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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also: do you want help, building your market?

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #5: Never Sell Without Permission

Nice people don’t force others into things. It’s not how we work.

But, if you’ve ever seen a potential client go cold right when they seemed about to say yes to your offer, it might just be that the other felt forced.

This can happen even if you have no intention of pushing an issue, if you’re completely OK with either a yes or a no, and you’re as non-pushy as can be… the other can still feel like something is being decided *for* them, instead of *by* them.

This is how many sales break down, and it’s really easy to prevent:

Ask for permission.

Oh I know, they teach you about the ‘assumptive close’ – “So let’s book our first meeting in and then deal with the contract”.

And in some cases, that works. Very often though, that one small move can give the wrong signal, and make the buyer feel as if they’re not the one making the decisions here.

And if integrity matters to you, clearly you want the buyer to make the decision.

So how do you prevent giving that wrong signal, and make sure that the buyer feels confident and in control?

Ask for permission.

“Do you want to book the first meeting in?”

“Would you like me to tell you about the programme?”

“Would it make sense to meet again and discuss working together?”

“I have an idea that might help – do you want me to explain what I have in mind?”

Hardcore sales trainers will probably snub their nose and call me a softy, but whatever. I hope they enjoy their polyester suits, as much as I enjoy hearing clients say ‘yes’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘take my money’. (yes, someone actually bought whilst saying that last one).

Point is, you’re not the boss of your buyers. They are.

And the slightest signal that ‘you know what’s best’ will set off all kinds of warning signs and alarm bells in them.

But if you ask permission to ask for a sale, or to explain a programme, you’re giving the other person reign and autonomy. “Your decision – do we proceed?”

Not only is this the right, integrous way to sell, it’s also highly effective, because when a buyer steps in fully self-motivated, they sell themselves – and you’ll agree that that’s a more fun than trying to ‘convince’ or ‘persuade’.

Cheers,

Martin

Making Time for Our Most Important Roles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers,

Martin

What You Wanted, and Did You Get It?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Been there, have you? Yeah, me too.

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

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

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

Meanwhile, I’ve just had an idea:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

Is Every Business a Relationship Business at Heart?

On one side, there’s business and sales and clients and selling… but on the other side, there’s relationships and communication.

Because no purchase is ever a strictly technical transaction.

Any time someone buys something, there’s a conversation going on in that person’s mind.

When you join that conversation, i.e. when you really *get* your clients, the conversation deepens, and a relationship starts – and inside that relationship, is that conversation.

Put differently: being in business means you’re in a relationship business.

It’s you, a thing you do, another person, and a problem they want to solve – and those are all related.

And if all works out well, you get money and they get your solution.

But only if the relationship is quality, and the conversation is about that other person and their needs and aspirations.

Here’s where it’s very easy to go wrong: far too many people talk about their offer and their accolades, but those only serve to persuade, and that automatically triggers resistance and defensiveness.

That way, the conversation doesn’t improve and the relationship doesn’t transform from ‘Tell me how you can help me’ to ‘Help me figure out if I should get your help’.

And that switch is crucial.

First, you’re a listener and provider of information, which is related to an existing problem or goal.

But after the switch, you’re a helper, serving someone in making the best decision for themselves.

Put differently: the ‘switch’ is a moment where the relationship changes.

When that change happens, a potential buyer has gone from being curious to being interested, and good things can happen from there.

But, only if you take care of the relationship.

Because the sale happens inside a conversation, which exists in a relationship.

In other words: whatever it is you do or make or offer or solve or provide:

Ultimately, you’re in the relationship business.

Now, I often get asked ‘how’. How to have conversations that work, how to build relationships, how to ask for a sale, how to ask questions that clearly show you’re not pushy and are looking out for their best interest? How, Martin, do I land more clients?

Too much to explain here, but I do have a training webinar you might want to watch, and you can do so here.

And if afterwards you want to talk, let me know.

Cheers,

Martin

Righting Wrongs

A savvy business owner sees a hole in the market, and figures out a way to fill it.

A savvy and compassionate business owner sees a pain in the world, and finds a way to ease it for those who suffer from it.

These are the people we all know, and their products and marketing are wherever we look.

And then there’s a third kind of person.

This type isn’t in business because there’s a need, or a hole in the market, or because they found a way to make money.

It can even be argued that these people aren’t in business, necessarily – they’re on a mission.

They see a status quo that they refuse to accept, and they make it their mission and their purpose to right the wrong that they see – to change the status quo.

(For me it’s ‘the nicest people, those most concerned with making things better, are often those who struggle most to grow their business’. That to me is wrong, because it means that the less nice, the more aggressive or less scrupulous, do move forward, while good eggs don’t. I stand against that and my mission is to make the good eggs, those business owners who actually care, grow and profit the way they deserve).

Incidentally, my favourite kind of client is of course the kind of person who’s on a mission: it’s a lot of fun to see someone scale up because of, rather than despite, their values.

Because that’s the whole simple essence of an ethical business:

Your values don’t have to stand in the way of your growth – they can enable your growth, and impact, and money, and all those good things.

And good eggs, folk on a mission, well that’s the kind of person I have a lot of time for.

So anyway, I’m curious:

What mission are you on? What do you stand up for? What wrong does your business serve to right?

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #4: Never Decide for the Buyer

Obviously, it’s the buyer who decides to buy. For a seller to make the decision would be all kinds of wrong – as well as practically impossible.

We don’t get to tell people what to buy and when – all we can do is offer help in making a decision. Facilitate, you know?

Problem is, it’s really easy to communicate the opposite, and when we do, the buyer runs for the hills.

A buyer – anyone, really – subconsciously is always scanning the environment for anything that could end up being a threat. That’s the protection our lizard brain gives us.

And in that hyper-alert mode of perception, which is active 24/7, anything that could potentially one day become a threat is instantly and automatically classified as ‘Threat. Avoid’.

Now what’s the things that’s most threatening to anyone?

Having our autonomy taken away. It’s one of the worst things that can happen, to not be free to do or be who we are.

And the moment we show up with a ‘well this is what you ought to do’, in whatever variation, that subconscious bodyguard of us asks ‘Yeah but wasn’t it us who runs this show? Why is someone telling us what’s best? This can’t be right. Avoid’.

And there goes another buyer, suddenly nowhere near as bought in to getting your thing as before.

All it takes is the impression that autonomy is being threatened, and the impression will be treated as if it were an actual threat. The other can’t help it.

So if you want your enrollment to be ethical and effective as well, rule #4 of ethical selling is:

Never decide for your buyer.

And, be hyper careful to not even allow that impression to exist – in fact, actively seek to have it known that any decision made to get started and buy, is not yours to make.

At most, you can decide to *not* work with someone if you feel it’s not the right fit, but that’s all.

The ‘yes’ is the buyer’s choice, so make sure they know that you mean that.

As a result, people enroll themselves – no persuasion required.

Cheers,

Martin

Doing the Next Thing Right vs Doing the Right Next Thing

I forget where it was, but the other day I read about the ‘difference between doing the next thing right, and doing the right next thing’.

There’s so much to contemplate in there!

Of course, it’s always a good idea to the the next thing right. Kaizen, improvement, measure&iterate… if you want to go places, it’s important to do things right.

But that ‘doing the next right thing’ – that’s a really astute way to describe what my work is about:

Helping entrepreneurs do the right things, and in such a way that everyone gets better and money gets made.

That’s what an ethical business is about, if you get to the heart of it: doing the right things.

And that’s why I so much love this ethical sales coaching I do.

Because once you figure out what is the next right thing, and you’re able to select the next profitable right thing, that’s when buyers enroll themselves.

Because if you make ‘the next profitable right thing to do’ a returning issue in your business, everything will get infused with not just the idea or intention, but the actual action of doing the right things.

That causes massive change – in how you operate, how your team treats their work, the way your buyers respond… it’ll shift things, across the board.

Make ‘the right thing’ your goal, and all the right people will start to fall in love with your brand.

And if you choose the profitable right thing to do, they’ll give you money as well.

It’s fun, and it’s perfect for people who live by values.

Want to have a look and see what profitable right things you could do, to grow your revenue and impact?

Then this link gets you in my calendar: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=11652475&appointmentType=544906

Cheers,

Martin

Solutions Rarely Find Problems, But…

…problems very, very often find solutions.

Here’s the thing: a fundamental mistake we make far too often as entrepreneurs, is to create a solution, and then go out looking for people who want that solution.

This makes for excruciatingly ineffective marketing and sales.

A solution looking for a problem to solve will rarely find that problem it can solve.

If we go out looking for ‘people who want the thing we have’, two things happen:

First, we become myopic. We narrow down our vision, to the select set of people or companies who might want our solution – but we only know so much about who they might be.

So we miss opportunities because we’re not finding what we think we should be looking for, and we keep looking for it.

Thus we keep ourselves blind to the actual problems out there, that we might be able to solve, and that people do want our help with.

Secondly, our communications become self-sided, because we have that solution in hand, right? “Look at this cool solution, and what it can do, and why you might be interested. Are you interested, in my solution?”

Your buyer will hear or read that discourse, and they’ll disconnect. Because nothing in business is ever about us, or even our solution – it’s always about the other and the problem they want solving, and that’s the kind of messaging we ought to be giving them.

It’s not ‘This is an awesome thing, the best I have’ – it’s: ‘This is exactly for you, for the kind of problem you want to solve’.

When you communicate that, you’re ‘speaking into the buyer’s world’, instead of from inside your own world.

And that gets people interested, and that makes for sales.

So as you go about your business building and marketing and sales etc, remember:

Don’t be a solution looking for a problem to solve.

Be a researcher, trying to find out which problems exist for those you want to help, before you do or say anything else.

And only once you’ve achieved that and identified those problems, do you talk about the solution you have for them.

And, if you’re dealing with a problem in your business related to growth or sales or impact, maybe I do have a solution, who knows.

But tell me about the problems, first.

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #3: Prevent the Sale

“But wait! Don’t we want the sale?”

Yep, we want the sale. I sure do, and I hope you as well.

Except when we learn that buying wouldn’t be the right choice for the buyer.

And that’s where you see the difference between ethical sellers, and who only care about the numbers.

Selling is a way to facilitate a decision-making process, and if a buyer is about to make the wrong decision?

Then it’s not just a friendly respectful thing to stop the sale: it’s your duty.

If they ought not buy, they should not buy. That’s how you sell with the other’s best interest in mind, and that’s how you build the trust that causes people to come back to buy later on, when the time is right for them and it IS a good decision.

And that’s why, when I talk to new people, I’m not there to sell. That’s not my job.

My job is to help you figure out what’s the best decision – for you.

Because that ultimately is the best decision for me as well.

So… been on the fence about talking, because you might want help but you’re not sure?

Then let’s meet, have a conversation, and see what’s the best decision for you.

Book a call here

Cheers,

Martin

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