As a counselor, do you sometimes struggle to have the money discussion with your clients? What are the benefits of specialization? How can you learn to love the word ‘sales’?
Meet Shannyn Lee
Shannyn Lee is the Win Without Pitching Director of Coaching and an unstoppable force of human empowerment. She spent a decade in senior marketing and communication roles in Fortune 500 companies before moving to a business development leadership role at a well-regarded Seattle design firm.
She also spent four years at Catapult New Business where she worked with agencies of various disciplines and sizes, building and leading their business development programs. Her time on the front lines of agency business development coupled with many informative years on the client-side has given Shannyn a unique
perspective into what marketers are looking for in agencies and what agencies
must be doing in order to compete and win.
Shannyn’s empathetic and encouraging coaching skills have helped her clients translate the lofty Win Without Pitching ideals into real behavioral change with lasting results.
In This Podcast
- How counselors can get more comfortable talking about money
- Become an expert
- How you can learn to love sales
How counselors can get more comfortable talking about money
The best piece of advice I can give is [that] it starts with positioning, honestly, it starts with how you have decided to specialize your practice, and your confidence in your area of expertise allows you to feel like you’re that expert guide in the conversation versus an order-taker that puts you in that role of not being able to lead in a conversation. (Shannyn Lee)
Oftentimes when a client comes to a counselor seeking therapy, the counselor may not want to have the money-talk with them because they do not want to be insensitive or pushy, which is a kind motive, but it often lands up with the counselor putting in work and not getting paid the amount they need to or want to be paid.
Clients are not often purchasing a tangible product from you, mostly they purchase your expertise, and that is still a valuable service that you should feel comfortable enough to state the price of without feeling like they would think any less of you.
It starts with how you define yourself and what makes you different from others because that is where you can start to build your confidence.
While [you are] running businesses in the sense of helping people with mental health issues and trying to get them back on track, you still need to be running your business at the same time, and making sure your business is healthy so that you can do good work for your clients. (Shannyn Lee)
- Who is the right-fit client that you want to attract?
- Be clear upfront, even about how you charge for your services,
- Think about different pricing strategies to offer your clients,
These are ways for you to get more comfortable when you need to talk about money.
Specialization does require sacrifice because you will need to say ‘no’ to things that do not fit, although the benefits of specialization will outweigh the sacrifices you may need to make because they will form the foundation from which you work and build your business.
- You build your business from your specialization,
- You are able to attract more work that suits your direct interests,
- You are able to connect with your ideal clients,
- You are viewed as meaningly different versus being one in a sea of many, and so you earn a name for yourself and for your business.
Become an expert
1: Have an envisioning exercise with yourself
Imagine it is three years from now, what does your practice look like? How can you get it there?
This exercise helps you think about what has been successful in your practice thus far in terms of growing your audience, signing clients, and growing your marketing.
By beginning the process of examining and asking questions, even to yourself, you can learn a lot about what has worked, what has not, and where you can go from where alongside the things that have worked.
2: How and where do I want to learn more about the things that I do not know enough about today?
This practice can help you to guide your next steps and see what you can learn next to continue your journey.
How you can learn to love sales
I think the first thing that everyone needs to get okay with is that the words “selling sales” and the word “sales” [are] not bad [words]. [They are words] that can come with negative connotations – maybe you have experienced a salesperson who was aggressive and tried to convince you – and minute you can tell yourself “I am not in the business of convincing” … “I am here to see if I can help” … “If I can’t help them, I’m going to release them with integrity.” (Shannyn Lee)
It can be shifted from “I need to convince somebody to hire me” to “let me see if I can help somebody and see if we can take the next step together” because that is a way to free yourself from the word sales.
If you start seeing sales as the bridge to helping people and providing your service to those who connect with it, instead of feeling like you need to tie people down with products, then you can definitely start to love sales because it then equates to connection.
- Shauna Armitage on How to Create a Relationship Marketing Funnel | MP 67
- Email Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Design Services With Sam
- Apply to work with us
Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
Thanks For Listening!
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[SAM CARVALHO] Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho where you’ll discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand new business visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.
Hi there. Thanks so much for joining me today on the marketing a Practice podcast. Today, we have Shannyn Lee with us. Shannyn is the Win Without Pitching Director of Coaching and an unstoppable force of human empowerment. She spent a decade in senior marketing and communication roles in Fortune 500 companies before moving to business development leadership role at a well-regarded Seattle design firm. She also spent four years at Catapult New Business where she worked with agencies of various disciplines and size building and leading the business development programs. Her time on the front lines of agency business development, coupled with many informative years on the client side has given Shannyn a unique perspective into what marketers are looking for in agencies and what agencies must be doing in order to compete and win. Shannyn’s empathetic and encouraging coaching skills have helped her clients translate the lofty Win Without Pitching ideals into real behavioral change with lasting results. Hi, Shannyn, thanks so much for joining us today.
[SHANNYN LEE] Thanks Sam. It’s so great to be with you. Thanks for having me.
[SAM] So as always, we always start out with just finding out a bit about your backstory and how you got to where you are now. Can you share that with us?
[SHANNYN] Sure. You bet. So I actually started out on the client side doing marketing and investor relations and public relations for corporations like AT&T wireless and Safeco Insurance. I was the one in those roles that would hire design and marketing agencies to help us execute on our goals. And then I met a brand design firm in Seattle, who I was doing some work with and just really became intrigued with what the day-to-day was like there. I was sort of done with the corporate America thing and they offered me a job as their sales and marketing lead. And I didn’t really have any sense of what that meant to sell for a design agency, but I was fearless. I needed a change and so I jumped and ended up meeting Blair Enns. Who’s the founder of Win Without Pitching, when I went to work for that firm, because we hired him to come in and help us revamp our sales and marketing approach. It just was something I really took to naturally, that sales role and really understanding how to market your firm and tell the story. So I sold did business development for agencies for about a decade and then Blair asked me to come on board as a coach when he shifted his company from a consulting company to a training company.
[SAM] Awesome. That’s really cool that you’ve got an experience on kind of both sides of things.
[SHANNYN] Yes, it helps. It helps me to see where both parties are coming from when you get into these sales conversations and where there can be miscommunications and where each side maybe needs to do something a little differently in service of helping and adding values. So it’s really cool to have that perspective.
[SAM] Absolutely. So I know that when it comes to private practice owners in particular, a lot of them can be nervous in kind of selling themselves and especially in talking about their fees. So can you give some advice to how they can become more comfortable about talking specifically about money in sales conversations?
[SHANNYN] Yes, you bet. And talking about money as often, the most kind of fraught anxiety written part of the conversation and while we work by and large with creative professionals, we’ve actually done quite a bit of work outside of that target audience with healthcare practices, architects, management, consultants, financial planners. So the sale experience is the same because you’re selling your expertise and oftentimes you’re not selling a tangible product and you’re helping people who are coming to you, who can be in a vulnerable state or really need expertise. And all of a sudden you find yourself going into that mode of maybe wanting to please them, depending on what your motivators are or you are competitive, so you want to win so you’ll do things like cut your prices potentially.
So there’s all sorts of things that can cause you to not to want to have that money conversation. And I think the best piece of advice I can give is it starts with positioning, honestly. It starts with how you have decided to specialize your practice and your confidence in your area of expertise that allows you to feel like you’re that expert guide in the conversation versus kind of an order taker that puts you in that role of not being able to lead in a conversation. So it starts with how you define yourself and what makes you different than others. That’s where confidence starts to build.
[SAM] And I think it’s also, and obviously correct me if I’m wrong here, but figuring out your ideal client, because I know as you said in the beginning, you can kind of want to lean towards that people pleasing and in your efforts to kind of just secure the client, you’ll maybe bring your price down a bit. But I think that it’s kind of outlining who your ideal client is and part of that will be what they’re willing to pay and then kind of staying true to that so that when someone comes along, that isn’t willing to pay your fee because of whatever reason you’re actually happy to forego that client because it’s not actually somebody that you want to work with in the end.
[SHANNYN] Yes, and it’s really well said that there’s this part of the equation where you have to also be okay saying no, because everybody isn’t going to be a fit. And you are, well, while your audience Sam is running businesses in the sense of really helping people with mental health issues and trying to get them back on track, you still need to be running your business at the same time and making sure your business is healthy so you can do good work for your clients. So figuring out like, who is that right fit client that I want to attract and being clear up front, even about how you charge for your services and maybe thinking about different pricing strategies to offer as well. Those can be ways to get you more comfortable when it comes to that point in the conversation where you do need to talk about money.
[SAM] And I think at the end of the day, remembering that if you’re happy, it’s going to make your client happy as well. So kind of you’re helping people, but obviously if you’re not happy doing the work that you’re doing, because you’re not getting paid what you want to, then that’s ultimately going to affect the client as well.
[SHANNYN] Yes. It all translates into your health and wellness also, which is important, obviously.
[SAM] So you touched on it a bit just now, but you mentioned kind of specializing and how that helps build confidence when it comes to sales conversation. So I know that this is another kind of sensitive topic for private practice owners in particular, because they’re always kind of worried about specializing too much or should they rather be more kind of generalist? So a lot of questions, well, the question that a lot of people ask is if I specialize doesn’t that mean I’m walking away from a variety of interesting work. So how can you speak into that?
[SHANNYN] Sure. So specialization does require sacrifice in that, you’re going to say no to some things that aren’t a fit, but the benefits of specialization so much outweigh those things that you would walk away from. The benefits of specialization, give you a foundation to work from. They bring the ability to win more work, win more clients, because you’re viewed as meaningfully different versus one in a sea of many. And they also help you in terms of targeting. Like when you understand you’re working, for example, in the mental health category for teenagers, let’s say, it’s a lot easier to think about how might I through my marketing, talk to this audience and really help them understand that I know what their pain points are and I have ideas that can provide reassurance and help instead of trying to market every age group, every category out there.
So it helps you with targeting. And it also helps strengthen your personal balance sheet, frankly, your confidence that we talked about earlier and your ability to go deep into an audience and understand them in a way that I think makes the work even more meaningful and more interesting than trying to serve every type of audience out there. That can feel really scattered. And that can feel anxiety, frankly.
[SAM] I completely agree. And I think kind of chatting to the audience here as well, the earlier on that you can specialize the better because as you say, then you can really kind of nail down your marketing message from the beginning, as opposed to trying to appeal to a larger audience and then having to narrow it down later on.
[SHANNYN] Exactly. Exactly. Your cost of sale goes down. That’s one of the things that we help our clients with, is not over investing so much in the sale or over investing in so many categories across marketing. So there’s benefit in terms of not only revenue gain, but cost reduction for your business too.
[SAM] Absolutely. So obviously this kind of differs from field to field, but what advice would you give to someone as to how they can become an expert in any given area?
[SHANNYN] I think at first starts with doing a little bit of a visioning exercise for yourself, asking yourself if it’s three years from today, and I’m really happy why, and allow yourself some blue sky space to dream and really get in touch with your wants versus your needs. And then I think from there, you start to take a look at where have I been successful in my practice in terms of audience and where have I not and what age groups or demographics excite me and energize me versus those that kind of drain me and suck the life out of me? So you begin this process of examining and asking a lot of questions. And you can also think of it as future looking, where do I really want to learn more that I don’t know enough about today, but I’m eager to go build expertise there? So it might be a future looking area of specialization that excites you.
[SAM] That’s awesome. That’s some great tips. Kind of going back to selling, so I know that it’s something that, as you mentioned, a lot of people struggle with and I think particularly mental health practitioners because essentially they’re selling themselves. So it can be quite a vulnerable process. SO for people in the audience who hate selling what tips can you provide around how they can learn to love it?
[SHANNYN] I think that the first thing that everybody needs to get okay with is that selling, the word sales and the word selling is not a bad word. It is a word that can come with negative connotation because maybe you’ve experienced a salesperson who’s aggressive or tries to convince you. And the minute you can tell yourself, “I am not in the business of convincing. It is not my job to convince anyone of anything ever. I am here to see if I can help. And I’m going to have a conversation to see what this patient to be challenges are. And I’m going to make an assessment based on that if I can help. And if I can’t, I’m going to release them and with integrity, let them know it’s been lovely to meet them and it’s just not the right fit and maybe refer them to somebody else.” But I think if we can shift it from, “I have to convince somebody to hire me too, let me first see if I can help and then we’ll decide if we take a next step together,” that is a way to frame it differently for yourself and not feel like it’s selling.
[SAM] Hmm that’s really good. So Shannyn, how do you kind of go about working with clients that come to you for help with this? Like, what’s the process that you take them through?
[SHANNYN] We first start by taking a look at how they’re positioned in the market and if there’s work we need to do there to help them be seen as meaningfully different. And then we do a lot of work around mindset and behavior. What are those motivators that cause you to go a little sideways in the sale? And we talked about one, the need to be liked and so you’re doing anything to make sure people like you or the need to win. You’re competitive so you’re doing anything to win, cut costs or follow a process that doesn’t make sense for you. So getting in touch with those things is important. And then we bring a lot of what I call process through the frameworks of how to have a qualifying conversation, how to have a closing conversation, so that you have a framework to work from, and you don’t feel like you’re starting from scratch each time. And all of these types of things help you to build process and discipline, help you to build confidence and help you to feel organized around selling. And that a lot of times alleviates the anxiety that can come with it.
[SAM] That’s awesome. So Shannyn, if people wanted to get in touch with you to work with you what’s the best way for them to go about that?
[SHANNYN] I think going to our website winwithoutpitching.com is the best place to go. Lots of great thought leadership. And we have a YouTube channel there that you can access and ask a question and I’m happy to answer it via YouTube. And there’s a lot more information there about all of our offerings in terms of training and coaching.
[SAM] Awesome. So we’ll definitely have all of those links in the show notes for those of you who are on the move while listening to this. Shannyn, I believe that you have an offering for our guests today. Can you tell us a bit more about that as well?
[SHANNYN] Sure you bet. So Blair Enns, the founder of Win Without Pitching has written two books. The first one is The Win Without Pitching Manifesto and the other is Pricing Creativity, a guide to profit beyond the billable hour. Those books are both very actionable books. You’ll read and you’ll learn things that you can put to work right away for your businesses to see change. So we’re offering a free chapter out of either one of those books to just give you a sample of what you might gain if you to decide to purchase one of those books.
[SAM] That’s great. And again, we’ll have those links in the show notes, along with the links to the actual books, if you are interested in purchasing that. So Shannyn, we always end with if every private practice owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?
[SHANNYN] I think the most important thing is to be yourself and to bring your wisdom and your empathy and your superpowers of how you help people into the sales conversations that you’re having and be really okay with that because we, I think need to just put away all of the baggage that comes with selling as I was saying earlier, and just get back to having conversations, to see if we can help. So be yourself and show up and be okay if it feels a little messy as you’re trying to sort out, can I help or not?
[SAM] That’s great. Thanks so much for being on the Marketing a Practice podcast today.
[SHANNYN] Thank you, Sam. It was great to be with you.
[SAM] Thanks for listening to the Marketing a Practice podcast. If you need help with branding your business, whether it be a new logo, rebrand, or you simply want some print flyer designed head on over to www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.
Finally, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast on iTunes if you like what you’ve heard. Talk to you soon.
Marketing a Practice podcast is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you market and grow your business and yourself. To hear other podcasts like Beta Male Revolution, Empowered and Unapologetic, Imperfect Thriving, or Faith in Practice, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or any other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.