No one ever said network marketing was going to be easy. But some people in this industry think that by just setting up a website and building a funnel, they’ll have to fight off new customers with a stick. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. When you’re first starting out, your number one job is to generate revenue. You can’t sit around expecting people to show up on their own.
These are actually two totally different selling types known as active and passive selling. And this week, Kristen is going to explain to you where each type of selling fits in based on where you are in your business.
Here are a few takeaways:
- Run down of the differences between passive and active selling
- What happens when you jump into passive selling too soon in your business
- Examples of active selling that can get you back into practice
- The importance of engagement with your audience in the active selling phase
- How to know when it’s time to move into passive selling
If you’re in the early phases of your business or not yet meeting your revenue goal, it can be tempting to jump the gun into the passive selling phase. But the easiest way to get where you want to be is to ramp up your active selling. Engaging with your audience in an authentic way will grow your audience and, eventually, your bottom line. Stay consistent, friends!
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Transcript for Episode #168: RE-AIR Passive vs. Active Selling
Kristen Boss (00:19): You are listening to the Kristen Boss podcast. I’m your host, Kristen Boss. As a best-selling author and performance coach, I’m on a mission to share about sustainable and purposeful approaches to both business and life. Each week I bring relevant topics that I believe are necessary to create a life of purpose, significance and meaning. Entrepreneurship is about so much more than growing your bottom line. It’s about who you are becoming in the process and building a life that is truly extraordinary. Entrepreneurship is really just the beginning.
Kristen Boss (00:57): Hey, bosses. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. We are doing something a little bit different on the show. For the next few weeks, we are going to be sharing with you some of our favorite and most downloaded episodes that we have in the vault from the past that we know that you will love. And maybe it’s an episode you haven’t yet heard before. And if it’s a re-listen, maybe this is just a sign you needed to hear it again. So I hope you enjoy the stuff we pull out of the vault over the next couple weeks. So enjoy the episode we have for you this week. Hey there, friends, I got a fun episode for you today. I’m excited about the two concepts I’m going to be teaching you with regards to your selling and your marketing with your online business. And this is going to be very effective no matter what business model you’re in, whether you have an online business, a service-based business, your network marketing.
Kristen Boss (01:47): But I wanted to offer this episode to help you differentiate the different types of selling and marketing and what season your business is likely in so that you have the correct expectations and you’re engaging in your business properly during its current season. And I think a lot of people when they think about selling offers and driving revenue to their business, they think of actively selling their business. Or maybe you’ve just gone straight to like, oh, I’m going to pay for ads and I’m just going to put my name out there. Maybe I’ll make a website, hand out business cards, whatever it is, you have this idea in your mind of what you think it’s going to take to bring customers to your business, whether it’s online or even brick and mortar. And I’m going to give you a couple examples of online business and brick and mortar business just so that you can grasp the concepts that I’m wanting to teach you.
Kristen Boss (02:39): So essentially there’s two types of selling when it comes to you running your business and bringing profits and driving revenue to your business. And I always want you to tell yourself because sometimes if you’re, especially if you are identifying your online business as a side hustle, we tend to not treat it as a business and therefore we do not engage with it as a business. If you knew that your job description was to go out there and get profits, drive revenue, get customers like it is your job to create revenue instead of just, it’s this fun thing and I hope revenue comes, it’s a very different mindset and I’m going to kind of help you look at and distinguish between when you are in an active mindset or a passive mindset, and there is a time for both, and I’m going to help you differentiate between when you need to be actively selling and passively selling and the seasons for those things.
Kristen Boss (03:35): So I want to talk about your early season in business and I want to talk about the concept of active selling. Active selling is when you are intentionally engaging with your audience and with your network to bring awareness to your business as much as possible. But it is requiring your time, your effort, and your energy and your personal involvement. You’re intentionally taking time to think about the problem and think about how can I bring in new customers to my business? How can I grow the bottom line? Again, it’s your job to always be thinking about how can I create more value in the world to bring awareness to what I do and draw people into this offer that I have that serves them or solves a problem in some way? That is your job. Again, put a lot of value out in the world to create awareness and to bring customers in so that they can engage with an offer that solves a problem that they have.
Kristen Boss (04:32): That is why they come to you. And that the value that you offer and you create is what creates the like no and trust factor. People are not going to buy from you unless there is trust built in some way, unless they associate you in their mind that you are someone that is going to solve their problem. And then there is passive selling. This is done in a more advanced season of your business or when you have the cash on hand, the capital or you have again, the cash to be able to flood that into your business to pay for paid advertising to pay to get out there. So again, I’ve talked about the three currencies of being an entrepreneur and that when you’re doing passive selling, that is when you are using your cash dollars or outsourcing so that your business is being, people are finding out about your business without you directly having to physically go out and talk about your business and grow your business and tell people again you are paying so that you physically don’t have to go out there and talk to people.
Kristen Boss (05:36): You’re paying for advertising to do that for you. That is a passive mindset. So I want to talk about how you can slip into a passive mindset too early and what that does to your business when you fall into a passive mindset. I think a lot of people think that they’re being active in their business when actually they’re being quite passive. And I’m going to give you an example of that. When I was a hairstylist, I was a hairstylist for 15 years. I trained in Hollywood. I was actually heading towards New York Fashion Week and all those fun things and I loved it. It was a great career and it taught me a lot about business and a lot about people. But when I started at the beginning when a hairstylist is licensed, I went and got training and I was literally an apprentice at this upscale salon where I made minimum wage swept hair from the floor and shampooed hair, blow dried hair.
Kristen Boss (06:25): I didn’t even get to work on a client for six to eight months because I was being trained to ensure that because the salon owners wanted to ensure that there was a quality stylist that they can guarantee anybody could come in and that I would deliver and give a quality service that matched the reputation of the salon. So here I am, shampooing hair, sweeping hair. I graduated from the most preti, prestigious cosmetology school, and it was quite humbling to be like, oh, here I am sweeping hair, shampooing hair. And then once I go through that phase and I test it out, and I proved that yes, you can trust me to give quality services under the brand name of your salon. And when you start out as a hairstylist, you are not promised clients. It’s based on walk-ins. People who look at the salon, look it up on Google or think, oh, that place looks pretty cool.
Kristen Boss (07:15): Maybe I’ll go and get my haircut there. Literally waiting for business to come in. A passive mindset is me betting on the salon, doing their part advertising, getting their name out and whatever it else it is that they do. My passive mindset would be me sitting my butt in my chair every day waiting for business to walk in, not just waiting for business to walk in, but also waiting on the salon hoping that they’re doing a good job creating awareness of their salon. So notice how I’m kind of passively waiting for my revenue to walk in the door, and after a few weeks of me literally sitting on my butt waiting for money to come in, I thought I can sit here waiting and be passive and hand out business, hand out business cards with people that walk by. I could do that or I can think about how I can actively engage in this to guarantee that I’m going to bring in revenue to my business and make money instead of waiting for the salon, waiting for them to advertise, waiting for them to, I think there was Groupons at the time.
Kristen Boss (08:27): That was a huge thing waiting for them to do that, waiting for someone to just come in on a whim. I just thought, what do I need to do in order to guarantee that I get clients and I create revenue. And what I had was I was have time. I’m sitting here at the salon anyways. I could sit here and wait or I could go out there and make it happen. And that’s exactly what I did. I was in Santa Monica at the time and it was really close to the third Street Promenade and it was like this huge outdoor street with really beautiful stores and it’s always has people there year round and tourists and all that. So I went out and I just met people and I had my business card on hand and I offered free blow dry because I was really good at blow dry styling hair.
Kristen Boss (09:09): I was one of the best in the salon. I was trained by the best and I said, you know what? I know I’m good. All I need to do is get someone in my chair, get them to connect with me, offer them a free shampoo and blow dry. That’s all 30 minutes of my time because what else am I going to do? I’m sitting here and I can give them this experience. And I knew I’m like, my blow dryers are so dang good that if they experienced this, I know that they’re going to either ask me about a haircut, ask me about a color I would offer. I would say, Hey, would you like me to give any pointers or advice or share my thoughts about what we could do to improve your color or improve your haircut or a shape that you could do all those things?
Kristen Boss (09:48): And that’s exactly what I went out and did. I went out and I met people. I went out and joined meetup groups. I went to different gyms and different centers. I was like, where are my people hanging out? That’s where I’m going to go. I was networking, I was connecting. I was telling people what I did. I was like, Hey, I’m a hairstylist. I’d love for you to come in. I’m offering free blow dry. And people were like, great, I’ll come in for a blow dry. And that is how I built my bi business. Notice how actively engaged I was. And not only that, I also said, Hey, I also have this referral. I got the all clear from my boss at the salon. I said, Hey, can I offer, if someone refers someone to me, can I give them a percentage off their next service?
Kristen Boss (10:30): They’re like, great, get ’em in there. So I was like, awesome, I’m going to build referrals. So once I was serving somebody and I was doing their hair, I told them, I said, Hey, let’s your next appointment so that we can ensure that you look great and we keep you up to date. Again, I’m thinking about customer service, retention and ongoing profits thinking of those things. You guys, I was 21 years old having to figure this out, and then I said, okay, if you bring in three friends, I’m going to give you a free haircut with your next color. If you bring in one friend, I’m going to offer you 10% off your next service. So people were literally incentivized, not just incentivized, but because they had a good experience with me, they were delighted to go out and tell people about me. Another thing I did, and I hope this is, you know, you’re like, I may not be a stylist, but I want you to be thinking about how this might apply to you and maybe how you need to be more actively engaged in growing profits for your business.
Kristen Boss (11:23): Are you getting out there? Are you meeting people? Are you offering samples? Are you saying, Hey, I’d love to do this for you. I never once did I think I was being salesy because I’m like, who doesn’t want to feel amazing with a quality blow drying style? And another thing I did was I was strategic about when I offered that and who I offered that too. I would go to really hip restaurants and I would go to the hostesses and I would say, Hey, when does your shift start tomorrow or the next day? And she’s like, oh, I, I’m usually here at four o’clock. And so there was this really cool steakhouse, the BOA Steakhouse on Ocean Boulevard. It was a really cool place. And I offered blow dry complimentary blowouts to the hostesses there because I knew their hair looked so freaking good that they were going to be a walking billboard for me and and I said, here’s my business cards.
Kristen Boss (12:14): Anybody asks you where you get your hair done, you just tell them it’s me, you guys. I grew my business so fast. I had incoming new clients, I had people coming to me. And then, okay, so that’s my active selling. And then what happened was passive selling was able to happen because at one point I wasn’t able to go and walk third Street Promenade and go to restaurants because I was actively sitting doing hair. I was like, my hands were literally tied. So at that point I moved into passive selling and marketing. And what that was was referrals. I got really good at asking for referrals, rewarding my referrals, making sure I was constantly thinking about how can I make this a better experience because I may not be able to leave the chair and go and talk about what I’m doing during my work hours now.
Kristen Boss (13:04): But they would do that for me because I created a great customer service experience. Again, once my business was established, I moved from active to passive. So now I want to talk about this less in a brick and mortar sense. I want to bring this back to your online business. So when you are starting out, a lot of times I see people they think, okay, I’m going to build the website. Maybe I’m going to have the business card. Gosh, I remember, do you know how many stacks of business cards I ordered and had? I think it was from Vista Print or something, and I had ordered so many stacks of business cards because at the time that was kind of what you did. And I just thought, okay, step one, design a business card, step two, hand it out. And I actually did. But then now our business card is our social media.
Kristen Boss (13:52): It is the easiest way for people to find you. It is the easiest way for them to look at your work, engage in your work, get to know your personality. But a lot of people I see in the beginning of their business, they move too quickly into being in a passive state. I’ll give you an example of that. They make a pretty website. They get pretty business cards and they get their space ready, whether it’s online or whatever that is. And then they wait, they wait to be found and maybe they, I’ll even say they post on their social media, they say, Hey, I’m doing this thing, I’m a coach, or I’ve just started selling these supplements. I’ve just started repping this beauty product. Hey, this is what I’m doing. And then they post and they show up and they do those things. So they’re actively posting, maybe you’re making reels, maybe you’re doing those things.
Kristen Boss (14:45): And I still notice that they’re in a passive state. It’s like putting on the we’re open sign. So similar, it’s literally so similar to when I was sitting in the salon hoping that the salon was properly advertising about the salon, telling people about it, and I was waiting for business to walk in. And then there was also me getting out there and meeting people, shaking hands, telling them what I did, telling ’em about them, the services, giving them a hands-on experience. And so what I see people do is they’re posting online, Hey, you should try this product. You should join my team. You should be a client, get on a consult call. And that’s it. They’re just posting. And then they move into this passive mindset of like, okay, I’ve made my post, I’ve done my website. People know now, okay, I’m just going to sit here and wait for business.
Kristen Boss (15:39): And this is when I see people get really discouraged because they’re like, nothing’s happening. I’m making posts, I’m telling people what I do, but no one’s coming in. But you’re missing a very key ingredient. You’re missing getting out there and connecting with people, making connections, getting to know people, offering a hands-on experience example. You’re like, okay, but I can’t offer blow dry. No, but you probably have samples. You probably have something that you can offer to get them in the door to start to build trust and start a conversation. Never once did I think I was being salesy in those things because I’m like, who doesn’t want this? This is great, but this is where a lot of people get caught up being like, whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m just going to sit here and post. And if they want it, then they’re going to come to me.
Kristen Boss (16:23): And this is like I would say when we’ve swung the pendulum too far on attraction marketing and we haven’t realized that we actually need to be doing networking, connecting, getting to know people and meeting people literally rubbing up shoulders. I mean, we aren’t in 2020 anymore. It’s not the height of the pandemic all behind plexiglass. Things have changed a little bit. And so I think it’s important that you realize that when you are starting out, and I would say anything pre 100 K a year in your business requires you to be quite active. It requires you to be solving for how can I drive more profits to my business? How can I get in front of the right people? Let me give you a few examples of you being active organic marketing. Again, you want to be posting regularly, constantly reminding people what you do, making consistent calls to action, Hey, this is what I am and this is what I’m doing.
Kristen Boss (17:19): This is what I’m about, and here are the steps you can take to work with me. And here’s your next step. Constantly doing calls to action or I would say just inviting them in, inviting them in for a conversation with you. They don’t have to buy, but just having a conversation and you being a real human and just saying, Hey, here’s the ways I think I can help you. If you’re interested, great. If not, that’s fine too. Another thing is intentionally engaging with people. Are you networking? Are you commenting, engaging on other people’s platforms? Are you getting to know them, figuring out their needs? Are you engaging with your target audience? Remember, remember, I did not just go out and walk up to anybody willy-nilly on the third street Promenade. I thought about, okay, who is most in front of my ideal client? That was the hostesses at the steakhouse.
Kristen Boss (18:04): And then I thought, okay, where is my ideal client hanging out and what is she doing and where is she going? And the salon was right across from a Whole Foods and a yoga studio, and I was like, great. My ideal clients hang around right around there, so I need to make sure. Maybe it’s like, and there was a Starbucks, there was a coffee bean on the corner actually, and so I was like, I need to make sure I’m engaging with those people in those areas. It is literally no different online. You got to figure out where’s my ideal client hanging out? What platforms or influencers are they following? What content are they consuming and how can I be connecting with them over there in a really helpful, value oriented, normal human being way, not being weird, engaging just as a normal human being. Another thing is like, are you making it a priority to meet new people?
Kristen Boss (18:53): This is huge. I see a lot of people, they get out there, they start actively, they’re like, they’re actively engaging in their business. They get their customer base and then they stop. They stop cre getting new customers, they stop marketing. And what happens is when I see people stop prioritizing networking and meeting new people, they become scarce and needy and graspy with their existing customers because they’re not out there networking and meeting new people and bringing new people in. They start to think, okay, I have to grow my business and in order for me to grow my business, I have to increase the revenue potential of this existing pool of people. Instead of thinking my revenue potential is built on, yes, increasing like the value of this pool and my capacity to bring in more people. But that’s where I see people start to get scarce when they’ve stopped networking, when they’ve stopped creating new connections.
Kristen Boss (19:52): I know as a stylist, even when I was fully booked, I created wait lists and it wasn’t because I was like expecting, I just never had this expectation of my clients are never going to leave me. I never thought that they belonged to me or I owned them. It was my job to serve them incredibly well. But even when I didn’t have appointments for eight to 10 weeks and someone really wanted to get in with me, I would build a wait list to build demand, and then once I had the demand, I had to raise my prices in order to help bring in this new revenue. We do. It’s not quite the same with network marketing, but is the concept of, again, not treating this pool of customers and expecting all of your business growth to come from your early pool of customers. I will tell you, even as a hairstylist, the first 50 to a hundred customers I had, they got me started.
Kristen Boss (20:50): They got me a lot of referrals. They got me in front of a bunch of people, and eventually when I started getting busier and busier and busier and better and I had eight week, 10 week, 12 week, six month wait lists, I raised my prices and some of the ones who wanted a stylist for cheaper, they left and it created capacity, and I was able to work the same amount of hours and scale, but with network marketing or with online business in the beginning, you can’t be scarce. You can’t be scarce with your existing first pool of customers, your team or even your clients. If you’re a coach, you can’t look at those people and think, okay, now it’s these people that are going to scale me to millions, these people that are going to scale me to the next a hundred K. No, these people got you started, and it’s your job to always be bringing in new people and always be marketing and talking about your business and bringing people in.
Kristen Boss (21:45): It keeps you abundant, it keeps you for out of scarcity. So when is it time to move into passive marketing? It is literally when your hands are tied because you are so busy with your business. Again, I was literally physically tied in my business where I’m like, okay, I don’t have time to go out there and network and meet people. That’s when I finally built a website and that’s when I started doing advertising. At the time, social media was not a thing for hairstylists, not really. So that wasn’t really happening at the time, but I got really good at referrals. That’s when I started just coming up with different ways. But with business, I would say that is when you are looking at delegating, you’re looking at bringing on virtual assistants, that’s to free you up to again, bring in new leads and having the expense item to, again, if you can’t get out there because you’re so busy in your business and you’ve already delegated to a va, you’ve already outsourced some things.
Kristen Boss (22:47): That is when you can actually create funnels. That is when it’s, that is very passive. Funnels are what attracts new customers while you’re busy serving your existing customers, that’s an email list, that’s paid advertising, that’s also referrals, it’s webinars. This is passive. But I think what I see people doing is they move into passive far too soon, and I’m going to say this and I hope it’s received well, but I find that a lot of people want to move into passive too quickly because they’re unwilling to do the grunt work of active selling. They’re unwilling to do the grunt work of getting out there and meeting people and building those connections. They just want to move to the easy part of like, okay, can I just have the funnels? Can people just magically come to me? I see people throw money at paid advertising way too early.
Kristen Boss (23:34): They lose thousands of dollars because they don’t have enough market research or they don’t have a viable paid offer, and they went too soon into passive and they lost money and they lost time. Or what I do see, especially with network marketers is when they’re in that passive mindset, they stall out in their business. They’re just like, what’s happening? Why has business stopped coming to me? And I said this to my mastermind students recently, a couple of my students, and I said, Hey, if you had a donut shop and you had to pay for rent pay to keep the lights on and all those things, and you opened up and no one was coming in, it was 7:00 AM on a Saturday and no one was walking in your donut shop, would you stay behind the donut counter or would you go outside with a box of donuts and a sign and say, come on in.
Kristen Boss (24:20): Would you like to try this donut? I’ve got samples a dozen for however many or whatever it is. What if, again, treating it as your job, being like, Hey, you can’t just passively sit there and wait. Passive is when you have a large audience, a viable offer, a strong referral network, all of those things is when you can finally move into passively selling, but it takes a lot of work to get there. You have to earn that, and if you want to start passive selling in the beginning, then you have to have a lot of cash on hand to be able to fund it towards building an audience with ads, and that takes time and it’s costly. It is expensive because for someone to turn, let’s, let’s say if you’re a coach and you have a $5,000 offer and you don’t have a large audience, you don’t have a large network, and you’re not actually out there actively selling and you hope all of your clients come through passive selling, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Kristen Boss (25:18): I don’t want to condemn you for that, but you just have to know you’re going to be spending a lot of money per lead, and it’s different for each person, and I’m not going to get into all the metrics there, but I think it’s important for you to notice if you are passively selling too soon in your business, if you are being passive in your mind and in your approach to creating more revenue in your business, or if you’re out there actively problem solving, getting in front of people and thinking, how can I do a better job bringing more people to my business? And I did. I didn’t just do this once. I did this twice because when I left California and moved to Colorado, again, I didn’t get to take all of my California hair clients with me. I had to build a brand new clientele from scratch and sure, and same thing, I was in a salon and I knew the salon.
Kristen Boss (26:09): They were doing their advertising, they were doing those things. There were walk-ins, and that was great, but again, I went crazy sitting there waiting for business to come in. So what I did was I went and joined all sorts of activity groups. I went to l, I went to yoga, I went to CrossFit. I went, I joined hiking groups, I joined book clubs. I literally got out there and met people. I did the exact same thing and again, built another six figure business. Became fully booked again because I applied the same principles. I did the exact same thing when I started my coaching business. Every business I have had, every profitable business that I have had, those are the exact steps I followed. I stayed active until it was time to switch into passive. Now, nearly now, because I have a very large audience, I’m doing a lot more passive marketing and selling right now, but because I have the cash on hand to do so, I have all the viable offers, I have the testimonials, I have the referrals, I have those things.
Kristen Boss (27:10): But it took time to get into passive marketing and passive selling. So I want you to ask yourself today, what would it look like for me to be more actively engaged in my sales process in my business to guarantee that I can drive more profits to my bottom line and grow my business? It’s your job to grow your business. It’s not anybody else’s job, and it’s going to go a lot slower if you’re just sitting there waiting for it to come in. If you’re passively sitting, hoping for business to walk in the door, hoping, like hoping for business to walk in the door, is hoping and waiting for someone to just DM you out of nowhere and say, Hey, I’m finally ready to work with you. That’s nice when it happens. But don’t bank on that. Don’t bank on that. A lot of people, I see them being like, oh, no, no, no, no.
Kristen Boss (27:55): I’m just going to wait until people show up and ask me, and I’m not saying. What I’m not saying is don’t drop into dms of random stranger strangers that you have no relational equity with and make a cold hard pitch. That’s not what I teach. I think there are some people out there that do teach that. I say, nah, does it feel good to you or them? Probably not. But again, are you waiting for the work to show up or are you going out there and getting to work? It’s two different things. Active selling and passive selling. I hope you are actively engaging in your business to drive your profits. When you do that, everything changes. We’ll catch you in the next episode. That’s a wrap for today’s episode. Listen, if you love what you heard here today, I would love for you to leave a real quick rating and a review. This helps us show get discovered by new people. Be sure to take a screenshot of today’s episode and shout us out on Instagram. We’ll shout you right back out. If you’d like to find additional resources or discover how to work with me, head to www.kristenboss.com.