What Fronting a Band Taught Me About Selling

It had been years – decades, really – since I’d been in a situation like this:

On a ‘stage’, with a band, guitar around my neck, in front of an audience… and I was loving every second of it.

(‘Stage’ in quotes, because really it was ‘us against the back wall in a local restaurant last summer, but still)

The people were grooving and so was the band, but c’mon… the song proper had long ended, we’d been jamming and soloing for a good while now on the back of it, and it was time to call the tune to a close.

Except we hadn’t really rehearsed ending songs.

During rehearsals, songs mostly just fell apart at the end.

(No, we weren’t prepared to play live – it just… kinda happened. Long story)

A quick look around, to check in with the guys – I could tell they were all wondering ‘where next, Martin?’

I nodded, signalled, and… bam. A perfect, tight, together, way to end a song.

Now here’s the thing: I’m not a ‘band leader’. I’ve seen musicians do it, but it was all new to me.

I just did what felt natural, and everyone played along, and it all ended well (ba-dum-tshhh…).

And that’s a sale. Selling is nothing more or less than moving forward with people, in a way everyone is happy about.

At that moment, without even thinking, I ‘sold’ the guys the ending of the song, and they were happy to buy.

And leadership plays a big role in selling.

Not because you need to ‘control the conversation’ (or the band), but because unless there’s a plan and someone to keep track of its implementation, people don’t move forward.

Leadership means plans get implemented right, and good leadership means everyone is happy.

And you want folk to move forward, right? I mean, does your business exist because something good happens for your buyers…?

They move forward in their life, in their well-being, in their status or skills or wealth or career?

Right, then in order for them to move forward, you need to learn how to move forward *with* them – i.e.’selling’ or ‘enrollment’.

Because unless they buy, they don’t get your help moving forward.

And that means you don’t get to have the impact you want, or the revenue, or the lifestyle – or, indeed, the ability to invest in growing your business so that you get to have a bigger impact.

Not pretty.

But, everything gets different, and better – and sold – when you move forward with people.

Because really, that’s all that selling is.

Each day, I talk to people who are doing something good, and they want to reach more people.

And when they learn, and internalise, the framework I teach, they go from ‘selling sucks and it’s hard’ to ‘huh, this ain’t so bad, and I’m getting the hang of it’.

Want some of that for yourself as well?

Cheers,

Martin

Buyers Are Not Liars

In the world of conventional sales (as opposed to ethical sales, the way I teach it), there’s a saying that ‘buyers are liars’.

Which in itself is pretty nasty and cynical thing to say – and complete devoid of empathy (where empathy is, again, part of the way I teach selling).

Sure, a person might say ‘I want it’ and then not follow through.

‘I’ll send the check’ and then it doesn’t show up.

‘I’ll be there at noon’, and then they don’t show up.

‘This problem at my company needs solving, now’, and then they stop responding to your calls and emails.

Is it because they were lying?

Probably not. People say things for a great many reasons, and who knows why they say one thing and then do something else?

They know, is who.

And, guess whose job it is to figure out why they said something that didn’t end up true?

Your job – the job of the seller.

Here’s the thing:

In a selling situation, when the other says something, you need to test what they say.

Not, again, because someone would be lying, but because we as humans, all of us, assume stuff.

We take things at face value.

‘Yeah I like it, I want it’, and we instantly assume that the deal is done.

But it ain’t, not until the money is in your account or the contract has been signed.

But when you assume that thing A also literally means thing A, and that ‘yes’ means ‘it’s a sale!’, you bypass that other person’s reality.

Whenever you assume something about someone else, and we do it all the time, you break rapport and create a disconnect.

It’ll show in your reactions, your questions, your body language, the way you structure your sentences… and that other person goes ‘Hey wait a minute, I never meant/said/implied that’.

And… they’re gone.

This is precisely why my framework for ethical selling starts with questions, then answers, and, very importantly, pillar three: meaning.

What someone says is one thing… but what does it *mean*?

What are they really trying to say?

What did they not say?

What do they mean for you to hear?

And, is that what you heard… or did you hear what you wanted to hear?

What’s said is one thing. What’s being heard is another. And what was meant is something entirely different.

Learn your buyer. Test your assumptions. Ask more questions.

Let your buyer tell you whether or not you actually heard what they said.

That’s how you enroll ethically, with empathy, and yes, with success and profit.

And if you want the ins and outs of ethical selling, watch this. Seriously :)

Cheers,

Martin

Buyer Objections and the Dreaded No… What if It’s an Invitation?

The other day, someone said: “When a buyer tells me no, or that they don’t have time to talk about my offer, I’m not really sure what to do.

“Usually, I default to trying again, push a little harder, try a different angle”.

Yesterday, someone else said: “When they tell me no, I just considered it a lost sale”.

Option 1, going in harder, will rarely work. If a buyer objects for whatever reason, there’s a fear going on, somewhere on a deep psychological level.

It’s the lizard brain signaling ‘danger’.

And if you press on, you’re only confirming to the lizard brain that it’s seeing things correctly (even if it isn’t), and objections and resistance increase.

Option 2 – walking away from the sale – obviously doesn’t help either.

But what about a middle way?

What if someone’s objection or refusal isn’t a rejection, or the end of the conversation, but instead it’s an invitation?

What if you use the no as a starting point for a different line of conversation?

What if the no is an invitation for you to… ask a question?

After all, a no means there’s something going on that prevents the yes, and why not try and figure out what that thing is?

Like so:

Buyer says “No”.

You: “Excellent, thanks for telling me”.

You now know where you stand, and where they stand. And, you’ve honoured their stance graciously.

Next, you ask a question. For example:

“Can you tell me in what way the offer doesn’t meet your needs?”

Or: “Quick question: What would make it a yes?”

Or: “Shall I follow up with you at a later date, when you have more time?”

Or: “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

Or: “Would you like me to point at some resources that might help you solve XYZ? There’s a few books I know that might be useful to you”.

And if none of these seem appropriate, why not ask for an introduction?

“Anyone come to mind who might be interested?”

See, the no can never be met with force. It’s not nice, and not effective – not unless you’re a pushy seller and who wants to live in the 80’s?

And the no is never the end of a conversation, not if you keep the conversation open.

And you do that by asking questions.

Make sense, right?

Then come join us this Thursday for an ethical sales training, where you get a whole bunch more of this…

Register here: http://martinstellar.com/leap-ethical-selling-system/
Cheers,

Martin

Good Ideas? Volunteer Nothing

Good ideas abound, and they’re a dime a dozen.

But unless someone accepts a good idea, it’s little use.

And each day, we volunteer our good ideas to others.

“This thing would really help you!”

“Have you tried XYZ?”

“Dude, you’re holding it wrong – that’s not how it works”.

“Darling, maybe we should stop and ask for directions?”

If you’ve ever volunteered good ideas, you’ll know how rarely they get picked up. It takes a special relationship, or at least the right circumstances, for someone to pick an idea and run with it.

Meanwhile, each time you suggest something, the other person subconsciously is being told that they’re wrong, which is exactly why so many good ideas get lost.

Nobody likes to be made ‘wrong’, and while our intentions may be excellent, our coming out unbeckoned with our good ideas, just doesn’t work.

Everything changes though, when someone asks for our good ideas. That’s when they listen, consider, and often also implement.

This principle – inadvertently ‘making someone wrong’ – is why so many sales opportunities break down.

So how do you get your child, your spouse, your assistant, or indeed your buyer, to ask for your good ideas?

Well, you can’t ‘get them to’. We don’t control other people.

But, we can be the best possible partner in the conversation, for them to want to know, and ask for, our good ideas.

How?

Volunteer nothing. Offer no good advice. Have no excellent recommendations for them.

Instead, learn that person. Investigate what they’re up against. Ask questions and keep asking them, until they ask you: “What would you do?”

Then you offer your idea, and then you’ll very likely see it heard, considered, and maybe even adopted.

But until they ask?

Volunteer nothing.

Not only is it respectful to leave the other to ask instead of taking the high-ground that comes with knowing what’s best for others, it’s also vastly more effective.

Cheers,

Martin

Things Are Bought, Not Sold

The moment you tell someone “Do this thing”, they’ll rebel.

That’s why traditional selling is so icky.

A seller trying with all his might to show the buyer that the seller is right, and that the buyer needs to change their views and make a decision, and buy? Yuck.

But even if the seller is right – if he or she correctly surmises that their product or service is right for the buyer – that doesn’t mean they get to tell the other that they are wrong.

And like it or not, even if your heart is in it and you truly care, the moment you try to tell someone that your view must be adopted, you’re making the other person wrong, because you’re right. And that never works.

Hence the saying:

Things are bought, not sold.

Buying is inward, it’s a pull. ‘Selling’ is outward, it’s push.

This is why I teach entrepreneurs how to communicate in such a way that there’s no pushing, no ‘selling’, but instead there’s pull, and buyers buy, of their own accord.

If you want to learn how, there’s still a few seats open for my training on ethical enrollment.

Let me know if you want access…

Cheers,

Martin

Selling Is Not Binary

In business, your job is to help a buyer advance, get better, solve problems – your job is not to ‘close a sale’.

Sometimes people buy from you, sometimes they don’t, and that’s up to them.

It really depends on what that person needs, and wants, and the timing of your encounter. Maybe their best choice is to not buy today, but tomorrow or next week.

Because even if someone has the money to work with you, it also needs to fit into their plans and projects.

Whether you sell a product or service, in most cases a client will also need to dedicate a certain amount of time to the project – and that already starts before buying: even the decision to work with you or not requires an investment in think-time.

So if they don’t buy today, who knows what they’ll want to decide tomorrow or later down the line?

This is why selling isn’t binary. It’s not a ‘sale/no sale’ scenario, because if you see it that way you’ll shut things down if you don’t get a yes.

Instead, consider it a ‘sale/or something else’ situation, where ‘something else’ is an outcome that you both benefit from, and one that keeps you in touch.

This change in attitude does magic for the relationships and conversations you have, because it takes the pressure off the situation.

It creates encounters that leaves people feeling ‘I feel respected by you. I’m happy to talk to you again’.

Which is great, because what better person to follow up with, than someone who’s open to dealing with you again?

This kind of conversation and relationship is what I teach in my LEAP training for ethical selling.

It’s in pilot launch at the moment, and there’s still a few seats left for a live, 1 on 1, 10-week training.

Are you in?

Cheers,

Martin

“You Don’t Need a Coach…”

“…You need a vacation.”

Takes guts to say that to a person who wants to work with you.

And no, it wasn’t me, but a business coach in the States I interviewed yesterday.

And, it’s the perfect example of integrity, and selling with true concern for the other.

Sure this coach could probably have signed on a client, and I’ll bet it would have been a super helpful experience for that person – but that would be akin to saying “What they really need is a good meal, but we’ll sell them cake, instead”. Nice to have, but not what’s required to do the job.

If you want the best for others, you sell them what they really need, and want – not what’s ‘also nice’. Not if ‘also nice’ doesn’t solve the problem they hope you can solve.

Now this kind of thinking is good and all, but how does it help you actually enroll more buyers?

What do you say? What do you ask?

How do you build trust?

Yes rapport is there, but how does that help, actually – what do you do with rapport?

What do you need to know before you can ask for a sale, and what do people need to know before they’ll welcome that question?

I could spend days answering questions like that – which, incidentally, is why I write these daily articles (hi!), but the problem with articles is that I can only go so deep.

If you want to really learn the ins and outs of making enrollment fun and profitable, a deep dive would help.

And for a limited time, that deep dive can take the shape of a weekly meeting, where I train you step by step, personally and live, in how to sell your work with integrity and profit.

Because those two *can* go together.

Here’s what a student, Zoey Zoric, had to say:

“This course has really changed how I approach sales, and how I approach my clients.

Your weekly homework assignments had me look for opportunities, and start conversations with people I’d normally never approach.

Selling has become something infinitely more fun- it’s a completely different game now”.

Now Zoey is an artist – and artists are some of the most encumbered people, where it comes to dealing with selling. To go to ‘infinitely more fun’ in 10 weeks is, I believe I can say, a lot.

And, halfway through the course her views and skills had already changed so much, that she had – I believe – 27 or 35 sales in a 1-weekend art show.

Such is the result of learning my ways…

Enrollment is open for the pilot programme, at $950 for ten weeks, live personal sessions, with direct email access. Limited seats (I’m actually thinking of taking on only 5 students instead of 10).

Want to go from ‘selling sucks&I don’t know how’ to ‘I can do this and I enjoy it’, the way Zoey did?

Then hit that reply button, and let me know. I’ll be in touch with details…

Cheers,

Martin

Wanting Something From People VS Having Something for People

Had a chat last night with an old friend – one of the guys who used to visit the monastery. He’s in business too these days, so it was fun to chat and compare notes.

And once again, I had someone tell me “I don’t like selling”.

“I don’t like that the moment you have something for sale, it’s nasty because it means you want something from people”.

Is that true though?

Me I’ve got plenty for sale, but I don’t want anything from anyone.

I want things *for* other people – not *from* other people.

I want for readers to enjoy a daily dose of healthy business thinking.

I want for clients to get the very best of me, and for them to transform their life and their business.

And for potential clients, I want for them to make the best possible decision, whether that means working with me, or not. Both outcomes are fine, as long as the outcome is best for you.

So my friend suffers from two problems: first is the good-egg problem, where the better kind of person somene is, the more they prevent themselves from getting out there and helping people.
It’s a very common thing.

Th second problem is in his way of thinking, because:

It’s never about getting anything from people. Not for people like us.

And, when you sell from the heart, when you enroll because you’d truly love to work with that person and they themselves buy in voluntarily, you’re not taking anything: you’re giving.

And as long as the sales conversation goes on, you get to give them super powerful and enjoyable conversation, one that will help and be remembered.

And if the stars align, the other person will stop you and say ‘How do I get more of this?’ or ‘When do we start?’ or ‘Take my money!’ – all of which are things I’ve been told.

It isn’t ‘I want something from you’, it’s: ‘If you’re this kind of person, I have something for you’.

And when it’s ‘no sale’?

Then it wasn’t for them, at this point. But if you do it right, you’ll have had such a pleasant exchange, that the non-buyer remembers it positively, which means they’ll be happy to hear from you when you follow up. And you never know when someone will ready themselves to buy. (hint: it’s never when we’re trying to push. that isn’t ‘being ready’, that’s ‘being coerced’).

Now, the good news: if you’re like my friend and you don’t like selling, I’ve got something for you.

Right now, I’m running a pilot-programme for the ethical selling course that I wanted to launch a while ago, but didn’t.

Once I launch it properly, it’ll be $1500, for a 10-week video course with email support and a community membership.

But because this is a pilot programme, I’m giving the training live, 1on1, for a limited number of people, and while this offer lasts it’s $950 for the ten weeks.

Ten seats maximum.

Includes email access to me, and Q&A after each weekly training module.

So, are you a ‘good egg’ and you want to have more impact, and have more fun enrolling clients?

Then this programme was meant for you. More tomorrow… (or get in touch for details).

Cheers,

Martin

Selling From the Heart…?

The sleazy salesperson squeezes people, bullies them into handing over money, and it’s usually based on greed.

The everyday seller tries to sell based on need.

The ethical person enrols a buyer by staying true to values such as integrity and truthfulness.

And the lover of life, the spiritually inclined, the person who lives by ‘other before self’?

That person sells from the Heart.

If you’re in the first group, I can’t help you.

If you’re in the second, I can show you how to sell more exactly by not being needy.

And if you’re in the 3rd or 4th group?

Then I can show you how to fall in love with selling, and how to sell from the Heart.

And you can learn that, plus a bunch of ways to use friendly and non-pushy conversation techniques, in this here training, without signup or cost: http://martinstellar.com/ethical-sales-training/

And if that framework appeals to you and you want an in-depth, 1-week training?

Then watch your inbox tomorrow, because I’ll have a super interesting offer for you…

Cheers,

Martin

Who Sells the Talk?

A couple of years ago, working with a number of artist clients, I was shocked to see a greedy trend in the gallery world: where artists used to be represented by a gallery, now increasingly galleries ask rent fees in order for an artist to hang their work.

Now, it appears that the same trick has appeared on the public speaking field.

Last week I had a meeting, to discuss my giving a talk at an upcoming local conference. Seemed like a nice organiser, the theme and other speakers fit my area of interest&operation, and hey: public speaking. Good for making connections&getting the word out.

And then she drew up a price list and started talking about the different price levels.

“Just a sec”, I said. “We’re talking about giving a talk – a speaking engagement, right? Not renting a stand?”

“Yes, a talk”.

“Ok, I’m just checking, because normally people pay me for giving public talks”.

She was quiet a bit, and then: “Erm… we sell talks”.

Seriously?

What she sells isn’t a talk, it’s floorspace and an audience. The speaker sells the talk.

“Ok, well why don’t you send in a proposal and a quote, and we’ll see if we can fit it in”.

In the end, I didn’t. It would probably be fun and useful, and paid, but:

Aside from the fact that I consider it wrong to charge an artist for wallspace or a speaker at a normal conference for floorspace, it’s a sign of bad business thinking.

The argument is ‘we need to cover our costs’ – but that cost should be covered from other things, such as ticket sales, revenue share on sales the speakers make, book sales, workshops… there’s a hundred ways to create revenue around a conference.

But if the organiser does it by charging the very people who bring life and value and content to the affair, there’s something wrong.

A gallery should be so confident in their ability to attract the right audience, that they’ll take their commission, but charge nothing.

And likewise, a conference organiser should have a marketing plan so well thought-out that they know they’ll cover their costs from ticket sales.

If they don’t have that in place, how do I have the confidence that there will be people in the room?

A paid speaking gig sounds like a nice opportunity, and it is – but only if I can develop it with people a) who share my values and b) with whom there’s alignment in the way we both see how things should be done.

Opportunities abound. Pick only the ones with the ‘right’ people, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and a lot of disappointment.

Cheers,

Martin

Menu Title