve always had the best intentions when it comes to learning sales and I’ve gone through some workshops on sales. And like, I just never found anything that I was really like, Oh, wow, okay I can see how this could work for me. I tried some sales strategies from Alan Berg, who is known for sales in the wedding industry. And his tactics just fell flat on my audience and it didn’t feel right to me, either. So like, if you don’t feel good about the thing that you’re saying, or the content that you’re writing, or the copy or writing in your emails, or how you just respond, then you’re never going to get behind it. And that’s a huge part of sales. You have to believe in it. You have to have the mindset to believe in it.
So I’ve still been on this trek, this journey of trying to figure out my sales and I’ve talked to a lot of my friends about this weak link. And I’m going to tell you a story that literally just set me up for, like major discovery. And it goes like this. So this is a true story, by the way. A couple weeks ago, on a Friday morning, I get a message from my good friend that says, “Hey, so I need a big favor from you. I’ve got three girls out with COVID and one girl just came in and quit. Didn’t give me a notice. Isn’t working her next two weeks. She just quit. And I have a booked Saturday.” And my friend owns a bridal salon. And I was like, “Yeah, sure. I, you know, tell me what you want me to do and I’m happy to do it.” And she’s like, “I need you to sell gowns.” And I’m like, “Okay, let’s do it.” All the while I’m thinking, holy crap. I don’t know anything about wedding gowns. And I was like, she goes, What are you doing right now? And I said, Well, I’m about to leave to go to Dallas to pick up some upholstery. And but I can swing by your shop on my way back. And she said Perfect. Okay, so I went to Dallas picked up my upholstery and came back and spent the afternoon in her bridal salon. And she walked me through her sales process. And then I was like, okay, like, I’m a doer and a seer, and I need to be able to take lots of notes. So do any of your girls have appointments this afternoon because I’d really like to be able to watch one? So thankfully, yes, there were several appointments. And so I stayed, and I watched one of her consultants go through the sales process with a girl. And bridal gowns is a very unique business. There’s a lot of pressure to find the gown. To find the dress. To say yes to the dress. So this experience was tough. Not only do I not know anything about the lines of gowns she carries, the designers that she carries. I don’t know how to do alterations to a gown or what can be changed on a gown. And I don’t know what colors they come in. I know what satin is. I know what lace is. I know what applique is. I know what glitter is. I know what sequins are. But that’s all I know.
And when you are selling something, you have to know the product you’re selling. So anyways, she was like, “Listen, I’ve got 37 YouTube videos that I want you to watch and it’s gonna walk you through my sales process.” And I’m like, Okay, I will totally do this. So I got home. I’m not even kidding. I was up until one in the morning. I watched 34 of the 37 YouTube videos that she put together. Now this is very specific to her story, her brand, the way she wants her consultants running their appointments. But y’all, I’ve got my notes in front of me, I took six pages of notes. Six pages of the steps from the moment they walk in the door, to the moment you walk them back to their area, to how you start the conversation, to how to set up the appointment for success, to helping set the expectations for the appointment, etc, etc, etc. And then once you take the bride into the dressing room, how you make her feel comfortable, to basically step out of all of her clothes, and start putting her into wedding gowns, and all of that. So no pressure or anything, when you have never have done this before, let alone you don’t know anything about the product. So I stayed up, like I said till one in the morning, and I was supposed to have two appointments on that Saturday. But thankfully, she has another store and she was able to bring over a consultant to take my 9am appointment. So all I had to handle was a 1:30 appointment. And she adjusted the schedule – because she had four appointments coming in at 1:30 – she adjusted it so that the bride that I was going to be working with had a wedding date that was the furthest out. So there was still plenty of time to get a gown ordered. And it was possible that she wasn’t going to be in the mindset of actually finding her gown or buying a gown. And so she tried to set me up for as much success as she could. And her – literally everything that she said was, I just want you to play dress up with her and honestly, I would not have asked you to do this if I didn’t think you could bs your way through this. And I’m like, “Yeah, but listen, you’ve got super high expectations for your consultant and for how your sales process goes. I’m not about to embarrass you. Like, I have no intention of embarrassing you, I will do my best, I will try my best. I studied. I studied the best I could. You guys have to understand this is less than 24 hours of learning her sales process. And so anyways, I said I, what I’m most nervous about is I don’t know your gowns. I don’t know what you have. I don’t know what your collection consists of. It looks like, you know, big rooms of just all types of different bridal gowns. And she said, “Okay, well, when you get them into their room, I need you to somehow get ahold of the bride’s phone. Once she starts showing you her Pinterest pins of bridal gowns that she likes and any pictures she has on her phone, I just need you to take her phone with you into the back room so that I can scroll through and send you out with gowns that she’s inspired by.” I’m like, “Okay, no problem. I can so do this.”
So the bride was up front with her guests. And I went up there and I was like, “Hi, so and so.” And none of them acknowledged the name. And I’m like, uhhh. I’m just standing there thinking, did I say the name wrong? Did I get the name wrong? And finally, the bride acknowledges her name, which was super odd, but I was like, okay, maybe she’s just really nervous about this. And then they tell me, they’re waiting on the future mother-in-law, and that the future mother-in-law and the mom of the bride or meeting for the first time. And let me just say, I don’t know how many of you remember trying on a bridal gown or remember the meeting of your mom and your future mother-in-law, but it’s not the greatest place to do at the bridal salon, when you’re trying to find your wedding gown.
But okay, that was the scenario. So we walk back to the room where the bride is going to be trying on gowns, and I get the mother in law in there and I go over the expectations for how the appointment will go. So I say, “Listen, the first part of this appointment is going to go pretty fast. What we’re trying to do is discover your likes and your dislikes. So I’m going to bring out bridal gowns, and I promise you, you’re not going to hurt my feelings. If you don’t like a gown, just let me know that my gown is not part of this collection and ultimately, we’re just trying to figure out what you like and what you don’t like. So if it’s a yes, I’m going to ask you what you like about the gown and if it’s a no, I’m going to ask you what you don’t like about the gown, that way I can start curating gowns that you want to try on. And we’ll get started. So I go and grab some gowns, and she gives me feedback. And then we start the try-on process. Well, this is the hardest part for me, is the small talk. Because no matter how hard I try, sometimes I am just way too blunt. And I really lack the fluffy filter. And so I knew this was going to be the hardest – well, just this whole experience was gonna be hard because sometimes I just lacked the fluff. I’m very direct. I’m very nitty-gritty. It’s my personality, and I have to work really hard at being fluffy.
And, yeah, so, I am so grateful to my friend’s videos because she had a video on the questions to ask in like succession so that you made the bride comfortable while in the changing room trying on bridal gowns. So I’m going to give you the list of questions and you can convert them into what makes sense for your own niche.
First question is, what do you do during the week? You don’t ask them what they do for a living because you don’t want to make them uncomfortable if they don’t do anything for a living. Or you don’t want to make them uncomfortable if they’re “just” a stay-at-home mom, and I’m air quoting. So you ask, what do you do during the week? And then you ask, what does your fiance do? And then your third question, how did you meet? And then your fourth question, tell me about your first date. And then your fifth question, how did your fiance propose?
And by the time you ask those questions, you’ve gotten so much great information from your client, that you can keep the conversation going. And this was a game-changer for me, because I don’t relate very well to these types of questions because of my personality. So anytime that I’ve been at an open house or I’ve been at a bridal show, I don’t know what to ask the people. I should clarify, I wasn’t comfortable asking these types of questions because I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know how to start the conversation and it just felt – just pushed. And it felt forced. And it felt awkward. And, and just not me. And so I can’t even tell you like how revolutionary this was for me. And I’m sure if you’re good at sales, you’re like, how is this revolutionary? It is truly revolutionary for me and it gave me structure. It gave me a way to see how I could structure my own sales process. And this was truly life-giving.
So here I am, working with this bride, and helping her through gowns, and I get her into one particular gown, and she starts petting it, which is a sign of being in love with the gown. And once I get her out onto the platform, she continues to pet the gown. And she starts to kind of transform into this princess mode. And it was really spectacular watch because it was a total transformation for her. She was very calm. She was very reserved, up until that point, and she finally, like, felt comfortable in the gown. And so I asked her if she wanted to try on a veil to give her the full bridal moment. So I went and found a veil for her and got it put on. And – but the longer she stayed in the gown, it started to make her uncomfortable. She actually used the words ‘the gown is growing on me.’ And it did, it had a really full a-line skirt with it with a lot of tulle underneath it, and it just started to overwhelm her. So we scrapped that one, even though initially, she really loved it. And so we moved through some other gowns, and tried on a few more, and then she found the one.
And this moment was really powerful to watch as the person who knew nothing about the wedding gown sales process and how this experience would go for someone because there’s a lot of pressure for a bride to find the gown to say yes to the dress. And I was trying so hard to make her feel comfortable and to make this a really magical experience. And she wasn’t getting a whole lot of feedback from her mom or her sister, let alone the future mother in law, and so I was having to work hard In the dressing room to ask her about how she felt about the gown and was she comfortable in it? Did she want to go out and show everybody? And this particular gown, I could see the transformation happen almost instantly, we got out she stood up on the platform, and like total princess-effect happened. And of course, everybody’s in masks, and she’s got these overwhelming sensations of just pure emotion about finding the gown. And I actually had to say the mom, “Hey, Mom, I kind of think this is a hug moment for your daughter. Like, she has found the gown.” And she’s like, “Mom, this is the one. This is the one! Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe I found my gown.” And I ultimately got to stand there and say, “So are you saying yes to the dress?” And she said yes. And the whole store erupted, and it was amazing, and I sold a wedding gown with less than 24 hours of actual training in the training process that my friend has put a lot of time and effort in.
But you know what? That training process – the 37 videos. Like I said, I watched 34 of the 37 because there was ones for like second appointments when they come back. And so I didn’t pay attention to those I just focused in on the ones that would help me through the initial consultation. And I amazed myself, I just allowed myself to go through the process, to have structure, to know where my talking points were, to know what my talking points were. Even though I didn’t know anything about dresses. I didn’t know anything about the inventory my friend had in her salon, but I was able to sell a gown. And I think that’s pretty powerful because what that tells me is, “I can do this, I can figure out how to have structure for my own business.” And maybe I’m not so bad at sales, like I thought I was even though I still think my weakest link is sales, and having structure and having a process and not being car salesy because that’s – it’s not me. I had to find a way to make sales work for me. I had to find a way that I could create a system and put it in place that I could then potentially teach to anybody that I bring on into my business. I needed that and my friend unlocked that for me. And I can’t tell you how powerful that was. Like, I have told so many of my other friends about this experience, and even in the wedding industry and outside of the wedding industry. And like, I can finally see how this will work for me and what I’m trying to do for Sugar Creek.
And then not long after this experience, I actually stumbled into – I’ve been introduced to her before. Maria Bayer. She does Irresistible Selling. It’s targeted to the wedding industry and I’d heard her speak to a group that I’m a part of back in, I think it was June, about selling. And I should have signed up then, but – just the world was crazy and I wasn’t focused at that moment. So I just joined Irresistible Selling because, again, I want to learn all the things to properly set myself up for success with my sales. And yeah, so I I’ve joined Maria Bayer, Irresistible Selling. I think she offers it several times a year. This next round starts February 1. I’m pumped about it because I finally feel like I have something to latch onto and I have something that’s tangible for me to make my own. And that is powerful because I didn’t think I was ever going to find that. I doubted myself and being able to find a way that made sense, and didn’t make me feel weird, or give me anxiety, or like all the other emotions that I attached to selling because of how many people out there teach it that way. And that way isn’t me. Like, this whole podcast and my businesses and the way I’ve done things has been very unconventional because I don’t ascribe to the way most people teach things. Because they don’t feel right to me. Which is why I’m unconventional and which is why you’re probably unconventional because you listen to this podcast. So all that to say, you can do whatever you put your mind to. You can find ways to make things work for you on your own terms, and that’s what we’ve got to get to. We’ve got to get to the heart of how we can make these things work on our own terms.
So I actually just had a phone consultation with a potential client for Sugar Creek. And I just decided, you know what, I’m going to take what I learned and try to apply that to a phone consult. And it went so amazingly well. I actually had talking points. I had things I wanted to make sure I got to. I asked the questions. I got to know the potential client. And I was able to build a relationship over a phone, which is really amazing for me, and like such a huge leap forward for me. So all that to say, don’t ever think that you can’t figure out how to make it work for you. There are always ways. No matter what, there are always ways for you to figure out how to make it work for yourself.
Y’all, I’m pumped, and I’m pumped to be in Maria’s Irresistible Selling group, course, whatever you want to call it. I’m super pumped about that. It is really backed by a lot of mindset, which is something else that I’ve really struggled with. You guys have heard me say that my word for the year is worthy because I haven’t felt worthy and I’ve held myself back. And my other word is more because I want more of all the good things out of life. I want more revenue. I want more clients. I want more, like, greater friendships. I want more. So worthy and more are my two words, and I know this is all possible. And I’m the most unconventional human that I know. And I have finally figured out how to make sales work for me, and that, I can’t tell you, has been like such a godsend for me.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode. Again, shout out to this week’s show sponsor, which is Gusto. Run your first payroll, get three months free. Visit gusto.com/bossgirl. And until next week, I hope you have a great rest of this week.