Do What You Say, or They Walk Away. (Good Thing I'm Not a Poet)

Sometimes, big boys make big mistakes.

Today I received an email from WhichTestWon (interesting site, btw – I can recommend it if you’re into testing).

Which by the way, is something I recommend to all my clients. Test, test always be testing. Test early, test often.

Anyway, onwards: the email promised me a free download which looked interesting: Touted as a brand new 20 page whitepaper, I decided to click and get it.

I was taken to a site (not the WhichTestWon website) and landed on a squeeze page.

The call to action was: Fill out the form, receive the white paper by email.

Proceed to fill out form, click, page reloads…

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Always Look On the Bright Side of Sales

You know what’s ethical about sales?

Solving problems.

When someone – anyone – buys something, he or she is looking to solve a problem or meet a need of some sort.

A buyer is always looking to improve something, fix something, reduce or remove something negative.

If what you sell does that for them, it means that with each sale you’re essentially doing someone a favour.

If what you sell doesn’t solve a problem, why are you even in business?

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Want More Sales? Act Like a Pussy

In business, there is only one valid and current language: the language of the customer.

It’s the same in teaching – a good teacher knows they should talk at the level of understanding of the student.

I was reminded of this when I read a report about a research project into the language and behavior of cats.

If you’re a cat owner, it won’t be news to you: Cats have trick for getting your attention: a particular type of ‘baby-meow’. It’s a tiny little lilt, and it sounds remarkably similar to a human child asking for attention.

In fact, it’s not just children: we adults also use the same type of sound when we need attention, or help, or if we feel hurt or wronged.

It’s that lilt which drives you up the wall when your spouse uses it. With me? Right.

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Want More Sales? Learn How to Shut Up. (kindness inside)

With all the talk about social media and how you should join ‘the conversation’ and so on, there’s one thing that’s grossly ignored.


Silence is ridiculously powerful.

Not from a spiritual point of view or anything lofty like that.

See, we tend to talk too much. Most of us do. I sure do.

When you talk you can’t listen. It’s impossible.

I don’t care how good you are at multitasking: You either talk, or you listen.

Now, why is listening so important? What makes it such an effective tool, especially in business?

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La Traviesa

There’s a restaurant here in town called La Traviesa.

In the nearly six year I’ve lived here, I’ve seen the place change ownership at least seven times.

The food has generally been decent to quite good, depending on the owner at that time.

But as nice as the view might be, and as good as the cook may be, the fun kinda gets spoiled if the kitchen window opens onto the terrace, and the cook is a screaming fury who insults here staff whilst loudly throwing skillets through the kitchen.

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Power to the markets: How the Internet Emancipates You, the Consumer

When I just started writing salescopy, I thought I’d gone over to the dark side.

After all, from monk to marketer is a fair leap.

A small library worth of reading about ethics, and a few weeks of serious meditative contemplation later, I had come to a resolution of my dilemma:

Ethical sales are possible. It’s tricky, but it can be done.

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The Sales Psychology of Leaving

The other day I told you how trying to sell to someone before you build a relationship with them is like trying to kiss a woman right after you introduce yourself.

It’s a wacky metaphor, but there is a lot of similarity between dating and sales.

In reality, everything, ever, always, is essentially a sale. But that’s a story for a different day.

I’m reminded of that email from a few days ago because I just read an article that dealt with body language in the context of dating.

One of the telltale signs it mentions is what people do with their feet.

Who’d have known? Apparently our feet say a lot about how we truly feel.

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How I Sold Six Vintage Ferraris and Made $0 on the Deal

I put the phone down and wondered how the hell I had gotten into this situation.

Next, I wondered how I was going to get out of it.

My friend Eduardo had just told me his trip to Cadiz was successful: he had found a buyer who would buy our six vintage sports cars immediately.

There was only one tiny problem: We didn’t have six vintage Ferrari’s to sell.

What we had was a connection in Holland, who was trusted and who could deliver six of the beauties to us in the South of Spain.

But, we had to buy them from him first, with upfront payment.

Otherwise, nothing would get sent, not even a gas cap. Whichever buyer we would find would have to send the cash first.

That was the deal my Dutch connection wanted, and I had discussed it with Eduardo.

He however had decided to ignore this crucial bit of information.

He had told the buyer that payment would take place when the trailer truck delivered the cars.

From the start, I never had much faith in it working, but Eduardo refused to see difficulties. As long as my connection could actually deliver, he could sell.

So off he went to Cadiz, because it must be said: he was an amazing salesman. If anyone was going to be able to find a buyer, build trust and close the sale, it was him.

The problem was that his strength – relentlessly refusing to back down – was also his weakness: He was unbelievably stubborn.

He was in fact so stubborn that he closed that sale with different terms, agreeing that the cars would be paid for upon arrival.

The call I had just had was some 30 minutes of him trying (unsuccessfully) to bully me, so that I would call Holland and pressure my connection in accepting changed terms.

Obviously I didn’t relent because I knew our contact would never let the cars go without money in the bank. And I didn’t blame him, in fact I had agreed that was how it should be done.

In retrospect, I should never have had as much faith in Eduardo as I did. It was clear from the start there would be trouble.

Not because he was a bad guy, but because if someone is that stubborn, and won’t listen, it shows from the start and will be a pain in the ass until the end.

Which it did and it was.

In this case, nothing too dramatic happened. I lost some money on international phone bills, and I had invested a little time. No big deal.

The upshot of the experience: I learned that being able to deliver is more important than the ability to sell.

It also taught me to be wary of people who use hard sales tactics, but that’s a story for a different day.



P.S. Just because I don’t want to be a pushy salesman, I’m hiding my covert sales pitch in this P.S: If you want more sales, un-pushily, go here to get some of truly stellar sales copy for your site:

You Really Don't Want to Serve Arroz con Gris

In this part of Spain there is a tradition called tapas.

When you order a beer or a glass of wine, the house will serve you a small plate of food with it, at no extra charge.

Sometimes it’s olives, sometimes a small portion of paella, or you might get some locally grown tomatoes with garlic, parsley and the olive oil made from olives of the owner’s backyard.

It’s a great tradition. Tapas actually means: a cover, a lid. It started way back in unsanitary times, when your beer or wine used to be served with a slice of bread to cover it, keeping the flies out.

Recently a Cuban bar opened up nearby, and since the owner is Cuban, he decided to serve a menu of authentic Cuban food, tapas and all.

I thought it was a fantastic idea and I was interested, so I went to have a try and see what cuisine is like in Cuba.

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Don't Be Like Ryanair. Seriously

A friend of mine was telling me how she wants to start a paid meditation course.

I whipped out my marketing brain and asked my favourite question:

How are you going to sell that stuff?

Her reply:”We’ll make the core service available for free and make money with upsells”.

Books, CDs, incense, meditation mats and comfy linen clothing, that sort of thing.

On the surface it looks like a good idea but actually it isn’t.

I told her: “So you want to be Ryanair”.

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