The Psychology of Selling When You Are The Product - Christine Kane

“But I’m not a widget!” she whined. “It’s harder for me!”

Denise was giving me her number one reason she despises marketing and selling.  I laughed and told her that it was also the number one reason EVERY solo-business owner despises marketing and selling!

It feels different when YOU are the product.

You’re not selling “things.” You’re selling YOU, your soul, your passion, your ideas, your services.

And marketing YOU feels sensitive. It feels like ego. It feels phony. It feels sales-y.

I won’t lie. There will be discomfort when you Uplevel your marketing efforts and when you become more present in the marketplace.

But know this:

The people who release their fear of being seen are the same ones who have more clients than they can handle and more revenue than they ever imagined.  They experience the ultimate paradigm shift:  That marketing is not sleazy or false. That marketing is actually how they serve!

In fact, it’s a relief when you realize that the problems in your business are not the Universe telling you that you’re lame.  They’re just “marketing problems.” Learn the valuable skill of marketing and watch your income build.

And take heart!  It doesn’t have to be slimy. In fact, authenticity is your new competitive edge.  In the ever-growing din of social media noise and viral everything, your clarity and authenticity are your best leverage.

Here are the psychological foundations that will strengthen your brand and build your business…

FOUNDATION 1: CLARITY  (Know Your Ideal Clients And Prospects)

When you know your ideal client  – and I mean REALLY know them, not just place them demographically –  then you get to speak ONLY to him or her in your marketing.  This not only saves you time and money (after all, marketing to “everyone” is expensive) but gives you true freedom to be yourself and to cater to that one ideal person.


FOUNDATION 2:  AUTHENTICITY  (Be Powerfully and Publicly Real)

People buy from people they “know, like, and trust.”

So, how do you build that? I follow 5 authenticity rules…

1 – Establish a regular contact schedule.

Make SURE your newsletter goes out at the exact same time each month or week.  This shows that you honor your peeps, and that you are reliable.

Selling When You’re the Product

It may take them a few nudges to get going. But our Uplevel clients always see results when they create consistent action!

2 – Be vulnerable.

Allow your peeps to see your human side. Even the most distinguished among us burns the potatoes and doesn’t pay the credit card bill on time sometimes. Let your peeps see themselves in you.

3 – Be credible.

Make sure you also establish credibility to go along with your vulnerability. Too often we focus only on our foibles. Don’t forget to also share the wisdom you’ve gained, the wins you’ve created for clients, the awards you’ve won, and the great people you associate with. (This is where selfies speak volumes!)

4 – Let go.

Some people will unsubscribe. Some will be snarky.  No problem. They’re just telling you that they’re not your ideal client. This is the beauty of marketing well. People get to self-select. Let them go.

5 – Be An Expert.

Getting over your fear of being an expert is crucial.  This means getting over the worn-out belief that you need to go back to school and get more letters after your name before you do this. If someone requires that you have letters after your name – then they aren’t your peeps!

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I get emails like this all the time, thanking me for modeling authenticity for people who didn’t think they could be “real” in their businesses!

FOUNDATION 3:  TRUST  (Give Your Stuff Away)

The common fear that makes us contract our hearts and souls in our businesses is that if we give away all of our secrets and information, no one will actually want to pay to work with us. Not true.  As the ancient Greek poet Archilochus so aptly pointed out:  “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

Training!  That is what is most important.  When someone pays you, they want more than just your information. They need the accountability, the focus, the training!  This is why my clients often work with me for three to seven (or more!) years.  Information is only part of what we do in our work as service providers.

If people only needed information, then there would be only one book about nutrition and diet, only one book about money management, and only one book about owning a business.  And no matter what service you provide, your marketing is education people need in order to understand that you are the right service provider for them.

FOUNDATION 4: CONSISTENCY  (“The Fortune Is In The Follow Up”)

A musician friend called me disappointed the day after he had hosted a huge event in his town. “Hardly anyone came last night,” he said.

I asked him if he told his list about the show.

It turns out he wrote to his list two weeks before the show. No follow up. No reminders.


Often, the biggest psychological barrier when you are the product is making the time to follow up.  Too often, we shrink when it comes to staying consistent with follow up. Your peeps are busy. They need reminders.  Many people will only respond to that last-minute sense of urgency.

There are strategies to doing this well, for sure.  But not following up is a surefire way to get NO response!


Does this stuff take time?  Yes.

But remember, it’s the pushy people who want to rush the process that make us all despise marketing.  Be patient and allow that strong connection to grow, and you’ll have never ending income in your business.


  • Kenisha Smith

    Christine this is such a great write up, and this coming from someone with a sales and marketing background! I’m looking forward to reading more of your work! -Kenisha S

  • Michelle LaRue

    Coming from both a culture (Midwestern Lutheran) and a community where talking about your accomplishments was “bragging,” I have found that my discomfort with self-promotion has been the biggest obstacle to growing my business. It limits what I think I’m worth, what I charge, and my ability to position myself as the Expert. My “aha” moments all relate to shifting to a context of service, where I can talk about how I can work with them to solve their problems. I don’t know if I’ll ever be truly “there,” but I am grateful for your mentorship in this area!!

  • Moana Robinson

    Thank you Christine this is a great post and I am sharing it on my social media. Self promotion is something that does not come easy to a lot of people, myself included. Instead of sitting back and waiting to be discovered it is up to us to do exactly that “self promote” – back to my favourite saying “if its going to be its up to me” and this includes promoting. Having said that I am so grateful to have clients who I have styled give me referrals. I know that business cannot depend solely on this.

  • Daniele Largo

    GOOD OND Christine! It bears repeating over and over and over again…. It’s about the MARKETING, MARKETING, MARKETING. It never gets old because it’s TRUE. I have to get out of my fear constantly & every time I do I grow as a person and I make $$$$. So the question is why is it so freakin hard? I have made a commitment to myself to not settle and not be tooooo hard on myself either. BALANCE is GOOD 🙂

  • Fiona

    Thank you, Kristine, for being the wind beneath my wings today. I am working on finding a way to market that feels like connection and not a sales ambush.

  • barbara

    Thank you Christine,
    You’ve inspired me with your post. I’m a beginner in the blog world, and your words are very useful for me.
    Thank you for sharing it.

  • Tina Mammoser

    Timely reminder that I need to send a reminder to my list for an event! 🙂

    I try to think of it as easier to market because I’m selling something personal. As a fine artist – we have stories to share, backgrounds to how and why we create, backgrounds to the pieces themselves. Surely widgets have no stories?

  • Karl Staib

    Great tips! The hardest for me is the follow up. Potential clients fall off my radar then I feel like it’s been too long since I emailed or called them. I’ve have to figure out how to make this a part of my regular schedule. Do you have a daily or weekly plan for your follow-ups?

  • Sarah (Saturday Sequins)


    Thank you for writing this! I never used to like the idea of self promotion. It made me feel like a box of Goldfish Crackers until I realized, it truly was possible to promote myself and to stay genuine. After all, this has worked well for my favorite businesses like Blue Buddha Boutique. Why shouldn’t it work for me?

    I’m going to link to your post in my own blog. I did a post on self-marketing awhile back, and what you’re saying here fits nicely with what I said there.

    Thanks again!

    — Sarah

    • Christine Kane

      Thank you Sarah –

      It’s funny now for me to even think of being nervous about putting myself out there and offering my services. I used to get freaked out about it – and now, to me, it’s service! How can I help someone uplevel their life if they don’t even know about me? 🙂

  • Gary

    So sorry to hear about your loss Christine. Thank you for sharing the happy photo!
    That father’s little girl is certainly making a huge, positive impact on so many of us, for which I ( one of your UYLMP peeps ) am eternally grateful.
    Much love,
    Gary Holbrook

  • juan

    My heart is with you in these difficult times,
    I Have no doubt that was a great Man who helped create tremendous Human being ,
    I have great respect for you ,for all the knowledge that coveys ,,Thank Christine

    Juan Nunez