Avoid Desperation Selling

by Diana Ennen


Have you ever done this: Looked at the bank account, looked at the bills, looked at your upcoming schedule and then just went into a major panic? What are you doing to do? The bills are coming in, the clients are heading out, and you are stuck right dab in the middle with what seems like no solution in sight. The last few months might have been great, but now, for some reason times are tough and the clients just don’t seem to be there. What next?

Many think they are alone in this scenario, but they aren’t. At one time or another, most businesses face this dilemma — lack of clients, which quickly leads to desperation marketing or desperation selling. They desperately need to get clients. ASAP. Pronto. FAST! But can they?

Sales and marketing are so often intertwined and, for many businesses, mean essentially the same thing. Broken down, though, selling is the act of influencing a customer to purchase or buy your product or services and your marketing activities support your sales efforts. What matters most, whether you call it sales or marketing, is to be aggressive in keeping out there and showing potential clients you are the one for them!

So what is “desperation selling”? It’s selling through marketing efforts made when you are so desperate for clients that you work at Superman speed and throw everything you have out there, with no general direction. The worst part of desperation selling is, clients and potential clients can feel this and it backfires, often having them lose confidence in your professionalism and services and seeking assistance elsewhere.

There is a cure for desperation selling.

Plan your marketing. When you are desperate, oftentimes the “fight or flight” scenario comes into play. Or the opposite — you sit in front of your computer screen, frozen. The desperate twinge in your stomach tells you that, no matter what you do, you have to do it fast. But instead of going out there and manically tweeting and sending out terribly written content to make your presence known, come up with a plan. Create a simple marketing plan that will help you secure the right clients, at the right pay, for the right reasons. This is not to say you should spend weeks on this plan; after all, you do need that money right away. But take the time to write down exactly who you want to target and what services you want to provide. Then write down the steps to achieve this — and just writing it down will help allay some of that desperation. Keep in mind that, if it’s something you enjoy doing and are good at it, you will do more of it.

Get to work — get selling. In your plan, include how you can best get those clients. Review, first, how you got your other clients — and definitely do more of those things. What you will often discover is that you have stopped doing those things and that is what has happened to lead you to where you are today. Get cracking again!

Some suggestions to improve your visibility to your ideal client:

  • Write articles to show your expertise;
  • Host a teleseminar;
  • Get active on your social networks with valuable tips, and create a special offer you can promote here;
  • Review your social media profiles and make sure they are up to date and present the best you;
  • Consider a paid Facebook ad or promotions or a Google ad (with carefully chosen keywords);
  • Network online and offline;
  • Update your website and make it more SEO-friendly and also emphasize more what you can do for your clients; and
  • Blog.

What’s important here is, even after you get those clients to get you out of your crunch, you continue these activities so you don’t get back there again.

Review your pricing. Don’t lower your rates, but can you offer your product or services to select potential clients at a special rate just to jumpstart your efforts? Review your rate structure and see if there might be ways to do that. Remember, you don’t want to come off as desperate; the impression you want to make is, “Let’s work together, and I have this great special going on now.” Also, review your pricing and see if there are more effective ways to sell your services. Perhaps you can package a few services together and offer them as packages at one fee instead of individually at your hourly rate. Or add a few extra services to your existing list of services that might bring in more income. Get creative. You know your business best, so consider steps you can take today to improve your bottom line.

Connect with your current clients, potential clients, associates, and more. Now is a perfect time to connect with them and tell them about a fabulous special you are offering. And yes, it’s OK to mention that you are looking for new clients. What happens here is, many aren’t aware that you are looking for more work, and once they are, they might have the perfect connections.

Get your head in the game. It might not seem like it, but your mindset plays a big part in getting and keeping your clients. Clients can feel fear as much as they can feel confidence. You always need to portray that confidence to them. It’s time to get excited about your business again. Forget about this slow spell and remember the good times where business was rocking. That positive energy can do wonders to improve your confidence. And the more confidence you have, the more success you will find.

Set realistic goals. It’s important to get down in writing what you hope to accomplish, and be honest here. You probably won’t be able to find 10 clients by noon, but can you find two clients by the end of the week. YES! That’s doable. Write it down and do all you can to make it happen.

Hire help. You may think, “What? Didn’t you hear me — I’m desperate.” But while that is true, it also might be time to hire someone to review what you are doing and give you some recommendations. Perhaps your marketing isn’t working because you are doing it wrong, and, with a little tweak or two, you can turn it all around. Perhaps you are doing it right but just not connecting in the right places. An outside professional can often get you on the right track.

It’s no fun to have that stress of needing to make money now, but these tips can help you turn it around. And remember the most important element to successful selling is to repeat and repeat. Continually do more of the right things to grow your business and you may not suffer the desperation blues again. 

Diana Ennen is president of Virtual Word Publishing (), which offers PR and marketing services, and also hosts PR classes through www.prsuccessseries.com. She has been featured on “Fox Business News,” CBS, CNN Radio, USA Today and Entrepreneur Magazine, among others, and is the author of six books on starting a business, including Virtual Assistant – the Series: Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA.

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