“Can anyone tell me if they got over how to sell yourself without having a major panic attack and throwing up?”
A question asked often in social media groups for business owners, freelancers, and contractors.
My answer is … Yes.
First, you're more than an introvert.
It sounds like you suffer from social anxiety – just as I once did.
Before I started my business in 2008 I was okay talking to people 1:1 or in very small groups – as long as it was something I was prepared ahead of time to talk about. Mostly when I conducted training sessions. Small talk and general conversation about anything personal wasn't easy for me.
Second, Toastmasters helped me.
I learned how to prepare to speak in public and how to do small talk in small groups. I asked my group “how do I navigate business networking?” and they answered with examples of how to approach someone (we're there for a reason so be prepared to start a conversation with these 3 questions).
Third, by my 3rd year of membership I was hosting my own business networking group, speaking from the stage locally and nationally at business-related conferences.
Fourth, along the way I also got sales training. Consultative sales training. This is what made the difference in my being able to take people from social media to a video call to be a customer.
Fifth, practice. At every opportunity push through the anxiety, suffer the embarrassment of being awkward. Both are short-term effects for long-term success.
Sixth, do you have to do the above? No. I didn't either. I was getting clients from LinkedIn and other social media in 2009.
Why did I do it?
Because I wanted to get over the social anxiety! I wanted more than hiding behind my keyboard.
I was 44 years old when I started my business and I was tired of being the quiet one.
I went from not talking to strangers except to say “nice to meet you” to
– hosting my own networking groups
– hosting a daily morning live streaming program
– having a podcast for a year (back before it was popular in 2011-12)
– attending conferences around the country
– being a Board member in an association
– being an advisor for the SBDC in our area
– leading mastermind groups for biz owners
– leading in person workshops on how to things online
– speaking at conferences around the country
***Most Important of All***
talking to prospects about myself and my business – with ease and with confidence.
- Know what you offer and why they need it
- Find those who are asking for what you offer
- Connect, engage, show your offer as a solution to a problem they brought up
- Get them to a video call
- Practice consultative selling
- Turn them into a client
You get to decide what outside help you're going to get. My suggestion is that you decide to get that outside help – fast. That is, if you want to move forward in your business.