Sales Psychology: How I Finally Got My Grandmother Online

They say that the best way to get a sale is to know what people need and then show them how to get it.

I had the good fortune to experience this for myself.

Helen is an English lady who lives here in town. She’s in her 80’s, and while her body is failing her mind certainly isn’t.

She had written a book but she needed an editor, and she asked me to help.

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You Really Don't Want to Serve Arroz con Gris

In this part of Spain there is a tradition called tapas.

When you order a beer or a glass of wine, the house will serve you a small plate of food with it, at no extra charge.

Sometimes it’s olives, sometimes a small portion of paella, or you might get some locally grown tomatoes with garlic, parsley and the olive oil made from olives of the owner’s backyard.

It’s a great tradition. Tapas actually means: a cover, a lid. It started way back in unsanitary times, when your beer or wine used to be served with a slice of bread to cover it, keeping the flies out.

Recently a Cuban bar opened up nearby, and since the owner is Cuban, he decided to serve a menu of authentic Cuban food, tapas and all.

I thought it was a fantastic idea and I was interested, so I went to have a try and see what cuisine is like in Cuba.

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Why High Heels Make Your Business Look Like a Cow

It’s summer in Europe, and that means fancy dress here in Spain.

After being stuck inside all winter, people really grab the opportunity to go out once summer is in full swing.

They party, they meet with friends and go to concerts, and I can tell you the Spanish sure like to look good while they’re at it.

So we see silk shirts, laced dresses, lots of makeup, and hairdos that must have cost a small fortune.

And we see high heels. Really high heels.

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Don't Be Like Ryanair. Seriously

A friend of mine was telling me how she wants to start a paid meditation course.

I whipped out my marketing brain and asked my favourite question:

How are you going to sell that stuff?

Her reply:”We’ll make the core service available for free and make money with upsells”.

Books, CDs, incense, meditation mats and comfy linen clothing, that sort of thing.

On the surface it looks like a good idea but actually it isn’t.

I told her: “So you want to be Ryanair”.

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Drink First, Kiss Later


Imagine you’re a guy in a bar, and you see an amazingly attractive woman.

You go up to her, you tell her your name, and you instantly lean in to plant a big smacker on her lips.

Nobody in the world would take that approach, right?

If you were to try, you’d be more likely to receive a slap in the face than a kiss.

No surprises.

Except, thousands upon thousands of businesses do exactly the same thing with their customers.

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Falling Down, Getting Up, and Why You’ll Never EVER Manage to Embarrass Yourself As Much As I Did

Last year I spent a few months playing in a band. My job was to sing and to play the bass.

Now, I’m not a musician by any stretch of the imagination, but I can carry a tune when I sing, and I have a steady rhythm on the bass.

After a few weeks of rehearsal, we had a few songs under our belt and we decided to give the trio a test drive.

We went to a jamsession, which is simply a stage where random musicians can go up and do their best.

Usually, a lot of fun. You end up playing with people you’ve never met, and quite often it turns into an enjoyable show for the musicians and the audience alike.

Obviously, I was nervous. I had not been on a stage for 15 years or more.

But fear is no use until you confront it, so I went up to the stage and slung a bass around my neck.

Duncan, our guitar player, was already on the stage. But just as I got ready to start our first song, he decided to take a break and a beer.

He put down his guitar and left the scene.

I suddenly found myself on stage, grossly inexperienced and largely untrained, with a bunch of total strangers.

Not too bad – I mean most songs are pretty simple. Three to four chords, a steady rhythm – I would sweat a bit but I thought I could handle it.

And then they said: “Let’s play some Bob Marley!”

My heart sank.

I do like me some reggae, but I’ve never played it, not on guitar nor on bass. And reggae is tricky, it has these intricate punctuated rhythms that you have to get just right.

Which I didn’t.

In fact, I think during the entire song I played probably three notes right. For the rest, I was hopelessly and ridiculously inept. I broke the entire song, all by myself.

It was a thoroughly embarrassing experience.

Obviously, Duncan had done this intentionally: he’s a pro player with over 35 years of stage experience and he wanted to see how well I hold out on a stage.

In at the deep end.

Ridiculously embarrassing. Still makes me shudder when I think of it.

Normally, you’d expect that after the experience I would be too embarrassed to get back on stage.

But as I said: Fear is only useful if you confront it.

So when Duncan came up to me a while later and said we should do one of our own songs, I took a massively deep breath and went back on stage.

This time, I knew the song by heart, and I played and sang it acceptably well. Actually, I sang rather well that night, probably quite to the surprise of the audience, who had seen me fail miserably just half an hour early.

In business, you’ll get the same thing happen to you. Maybe your guest post gets no retweets and no comments, or maybe your product launch bombs dramatically.

Perhaps you write a kickass sales page that no one buys from (in which case you’d do well to have me provide a custom critique report for you – details here:  (Sorry, I no longer offer this service)

Maybe you get interviewed and spend 20 minutes rambling like an idiot.

Sure has happened to me, all of those.

What matters is the awareness that such experiences are part of life, the good and the bad ones.

In fact, we need things like these to happen to us.

It makes us stronger, it teaches us where to improve. Failures are a part of life, they are not bad.

A failure is only bad if you let it paralyze you. That guy who fell of his horse? He’ll get back on instantly, or he knows he might never ride again.

Whatever experience you have, no matter how badly it hurts or how much it makes you blush: get back in the saddle, carry on, try again, improve, and never ever back down.

You fell on your face, you got slammed, you lost money or reputation?

You just got that much stronger, wiser, and resilient because of it.

Don't Be a Free Money Idiot

Some clients are absolutely golden, but sometimes you run into people who just don’t get it.

Like this guy last year, who asked me to build an automatic business for him.

Find him an affiliate product, get a website built, set up SEO and traffic strategies, create salescopy, an Adwords campaign… the works.

His idea was to pay me for all the above, and then take ownership of the business. He wanted me to build a thriving business, and then cash in on daily autopilot income.

I told him I could take care of it all, but it would cost him thousands upon thousands of dollars.

He didn’t get it. Why so much? He had been told it should take no more than $1000. (Seriously!)

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So Martin, Where Did You Learn Copywriting?

In a monastery.

When I tell people this, they tend to raise one or more eyebrows.

A monastery? That’s where you go to learn about sales and psychology and persuasion?

I did, yes.

For many years I was tasked with making sure things ran smoothly in the monastery.

When groceries had to be fetched; when a roof needed repairing; when dishes didn’t get done; when people were shouting in the corridors or showing up late for meditations, Martin was the guy to go take care of it.

Since we were all volunteers, you can imagine it was a pretty tough job to get compliance from people.

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How To Stop Bullshitting Yourself and Get the Work Done

Just be glad it’s not Martin Noir writing this piece…

A friend suggested I write about how to get the work done when it’s the last thing you feel like doing.

Here’s what worked for me. And it’s the only thing that ever worked for me. Or for anyone else in the world, I imagine.


“Give yourself no lip. Do the work.”

See, we humans excel at bullshitting ourselves. We can make an excuse for anything, given half a chance.

If you’re on a mission, if you have a goal, or if you simply have to pay the bills or deliver to a customer:

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How to Not Piss Off Your Customers – And Outsmart the Big Boys

Companies often have systems and policies in place that drive customers up the freaking wall.

For example, your bank will allow you to download only three months of bank statements. Why? What good reason is there?

If I send an email to my bank to request they add a feature like ‘Download Last 12 Months’ Statements’, I doubt it will have an effect.

Being smaller than the big boys may seem like a disadvantage, but I think we should apply some Martial Arts thinking: Your weakness can also be your strength.

You’re smaller than Amazon? Then don’t worry about them. Worry about your customers.

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