Create More Value Than Anyone Else
For some reason, many creatives hesitate to "do sales" because of the fear of being "too salesy" with their audience.
The principle for this chapter will help you get over your fear and hesitation, and reframe what sales is so that you can sell more and provide more value to the audience you seek to serve:
Sales is service.
Take a step back from the verbiage, the pricing, the offer, and the need that your business has to generate revenue through sales.
Think about the way you've built your business through this point through the different chapters in this book - all of the work you've done to this point.
You've come up with an amazing vision for yourself and your business that drives you to serve a group of people every day.
You've spent time, sometimes months or even years, to find an audience of people. Not so that you can grow some arbitrary number of followers or subscribers, but so that you can serve them.
You discovered their pain points and their needs and desires, listened to them, observed where you can be of service.
You then took the time and had the faith to create a product or service with no guarantee that it would work, but you pushed forward, willing to tweak and optimize it so that it did the job that your audience needed to get done.
Now, imagine, that after all of that work, you connect with someone in your audience who desperately needs this thing you make...
And you don't give them a chance to buy it.
That's what you're doing when you avoid selling your product or service. You rob people of the opportunity of getting their needs met, or hiring you for that job they need done.
Why would you do that?
Fear that you'll fail. That you'll let them down. That you're not good enough.
But I'd invite you, again, to think about everything you've done up to this point to be the person that people come to for this job.
They trust you. They like you. They want to hire you!
In this context, selling that person isn't gross! It's service!
You're giving them exactly what they came here for, the exact thing you promised in your marketing.
You've already created a ton of value. Now it's time to give it to people.
Now, if the only reason you're selling things to people is to make money, then we've got a different problem here. Your issue isn't fear of failure or that you're not good enough - it's fear that you'll be found out.
If you find yourself in that situation, simply just shift your approach to be one of service then of extracting dollars from a group of people.
Create More Value Than Anyone Else
The way you do this is by creating more value that exceeds the dollar amount that you've decided to put on your product or service.
Rather than thinking about how you can get more profit by charging more, think about how you can create more value that's worth more money so that it's easy to charge more.
It's a subtle shift, but it puts your focus on the value you're creating rather than the dollars you're getting.
Think of the job or jobs that people are hiring you to solve. What could you do that no one else is doing to provide more value? A personal touch, an unexpected bonus, a better product than anyone else is creating?
You can survey the landscape of your industry and your market and see what everyone else is doing. While discounting your price to be the most affordable is one form of value creation, that's not what will be of most service to your audience.
How can you go above and beyond, so that even if you're the most expensive option, you offer more value than anyone else can so that people aren't deciding to hire you based on price, but based on your offer and the value you've created?
When I produced my first feature film in the spring of 2021, I was asked to be the line producer - the person who decides how to spend the money and manages that spend throughout the production - as well as the Unit Production Manager or UPM - the person responsible for hiring the crew, dealing with any issues, and ensuring that everyone gets taken care of.
For most productions those are two separate, full-time jobs. But I knew that the film's budget wasn't enough to hire both, so I offered to do both jobs. On top of that, I did all of the production accounting during preproduction, production, and post.
Now, while I made more money than I would have doing just one job, I also provided more value than any other producer could in that moment because I knew I could do the jobs and that it would be extremely valuable to the production.
While I may not do that again (three full time jobs is a bit extreme...), it was my foot in the door to the industry I'd been trying to break into as a producer for over a decade.
That value led to more offers to produce, at a higher fee, because I set myself apart as someone who is going to create more value for a production than anyone else, despite what I get paid to do so.
You can do the same for your audience and the people hiring you for their jobs to be done. Go the extra mile, treat them like a six-figure client even if they only purchased a $10 album.
Send hand written thank you notes, do more work than was expected, connect people with others, teach what you know, share the behind the scenes, insider secrets that are hard to find when you're trying to enter a creative field.
Create and give more value than anyone else, and the magical thing that happens is that more opportunities, money, connections, and success comes back to you.
Just as you need to exhale in order to inhale, the more you give, the more you receive.
Approach your work with the commitment to creating more value than anyone else.