This is a transcript of Episode 016 of the Epic Business Growth for CPAs podcast. Enjoy!

Nikki: [00:00:00] It feels so good, and the sales conversations are more authentic, and I can be more me. 

Geraldine: [00:00:08] Welcome to the She Thinks Big Podcast, where you’ll hear from women entrepreneurs who are doing good in the world. From spark to screw up to success. Thinking big is in their core. It’s in yours, and it’s in mine. 

I’ve traveled to 50 countries and seven continents, done an Ironman, and co-founded a company that has generated millions of dollars for sustainability. My name is Geraldine Carter, and I’m delighted to share with you, conversations and coaching with amazing women. Time to get inspired and grow your impact. 

I’m here today with Nikki Rausch, Your Sales Maven, to talk about her Selling Staircase and sales mindset. Her Selling Staircase makes sales conversations easy by providing a structure that you can follow and know where you are inside a sales conversation.

We also dive into the sales mindset because, like a lot of us, there’s a connotation around sales that includes being pushy, slimy, and aggressive, and none of us want to be those things. We end up avoiding sales conversations at all costs, or if we do end up in a sales conversation, it’s clunky because we don’t know the steps.

That’s why this is such an important episode, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy talking to Nikki. One thing that super bummed me out is that I must not have hit the right microphone button when I record it. So instead of recording on my podcast microphone, I’m just recording straight to the internal mic on my MacBook Pro.

So I sound like I’m in a tin can, but the content is so good that there was no way that I was going to scrap the whole episode just because I sound tinny. So sorry for that and I’ll get it right next time. But now for the good stuff, here she is, your Sales Maven, Nikki Rausch. Hey Nikki, welcome to the She Thinks Big Podcast.

Nikki: [00:01:56] Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here. 

Geraldine: [00:01:58] I know, we too. We’ve been chit-chatting in advance here, and we have a bunch of great topics lined up, so let’s jump right in. So why don’t, in your words, you give us a quick primer on the Selling Staircase. 

Nikki: [00:02:10] Okay. So, I want to liken it to, because most people, when they think about sales, they talk about, and we hear this a lot, that it’s a sales funnel, and I get the concept of the sales funnel.

And I think the sales funnel is more of a marketing focus. And so when I teach sales, and my specialty really is sales, not marketing, I liken it more to it’s a staircase, and it’s your job to move your clients from step to step to step. And it’s really important that you understand what step you’re on with your client and what you need to say or do next

to move them to the next step. And once you know how to do that, the selling process gets easier for you and your clients. 

Geraldine: [00:02:59] Yes. I can attest this because I’ve been working with you, and getting familiar with the Selling Staircase and knowing where I am in the conversation has been so helpful. And it makes the whole process so much easier and not just easier it makes it, dare I say, fulfilling. 

Nikki: [00:03:14] Yes! Oh, I love that you used that word because sales should be fulfilling for everybody and most. 

Geraldine: [00:03:20] Yes! Because we’re both getting the thing that we want and need. 

Nikki: [00:03:23] Yes. Being able to identify, this is the other great thing about the sign staircase and understanding, is it also helps you identify who’s a potential client and who isn’t so that you’re not spinning a bunch of time and energy worrying about how can I convince this person to do business with me?

Because you really shouldn’t ever try to convince anybody. And frankly, convincing doesn’t work. People don’t want to be convinced. So, they want to be respected. They want to have authentic conversations.

And so when you can get in this mode of like, identify quickly, who’s an ideal client, who is not a client or not a client now, then it takes some of the pressure off too because you’re not trying to close every single deal. Right? 

Geraldine: [00:04:10] Yes, totally. And in that part about identifying who is not ideal for working with you, it’s like no harm, no foul. I don’t want to work with somebody. I don’t want to be paid by somebody whom I don’t think I can really help. And being able to quickly identify that person and not try and fit myself into what they need when it’s really not what I do, just makes life so much easier and leaves a space open for the next right person to come along.

Nikki: [00:04:35] Yes. In my mind, and I don’t know how your listeners will feel about this, but in my mind a lot of times it’s like bless and release those people who can go on and find what it is that they are looking for somewhere else, they’ll be so much happier. And actually, I find that sometimes when you can identify this, somebody is not a perfect client for you, and you can gracefully explain to them that this is probably not the right fit or not the best fit right now. A lot of times, those people become really great referral partners, because now they feel like, Oh, I can trust Nikki. She’s not going to try to just take my money. She actually has my best interest at heart, so when I do meet somebody who I think might be a good fit for Nikki, I’ll send them her way.

Geraldine: [00:05:20] In a way, saying, I’m not the best person for you. Here’s somebody else who might be, is a massive trust generator. Like, you’re putting loads of trust marbles in the jar. 

Nikki: [00:05:29] Yes. When we are ready, they’re going to come back because they’ll know, Oh, I’m ready for you now. Or you had mentioned these are some criteria for people who are ready and I feel like I’ve now met these criteria. And it feels good to them to move to that level when they do come back cause they’re like, I’m all in.

Geraldine: [00:05:48] Yes. Awesome. So maybe for our listeners, let’s back up a hair, and can you tell us what the steps are on the Selling Staircase? 

Nikki: [00:05:56] Yes. So there are five steps. The first step is the introduction step, where you are making a really positive first impression. You are paying attention to body language, voice quality, all of these things they’re in the introduction phase. 

The next step is creating curiosity. This is where your buying signals are going to come up. This is where you have to really be paying attention because getting people to kind of the third step; this is a crucial step. The third step in the process is discovery. This is where you are doing your due diligence, and finding out what’s going on, what’s their problem, what’s their need?  What’s their biggest struggle?

And then, once you get through the discovery process, then you move to the proposal process. This is now your time to propose back to them, ways that you can help them; you can solve their problem. You can help them overcome their struggle. You can meet their needs. 

And then the fifth step is the close. That’s where you actually issue the close language. And this is a time for you to uncover any potential objections that are going to come up. And it’s also a time for you to exchange money for services or products. And now we have an actual paying client.

Geraldine: [00:07:16] Alright, got it. So let me do those back to our listeners. Introduction. Curiosity. 

Nikki: [00:07:23] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:07:23] Discovery. Proposal. 

Nikki: [00:07:26] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:07:26] Close. 

Nikki: [00:07:27] Yes. You got it.

Geraldine: [00:07:28] Got it. Okay. And you and I both know that I was missing two pieces of that Selling Staircase, and they were curiosity and closing. 

Nikki: [00:07:40] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:07:41] I’m curious to know, after working with hundreds of people, what do you find are the most common staircase steps that people miss?

Nikki: [00:07:49] The exact two that you just said. 

Geraldine: [00:07:51] Okay.

Nikki: [00:07:52] Curiosity is probably the number one, and then close would be a very close second. Curiosity, because we sometimes think like we’re not quite sure how to create curiosity about our business. And a lot of times, when people first come to me and want some support in the selling process and getting some clarity around how to improve your selling skills.

A lot of times, they’ll say, you know, I’m struggling with the proposal piece, or I’m struggling with just even the discovery process or whatever, but when I dig in, a lot of times, that’s actually not true. It’s that they don’t know how to get somebody to the discovery piece, and that means they don’t understand how to create curiosity about their business.

And then at the close second, is the people are like, well, you know, people are really interested. They let me get through my whole spiel. They say they’re going to buy and then they never come back. That to me is like a huge, like I hear, you know, alarms in my head when I hear that cause I go, Oh, we’ve got a close piece here that’s missing.

There’s like some tiny little, and really the stuff that I teach, it’s simple, but it’s really powerful. And if you don’t do it well, and if you don’t understand what you’re supposed to say when those tiny little things cost you a lot of money. And, it costs the client because they never get to that piece where they’re getting their problem solved or they’re getting their need met, or they have to look for someone else to do it.

Geraldine: [00:09:25] Yes. It’s so unsatisfying. It’s like, you’ve led them all the way to the restaurant and now they’re at the buffet line, and then you walk out without… 

Nikki: [00:09:33] Well, I don’t know. Am I supposed to seat myself? What’s going on here? Is anybody going to help me? Yes. And then they’re like, well, I guess I don’t get to eat.

Geraldine: [00:09:42] Yes. I guess I’ll go find other restaurants. 

Nikki: [00:09:44] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:09:44] I mean, what I love about that is that it makes it so simple and so clear to understand and so helpful for people to be like, Oh, here’s where I am in this part of the conversation. Here’s what I say now, and it takes all the guesswork out of it. 

Nikki: [00:09:59] I’m a big believer in structure, and part of my background in neurolinguistic programming is there’s a belief that there’s a structure to excellence, and so if you can break down a structure and give people a structure to follow, then they can achieve similar results.

So anytime somebody is exceptional at what they do if you can help understand and even help them understand. Cause sometimes people who are exceptional at what they do, it resides in their unconscious competence. They don’t even know how they do what they do. But through my years of studying neurolinguistic programming,

I know that there are key questions and key ways to kind of gather that information.

And so I try really hard to teach everything in a structure because I know once I give somebody a structure and they can implement it, they’re going to get results. And when they get results, they’re going to want to do it again and again and again, and want to hone it and get even better at it and then it does become easy.

Geraldine: [00:11:01] Yes. Which is what’s happened to me. And so for our listeners, let me just share some numbers with you. Getting all hot. 

Nikki: [00:11:11] I think you should leave the zipper part in, let me share some numbers with you. It’s a zip.

Geraldine: [00:11:18] I will, just for you watch, I’m going to do it. 

Nikki: [00:11:20] Funny. 

Geraldine: [00:11:21] So for our listeners, I want to share some numbers with you because I want you to appreciate how well this works and potentially how much money you’re leaving on the table by not knowing this stuff.

So I started working with Nikki about six weeks ago, and then I heard her speak on stage, and then we did a one hour call together. And in the six weeks, since I started working with her, I’ve made three times more money in the most recent six week period than I made in any other prior six week period.

So three times as much. And in terms of the financial investment that I made with her, I’ve now made that back more than ten times over in six weeks. So run, don’t walk to her website, which is 

Nikki: [00:12:02] I’m so excited for you. 

Geraldine: [00:12:04] Thank you.

Nikki: [00:12:05] I’m so proud of you. I love people who implement it. Working with implementers is the most gratifying, satisfying piece of my work.

People who will take what I give them and be like, oh, I’m going to do this. Not only am I going to do it, I’m going to see the results. And so you are definitely seeing the results of what we worked on. 

Geraldine: [00:12:23] Yes. And we also worked on some stuff. Let’s just say that I had going on in the way. Right?

Nikki: [00:12:30] Yes, the mindset stuff. Right?

Geraldine: [00:12:33] It’s the mindset stuff. 

Nikki: [00:12:34] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:12:34] So let’s go right to it for the benefit of our listeners. As much though I, you know, don’t love splaying my mindset stuff all over the airwaves. I think that I will, I know for sure that I’m not the only one. Right? And if I was learning something of tremendous value, then hopefully some other people who are listening will too.

Nikki: [00:12:53] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:12:53] Let’s start at the superficial, easy level of the really common mindset stuff that you and I both hear gets in people’s way. Like I hear all the time, I hate sales. 

Nikki: [00:13:04] Yes. Or I don’t want to be salesy. I don’t want people to think I’m being pushy. I don’t want to be manipulative. You know, all of these things that we tell ourselves about sales, because, you know, like with anything, sales can have a bad rap and some of it is deserved, right?

Not everybody sells with a high level of integrity. We all have been on the receiving end of somebody who comes across gross and you know, aggressive or is just so smarmy and who wants to be seen like that? None of us. Right? And so a lot of times I think people go into this mode, this mindset mode of like, well, instead of being salesy, I will educate people, right?

It’s their way around being salesy. Like I’ll just be an educator. And unfortunately, that mindset doesn’t usually serve you either because not everybody wants to be educated first of all. And then, second, It doesn’t get you through the Selling Staircase and through the process, and because it doesn’t get you the process, you spend a lot of time and energy educating people, and then they go and buy from somebody else who understands the selling process.

Geraldine: [00:14:21] Oh no, that sounds awful. 

Nikki: [00:14:26] Yes, and it’s so sad because it’s also really unsatisfying. Because believe it or not, when sales are done authentically and when they’re done well, everybody leaves feeling really good about it, right? The person feels good about the investment that they made in you or in your product and your service.

You feel really good because you’re able to be of service. And so getting this mindset around like, I don’t want to be salesy or pushy or aggressive. Or smarmy. 

Geraldine: [00:14:57] I don’t want us to be all about money. 

Nikki: [00:14:58] Oh yes. That’s another big one, right? I don’t want to just be, you know, money-hungry, like a money-grubbing kind of person.

And again, that word, like manipulative, this comes up a lot for people. They’ll say this back to me, don’t you think sales is about manipulating? And I always say sales is more about influencing than manipulating. And I don’t actually believe that we can. I mean, it’s not that we can’t, but most people are savvy enough.

They’re not going to be manipulated. And if they do feel manipulated at the end of it, you have now ruined that relationship. And long term relationships are built on trust and likability, credibility. And so if you’re looking to build a long term business, you cannot manipulate people. 

Geraldine: [00:15:46] Yes. And not only have you ruined that relationship, but you’ve probably ruined a bunch of other ones by word of mouth.

Nikki: [00:15:52] Yes, for sure. I mean, a lot of us, as we build our business, you know, a lot of my business comes word of mouth. People experienced my work, and then they tell people like what you just said, right? Run, don’t walk, go work with Nikki because she’s going to support you. Which holds more credibility than anything I can ever say about myself is for someone else to say it.

And also I don’t hire people that my friends or colleagues have had bad experiences with cause I don’t want to be the idiot who then goes and hires them anyway and goes, Oh, yes. I got taken to. It’s learning to understand that, really, the selling process is not about you. When you’re caught up in your own head about, I don’t want to be salesy or aggressive or gross or all these things. Well, here’s what I will also say is, people who worry about that are probably not that, but they’re so not that they’ve gone to the other side of the spectrum of not selling at all. 

Geraldine: [00:16:48] Right. The pendulum swings all the way to the other end. 

Nikki: [00:16:50] Yes. And so now you get to this place where you’re not closing any business because you don’t want to be all of these things, but that’s not serving you, and it’s not serving the world

Geraldine: [00:17:01] Yes.

Nikki: [00:17:01] Right. It’s not serving the people who will benefit. 

Geraldine: [00:17:04] The other thing about when the pendulum swings all the way to the other side is that now you’re just playing small. And you’re not showing up as your authentic self, right? 

Nikki: [00:17:12] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:17:13] You can either be smarmy and salesy on one end of the pendulum, or you can be small and diminished over on the other end, but in neither place or you being your whole self.

Nikki: [00:17:21] Right. And that’s again, not serving you. It’s not serving your clients. And this idea about playing small, actually teaches a piece of this and some of my training about playing small. In a way, when you play small, what it does is, it actually puts the prospect or the client in a position to want to build you up.

Geraldine: [00:17:44] Yes. Which is awkward…

Nikki: [00:17:45] Right? We want to make people feel good about themselves. And so when you’re playing small, you’re doing it as a way of being humble, but you cause people to then go into this mode of wanting to build you up, and now you are making cells about you. And it shouldn’t be about you. It should actually be about the client. And I know that’s not the intention, but that’s what happens. 

Geraldine: [00:18:08] So let’s dive into some of the deeper stuff that I have a feeling is probably in the way for a lot of folks. And goes a level deeper than just the stuff we say to ourselves. Like, I hate sales, and I don’t want to be smarmy, and it’s the blind spot stuff that we don’t even know exists.

Nikki: [00:18:24] Yes. The blind spot can come up in a lot of ways, and to be really candid for everybody listening, we all have blind spots, including me, and I’ve been in sales for 25 years, and I hire coaches to help shine lights on the blind spots in my business and in my life. And I’m continuously surprised at the blind spots that they uncover that I go, gosh, you know, I can do this for everybody else, but I cannot do it for myself.

So I will say to anybody listening who feels like, Oh, I probably might have some blind spots, I should be able to figure this out. No, you shouldn’t be able to figure it out. It’s unrealistic to expect you to start, to see some of your blind spots. Now, if you become aware that you’re struggling with sales, now it’s your job to seek out some support and some help, right?

And there’s a lot of resources out there for that. And a lot of times, mindset stuff comes down to three things. This is from my NLP training. Hopeless, helpless, worthless. 

Geraldine: [00:19:28] That makes sense. 

Nikki: [00:19:29] So when you’re hopeless, it’s like there’s just, you know, there’s no hope. There’s no way that I could ever do this. Helpless is like other people can do it, but I just don’t know how.

And worthless is this idea around, and this can be some of your money, the money talk, right? The worthless is like; I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve recognition. I don’t deserve success. All of this stuff that comes up, and sometimes it comes up because of something that happened to a younger version of us.

Sometimes it comes up because we don’t have a really strong supportive community around us, you know, wanting to lift us up. So that means you have to surround yourself with different people, and as you’re building your business, this happens.

And then seeking the people who know how to do things that you don’t quite know how to do yet and getting in their community, like get in their world because they’re going to help you with the hopeless and the helpless and the worthless might require a little bit more deeper mindset stuff. Some work, right? There’s some work to be done. 

Geraldine: [00:20:36] There’s some work to be done, and I’m guessing that you’re in the uncommon bunch of people who help people with sales, but who also have a background in NLP. And can help people with the sort of mindset stuff, because the steps in the Selling Staircase, once you know it, is simple and easy and all you have to do is implement it.

But if you’ve got a mindset trap that’s in your way and it’s a total blind spot to you, staircase or not, it’s still gonna be in your way.

Nikki: [00:21:04] Yes, and I do have an extensive background in training and how to spot some of this. A lot of times, it’s your internal dialogue. A lot of times, it’s your unconscious that is kind of rearing its head and maybe throwing a tantrum or, you know, I am trained to spot some of these things. 

It’s my job to shine the light on some of these blind spots. And it’s your job to decide what you want to do about it. And frankly, sometimes people are like, I’m not ready to deal with that.

We’ll come back to that later. And other times people are like, why do you say that? Or why did you ask that question or what? You know, what did you notice about me that made you comment on this here. And then we can get into a deeper discussion. 

Geraldine: [00:21:50] So I don’t really want this to be about me, but I think since it’s the most useful example that you and I both have in common right now, it’s probably the best one.

Nikki: [00:22:00] I bet your listeners would love to hear examples about you. 

Geraldine: [00:22:03] Yes, they might. I’m not so sure how I feel. I know exactly how I feel about sharing it, but I’m going to anyway in the interest of serving the community. Right? 

Nikki: [00:22:13] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:22:14] And, so what you helped me uncover was this really old drama that I like vaguely aware that I have in past years of my life played, but didn’t know that I was still playing out in my sales conversations or lack of them. And that was my own belief in my own value. 

And it was getting in my way, just left, right, and center in the form of being completely oblivious to buying signals. 

Nikki: [00:22:37] Yes. 

Geraldine: [00:22:38] And what I was doing was like they would go by me, and I just, they didn’t even trip my radar. And in fact, one of them went by me this morning, and I saw it, and I was like, Oh, Nikki would tell me that’s a buying signal. And it sounded like, wow, you’re really amazing. And I say, oh, great, thanks.

Nikki: [00:22:56] Yes. Definitely a great ding buying signal right there.

Geraldine: [00:22:59] Right. And if you hadn’t helped me see that this is what I was doing, I don’t think that I would be making the progress that I’ve made recently. So it wasn’t necessarily the most pretty. And shall we say, Kleenex free conversation? But it was honestly among the most valuable conversations that I’ve had in a long time. 

Nikki: [00:23:22] I’m so glad. There was some stuff that was kind of pinging in our conversation that did require us to kind of check-in about. And from all of my years of doing NLP, one of the things that you get really comfortable with is emotional fluency or currency as my NLP teacher used to say, like emotional currency, so Kleenex free or not, or tons of Kleenex. 

Either way is totally fine with me because ultimately, it’s about helping you find what’s going to most serve you in your business. And so I love that you are willing to share this on the podcast. I also love that you are willing to do that work during our call. Because, now at least you’re having some recognition about this morning, like, Ooh, that was a potential buying signal, and Nikki might encourage me here to do X.

That means the next time it comes, at some point you’ll even stop thinking like, Nikki would encourage me to do X here, and you’ll just start doing X, and it will become so much easier for you, and it’ll become so much better for the person who’s giving you a potential buying signal.

Geraldine: [00:24:37] It was really interesting to notice when that buying signal came at me, and I let it go by, what I experienced inside my body. You know, it was like a deep pit in my stomach, and I was like, Ooh, there it is. And I was also just willing to let myself go. Okay, that’s what it looks like. That’s the thing that she and I were talking about. That’s the thing. That’s the edge. Whatever jargon you want to use, you know that needs addressing and working right now.

So there, you know when these do come by, I can move from, or baby steps it from like recognize it and be uncomfortable to eventually recognize it and be fine with it to eventually recognize it and be like, yep, I’m good to like not even seeing it anymore cause it doesn’t trip my radar.

Nikki: [00:25:21] Yes. With anything, sales require some muscle memory, too, like selling techniques and processes. And so just like, you can’t just go out and decide, okay, well today I’m going to, drive an 18 wheeler or fly a jet airplane, or like whatever it is. There’s training involved, and there’s trial and error, and there’s testing the waters, right?

So you’re in this phase right now of kind of testing the waters and checking things out. And at some point, you’re going to start, and we already know cause you’re already having so much success implementing the things that we’ve been working on that at some point like; however much time depends on the person, right?

For you, it might be six months, or it could be a year, it could be five years. At some point, people are going to be like, Geraldine, how do you know to do that? Like how do you, and you’ll just be like, I don’t know. I just do. And you won’t even remember that it was even ever an issue for you because it will start to become just unconscious competence for you.

You’ll be like, I’ve got this. I know it frontwards, backward, you know, up, down, sideways, like, I got it. 

Geraldine: [00:26:32] It’s just like second nature. 

Nikki: [00:26:34] Yes.

Geraldine: [00:26:35] I look forward to that day.

Nikki: [00:26:36] It’s coming. It’s coming. There’s so many you know, these are some of the conversations that I get with people. At some point, they’ll come back and be like, Oh, it’s like the switch flipped, but it wasn’t actually a switch.

It was like a dimmer switch, and it just kept getting brighter and brighter and brighter, and pretty soon you realize the lights are on. Like I have got this. 

Geraldine: [00:26:59] I’m so excited for my listeners to get to know you better because you absolutely have the power to turn people’s lights way up in their businesses. 

So you’ve been working in sales in some capacity for almost 25 years, and I’m curious to know what you see happening with people in their businesses when they start working with you. 

Nikki: [00:27:19] Really, what I see is it’s a commitment first and foremost. It’s a commitment to say to themselves and to their business that they are going to learn something new. Right?  

And so it does require, you know, implementation. It does require time and investment. And then it’s super satisfying. Like one of, just to give an example, so at Biz Chix, one of my VIP clients came and sat down next to me the last night of the conference, and she was like, Nikki, you know, when I started, and one of her biggest struggles when we started, she wanted confidence in the selling process. 

Like she was really struggling feeling confident to sell herself because she had sold for other companies before, but not comfortable selling. Now it’s her business, and now she’s got to sell herself. So that was like her biggest struggle when we started working together. So when she came and sat down with me, she’s like, it’s just been a few months. 

But in these few months, I realized at this conference that I have such a sense of confidence about what’s happening in a conversation. I know what to say next. I know how to look for buying signals. I know how to invite people to do business with me, and I just feel so much more confident now, and I wish I had this on video first and foremost. 

And I wish I had like a video of her when we first started talking about her and sales. And like now when she talks about sales, it’s almost like a whole new brighter version of her shows up, right? It’s like the lights are on, she’s beaming. She feels super confident. That’s actually something that happens a lot with clients. 

It’s like I totally get it now, and because I get it, it feels so good, and the sales conversations are more authentic, and I can be more me. I do not have to go like, well, you know, should I not be me? Should I tone down my personality? It’s like, no, you should be you and be effective at being you in the selling process.

Geraldine: [00:29:28] Yes. That is exactly it. It’s like all of a sudden, and you know exactly where you are in the conversation. You know what to say. I find myself being at ease.  

Nikki: [00:29:37] Yes.  

Geraldine: [00:29:37] I show up, and I want to serve. I genuinely want to help them if I can. If I can’t, I find somebody who can. And if I can, then we keep going through the conversation, and it just, it feels so whole in my conversations. 

I’m just so much more at ease, and it’s no longer about me, and like, am I good enough? That’s what it is. It’s no longer about like before I think the close was about like, can I do it? Am I good enough? And I was measuring whether or not I closed. That was the measure of my value. 

And now is so if I didn’t close, I’d be like, Oh God, I suck. Maybe I suck. I don’t know if I suck. Do they want to hire me? They don’t want to hire me. Is it because I don’t know what I’m doing? Right. And I’m like, write this whole story in my head. 

If I didn’t clue, and I never thought of it as closing, but like if we never met and decided to work together, in my mind, I’d be like, Oh, I suck, I suck, I suck, somewhere along the way. Maybe it’s because I don’t know what I’m doing and am I a [fraud?] and maybe people see right through me and blah, blah. 

Now I’m there to listen to where they’re stuck, to tell them how I think I can help them if I can. And if they decide not to hire me, then it’s totally fine, and it’s no longer about me and my value, my self-worth. It’s like they’ve just decided not to hire me and it’s totally fine. We’re good. 

And that has taken pounds and pounds and pounds of pressure off of the whole conversation. And I was actually like, avoiding the conversation, to begin with, because I didn’t want it to not go well, and then it would confirm that I sucked at what I was doing.  

Nikki: [00:31:09] Yes.  

Geraldine: [00:31:10] It’s like I was creating the very thing that I didn’t want to have.  

Nikki: [00:31:16] Yes. You know this brings up a point, so you can tell me whether or not you want to go down this avenue. But this is actually one, it’s one of the reasons that I always encourage clients to put some type of pricing on their website. 

And the reason for this is because it cuts down on having conversations with people who are never going to pay you what your fees are. Because if you’re only talking to people who can’t afford you or who do not see the value in your work, it starts reaffirming for you that you have no value, that you charge too much. 

That like all this negative self talk. And so anytime, and this is also one of the reasons to learn the selling process because then you’re not in this place of taking it personally. And you’re not putting yourself in positions where you feel bad because you’re not having the conversation you know you need to have, but you’re worried they’re going to say no, and that’s going to reinforce some negative thing about you and, but again, in the selling process, it isn’t about you, right? It’s about the client’s experience. 

And sometimes clients actually have to tell you no a certain number of times before they can tell you no or yes, this is known as a convincer strategy. We have to say no a certain number of times before we say yes. So we have to help them get to the no sometimes so that at some point when they are ready, they will say yes. People really want to make a good decision. Right? 

And especially if, depending on what your service or your product costs, for some people it’s a big investment, right? To work with you or to work with me. It’s an investment. They want to reaffirm that they’re making a good decision, or maybe they’ve worked with people in the past, and it hasn’t been a great investment, or it hasn’t paid off, and so they become a little bit like, hesitant or shy. 

Like I will say, in our society, we’ve created a society of skeptics and savvy people. So what side are you feeding for them? Like sometimes, when the skeptic is coming out, this is why you cannot go into convince mode because then they become even bigger skeptics.  

Geraldine: [00:33:26] Right. That makes sense.  

Nikki: [00:33:28] So we have to give them the opportunity sometimes to just say no. I cannot tell you how many people have told me, no, and then come back and hire me later. 

Geraldine: [00:33:37] Yes.  

Nikki: [00:33:38] It was like the timing wasn’t right, or maybe I didn’t ask the right questions, or maybe they just, for whatever reason, it was, you know, a lot of times it’s about timing. Right?  

Geraldine: [00:33:47] Yes.  

Nikki: [00:33:47] Like sometimes they’re working with somebody else. They’re already working with a coach, and they’re going to hire me when that program is done, or they just had like, actually, I apply it this morning, a call that I have this morning. She was like, well, my accountant is asking me not to have any big purchases in this month, and so we’ve agreed that she’ll actually pay next month and then we’ll start then.  

Geraldine: [00:34:10] Right at the start of the new year.  

Nikki: [00:34:12] Yes. So that isn’t about, that’s not about me. Right? That’s what is going to serve her and what’s going to be best for her. 

Geraldine: [00:34:20] Even if people do say no, you never really know why

they say no. Right? And like you say, it could be timing, and it could be any other host of factors. And it’s really easy to make up a story about how it’s about us.  

Nikki: [00:34:31] Yes.  

Geraldine: [00:34:31] And it really has nothing to do with us.  

Nikki: [00:34:34] Most of the time, it has nothing to do with you. Now, the other thing I will say about being told no is that for many people, it’s actually hard to say, no, to somebody, right? Like we feel guilty when we have to say no to somebody. 

And so it gets uncomfortable, and it gets awkward and weird. Like we’re already feeling weird and awkward and uncomfortable because we have to say no.

And then, when the person you say no to acts uncomfortable, awkward, and weird, it makes you not want to go back to them when it is yes. And this is also one of the reasons for learning how to maintain your internal state of mind, as well as your external state. The way that you engage with the client because no, can be uncomfortable for them. You want to make it as comfortable as possible that they feel at least good enough to come back to you when they are ready. 

Like there doesn’t, you don’t want there to be any awkward like, well, YesI don’t want to call Nikki again because I said no to her before, and she seemed a little offended. Like that would be the worst thing.  

Geraldine: [00:35:38] And that goes back to being authentic, right?  

Nikki: [00:35:40] Yes.  

Geraldine: [00:35:40] And if you’re authentic and real and you don’t leave anything kind of weird or awkward, or icky kind of left unsaid, then people are going to call you back when they’re ready.  

Nikki: [00:35:50] Yes. Yes. And so in a way, understand the selling process and then trust the process because it works.

Geraldine: [00:35:57] Yes.  

Nikki: [00:35:59] Right? And people will come back when they’re ready. And this is also why you stay front of mind. And continue to put yourself out there and build your visibility strategy in the marketplace, and you know, all the things that go along with sales and marketing, right?

There isn’t that marketing piece, but it makes it easy for clients to find their way to you and make it easy for them. If the answer is no, I’m not saying just like give everybody an easy out, but if the answer is no, keep the relationship intact. So that when it is a yes, you’re their person,  

Geraldine: [00:36:33] Yes.  

Nikki: [00:36:34] You’re their obvious choice  

Geraldine: [00:36:35] Yes. And they’re going to recommend you and refer you in the meantime. 

Nikki: [00:36:38] Totally. All the time that happens to me.

Geraldine: [00:36:41] This has been so great to talk to you, Nikki. How can people find you? 

Nikki: [00:36:45] People can find me through my website,, and I actually have a special offer for your listeners, so it’s still, She Thinks Big Podcast. And if you go visit that, you can actually download an ebook on closing the sale where I actually give you some scripts. 

I gave you some mindset stuff on what to be doing during the close process. You know, this is probably the second kind of most common place where people are struggling. So this is my gift to your listeners. You can go to download it, and that’s probably an easy way to stay engaged with me.  

Geraldine: [00:37:26] Awesome. Thank you so much, Nikki, for coming on the She Thinks Big Podcast. 

Nikki: [00:37:31] Thank you. That was fun.  

Geraldine: [00:37:33] All right, ladies. Now I hope you can see why I’m such a huge fan of Nikki’s. Her Selling Staircase is incredibly helpful. Introduction, curiosity, discovery, proposal, close, and there’s so much more. 

You’ve probably often heard it said that being an entrepreneur or a business owner is the biggest course in personal and self-development that you could ever hope to take. If you haven’t taken a closer look, there’s a decent chance that your negative self-talk is infiltrating your sales conversations and sabotaging the growth of your business. 

One of the things that I work on with my clients is focusing on driving revenue in your business. Because in many ways, revenue can be unlimited. Whereas costs are fixed or variable, but they can be controlled. With revenue, the sky’s the limit, which is why it’s so important to be able to have effective sales conversations. 

And for many of you who work individually with clients and have one-on-one sales conversations, the importance of being able to have effective, authentic sales conversations and not be understated. 

So like I said, run. Don’t walk over to Nicki’s website. It’s You can download her free PDF on closing the sale. That freebie is 

She also has a series of six 30 minute videos on YouTube that are fantastic. I highly recommend you take yourself through those. And then get her on your radar to work with because she’s really that amazing. 

If you could rock your sales conversations, what would that mean for your business?

What would that mean for the impact that you want to have in the world, and what would that mean for your life? 

As always, I’d love to hear your key takeaways from this episode. 

All right, ladies, thanks for listening. I’ll see you next week.

If you want to find out more about the She Thinks Big Podcasts or hear previous episodes, head on over to my website, And of course, I want to know what you’re thinking big about. I hope you’ll share in the She Thinks Big Facebook group. I love hearing from listeners because here in my studio, all I hear is crickets and my meowing cats. 

Thanks so much for listening to the show this week. You can subscribe to Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. And while you’re there, please do leave me a raving five-star review. 

You can write to me at, and if you want to send a tweet, I’m @GeraldineCarter. You’ve been listening to She Thinks Big. 

See you next week.