When Does Selling Really Start? Hint: Not When You Think

“Either run the day or the day runs you.”
– Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker, and mentor to Tony Robbins

To make a sale, whether it’s a big sale to one client or a smaller sale to many customers, you need to come prepared. It doesn’t pay to look unprofessional, even if you are making it up as you go. But when does the sale really start? When should you go from “prep mode” to “selling mode”? What does it mean to make the switch, and how can you prepare yourself better to make MORE sales with LESS effort?

The answer might surprise you. You see, most people would assume that the sale starts when the customer walks in the door, or when they first interact with your brand. Most people would be wrong. Here’s why.

The sale actually started when you woke up and decided to pursue this business in the first place. It started when you conceived of your brand and proposition. It started when you thought, “I’m going to provide this product or service.” Your brand is so much more than just your offer, some design, and some marketing copy. In order to sell in today’s marketplace, you have to not just HAVE a brand—you need to LIVE your brand. It needs to be authentic and consistent through every customer interaction.

So when does selling really start? Day zero. It’s already started!

1. We see 5,000 ads per day on average.

Gone are the days when you could create a sellable brand just by slapping on a logo and some nice copy. Customers today are extremely well-trained at spotting insincere or surface-level marketing. If you don’t embody your brand fully, people can smell it right away.

How did it get this way? Well, a big reason is the sheer volume of selling propositions each and every one of us is exposed to every single day. Back in the 70’s, the average person in the US saw 500 ads per day—mostly on billboards, TV, and newspapers. Nowadays, people see on average more than 5,000 ads per day. That’s insane! Think about that for a second: That’s over 300 ads per waking hour. Every single consumer in the market is exposed to this, every day of every week of every month of every year for the past 5-10 years. And that number will only increase in the coming years.

This is the firehose we are all drinking from, all the time. Your selling proposition is just a drop in that torrent. So how can you ever hope to actually reach a customer?

2. Authenticity sells.

The answer is, strangely enough, to be real. One of the main results of this state of affairs is that consumers are now completely immune to traditional selling propositions. The only propositions that break through the noise are the ones that speak to consumers in a language they recognize as different, as more important, as more real. The only way to sell in 2020 is to be authentic.

Sounds like a great buzz-phrase, but what does “be authentic” mean in practice? It means that your brand has to go deeper than just your marketing. It has to be baked into every cell of your product, marketing, and company. And then you have to find ways to tell customers about it that is authentic to who you are as well. In order to break through the noise, you need to be able to truly connect on a human-to-human level. How do you do that at scale, in all your sales?

First, your company has to be truly different. Your mission has to drive what you do, not just in that “oh yeah we have a mission” kind of way, but in the authentic, “this is what gets me out of bed in the morning” kind of way. Selling furniture doesn’t get you out of bed? Same! But enabling people to enjoy the space they live in—that’s something I could get excited about.

3. Live your mission.

That’s why selling really starts on day zero. It starts when you define what you’re doing and why. Once you do that in a way that is authentic to you and what you believe in, then you can build a proposition, and a company, in a way that aligns with your mission. Then and only then can you reliably sell to a customer base that has seen every trick in the book thousands of times over.

After reaching the “advertising saturation point”, the only true growth hack is living your mission.


By the way, it’s never too late to take a step back and redefine your proposition. You will have to make some hard choices. You will have to let go of some of your favorite predispositions and techniques that worked in the past. But what worked in the past doesn’t work anymore: We’ve all seen it too many times. It doesn’t work anymore to just appear different; nowadays, you have to actually BE different. Start today!


If you’ve started down the path of living your mission already, here’s an effective new way to communicate about it and find your tribe: Engage your tribe through Amazon Alexa. Shoutworks lets you create a custom Alexa skill for your business in one click, right from WordPress. Try it for free today!


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