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

Something You Might Find Useful – Because All Mind and No ‘Make’ Makes Martin a Dull Boy

Used to be, I’d be making things all day long. Suits when I was still a tailor, walls and plumbing and carpentry in the monastery, copywriting in my copywriter days, the 16-page LEAP marketing premium newsletter, when I still sold that…

And at some point, I started coaching.

Which is a beautiful thing to do, to spend time in sacred space with clients who are keen to change things. From the heart, all the way.

But there’s a problem and it kept getting bigger: coaching is a ‘brain only’ thing. And heart and emotion too, of course, but there’s no making involved. No doing things that are then ready, to be used or shown or shared.

And especially over the last year, I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated that my work didn’t involve making stuff.

Which is why I decided to bring back a service that has me do stuff and make stuff:

Growth-driving marketing consulting.

Because in the marketing system for growing business that I use, there’s a lot of work for me to do.

Sure, it’s not as sexy as coaching. And some would say it’s a step down, but I don’t really care – I want to make things!

And no, it doesn’t rely on my 25 years of learning psychology and it doesn’t involve deeply personal conversations.

But that’s fine, because I get to do things and make things – yay!

So. If coaching isn’t something you’re looking for, but you ARE looking to grow your business and you want me to implement a tested&proven marketing system for you, let me know.

I’ve not made a web page explaining the service yet, but for now I can tell you that a) this marketing system is affordable, and b) comes with a guarantee:

You’ll see at least 20% growth in revenue, otherwise I’ll continue working the system at no cost, until that 20% growth shows up.

Let me know if you’re interested… we’ll set up a call to see if this is right for you, and proceed from there if it is.

Cheers,

Martin

Three Pillars Required for Business Success

When trying to create clarity and fun and growth in your business, there’s three core areas to pay attention to – fundamental pillars, in my opinion:

Mindset, method, and skillset.

Mindset is about how to think, how to look at the playing field, the decisions to make, the things to say no or yes to.

Mindset is the overarching ‘how’ of the way you run your business.

Method, is straightforward, hands-on, measurable. It’s about planning, strategising, and steps to take, in such an order that one thing can build on another.

In other words, it’s the ‘what’ of being in business. What next, what not, what way, what to measure, and what assets to leverage in order to create a thriving business.

Skillset is, as the word says, about capabilities: the specific skills you need to bring to your game in order to actually make things happen.

It’s really important to work with all three, because it’s like a three-legged stool: if one leg is missing, the thing will fall over.

You may have an excellent method and strategy, and crazy good skills at marketing or delivering your work, but if your mindset says ‘it’s pointless, the economy sucks, people just don’t pay what I deserve’, then method and skillset don’t do you much good.

If your mindset is ‘I can do this, and I know I can find the people who do want to pay good rates’, and your method for finding them is great – but you don’t have the skills required to actually find those people, it won’t work either.

So as an exercise to look at where you’re at, where you want to go, and how to fill the gap between those two, it’s useful to assess where you’re at with each of the three pillars.

If mindset needs improving, work on yourself. Read books, get a coach, go to workshops and retreats. Learn to make your mind work for you, instead of against you.

If method is undefined or underdeveloped, straight-up learning is in order, especially in terms of strategy, measurement, and systems.

If skillset is lacking, train yourself. Be it in copywriting, or selling, or SEO, or using social media or building your list: there’s things you can do and do well, provided you train yourself.

So whenever you feel things aren’t working the way they ought to, take yourself through a little thought exercise, and ask:

Is my mindset configured correctly for reaching my goals? Is there any belief or elements to my attitude or showing up that I can change, improve or replace?

Do I have a well-defined, hypothesis-based method in place for growing my business, that allows me to test, iterate and optimise?

Do I have the skills required to actually make it work – or do I need to acquire new skills?

(Warning: rabbit-hole ahead. Not every skill is something you ought to learn – very often it’s better to outsource a particular skill, instead of trying to learn it yourself.)

Either way, if you want to make it in business, you need the three pillars: mindset, method, and skillset.

Which is the one that you need to pay most attention to?

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

“That’ll Be 75 ‘Likes’, Please” – Said Nobody, Ever

It’s nice to be popular, but when the barista rings up your order and you tell him “I’ve got 100.000 followers on Instagram!” he might be impressed, but his reply will still be “2.95, please”.

Likes, followers, social sharing: it’s nice, it can be useful too, but in the end, playground popularity doesn’t pay the bills.

I’ve written about it before, but David Newman in his book ‘Do it! Speaking’ put a fine point on it (I’m reading the book because this year I want to get serious about public speaking).

Says he: “An audience values an experience. A market values expertise”

And: “An audience wants your autograph. A market wants to give you their signature”.

(Interestingly, very recently I experienced the difference firsthand: I went to a lecture on a topic I’m interested in, but the speaker didn’t really do it for me, and the content of the lecture was too superficial for my taste. So, I’d never buy the speaker’s book, or hire them for a talk… in that room, I was part of the audience, not part of the market).

And sure, of course your market lives inside, is part of, your audience.

But if you focus your business and marketing activities on growing your audience instead of finding the right market and the right way to appeal to them, you’ll be spinning your wheels.

So if you look at your business operations, and the projects you’re working on, and your plans for the year:

Are you looking to build your audience, or your market…?

Also: do you want help, building your market?

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

Making Time for Our Most Important Roles

I often talk about ‘the suits we wear’ – the different roles we play depending on the context we’re in, or the task that’s at hand.

One of the fastest and easiest ways to create a sense of purpose, achievement and well-being – and to actually make results happen – is to get very conscious of these roles, and get very deliberate and intentional with them.

Because there’s a ton of them that we use – suits we wear – throughout our days: the seller, the writer, the listener, the bookkeeper, the courier, the self-carer, the student…

This can be either massively helpful, or dreadfully destructive, and the difference lies in intentionality.

Because most of the time, we jump from one role to the next as the situation seems to demand – like we’re multitasking our way through different ways of operating and showing up.

And that switching from one role to the next, that’s very costly in terms of our mental and emotional energy.

And, it slows us down because with each switch, we need to adjust and settle in, which can easily take 20 or 30 minutes.

Switch three of four times in a day, and and you lose an hour or more of your day – and most of us are switching all the time… no wonder we feel so drained and ineffective at the end of a day!

So to get the most out of all you got, consider the three main roles, and plan time for each:

There’s the Maker, who executes on tasks, gets jobs done, checks things off. That’s the creative, productive role, the one that produces output and tangible assets.

There’s the Strategist, who analyses the status quo, assesses the playing field, and who creates and schedules plans, develops hypotheses and tests in order to improve operations.

And, very importantly, the Strategist lays out the work for the Maker, who loves that because the Maker doesn’t want to think, plan, or decide – the Maker just wants to know what nail needs hitting next, so that he can get on with it
and get jobs done.

And then there’s the third main role, which I’ll call The Performer, though that’s not an ideal label.

But the Performer is the one who shows up, delivers a talk or a pitch, who publishes videos and articles, who writes books and teaches and coaches and trains:

It’s the public-facing side of your brand and business.

Each of these core three roles need attention, and space blocked out in your calendar.

Because these roles are essential for building and growing a business – for anything in life that you want to achieve, really.

I mean, you’ll never catch that flight unless you spend at least some time, and yesterday’s dishes tend to not get done unless we call in the Maker.

That’s why I like to see these roles as distinct identities I can step into, and I make sure I plan time for each of them.

And if ever you find yourself struggling, or annoyed that things aren’t working, ask yourself:

Is my Strategist getting enough time, and doing a good job?

Is my Maker supplied with outlined workplans, and given time to make things?

Is my Performer (or Artist, or Teacher, or Coach, or whatever is your ‘show-up’ archetype) getting out there enough, and am I creating enough time for him/her?

You’ll notice that each question includes ‘time’, and you’ll likely find that one or more aren’t getting dedicated, intentinally planned time, but instead are being given the scraps of the calendar.

Switch that up, block out time for that role, and watch what changes.

Should bring interesting results, so let me know if you anything cool happens…

Cheers,

Martin

What You Wanted, and Did You Get It?

You know I’m not the kind of guy to jump on bandwagons, but in all the talk about goalsetting, and reviewing the year and the decade, and gearing up for a new one, there’s something missing – and it’s possible the single most important notion for you to install, if you want to *actually get* what you *actually want to get*.

And I chose those words with care, in that order, because:

What you think you want, isn’t usually the same as what you really want. Meaning, on a subconscious level.

“What is it that you really want” is a fantastic question to ask (yourself or others), but it’s the reason why you want that, where things start getting interesting.

And then the reason why you want that, and the reason behind that…

It’s similar to the ‘5 why’s’ principle, except you ask 5 times: “What about that makes me want it?’.

You’ll quickly come to an insight as to the deeper reason, and that will serve you set the right goals.

Because the goalsetting secret nobody seems to talk about is that our mind may well set goals and make plans, but it’s our subconscious that mostly drives where we’ll end up.

It’s what your subconscious wants that’s dominant in how you think, decide, and operate, so you’d better *know* what your subconscious wants.

That way, you can set goals that are aligned both with your mind, and your gut&instinct. And those goals are the kinds you’ll achieve – whereas if there is no alignment, things probably will be a struggle, or won’t work, or you’ll be stressed and overwhelmed or things will end up a mess…

Been there, have you? Yeah, me too.

What you want to achieve in 2020 is one thing. What your subconscious wants to achieve is probably, somehow, different.

Figure out what it is, and overlay the two. Happy 2020 etc etc.

And if you didn’t reach your goals, it’s good to do some thinking and figure out in what way your subconscious wanted something other than what you rationally told yourself you wanted, because likely there was something off there.

Meanwhile, I’ve just had an idea:

What if I give you a single, one-off session, specifically intended to help you set the best possible goals for the year?

I don’t usually do this, because clients work with me in coaching programmes, and not one-off sessions…

But hey it’s Christmas, so why not make an exception and help you get started right in the new year?

We’ll take 50 minutes on Zoom, put an X-ray on your aspirations and challenges, and create a set of goals that are as perfectly aligned as possible.

And unlike my normal fees, which are much higher, this session will be only $50. I’ve no idea how many people will sign up for this, so this offer can disappear at any time.

Want goals that are actually attainable, plus advice on how to reach them?

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

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

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