Is Every Business a Relationship Business at Heart?

On one side, there’s business and sales and clients and selling… but on the other side, there’s relationships and communication.

Because no purchase is ever a strictly technical transaction.

Any time someone buys something, there’s a conversation going on in that person’s mind.

When you join that conversation, i.e. when you really *get* your clients, the conversation deepens, and a relationship starts – and inside that relationship, is that conversation.

Put differently: being in business means you’re in a relationship business.

It’s you, a thing you do, another person, and a problem they want to solve – and those are all related.

And if all works out well, you get money and they get your solution.

But only if the relationship is quality, and the conversation is about that other person and their needs and aspirations.

Here’s where it’s very easy to go wrong: far too many people talk about their offer and their accolades, but those only serve to persuade, and that automatically triggers resistance and defensiveness.

That way, the conversation doesn’t improve and the relationship doesn’t transform from ‘Tell me how you can help me’ to ‘Help me figure out if I should get your help’.

And that switch is crucial.

First, you’re a listener and provider of information, which is related to an existing problem or goal.

But after the switch, you’re a helper, serving someone in making the best decision for themselves.

Put differently: the ‘switch’ is a moment where the relationship changes.

When that change happens, a potential buyer has gone from being curious to being interested, and good things can happen from there.

But, only if you take care of the relationship.

Because the sale happens inside a conversation, which exists in a relationship.

In other words: whatever it is you do or make or offer or solve or provide:

Ultimately, you’re in the relationship business.

Now, I often get asked ‘how’. How to have conversations that work, how to build relationships, how to ask for a sale, how to ask questions that clearly show you’re not pushy and are looking out for their best interest? How, Martin, do I land more clients?

Too much to explain here, but I do have a training webinar you might want to watch, and you can do so here.

And if afterwards you want to talk, let me know.

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

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #4: Never Decide for the Buyer

Obviously, it’s the buyer who decides to buy. For a seller to make the decision would be all kinds of wrong – as well as practically impossible.

We don’t get to tell people what to buy and when – all we can do is offer help in making a decision. Facilitate, you know?

Problem is, it’s really easy to communicate the opposite, and when we do, the buyer runs for the hills.

A buyer – anyone, really – subconsciously is always scanning the environment for anything that could end up being a threat. That’s the protection our lizard brain gives us.

And in that hyper-alert mode of perception, which is active 24/7, anything that could potentially one day become a threat is instantly and automatically classified as ‘Threat. Avoid’.

Now what’s the things that’s most threatening to anyone?

Having our autonomy taken away. It’s one of the worst things that can happen, to not be free to do or be who we are.

And the moment we show up with a ‘well this is what you ought to do’, in whatever variation, that subconscious bodyguard of us asks ‘Yeah but wasn’t it us who runs this show? Why is someone telling us what’s best? This can’t be right. Avoid’.

And there goes another buyer, suddenly nowhere near as bought in to getting your thing as before.

All it takes is the impression that autonomy is being threatened, and the impression will be treated as if it were an actual threat. The other can’t help it.

So if you want your enrollment to be ethical and effective as well, rule #4 of ethical selling is:

Never decide for your buyer.

And, be hyper careful to not even allow that impression to exist – in fact, actively seek to have it known that any decision made to get started and buy, is not yours to make.

At most, you can decide to *not* work with someone if you feel it’s not the right fit, but that’s all.

The ‘yes’ is the buyer’s choice, so make sure they know that you mean that.

As a result, people enroll themselves – no persuasion required.

Cheers,

Martin

Doing the Next Thing Right vs Doing the Right Next Thing

I forget where it was, but the other day I read about the ‘difference between doing the next thing right, and doing the right next thing’.

There’s so much to contemplate in there!

Of course, it’s always a good idea to the the next thing right. Kaizen, improvement, measure&iterate… if you want to go places, it’s important to do things right.

But that ‘doing the next right thing’ – that’s a really astute way to describe what my work is about:

Helping entrepreneurs do the right things, and in such a way that everyone gets better and money gets made.

That’s what an ethical business is about, if you get to the heart of it: doing the right things.

And that’s why I so much love this ethical sales coaching I do.

Because once you figure out what is the next right thing, and you’re able to select the next profitable right thing, that’s when buyers enroll themselves.

Because if you make ‘the next profitable right thing to do’ a returning issue in your business, everything will get infused with not just the idea or intention, but the actual action of doing the right things.

That causes massive change – in how you operate, how your team treats their work, the way your buyers respond… it’ll shift things, across the board.

Make ‘the right thing’ your goal, and all the right people will start to fall in love with your brand.

And if you choose the profitable right thing to do, they’ll give you money as well.

It’s fun, and it’s perfect for people who live by values.

Want to have a look and see what profitable right things you could do, to grow your revenue and impact?

Then this link gets you in my calendar: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=11652475&appointmentType=544906

Cheers,

Martin

Solutions Rarely Find Problems, But…

…problems very, very often find solutions.

Here’s the thing: a fundamental mistake we make far too often as entrepreneurs, is to create a solution, and then go out looking for people who want that solution.

This makes for excruciatingly ineffective marketing and sales.

A solution looking for a problem to solve will rarely find that problem it can solve.

If we go out looking for ‘people who want the thing we have’, two things happen:

First, we become myopic. We narrow down our vision, to the select set of people or companies who might want our solution – but we only know so much about who they might be.

So we miss opportunities because we’re not finding what we think we should be looking for, and we keep looking for it.

Thus we keep ourselves blind to the actual problems out there, that we might be able to solve, and that people do want our help with.

Secondly, our communications become self-sided, because we have that solution in hand, right? “Look at this cool solution, and what it can do, and why you might be interested. Are you interested, in my solution?”

Your buyer will hear or read that discourse, and they’ll disconnect. Because nothing in business is ever about us, or even our solution – it’s always about the other and the problem they want solving, and that’s the kind of messaging we ought to be giving them.

It’s not ‘This is an awesome thing, the best I have’ – it’s: ‘This is exactly for you, for the kind of problem you want to solve’.

When you communicate that, you’re ‘speaking into the buyer’s world’, instead of from inside your own world.

And that gets people interested, and that makes for sales.

So as you go about your business building and marketing and sales etc, remember:

Don’t be a solution looking for a problem to solve.

Be a researcher, trying to find out which problems exist for those you want to help, before you do or say anything else.

And only once you’ve achieved that and identified those problems, do you talk about the solution you have for them.

And, if you’re dealing with a problem in your business related to growth or sales or impact, maybe I do have a solution, who knows.

But tell me about the problems, first.

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #3: Prevent the Sale

“But wait! Don’t we want the sale?”

Yep, we want the sale. I sure do, and I hope you as well.

Except when we learn that buying wouldn’t be the right choice for the buyer.

And that’s where you see the difference between ethical sellers, and who only care about the numbers.

Selling is a way to facilitate a decision-making process, and if a buyer is about to make the wrong decision?

Then it’s not just a friendly respectful thing to stop the sale: it’s your duty.

If they ought not buy, they should not buy. That’s how you sell with the other’s best interest in mind, and that’s how you build the trust that causes people to come back to buy later on, when the time is right for them and it IS a good decision.

And that’s why, when I talk to new people, I’m not there to sell. That’s not my job.

My job is to help you figure out what’s the best decision – for you.

Because that ultimately is the best decision for me as well.

So… been on the fence about talking, because you might want help but you’re not sure?

Then let’s meet, have a conversation, and see what’s the best decision for you.

Book a call here

Cheers,

Martin

Everything That’s Wrong With Marketing and Sales, in One Handy Sentence

The other day I saw a salespage for some new thing that Tony Robbins is doing – I forget the details, but it’s some sort of programme designed to help people start mastermind groups, or something like that.

So far, so good: a mastermind group is a fantastic tool in the life of any business professional, and everyone should be in one. Seriously.

But somewhere on the page, it read:

“Social Pressure – This is going to be one of the biggest launches in history with more hype leading up to it then ever before. And people are going to be afraid to miss out on this new wave of opportunity.”

Well, yuck. Made me feel like I needed a shower.

Because that single line describes perfectly why marketing and sales have such a bad reputation.

I mean, come on Tony: Hype? Afraid to miss out? New wave of opportunity?

Oh sure, it’s effective marketing. Hype works.

And it’s effective selling too: Painting a ‘wave of opportunity’ reels people in, and pushing scarcity buttons and triggering fear of missing out, that works too.

But it’s scuzzy, manipulative, and in my monkly opinion: highly unethical.

Marketing and sales campaigns like that, they prey on the gullible. It’s designed to coerce people into buying something – not because they actually need it, but because there’s an artificial sense of need being created in the buyer. It’s manipulation.

Now while I’m sure Tony is a good guy, nice to his grandma and so on, I’ve never taken to his work… too much hype, too much stage antics – but hey, if people get better from his work, it’s not my place to complain. Generally.

But seeing this? Bleh. What a turnoff.

Selling – done right and done ethically – doesn’t need any hype, or ‘wave of opportunity’ or fear of missing out.

Selling done right means you serve a buyer in making a yes/no decision – based on actual – not manufactured – need.

So if you have an actual, current need for growing your sales, business, impact, and revenue… and a sales coach might help?

Then why not reply, and we’ll set up a time to talk.

We’ll take 20 minutes for a strategy call, to see if we’re a match.

And I promise: 100% hype-free.

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

Context Before Content (And Awesome Sales Conversations!)

When you show up to a potential buyer – whether it’s in person, by email, phone or on social media – you’re asking them for their most precious and scarce resources:

Their time and attention.

And, if you do it right, people will be happy to give you those. Get it right, and people will give you permission to talk, ask, inquire, and explain.

What often goes wrong though, is that we launch into the content – the meat and potatoes of our thing – before we set the context.

That’s pretty much what’s wrong with traditional selling:

We have a solution, and we go out looking for a problem that it can solve.

And so we show up, and the pitch is on.

Thus, the context becomes ‘I have a thing, I want to tell you about it, tell me if you want it’.

In that context, it’s no surprise that people have no time, or make excuses, or raise objections.

Instead, set a different context right at the start: one that causes your buyer to care about the conversation.

And you do that by being *interested in them*, instead of trying to be *interesting to them*.

Nobody cares how interesting we might be, or our offer or service or product, until they realise that we are interested in them.

That’s a context most everyone will like, agree with, and it’s how you start conversations that everybody enjoys.

And that’s the kind of conversation that causes people to listen, consider, and buy, all without you ever having to sell anything unto them.

Much nicer for people to buy, instead of us having to ‘sell’, don’t you agree?

Cheers,

Martin

Oh, and: if it so happens that you want to buy ethical sales training, just raise your hand. It’s super effective, will rock your business, and is MUCH more affordable than you would think. Let’s talk…

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

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #2: Invite, Don’t Close

‘Closing a sale’ is fun, of course. Everybody likes to land a new client and earn the money.

But there’s a reason why in my LEAP framework for ethical selling, the 9th pillar isn’t ‘the close’, but:

The Open.

I know, English doesn’t work that way – but it’s how *I* work, and you’d do really well to try it.

Don’t close a sale – open a door.

Invite a buyer into a new phase in their life or business.

Invite them, open the door, to start a new type of relationship with you.

You’ll find that plenty people are more than willing to buy, so long as we don’t try to pull them or push them through the door.

Nobody likes being told what to do, everybody’s autonomy is sacred, and therefore the most damaging thing you can do is coerce, persuade, or otherwise leave the other person feeling as if they’re being told what’s good for them.

Nobody likes that, and the feeling is super easy to trigger.

So instead, hand people their autonomy.

Lead with the no. Invite it, even.

Give people the right to veto and be explicit about it.

“Hey tell me if this isn’t for you, but I could see programme XYZ make short shrift of the problem you’ve described. Shall we talk about implementing it?”

Look at how that feels: the other is completely allowed to say no, they’re being asked to make a choice, of their own volition, to engage in a deeper conversation, and the seller pre-empts the entire autonomy issue by leading with no.

If you want buyers to move towards you and enroll themselves, invite, don’t close.

If you get it right, you literally can get people saying ‘Take my money!’ – it’s actually happened to me once.

And, I can show you how to get the same eager, happy-to-buy, I’m-enrolling-myself kind of response in buyers that I get.

Want that for yourself?

Let me know, I’ll show you how.

Cheers,

Martin

Menu Title