Transactions VS Relationships

It might look like a simple equation:

You have a product or service that solves problem A for such and such a person – so when you meet that kind of person, they pay you and you deliver your solution.

After all, a business solves problems or fulfills needs, and earns money in return.

But if you look at it that way, you make it transactional, and that means you’re likely to ignore a host of items that matter a lot to your prospect.

Wants, aspirations, fears and frustrations… trust and concerns and objections… all kinds of things that are very much alive in your buyer’s mind.

And until your buyer has a resolution to all of those, there will not be a transaction, because they won’t be ready. (unless you bully people into a sale, but that’s not the kind of person you or I are).

The thing to remember is that a sale happens in the context of a conversation, and a conversation happens in the context of a relationship.

So if you find that prospects don’t end up buying even though they seem ready, willing and able, ask yourself:

Are you focused on the transaction, or on the relationship?

In nearly all cases, backing away from the transaction you hope for in favour of developing the relationship, will enable your prospects to bring items to the table that they need resolved.

Whereas if you keep your focus on the transaction, they’ll feel incomplete, that there’s something missing in the overall picture – and as long as that state exists, they’re not going to buy.

Relationships lead to transactions.

So: Build relationships.



The Cost of Business That Nobody Should Pay

Being in business has many upsides: you call the shots, you set your prices, you are the only one you’re accountable to, you plan your days and vacations as you want, etc…

And, to have all that, we know that there’s a price to pay:

Long hours, patience, trial and error, sacrifice, and so on. And as an entrepreneur, we’re happy to pay that price.

But there’s one price nobody should pay:

Losing out on buyers.

Think about it: for each prospect you enter into conversation with, you have to spend time, money, and elbow-grease in order for that person to find you.

And yeah, it’s a fact of business that you’ll never ever convert every prospect into a buyer.

They might not have the budget, maybe timing isn’t right for them, or maybe what you offer isn’t exactly what they need.

But what about people who do have the money, who do need what you have, and who do want it, and they want it now… except in the end, they didn’t buy?

Horrible feeling isn’t it? Everything looked so good, ducks in a row, stars aligned, and yet: \

‘Damn. Another one that got away’.

Emotionally this can be devastating. But it can also cause your business to itself to fail, if this happens too often.

Because, again, for each prospect you meet, you have to work, and if you fail to convert those who could be, ought to be buyers, you’re losing on the most scarce resource available to you: you.

The solution?

Learn how to get good at selling. Whether by working with me, reading books, listening to podcasts or going to trainings: the one skill that will make or break a business, is the ability to enroll people.

And guess what: when you learn how to enroll in a way that’s based on empathy and values, it’s fun, a lot easier, and you’ll never have to convince or persuade anyone.

If any of this resonates with you and you feel that yes, the time has come to develop your enrollment skills, reply to this email.

We’ll set up a time for a short chat, to figure out if I can help – and no, I won’t try to convince or persuade you.

Seeing qualified, enthusiastic prospect declining your offer is not a cost you should be paying.

Let’s talk…



Evolution, Scarcity and Ethics

“Hey”, I said. “I thought you didn’t eat sugar?”

“I do!” she replied. “But my parents won’t allow me, and in school I can’t because the teachers will tell on me. That’s why I always turn down birthday cakes and stuff”.

A school excursion, and we were about 8 years old. This girl’s parents were severely into holistic and healthy living, and apparently sugar was of the devil.

The moment we’d gotten off the bus, she’d spotted a little shop and bought a bag full of sweets which she was now moving into her mouth in an industrial manner.

“You won’t tell the teacher, will you?”

I told her no, and she offered me some of her stash.

The desire for something unattainable is baked into our psyche, and we can’t avoid judging something scarce as something valuable.

Goes back to our prehistoric times, when leaves and predators were abundant, but prey, berries and nuts were hard to get.

Scarce resource = high value… that’s how our subconscious works.

Marketers have figured this out, and created an artform out of manipulating us.

Sale ends, limited stock, offer expires, buy now, don’t miss out… we all know the drill, and most of the time the scarcity is artificial and fabricated. Marketing teachers even tell us to use these methods, in order to get more sales.

In itself, there’s nothing wrong with a limited-time offer: it can help people who are the right buyer, to get off the fence and make the decision to purchase.

But the way it’s usually done, scarcity is used to trigger super-primal survival instincts, making us feel on a subconscious level that unless we buy now, our safety, well-being and lineage is at risk. That might sound dramatic, and it is: rationally we know it ain’t all that bad, but our subconscious is highly irrational, and simply perceives: ‘Scarce! Grave risk, unless I get! Must! Get!’.

The first problem is that it ain’t right to treat people that way. It’s manipulative and very dodgy.

The second problem is that if you drive too hard a sale, you end up with the wrong buyers.

You’ll pull in people who buy not because they want or need your thing, but because their lizard brain drives them to do it.

And then you get refund requests, buyer’s remorse, info-products that never get used, bad reviews, complaints on forums… all the things that don’t help your business.

Selling something is fine – after all, we all like buying things and most people sell things that are worth buying.

But there’s a line between manipulating people based on fear, and helping people who want to buy make the decision to do so.

What side of the line are you on?



Verbs VS Interrogatives: How to Ask Buyers the Right Kind of Questions

The more you ask, the more you’ll hear, and the more you’ll learn about why someone is looking to purchase your work.

Which, obviously, gives you the information you need to figure out if you can or can’t help them.

But the easiest kind of question to ask, is also the worst:

Binary questions, which usually start with a verb.

“Can you see this working for you?”

“Have you tried other solutions before?”

“Is the problem you describe something you want to solve at this point in time?”

You might get a yes, you might get a no… but even a yes isn’t the same thing as a purchase.

And, how do you proceed, after you get an answer to a binary question?

You opened a door, they threw an answer at you, and now you have to ask another question, from scratch.

This way, you don’t advance the sales process.

Instead, ask questions that start with an interrogative.

“What would make this work for you?”

“What other solutions have you tried before?”

“How urgent is it for you, to solve this problem?”

Questions like these are powerful, because they cause the other person to think, to see things from different angles, and to create their own vision – which is important because it’s their vision of either the pain of not solving the problem, or the joy of having solved it, that causes them to buy in to making a decision to do so.

Whereas binary questions suggest that your vision – not theirs – is relevant to them. Which it might be, but they don’t care unless they see it.

And the best way for you to get someone to *see* the usefulness and power of that vision, is to ask questions switch on their brain and inner cinema.

Binary questions, the verb-led ones can easily cause distrust, objections and resistance.

So, ask interrogative-questions instead, because those are the ones that move the sales process forward, while leaving autonomy with the buyer.

Here’s another example:

What would it do for your business, if you learned ethical selling?



FOMO and the Inefficiency of Convincing

It makes no difference what problem your business solves: there are people who want a solution now, and those who don’t, not yet.

And if you want your sales process to be effortless and easy, you’ll do well to focus on the ‘hungry crowd’, and feed them.

But most business owners try to target everyone, and waste tremendous amounts of time and energy trying to convince people.

But, look at the diagramme:

Don’t you agree that the top of the pyramid is where you’ll have the biggest chance of converting prospects?

Of course.

The reason that we waste time with people below that level, is FOMO: fear of missing out.

Because of course, yes: in the ‘lower’ levels, there are also people who might become a buyer.

But the question to ask yourself is: how much work will it be for you to turn those people into buyers?

The answer is: lots of work, because you’ll have to convince them that they have a problem, or that it needs solving… feeling tired yet?

And so we churn through prospects, running into one ‘no’ after another, and we get frustrated that things aren’t working better. That more people aren’t buying our thing.

Now, I understand that it’s not just FOMO. After all, we’re good folk, we do actually solve problems, and we don’t want to do a disservice by ignoring people who may, or may not, be ready to business with us now.

How to solve the conundrum?

It’s simple: the people who aren’t quite ready yet – you serve them by creating content. You educate them on the consequences of not solving the problem.

You get to choose how you do it: a daily email, instagram stories, videos on Youtube, publishing ebooks or publishing on Medium… share as much as you want.

That way, you’re serving people who may become a client later on, and you’re casting a net for the small percentage who are ready to change their mind and are ready to go from ‘not ready’ to ‘yeah, actually, I want that solution’.

And the people in the top level?

Make them an offer. After all, they’re actively looking for a solution, and guess what: that solution is exactly what you sell.

And that’s how you turn your marketing and selling endeavours into something that’s efficient, fun, and effective.

Want to jump an call with me, and get clarity on exactly which people are in that top section?

Book a time here, no cost (and no sneaky sales pitch either… I trust that if you want more of my help, you’ll let me know).



It’s Only a Sale When the Money is There

“Yes. It’s a sale!” he tells me.

I smile, pause, and tell him: “It’s not a sale until the money is there” – and he replies: “True, of course – you’re right”.

He continues to tell me that he’s decided in favour of my proposal though, and he wants my help.

In the end, it didn’t happen – it wasn’t the right moment for his business… and obviously, that’s fine by me. I’d never want anyone’s business unless it’s 100% the perfect moment for them.

But that moment, when a potential client tells you yes: that’s where it can wrong SO easily.

When we hear a yes, we’re thrilled: a new client, new project, money coming your way… whoohoo!

Ah, yes. But there’s a difference between saying yes, and doing yes.

And if we as a provider confuse the two, we can easily screw up a sale.

If we get all excited and cheery, and ask for a credit card number right then and there, it’s very easy for a potential buyer to get the wrong impression – the easiest and most damaging one, that we would be needy.

Of course when a client sends you money, or signs an actual contract, then yes: of course you should cheer. You’ve just landed a client, and you’ve got the payment to show for it, so by all means: buy yourself shoes or champagne or whatever spells r.e.w.a.r.d. for you.

But very often, at the moment that someone says yes, your best reaction is to slow down, and actually question the yes.

“I’m happy to hear it, but before we move forward, let’s look at this again.

“Are you quite sure that this offer, in this configuration, at this time, is what you need?

“Is there anything that would make it a no? It’s important that you make this decision 100% convinced, so whatever issue or doubt you’d like to address, this is a good time to do it”.

When you question a yes, several things happen.

For one thing, a buyer will reconsider, and often reinforce their choice.

Also: they’ll often raise issues that haven’t been addressed properly yet, which also helps them reinforce their decision.

Or, it might cause them to change their mind – which might be disappointing for you, but ultimately it’s in your (not to mention their!) best interest.

Because when you demonstrate clearly that you’re ok with a no, especially after they’ve said yes, you show that you’re not in it for your own sake, but that the only goal you have is for them to make the right decision.

And that goes a long long way in building trust, which increases your chances of landing the client later on down the line.

Of course you can consider it odd, that I reacted that way. I admit it was ballsy, possibly even arrogant, and it’s not something I’d recommend you generally say.

Then again, this gentleman was a very seasoned business owner, a very skilled seller, and equipped with an excellent sense of humour – in other words, I knew who I was talking to.

Anyway, question the yes. Making a purchase is never a small thing, and you want people to be 100% ready and convinced they’re making the right choice.

It’s the right thing to do, and it’s good for your bottom line as well.



Push VS Pull, and the Worst Thing That Can Happen to a Person

There’s a reason why imprisonment is the punishment of choice across the world.

Not because it’s very effective, but because – bar solitary confinement and capital punishment – it’s pretty much the harshest punishment there is:

To remove a person’s autonomy.

For someone to no longer be a free agent, to not control their own decisions, is horrible.

This mechanism is also why the military is so good at creating good little soldiers.

It’s also why the industrial revolution so successfully turned society into a class of obedient, non-thinking worker drones.

To take someone’s autonomy is terrible, harsh, and depending on the purpose: effective.

In selling your work though, it’s pretty much the worst possible thing you could do.

Right? Who in their right minds would ever want to tell a buyer what they should do?

*Nodding heads*, I’m sure.

And yet…

It’s staggering to see how many people (unwittingly) try to remove a buyer’s autonomy.

Now you probably think “Yeah, but that’s not me”.

Are you sure though?


When you try to persuade someone…

When you try to convince someone by making a powerful argument…

When you skip over someone’s objections, fears, or doubts… and you continue to make your case…

That’s when you are in fact, in a subtle way or not, removing a buyer’s autonomy.

And because that’s the worst thing you can do to a human being, it’s not very likely to result in a sale – and if it does, chances are you’ll end up dealing with buyer’s remorse.

It’s never a good idea to push someone into a sale or a point of view.

What is a good idea though, is to invite someone in.

Invite them to consider a viewpoint.

Invite them to consider a purchase.

Invite them to ask you questions, or even better:

Invite them to tell you what concerns they have.

Doing that has the opposite effect of pushing people:

Instead of them putting up barriers, they’ll lower their guard and consider what you’re telling them.

And if at some point they accept the invitation to buy, they do so under full control and autonomy, and you bet that’s a way to buy that people love.

So today, I’m inviting you (see what I’m doing here?) to reflect on situations (with clients or with anyone else in your life) where you’re trying to push an agenda on others (hint: it’s those times when it seems like an uphill battle), and see if you can turn your agenda into an invitation.

Next step: put it into practice. Invite instead of push.

Let me know how it goes.



What Do You Not Sell?

“Guys, meet Martin. Martin, these two are lawyers. Be careful around them!”

Chuckles and smiles all around… never bad to poke a little fun of people, and the two lawyers clearly had a sense of humour. And obviously they’re not the wrong kind of lawyer, otherwise they wouldn’t be friends with my friend Antonio.

This was last night, at the inauguration party of Antonio’s co-working company in Malaga (which I helped him grow pretty big – I’ll share a case study of how we did it shortly).

The chat with the lawyers was fun and ranged from dating to whether capitalism and democracy should go together.

At some point, one of the guys asked me: “What do you *not* sell”.

What a brilliant question!

It took me a moment, and then I said: “Lies”.

And I realised how important it is to be ultra-clear on what you do not sell, offer, or promise.

See, a buyer has more than just one problem they need solving.

They might show up asking for a specific thing, but there’s always a bunch of related issues they also need resolved.

And naturally, there’s a (often subconscious) hope that buying from you will bring those solutions.

And that’s where the ‘no lies’ policy is a super powerful element of your sales process.

Of course I don’t think you would literally lie to buyers – you probably wouldn’t read me if you’re that kind of person.

But, the more clear you are about what your work does *not* do for a buyer, the easier it is for them to trust you.

Whereas if you leave it in the middle, or if you try to include a service, outcome, or benefit that isn’t in your core area of expertise, you’re actually harming your chances of closing the deal.

That’s why “Is not” is such an important element in the LEAP sales system I created.

The features and benefits of your offer consist of two parts: What it *is*, meaning what result or outcome you promise, and ‘what it is not’ – meaning, the outcomes or results that *might* show up, but that aren’t elements you promise.

And the more explicit and clear you are about ‘is not’, the higher the degree of trust a buyer will have in what your offer *does* do or solve.

Never be afraid to be clear and explicit about your ‘is not’.

Not only will you avoid signing on clients who expect things you can’t deliver, with all the complications that brings, it’ll make your selling easier and more fun as well.

There’s still some room in my calendar for a complementary coaching call, should you want one. Pick a time here.



Anyone With a Pulse (But You Know Men Don’t Wear Bras, Right?)

Anyone with more than two fingers of forehead would know to not try and sell bras to men.

(Yes, I know: it can be argued that the size of my man-boobs warrants me wearing bras, but if you *must* have that argument, kindly have it with someone other than me – thanks)

Kids don’t buy cars. (Most) men don’t wear bras. Heavy metal fans mostly don’t listen to Bach. You’ll never sell a steak to a vegan. Someone with arachnophobia will never buy a subscription to Spiders Monthly.

Makes so much sense and yet:

The majority of business owners make hardly any effort to find out which kind of person is most likely to buy.

“If they’ve got a pulse, it’s a potential client” is how the thinking goes.

I’ve literally had people answer my question “Who is your ideal buyer” with “Anyone who has money”.

Sorry, no, doesn’t work.

See, there’s a market for everything, literally. Furbies, trash novelettes, t-shirts with bizarre prints, tattoos of famous people… art, cars, yoga, smoothies, you name it.

I’ve yet to come across something that nobody will ever buy.

But whatever it is you make or do, there are people who are absolutely not interested, and people who are super-keen to get their hands on it – in other words: the hungry crowd.

So if you find that your business isn’t running or growing the way it should, there’s a big chance that you’re not being specific enough, that you’re trying to attract all and sundry, instead of the hungry crowd.

The result: low sales, too little revenue, wasted time, frustration…

Marketing means figuring out who is the hungry crowd.

And, ethical selling means directing yourself exclusively to those people who really want or need what you offer.

Add in empathy, and you’ll be able to create messaging and conversations that have people qualify and select themselves.

The result: more sales, with less effort.

Want to get clarity on your ideal buyer?

Schedule a complementary coaching call, and let’s see who are *your* people.

I’m travelling next week so there’s limited slots in my calendar, but go ahead and pick a time here.



Quick Favour, Help Me Out?

One of the most important things in business and selling your work, is knowing as precisely as possible who is your ideal buyer.

But, it’s an area where we often go by assumptions, thinking that we know who our ideal buyer is… without ever doing the research to make sure we’ve got it right.

And, it’s one of the reasons we struggle when selling. After all, if we try to sell to the ‘wrong’ people, how effective are we going to be?

In other words, it’s extraordinarily important to establish what’s called ‘product-market fit’.

That way, you can focus your marketing and selling efforts on those people who actually are right, and ready, for what you offer.

Me I’m also researching, specifically for the LEAP Ethical Selling System that I created.

So, in order to help – could you do me a favour and answer 4 simple questions for me?

I’d be super grateful!

So the LEAP sales framework I created stands for Listen, Explain, Ask, Profit, and hinges on integrity, ethics and empathy.

I built it specifically for people rich in integrity – the kind of person whose operations are based on a values-first approach.

Below are the questions – please click reply and fill in your scores:

How do you rate your skills at selling (or enrolling clients, if you prefer)?

Where 1 = Not very good, and 5 = I’m extremely good at selling

Your answer:

How much fun is the sales process for you?

Where 1 = Selling sucks, and 5 = I love sales

Your answer:

How would you score your success rate?

Where 1 = Not very successful at all, and 5 = Very high conversion rate

Your answer:

To what degree do you feel values like integrity and ethics either help, or hinder your sales process?

Where 1 = Such values make selling harder, and 5 = The more I honour my values, the more clients sign on

Your answer:



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