to sell is to serve (part 1)

To Sell...

I was at an event recently with a fairly well known business coach. She was talking about money, our blocks to money, and how to sell.

When it got to the selling part she said she doesn’t use the word “sell.” She prefers invitation or offer.

This made my belly tighten and my brow furrow in frustration.

Not because she uses the word invitation or offer but because of what it says about selling.

Most entrepreneurs hate to sell.

At least most entrepreneurs who are still struggling to get their businesses off the ground. They don’t want to be sleazy or salesy. They don’t want to come across as manipulative or conniving.

They care about their work. Deeply. They are passionate, hard working and devoted. And they really don’t want to piss anyone off.

And if they could have one magic wish it would be to make money without ever having to sell. Anything.

I get it.

When I first started I hated selling. The thought of it made me squirm and my chest constrict. I thought of used car salesmen and late night infomercials.

So I did what most creative entrepreneurs do.

I didn’t sell anything.

Which meant I didn’t make anything.

Because I thought selling was sleazy and manipulative and would make people not like me.

Why Selling is the Best Thing You Can Do For Someone

But here is what’s true: No business anywhere succeeds without selling.

You cannot make money if you don’t sell. And if you don’t make money you go out of business

And if you go out of business, you can’t help anyone.

Sure you could give all your stuff away and everyone would love you.

But we can’t pay the bills with love. No matter how much we wish we could.

There is nothing noble about being poor because you are afraid to sell.

People want to pay for things that help them.

We are grateful for those who devote their time and energy to creating things that make our lives better.

Think about the last time you paid someone for something you loved. Maybe it was…

  • an amazing meal
  • an online product
  • an incredible coach

What if… the next time you went to your favorite restaurant it had closed down. The restaurant, not wanting to offend, started giving the food away and charging discount prices until the restaurant owner ran out of money and had to quit.

Or what if… that product that you loved so much didn’t exist because the woman who created it was too scared to sell. Since she never sold anything, she didn’t make anything so she went out of business.

Or what if… that coach didn’t become a coach because he hated the thought of taking your money and he felt responsible for your results. Rather than take on that burden and risk you not “getting your money’s worth” he became a teacher with a salary that he earned.

No delicious meal. No fabulous product. No amazing coach.

All because they didn’t want to sell.

But here’s what’s true: When you are selling someone something they want or need, selling is serving.

Selling is sleazy when you are trying to convince someone to buy something
a) they don’t need or want
b) you don’t believe in

But when you sell something people want and you believe in, selling is serving.

But I Don’t Want To Make Stuff Up Just To Sell

Now, I know what you might be thinking:

It’s not so much the selling, it’s the way people sell. When they make all those big promises and they talk about how amazing their life is because they’ve figured it all out and now they have the one and only solution.

Well, I hate that too. Because it’s not true.

No one has the one and only solution, no one has the perfect life, no one has figured it all out.

No one I’ve met anyway.

That is sleazy. And it does give selling a bad name.

So don’t do that.

You don’t have to make big promises. You don’t have to pretend like you’ve got it all going on. And you don’t have to act like you’re the one and only solution.

Just be real. Stand behind what you sell. And sell from the heart.

Selling that serves is about taking your soul, your passion, & your love and turning it into something that is useful, that can help another being find more joy, & then letting them know how to buy it.

And there will always be people who don’t get the value, who don’t want what you have, who unsubscribe when you start to sell or click off the webinar when you get to your “pitch.” And that’s okay. They’ve gotten whatever value they need. They don’t want to buy. That’s the beauty of selling…

No one has to buy.

We forget this when we go to sell. We feel awkward, like we are making someone do something they don’t want to do.

Truth: We are all adults. We each have the power to decide when, what and how much we consume. Your product or service is just one more choice in the marketplace.

Your responsibility is just to sell.

Sell what is useful. Sell what you believe in. Sell what people want. And sell with love.

Then selling is truly serving.

So how do you sell to serve?

That’s part 2. Stay tuned.

What do you think about selling? Tell me in the comments section below. Love to hear.


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  1. says

    I LOVE this post Daphne. Even though I already know most of this and am very connected to my soul’s purpose in my work and am confident that I am serving my tribe – and that I wouldn’t be if I wasn’t making any money, my whole body relaxed reading your email. I think this is an area that women in particular really need to have reinforced….at least I do! I’m getting there and reading your post today really helped! I love your analogy too…the story about my favorite restaurant going out of business was particularly clarifying for me. Anyway just wanted to say thanks for writing this and thanks for doing what you do!! xoxo, Lorraine

    • says

      Wow thanks Lorraine. I loved when you said that you are connected, confident and yet still your whole body relaxed reading this. It’s amazing how deeply ingrained our fear of selling is. I wrote this post partly as a reminder to me. :) Thank you for your comments. They mean a lot.

  2. says

    Hey lovely souls sister!!

    Love this soo much!!!

    You know I teach exactly this in my sales course
    “Conversations That Close” for coaches? I’ve taken about
    300 coaches over the past two years from fear of selling
    to a deep knowing they are serving – simply powerful!

    I’m jumping with JOY and So glad more powerful women are having this conversation out there! SUPER CUDOS TO YOU XXXOOO!!!!

    Just wanted to reach out with a big virtual HUG xxoo




  3. cherie amor says


    I just wanted to say thank you! I have been meaning to tell u for ages how i love your emails. I have a small massage business and i really appreciate your down to earth no bull shit attitude. Im in Victoria, Australia so even this far away i “get it ” too

    Keep it up. Your amazing.

    Bless, Cherie

  4. says

    I totally agree Daphne. I have the same discussions with my clients and usually reframe selling as serving in the way you do.
    I have found that a few simple things like being able to offer a choice of how people work with you makes a huge difference. It takes away our own perceptions about the value we offer and gets us out of our own way with pricing.
    I’m sure there is lots if synchronicity so will explore some more posts.
    Thank you for a great post!

    • says

      Hi Andrea. Wonderful that you teach this too! In the next post I go into different ways to sell and offering options is part of that. Look forward to you checking out the list and adding any of your own that I may not know. It will be out next week.

  5. Laurie says

    Hi Daphne,

    I don’t have a story but I wanted to share how much I appreciated this email on selling! It definitely addresses my feelings about selling. Thank you.

  6. Laurie Williams says

    Well, I just had an interesting experience re selling. I sent out a number of emails about a course without saying that I was an affiliate – you, Daphne, thankfully suggested always mention that you are an affiliate and I must say it feels better. I got at least 10 replies quickly thanking me for the information and one asking to be taken off my mailing list. That one negative totally had the power to knock me down and way more power than the other ten positive emails. Thank goodness for this sharing about selling being a service. It totally helped climb out of the pit. Thank you.

    We have been encouraged to send out another email. I am reluctant to do this. It feels pushy. What is your take on that, Daphne?


    • says

      Hi Laurie,
      I am so glad this post helped you climb out of the pit. We have so many stories about selling (on both sides)that it is not uncommon to receive negative feedback when we do sell – even though each person has the choice to say “yes” or “no.” As for the negative feedback I would simply wish her well (in your head) and let it go. There will always be people who unsubscribe. That is part of the “weaning” process as you develop your tribe and your tribe finds you.

      Regarding sending a second email: go with your gut! If you are just scared but it makes sense to send a second email then do that. Sometimes it’s just a matter of stretching beyond your comfort zone. But if you feel in your gut that this isn’t right for you, then don’t send it. It’s your list. It’s your choice. So check in to see if it’s fear or truth and go from there.

      that’s my take. Hope it helps. :)

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