Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

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

Values, Experience, USP

When I talk about ‘solving the good egg problem’, meaning: helping good folk sell more because of their values, that means there’s a great many variation in the kind of business that I work with. Ghostwriters, designers, architects, startups, healthcare, web developers and yoga teachers: I’ve worked with all kinds and sizes of businesses.

On the surface, that looks like bad marketing, because if I’m for everyone in general, my marketing would say ‘I’m not for anyone in particular’.

Except I’m not for everyone.

I don’t really think in terms of ‘niche’ or ‘industry’ or ‘demographic’ – what you as a business owner do can be whatever you want – but I can only work with you if and I have shared views on items such as values, integrity, truthfulness… and, the idea of running a business that does something useful.

That’s my ‘niche’ – the psychographic make-up that you and I have, and whether or not we’re aligned in how we see certain things that matter a lot to us. Like values, and stuff.

That’s why I’m for: people who see business and service and money and marketing in a way similar to me: a force for good, to be used strategically and with purpose and intent.

Here’s why this is useful:

Your values, or those that your company embodies, influence the experience your clients have with your business.

When you then lead with those values, in all your marketing and sales efforts, you’ll start to attract the kind of people who seek a provider who has certain values in common with them.

So when I work with clients to grow their business, an important job is to figure out what experience your customers have had, what that says about your values, and how that informs the communication (i.e. marketing and sales) you should be putting out in your messaging.

Because when you have the right values in common, the sale is already half closed, before you even talk to a new customer, because you’ll already have a lot of rapport.

What all this comes down to, is creating a Unique Selling Proposition for your business, that is built to appeal to exactly the kind of person you love working with.

Part of the consulting system I’m rolling out, is figuring out exactly what your USP should be, so if you want to get clear on that – meaning, get clear on what sets you apart from others and why people should do business with you and not those others – feel free to schedule a free 30 minute consultation here.

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

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

Moving Parade

A few times a week I spend some time at the terrace of a local restaurant here in town, to do some work and warm myself in the sun.

As any restaurant that wants people in for lunch and dinner, they have signs with menu items – but this owner, he only puts them out an hour or so before lunch time.

Now, I don’t know if there’s a logical reason behind it, or if it’s the fabled Andalusian laziness, or simply not thinking things through, but I do know this:

The 150 to 500 people who walk by in the morning do not get the message that – hey, here you can eat, it’s not just a café!

So when the time comes that a tourist gets hungry, this restaurant is not one of the ones they remember as an option for grabbing a bite to eat, because they haven’t seen any sign or menu advising them that it’s an option.

In marketing there’s the concept of the ‘moving parade’: the notion that there’s always a stream of people who might want what you sell, and that it’s your job to stay in view, or in touch, so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re the one they think of.

So these 150 to 500 people, that’s his moving parade, literally. And if only he’d advertise to them that he serves food and not just drinks and coffee, he’d likely see an uptick in diners and lunchers. (Yes, I’ll mention it to him, see if he agrees and wants see if it makes a difference).

Now, in any business there’s a moving parade. There’s always folk who know about you, who are thinking of buying your work but it’s not the time yet, and so the question is:

What are you doing in your business, to stay visible and remembered, by the people in your moving parade?

Cheers,

Martin

If They’re Going to Buy… Shouldn’t It Be From You, Instead of From the Scoundrels and the Greedy?

It’s easy to cast blame for all the ways that commerce and capitalism do damage.

Society and the environment sure don’t get better from the way Facebook treats users, or the way  some companies pollute our world.

But if you’re in business and you’re here to make a difference, it doesn’t make sense to cast blame – whether you blame marketing, or capitalism, or commerce, or corporatism, or money:

None of those are the actual problem.

They’re all agnostic of right & wrong.

They’re just tools to be used in order to further a mission.

The type of mission determines whether you’re helping, or hurting things.

And how you use those tools is what makes for right or wrong.

And they’re powerful tools, too – so more than ever, the world needs good eggs – people like you – picking up the tools, and doing something good with them.

Because if you don’t, others will, and it’s plain to see that a lot of those others do not have the ethics and integrity as people like us do.

So you can dislike money or selling or capitalism all you want: if you don’t pick them up and do something good with them, others will – and you have no control over how those others go about their business.

But the buyer will buy – from you or from the other.

Shouldn’t it be you though?

That’s why, if you want to do something good, the best thing you can do is get good at being in business, sign on more clients – and scale up your impact.

Increase your slice of the pie for a good purpose, so that others without purpose, are left with a smaller pie.

Making sure that buyers buy from you, and not from the scoundrels and the greedy:

Sounds like a pretty good reason to grow your enterprise, if you ask me.

So: if right now you’re positioned for growth, you’re getting opportunities, but too often the sale doesn’t happen, let’s talk.

Helping entrepreneurs driven by purpose to create more clients is what I do, and I’d love to explore how we can get you to grow, sell more, and increase your impact.

Reply to this email and we’ll set up a time for a short call, to see what can be done.

Cheers,

Martin

Good Eggs Sell More & Sleep Better

“We didn’t like that estate agent”, she says. He kept showing us properties that were above our budget – and like, 200K over budget. It was weird”.

Friendly dinner conversation, at Burn’s night with friends this weekend. (Yes, there was haggis, and no: it’s not as bad as people say).

“It bit him in the ass though, because in the end we bought a property through a different agent, and it turned out that Mr. Greedy Agent also had it in his portfolio – but because he never showed it to us, we bought it through someone else”.

And so it is with selling: if you try too hard, if there’s neediness, if there’s greed, it’ll backfire.

It’s quite the opposite to my friend Dick, who’s one of the top sellers in his agency.

His secret? “I sell people the house they want, and make sure they don’t buy the wrong house”.

That’s ethics in selling, it’s looking out for your buyers, and it’s a perfect way to do well.

Good eggs sell more, and they sleep better. (well, they *can* sell more, if you learn how to)

When you’re an ethical person, with a lot of integrity, never make the mistake of thinking that this makes selling (or enrolling buyers) harder – it doesn’t have to be that way and in fact:

If you know your values and you lead with integrity, it makes selling a hell of a lot easier and a lot more fun too.

Want to talk about how that would work in your business?

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

Iced Coffee, No Ice

“It already has the ice in it”, says the waiter as he puts down the glass of coffee.

It’s my favourite restaurant at the beach, where I like to sit and work in the mornings.

I look: no ice, just coffee. I touch the glass: it’s warm. Very clearly, this coffee is not iced, even though iced coffee is what I asked for.

“Yeah”, he says, “we’re no longer buying the big icecubes, because we had an icemaker installed. These new cubes are so small, they melt away when the coffee pours over it”.

Baffling. I mean, I’m all for reducing costs and optimising operations, but if it is at the expense of customer experience, something isn’t right.

Now, I don’t know if the owner is a penny-pincher, or if he’s simply been bullied into buying the icecube machine by some overzealous hospitality equipment salesperson, but if a customer has to ask for extra ice, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the restaurant.

Which is a real pity, because the place is generally excellent, the food is high quality and the owner is a nice guy who treats his staff well. I want them to stay in business, they deserve it. But this way…? Not a good sign.

Reducing costs is good. Optimising for profit keeps a business healthy.

But a business exists by virtue of customer love, and there’s only so much you can do to reduce costs.

The moment customer experience becomes less important than profit, you’re either on the road to failure, or to becoming one of those unpleasant companies that treat customers like cash-dispensers on legs.

And without customers, a business is nothing.

So keep ‘em happy. Delight the people who give you money. Profit will follow.

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #5: Never Sell Without Permission

Nice people don’t force others into things. It’s not how we work.

But, if you’ve ever seen a potential client go cold right when they seemed about to say yes to your offer, it might just be that the other felt forced.

This can happen even if you have no intention of pushing an issue, if you’re completely OK with either a yes or a no, and you’re as non-pushy as can be… the other can still feel like something is being decided *for* them, instead of *by* them.

This is how many sales break down, and it’s really easy to prevent:

Ask for permission.

Oh I know, they teach you about the ‘assumptive close’ – “So let’s book our first meeting in and then deal with the contract”.

And in some cases, that works. Very often though, that one small move can give the wrong signal, and make the buyer feel as if they’re not the one making the decisions here.

And if integrity matters to you, clearly you want the buyer to make the decision.

So how do you prevent giving that wrong signal, and make sure that the buyer feels confident and in control?

Ask for permission.

“Do you want to book the first meeting in?”

“Would you like me to tell you about the programme?”

“Would it make sense to meet again and discuss working together?”

“I have an idea that might help – do you want me to explain what I have in mind?”

Hardcore sales trainers will probably snub their nose and call me a softy, but whatever. I hope they enjoy their polyester suits, as much as I enjoy hearing clients say ‘yes’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘take my money’. (yes, someone actually bought whilst saying that last one).

Point is, you’re not the boss of your buyers. They are.

And the slightest signal that ‘you know what’s best’ will set off all kinds of warning signs and alarm bells in them.

But if you ask permission to ask for a sale, or to explain a programme, you’re giving the other person reign and autonomy. “Your decision – do we proceed?”

Not only is this the right, integrous way to sell, it’s also highly effective, because when a buyer steps in fully self-motivated, they sell themselves – and you’ll agree that that’s a more fun than trying to ‘convince’ or ‘persuade’.

Cheers,

Martin

Righting Wrongs

A savvy business owner sees a hole in the market, and figures out a way to fill it.

A savvy and compassionate business owner sees a pain in the world, and finds a way to ease it for those who suffer from it.

These are the people we all know, and their products and marketing are wherever we look.

And then there’s a third kind of person.

This type isn’t in business because there’s a need, or a hole in the market, or because they found a way to make money.

It can even be argued that these people aren’t in business, necessarily – they’re on a mission.

They see a status quo that they refuse to accept, and they make it their mission and their purpose to right the wrong that they see – to change the status quo.

(For me it’s ‘the nicest people, those most concerned with making things better, are often those who struggle most to grow their business’. That to me is wrong, because it means that the less nice, the more aggressive or less scrupulous, do move forward, while good eggs don’t. I stand against that and my mission is to make the good eggs, those business owners who actually care, grow and profit the way they deserve).

Incidentally, my favourite kind of client is of course the kind of person who’s on a mission: it’s a lot of fun to see someone scale up because of, rather than despite, their values.

Because that’s the whole simple essence of an ethical business:

Your values don’t have to stand in the way of your growth – they can enable your growth, and impact, and money, and all those good things.

And good eggs, folk on a mission, well that’s the kind of person I have a lot of time for.

So anyway, I’m curious:

What mission are you on? What do you stand up for? What wrong does your business serve to right?

Cheers,

Martin

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