How to Stop Feeling Guilty About Discussing Your Offer at Networking Events
Tuesday October 4, 2022
I was recently speaking with a person who spent a lot of time at networking events, but sometimes struggled to connect with people because he felt bad about talking about his offer.
Guilt around sales is an obstacle many entrepreneurs, including coaches, struggle with. Even if we know, on an intellectual level, that our offer is good, so many of us have been conditioned to feel like we're doing something rude or morally wrong by offering our service and asking to be paid.
This can hold us back from starting conversations, and even if we do manage to open a dialogue, it can make us so awkward that we wind up spreading our discomfort to the other person, which will make them very reluctant to work with us.
The good news is, you don't have to feel guilty about asking for money in exchange for value. You can learn to approach people with confidence and charm, secure in the knowledge that, by educating them about your services, you're actually doing them a FAVOR by giving them a chance to improve their lives!
But I know it takes more than just a paragraph in a blog post to get you to that point. It takes knowledge, a new way of looking at things, and a consistent effort to remind yourself of those truths and to practice them when it's time to go meet people.
In this article, I'm going to share a few mindset shifts and exercises you can use to start releasing your guilt, approaching people with calm, charisma and ease, and connecting with them in a way that makes them glad you approached them.
1. People at networking events WANT to be approached!
Regardless of their age, gender, personality, or industry, there's one assumption you can universally apply to pretty much every attendee at a networking event: they're there to meet people. They literally took a chunk out of their day to drive to another building for the explicit purpose of speaking with people!
If you go to an ice cream shop, will you be offended if someone offers you a sample of ice cream? If you go to the ticket booth at a water park, will you be offended if the person working the booth offers you a ticket? Of course not!
For the same reason, if people go to a networking event, they probably won't be offended if a person approaches to network with them. By engaging people in conversation at one of these events, you're simply giving them what they came there to find. And for that, they're more likely to be grateful than annoyed, especially if they're the type who's too nervous or uncertain to start the conversation themselves.
Besides, let's face it: if they go to a networking event, then they're offended when people try to network with them, they're probably not the type you WANT to work with anyway.
2. You probably aren't the only one in the room who feels nervous.
If no one at a networking event is approaching you, it can be easy to conclude that it's because they don't want to talk to you. But consider this: if you're feeling nervous about approaching people, or if you don't know how to start a conversation, they might be feeling the exact same things!
Now, ask yourself: "If I was at an event for the purpose of meeting people, but I didn't know how to approach them and break the ice, and then someone approached me and started a conversation, would I be happy or annoyed?"
If someone is looking for an opportunity to speak with people, but they don't know how to find or take that opportunity, you're doing them a big favor by initiating the dialogue so they don't have to. When you approach them, they're more likely to feel welcome and relieved than offended.
3. Think about how your product improves your clients' lives.
Imagine if you were struggling to solve a problem. For example, let's say the computer you depend on for your business was malfunctioning, and none of the search results solved the problem.
Now imagine if, after months of struggling with this problem, you discovered that someone knew the solution that whole time... but didn't tell you about it. How angry and exasperated would you be?
While it's true that many people are wary of being sold to, it's also true that they want solutions to their problems and strategies for reaching their goals. So instead of focusing on making the sale, focus on solving the problem or helping them reach the goal.
Remind yourself of the difficulties people experience, and the good things they miss out on, because they have the problem you solve.
How much are they struggling and suffering because you haven't helped them yet? And how much worse is it likely to get, while they keep on floundering without the expert help they need?
Then, take a moment to think about how much better their lives will be when this problem is no longer weighing them down. When they can finally reach their once-elusive goal, and create the life or outcome they desire, how will they feel then? What good experiences will they have as a result of you helping them?
Don't focus on getting leads and sales. Instead, focus on helping people to have better, happier, more successful lives. And with this thought at the forefront of your mind, approach the people at the event with the goal of learning - and helping them understand - how you can make their lives better.
When you approach them with the goal of understanding and helping them, with genuine care for their happiness and well-being, you'll be more confident that you're doing the right thing by speaking with them, and your energy will be far more inviting than it would be if you were approaching in fear and guilt, with a focus on getting money.
4. Don't get attached to an agenda.
When you feel like you NEED to get the person you're speaking with to respond in a certain way, it injects a grasping desperation into your energy and attitude, and this can make the encounter awkward for everyone involved. Even if you try to mask it, it will still affect the way you present yourself, and the other person will probably pick up on it.
It also risks shifting your focus away from helping and caring about the other person, and back toward making the sale - and when you focus on what you can GET from another person, it makes you seem less well-meaning and trustworthy.
So don't get attached to what you can get, or to an outcome you can't control. The other person's response is their choice - no matter how good you are at networking and sales, you can only influence how they respond, not control it.
Instead, place your attachment on the things you CAN control.
Instead of thinking, "I HAVE to get them to buy something or make a follow-up appointment," tell yourself, "I'm going to make them feel seen and heard, learn about their situation, and see if there's a good fit. We'll have a good time talking, and if they need me, I'll give a clear, compelling explanation of how I can make their life better, and give them easily actionable steps they can take to get started if they want."
By focusing your attachment on your own actions, you keep it centered on things you can control. This removes the fear, desperation, and uncertainty that comes with telling yourself you HAVE to create an outcome when that outcome isn't solely yours to create, and it helps you focus on the actions you need to take to maximize the chances of getting the outcome you want.
5. If you need more help, check out the options below.
I hope these reminders and strategies helped.
If you need more help to describe your offers in ways that make them irresistible to your ideal clients, and to get excited about the life-changing value of your offer so you can discuss it with confidence instead of guilt, I encourage you to check out my ebook, Get More Referrals and Make More Sales: How to Get Your Referral Marketing Done For You, and Turn More Leads Into Paying Clients.
And if you want to turn your expertise into a group coaching or training program that will enable you to offer it to more people at a time, please check out my 1 Month Program Builder course, or contact me today to set up a 20-minute Clarity Call. During this call, we'll discuss your needs and situation, I'll provide advice, and we'll determine whether working together is the right next step for you.
Whatever you choose, I wish you the best in approaching people with confidence, and creating happiness and success for yourself and your clients.