Who Would be Most Likely to Buy Bread?

A hungry person, obviously.

See, a friend of mine is in the middle of launching a new business venture:

I forget what the process is called, but the idea is that he creates full-surround photos of physical products. That way, a buyer can zoom, rotate, pan and tilt the photo, and gets to see the product in all its detail and glory.

Super useful for e-commerce businesses, of course.

So I asked my favourite question: how are you going to sell that stuff?

Always fun to see the plans someone has for their marketing strategy.

He explains his plans (which aren’t bad) and then I ask: who’s your perfect customer for these photos?

“Everybody with a website and physical products!”

Uh-oh. Not good.

Because yes, everybody in that category is likely to benefit and see increased sales from buying those photos, but:

Not everybody will want them. Or have the budget. Or be ready for it. Or understand why it will improve their sales. Or be ready to upgrade their website. Or or or…

Millions of reasons why ‘people with physical ecommmerce’ might not buy.

So if my friend then tries to sell his photography to all and sundry without any thought to who is actually most likely to buy, he’s setting him up for massive amounts of frustration and wasted time.

He’ll have to wade through untold numbers of ‘sorry, no’ before he gets to a yes.

As they say in marketing: find a hungry crowd, and feed them.

So for my friend, much smarter would be to ask: who is the most likely to buy?

Which would be, of course: those who are already looking to upgrade their online presence.

And in that set, there’s ‘those who have a budget allocated for it’.

And in that set, an even smaller (but far more eager) group called ‘those who are actively looking for full-surround (or whatever it’s called) photography.

Put yourself in front of those people, and you have the highest possible chance of landing a buyer, right?

This. This exactly, is why I’m creating the Calibrate Reality Dojo. Because my friend didn’t just think illogically and irrationally – one could say he didn’t even think at all.

And we all suffer from that in one way or another. All of us, and I’d be surprised if you were an exception (I certainly ain’t!) make decisions without giving things proper thought.

Which leads us to outcomes that aren’t what we made the decision for in the first place.

Two points to keep in mind:

Always think before deciding.

Always ask yourself who would be the most likely to buy your thing, before going out and finding people.

Oh, and the third thing: don’t miss the CRD Webinar that I’m preparing.

It’ll help you think and make better decisions, so you can create better outcomes in your life and business.

Hit reply if that’s what you want, and I’ll put your name on the guest list.

Cheers,

Martin

What’s the Gap?

What’s your definition of ‘made it!’?

Meaning, your big, fulfilling goal, the one that matters most – the ultimate grade of accomplishment?

Take a note, write it down on the right side of a sheet of paper.

Next, what’s your current situation like, in terms of how well on your way you are to getting to the goal?

Write that down on the left of the paper.

Inbetween, draw a horizontal line.

That line, the space it represents, that’s the gap.

That gap stands for the things that need to happen, or be built, in order to get to your goal.

For me, my ultimate goal is to go back to my roots: To make music.

Not only that: to be a performing, gigging musician.

I gave up music when I entered the monastery 25 years ago, and god do I miss making music.

There’s just NOTHING like jamming with a band, and sharing the energy between each other.

Yes: it’s better than chocolate, and yes, also better than that other thing.

On the left side is my life as is, and it’s good but it doesn’t give me space for launching myself into music.

So for me, the gap is creating more automation in my business. Hiring more assistants, setting up more systems, and creating a course around the work I’ve so far only done 1 on 1 or in group coaching.

Which means I need to ‘can&clone’ myself. Creating a course that helps people and earns me money, and reduces the need to trade time for money.

And it’s something that I think, at some point, should be part of your plans as well.

Oh it’s wonderful to do the work we’re good at. I love coaching and I’ll bet you love your designing or painting or massaging or counseling.

But there’s a definite limit in how for you can take that.

Trading time for money doesn’t scale.

You can only charge as much as the market will bear, and you only have a set number of hours in the day.

So if you want to break through and move up, there will come a time that you’d serve yourself (and your business and your family and your customers) well by boxing your best work up into a package you can sell in a systematic automated way.

And if you’re thinking ‘I’ll write a book!’ – I have a harsh truth for you.

A book isn’t a revenue model. Books are stupid hard to earn a living from, because you’ll need to publish at least 5 to 7 of them before it starts earning good money. Unless you find a publisher who pays you an advance and brings your book to market.

And the last time I saw one of those, he was riding a unicorn.

Trust me, I’ve done the research.

But you do need some sort of systemised way to share your genius with the world.

But what? And how? And how to figure out how to set it up?

Those questions, you’ll find a lot easier to answer once you step into the Calibrate Reality Dojo – the free webinar that is nearing completion.

I demo’d the draft of the presentation to my friend and client Paula, and she said it was quite, quite valuable.

So, don’t miss it.

If you’re not on the guest list yet, hit reply and I’ll make sure you get a no-cost, 30-minute strategy session to thank you for joining.

Cheers,

Martin

Copying the Tactics vs Modelling the Thinking

You see someone online doing awesome with their business, using really interesting and effective tactics.

Maybe they’re rocking Twitter, or Instagram, or webinars or a podcast…

And logically, you think that if you use the same tactics, you can get yourself the same kinds of results. Seems to make sense, right?

Except, a tactic is pointless if there’s no strategy behind it. You can throw spaghetti at the wall as much as you want, but all you’ll create is a very dirty wall. (pro tip: try throwing without the sauce).

Anyway, the real problem is bigger: even if you closely observe the way the other’s tactics combine into a strategy, you’re still missing the most important point:

The thinking behind the strategy.

And even if you really get the thinking, you still won’t get far if you just copy it.

Because that thinking, and the way it works in their business, is inherently that of the other person. And you’re not the other person.

You don’t know the connections they have, the books they’ve read, the trainings they’ve followed… the way childhood and previous careers and untold failures have shaped them.

In short, you can maybe see what the thinking is, but you’ll have to create your own thinking, from which to build a strategy, which you can then break down into tactics.

Obviously it’s extremely useful to look at others and learn from them, and implement elements from their business operations.

Just make sure you never copy what you *think* is their thinking, because it’s impossibly to have the full picture, and you’ll end up building a Frankenstrategy.

If you want a business and marketing strategy that works, start with your own thinking (inspired by others as it might be), and then roll your own.

Which I can help with, because coaching is all about shining a spotlight on your thinking, and helping you change your thinking and decision making for maximum results.

Holler when you’re ready, alright?

Cheers,

Martin

Of Mice, Cheese, and Whiskers

A mouse runs for the hills when you show it a cat’s whiskers.

Whiskers = danger, and you’ll never catch a mouse if thinks it perceives something threatening, no matter how docile Mr Socks might be.

Which explains perfectly why that guy who tried to pitch his programme at me got nowhere: he went straight for the jugular – not that he literally threatened me, but in terms of sales conversations, it was a threat and not an enticement.

(Kudos to Dean Jackson for the cheese/whiskers analogy btw).

No, when you want to catch a mouse (i.e. have someone buy something, or buy into an idea, or pick up a suggestion you make etc etc) you’ll get far more results if you show something that the other wants, as opposed to what the other might perceive as a threat.

In other words: show them cheese, instead of whiskers.

I’m reminded of this by an email I just received, where a reader said they’ve tried to get someone to contact me, but that other person hasn’t done so yet. Doesn’t feel they need it, isn’t ready – who knows what’s going on in the other’s head.

But trying to get someone to do something can very easily be perceived as a threat on some subconscious level. Can be something as subtle as a (perceived) threat to autonomy.

And you’d be amazed how easy it is to “threaten” someone, on subtle subconscious levels.

Like last spring, when I was at an art walk, entered one of the houses, said ‘nice work’ and was greeted with the reply: “Thanks. It’s all for sale”.

Whiskers. Run!

No, if you want someone to take a certain action (be that buying your work, putting the cap on the toothpaste, or adopting a different view on something), you’ll do a lot better if you present cheese, and let them get closer in their own time.

Point is, we’re built with a highly sensitive, always-on radar for anything that’s even remotely threatening.

And it’s extremely easy to trigger the defense-mechanism – and off goes your mouse.

Want someone to take an action that you know for a fact will be good for them?

Paint the ‘after’ picture, IF they take action XYZ.

And then let them get ready in their own sweet time.

That way, there’s not a whisker in sight, and the memory of the cheese will stay with them until they’re ready.

Another benefit: when you let someone make the choice themselves instead of being pushed into something, it means they own the decision. They’ll ‘become a customer of change’, as it’s called in therapeutic circles.

Which makes it far more likely that they’ll actually benefit from the decision.

Because an imposed ‘purchase’ very easily leads to buyer’s remorse, which won’t help that person, or the relationship you have with them.

So think: in what way do you show whiskers, when actually showing cheese would work better?

Cheese,

Martin

Who to Be… Suits to Wear… Let’s get SERIOUS! :)

It’s very nice to hear an idea like ‘the suits you wear’, ‘how you show up’, or ‘who you need to be in order to achieve xyz’.

But does it help, in a concrete, practical sense?

Because if you don’t actually ‘wear the suit’, if you don’t show up to lean into the archetype of those who have created what you want to create, then how much does it help?

Right, so let’s make it tangible, and practical.

In psychology, there is what’s known as the big 5.

These are personality traits we all have, and there’s something interesting about them:

Your score on these five traits, predicts with scary accuracy how well you’ll do, and how easily (or not) success will come to you.

The big five are known as OCEAN:

Openness (to experiences, learning, meeting people – we’re talking curiosity here)

Conscientiousness (Comes in two parts: industriousness, and orderliness (mental as well as in your surroundings)

Extraversion (in a different sense than the extrovert/introvert spectrums)

Agreeableness (easy-going, cooperative, friendly etc)

Neuroticism (or rather: emotional stability and fortitude)

Researchers came up with these big 5 decades ago, and there’s been a ton of study into how people’s score on these five relate to their levels of success, income, and overall well-being.

Turns out, the majority of super-successful people (whatever definition of success you might have) score really high on the first four, and super low on the neuroticism scale. (exceptions do of course exist).

So today I’m suggesting you assess how you yourself score on these 5.

Because the cool thing is that each of the 5 psychological personality traits can be trained, developed, and evolved.

So if you find that you’re low in one particular area, it might be very useful to find a way to quickly improve your score on it.

Here’s a quick test, will only take you a few minutes: http://www.outofservice.com/bigfive/

Once you have your score, let’s play a game: send me an email with the area where you score lowest and where you see that show up in your life…

And I’ll reply with my best suggestion on how to stop it being a problem for you. Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

Are You Selling Them a Problem?

Did a coaching session the other day, which gave me a stupid-useful insight you might find handy.

I was asked: “Martin, I have the hardest time recruiting people for these franchise opportunities. What do you suggest?”

I had him explain his process to me, and when he was done, I told him:

“Stop trying to sell people a problem”.

Obviously he was confused, because what he’s selling is actually a great opportunity.

But for whom?

Because to start a franchise, even if the cost to entry is $0, means that you’re taking on a huge, enormous, all-consuming ‘problem’.

You know this, since you’re an entrepreneur. Building and growing and running a venture is HARD work and will be so for many years.

To 99.99% of the population, that’s a ‘hell no!’ kind of problem.

It’s only for the daring, the crazy, the true, heart&soul entrepreneurs.

Starting a business, of any kind, takes a very special kind of person.

The kind of person who LOVES big hairy complex enduring problems.

An entrepreneur is someone who doesn’t just accept the ‘problem’ of being in business – people like us, whether consciously or not, we love problems. Getting our hands dirty, extracting every ounce of creative problem-solving we have in us.

So this franchiser, his solution is simple: go present the option to just that kind of person. Skip talking to anyone who is the employee-type, and not the entrepreneur type.

But what about you?

I’ll assume your work is excellent, worth the money, and yet… why are not more people buying your thing?

Could it be that, in the buyer’s perception, buying your stuff somehow represents or causes a problem?

Think about it: what, in your offer and your marketing, could be problematic for the buyer, in some way?

Sure, ‘finding the money’ or ‘am I willing to part with that cash’ is a possible problem, but beyond that:

In what other ways might you, unwittingly, be selling a problem?

If you’ve felt stuck in your business, and if you just can’t figure out how to increase sales, a conversation about that might lead to a breakthrough.

Want to find out?

Let me know.

(And the only ‘problem’ I’m ‘selling’ you here, is for you to show up and spend one or two hours in conversation. Not that big a problem, right?

K, talk soon.

Cheers,

Martin

The ‘New’ Form of Marketing? Oh, and Tractors

PSA: Yesterday I said that I would ‘send 5 to 7 articles daily’, but that was a typo. I meant ‘weekly’, obviously.

PSA #2:

Saw an article that explained the ‘new’ form of email marketing, recommending we all use it.

They called it NaaS: Newsletter as a Service.

Which is a pretty nifty idea, but of course it’s nothing news.

In fact, value-based marketing has been around for ages.

For example, the John Deere tractor company was in bad weather sometime in the last century. I guess someone had figured out a better way to market horses.

Anyway, they did something clever:

They started a magazine for farmers, with actual, proper content. Articles and tips and instructions, on how to work the land and all the things that go with farming.

Obviously, farmers loved receiving the free magazines.

And obviously, John Deere made sure that any reader would see the advertisements of the tractors they made.

Double win: you create marketing that is actually useful, and people don’t mind that there’s also a product or service offer.

Sound familiar? Of course. It’s exactly what these daily articles are about. Hello.

It’s service first (for me, writing these is a public service in itself) and marketing second.

And since you read this, apparently that’s a method that works and delivers value.

This is nothing new – the only new thing, is that marketing and sales degenerated into pushy, sleazy, and often unethical ‘squeeze ’em for all they got’ practices.

That doesn’t make marketing bad – it just ended up being abused by unscrupulous folk.

Marketing done right has value in and of itself for your reader.

Whatever way you want: inform, entertain, inspire, teach, or mix it up… you can easily take the conversations that you normally have with buyers face-to-face, and create content (articles, audio, video, slideshows, photos) that *gives* people something.

And if you do?

Then people give you permission to also market your work.

That what I do, in these emails?

TOTALLY something you can do for yourself.

And, I’ve never seen a client take on email marketing (and stick with it!) and not have it lead to business growth and sales.

Oh sure, you’ll need to be growing your list.

And yes, it takes time before email marketing reaches the tipping point of probability, but personally, I don’t mind that.

I’d much rather plant and nurture an orchard, rather than go picking apples.

Wouldn’t you?

Cheers,

Martin

Don’t Play the Butternotes

Once upon a time, Herbie Hancock was on stage, playing with Miles Davis.

And he wasn’t feeling it. Herbie was not a happy bunny. Everything he was playing sounded trite, old, familiar, and uninspired.

He got increasingly frustrated with himself, which Miles picked up on. (Obviously).

Walks over to Herbie, leans in, and rasps in his ear: “Don’t play the butternotes”.

Took a moment, but then Herbie got it: the butternotes, those are the easy, the familiar, the standard and the bits that go down smoothly.

In music, those would be the 3rd, 5th, and 7th of a scale.

Herbie stopped playing those notes, started to play around them, and everything shifted. So much so, in fact, that it changed the course of Herbie’s musical career.

Playing the butternotes… what a brilliant concept!

In business, the parallel to playing butternotes would be things like phoning it in.

Coasting. Pushing the buttons, keeping the show on the road. Business butternotes are the attitudes and activities that are in your comfort zone, that don’t stretch you, that don’t do anything to create growth.

For me, playing butternotes is doing things like staying on top of my inbox. Publishing my daily article. Having chats with entrepreneurs. Good stuff and necessary, but not the kind of thing that drives growth. Which is what I (you too?) ultimately want.

And so, I study lots. I push myself. I get on a stage with barely any experience behind me, to deliver a 3 hour masterclass on marketing.

Sure I play the butternotes, but I do the other stuff as well.

So what about you?

Are you playing butternotes, too much?

And if so, what ‘wildly creative and jazzy solo-notes’ would you like to be playing as well?

When you’re not ‘phoning it in’, what actually is your greatest, most high-leverage activity?

And what if you’d make it a priority in your days or weeks, to work on it?

Cheers,

Martin

Lead vs Lag – Are You Looking at the Right Thing?

I’m reading Cal Newport’s excellent book Deep Work, where he talks about how isolated, almost monastic blocks of highly-concentrated work are something increasingly rare in our society, but utterly essential for growth and innovation.

Which is ironic: here’s an ex-monk who tends to struggle with productivity, and who needs to read a book by a researcher in order to remind him that ye olde monastic practice (being devoted to the work, and taking action, i.e. active devotion) is what’s been missing.

‘Scuse me while I facepalm.

Anyway, he also talks about lead indicators vs lag indicators.

A very important distinction. One I have zero problems with, fortunately – but not everyone is that lucky.
So allow me to offer a view that might help.

Everybody has dreams. Results we want to create. A lifestyle, and an economy, that we work towards.

The result of those efforts, show up in things you can measure, like the amount of free time you have, or the number of dollars coming in.

Between those metrics and the effort needed to create them, there’s delay and lag. Usually in the range of weeks to years, depending on what you’re building.

Now if you pay a lot of attention to the lag indicators (free time, money, number of customers etc etc), it’s very easy to get disheartened.

Growth usually starts slow, a nearly flat line for months or years, until it suddenly sweeps upward.

That happens when you reach the tipping point, and the flattish line suddenly sweeps upward – and you get the hockey-stick graph we would all like to see in our bank accounts.

Until you get to that point, you really want to avoid looking at the results.

Meaning: ignore the lag indicators.

Instead, focus on the lead indicators: the actions that will, eventually, bring you to the tipping point.

Look, measure, plan, schedule – get serious, scientific, monastic and scholarly on that stuff, and become a veritable pro at executing on the activities that will *lead* you to the tipping point as fast as can.

Create those blocks of single-pointed attention, to work on the growth-driving activities, and keep executing. Whether that’s an hour a day, or a 5-day bout in an AirBnB each month depends on what works for you.

But do that important work, and measure how much of it you do. Measure tasks checked off. Reflect on and measure how focussed and productive you were. Journal so as to find ways to optimise your output in those blocks.

Keep chipping away at, and improving, the lead metrics, while basically ignoring the lag metrics.

Those will show up, but ONLY if you execute on the lead metrics.

And the best way to do that is to ignore everything that comes after lag.

This is what my new accountability&business coaching programme is for:

To keep you focussed on, and executing on, those most high-value, growth-creating activities.

It’s an affordable way to get 1on1 time with me, and there’s more info here:

http://martinstellar.com/business-growth-coaching-when-putting-off-the-important-work-is-no-longer-acceptable/

Cheers,

​Martin

Your Definition of Success… Are You Doing it Wrong?

When you look at your life, and the results you’ve built for yourself…

Do you consider yourself a success?

Regardless of whether you’re an artist or author or you bake cakes for a living…

Are you… successful?

For most people, the answer will be ‘not yet’.

Not fully, not the way I want.

But are you the one who should cast the verdict?

Think about it:

As long as you still have higher goals to reach for, you might never feel that you’ve made it, that you’re successful.

And while that’s useful for keeping you going, there’s also another side to consider:

How people view you.

You might not think you’re there yet, but to others, you’ve achieved things that are still in their future.

Others look at you and see a success story.

They probably don’t even know that you still feel like it’s not complete yet.

And that matters.

Because in becoming more successful, you need others.

To help you, buy from you, share their platform or audience with you…

And as long as you ignore the fact that others do see you as a success, you’re robbing yourself of the power you need to connect with those people.

If the only criterium for success is your own opinion and the opinion of others isn’t included, you’re effectively preventing yourself from reaching out and connecting with the kind of people who will get you to your next level.

So, own it.

Whatever more there is for you to achieve, accept that to others, you’re admirable and remarkable.

Next step?

Build your network, connect with people.

You’ll find that people will be delighted to meet and get to know you.

Yes, even the ‘big names’ that you’d love to connect with, but the thought of it scares you.

In Australia, there’s this thing they call the ‘tall poppy syndrome’.

You know, the tallest one, that gets cut off.

It’s that little voice that says ‘But who am I to xyz?’

I’ll tell you who you are:

You’re a beautiful, accomplished, ambitious and driven individual.

And if your mission is to make a contribution, then the world is waiting for you.

You’ll see.

With that said: action stations, action stations.

Get out there and connect.

With me if you feel like it, or with the people whose level you wish to reach. Which could also be me.

Either way: You’re worthy.

So, go connect with folk.

Cheers,

Martin

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