In this 3-part series from the Savvy Shopkeeper Retail Podcast, I’ll share my best advice for shopkeepers who are working through some common fears as we head into Q4. Check out parts one and three after reading this.
All shopkeepers should be selling right now. And when I say all shopkeepers, I mean the makers should be selling to the brick and mortar stores, the brick and mortar stores should be selling to their customers, and online shopkeepers should be selling in their online shops. We should ALL be selling!
Fears About Selling
Everyone Is Struggling Right Now, So I Shouldn’t Sell to Them
I understand some areas of the country and world are being affected more than others. Of course, some people are struggling. But it doesn’t help you or your business to think blanket statements like this.
The reality is, there are still people who are shopping. There are still people with discretionary income who want to buy things, whether it’s to take their mind off of what is happening, to send a kind gift to a friend, or just buy something that brings them joy.
It Feels Gross or Icky to Sell
You might have felt this more strongly when stores were first mandated to close, and I think many shopkeepers have worked through this feeling.
But if you’re still feeling this, just know that you aren’t alone. There’s a lot going on in the world right now and we all process it differently.
What I Sell in My Store Isn’t Useful During a Pandemic
This is your brain making a decision on behalf of your customers. That doesn’t make it true or relevant.
As an example, my sister and I sell home decor. Home decor isn’t healing those sick with COVID, nor is it helping anyone on unemployment. Home decor isn’t creating change in the world.
But you know what it IS doing? It’s making people feel better about their homes. We have so many customers updating or upgrading rooms in their homes and it’s making them feel good. Making people feel better, or joyful, or like they can have just a smidge of peace—those are all wonderful reasons to sell.
If you’re a gift shop, maybe your customers are buying or sending sweet gifts to friends because they feel disconnected from them. If you’re an apparel store, maybe your customers are buying a new outfit because they’re tired of being in yoga pants (not me!). Or flip that, and maybe they’re buying casual comfy clothes that are cute because they are home more.
Whatever their reason for wanting to buy, don’t decide for them in advance that their reason isn’t valid because of the pandemic or the times.
Owning a Retail Business or Store Feels Irrelevant, So Selling Doesn’t Feel Important in the Grand Scheme of Things
Between social issues and a global pandemic, our businesses can seem so small. When we’re talking about life and death issues, our stores may seem inconsequential or minor.
6 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Selling
It’s normal to feel any or all of these emotions with so much happening around us. Now, let’s get into the 6 ways to overcome the fear of selling. Remember, fear will keep you from getting motivated or taking action.
Identify Your Fears
Before reading this list, you may not have even realized that this was going on in your head. It can be hard to identify WHY we feel a certain way. Now that you know why you’re afraid of selling, you can start to work through it.
Realize That it’s Not All About You
Remember, you started your business to serve customers. Bringing them joy brings YOU joy! How can you serve them even better than before?
Determine the Worst-Case Scenarios
The worst-case scenario is obvious here. If you don’t sell, you don’t generate revenue, and if you don’t generate revenue, you can’t pay your bills. Worst of all, you might have to close up your shop. That’s why you need to take action and start selling.
Focus on Your Why
Your “why” most likely goes beyond your customers. Your why is your livelihood, your family, your kids, even setting a good example for your daughter and showing her what’s possible.
Your why can be SO many things. Try to shift from high-level to low-level. For example, instead of thinking “the world is falling apart,” try to think, “I started this retail journey because of ______. It’s okay that I continue to provide value.”
The antidote to fear is action. Try brainstorming a list of promotions, a giveaway you could do, or both. Brainstorming is a great way to get the inspiration flowing.
Find Your Support System
I mentioned the Shopkeeper’s Lab and Master Shopkeepers in episode 39 as great examples of support systems. But they aren’t the only option! If the fear runs deep and it’s extremely personal or an emotional trigger, you can also find support in a biz bestie or 1:1 coaching.
If this is where you are stuck and you’re a Shopkeeper’s Lab subscriber, I invite you to watch the lesson by Courtney Van Atta of Veritas in the Reopen with Confidence module. The lesson, titled “Desired Based Sales: How the Influential Woman Exchanges Abundantly,” was probably the #1 rated lesson in the Reopen with Confidence series.
Remember: selling is simply exchanging VALUE. No matter what kind of shop you own, you provide value to your customers. Keep providing value, keep creating your own magic, and gift your customers the ability to receive all the value you create.
Be sure to check out part one of this series about the fear of stale inventory, and then part three about the fear of buying. Even though the world is changing rapidly, you can get over your fears and have a wildly successful quarter four. I’m rooting for you!
- [01:48] Common fears about selling
- [01:52] Everyone is struggling right now, so I shouldn’t sell to them
- [02:57] Selling feels gross or icky
- [03:31] What I sell isn’t useful or valuable right now
- [05:32] Owning a retail business is no longer relevant
- [06:13] Six ways to overcome your fear of selling
- [07:59] Identify your fears
- [08:39] Realize it’s not about you
- [09:02] Determine the worst-case scenario
- [09:24] Focus on your why
- [10:05] Take action
- [11:09] Find your support system