Author, CEO & Founder

Learn More >>

The Easy, Eloquent, Smooth and Non-Salesy Way to Sell Your Clients MORE—Using One Simple Word

In: How to Sell Yourself

I’ve been consulting with A TON of awesome, awe-inspiring business owners this month, and one of the sticking points that keeps coming up is: “I finish an introductory project with a client, but then I don’t know how to transition the call into the sale and get them to buy my bigger package!”

I love this question. I live for this question. I eat this question for breakfast. And a mid-afternoon snack.

On our beautiful, big-ass journey to help you earn more money, then, I thought I would tell y’all exactly what I’ve been telling them, and that is this: you have to reframe it from “selling” to “helping.” HELP is the one simple word you need to keep at the forefront of your mind, and you can sell anybody anything. Here’s what I mean.

The way a call like this would normally go, when you’re scared and self-doubting and stuttery, is a little something like this.

The conversation draws to an awkward silence. You know you need to say something. The pressure is mounting. And so suddenly you blurt out something super forced like, “At this point, I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about the services I offer, packages start at $XX, and they include blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blahhhhhh.” Then you just keep talking at them, whether they wanted to hear this or not, because you don’t know what else to say but you know you need to “do it”—even though you’d rather fight a White Walker. And then cue another awkward silence again as the client tells you, “Let me regroup and think some things over and I’ll get back to you soon.”

Whomp, whomp, whompppp.

That’s every single person who’s ever just begun, trying to sell. But not only is this pure torture, it’s also ineffective. The client hates this part as much as you do, because now you’ve put them in the position to turn you down. Even if they like you, nobody likes being sold to. And even if and when they say no, they’re worried you aren’t going to accept their “no,” and you’re going to keep sales pressuring them into saying yes. And then they’ll hate you forever and ever and never want to get on the phone with you again, because now it’s turned into this horrifying game of chicken.

A better way to approach the sales portion of the conversation?

Say you’re a web designer. Here’s how this might sound: “Glad we got you a brand-new logo you can be proud of! Also, there were a handful of observations I made when I was initially reviewing your brand that I think will be helpful for you moving forward. The first is that you may want to consider adjusting your web fonts for easier readability; right now, they’re below the standard optimal size for what’s comfortable to the human eye—and therefore your content may not be functioning at an optimal level, which is likely hurting your conversions. The second thing I’d love to see you improve is the design and positioning of your opt-in forms. Right now, they’re hidden in the footer and not commanding the kind of attention necessary to get those email subscribers onto your list—which we both know is the #1 driver of sales for your company. So that’s something I’d recommend you work on optimizing as soon as humanly possible. Even a 2% increase could mean tens of thousands of extra dollars in your pocket each month. I you don’t have time to think about this, or you don’t want to deal with it right now, I’m happy to put it on my calendar and knock this out for you. I’ve got some availability this coming week—if you think that would be helpful, we can do it at my regularly hourly rate or, if you prefer, we can do a retainer for the whole month so I can go through your entire site and optimize the entire thing from top to bottom. Would that be useful to you?”

The difference here is simple. In the first example, I’m focused on me and my package and what I have to offer. In the second example, however, I’m focused on the client, and what they need, and where I really think they could improve. One is focused on selling, but the other is focused on HELPING.

This is all you need to do forevermore. Help your clients. That’s it! HELP THEM. Act as an advisor to them. Proactively look for things they could improve upon, and ways you can help. Make suggestions. Put yourself on their team. Notice what could be better. Figure it out. Take notes. And don’t wait to be told what to do: go forth and tell the client what you think they should do. And then volunteer yourself to help out with it.

I promise you, no client is going to be mad. They’re going to want to kiss your feet for being so helpful—and for making them feel like they really do have some one who has their back. This is invaluable. And the best part?

You’ll never have to worry about selling yourself again.

All you have to do is be genuine.

Sep 14


If you’re both killer & poet, YOU GET RICH.

Sep 14, 2014

“Most good copywriters fall into two categories: Poets and Killers. Poets see an ad as an end. Killers, as a means to an end. If you are both killer & poet? You get rich.” Ogilvy once said that about copywriters, but that’s just because he wasn’t around long enough to see the internet blow up. […]

In: How to Sell Yourself


Jun 4


Are You Sorry About Charging Money?

Jun 4, 2017

I was talking to a client yesterday, who, bless her heart, is LITERALLY working for free. She feels bad charging. And my goodness, she’s one of the smartest, most qualified women in her industry! She’s out there helping people every single day, in person, face-to-face! She’s spearheading an entire movement in Canada! And now the […]

In: How to Sell Yourself


Dec 15


List Your Prices (THE RIGHT WAY) (Calling All Photographers.) (Hedgehogs Welcome, Too.)

Dec 15, 2011

As an entrepreneur, sometimes you fall flat on your face. Figuratively–and, apparently, literally–namely when you’re traveling in the South of Chile pretending to be in better shape than you actually are while attempting to jump over pathetically small streams that you really should be able to fucking clear, but somehow, don’t, and manage to fall flat […]

In: How to Sell Yourself


Jun 26


Is It Annoying to Buy From You?

Jun 26, 2014

Everybody loves shopping, right? (Except maybe Ben Stein—imagine that guy in Kohl’s, or worse, going down a water slide. Two words: man thong.) You know who else loves shopping? The people who are looking for your services and products. There’s nothing like the high of thinking that you found it—the perfect photographer // vintage purse […]

In: How to Sell Yourself


Jun 12


How to Sell a $250,000 Diamond Ring

Jun 12, 2015

You know how when you want to sound professional on the phone, you do that thing where you clear your throat, steady your voice, and then inevitably start talking THREE OCTAVES HIGHER in that sickening sweet, Southern-Belle-esque manner, almost as if you were speaking to a priest, or maybe the sheriff, all while using words […]

In: How to Sell Yourself


Aug 28


“Hire Me” versus “Listen To Me”

Aug 28, 2017

If you’re a freelancer, there are two different power dynamics: Hire me! Please hire me! I’m shitting my pants, over here, because I’m depending on you entirely and I’ll do anything it takes, even work for peanuts, because I need you to take mercyyyyy onnnnn meeeeee. Listen to me. I’m great at what I do, […]

In: How to Sell Yourself


Aug 14


Lots of Inquiries But No Sales? Help Is Here.

Aug 14, 2013

I get two questions all of the time: 1. How do I convert more email inquiries into actual customers & clients? (Who ideally have zero credit card limit and maybe even a mullet because wouldn’t that be fun?) 2. How do you manage to stay looking so young? Obviously no one really ever asks me […]

In: How to Sell Yourself


I'm a Bad Influence on Women

Hey, I’m Ash! Twenty years ago I was a small town girl growing up in a trailer park in rural Pennsylvania. Fifteen years ago, I lost my family and everything I knew right as I became the first to graduate college. Fourteen years ago, I found myself leaving everything behind for a new life in the city where I could be “normal.” Ten years ago I realized normal was the most disappointing thing that ever happened to me. Nine years ago I quit my job in advertising and pursued my dreams as a creative writer. Eight years ago, I built a 6-figure business doing what I love using nothing more than the Internet and my voice. And now, today, I’m the founder of The Middle Finger Project, an irreverent media co. that helps other women find their voice and teaches them to use it to build whatever the f*ck they want to. With a book coming out with Penguin Random House in February 2020 (YASSS, WE’RE A PRODUCT IN TARGET!) I’m proud to be a bad influence on women and guide them into doing something disobediently brave with their life and their career.

Enter your email address and I’ll send you my advice column every week sharing everything I’ve learned—and so much more.

But no serial killers. I promise I won’t send those.

Privacy Policy Info Here