Remember back in June when I got married? Well, I just got back from my honeymoon.
On the flight home, I was thinking about that phrase: "I just got back from my honeymoon," and why I would even mention it on my blog.
At first glance, it's not really relevant to my business.
But maybe it is. Let me share a quick story.
[Note: I PROMISE this is NOT a "5 sales lessons from my honeymoon" post, or some crap like that.]
A while back, you might remember that I sent an email where I mentioned my upcoming wedding. You might also remember that it had a picture of my then-fiancée, Emily.
After I wrote the draft, I sent it to Emily to read. She wrote back with just one line: "Are you sure you want to tell people you're gay?"
I knew exactly what she meant.
Nearly every gay person I know is constantly evaluating. Evaluating people, situations, environments… reading the room, listening for cues. Trying to answer one important question: is this situation gay-friendly? Essentially: can I be myself?
Luckily, I live in D.C. In fact, in my adult life, I've only lived in progressive cities: Chicago, San Francisco, and New York.
And, thankfully, I've never been the target of anti-gay harassment or violence.
But I grew up in the Matthew Shepard era. Remember Matthew? He was beaten, tortured, and later died, just for being gay. He was 21.
I was 18 that year. I wasn't even out yet, but you can bet that with that incident, I learned what happens when you are. Sadly, there are many more examples… but that's a discussion for another time.
It's easy to say that things are different these days, that there's much more acceptance of LGBT people. But that's not the case for everyone.
And we live in a time when emotions run especially high. You never know who feels personally victimized by the fictional "gay agenda". Who's had a bad day or year, and wants to take it out on someone. Who's carrying a gun.
That's why my wife and I have a secret code to "read the room" together, based on the TSA scale:
This is how we evaluate how we'll show up in the world and keep ourselves safe.
Back to the email I was writing. Was I afraid that readers would hunt me down and get violent? Certainly not.
But was I afraid I'd turn people off? That I'd raise the ire of some internet troll? Or simply that people's distaste would detract from my message of helping entrepreneurs increase their revenue?
When my wife sent me that email, "Are you sure you want to tell them you're gay?" my first thought was, "Yeahhh, maybe not."
But also in that moment, the words from my friend and mentor, Rachel Rodgers, rang out in my ears:
"If you are not showing up, consistently, as your true self, no one will know you. And if they don't know you, they don't trust you."
I knew what I had to do. I didn't want to hide.
I wrote back to Emily and said simply, "Yes."
(We talked about it more that night… #maritalcommunication).
On the way home from my honeymoon, I realized that this message of being your true self is actually one that I've already been practicing in selling, and it's one I teach my clients.
In SIGNED Module 3, we talk about how we show up to our potential clients, and students learn the 7 Behaviors that Establish a Peer Relationship.
Behavior #4: Be honest and a little vulnerable.
Let people see the real you. Talk about your dog or your family. Laugh at yourself when you stumble on your first call because the coffee hasn't kicked in yet.
Being yourself is the foundation of any real relationship, and that's what we're establishing with our potential clients. It makes your prospect more comfortable, and people want to work with people they feel comfortable with.
And it makes the entire sales process easier, smoother, and faster.
So my message to you is this: be open. Be honest. Be yourself. Remember the words from Rachel: "If you are not showing up, consistently, as your true self, no one will know you. And if they don't know you, they don't trust you."
And remember: being yourself just feels better.
P.S. Want to learn the other six Behaviors that Establish a Peer Relationship, and learn how to be totally comfortable talking to potential clients? It's in Module 3 of SIGNED, my program to help you learn how to sell to -- and sign -- new clients consistently, confidently, and at a higher fee per client. Registration is opening up again soon! If you're interested, get on the waitlist today, and you'll get special discounts and early access bonuses. See you over there!
P.P.S. As I've been writing this, I've just learned that Edie Windsor, whose Supreme Court case legalized same-sex marriage, has died. Edie, Emily and I are so grateful to you and the fight you took on. Rest in peace.