Frames and Status

For some reason, I enjoy watching blacksmiths on Youtube.

No, not because of their manly physique and bulging muscles – I just happen to like relaxing while watching a master craftsman at work.

At the end, he says: “Thanks for watching”.

Wait, what? No dude… thanks for making!

Now, I get his gratitude. I too am grateful for my readers (hey you! :)

But in terms of framing, he’s not helping his business.

You might thinks it’s trivial and in this context it is: whether he says thank you or something else will make little difference to his bottom line.

But consider:

In every human interaction – whether in person or across the digital divide – people have different status. In a social sense, economically, experience, age, education, network… everyone relates to others in terms o

We always relate to others who are either ahead of us, or behind. This isn’t qualitative – it says nothing about a person’s worth, just in the way a university professor might be ahead of a welder (or indeed, a blacksmith), but is not a better or higher quality because of his education or status.

It’s just status, and we all have one, and always in relation to others.

What mr Blacksmith got wrong is minor, but it’s a fact that by saying thanks instead of something else, he’s taking the lower status, or smaller frame, position.

Here’s a dude who just posted a well-made, carefully edited, highly entertaining and educational video for free… that means his status is that of generous, consummate, expert… and mine is that of a humble student and grateful viewer. It’s I who should be grateful.

By positioning, or framing, himself as needy of views, he takes the smaller frame.

And we do that all the time, and it’s terrible for business.

For example: I once landed a copywriting client – a very successful C-suite female executive, in a fiercely male niche.

When you’re talking to a buyer, you’re a doctor, inventor, problem-solver, expert, strategist, or whatever it is you do. That’s a huge frame.

You’ve got something and you know it’s super valuable.

And it’s for the buyer to discover whether or not they see it as just as valuable.

In other words, you get to be confident in having expert status, and the buyer gets to assess you.

Meanwhile, as the seller, you get to assess the buyer, to see if they’re right for you, and if you’re right for them. Expert status, again.

Problem is, we often inadvertently let a buyer take the lead, and drive the conversation.

That means they take your status, when in reality as a seller it’s your job to guide the conversation. After all, you’re the expert, right?

So I’m inviting you observe your interactions, and those of others.

See what messages people send – what body language, remarks, replies… which frames and statuses do you see in your world?

And, in what way do you yield your own status, in moments when actually you shouldn’t?

Cheers,

Martin

Mind the Gap

You break the egg now, but it takes a while before it’s cooked and you get to eat it.

That’s the action-results gap, and it’s the cause of much entrepreneurial struggling.

Of course nobody minds having to wait for an egg to fry. It would be insane to expect it to be ready when we want it to.

But with our work, we’re not quite as rational.

We put in a ton of work – be it creating a course, launching a funnel, or setting meetings…

And then we enter the gap. No results.

But wait – what about all the work that went into it?!

Wasn’t that meant to get results?

Yes, but they show up when they do – not when we want.

And that moment, when we hope to see results for our actions but they’re in the future, that’s where (certainly in my case) we very often stop pushing forward on the actions we set out with.

And I can tell you: it’s tiring.

Starting something, expending ourselves, getting demotivated and then starting something new… such a waste of energy.

Which is annoying

So what’s the solution – how do we survive the action-results gap?

It’s nice to think of delayed gratification – especially the example of the marshmallow experiment (researchers put children in a room with a marshmallow and said “I’m stepping out for a bit – if you don’t eat the marshmallow, you’ll get a second one when I come back”. In later years it was found that the kids who could control themselves (i.e. were able to delay gratification) did better in life, in terms of career and money).

But if you don’t *have* much ability to delay gratification, what do you do?

You measure.

See we put in work in order to reach a goal – a sale, a thriving business, a Ferrari, whatever it may be), and then we keep looking for that goal to show up. But it does so only on the other side of the gap.

So you want to measure two things:

– Actions

If you don’t keep up with the work, the action-results gap will never close. So, measure every day how much effort you put in, and you track it.

– Secondly, measure signals

Sure it takes time for the goal to materialise, but on your way there, you’ll see signals telling you whether you’re on the right path, and what adjustments and course-corrections you need to make.

And while it’s not as sexy as landing a big client, you can’t afford to not measure signals.

The reason actions and signals are so important, is that they are feedback.

They tell you, in the moment and every day, whether it’s working or not, whether you need to adjust – and as long as you keep measuring, you won’t be as likely to fall prey to the devastating ‘let’s try something else’ effect.

There’s no fix for the action-results gap. There’s only a choice as to how you move yourself through it.

And if you want to move through it with the help of a coach who can make you more effective at selling, I’m here whenever you’re ready.

Cheers,

Martin

, and how the marshmallow experiment showed that if a kid is able to not eat the marshmallow so that he’ll get a second
Couple of things to keep in mind:
First, learn to love delayed gratification. The more you’re able to

Count Yourself

Yeah I know – there’s only one ‘you’ to count, right?

But check the way you write your business communications… emails you send to your list… replies on Messenger and Whatsapp… blog posts, your about page…

In the things that you write, how often does ‘I’ show up?

Ah… suddenly there’s a lot more of ‘you’ to count…

Look, it’s natural to reference self when writing. After all it’s us, ‘I’, in dialogue with someone else.

But most business writing is full of self-reference and the word ‘I’ shows up so much, that the reader can’t help but feel that it’s not about them.

And then they’re lost, they stop reading, they unsubscribe, or don’t follow up on your proposal.

So to make your business writing better, remember a few ground rules:

Never start a message with ‘I’. You might be the most loving and compassionate person in the world, but when ‘I’ leads the message, the reader reads ‘self-important’.

Following on from that: Avoid as much as possible, starting a sentence with ‘I’. Reason: see above, but cumulative.

Ok so with that, you’ve edited and improved your missive. Well done.

But if you count self, you see there’s still a lot of ‘I’ in there… now what?

Simple:

Replace each ‘I’ with ‘you’, see how it breaks the sentence, and then: rewrite the sentence so that you keep ‘you’ and it makes sense again.

Do that with each instance of ‘I’, and you’ll be sending messages that instead of driving people away because it *feels* like it’s all about you, will draw people in to working with you, because the absence of that ‘I’ focus allows them to relate your message to themselves.

Make people feel it’s about them, and they get closer – which is pretty damn required if they’re going to buy from you.

One of the things I love doing for clients, is take their pieces of copy and knock them into shape.

I’ve done it a lot so it’s a quick jobbie, and for my clients it’s great, because they can focus on doing their work, while they get a pro to create written business communication that causes sales.

It’s not that I sell that as a service, but it’s a nice – and super profitable, for my clients – bonus to give. Like that series I wrote a few weeks ago, and which helped my client net almost $10k in five days.

Could be the kind of help you have in your corner.

Maybe we should talk?

Cheers,

Martin

Niche <--> Alignment <--> You

You can get all marketing-technical when it comes to finding the right niche for your work – and it’s useful, if only for the ‘huh, they made that for me!’ reaction people have when you get your niche right – but it’s easy to forget that a niche consists of people.

So who are the best people to talk to? Who are your most likely buyers? What are they like? What do they care about? What do they need to hear, in order to care about my thing?

Questions like these are what an entrepreneur’s business – and nightmares – are filled with.

And nope, it’ll never get easier, you’ll always have to re-think and re-adjust, as your business and your person evolve.

Here’s three questions though, that may help you shift your thinking:

1: What values would I love to see in my buyers?

The trick here, is to look for shared values. When you have the same brand of ethics, integrity, morality and values as a potential buyer, you’re more likely to get along – to have rapport, even before the first meeting.

This bit is a must-have: shared values are what make selling SO much easier.

2: What would you take a stand for, and what would your ideal buyer take a stand for?

This contemplation isn’t about must-have, but rather: nice-to-have.

Perhaps you’d take a stand for equality, but John Prospect might be all over workplace health and fair treatment. John and you don’t need to take a stand on the same things – but they are similar enough for you two to have overlap in terms of purpose and mission.

That helps you align, helps you two move together forward – which hopefully will include moving forward in a professional (i.e. paid) relationship.

3: What drives you up the wall, and what about them?

In your ideal buyer… what are the kind of things that they loathe, resent, would never stoop to, condemn or remove from their life?

What about you… what kind of thing really gets your goat, makes you angry, is unjust, should stop or change – what would you stand up against?

The overlap of what you and the other consider as ‘this is wrong, it should change’ is where you have a shared drive, an energy, a motivation to make stuff happen.

Again, these are nice-to-haves in terms of matching – not specific hard items like the values in point 1.

How to make this work:

Do some journaling, make lists, map things out. Be exhaustive and brainstorm-y.

In the center of the Venn diagram, start jotting down aspect and qualities about your ideal person – the kind of *person* inside of your niche that might be in the market for your work – AND they’ll have so much in common with you, you could have been friends for years.

None of this guarantees a sale – but it’s a damn fine way to find people you can move forward with, in some way or other.

And because you’ll have so much common ground, the chances of them buying go up enormously.

Every day I help entrepreneurs – coaches, trainers, artists, designers, authors – land more clients, by getting real specific about identifying, and finding, the people they love working with and who are ready for it.

And yes, we have things in common: we agree that truthfulness, integrity and justness are inviolable values. We both take a stand for doing right by people, and using commerce as a way to improve things – and we don’t abide things like racism, bigotry or divisiveness.

So if you’re like that too and you’re ready to convert more opportunities into sales, and stop losing so many, I can help.

Ready?

Cheers,

Martin

Three Questions That Determine Whether They’ll Buy – And the 2nd Gets Way Too Little Attention

Yes yes, of course: people need to know you, like you, and trust you, if they’re going to buy your thing.

But Know, Like, Trust, isn’t enough.

On a very primal psychological level, evolutionary style, everyone subconsciously asks three questions when dealing with others.

Do I like you?

Can you help me?

Do I trust you?

And that middle part – the other’s belief in our ability to help – is something often overlooked.

Think about it:

A buyer needs to have the conviction that you help with their thing. Otherwise they don’t need what you have.

But saying that you can do X or Y for them doesn’t cut it.

Whether you say ‘I make a good breakfast’ or ‘I fix your SEO’ or ‘I help you get really good at enrolling buyers’ (that would be me saying it – hi!) does nothing to convince someone.

It’s data, information, a statement.

For someone else to believe it – to trust that it’s true – that you can help them, something has to happen in their mind.

A doubt or question needs to be addressed in such a way, that they go from ‘Can they?’ to ‘Oh wow, they can!’

Saying it won’t make it happen.

Persuasion doesn’t make it happen.

Nor does a list of awards, education, resume or bio.

For a buyer to believe that you can help, they need to have an insight that leads to conviction.

They need to know that yeah, you’re the guy or gal for the job.

That’s when people buy.

So is there nothing you can do to have a buyer go through that process?

Sure there is!

1: Have a conversation, and frame it as an exploration into goals, current situation, and obstacles inbetween those.

2: Sell only one thing: your care and concern for them as a person and as a business owner. Be genuinely interested.

3: Ask questions that invite the other to try out different perspectives.

Keep doing that, and if you’re talking to the right person and you’re truly not being pushy or needy but interested in them, interesting things will happen.

For one thing, bits of the different viewpoints will stick, and the other person will composite their own viewpoint – or rather, their vision – on their situation, next steps, and the way you fit into all of it.

Another interesting thing that will happen: when a buyer reaches that vision, they’ll have decided for themselves – no persuasion required – that for their case, yeah you’re the right person.

And the most interesting: that’s when people ask ‘Where do I pay?’ or ‘When can we get started?’.

And I’ll bet you’d like to hear that more often, right?

Well, then let’s have a conversation, to see what we can do.

Let me know if you’re ready to talk, and I’ll send you a schedule link.

Cheers,

Martin

How High-Integrity Entrepreneurs Make Followup Easy

What do you do when it looks like a sale is going to close… and then it doesn’t?

Everything looks good, the other person is on board… and then something goes wrong, and the buyer doesn’t buy.

In my work I see over and over again, how people rich in integrity and ethics stop there.

And I get it – it used to be the same for me.

When an opportunity broke down, I just moved on.

And if you do that too, you’re leaving money on the table. As they say: the fortune is in the followup.

And sure, then you get the gurus telling you that you must follow up because it’s your moral and ethical duty to make sure that the right buyer gets his stuff from you, and not someone else, and – well, fat lot of good that does.

Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to do it – especially if you’re a person who sticks to their values, you treat people with respect, and you don’t want to be a nuisance.

So then, how do ethical people do sales and follow up? What made the difference for me, and could it work for you as well?

Maybe. Most probably: yes.

It’s really simple, too:

Make every interaction a moment of joy. Have fun talking to your customers, serve them, be yourself and be light.

You’re not there to be all dry and professional – or indeed, salesy – because who wants to talk to someone like that?

Instead, make the interaction about connecting, and learning that person, and figuring out what’s real and/or trying for them.

When you do that, you leave people feeling ‘Yeah, I feel respected by you. I’ll talk to you again’.

Do you see where I’m going?

When you have conversations people enjoy, they’ll be open to hear from you again.

Once I got this, following up with folk became as natural to me as writing these daily articles.

But it’s not just about how you follow up – it’s about how you do everything everything in your business.

Do those things – including having sales conversations – in a way that makes people love dealing with you.

You know, like friends do.

That way, you’ll never have to fret about following up again.

Bye friend. Talk again soon :)

Martin

Oh, and: if you haven’t yet, make sure you watch this training, where I show you how the above works… and after that, feel free to get in touch to talk about working together and implementing this type of selling in your business.

Success Is Not the Solution

Last year at a round table discussion in Malaga, one of the guests was a lady preparing to open a lingerie shop for plus size women.

In itself, an idea that definitely has legs.

But for her as a bootstrapper with a limited budget, I had serious doubts about the nature of her plans.

She wanted to rent a storefront in Malaga’s most famous shopping street, launch with a bang, and  with that she hoped she would be on the road.

Which might work, sure.

But to *make* it works means a lot of moving pieces have to be in the right place. Brand choice, marketing, provider deals, targeting, pricing, promotion… it’s a lot.

And if you’re bootstrapping and you bet all you have on getting all the ducks in a row, just right, just so… and something’s off?

Then you’re back where you started, minus the savings yo invested. Oops.

Again, it’s not that it can’t happen, but is it the right approach?

Doesn’t it make more sense to test first?

Get feedback from the market, test your marketing, see if people buy?

And then when it’s not only your own plans and strategies that say it’ll work, but the market confirms, voting with their money?

That’s when you know how to put all the moving pieces in place, and that’s when it makes sense to build bigger and launch with a bang.

For example, this lady could have had her shop up and running in one or two weeks, by partnering with a business that serves a similar audience, and offering her products indoors of her partner’s premises.

Low-cost, low risk, direct customer feedback. What’s not to like?

But nope, she didn’t like that.

She wanted a shop, by golly, and she wanted to open properly.

Can’t blame her, but the thing that still worries me is that she was *in love with the idea of being a successful shop owner*, when it’s much more effective to be *in love with developing strategies, systems and actions that create your success*.

The former keeps you looking at the goal and how pretty it is, and while you’re doing that you’re not looking at the latter, which is the thing that’s meant to get you to that pretty goal.

Here’s the mistake people make:

The envision success, and think that reaching success will be the solution to everything.

Where success can be whatever you want: wealth, a successful shop, a million dollars a year, buying your own home, going nomad… whatever you want.

“Once I have XYZ, then all my problems and struggles will be over. Solved!”

In reality though, success is not the solution.

Success is the consequence of the solution – i.e. strategies, systems, and actions. Those solve for the obstacles preventing you from achieving success.

Success is never the solution – it’s the consequence of it.

And if you’re the kind of person who gets this, and who makes sure that development gets time and attention, and you want to get more leverage and ROI on your efforts, maybe we ought to talk.

I only work with a handful of clients at a time, and I’m looking to connect with the kind of person who is driven, is guided by purpose, is able to look in the mirror, and has a bias to taking action.

If that’s you, let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules of Ethical Selling: #1 – Diagnose Before Prescription

If a doctor would prescribe medication or treatment without doing a proper diagnose, it’s called malpractice. It’s the stuff that hurts patients and get doctors sued, and rightly so.

It’s not just legal obligation and best practice: it’s the right thing to do.

As a business owner, our responsibility is not very different.

Yet each day, I see people with a great product or service, real good eggs trying to make a difference, and they ruin everything because they come charging in brandishing their thing, saying things to the effect of ‘You really need this!’.

And sure, maybe the other person really does need your thing – but how would you know?

If you don’t properly ‘diagnose’ the buyer’s situation, needs, and urgency first, how can you know whether they need you thing or not – how can you prescribe before you diagnose?

If you solve problems for a client, the way a doctor treats illness, do you not solve problems better, and more often, if you first figure out whether or not people actually, really, need your thing?

Now, this goes beyond good practice and doing right by people:

It’s also an excellent attitude to take when selling.

Because when you ask enough questions so that you’re able to accurately diagnose a problem someone has, you’ll gain a deep insight into the problem, its causes, and possible solutions.

And if you then state the problem better than the person you’re talking to could state it, they’ll automatically become interested in your solution.

And if that solution then is right for them, at this moment, they’ll enroll themselves – no selling required.

When you hear me say ‘I help people fall in love with selling’, that’s really what it comes down to:

A shift in perspective and attitude, that transforms ‘selling’ into enrollment, or: moving forward with people.

It’s fun and I can teach you – just holler.

On that note: I know that many people who might want to get in touch with me, don’t do so because they’re concerned about the cost.

And if that’s you, worry ye not: getting in touch has no cost, nor does an initial friendly chat – and as for coaching programmes:

I’m always happy to work out a coaching programme that works if you’re on a budget but you do want help and you want it now.

If that’s you, say ‘yay’ and let’s see what we can do…

Cheers,

Martin

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

Buyer Psychology, Price, Impact&Value

There’s a common misconception in the mind of many business owners:

That selling at a lower price point makes it easier to earn a living or make a profit.

But that’s the kind of sloppy thinking that makes for a tough business to run.

Think about it:

For every lead that you create, you have to spend resources: money, time, mental resources, and so on.

If you then try to create a client at say $100, you have to spend ten times the resources to reach *counts fingers* $1000 in revenue.

And then you have to deliver your service – your coaching, training, consulting, whatever it is you do.

But if you try to create a $1000 client, you have just reduced your efforts and cost by a factor 10.

And the ‘secret’ is thatq*0987T28HQHyQg%KrzStWp#8Zo it’s usually just as much work to land a 1K client, as it is to land a $100 client.

So far for the logic.

Next up: the psychology of the buyer.

See if you do something really valuable for people, that gets them a high return on the investment they make with you (whether that’s in terms of cash returns or changes in their life), you want people to buy because of the value you deliver.

Your best buyers are those who want the impact you provide.

And if you price your work low, you’ll end up talking to people who aren’t looking for high impact and high ROI, but instead they’ll be looking for low price.

And the psychology of low price is that as long as the dollar amount you propose isn’t what they’re happy to spend, no amount of promised impact will convince them to hire you.

In other words: there’s value-buyers, and price-buyers, and price buyers are very, very costly because they are hard to convert.

Whereas value-buyers are more discerning, easier to identify, less concerned about dollar amounts – AND they are overall much more fun to work with.

A price-buyer thinks in terms of scarcity. They want ‘value for money’, and while you should obviously provide value for money, that kind of buyer will always want more, because they tie value to a dollar amount.

Value buyers however, tie value to impact.

And if you position yourself right, and put yourself in front of people who want impact, you’ll find that they’re far easier to enroll.

Yes it’s scary to ask for the big bucks, but you’ll find that people who want to buy impact are the kind who are *much* less concerned about the actual price.

And, bonus: that’s also the kind of buyer who is more likely to actually have the money to invest with you.

So before you go out and underprice yourself, ask: Who do you actually want to work with.

People who count dollars… or people who size up the impact you can deliver for them?

As for me and the impact I deliver:

I can help you fall in love with selling.

And the impact of that… well, that’s huge.

No more stress, no more awkwardness… and instead, an approach to enrollment that both you and your buyer enjoy.

And, you’ll be working to earn a dollar, instead of ten nickles. And that’s a lot easier.

Want that?

Then talk to me, and let’s see what we can do.

Cheers,

Martin

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