Tina Lopez: “Ask permission throughout the entire process”

Essentially, as you grow your business, understand the power that you have as a business owner to set an example. To speak up for those that can’t. To admit when you were wrong. To address situations with the intent of finding a solution. To be an example to those that are on the same journey […]

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Essentially, as you grow your business, understand the power that you have as a business owner to set an example. To speak up for those that can’t. To admit when you were wrong. To address situations with the intent of finding a solution. To be an example to those that are on the same journey as you.

As a part of my series about how to be great at closing sales without seeming pushy, obnoxious, or salesy, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tina Lopez.

Tina is an online business coach helping online coaches land 4-figure clients without being salesy, pushy, and overwhelmed. As a young entrepreneur she has made it her mission to bring more wealth and abundance to female entrepreneurs. Her drive, compassion, and grace has allowed her to do this; more importantly, make it her life’s calling.

Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this career path?

Absolutely! As a young entrepreneur from the age of 9 I always loved the concept of entrepreneurship. From the very beginning, I knew that the traditional “9–5” was not my calling. I could never fathom exposing my life to so much risk and depend on an employer to call the shots on how I would live my life. After many years of owning my own service based henna business, I felt as though that I had a calling to do more in life. I loved my previous business as I was able to be very successful within business by doing events at Google, street fairs, private events, etc. However, it just no longer “satisfied” me. As I grew, I realized that there were not a lot of women within the space of entrepreneurship. It broke my heart to not see individuals that A: look like me, but B: didn’t get the help that I knew they needed so deeply. From then on, I decided to close up shop, and really mentor and coach individuals on growing their online presence, their online business, and bring more wealth to female entrepreneurs on a deeper level.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

The most interesting story that I can share with your readers is the concept that as a business owner, you have the power to shift things very radically and quickly. Given the recent events in the world, I realized that as a woman of color, within the space of coaching, there are not a lot of individuals that look like me. There was a point in time where I felt as if I was in isolation, thoughts would come to mind saying:

“Who are you to make it in this business when you don’t see any individuals that look like you?”

It’s a harsh realization to realize that, as a woman of color in business, you will more than likely have to work 10x harder to even get an ounce of recognition compared to your white male or female counterpart. That doesn’t mean that I won’t work hard, that just means that I have to set an example for the little girl out there that will one day say:

“I get to make it, because there is woman there in this industry that looks like me and made it”

Honestly, at the end of the day, that response alone is what drives me to do better, be better, and show up to my audience in the best way possible. So what was the lesson that I learned?

Essentially, as you grow your business, understand the power that you have as a business owner to set an example. To speak up for those that can’t. To admit when you were wrong. To address situations with the intent of finding a solution. To be an example to those that are on the same journey as you.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! Absolutely! At the current moment I actually recently unveiled my Ascend to Success Group Accelerator. As I grow my business, it is my mission to serve more women. I know that entrepreneurship at times can feel very lonely, frustrating, and sometimes just downright difficult. That is why I created this community to help female entrepreneurs on a deeper level within their business. Because, when I rise, we all rise together.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There is one individual that I truly would like to take a moment to celebrate, and that is Lattice Hudson. She is an online business coach as well and she has been able to help me turn an idea into a wildly successful reality. I truly could not have done this with grace, ease, and clarity if it wasn’t for her help throughout the entire process.

I specifically remember a particular point in time where I was just about to call it quits in my business. In summary, I had one of those nights where I stayed till 5am scrambling to get everything done and ready for a launch, and then realizing it soon tremendously flopped. In some ways, I consider this a blessing in disguise. However, at the moment in time I felt tremendously worthless, like I wasn’t good enough, and maybe I wasn’t cut out to be the individual that I thought I could be. It was at that moment that Lattice got on a really deep level with me and told me that now is not the time to quit, it is the time to pivot. Pivot I did, hard it was, but I’m forever grateful that I did. Because if my decision to not give up hadn’t been made, then I wouldn’t be able to impact the lives of women that I currently help, and the ones that I will continue to help in the future.

For the benefit of our readers, can you tell us a bit why you are an authority on the topic of sales?

I am an authority on the topic of sales because I have been able to grow my business to it’s first 5-figure month and beyond within a matter of 2 weeks, and continue to do so repeatedly as I grow. I have been able to provide wildly successful results for my clients, and will continue to do so with my future clients. I also make what would seem as complicated, as uncomplicated. Giving my clients a step by step strategy that continuously converts and fuels their success.

Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the COVID-19 pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

My heart deeply goes out to the individuals that have been affected by COVID-19, I can’t imagine the amount of pain, heartache, and loss that most individuals have faced during these times. In one way or another we all have been affected in some shape or form. To those individuals that are feeling alone and anxious, first and foremost, I want you to know that your feelings are 100% valid. Give yourself self-compassion, cry your heart out, let go of the things that continue to hold you back and make the decision to move forward. This too shall soon pass. I encourage you to seek community, whether that be through a phone call or video chat, seek solace in knowing that you’re not alone in this.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know, nearly any business a person will enter, will involve some form of sales. At the same time, most people have never received any formal education about how to be effective at selling. Why do you think our education system teaches nearly every other arcane subject, but sales, one of the most useful and versatile topics, is totally ignored?

Personally, I think sales is ignored simply because our educational system teaches us how to be in the service of others, but not necessarily in the service of ourselves. When you really look at the grand scheme of education, it’s postgraduate priority is to work for another individual. That is why I think that entrepreneurship is the turning point for most individuals. As you have to teach yourself most things that are not taught within the classroom. I think sales would be considered as “totally ignored” simply because the educational system doesn’t see it as a need that would help their graduates with getting a job. That is because most individuals don’t become business owners, so the educational system caters to those individuals that choose to not be a business owner themself.

This discussion, entitled, “How To Be Great At Sales Without Seeming Salesy”, is making an assumption that seeming salesy or pushy is something to be avoided. Do you agree with this assumption? Whether yes, or no, can you articulate why you feel the way you do?

The concept of being salesy and pushy comes down to the intention behind the seller. Most salespeople come off as salesy and pushy simply because they don’t have the highest integrity and intention with their buyer. When it comes down to it, I think being salesy and pushy should be avoided, and the way to do that is simply by changing the mindset of the seller itself. I believe in this very concept because when individuals truly sell things with the highest intention and integrity they wouldn’t sell something that the buyer doesn’t need. By making that subtle mindset shift, you truly sell things to individuals with the genuine intention of helping them.

The seven stages of a sales cycle are usually broken down to versions of Prospecting, Preparation, Approach, Presentation, Handling objections, Closing, and Follow-up. Which stage do you feel that you are best at? What is your unique approach, your “secret sauce”, to that particular skill? Can you explain or give a story?

The stage that I feel that I am most skilled at is within prospecting. When you really think about it, it comes down to making sure that you are in front of the right buyer. If you don’t get this step correctly then you can forget all the other parts of the sales cycle because it won’t work, in my opinion. The reason behind that is if your goal is to sell to individuals with the highest regard and intention, then you want to make sure that you’re in front of the right individual first. It comes across salesy and pushy when you end up convincing someone to make a sale rather than empowering the prospect to come to a decision themself.

My secret sauce to my methodology is to first and foremost know that the sale is not about you. The sale always will come down to the prospect. Your goal is to never convince anyone. Your goal is to find the right fit for you and your product/service offering. My methodology entails having powerful conversations with your prospect. First, pre-build your relationship and get to know your audience. Second, identify their pain points and what’s truly holding your prospect back from making the next step. Third, position yourself as an expert authority that truly has the highest intention of helping them. Last and always, ask for permission for the pitch. If people really want to work with you, and you did everything correctly, your answer will be yes.

Lead generation, or prospecting, is one of the basic steps of the sales cycle. Obviously every industry will be different, but can you share some of the fundamental strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

In order to generate good, qualified leads you need to know the person that you are looking for. In the coaching space, we refer to those individuals as ideal clients. Essentially, who is the one person that you want to serve, help, and work with. Asking yourself basic questions like what are their hobbies?

What do they do for a living?

What do their income levels look like?

How do they buy?

These basic questions and more need to be answered. You cannot expect leads to funnel your way if you walk in blind not knowing who you want to bring on. A fundamental strategy is to first and foremost know your target market. Once you know this, you can identify the social media platforms that your prospect spends the most time on. From there, engage, connect, and reach out to your prospect for deeper connections.

In my experience, I think the final stages of Handling Objections, Closing, and Follow-up, are the most difficult parts for many people. Why do you think ‘Handling Objections’ is so hard for people? What would you recommend for one to do, to be better at ‘Handling Objections’?

I think handling objections is so hard for most people because they don’t understand what truly causes those objections from your prospect. In my experience, I will tell you that whatever the objection your prospect is telling you is not actually the reason why they are not choosing to buy. It goes deeper than that, the majority of objections are truly rooted by fear. I no longer believe in money, time, or partner objections anymore. If your client is a perfect fit for what you have to offer and truly wants the transformation you are selling, your client will make that gracious step to walk through fear. The way that you reverse a sales objection is by truly walking through your prospects’ fears together. My honest advice in order to be better at sales objections is to learn from what’s not working. If you had a sales call and it didn’t close, even though you knew that your prospect would be a great fit, then I encourage you to review the call. Roleplay the conversation again and practice handling the objections again and again. At the end of the day, practice makes perfect.

‘Closing’ is of course the proverbial Holy Grail. Can you suggest 5 things one can do to successfully close a sale without being perceived as pushy? If you can, please share a story or example, ideally from your experience, for each.

5 things to do to close a sale without being pushy

  1. Know that the sale is not about you, your goal is to never convince but to empower your prospect to make a decision.
  2. Position your solution as the stepping stone that will take your prospect to get a step closer to their vision.
  3. Deepen their pain, most individuals run faster away from pain than they do pleasure. If they see your pitch as a solution that they just can’t find answers to on Google, they will buy.
  4. Ask permission throughout the entire process. To prepare for a yes, you need to warm them up. Ask yes questions, for example: “Hey X, throughout this conversation we are going to be talking about your business and your goals, what’s holding you back from accomplishing them, and a solution that we think may help you if you are a good fit to move forward. Does that sound good with you?”
  5. Ask for the sale. If you don’t ask and you’re wondering why you are not getting sales, then start asking. It seems so obvious, but I promise you that once you get in the practice of pitching, it will only seem natural over time.

Finally, what are your thoughts about ‘Follow up’? Many businesses get leads who might be interested but things never seem to close. What are some good tips for a business leader to successfully follow up and bring things to a conclusion, without appearing overly pushy or overeager?

Some good tips to share in order to successfully follow up and bring things to a conclusion, is to listen to your potential client. Understand that your client needs to know that you have their best intentions at heart, truly. By having their best intentions at heart, that means that you not only accept their decision, but also debate them when you think that they truly need your product or service. When I say “debate,” I mean that it’s critical that you showcase the value on why they need your product or service. What would your prospect be losing out on if they didn’t work with you? How will working with you make the prospect’s life easier? These are all critical questions that need to be answered during the follow up stage.

As you know there are so many modes of communication today. For example, In-person, phone calls, video calls, emails, and text messages. In your opinion, which of these communication methods should be avoided when attempting to close a sale or follow up? Which are the best ones? Can you explain or give a story?

In regards to communication, when it comes to closing a sale. I recommend that it would be best that you avoid doing sales via text messages or emails. The reason for that is because sales is more than just the words that you are saying; it’s about your tonality, your connection, your body language, and all the intangible things that provide certainty for your prospect. I think the best forms of communication to close a sale would be through anything that can promote “connection,” such as phone calls, video calls, and in-person. I recommend these forms because you can handle objections in a more streamlined way, and you can truly promote deeper connections with your prospects. Additionally, it’s important to note that when you increase “connection” with your prospect you increase “certainty” that you are reliable, trustworthy, and truly have their best intentions at heart.

Ok, we are nearly done. Here is our final “meaty” question. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement that would impact more people, in the most positive way, I would love to give back to my community through the teachings of financial education and literacy. So often, I have seen individuals not know how to manage their money for the long term. By buying things that don’t serve them, displaying high consumption rather than high net worth. It is my mission to bring more wealth to individuals. Whether that be through entrepreneurship or financial literacy, I believe that everyone has a right to know the true power of how to use money to the best of their ability.

How can our readers follow you online?

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Instagram lately, let’s connect on Instagram @tinalopezcoaching. Let’s find a time to chat to get to know each other further!

Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!

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