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How to Sell Your Expertise as a Consultant Featuring Craig Swanson
Episode 63627th June 2022 • Smashing the Plateau • Smashing the Plateau
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Craig is a Former IT Consultant, Co-Founder of CreativeLive, and Seattle EO Accelerator Chair We discuss:
  • How Craig learned to sell consulting services
  • How to have a sales mindset
  • Where to create the boundary between what you give away and what you charge for
  • How employee vs. consulting behavior impacts your sales ability
  • How to turn a surface-level question into a sales conversation
  • Finding out how much a prospect really wants to solve a problem
  • How you can leave a job and start selling yourself as a consultant
Craig Co-Founded CreativeLive, and he is now the Seattle EO Accelerator Chair. Learn more about Craig at https://craigswanson.org, and on LinkedIn.

Transcripts

Craig Swanson:

It doesn't really matter how much we charge.

Craig Swanson:

It doesn't really matter really anything about us and our organization, except

Craig Swanson:

where those things overlay with an action that our potential prospect wants to

Craig Swanson:

take in a decision that they wanna make.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Welcome to Smashing The Plateau.

David Shriner-Cahn:

We help you get unstuck so you can do what you love and get paid

David Shriner-Cahn:

what you're worth consistently.

David Shriner-Cahn:

I'm your host David Shriner-Cahn, today on episode 636 of Smashing

David Shriner-Cahn:

The Plateau, I'm speaking with digital entrepreneur, Craig Swanson.

David Shriner-Cahn:

In today's episode, Craig and I talk about something that many

David Shriner-Cahn:

consultants struggle with, sales.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Stay with us to hear all the details.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Craig shares, how he benefited from exposure to others who had expertise

David Shriner-Cahn:

that would benefit him and his business.

David Shriner-Cahn:

As a member of the Smashing the Plateau Community, you'll have

David Shriner-Cahn:

access to a community that is built to be a place where members benefit

David Shriner-Cahn:

from one another's expertise.

David Shriner-Cahn:

It's a safe, caring place where inclusive, direct, active, and

David Shriner-Cahn:

empowering conversations are welcome.

David Shriner-Cahn:

If you're committed to getting your consulting business to grow on your

David Shriner-Cahn:

own terms so that you can deliver great results to your ideal clients while

David Shriner-Cahn:

supporting the lifestyle you want and you don't want to do it alone, I invite

David Shriner-Cahn:

you to apply to become a member of the Smashing the Plateau Community.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Learn more at smashingtheplateau.com.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Now let's welcome, Craig Swanson.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Craig is a former IT consultant, co-founder of CreativeLive and

David Shriner-Cahn:

Seattle EO Accelerator Chair, Craig, welcome to the show.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Great to have you on.

Craig Swanson:

Hi, David.

Craig Swanson:

Thanks for having me on.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Craig, you were in a consulting business for many years.

David Shriner-Cahn:

How did you learn to sell and to sell consulting services?

Craig Swanson:

I first of all, I've just got to say, I feel really lucky

Craig Swanson:

that I learned to sell early on.

Craig Swanson:

So I started off as an IT consultant.

Craig Swanson:

We supported creative artists, so I support advertising agencies, design

Craig Swanson:

firms, photography studios, video production houses in the Seattle area.

Craig Swanson:

One of my clients was a local print shop, that I was helping set

Craig Swanson:

up their color separation system.

Craig Swanson:

They were working with graphic artists and just through circumstance

Craig Swanson:

of the new technology and the way everything worked, I ended up

Craig Swanson:

getting paired with their sales team.

Craig Swanson:

So a sales team of about 12 different people that went out and sold to

Craig Swanson:

local area companies and designers.

Craig Swanson:

And my job was to basically follow with them and I became a sales engineer.

Craig Swanson:

I basically followed the sales rep.

Craig Swanson:

I was not responsible for the sale, but I was there to support any questions

Craig Swanson:

that were too technical to answer and to basically help solve problems that

Craig Swanson:

would prevent the work from being done.

Craig Swanson:

And as part of that, the sales manager for the company took me under

Craig Swanson:

his wing, exposed me to some sales training, and really gave me a conduit

Craig Swanson:

and a way of thinking about it that I would say transformed my life.

Craig Swanson:

If I had not gone through that opportunity.

Craig Swanson:

If I had not learned how to sell, I don't know that I ever would have been

Craig Swanson:

able to build, what I've been able to build since then in my business.

Craig Swanson:

So I think it's a huge advantage to being able to represent myself and

Craig Swanson:

for people to learn how to do that for

David Shriner-Cahn:

what were some of the things that changed in your mindset or

David Shriner-Cahn:

your activities or strategy or whatever else it was that was so dramatic.

Craig Swanson:

So I'll start with the fundamentals, which is, and it

Craig Swanson:

turns some people off I'm really comfortable talking about sales.

Craig Swanson:

I'm really comfortable thinking of myself as someone whose job it is to sell.

Craig Swanson:

And honestly, if there are one thing that I feel like people who are,

Craig Swanson:

say they may want to learn sales or resistant resistance learning sales.

Craig Swanson:

It's that idea of what a picture of a sales person is in their mind.

Craig Swanson:

And so I will say I got it framed by professionals.

Craig Swanson:

So I was trained with a group of professionals that were extremely

Craig Swanson:

good with really high integrity.

Craig Swanson:

And for me, one of the definitions of a salesperson is someone for whom.

Craig Swanson:

Every transaction increases trust in the next transaction.

Craig Swanson:

So a lot of people have a kind of a picture in their head about a sales,

Craig Swanson:

the sales role, as someone that's just out there to just close, whatever

Craig Swanson:

deal, burn, whatever bridges they need to burn, be able to say anything

Craig Swanson:

they need to say in order to get someone to sign on the dotted line.

Craig Swanson:

And there may be people that are out there, but I don't consider

Craig Swanson:

those people professionals.

Craig Swanson:

And I don't consider those people that I pattern myself after for me.

Craig Swanson:

Every relationship, I am able to complete into an agreement

Craig Swanson:

to create a sales relationship.

Craig Swanson:

We're able to move forward.

Craig Swanson:

If I am doing it correctly, I am making the next one easier.

Craig Swanson:

And the next one easier because I'm building trust at every phase, which means

Craig Swanson:

I have to help my prospect, the person I'm working with come to a decision about

Craig Swanson:

yes or no moving forward but, it's not my job to make that decision for them.

Craig Swanson:

It's not my job to trick them into that decision.

Craig Swanson:

And every phase along the way, if I can do it in a way that helps

Craig Swanson:

them get what they say they want is going to increase trust next time.

David Shriner-Cahn:

So one of the objectives is to help the prospect

David Shriner-Cahn:

reach a decision point in the sales process, whether it is the ultimate

David Shriner-Cahn:

decision to bring your company on or not, or some step along the way.

Craig Swanson:

Absolutely.

Craig Swanson:

We were trained with this mechanism called going for no.

Craig Swanson:

So I was actually in my sales relationships, my job is to try to uncover

Craig Swanson:

if there is an opportunity, if there's a need, if we can help them solve something,

Craig Swanson:

if they see a problem that we can solve.

Craig Swanson:

And my job is not to convince them, past their objections, but to help

Craig Swanson:

them make a decision yes or no about whether this is the right move for them.

Craig Swanson:

Now I do that with the mind that I need to be able to close sales and move forward.

Craig Swanson:

So I'll honestly say that part of my sales process that I was taught

Craig Swanson:

is to come to a clear yes or no, because I think a lot of people.

Craig Swanson:

end up going down a path of spending a lot of time talking

Craig Swanson:

about potential opportunities, but never getting to a clear yes or no,

Craig Swanson:

because we're so afraid of the no.

Craig Swanson:

If I'm afraid that someone's going to say no, I never actually

Craig Swanson:

ask if I can get to a yes.

Craig Swanson:

And for me, I got to a place where it's more important for me to be clear in

Craig Swanson:

my time and to not waste my time, not to waste the time of my partner and

Craig Swanson:

my prospect get to a clear yes or no as early in the process as possible.

Craig Swanson:

And then start the consulting relationship.

Craig Swanson:

If there is a relationship to start.

David Shriner-Cahn:

And that reminds me of a really common problem that I see

David Shriner-Cahn:

with consultants, which is, where do you create the boundary between what you

David Shriner-Cahn:

give away for free in the sales process versus what you start getting paid for

David Shriner-Cahn:

in the client relationship process?

Craig Swanson:

Yeah.

Craig Swanson:

And actually in the sales training that I took, we had a term for what

Craig Swanson:

most sales processes were, which was the term was called unpaid consulting.

Craig Swanson:

So if I, as a, in my sales role am doing a lot of times, Consulting

Craig Swanson:

and educating people on the actual product I'm going to deliver.

Craig Swanson:

then I'm probably not servicing my clients well, and I'm not servicing myself well.

Craig Swanson:

and it is really tricky too, because for me, I came to realize, as I was

Craig Swanson:

talking to clients, the difference between the conversation I was having

Craig Swanson:

to determine if there was a fit and whether we were going to move forward

Craig Swanson:

and the conversation we are going to have to actually start solving their

Craig Swanson:

problem and fixing things in their world.

Craig Swanson:

There was very little difference in what that looked like to the outside world.

Craig Swanson:

But the difference was whether I was being paid or not.

Craig Swanson:

And whether they were committed to the process or not.

David Shriner-Cahn:

So how do you figure out where that boundary is?

Craig Swanson:

The answer is during the sales process, I should be

Craig Swanson:

focused almost 100% on the client's needs and the client's problem.

Craig Swanson:

And if I find myself offering solutions to those needs or those

Craig Swanson:

problems, I am probably not serving them, I'm not serving me now.

Craig Swanson:

I think that's a really difficult and hard thing for a lot of people

Craig Swanson:

to do, especially if we're new to this role, because there's

Craig Swanson:

this really strong sense of ego.

Craig Swanson:

I really buffer my ego in a conversation by showing how smart

Craig Swanson:

I am by showing I know the answers to all the problems by being able

Craig Swanson:

to show off that I am intelligent and can answer these questions.

Craig Swanson:

And honestly, when I find myself doing that, I'm serving me.

Craig Swanson:

I'm trying to look good.

Craig Swanson:

I'm not actually serving the client.

Craig Swanson:

I'm not actually addressing the need at the time, which is helping them

Craig Swanson:

get clear on their needs and whether we can solve those needs and whether

Craig Swanson:

they want to move forward with us.

Craig Swanson:

so I think on a really fundamental level, when I see brand new consultants

Craig Swanson:

out there in the field, they spend way too much time talking about themselves.

Craig Swanson:

They spend way too much time trying to protect the image that they

Craig Swanson:

can do the work or that or the, or proving that they're smart.

Craig Swanson:

and I understand that it's.

Craig Swanson:

It can feel, you feel very nerve wracking to be out there representing yourself.

Craig Swanson:

and we always want to buffer our intelligence by proving

Craig Swanson:

that we know what we're doing.

Craig Swanson:

But honestly, at the point that we are talking to a new customer to a new

Craig Swanson:

prospect, to a potential client, the only thing that matters is their needs.

Craig Swanson:

Our intelligence, our ability to solve those problems don't really

Craig Swanson:

come into the mix until their needs are defined, and until they've

Craig Swanson:

decided to move forward with us.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Craig, how much do you think that is, the inverse of the

David Shriner-Cahn:

behavior that professionals are trained to use when they're applying for a job.

Craig Swanson:

When you're applying for a job, absolutely.

Craig Swanson:

Basically you were given a list of questions you were supposed to answer.

Craig Swanson:

I would even say even then, if you are, or in a job, like when you have

Craig Swanson:

a job and you're doing the work, we are just in this role of letting the

Craig Swanson:

other people set the priorities and basically doing what we're asked to do.

Craig Swanson:

But there's an analogy that just popped in when you were asking me about that.

David Shriner-Cahn:

yeah, cause there are a lot of differences between employee

David Shriner-Cahn:

behavior and consultant behavior.

Craig Swanson:

So actually, this was the thing I was thinking back to when

Craig Swanson:

I was first learning about the sales process and I was an IT consultant.

Craig Swanson:

I was used to getting calls all day long from clients having various problems.

Craig Swanson:

And the one thing I knew as an IT consultants for an experienced IT

Craig Swanson:

consultant is very rarely did someone call me with the problem that was

Craig Swanson:

actually causing their work problem.

Craig Swanson:

So clients would self diagnose their problem, their computer problem.

Craig Swanson:

They would call me with a very narrowly focused question

Craig Swanson:

about how I fix X, Y, or Z.

Craig Swanson:

And if I just took their question at face value, answered the question

Craig Swanson:

about XYZ and hung up and called it a win for me as a consultant, chances

Craig Swanson:

are I was sending them down a path that was going to end up causing

Craig Swanson:

more problems for them in the future.

Craig Swanson:

Because very rarely were my clients sophisticated enough

Craig Swanson:

to be able to diagnose what problem they should be fixing.

Craig Swanson:

So one of the rules that we had as, as it consultants, is the actual

Craig Swanson:

problem your client is facing is generally three questions deep.

Craig Swanson:

The client will come with some surface level problem.

Craig Swanson:

And if I take that surface a little problem and solve it, then

Craig Swanson:

I'm not actually doing my job.

Craig Swanson:

I need to get below that.

Craig Swanson:

I need to get to below that and figure out what's really going on.

Craig Swanson:

What's the business problem what's going on with computers and the same question,

Craig Swanson:

the same surface level problem could surface a wide variety of problems,

Craig Swanson:

including some problems that should not be solved technically in any way.

Craig Swanson:

And so when I was being taught this mechanism for sales, that I should focus

Craig Swanson:

on the client's needs and dig a little bit below what they bring me the exact

Craig Swanson:

same analogies and play very rarely are my customers, at a place that they

Craig Swanson:

can self diagnose their problems well enough, they can bring me the right

Craig Swanson:

problem for me to be able to solve.

Craig Swanson:

And if I just take their problem and start spitting out all the ways

Craig Swanson:

that I can solve that, show them how intelligent I am for that one problem.

Craig Swanson:

I'm probably doing them a disservice.

Craig Swanson:

you asked a question about, about a staffing issue.

Craig Swanson:

Why is staffing the first thing that comes into play for this particular question?

Craig Swanson:

And I will say when I'm really comfortable, when

Craig Swanson:

you're really comfortable, it feels natural to the other.

Craig Swanson:

It feels entirely unnatural to the person who is doing the asking when I am taking

Craig Swanson:

direct questions and redirecting them into a deeper way of asking it's a little

Craig Swanson:

bit like a psychologist or a therapist, basically taking whatever the question

Craig Swanson:

was as an indicator of a topic and using that to dig a little bit deeper.

David Shriner-Cahn:

How do you turn that question?

David Shriner-Cahn:

Which is a surface level question about a problem, as they see it, into a sales

David Shriner-Cahn:

conversation that can result in a yes or no answer about doing work together.

Craig Swanson:

So one thing is to keep in mind that any

Craig Swanson:

question that a prospect asks.

Craig Swanson:

Assuming that it's not the right question, assuming that it's not necessarily a

Craig Swanson:

question that actually reflects exactly the problem that they're having.

Craig Swanson:

That question is often one of the best indicator of some type of

Craig Swanson:

pain point in time inside of the organization or inside of themselves.

Craig Swanson:

And I'm trying to think here of different roles that we play.

Craig Swanson:

But when I am at my strongest as a consultant, it is genuinely

Craig Swanson:

that role that I'm consulting.

Craig Swanson:

I'm not just a Wikipedia article.

Craig Swanson:

I'm not just reiterating back with what the answer is.

Craig Swanson:

I am trying to understand what their problem is and trying

Craig Swanson:

to dig a little bit deeper.

Craig Swanson:

So how do I not solve the problem and turn into a sales position?

Craig Swanson:

I try to get as curious as possible on.

Craig Swanson:

I've developed skills over the years of being very comfortable, not answering a

Craig Swanson:

direct question, but rather taking that direct question and turning it around

Craig Swanson:

and asking a question about why that question was the question they asked,

David Shriner-Cahn:

don't you think there's some parallels

David Shriner-Cahn:

between therapy and consulting?

Craig Swanson:

I oh, I do.

Craig Swanson:

I do.

Craig Swanson:

and in, in fact, we talk about it.

Craig Swanson:

for me, my experience always with clients was that unless a client had

Craig Swanson:

a particular, unless a client had a very critical problem in their life

Craig Swanson:

where they really need to have this thing solved, otherwise they were

Craig Swanson:

going to die or someone was gonna die.

Craig Swanson:

there was a really critical problem.

Craig Swanson:

Most clients or potential clients want to do.

Craig Swanson:

Look like they were addressing the problem more than they

Craig Swanson:

wanted to address the problem.

Craig Swanson:

Most clients on a fundamental level, wanted to bring in an outside

Craig Swanson:

expert to validate that they were okay regardless of what they said.

Craig Swanson:

And I'll tell you one of the easiest ways, if you are an internal, if you're

Craig Swanson:

an internal customer within a large organization to look like you are

Craig Swanson:

solving a problem is to start having a bunch of sales conversations with

Craig Swanson:

a bunch of consultants that you might potentially hire to solve that problem.

Craig Swanson:

Because if anyone ever presses you to ask you, if you're doing

Craig Swanson:

something to solve this problem, you can say, yes, I'm talking to a

Craig Swanson:

bunch of people and they are putting proposals and bids together for me.

Craig Swanson:

I'm on the outside of that, I don't want to just be helping people solve

Craig Swanson:

their, I need to look like I'm solving a problem, or if I am helping them solve

Craig Swanson:

that, I want to be charging for that.

Craig Swanson:

It's really natural for your customers, your potential customers, to want to delay

Craig Swanson:

the hiring process, to put delays in it, to not be fully forthcoming of all the

Craig Swanson:

details, to protect themselves, to affect what you're looking in the sales process

Craig Swanson:

to get as much information out of us as possible, and to be able to use that

Craig Swanson:

information, to make it look like they are doing a good job at their internal job.

Craig Swanson:

none of those things, if we are really trying to help people solve

Craig Swanson:

problems within the organization are really solving those problems.

Craig Swanson:

And yes, as you're talking about a good therapist is willing to pause and do a

Craig Swanson:

pattern interrupt on the conversation that's happening and go a little bit

Craig Swanson:

deeper and ask people if they're really serious about solving problems and

Craig Swanson:

going below the surface level questions that they may be inclined to ask.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Yeah, that's actually an interesting question too.

David Shriner-Cahn:

to pose the question to a prospect, how interested are you

David Shriner-Cahn:

really in solving this problem?

Craig Swanson:

Exactly cause, cause I'll tell you what, here are a bunch

Craig Swanson:

of things that don't matter until there is a problem to be solved.

Craig Swanson:

So a bunch of things that we as consultants might feel like we need

Craig Swanson:

to talk about it doesn't really matter whether we're a one person company or

Craig Swanson:

whether we're a a hundred person company.

Craig Swanson:

It doesn't really matter how much we charge.

Craig Swanson:

It doesn't really matter really anything about us and our organization, except

Craig Swanson:

where those things overlay with an action that our potential prospect wants to take

Craig Swanson:

in a decision that they want to make.

Craig Swanson:

We may feel like they're really important because they're really important to us,

Craig Swanson:

but, just hypothetically, if someone's not going to hire me, it doesn't matter

Craig Swanson:

whether I charge a hundred dollars an hour or a hundred thousand dollars an

Craig Swanson:

hour, if they're not going to hire me.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Quite true.

David Shriner-Cahn:

I'd like to, go back to some of the stuff we talked about earlier and in particular

David Shriner-Cahn:

focus on, early stage consultants, especially those that are coming out

David Shriner-Cahn:

of a long career as a high-achieving employee, where there they've been

David Shriner-Cahn:

mid to high level in an organization.

David Shriner-Cahn:

And they, they go from an overflowing inbox, a full calendar, a social

David Shriner-Cahn:

structure and, they've always been needed and they've always been they're

David Shriner-Cahn:

used to being the resource to answer questions, and then they either leave

David Shriner-Cahn:

voluntarily or they get pushed out and they decide I'm going to do my own thing.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Now I'm going to take control over my career control over my destiny, the I kind

David Shriner-Cahn:

of work that I do and who I work with.

David Shriner-Cahn:

I'm going to be a consultant in the same field and they.

David Shriner-Cahn:

suddenly find themselves, spending a lot of time alone, which

David Shriner-Cahn:

does a number on your mindset.

David Shriner-Cahn:

plus what's really daunting for these folks is even if they've been in, in

David Shriner-Cahn:

a marketing and sales role in their corporate jobs, they've never had

David Shriner-Cahn:

to sell themselves before, which is something totally different when you're

David Shriner-Cahn:

a solo consultant, doesn't matter.

David Shriner-Cahn:

how you're providing the solution and what you're saying, you're

David Shriner-Cahn:

selling yourself and, going back to what you said earlier about ego and,

David Shriner-Cahn:

and issues around self-confidence, it can be really daunting.

David Shriner-Cahn:

and

David Shriner-Cahn:

also you're trying to sell something where you probably don't have a

David Shriner-Cahn:

track record selling and delivering it in this framework before.

David Shriner-Cahn:

So it can be really hard to do.

David Shriner-Cahn:

and if you don't do it well, it, It just makes it really hard to

David Shriner-Cahn:

get your business off the ground and create something sustainable.

David Shriner-Cahn:

What kind of advice do you have for folks like that?

Craig Swanson:

there are so many things packed in there.

Craig Swanson:

So first of all, identify with all of that.

Craig Swanson:

and even more than not having a track record, a lot of the things that we're

Craig Swanson:

selling won't actually exist until we are actually engaged to create them.

Craig Swanson:

So there's not even something that we can point to on the shelf that represents the

Craig Swanson:

work product that we're going to create.

Craig Swanson:

So it is all about a relationship.

Craig Swanson:

To the extent that one can, I would say the people who can make this transition

Craig Swanson:

the best are the people who can depersonalize this for themselves, who

Craig Swanson:

can see themselves either as unrelated to the conversation that's happening or see

Craig Swanson:

the product that they produce as something that is separate from themselves.

Craig Swanson:

And, actually along those lines, one of the things I was taught early

Craig Swanson:

on in sales is sometimes one of the easiest way to learn to sell is to

Craig Swanson:

sell something other than myself.

Craig Swanson:

So find a volunteer organization that is in the spirit of the same clients

Craig Swanson:

and customers you want to work with.

Craig Swanson:

And sometimes it's easier to learn the very basics of having a needs conversation

Craig Swanson:

for people, when I am not potentially the thing that they're gonna be.

Craig Swanson:

when I can allow in this process of focusing on the customer's needs and not

Craig Swanson:

mine, I was thinking about this earlier, a lot of times I would go through the

Craig Swanson:

exact same sales process of digging in deeply to understand someone's needs.

Craig Swanson:

And usually for me, a one hour sales conversation was about 45 minutes to

Craig Swanson:

50 minutes of me asking questions to gain a picture of their understanding

Craig Swanson:

of their scenarios, building trust and then maybe 10 minutes of me providing

Craig Swanson:

a path for them to the next step.

Craig Swanson:

A lot of times, the path for me for the next step was not even me.

Craig Swanson:

A lot of times when I am so focused on getting to understand their needs, I may

Craig Swanson:

end up defining their budget and defining their needs and the parameters for a job

Craig Swanson:

that I may be not appropriate for and be able to give them a referral to someone.

Craig Swanson:

And it was on one of those times when I realized how good I was at identifying

Craig Swanson:

someone's needs and purposes and budget.

Craig Swanson:

When I knew I was not in the running, because I knew I was

Craig Swanson:

out of the picture that I started to point that back to myself.

Craig Swanson:

and specifically there, there was a, this was probably my first year, maybe

Craig Swanson:

it was my second year of selling.

Craig Swanson:

Early on, I realized I was just not the person.

Craig Swanson:

I was not the person that was we'll fix this.

Craig Swanson:

It was a database creation process, but it was something I inspected out for another

Craig Swanson:

client earlier that I thought would work.

Craig Swanson:

And because it was someone else's company, I knew some of the information about I

Craig Swanson:

got in really deep about their budget.

Craig Swanson:

Got really clear on the decision making process.

Craig Swanson:

Got really clear on all these things.

Craig Swanson:

And I felt really comfortable digging in because I knew I was not going

Craig Swanson:

to use that information to sell me.

Craig Swanson:

I was going to use that information to create a referral that could potentially

Craig Swanson:

help them move forward to someone else.

Craig Swanson:

And in doing so I realized the clarity of my questions when it was not about me.

Craig Swanson:

We're so much more focused and so much more useful for my client, my potential

Craig Swanson:

client, that I try to trick myself into thinking it's not about me and this whole

Craig Swanson:

phrase, but it is about them, the less I am concerned about how good or bad I

Craig Swanson:

look and the more concerned I am about their needs, the less I have to worry

Craig Swanson:

about how I'm going to have to fall.

Craig Swanson:

Which also, and I will honestly say a lot of what we do in sales, if we're new,

Craig Swanson:

is to solve our problem on our side of the table, about how I feel about me.

Craig Swanson:

And if I can get past that by getting that somewhere else in my life,

Craig Swanson:

supportive friends, good therapist, I can think of less positive ways

Craig Swanson:

to do this, but basically find a, find my needs elsewhere in my life.

Craig Swanson:

The more I can sit across from a prospect focused on their needs

Craig Swanson:

and let it just go about me.

Craig Swanson:

not worry about what they think of me.

Craig Swanson:

I think that type of mindset increasingly puts us in a good position to be able

Craig Swanson:

to serve people and be able to close sales that are going to be useful for us.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Well said, Craig, before we close out and we, I know

David Shriner-Cahn:

we've covered a lot of territory around sales issues, but before we close out.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Can you talk a little bit about where you are now in your own

David Shriner-Cahn:

career and kind like what's on the horizon for you in the future.

Craig Swanson:

Yeah.

Craig Swanson:

so I, as I said, I was a consultant for about 25 years.

Craig Swanson:

Today.

Craig Swanson:

I actually work with, influencers and people that have fairly large

Craig Swanson:

audiences to create online, digital video and digital education platforms

Craig Swanson:

for people throwing large audiences that are doing some type of recurring

Craig Swanson:

revenue model with their clients.

Craig Swanson:

and so I do a lot of deal-making with people that have 250,000 or above

Craig Swanson:

followers on some type of social media or that are doing several hundred

Craig Swanson:

thousand dollars in online digital sales.

Craig Swanson:

And I will say, just related to that, the place I use, my sales skills, I've

Craig Swanson:

built up over the years, more than any other place is not when I am the

Craig Swanson:

person who is selling something.

Craig Swanson:

But when I'm the person who is buying something.

Craig Swanson:

Often, most of my sales relationships, these days end up with me writing a check,

Craig Swanson:

but it's the exact same skills because.

Craig Swanson:

Ultimately sales is about helping someone step forward

Craig Swanson:

to make a choice on something.

Craig Swanson:

And if I'm trying to bring a partner into my life, that is as

Craig Swanson:

big as sales role as if I'm trying to get hired for a, for a gig.

Craig Swanson:

It doesn't really matter how much we.

Craig Swanson:

charge It doesn't really matter really anything about us and our

Craig Swanson:

organization, except where those things overlay with an action that

Craig Swanson:

our potential prospect wants to take in a decision that they wanna make.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Welcome to smashing the plateau.

David Shriner-Cahn:

We help you get unstuck so you can do what you love and get paid.

David Shriner-Cahn:

What you're worth consistently.

David Shriner-Cahn:

I'm your host David Shriner-Cahn today on episode 636 of smashing the plateau.

David Shriner-Cahn:

I'm speaking with digital entrepreneur, Craig Swanson in today's episode,

David Shriner-Cahn:

Craig and I talk about something that many consultants struggle with sales,

David Shriner-Cahn:

stay with us to hear all the details.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Craig shares, how he benefited from exposure to others who had expertise

David Shriner-Cahn:

that would benefit him and his business.

David Shriner-Cahn:

As a member of the smashing the plateau community you'll have access

David Shriner-Cahn:

to a community that is built to be a place where members benefit

David Shriner-Cahn:

from one another's expertise.

David Shriner-Cahn:

It's a safe, caring place where inclusive, direct, active, and

David Shriner-Cahn:

empowering conversations are welcome.

David Shriner-Cahn:

If you're committed to getting your consulting business, to grow on your

David Shriner-Cahn:

own terms so that you can deliver great results to your ideal clients while

David Shriner-Cahn:

supporting the lifestyle you want.

David Shriner-Cahn:

and You don't want to do it alone.

David Shriner-Cahn:

I invite you to apply to become a member of the Smashing the plateau community.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Learn more at smashingtheplateau.com and what does the future look like for you?

Craig Swanson:

Future for me, I am really focused on supporting and educating

Craig Swanson:

on a up and coming entrepreneurs.

Craig Swanson:

So you mentioned I am the chair for the Seattle EO Accelerator Program.

Craig Swanson:

That is a program.

Craig Swanson:

entrepreneurs that are doing over $250,000 a year, but have not broken a million yet.

Craig Swanson:

And, it's a two year program that I am lucky enough to be chairing.

Craig Swanson:

And it's really great.

Craig Swanson:

So that's my current focus over the coming several years.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Sounds great.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Craig, if someone wants to go deeper with anything we've discussed today,

David Shriner-Cahn:

get in touch with you, access any resources you may have, where would

David Shriner-Cahn:

be the best place for them to go.

Craig Swanson:

Best place to go is my hub is my name, craigswanson.org.

Craig Swanson:

It's not.com it's dot org.

Craig Swanson:

I keep making an offer to that other Craig Swanson every year or so for,

Craig Swanson:

for an increasing amount of money, but so far he's not willing to sell it.

Craig Swanson:

And, LinkedIn is probably the best place to reach me, online, outside of that.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Sounds great, I want to thank you so much, Craig, for taking

David Shriner-Cahn:

the time to join us today on Smashing The Plateau and share your insights.

David Shriner-Cahn:

My guest today has been digital entrepreneur, Craig Swanson.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Thank you again, Craig, for joining us.

Craig Swanson:

Thank you very much, David.

David Shriner-Cahn:

When you visit the Smashing the Plateau website at

David Shriner-Cahn:

smashingtheplateau.com, you'll find a summary of each episode, along with

David Shriner-Cahn:

the links we mentioned on the show.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Craig shared how he benefited from exposure to others who had expertise

David Shriner-Cahn:

that would benefit him and his business.

David Shriner-Cahn:

As a member of the Smashing the Plateau Community, you'll have

David Shriner-Cahn:

access to a community that is built to be a place where members benefit

David Shriner-Cahn:

from one another's expertise.

David Shriner-Cahn:

It's a safe, caring place where inclusive, direct, active and

David Shriner-Cahn:

empowering conversations are welcome.

David Shriner-Cahn:

If you are committed to getting your consulting business, to grow on your

David Shriner-Cahn:

own terms so that you can deliver great results to your ideal clients while

David Shriner-Cahn:

supporting the lifestyle you want, and you don't want to do it alone, I

David Shriner-Cahn:

invite you to apply to become a member of the Smashing The Plateau Community.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Learn more at smashingtheplateau.com.

David Shriner-Cahn:

Thank you for taking the time to listen to our show.

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