Empathy and Epiphany: “That’s Right!”

When selling something, there’s three kinds of people:

Those who fear hearing ‘no’, and get upset or frustrated.

Then there’s those who know that hearing ‘yes’ follows hearing ‘no’ a whole bunch of times.

And then there’s those who actively seek out a no, because – as the late Jim Camp taught – ‘no’ is when the negotiation starts.

But when you hear a no… what’s next?

What’s the best reply when a prospect tells you no?

According to Chris Voss, your best move is to say something that gets a ‘that’s right!’ out of your buyer.

Not ‘you’re right’, because that message basically says ‘whatever, stop talking’, but ‘that’s right!’

What happens when someone reacts that way, is that their brain registers your empathy, which instead of breaking down the negotiation, strengthens rapport and connection, enabling you to continue the conversation in a way that’s non-threatening for them.

At the same time, there’s a kind of epiphany happening: they realise that you get them, see them, hear them.

As opposed to the (stupid, arrogant and old-fashioned) tactics of trying to persuade the other person.

So what do you say exactly, how do you get a ‘that’s right!’ out of a buyer?

It’s so simple:

“Ok, so what you’re saying is that this isn’t right for you, because [insert the reason they just gave you]”.

And that’s it, that’s all there is to it.

A simple statement, and bam: you’re on the same page, ready to keep talking.

For a deeper look into ethical selling and the importance of no, have a look at the training webinar I recorded last month: http://martinstellar.com/ethical-sales-training/

And if you want my personal help in upping your sales game, just let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

Careful: Don’t Major in Minor Things

Whatever it is you want to achieve, improving your knowledge and skills are a great way to make it happen faster and with more ease.

But are you majoring in minor things?

Yes, it’s useful to learn the ins and outs of managing your website, but once a site is basic-ready, how much will it add to your bottom line to be a WordPress ninja?

Taking a course in how to use social media for your business: yes, totally. But spending days researching what hashtags to use… how much ROI will that bring you, given that social media isn’t a platform for selling, but for building visibility and audience?

It’s not that such things are unimportant, because they can be.

But are they so important, that it makes sense to reach expert level, whilst the skills that bring in sales remain underdeveloped?

You only have so many hours in a day, so it’s wise to consider what are the small things to improve, and what are the big things.

So far, so good.

But here’s where it’s easy to make a mistake:

To develop things at which we’re bad, or mediocre.

In many cases, it’s a lot better to leave them as is, and instead spend our time on things that we’re already pretty good at.

For example: I sing in a band, and I play rhythm guitar – and as far as the guitar goes, I’m somewhere between capable and reasonably good. Now I could spend a lot of time upping my guitar game, and it would be useful. But it would steal time from my vocal training, and I’ll never be as awesomely terrific as our lead guitarist. So becoming GOOD at playing the guitar would mean I’m majoring in something minor. Meanwhile, I’m the lead singer so I’d better be as good as I can at singing, and leave the guitar-y awesomeness to Phil.

It’s all about efficiency.

To go from zero or sub-par skills, to reasonable ability, can take a long time and a lot of hard work. And you’ll still be only reasonably skilled.

But to go from ‘pretty good at this’ to expert level is often a lot easier to achieve. AND you’ll end up being highly skilled in it, which beats ‘reasonably skilled’ any day of the week.

Besides, if your modus is to constantly develop skills you don’t have or suck at, you’ll end up what they call ‘a bag of highly developed shortcomings’.

Again, it’s not bad to learn things. By all means, please make learning and training part of your world.

The question is though: what is the one thing that you do fairly well, and that if you dedicate yourself to it, you could do terrifically well?

What major things should you major in?

Cheers,

Martin

Sales, Rapport, and Values

If you want to sell your work, it’s good – no, it’s crucial – to know who is most likely to buy from you.

Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of resources talking to the ‘wrong’ people, which is inefficient, frustrating, and costly.

And so, people talk about demographics, customer avatars, psychographics, ideal clients… and usually, it brings us nowhere.

How many kids or cars someone has, where they worked or where they live, their spending power or their hobbies and social circles… all that says something about them… but it says nothing about *the two of you*.

As in: are you a match? A good fit? Is there resonance, are you on the same page?

Put differently: will you and your new buyer have instant rapport, given that rapport is a requirement for creating a sale?

Demographics can’t predict that, and even psychographics only go so far.

But there’s one human identifier that you can use to reliably predict whether or not two people will hit if off: shared values.

Introducing: valuegraphics. (I was hoping I was to be the first to invent the word, but someone beat me to it.)

Still, shared values instantly put you on the same page with another person.

And, someone’s values are super-easy to glean, from just reading a few blog posts or checking out someone’s social profiles. Our values are always on display.

So if you start by looking for people who share values with you, you’ve effectively crossed the rapport-hurdle – the most important and tricky thing in the context of sales – long before you even reach out to a potential client.

And once you identify people with values similar to yours, it’s really easy to add in psychographic or demographic markers, to further niche down your outreach and marketing efforts.

Efficient? You bet.

Fun too, because once values become your north star, you keep meeting people who are just awesome to deal with – and it becomes a lot easier to enroll them in your work, as well.

So if you’re struggling to find buyers, start by looking for people with whom you have values in common, and talk to those people first and foremost.

Cheers,

Martin

Be the Prize

When it’s your mission to find a client, or enroll a prospect in working with you… what kind of position do you take?

If you’re like most people, you take the small role, the position and attitude of a supplicant.

“Please mrs. Buyer, would you please buy this thing from me?”

But wait a minute… how many potential clients are out there?

Probably thousands, right?

And how many of you are there?

One.

Which makes you into a super-scarce resource, with only 24 hours in your day.

And that means that your needing to win over the client is only half the story.

The other half, that’s the client winning you over. Getting your ok on working with them.

Because not every client is an ideal client, and you want to be deliberate and intentional with how you ‘spend’ your most precious resource.

If you work with someone who isn’t right (micro-manages, or drains you, or keeps changing the scope of the job), you’re in a bad situation: you have to put up with things you don’t like, AND you have less time to search for better, more fun clients.

This is why we need to ‘qualify’ clients, just as much as clients need to qualify us.

So if ever you feel like you need to win a clients’ approval, remember this:

There’s only one you.

You’re the prize.

Cheers,

Martin

The ‘Good Egg-Problem’

Most people I come across in my work (clients, fellow coaches, podcasters, authors, students etc) are terrific people, with values such as integrity and truthfulness high up in their list of priorities.

Which is awesome, because it’s great to deal with people who share the same values as we do.

But the more people I meet, the more it seems that the higher on the scale of integrity someone is, the more conflicted their relationship with selling – and as a consequence, the lower their success rate in terms of signing on clients.

Do integrous people sabotage their own results?

I don’t have enough data to say yes or no, but it sure does look like it.

I call it the ‘good egg-problem’, where high integrity is (seems to be) correlated to low sales results.

But listen: if you live by values, then logically the work that you do is good, worth the money, and something that people ought to buy, right?

They buy, you serve, and that’s how you make your money. Right?

Then why not take the sting out of ‘selling’, and let your values guide you?

As in: if integrity matters to you, and you want to do right by people, then helping someone make a decision *is* doing right by people.

I mean, you’re not going to force anyone into buying anyway, because integrity says we don’t do things like that.

So you’re there to have a conversation about a choice the other person is considering.

You help them get clarity, identify desire, discuss doubts and objections, and figure out if your thing is right for them, at this moment.

And, since integrity is central to your life, you happily accept yes or no, depending on what’s right for that other person. The only outcome that you’re attached to, is the right decision for that individual.

This way, you turn ‘selling’ into an act of service… something that’s actually quite aligned to your values.

Does that take the sting out of selling for you?

Cheers,

Martin

Whose Reasons? Their Reasons, of Course

When you have something for someone – a product or service, or a plan, or a great idea, or a different viewpoint you’d like them to try, you know why it’s good.

You have reasons that you know are valid.

They’ll be happy with the purchase, it’ll solve their problem. They’ll enjoy the restaurant you have in mind. Your kids will grow up healthy and strong, if they eat their veggies. Folks will enjoy the movie or the book you have in mind for them.

In short: your reasons for wanting them to want what you have, see, or think, are solid and correct.

Except there’s one problem:

People don’t buy (or buy in) because of your reasons – no matter how valid those are.

No, when people buy something or enroll in something, they do it for *their* reasons. Not yours.

And that’s where so much communication (and indeed: sales) break down.

We try to persuade, convince, influence… we try to reason with the other person.

But they need their own reasons… once they find those, they enroll themselves – they buy in willingly and voluntarily.

And no matter how much you try to reason with them, remember that you’re only making it harder for them to discover their own reasons.

So instead of trying to reason with the other person, appeal to their desire for change, and give them space to figure out *if* they want the thing or idea you have, and most importantly: *why* they would want it.

It’s not your reasons that make people buy or buy in: it’s their reasons. Help the other person discover those reasons.

Cheers,

Martin

“Can’t They Guess?” Maybe They Can, but Is That Their Job?

Of course the other person has intelligence. And ears, and intuition.

They know how to compute and make sense of what you’re saying.

But, when you want to get results with people in any sort of way, you shouldn’t give people the job of trying to figure out what you mean.

It’s your job to make sure your meaning gets across, and gets registered on the other side just the way you meant it.

But very often, we don’t do that job.

We say vague things, or give ambiguous messages, or we use catch-all words, like ‘you know’ and ‘kinda’ and ‘wow’.

But what does ‘wow’ mean? It underlines an emotion – but which one? And because of which impression, experience, thought, or insight that you had did you get to feeling ‘wow’?

Pretty unfair to let someone else do the job of figuring that out, isn’t it?

Even worse, when you don’t speak clearly and unequivocally (meaning: there’s only one possible interpretation of your message) you give the other person a job to do, where they need to spend cognitive resources, and guess what:

The other person will be too lazy, disinterested, or occupied with their own thoughts, to do that job for you.

And there you go: misunderstanding, confusion, broken communication, and in the context of business: no sale.

Want to move your relationships, sales, and conversations forward?

Then let everything you say have only one possible interpretation. In other words: take on the job of communicating so well that you’re understood, instead of leaving the other person responsible for figuring out what you meant.

Cheers,

Martin

The Shift: Serving Customers Before They Buy

As a coach, I meet lots of people – and it’s amazing how many folks are hung up where it comes to selling their work.

Stressful, ‘no good at it’, awkward, ‘I just want to do my work without having to sell it’… these are some of the things people tell me.

It’s a sad state of affairs, especially since most people have a truly valuable offer, are good people, and genuinely want to serve their buyers.

But, until you land a client, you don’t get to serve that client, right?

Actually: wrong.

If you really want to serve a buyer, then your serving them starts before they buy.

If you deliver a rocking product or service, then your first order of business is serving your buyer in the process of making a decision.

That decision being: whether or not to buy your thing.

It’s a bit like coaching, in that sense: you’re not there to convince or persuade, but to hold a space where someone reaches their own clarity, uncovers their own motives for making a decision to buy, and where they enroll themselves into saying yes and sending you money.

This shift in attitude – from ‘I got something and I need to figure out how to get people to pay me’ into ‘Let’s help this person figure out if they actually want my thing’ makes all the difference.

It changes the dynamics, creates conversations that are zero % pushy and 100% enjoyable, and lands you buyers that really want your work (i.e. you drastically reduce buyer’s remorse).

And, if a prospect doesn’t buy, they’ll remember you as someone with integrity, and they’ll very likely welcome it when you follow up again in the future.

It’s a significant shift, with big consequences, and all it takes is for you to reframe what a sales conversation is about.

From selling… to serving… so that you get to serve your buyer even more, once they buy.

So how does that sit with you… are you ready to shift your framework, and move from selling to serving?

Cheers,

Martin

That’s Right!

It’s nice to be right about things.

Especially when selling, when you know you’re right: you know that once the other person buys, they’re doing what’s best for them.

You know your stuff, you understand their problem, and yeah, you’re right: buying your thing would be a good choice.

But being right is only as useful, as how right the other person thinks you are.

And very often, we’re satisfied when someone says ‘you’re right’.

But as Chris Voss – a former hostage negotiator – says, ‘you’re right’ is a blow-off. It says ‘I’m done with this conversation. Just stop talking and leave me to do my thing’.

When a buyer says ‘you’re right, it makes sense’, your reaction will determine whether you’ll land a client or not.

If you think it’s confirmation – a proper ‘yes, I’ll buy’ – you’ll miss the opportunity and they probably won’t buy.

Instead, go for ‘that’s right!’.

Because when someone buys, it’s because they trust – they know – that you truly *get* their situation.

That’s the highest level of rapport and resonance, when all someone can say is ‘that’s right!’.

That’s when you’ve completely absorbed, integrated, computed and summarised their situation.

In other words, at that moment you’ve moved into their world, got a perfect workable map, and you’re now showing it to them.

And they go: ‘Holy cow, this guy totally gets me’.

And that’s when they’ll be most likely to make a yes-decision and buy your work.

Don’t fall for ‘you’re right’ – always seek to understand the buyer so well, that they’ll say:

‘That’s right!’

Cheers,

Martin

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love ‘the Close’

When new subscribers join my list, I like to ask a question:

What’s your biggest obstacle when it comes finding buyers for your work?

The answers are often interesting.

Some people say it’s finding buyers in a down economy, others say it’s their own penchant for procrastination, and yet other say it’s identifying their ideal buyer in the first place.

And the other day someone said their biggest struggle was the close.

You know, the point where someone commits to giving you money for your work.

Personally, I don’t like the term. Sure you close a deal, but I much prefer to think of it as a starting point instead.

You open a buyer relationship with your client. Much nicer than ‘closing them’. No?

This isn’t just semantics, either.

Think about it: when someone wants to buy from you, they’re buying into your world.

They enroll in what you offer, and the premise that paying for it is worth it.

Someone who buys from you enrolls into your world.

And that makes all the difference, because all of a sudden it’s not longer about you wanting the other person to buy something.

It’s become a matter of them wanting to own what you have.

So instead of an outward ‘buy this’ push, ‘the close’ is about extending an invitation.

Which the other is, of course, free to accept or not.

A lot of salespeople know this, and use it to create successful and satisfying business relationships.

But there’s also a ton of marketeers and sellers who move beyond the social nature of selling, and who make it into a sort of ‘buy this or the puppy gets it’ transaction.

Which has given sales a bad reputation, but more dangerously: it has caused quite a few ethical providers of high quality goods and services to dislike ‘the close’.

And so, I often hear people say “I don’t like selling. I’m just not good at it”.

If by that you mean the notoriously unethical ‘ram it down their throats’ sales process, then good on you. Nobody should like that kind of selling.

But if you’re not like that, and you care about solving problems for your buyers…

I would suggest you switch your view on selling to having someone enroll in buying the solution you offer.

Because that way it becomes a lot more fun, and a lot easier too.

Want some personal, 1 on 1 help with that?

Then sign up for a no-cost strategy session, by answering a few questions here: https://martin283.typeform.com/to/v7Dsh8

Cheers,

Martin

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