Random (or Deliberate?) Acts of Service

A warm day in Granada, bustling streets, beautiful people.

I step onto a zebra crossing and see a girl on her hands and knees, middle of the road, frantically reaching left and right. Just outside of her reach: her eyeglasses.

I’m about to move towards her and help, when someone else quickly bends over, grabs them, and puts them in her hand.

A random act of service. Beautiful. I smile and carry on my way.

Oh sure, you can call it an act of kindness, and it certainly is.

But really, that’s euphemising a beautiful quality of humanity:

The ability to serve others. Which, incidentally, is also what a healthy business does (and please: don’t say you ‘service’ clients. They’re not cars).

Serving is one of the most important things we can do in life, because it does what every single spiritual tradition, all sages throughout history, and most philosophers recommend:

Put ‘other’ before ‘self’.

Now, all this is well and good. We can commit random acts of service at any moment.

Helping a kid with their homework. Cooking that special meal for your lover. Helping a charity with your skills. Giving someone that car you don’t actually use, when theirs breaks down.

All very nice for the ethically inclined, for those who care about others and their well-being.

But what if…

What if you could apply this – the attitude and intent of serving – to the very act of turning a stranger into a customer – apply service to the process of selling?

What, in effect, if you’d make the sales conversation an act of service?

I hope that this notion blows your mind, at least a little.

Because when your intent is to serve a potential buyer inside of the conversation, all kinds of good things happen.

They’ll trust you more, they’ll share more about their painpoints and their doubts, they give you permission to follow up, and, yes, they’ll be far more likely to buy from you.

Why?

Because when you serve a prospect, the clear message is that your only interest is for them to make the best possible decision for them, at this point.

Even if – ESPECIALLY IF – that decision is to not buy from you.

Think about it: why would you ever want someone’s purchase, if that purchase isn’t perfectly right for them?

Serve your buyers. It’ll grow your sales and your revenue.

Cheers,

Martin

Selling? Try Mindmeld Instead

Got an email this morning, from one of my readers who scheduled an appointment to help me with my research in product market fit, asking how do we connect?

Phone, skype, telepathy, mindmeld?

Made me laugh, but then I thought about it. It’s actually really serious.

(In case you don’t know, mindmeld is an ability that the alien Vulcan race has in the Star Trek franchise, to create telepathic connections with others.)

At first I thought: she’s been reading me for a long time, which means my articles must mean something to her – so in a way, there’s been a kind of mindmeld going on already. A sharing of ideas, which get absorbed and influence the mind.

And then I realised: when you’re in a conversation with a potential buyer, the same thing occurs. Or rather: ought to occur, if a sale is to be the result.

And not in some new-agey telepathy way: I’m talking more about alignment between two minds.

Which is actually a real, physiological and measurable phenomenon:

When two people agree, or share ideas – in other words: are aligned – the patterns in their brain activity increasingly start matching eachother.

So it’s not telepathy or mindmeld, but it’s a super useful notion to work with, when talking to a potential buyer.

If there’s no alignment, there’s a host of other things missing: trust, confidence, belief, desire and so on.

And unless everything lines up for the other person – unless they believe they’ll benefit from their purchase as much as you believe they will, they’re not going to buy.

So if you’d like to improve your results and skills at selling your work, you could do worse than to seek alignment.

In other words: think a bit more like a Vulcan.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to help me with my research as to who would benefit most from learning my LEAP ethical sales system, all it takes is 20 minutes on skype.

Just let me know you’ll help.

Thanks!

Martin

Value x Audience Equals…

Could be, you think I’ve gone over to the dark side, what with all this talk about selling stuff.

Is everything about money?

Absolutely not.

There’s only one thing that everything is about, as far as I’m concerned, and that’s Love (capital L intentional)

‘Selling’ – or enrolling – is really about exchanging things of value, and that be anything.

Even something as abstract as an idea can be traded for some attention in listening to the idea.

And as for money, and the conflicted attitudes so many people have:

It’s curious that the people who say that money isn’t important, are usually the ones who think about it most, almost obsessively – exactly because they usually ain’t got any.

Money is just a measure of the value you put into the world, multiplied by the number of people who appreciate, and want to experience, that value.

A perfect example is an author: If his books are good enough, and the audience big enough, he can become very wealthy indeed.

Aside from that, money is agnostic of ethics or personal values, just like a car or a hammer doesn’t know, or care, what your ethics or values may be.

And as tools go, they can all be used for good, or for evil – all depends on who wields the tool.

But isn’t money evil, and the root of it?

Nope, because the quote says that the *love* of money is the root of all evil.

And even that is something I don’t agree with.

Maybe it’s because it was translated incorrectly, I don’t know – but the root of evil is attachment to money, coupled with greed. Hello, politicians (well, a large percentage of them – some are actually good eggs).

Money is an object of trade, and it’s a scorecard.

Either for one’s degree of greed, or – and I guess my readers will resonate with this notion – the amount of value you put out into the world.

Create more change, good stuff, happiness, results, beautiful and truly useful thing – and offer it for sale, and you’ll see your money-score go up.

That is, provided you know how to identify and find the people who want your thing, and you have conversations with them that enable them to buy.

In order to have those conversations in an ethical, meaningful way, that enables people to decide whether or not to give you money for your thing, I’ve soft-launched a new training programme, tentatively title the the L.E.A.P. to Sales.

It’s based on empathy and ethics, and it’s especially for people who truly care about their buyers.

Will you help me with my research, and answer a few questions for me?

We only need 20 minutes, and it would help me a lot.

Let me know if you can spare a moment – thanks!

Cheers,

Martin

Mandela, Ghandi, MLK & Lincoln: some of the BEST salespeople in the world

If you struggle with the idea of selling because you think it’s wrong, unethical or manipulative – or the biggest problem of all: that it doesn’t align with your values: I wrote this one for you.

Because yes, the names in the subject header each were phenomenally good salespeople.

Even Jesus was a terrific salesman.

Yes, I’m going there. You coming?

See, while none of these people traded time or goods for money, they all spent their lives selling ideas.

They had a mission for the benefit of others, they believed in it, and they worked tirelessly to give people reasons to buy in to that mission.

Their job wasn’t to sell so much, but to *enroll* people in their mission.

And that’s what ‘selling’ comes down to.

Enrolling someone in something.

Joining a movement for change, finally going on a diet, sticking with your exercise regime, flossing, or indeed: seeing yourself as a happy, satisfied buyer of something, who’s happy that the money was spent – because look at that computer or car or training or coat that I’m so happy with!

Where it comes to selling in a business context, what you’re doing isn’t manipulating or forcing or coercing:

Instead – if you do it right and you’re ethical (unlike politicians, who are also good sellers but who often appear to suffer from a condition called ethics-deficiency) – ‘selling’ to a potential buyer is a way to invite them to buy into a different view on themselves.

Correct, effective, ethical selling means you provide a way for the other person to see them in an ‘after’ stage, where the problem they have is sold.

You don’t ‘sell things to people’ – you enroll them. IF they want to.

Note that I’m eating my own dogfood here: I’m trying to find a way for you to buy into a different view on sales – one that will make a massive difference to your enrollment process.

Is it working?

Cheers,

Martin

Announcement About Changes to These Articles

You might remember that last year, I wrote many emails about the workings and application of a training programme I was creating – which I then proceeded to completely not launch.

(It was the ‘Calibrate Reality’ framework, which I recently decided to rename to ‘Stellar Edge’)

And today I decided to shelve the entire thing indefinitely.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it – but it isn’t really *right* either.

To wit: last week I had a major insight into why I’d been procrastinating on it so much:

What the training comes down to, is essentially a form of (learn-at-your-own-pace) life coaching…

And I’m not a life-coach – for me it’s all about helping people with their business.

All this became clear when a friend – a business coach – asked me where my heart lies.

And the answer is clear:

Helping people to grow their business – which at it’s core comes down to ‘creating more customers’.

In other words: how to present your product or service in such a way that people want to buy it.

In one word: selling.

(If that word makes you pucker up your nose, you’ll either find that you’ll want to unsubscribe from these emails, or… you might find you’d really best stick around, because I’m never about pushing people. Or manipulating, or sleazy tactics).

Like I said last week: selling is just another word for transferring enthusiasm.

And I happen to know a few seriously effective (and humane, and ethical) methods for doing that.

Which is why at the moment, I’m feverishly working on changing the programme into one that… well… helps you create more buyers (And not to worry: it will still give you a stellar edge over most other people).

Because, you know how people often say they don’t know how to sell, or have ethical objections, or for some reason they keep missing out on sales even though the thing they sell would be just
perfect for the buyer?

I bet you’ll have experienced some of that for yourself at some point or other.

And it’s a real, tough, hard-to-solve problem – which is why the new focus and direction of the programme is going to address that.

The outcome is that you’ll be able to sell more, with more ease, at higher fees, whilst still honouring your values and feeling good about yourself.

Watch this space, because things are going to get interesting…

Except if you really hate sales, then you might not want to stick around.

Just know that it’ll mean though, that you’ll have a tough time being in business.

And if you feel conflicted about it, think of this:

Remember when you bought shoes, or a phone, or a sandwich, or anything really – and it was just perfect, and you’re so happy that you spent the money?

You weren’t upset that the vendour transferred their enthusiasm, right?

If anything, you were grateful, or at least appreciated, them doing a swell job.

Right. Well these emails, and the training, will show you how to become the kind of person who creates that kind of buyer experience.

I’m excited, because now there’s finally the clarity needed to help solve the real, important, problems that every business owner has.

More soon…

Cheers,

Martin

How to Sell Things and Still Sleep at Night

“Oh if you like that, you should totally watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, said my mastermind buddy.

I wasn’t feeling it – I mean I like Star Trek just fine, but it never impacted me as much as some other scifi shows and films.

He went on: “I really like it as a show because it’s kind of the forgotten stepson of the franchise and it’s the deepest one. Really interesting commentary on occupation, religious freedom, and racism”.

With that, I was sold. Must give it a try.

And I joked: “You should be in sales”.

Here’s why this matters, if you own or run a business.

Because if you have one, you need to sell your work or products.

Without sales, you don’t have a business.

But most people have hangups about selling.

Limiting beliefs, erroneous views, and of course the bad taste we have in our mouths, seeing how sleezy and corrupt and unethical sales can get, if it’s the wrong person doing it.

But, as per Daniel Pink: to sell is human.

“Shall we go get a pizza?” –> Selling someone on an idea.

“Don’t beat up your little brother” –> selling your toddler on learning and adopting societal norms.

“Eat your greens” –> selling your kid on learning to do what’s best for them.

“Will you marry me?” –> selling your partner on forging a lasting bond.

Sales are a tool for creating an exchange of values, nothing more or less.

Another tool is a hammer, made for putting nails into things.

And both tools are agnostic of ethics – it’s the handler of the tool who puts on the ethics and morals. Both can be used for right or wrong.

So, if you have doubts or concerns about sales, or if you think selling is bad, or that you’re not good at selling, here’s the solution:

Transfer enthusiasm. That’s what selling is.

It’s what my buddy did, and it works, and it’s ethical.

He suggested reasons that might make me care, by appealing to values that are important to me.

How to transfer enthusiasm?

Well, that’s something I train clients in, with 1 on 1 coaching programmes.

But the basic rules are as follows:

1: Be real. If you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re selling, you should not fake it, but find either a different product or a different market.

2: Care about the other person and their needs. If someone buys something, it’s because they want their life to improve, in whatever way. To be effective at selling – I mean, transferring enthusiasm – you’ve got to actually care about them.

3: Listen – not for the cue on what you’re going to say next, but really, truly, listen to what’s going on in the other person’s mind and emotions.

4: Once you ‘get’ what’s going on for them, make sure that your reply is tailored to join the conversation that’s going on in their minds.

5: Ask for a decision. Note that this is different from pushing people into one.

6: Accept ‘no’ with grace and gratitude. The person who says no has just freed you up from a conversation that won’t lead anywhere good for you or them.

That’s something to be grateful for – you get to move on with your life, and they too.

You now have more time to seek other potential candidates, and have conversations with them.

Bonus: you get to sleep at night, because you know you’ve operated with ethics and true human concern.

Do you want to get really, really good at having those kinds of conversations, and become really good at ‘selling’?

Let me know, and let’s have a conversation.

Cheers,

Martin

The Three Most Important Things I Learned as a Monk

1: Everything gets better and easier if you make it an act of service. And that’s true no matter what you dedicate that service to: self, other, god, humanity… whatever works for you. It’s about the attitude.

(Oh, and if you’re one of those people who euphemise ‘serving customers’ into ‘servicing customers’: that’s not how it works. You can’t service your customers – they are not cars).

2: No matter what you think something is, that’s always, without fail, only part of the picture.

And, it’s a damn useful habit to always ask yourself: ‘What else? What else is this, can this mean, can this represent, does this indicate, asks me to consider… what else?’

3: Self-importance is at the root of every single problem we have, and that’s the same for everyone.

On a deep level, part of us still believes the world revolves around us, and that part can get mighty boisterous – tyrannical even – if the world doesn’t bow to its splendour and majesty.

If you’ve done some self-discovery, you’ll have found, and hopefully somewhat tamed, your own version of this little beast.

Self-importance is at the heart of things, because it works from a fundamental assumption, that ‘the world should be different than I say it should be’.

As long as you still let that influence how you think, feel, talk and act, you can end up with all kinds of problems:

From ineffective marketing and sales, to depression and argumentative relationships, from self-sabotaging behaviour and a life less lived, to team members who oppose you and a career that won’t take off… a whole bunch of fun things.

If you want the best action in order to improve your life, at the very heart, root and core of it all, start there:

Tame your self-importance. Learn (and practice!) humility. Perform acts of service, and turn the others into acts of service as well.

If self-importance is the root problem when our well-being isn’t optimal, service is the antidote.

Reducing self-importance in your words, feelings, deeds thoughts and beliefs, is the most important thing you’ll ever do for yourself.

Cheers,

Martin

The Real Reason I Always Talk About My Former Life as a Monk. Hope it Helps

And it’s not because I like talking about myself.

Ok, full disclosure: I do. Not because I consider myself all that interesting, but I’m the only person about whom I have ALL the insider information – the good bits, the funny, the naughty, the learning curve and the mistakes made, and above all else: all the things I learned while spending 12 years in a monastery.

And there was a lot I learned, and they are things that can help you. That’s why I’m always bringing it up.

(Dissident voices have claimed I also do it because it’s a great way to break the ice at parties, but I’ve found that to be anecdotal. Which happens to be an anecdote I often tell when meeting people at parties).

Anyway, back to something more lessonful:

In an email convo with a reader last week, I used the words: “…when I was a monk…” and she replied asking me to write an article called about ‘when I was a monk’ – but I found myself unable.

Because that would be stuff about me, and my rule for writing these articles, is that “if it’s gotta be about me, it’s gotta be so that it’s useful for them”.

Or informative, entertaining, or triggering an insight, or whatever might help someone out there today.

So logically, just ‘about Martin’s former life’ wouldn’t work.

I chewed on it for a week and didn’t find a solution, but just now it hit me:

Make it about what you learned there, and how people can apply it, Martin. How could you have missed it?

At the moment I’m working out a few ideas in my mind for tomorrow’s article which will tell you exactly that, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here’s lesson #1, in the shape of this very email.

As in: if you want to get results with people, make it about them, and their interest.

You’ll get fastest results if you consider the other before yourself, by default, in every situation.

Whether you want readers, buyers, supporters, happy kids or

Just ask: “What’s going on there on the other side? What motivation for that thing I see, is there?”

That’s something I learned in the monastery.

If someone lashes out at you, ask what’s causing that, before you reply.

If a relationship isn’t working, ask yourself what the other might be afraid of, or protecting, by acting in that way that gets you so upset or that obstructs improvement.

If you’re going to tell a story to your audience or your buyer, and it’s about you, ask which lesson or benefit from that story would be best for that client at this time.

(Any professional wordsmiths or linguists here: sorry for that last sentence).

If you have a project and you need collaboration, ask yourself what would make the other parties want to actively engage.

You get the picture: it’s always about the other. And that was one of my biggest lessons in the monastery.

More tomorrow.

Cheers,

Martin

Greed vs Generosity

A while ago I ran into a local acquaintance, who hosts retreats and events.

“Hey Martin, do you still coach people?”

Told them that yes, I sure do.

“Well, if ever you want to work together, our premises are available”.

Ooh nice, I thought: collaboration!

“As in, organising a retreat together, you mean?”

And then they hit me with probably the biggest turnoff ever:

“No, as in: you bring us the people, and we host a retreat for them”.

My jaw dropped at the staggering and blatant greedy selfishness of it.

They expect me to do their marketing for them, because what – I’m such a nice guy?

To make this even more painful, this person is rather well-connected to an up-market audience, has a huge following, and is actually world-famous in a niche that isn’t very small.

In other words: they have everything in place to draw in a crowd.

And yet, they have this idea that other people should do the heavy lifting for them.

I’m still baffled by how clueless it all was.

In the past, I used to like this person, and have often considered programmes we could run together.

After this though? I no longer consider them. No longer part of my world. Bye.

Not that I expect them to care – after all, I’m just a dude who does a thing, and there’s 100s of dudes and lasses like me, here on the coast.

But in terms of marketing, what they did was display greed – the greatest sin you can imagine in business, sales, and marketing.

When you want to enroll people (whether in an idea, a collaboration, or indeed into paying you money for something), give first.

When you do that, you make it about them, which is a powerful way to enable people to trust you.

And without trust, people don’t buy.

Instead of being greedy and selfish, be generous.

Serve people with your marketing.

Just like I do with these dailies: a way to show up, to give something, a public service, to remind you that I’m here, and available if I’m the right coach for you.

And though I no longer teach email marketing, I can still coach you on how to generously write daily emails that people love, share, and buy from.

Holler when you’re ready.

Cheers,

Martin

Nobody is Crushing It?

That is correct. No matter what picture of success and wealth and awesomeness someone paints for us, it’s never the whole picture.

Nobody is crushing it.

You might think it’s all roses and money in that person’s life, but I guarantee there’s also consequences that ain’t all that fun.

But we only get shown the fun parts.

The bit below is from a reply I gave to one of my clients, who saw others – apparently – make lots of dosh with almost no effort.

And I don’t believe that story.

My (edited) reply to my client, who asked if those people are misrepresenting things:

###

Yep, because that’s how crooks and wannabe’s swindle people into buying stuff.

I’m not saying that everyone who shows success is a crook, but we are NEVER shown the full story, or the history behind it.

Literally everyone had to work for their success, most of the time at great expense (money, health, happiness, wellbeing).

It took them decades to become an overnight success. Always.

And the more successful someone is, the bigger the doubts become (am I worth it? am I an impostor and will get found out? Will it last? Can I make payroll? Will the investors come through? Is my business solid enough to survive my competitors?)

So no, literally nobody is crushing it the way it’s being shown.

And the more people show it that way, the more we need to protect ourselves from being gullible.

Never believe the showreel unless you’ve been present at the behind-the-scenes.

###

Success is earned, not given.

And no matter what someone wants us to believe about their earnings or their success or whatever looks sexy and accomplished: they either paid the price to earn it, or – and run for the hills if you even remotely sense it – they’re simply conning people.

Like I said the other day:

Comparing yourself to others is pointless and disappointing.

Instead, compare yourself, to the person you were yesterday.

That’s how you earn your own success.

Cheers,

Martin

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