Shannyn Lee on Why ‘Sales’ isn’t a Bad Word | MP 68

As a counselor, do you sometimes struggle to have the money discussion with your clients? What are the benefits of specialization? How can you learn to love the word ‘sales’?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks with Shannyn Lee about why ‘sales’ is not a bad word and how you can offer your services by viewing it as helping people instead of selling something.

Meet Shannyn Lee

Shannyn Lee is the Win Without Pitching Director of Coaching and an unstoppable force of human empowerment. She spent a decade in senior marketing and communication roles in Fortune 500 companies before moving to a business development leadership role at a well-regarded Seattle design firm.

She also spent four years at Catapult New Business where she worked with agencies of various disciplines and sizes, building and leading their business development programs. Her time on the front lines of agency business development coupled with many informative years on the client-side has given Shannyn a unique
perspective into what marketers are looking for in agencies and what agencies
must be doing in order to compete and win.

Shannyn’s empathetic and encouraging coaching skills have helped her clients translate the lofty Win Without Pitching ideals into real behavioral change with lasting results.

Visit her website. Connect on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and subscribe to the Youtube channel.

Download a free chapter of The Win Without Pitching Manifesto.

Download a free chapter of Blair Enns’ Pricing Creativity.

In This Podcast


  • How counselors can get more comfortable talking about money
  • Specializing
  • Become an expert
  • How you can learn to love sales

How counselors can get more comfortable talking about money

The best piece of advice I can give is [that] it starts with positioning, honestly, it starts with how you have decided to specialize your practice, and your confidence in your area of expertise allows you to feel like you’re that expert guide in the conversation versus an order-taker that puts you in that role of not being able to lead in a conversation. (Shannyn Lee)

Oftentimes when a client comes to a counselor seeking therapy, the counselor may not want to have the money-talk with them because they do not want to be insensitive or pushy, which is a kind motive, but it often lands up with the counselor putting in work and not getting paid the amount they need to or want to be paid.

Clients are not often purchasing a tangible product from you, mostly they purchase your expertise, and that is still a valuable service that you should feel comfortable enough to state the price of without feeling like they would think any less of you.

It starts with how you define yourself and what makes you different from others because that is where you can start to build your confidence.

While [you are] running businesses in the sense of helping people with mental health issues and trying to get them back on track, you still need to be running your business at the same time, and making sure your business is healthy so that you can do good work for your clients. (Shannyn Lee)

  • Who is the right-fit client that you want to attract?
  • Be clear upfront, even about how you charge for your services,
  • Think about different pricing strategies to offer your clients,

These are ways for you to get more comfortable when you need to talk about money.


Specialization does require sacrifice because you will need to say ‘no’ to things that do not fit, although the benefits of specialization will outweigh the sacrifices you may need to make because they will form the foundation from which you work and build your business.

  • You build your business from your specialization,
  • You are able to attract more work that suits your direct interests,
  • You are able to connect with your ideal clients,
  • You are viewed as meaningly different versus being one in a sea of many, and so you earn a name for yourself and for your business.

Become an expert

1: Have an envisioning exercise with yourself

Imagine it is three years from now, what does your practice look like? How can you get it there?

This exercise helps you think about what has been successful in your practice thus far in terms of growing your audience, signing clients, and growing your marketing.

By beginning the process of examining and asking questions, even to yourself, you can learn a lot about what has worked, what has not, and where you can go from where alongside the things that have worked.

2: How and where do I want to learn more about the things that I do not know enough about today?

This practice can help you to guide your next steps and see what you can learn next to continue your journey.

How you can learn to love sales

I think the first thing that everyone needs to get okay with is that the words “selling sales” and the word “sales” [are] not bad [words]. [They are words] that can come with negative connotations – maybe you have experienced a salesperson who was aggressive and tried to convince you – and minute you can tell yourself “I am not in the business of convincing” … “I am here to see if I can help” … “If I can’t help them, I’m going to release them with integrity.” (Shannyn Lee)

It can be shifted from “I need to convince somebody to hire me” to “let me see if I can help somebody and see if we can take the next step together” because that is a way to free yourself from the word sales.

If you start seeing sales as the bridge to helping people and providing your service to those who connect with it, instead of feeling like you need to tie people down with products, then you can definitely start to love sales because it then equates to connection.

Useful Links:

Meet Sam Carvalho

Samantha Carvalho DesignSam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.

She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work. To work with Sam, head on over to

Thanks For Listening!

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