This show is called What Works for a reason.
Sometimes it’s a declaration: this is what worked for this small business. And often, it’s a question, “What works?”
Today’s episode is very much a question, many questions, really:
What works when it comes to selling when you want to avoid manipulative or exploitative practices?
What works when your values conflict with many of the best practices of selling online but you still want people to buy your stuff?
What works when it comes to sales in a business that is actively anti-racist and anti-capitalist?
And even more bluntly: Can you even sell things without causing harm or perpetuating harmful systems?
My friend Kate Strathmann is the founder of Wanderwell, a bookkeeping and consulting firm that grows thriving businesses while investigating new models for being in business.
Recently, Kate took a bit of a detour from how she’s used to building her business, which is 90% referral based and fueled by deep relationship- and community-building. She decided to offer a small group program called the Equitable Business Incubator as a way of exploring anti-capitalist business practices and how they apply to the small businesses we’re building.
To fill the program, Kate need to sell differently.
Which led her to asking the question: Can you even sell things as a anti-capitalist?
While that might not be your specific question, I have a feeling that you too have wondering how you can effectively sell your offers without causing harm, perpetuating harmful systems, or damaging relationships. And that’s why I knew Kate and I needed to explore this topic on the show.
This is a conversation about what a kinder, less harmful sales process could look like—and it probably contains more questions than answers. But I’m confident those questions can help you find the answers that are right for you and the sales system that you want to build to make your business stronger.
We start out by defining what we’re really talking about when we talk about capitalism and anti-capitalism. Then, Kate shares how the Equitable Business Incubator came to be and how she ended up selling it. And then we dig into what makes many of the sales formulas and best practices being taught today problematic—and how to think differently to create your own alternative practices.
Now, let’s take a look at what works for creating less harmful sales systems!