Sell a Cork

One of the best ways to pivot or adjust when a market changes dramatically – or, indeed, when a global ‘Aaaaaah!’ disrupts practically every industry and every economy – is to find a cork and offer it for sale.

As in: if you suddenly find that your normal buyers don’t buy the same way and at the same speed they used to: figure out what ‘leak’ they have in their ‘boat’, and find a way to plug it.

Because crisis or not, there are always ‘good to solve’ problems in the world of your buyers, but also ‘need to solve’ problems..

And at times like these, especially in B2B sales, there’s very often a ‘need to solve, right now’ problem.

Find that, build a solution, and ask if they want it.

Identify the leak they can’t plug, and offer to do it for them. Sell a cork.

I wanted to show you the system I built for that last week, but it turns out I had to redesign the system. Something that only became clear this morning, while showing the system to a rather savvy leadership coach.

I’ve spent the rest of the day redoing the system, and will proceed to recording an explainer video asap – apologies for the delay.

Meanwhile, think of these, the four core steps of the system:

1. Segment and survey:

Who’s on your list? Who has bought before? What segments do you have there?

Next, talk to people. What leak do they have going on? (google ‘customer development interviews’ for a broader look on how to survey, the way startups often do it).

2: Extract and design

Your intellectual property, that zone-of-genius work you do: get it out on paper.

Then, knock it into a package you can offer for a very specific, narrow solution, for a segment that is the most likely to need it – and want it.

3: Show up and sell

“Look, you said you needed this kind of cork. I’ve built it, it’s ready, I made this for you. Do you want it?”

4. Iterate and optimise

Look at the data: who responded? Who didn’t? Are they qualified? Why yes, or no?

What buy blockers can you exist? How can you remove them and go for more sales?

Those four steps, that’s just the very core of the system, but it goes much much deeper and I believe it’s going to make a difference.

Watch your inbox for the video I’ll be sending…

Cheers,

Martin

10 Work From Home Tips from an ex-monk (please share – people need it)

Hey there!

Ok, so here’s the ebook I promised – 10 Work From Home tips from an ex-monk.

Click the image to view and download.

And, please share it with as many people as you like.

Working from home can be a challenge any time, but even more so now.

We all need some help & good ideas, so do please share.

Thanks!

Martin

“Is It Still Ethical to Sell?” (Smile)

Saw that question on Twitter the other day.

And I get it. We’re all reeling to some degree or other, and don’t we have better things on our minds, besides business?

Well yes, we do: Smile. Or do you have anything better to do?

(Ok, that’s a bit snide, but I really really mean it: smile. It’s better).

But that business and selling thing: should we? Is it right? Does it matter? Is it ethical?

Well, think of it this way:

You’d better hope your baker keeps selling bread.

It would be nice if you supermarket keeps selling and serving your needs.

If your phone breaks, hopefully someone is selling new or second hand ones.

Petrol, for those who need to get to work, such as medical, transport, foodstuffs professionals…

The online platforms you use for your business, they’d better keep operating and taking your monthly payments.

Now these are obvious… of course they should stay in business and keep selling. They’re important, for all kinds of reasons.

But if you think that because you’re a solopreneur, or a coach, or an author, or literally whatever it is you do or whatever reason you’re telling yourself why you should take your foot of the gas, that you’re not supposed to be selling your work, you’re making a mistake.

Even if you’re an artist, and you’re telling yourself that ‘there’s more important things than art at a time like this’, you’re making a mistake. Art matters a lot for culture, and even more now that folk will increasingly struggle to keep their head on straight. As evidenced by the uptick in the consumption art and music during past recessions and such.

And another thing: it’s not that you have to keep operating and selling if you don’t want to, but there’s nobody ‘exempt’ from operating their business.

Because whatever the world is going through, it will always have an economy, and you’d better hope that it keeps working, in whatever way.

Without an economy there’s little left except barter, and humanity is no longer organised in a way that makes barter easy on a wide scale. Besides, barter is just another form of economy, so my point stands.

‘The economy’ is a big, big thing, spanning continents and industries and demographics and crossing all kinds of societal and cultural divides… a huge, complex, web. And while I don’t know a whole lot about ‘the economy’, but I do know this:

An economy exists, and functions, by virtue of people trading things of value against each other, buying and selling things. And the more that happens, the more things can happen. Hopefully, good and ethical things.

But without an economy, things suck a lot more for people. Kind of like smiling, now that I think of it.

So the question ‘is it still ethical to sell’, can be replaced with a more important question:

Do people still need what you do?

If the answer is yes, and people also want it, then I’d say go out (well, you know…) and find people who want to buy it.

Your baker is selling bread. Go and keep selling your stuff. And then go give your baker some money.

Please smile as you do so.

Cheers,

Martin

P.s. If you’re concerned about your revenue and sales, I’m still on track to announce tomorrow the new system for turning your intellectual property into a profit centre that I’m building. Stay tuned. And warm, hydrated, and smiling.

Business, but Not as Usual

Hey, how are you doing there… not ill, I hope… not stressed or anxious or worried too much?

That said, business worldwide is being affected, and every one of us will need to think on our feet, if we’re going to keep our venture running.

It’s fun when pundits and startups talk about disruptive industries, but right now we’re dealing with industrial disruption, and that ain’t no fun.

What used to work last week, isn’t working the same today, and that means we need to adjust, adapt, pivot.

Luckily, the internet is a massive enabler, but it’s on us to find a way to leverage its potential.

Whether your revenue is at risk because you can’t visit your clients and deliver, or because supply chains and delivery of product can get delayed, or your remote clients aren’t buying your service offer because of spending freezes: if you’re going to keep going, you’ll need to adjust.

Here’s one thing that practically everyone can do:

Sell your genius.

Meaning: there’s something you do, based on your experience and skills and uniqueness, that nobody can do quite the way you do it.

That ‘genius’ is your IP – your intellectual property.

And if right now you’re stuck at home with no appointments in your calendar and uncertainty about how long your buying cycles will be, you could do worse than to extract that IP, turn it into a digital offer, and see if it would be useful to your audience.

Right now, I’m creating a system that will do exactly that, because a) I too need to pivot, and b) because there’s droves of people who are stuck, whose business is taking a hit, who need to keep serving up their IP – for their own sake and for that of the people they serve – and who are at a loss as to what to do.

And one thing to do when things are tough, is to use a system designed to lead to an outcome.

And while it won’t be a panacea for all businesses, that kind of system is what I’m building right now. I’ll probably make a basic instruction+workbook available for free, so that anyone who needs to give their business a push can benefit from it.

More news soon.

Cheers,

Martin

P.s. Whenever a business struggles with cashflow, my first question is always: Can you make an offer, sell something, is there anything you can serve your audience with? Usually, the answer is yes. But often, the actual selling part is tricky or scary for people. If that’s you, then read this ebook, 10 Rules for Ethical Selling. Might help you make the sales conversation a little easier:

2 Steps to Growing Your Business – But Hardly Anyone Implements Them

Some of my readers already know that in the last few months, I’ve been deploying a marketing system that guarantees increases in revenue of 20% or more.

It’s super effective, really reliable (actually comes with a guarantee), and really the only thing wrong with it, is that I didn’t invent it myself – I simply obtained a license to teach and implement the system for clients, because it’s one of the best systems for growth I’ve seen.

But the other day, I realised how wonderfully it dovetails with my own LEAP model for running and growing a business.

LEAP being the Listen, Explain, Ask, Profit framework I invented.

And in terms of that marketing system, here’s how it works, and the steps to implement if you want to grow your business:

Listen:

What is it it that makes people buy from you, and not someone else? What do customers opine about doing business with you? Why do they give you money?

You’ll have an idea, but until you talk to your people, and listen, you’ll be operating on assumptions and random soundbites and data points.

But once you get your buyer’s feedback, and motivation, in their own words: then you have a USP – a Unique Selling Proposition – that speaks with the voice of your best buyers, and attracts more of that kind of buyer.

Homework: survey your customers (current and past – you want to learn why people stopped doing business with you as well as why they still do)

Explain:

You take that USP – the thing that differentiates you and makes people love you – and you make it part of every piece of communication you do. If there’s a compelling reason that your market has told you is why they buy with you, state that reason.

Integrate your USP, make it part of your messaging, brand, tagline, the way you answer emails or the phone: make sure that those who deal with you are made aware of why you are you and therefore preferable over your competition.

Homework: well, that. Update your branding, your messaging, your bios on social media, your email signature, your tagline: live your key differentiator out loud. It’s why people love your work, remember?

Ask:
Here we look at your database – your past current, and future customers – and we start asking tough questions about who tends to buy what, and what kinds of offers we can make to see if people will buy something else.

Packages, special offers, add-on services or upsells: You simply ask: “I’ve got this thing here – is it something you’d want?”

When you do that, after defining your USP and making it part of your messaging, you’ll find that digging into your database and your numbers brings up all kinds of opportunities for people who love (or loved) doing business with you, to buy something again.

Homework: analyse your database, create packages and offers, and run campaigns (email, phone, social media, in-person meetings once travel is advisable again): create theories about what people might want to buy, and ask them if they want to.

Finally, profit:
This is where we create strategic alliances with businesses that serve a similar audience to yours, and we create partnerships based on cross-promotion and commission – and it only takes a few well-chosen strategic partners, for you to increase your revenue without scaling up your workload or your advertising budget.

Homework: analyse your market, identify products and services they already buy, and get in touch with people who sell them, to see if you can create partnerships.

And that, in a nutshell, is the LEAP marketing system.

Follow these steps in order, and you’ll see your revenue go up.

Or, have me implement the steps for you, and I’ll get you to at least 20% growth. Guaranteed.

Shall we talk?

Cheers,

Martin

10 Principles for a Fun and Profitable Business

Some of these took me a long while to accept, others to discover, and some to implement.

All of it is, I guess, a work in progress – like the self, our business, and life in general.

So here’s what I learned over the years, in no particular order, to help make your business easier, more fun, and more profitable.

1: Learn how to write copy. Business will always require writing, and the sooner you get a grip on how to write tightly, in a way that’s clear and compelling, the better you’ll do. It’s an unmissable skill in business.

2: Learn how to enroll people. You can call it selling or persuasion or whatever you want, but if you have a business, you deal with people and you want people to align with your vision, right? Whether we want buyers, high-performing teams, active and responsive followers… you want to really *get* psychology in such a way that you’re able to *move people*. Because that’s what enrolling and selling are ultimately about.

3: Always stay active in growing your list. It’s the core asset of your business and you should never stop growing it.

4: Speaking of assets: your business is full of them, except we tend to overlook or discount them, especially when they aren’t tangible. A fleet of cars is an asset, but so it a list of past customers, who might buy again or introduce you to someone. More assets: your reputation, your network, the quality of your work… all assets that can be leveraged, and your life and business are full of them. Get of your assets, and put them to use for your business.

5: Never get good at the small stuff. Sure it’s great if you know how to fix the printer or design a logo – but if your money-making activity is, say, doing SEO at $100 an hour, you spending an hour fixing the printer cost you a hundred bucks. Better pay someone 25 and use your time to do work that pays.

6: Protect the owner (that would be you, operating as a business owner, instead of a business operator). Most of the time, we work *in* our business, and forget to work *on* our business. This is a massively bad idea because it keeps us stuck in the hamsterwheel of doing and making, stealing time from architecting, strategising, and planning, which is what make for business growth.

7: Values and shared values are the core of finding product-market fit – and enrolling buyers. Not everyone who shares your values will be a good client for you, but if you look at your best, most lucrative and most fun clients, you’ll likely find that those people had a lot in common with you, in terms of values. Find more of those people.

8: Keep it simple. And that’s how simple I’ll keep this point :)

9: Systemise everything. Systems aren’t boring: they are what free up your mind for creative thinking, problem-solving, and creating content that attracts people or that people will pay for. After all, these days we’re all a publishing company, whether we publish work for marketing or for getting paid.

10: Talk to your people. Video, email marketing, public talks or social media: it doesn’t matter where you do it, but you’ve got to show up. Nothing will show up (clients, opportunities, partners, etc) unless you do.

There’s a lot more that goes into a business that’s fun and profitable of course, but if you look at this list, you’ll see there’s a nice set of do’s, don’t’s, skills and attitudes in there, enough to keep you on the right track.

Cheers,

Martin

Look! Book! Ten Rules for Ethical Selling

One of my favourite things when working with clients, is looking at the assets that aren’t being utilised in their business.

Makes for fun and fast growth, when for instance you take the asset called ‘subscriber list’ and you start talking to the people there. After all, most people collect email subscribers, but never send.

But once you start to communicate with them? Replies, downloads, sales… like I say: it’s fun!

And in the spirit of eating my own dogfood: I’ve taken some of my own assets, and put them together in a little ebook, for your entertainment and education.

Click here to download ‘Ten Rules for Ethical Selling’

Enjoy!

Cheers,

Martin

The Cost of Short-Term Thinking

It’s not that I’m a consultant or coach for the hospitality industry, but man there’s a ton of lessons to be learned from what I see here in town – this time, courtesy of a different establishment than the one I wrote about last week.

“I need another waiter”, said my buddy the restaurant owner. “Just for serving drinks, but I can’t find anyone”.

I suggested he attract a quality waiter by paying above average wages – say 20 or 30% more, but he said he can’t afford that.

Which seems to make sense in winter: Not enough diners to make up for the extra cost.

Except it’s backwards thinking. Short-term numbers games, and it does his business damage.

Because if today a large family shows up – and the Spanish love to dine in groups of 8, 10, or 12, and because you’re understaffed they get sub-par service, it might be the last time you see them.

10 diners is easily 500 euros worth of food and drinks, and if you treat a group like that well, they’ll easily be back at least two or three times before summer is over.

And, they’ll be telling their friends how awesome the service was and how well we were taken care of.

So losing the support and loyalty of just that one family can cost his business anything from 1000 to several, or many, 1000s in lost sales, over the course of a year. And that’s just one family. If ten families decide to never return, he loses tens of thousands in sales.

Contrast that against an extra 300 euro per month in paying a waiter above-average… i.e. a total increase of wages of 3300 per year (11 months) and you’ll see it not only makes sense to hire a superb waiter at higher prices… you also see that it’s outright stupid not to.

But such is the mentality on the coast: pan para hoy, hambre para mañana. Bread today, hunger tomorrow.

Short term thinking is expensive.

Long term thinking works to leverage current costs against future returns.

In other words: If you want your business to be fun and lucrative, you can’t afford to make short-term decisions that clip your earnings later on.

And if you HAVE to make short term decisions in order to protect cashflow, the last area where you ought to save money, is in customer experience.

Cheers,

Martin

Better or Worse

He’s a terrific guy, an awesome waiter. He does have the Granada ‘mala folla’ attitude, but once you accept that, you realise he’s actually not boorish at all – that’s just his sense of humour.

And at work? I’ve never seen a waiter run faster than him. It’s astonishing.

But the other day, having lunch with friends, the terrace was just so full that we had to eat our paella starved of drinks. He just wasn’t able to keep up.

This morning over coffee I asked if they shouldn’t hire another waiter, to help him.

Turns out, his boss doesn’t like paying wages. Thinks he can handle things by himself.

Which he can, but if you’re serving 25 tables at the same time AND there’s nobody behind the bar pouring drinks for diners… Then it simply is impossible to handle things well.

This owner, they are doing damage to their business.

Everyone I know in town loves this restaurant – and everyone complains about the service.

Which isn’t my friend the waiter’s fault – he’s running as fast as he can.

But to the customer, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. They want a good meal and decent service.

And the greediness of the owner… well, customers only care about that once it affects service or quality, right?

Here’s the moral of the story:

While profit is essential in business, and you sometimes need to make tough decisions, never let quality and service suffer.

Yeah, it’s bad for business.

But more importantly: it’s backwards thinking, because quality and service grow a business, while inefficiency and wastage slow it down.

If you’re going to optimise for profit, start by looking at bottlenecks, redundant assets and processes, and numbers to grow: traffic, inquiries, conversion rate, number of followup actions and all those fun digits that tell you whether
your business is doing well or not.

Make things better, instead of worse.

Are you looking to make some choices at the moment? Maybe I can help you there… and help you make things better.

Cheers,

Martin

Because Nice People Should Finish First

Last night, a friend held my feet to the fire about my work, USP, and elevator pitch.

To her, ‘coach and consultant for ethical business growth’ isn’t what I should run with.

So I tried to explain: “You ever notice how people high in integrity, folks who really want to do right by people, are often the ones who have most trouble growing their sales and their business? I help that kind of person sell more because of, not despite, their values. I call that ’solving the good-egg problem”.

“Yeah”, she said: “Too long”.

By this time, I was getting frustrated: I mean, she knows
me, she knows what my work is about. What I stand for, and which values are sacred to me. And besides, I wasn’t sure if she was challenging me on my USP, or my tagline, or my elevator pitch.

So I blurted out: “I help nice people sell more”, and that seemed to hit home.

Because the harsh truth is that in business, many people believe that nice people do finish last.

And that’s not how it should be.

Nice folk should finish first. Not despite being nice, but because they are nice.

And helping nice folk grow their enterprise, that’s something I get up for every day.

So if you want help with the mindset and decision and strategy side of things, I can coach you on how to be a powerful, skilled business owner. The leader in your own team, whether you’re a solopreneur or not.

If you have that down pat but you want your marketing to get you higher returns, I can consult you on that, and/or implement a marketing system guaranteed to grow your business. (actual guarantee, not just words).

Or, if you have your self-leadership rocking, and your marketing rolling, but you want to learn specific business skills, such as selling, email marketing, productivity or negotiation, I can provide you with custom-made training.

Put differently:

If you’re a good egg, and you want to grow, you might be the kind of person I work with.

Because nice people should finish first.

And if right now you’re eager to make that growth happen, then maybe we should talk and see if I’m the right chap for you.

Sounds good?

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

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