Don’t Sell to Strangers


Written by Joanna Sapir

We buy from people that we feel a connection with and that we relate to. We buy from people that we Know, Like, and Trust. Right?

Unfortunately, many small service business owners that plaster their town with rack cards and flyers or social media pages with posts, trying to sell their services. What’s the problem?

Trying to sell to strangers.

Why You Shouldn’t Sell to Strangers

In marketing-speak, strangers are a “cold audience” – people that you haven’t built a relationship with yet. They’ve never heard of you. They don’t know you. There’s no relationship.

And when you try to sell something to people with whom you have no relationship, it’s like walking up to a complete stranger and asking them on a date – or worse, to marry you. It’s inappropriate, awkward, and even a bit yucky, right?

Of course, it’s standard practice for large corporate stores and products to blast us with specials and discounted offers. It’s traditional spray-and-pray advertising, what Seth Godin calls “old fashioned industrial marketing.”

Why Selling To Strangers Doesn’t Work For Small Service Businesses

But for small service businesses like yours, trying to sell to strangers is definitely not a sustainable or predictable strategy for growing your business with great, long-term clients. It’s also pretty obnoxious, right? Please buy, please buy, please buy from me!

And yet, plenty of small service business owners keep trying to do it. And it keeps not working because they’re trying to sell to strangers with ads like this, mimicking industrial marketing.

And they start offering discounts and specials to try and spark sales and when it doesn’t work well, or when they attract bargain seekers or crappy clients that don’t follow through with their end of the work, they complain and say things like “social media marketing doesn’t work.”

Why A New Website Isn’t The Answer (And What Is)

They say “I need to re-do my website” – thinking that that’s going to fix everything and increase sales. It won’t! Having a beautiful website and posting on all the social media channels won’t actually get you more clients unless you

-stop trying to sell your services to strangers

-start building relationships instead

…and then do this one thing:

Offer a free consultation!

How Free Consultations Help You Build Your Business

If you want to build your business with great, committed, long-term clients, instead of one-offs or single sessions or discounts and specials…offer an invitation to a complimentary consultation. That’s where you make sales.

You can name it whatever you want –

  • Discovery Call
  • Strategy Session
  • Breakthrough Session
  • Assessment or Evaluation or Audit

You can add or leave off free or complimentary.

You can put business-specific descriptive words in front:

  • Complimentary Business Profitability Assessment
  • Business Breakthrough Session
  • English Fluency Strategy Session
  • Free Emergency Preparedness Strategy Session
  • Upper Limits Breakthrough Session

You can get creative with the name, and you can also just call it a consultation.

What’s The Difference Between A Prospect And A Lead?

Once a lead has accepted your free offer for a consultation (or whatever you end up calling yours) they are now a Prospect. This is an important distinction that many service-based business owners miss.

Just because someone seemed interested in what you do when they met you at a networking event or you received an email introduction to someone from a colleague or friend or client trying to refer you new business, that does not mean that this person is an actual prospect. They are a lead, yes.

The lead needs to accept your invitation to a free consultation before you consider them a prospect. It’s a extremely important step in your sales pipeline.

The Consultation As The First Step In Your Sales Process

By offering a free a consultation, you’re creating the first of a series of stepping stones, one step at a time, to get to know you better, to trust you, and to like you. Each stepping stone invites your lead or prospect to take a new step closer to your front door. And this is ideal.

You want to lay out the steps, each one is like a new invitation to step forward, that your lead or prospect needs to accept. You offer the invitation, they need to accept it.

The opposite of that is when you go and pursue your leads and try to get them closer to you. It really is like dating. When you’re pursuing people and trying to pull people towards you, they feel your neediness, and it comes off as salesy. They feel like you want something from them.

Instead, clear a path to your door and lay down these stepping stones for your leads and prospects to come to you.

This is just one of the shifts in my free masterclass, 5 Shifts to Get Long-Term Clients and Steady Predictable Income. Watch it free right here.

Get the FREE Download:

The Business Strategy Scorecard

…which of these nine ingredients do you need to get high quality
long-term clients & steady, predictable income?

Joanna Sapir is a business strategist and coach helping innovative wellness practitioners and coaches build more profitable and sustainable businesses. She's on a mission to build a movement of people creating a new vision and reality for our future as humans on earth.

Want to talk about how to grow your wellness business?
→ Book a free consult today.

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