Watch Out for Inflection

Things can – and often do – change at any moment.

And whenever you’re trying to get someone on your side (either in selling, or getting collaboration, or buy-in for a project etc) it’s your job to pay close attention to what’s happening with the other person, and notice when they reach a point of inflection.

Very often though, we don’t notice when someone changes their attitude, inner state, thoughts or what have you.

That’s a problem, because when the other person reaches a point of inflection, you get a chance to react and move your mission forward – but if you don’t notice their change, you’re likely to move forward on the same track, and you miss an opportunity.

This is why empathy is so important.

Empathy enables you to tune in to what’s happening in that other person’s world, so that you can change your strategy and approach accordingly.

So, watch out for inflection. Read the other person. Observe them, and notice changes that indicate something has shifted for them.

Body language can be a great tell.

But also surprise, or sudden vehement agreement, or the breakthrough question they suddenly come up with.

Be mindful, attentive, observant, and you’ll know when the shift happens.

As a result, you’ll no longer fall in the trap that causes so many lost sales, bad communication, or unsatisfying outcomes with people.

Change can happen at any moment. Make sure you don’t miss it.

Also don’t miss: the opportunity for a complementary 30-minute strategy session, where you get to ask me anything you like about your business, sales, or marketing.

Schedule a time here, and see you soon: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=11652475&appointmentType=544906

Cheers,

Martin

Now They See It, Now They Buy

There’s a guy I like to learn from – the late Jim Camp, known as the world’s most feared negotiator.

One of his lessons is that ‘vision drives decision’, and since every sale is a negotiation, it’s really important that you work with your prospect’s vision.

Because unless they see themselves experiencing the benefit of your product or service, your only chance to cause a sale is to force the issue – and we’re nice people, we don’t force people into buying.

Now, most people try to persuade a vision onto someone. Compelling arguments, explanations, paint the ‘after’, pointing out the problems that remain without the purchase…

But it’s much more effective to have a prospect develop their own vision.

That way, they own the vision instead of ‘borrowing’ it from you, which makes it far more likely that they’ll also buy your work.

And the best way for someone to develop their own vision of ‘problem solved because I bought this thing’?

Questions.

The last thing you want to do when selling, is tell people what to see.

Instead, ask questions that have them gain clarity and insight, and they’ll develop their vision all by themselves.

What kind of question to ask is hard to say, because it depends on the product or service you offer, on the personality of the buyer, the price point…

But, as long as your questions come from a place of empathy (i.e. putting yourself into their world), you’ll be fine.

Empathy shows the other that it’s about their results first, their decision second, and your sale last.

And that’s exactly the kind of ethical, integrity-based selling that I teach.

Want to dive deep on what questions to ask your particular buyers?

Then let’s chat: I’m offering my readers a no-cost, 30 minute strategy session.

Book yours here: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=11652475&appointmentType=544906

Talk soon,

Martin

Problems Worth Solving?

To you, it seems clear: the problem this person has, is totally something you can solve for them.

And they are on board as well: they like you, trust you, they know what’s in the tin and they’ve got the budget, and yet: the sales process stalls, and there’s no purchase.

Annoying and confusing, to be sure.

But there’s a simple, effective way for you to unblock stalled sales situations, and it comes down to problem-finding.

Because in many of these cases, where everything seems to line up and yet there’s no sale, it’s because we try to sell a solution for a problem that’s not worth solving.

‘My website is outdated’ is a good problem to solve, sure. But for a business owner, an outdated website is not the problem. Not if there’s other, bigger problems to solve first: make payroll, deliver product or service, manage the team, improve IT or fleet of vehicles… oh yeah, and then there’s that website. We’ll deal with that later, once I get this stuff off my plate.

So the problem ‘outdated website’ isn’t worth solving for your buyer, at that time.

But if you identify the actual problem, and the cost of not solving it…

Like so: “Your competitors have spiffy websites, with great SEO, and they’re signing on clients. Because your site isn’t up to date, you’re losing out on sales, while your competition is ‘eating your tortilla’, as they say in Spain”.

Lost sales? Overrun by competition? Now that’s a problem worth solving!

Your job as a seller isn’t to convince someone that their problem needs solving.

Your job is to identify the actual, underlying, costly problem.

Point at that, and your buyer will convince themselves that it’s a problem worth solving.

Cheers,

Martin

The Blindingly Obvious, Yet Usually Ignored Relationship Between Measurement and Results

If the saying ‘what gets measured, improves’ is true, then what’s the first thing to measure?

The self, of course – and I’m talking about your performance, not your height or waist-size.

Yet curiously, that’s often the last thing we ‘measure’.

We set a goal, for the year or the month, and then we measure the results: the number of clients, revenue, whatever kind of goal you have.

But the thing that gets you towards your

But what about the thing that gets you towards your goals?

Meaning: the way you show up to your work, and the way you handle the tasks you need to execute on – do you measure those?

I’m willing to bet ready money that you don’t keep track.

Oh sure, you plan and review – but that’s not the same thing as measuring performance.

Me, I measure my actions. Number of emails sent, number of appointments with potential buyers. Conversion rates, list growth… I still need to improve, but I’m keeping track of what I’m doing.

Which is why aside from todo lists, I also have a ‘done-list’, where I record the actions I took that day.

And, I record every day what my level of exertion has been.

None of this is because I’m obsessive, but because the brain simply loves direct feedback.

When you put your performance on a dashboard or chart, and you observe the levels of activity, you’ll start to see a correlation between how you show up, and the results you get. Duh, right?

Yes, but are you doing it?

Are you, actually, measuring yourself, to see how you perform in your business?

Cheers,

Martin

When They Resist… Are You Selling Them an Identity They Don’t Want?

Yesterday I explained that behind buying into the features and benefits of your work, what a customer really buys into, is a new version of themselves.

The bigger the price tag, the more impactful and meaningful the change in identity.

This gives us as sellers a massive clue, especially when we find that our prospect isn’t buying in.
when you encounter objections, or resistance or fears, there’s a couple of things you need to do.

First: back down. I know it’s tempting to push on, argue more persuasively, highlight the benefits and so on, but don’t. If someone resists, you’ll do better playing judo than playing force.

That other person has a reason for their resistance, and your working against it will only make it stronger. So give them space. Have them explain the why of their doubts or objections.

Next, put yourself in their shoes.

As in: how do they see themselves?

What vision of themselves, and their world, and their place in it, have they formed?

What story about who they are, do they tell themselves?

And once you have a bit of an idea of that, ask yourself:

What version of themselves am I asking them to buy into?

And, finally, the ultimate question:

Can they identify with that vision, that version of themselves?

More often than not, you’ll discover that there’s discord, some lack of alignment for them.

You see a outcome-focused ‘next’, where they have bought from you and experienced the benefits.

They however, also see problems, complications, and a bunch of unknowns.

Even though they might trust that they’ll get the outcome you promise, they also need to see their lives as fundamentally better, and themselves as significantly upgraded by having bought from you.

When someone isn’t buying in, it’s very likely you’ve been trying to sell them a version of themselves they don’t really want.

You as a seller, you’re asking a buyer to become someone different.

And instead of asking them to become who you think they should become, figure out who they want to become, and invite them to become that.

As for you, my dear reader: who would you like to become?

If you were to work with me, what next version of you would you want to become?

Cheers,

Martin

The Deep Psychological Truth About Sales that Hardly Anyone Talks About

Traditional marketing and sales has it that people buy outcomes, not features.

It’s not that they need a all-natural Amazonion latex mattress – what they *really* want, is to have the best night’s sleep they can get.

But to think (and sell) on that level is limited. Sure yes: features tell, and benefits sell, but:

There’s so much more going on in a buyer’s mind, and it goes up all the way to the level of identity.

Here’s how it works:

People buy the features of a product or service, because it makes sense. Mind says ‘yes, this sounds good. I like it’.

Then, the actual decision to buy is an emotional switch: it’s when trust and desire overlap so much, that the mental ‘yes’ is supported by an emotional ‘yes’.

That’s when you’ve successfully sold someone on the benefits.

But what someone is *really* buying, and something hardly anyone talks about is this:

People buy a new version of themselves.

Mind blown, right?

Oh, I see. Well, let me try again:

When someone decides to buy (and this gets truer the bigger the price tag), what they’re ultimately acquiring, is a way to signal to themselves and to others, that they’re the kind of person who makes this type of decision and purchase.

Someone spending 2K on a mattress says: “I’m worth that kind of quality”.

Someone buying an electric vehicle says to themselves and to others “I’m a modern, switched-on buyer, who cares about the environment and wants to show it”.

When someone buys a 6K website, their inner story is “I care madly about my business, to the point of investing big bucks in its growth”.

Someone who hires a sales coach (hi!) tells themselves: “My stuff is so good, I owe it to myself and my customers to become highly skilled at enrolling buyers”.

So whatever it is you do, and sell, and whenever you’re dealing with a potential buyer: ask yourself “What version of themselves do they
want to buy?”

Next, use the features and benefits in order to paint a picture of that new version.

Finally: instead of selling them that product or service you deliver, sell them the thing they *really* want: the next version of themselves.

Cheers,

Martin

How to Prevent Headaches When Selling

The roadworks in my street do a great job of showing just how fearful – and deeply irrational – human beings are… and, it’s a perfect lesson in who to sell or not sell to.

This town (Salobreña) is built on a rock, and the streets are steep, narrow, and bendy. And because half the pavement in the old town is tore up, normal traffic laws are suspended.

So you get two-way traffic, up and down narrow streets and around blind curves, on streets that are intended as one-way only.

Now because everyone is civil and you can’t really drive fast here, everything works. People give way, respect each other, shows respect and patience, and traffic flows in a more or less fluid way.

But some people are afraid, fearful of what’s around the corners. And so they sound their horns incessantly, constantly announcing that they’re around a bend.

Me, I never even touch the horn. If you drive carefully, and you watch out, you see who’s there, and you’re always going slow enough to break on time.

A careful driver doesn’t need a horn here. But those people, they don’t trust.

Even though they’ve managed it through life for 30 or 50 or 70 years, they don’t trust their own driving skills and ability to react.

They’re afraid, and it’s irrational.

But, fear overrules the mind, and so they make one hell of a ruckus in my neighbourhood.

Anyway, the lesson today?

Don’t try to sell to people who would sound their horn.

If someone doesn’t trust themselves enough, you’ll find you have a damn hard trying to have them trust you enough.

People who are nervous, fearful, jittery, yes you can sell them things. And sometimes your sales conversation is what they need in order to get to relax and trust (meaning: trust you, as well as  their own evaluation and decision-making).

But pay attention, and watch out for the signs of someone who isn’t going to switch and become trusting.

These are the kinds of (non) buyers who can take up a lot of your time, without ever making the big decision to work with you – which you’ll agree is a major headache.

Your time is better spent with people who don’t need convincing, and who need help getting clarity instead.

Those people already trust you enough to let you advise them.

Sell to those people.

Cheers,

Martin
The Sales Coach Monk

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 affraid 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 been a big fan. Too much hype, too much stage antics.

But seeing this? Bleh. I wash my hands of it all.

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.

Do you need more and higher-ticket sales in your business?

And maybe a sales coach is what you want?

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

Timing and How Not to Break the Sale

They might seem like a perfect client for you, and they might seem really keen on working with you.

And yet, there’s indecisiveness. Vacillating, no decision.

It’s a yes, but not a ‘hell yes’.

Whenever you’re in a situation like that, be careful not to break the trust they’re building up.

Yes you might know for certain that paying you and becoming a client would solve exactly the problems they described – but they’ll only experience that solution if they buy when the time is right *for them*.

And that’s where most sales break.

We’re too keen, too eager, too needy – and so we try to rush, to persuade, to make a compelling argument.

The result?

The buyer shies away.

Whereas if you take it easy, sit back, ask more questions and take the pressure off, you’ll often find that the buyer shares concerns that haven’t been addressed yet.

Or, they might simply not be ready, for whatever reason is relevant in their world.

And when you can handle that ‘not ready’ elegantly, with a ‘No problem, let’s talk again in a few weeks’, there’s a very big chance that when next you talk, they *will* be ready.

But if they aren’t and you try to persuade them?

They won’t be open to you following up, and when you do they’ll feel that same kind of indecisiveness that stopped them in the first place.

A sale is a good thing for you, of course. And you should strive to get them.

But a sale is never right if it’s not the perfect time for the buyer.

After all, your business exists to serve your buyer, and your sales process should serve them just as much.

On another note: do you feel that working with a sales coach would help your business?

Do you want to have a conversation, and see if this is the right time for you (and obviously, whether I’m the right guy for you)?

Then hit reply, and let’s set up a time to chat.

Cheers,

Martin

Whose Job is it Anyway?

I park my bike and walk up to the cash machine.

At the door of the bank, two Spanish men: a son my age, and an ageing father.

“Dad, you don’t need to go in here every day.

“I can access your account from my computer, no problem.

“Really, there’s no need. If you want, I can print out a bank statement each day for you”.

The father stands there, quiet. It’s not clear if he understands what his son is telling him.

So far, it’s sounded friendly enough – but suddenly, the son says “Or do whatever the hell you want to” and storms off. (what he actually said in Spanish sounds a lot harsher).

As I withdraw my cash, I wonder:

Is the father losing his marbles a bit, unable to understand?

Is he untrusting of online banking?

Or of his son?

Has modern life overtaken his level of comfort with processes and procedures, and he just really wants a face at a bank telling him his account status?

There’s no telling, but one thing is certain:

He wasn’t buying his son’s ‘there’s no need’.

Also certain: It’s not the father’s job to understand, or to trust, or to accept.

Instead, it’s the son’s job to find the message that will finally convince his father that showing up live at the bank daily really isn’t necessary.

But, he got frustrated and his temper flared up.

If ever you get frustrated when someone doesn’t buy your work, or buy in to the good idea you’re trying to to get across, remember this:

It’s not the other person’s job to do so.

Instead, it’s your job to reach that other, and you do that by putting yourself in their shoes.

It’s in *their* world that the sale happens.

So if they’re not buying, it’s your job to keep the conversation open, and asking questions will get you much further than pushing your agenda, no matter how valid your agenda may be.

Cheers,

Martin

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