“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

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

What to do When ‘the Face Ain’t Listening’

So you’re talking to someone whom you’d like to buy in to your idea – buyer, spouse, team mate, etc – and you realise:

They’re not buying. No matter what I tell them, they don’t seem to be enrolling in my idea.

So you try a different approach, different logic, another kind of appeal to their senses…

But nope, no cigar – they still don’t seem to get the sense and usefulness of that thing you’re trying to have them see.

In other words: it’s like you’re ‘talking to the hand, and the face ain’t listening’.

When that happens, you need to realise that (very very likely) you’re trying to reason with someone who isn’t in a rational state.

Their emotional senses are looking for the stuff that feels good, and you’re here, trying to appeal to their intellect, intelligence and insight.

Obviously, that will go nowhere: the other person’s emotional world doesn’t understand stuff – no matter how compelling, logical, and sensible your argumentation may be.

You’ve probably had the experience, and if you don’t remember: if you’ve ever thought to yourself “But why don’t they *see* what I’m saying, that it makes sense?”, then you’ve been trying to reason with their emotions.

You can explain until the cows come home, but the mind won’t deal with information if the emotional world doesn’t feel it yet.

The other person’s emotional world is large, mostly subconscious, and it’s got power to overrule the mind, because the subconscious is tasked with keeping us safe, watching out for threats. It knows more than the mind does, it intuits – and it’s a paranoid gatekeeper.

Looks, feels, sounds, like a potential threat? Best be safe, and consider it a threat.

Live another day, in terms of evolutionary psychology.

Now obviously, it’s illogical that they’d feel some sort of unconscious threat – after all, you’re not trying to harm anyone, or force anything on them – but that lack of logic is exactly what the irrational nature of emotions is about.

So. If ever you find yourself reasoning with someone who’s just not getting it, seeing it, buying in to your idea and vision:

Stop.

Something in their subconscious triggered an emotional defense or disconnect, and hammering your point is only going to strengthen it.

Stop, and instead get that person to talk. Ask questions such as ‘what’s on your mind’ or ‘what does this situation look like to you’ or ‘are there any concerns you have about any of this’ or ‘if you were master of the universe, how would you solve or arrange this?’

The actual question you ask depends on the situation, but the important thing is that you get the other person to share their view, the vision that they’re working with.

With a bit of luck, you’ll uncover the reason why their emotions block understanding or adoption – which gives that person the validation that their concerns are valid, and that will help them trust you enough to at least try and see –
understand – the sense of what you’re trying to say.

In short: never try to reason with emotion, because it’s a ‘face’ that will never listen to reason.

Cheers,

Martin

The Three Biggest Mistakes in Sales

The first one is blindingly obvious: too much talking, not enough listening.

If you want a buyer to care about what you know, or do, they first need to know that you care about them and their problem.

The second mistake, is selling on features and benefits.

The saying goes: features tell, benefits sell – but that’s only part of the story.

What *really* sells – and amazingly well – is a person’s own desire… meaning, their wish to gain a positive outcome, or alleviate a burden or problem.

And guess what: listening and asking questions that facilitate insight and discovery, helps your buyer discover just how deep the desire goes.

The third mistake is the hardest to get around: being afraid of the no, and therefore not asking for the sale.

It’s hard to hear no, because nobody likes being rejected – and the fact that ‘no’ to your product or service isn’t a personal rejection, makes no difference. It still feels bad to hear no.

But, being open to a no, or welcoming it – or, best: asking for a no – is the best move you could ever make in the process of sales conversations.

“Here’s an idea… I don’t know if this will fit into your world, so tell me if it doesn’t, but: what if I could help you get outcome X? (Or solve problem Z)”.

Say that to a potential buyer, and you’ll be giving them the right to veto, which means you respect and emphasise their autonomy, and that means they won’t feel threatened, rushed, or pushed – which obviously means they’ll be more open to considering what you have to offer.

Obviously, there’s a lot more that can go wrong, when selling – but these three need attention and improvement, before anything else.

And, while I don’t know if my work will fit into your world, I’m happy to schedule a 20-minute sales audit with you, to see if I can help.

After that we can discuss ways to work together, or if you don’t need further help, we simply part as friends.

Sound fair?

Let me know, and I’ll send you a schedule link.

Cheers,

Martin

How to Make Enemies and Alienate People

Saw two examples of how to network with people, at an event in Malaga a while ago.

One good, and one disastrously wrong.

Before the socialising part, each attendee got one minute to pitch their business.

Afterwards, I was accosted – literally – by an attractive young woman.

She came up to me, introduced herself, and without pause launched into an endless, aggressive salespitch.

How her co-working space is this and that, how there’s seminars and a virtual mentoring programme… on and on.

I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Not even to say that I have no need for any of it, because my friend Antonio runs his own co-working place, and I get everything she offers and more, at his company, each time I go to Malaga.

Silly of her, because showing up this way meant that she made herself absolutely unattractive to me, from a business point of view. Repellent, even.

On a personal level too, because there was nary a smile or friendly expression during her entire rant.

Compare that to the second experience.

Guy comes up and tells me that my pitch really interested him.

And, would I mind if he gave me a little feedback, and a tip on how to improve my presentations?

Look what he did there: he built rapport (in a sincere way, I could tell he wasn’t faking it) and then asked me permission to give feedback.

Next he told me something useful, and invited me to stay in touch.

Effectively, he sold me on liking him, and on wanting to meet again.

Obviously, he’s hoping to get business out of me at some point – every business owner is.

But the way he did it pulled my closer, whereas the lady drove me away.

Now I imagine that you’re far more like that guy, than that lady.

I imagine that if you read my articles, you probably like to give value, and listen, and try to attune to what others experience and need.

But what if all that doesn’t land you the clients you want?

What if you don’t manage to get paid what you’re worth?

Or, what if you do, but you just really don’t like the sales process?

And, what if you want to do something about it?

Then I can help.

More information here: http://martinstellar.com/how-can-i-help/

Cheers,

Martin

Music, Space – Silence and Sales

Way back when, I spent 6 months in university, studying musicology.

My favourite professor was a Sinologist (where Sinology is the study of Chinese culture, language, history, etc) and he taught me something that serves me to this day.

In Eastern traditions, music isn’t a matter of sounds, notes, patterns, and rhythms:

Music is the silence inbetween the sounds, punctuated by the sounds.

Something that a guitarist I know has no idea of, because when he plays, he’s not silent for a single moment – his playing is literally an endless progression of sounds… which makes for pretty awful music.

How does this relate to business and selling?

Very simple:

When you’re in a sales conversation with someone, one of the best things you can do is to shut up.

Not just to let the other person talk, but also to let the other person *think*.

Which most people get wrong: instead of giving others space, we fill every silence with words.

We keep talking, afraid to let a conversation pause – but it’s in those pauses that the other person reaches insight, identifies objections and comes up with questions.

Silence and space are what make a sales conversation natural and progressive, whereas if you just keep talking, you give the other person no space, and they clam up.

Yes, it can be uncomfortable to be silent and wait for someone else to say something, or to give you a cue to say more.

But in that silence, that’s when things shift for people.

And the most important moment for you to hold still and say nothing at?

Right after you quote your fee.

Think about it:

You’ve just told someone a number, and now they need to figure out how that number fits in their world, their business, their emotions, their budget…

The worst thing you could possibly do at that point, is keep talking.

Instead, sit back. Be quiet. Take the pressure off. Give that person time to integrate the conversation you were having, with the dollar amount required to acquire your product or services.

Put differently, let that person hear the ‘music’ (i.e. their own inner world) inbetween the sounds (the things you’ve been saying to each other).

The result?

Beautiful music, and a far easier sale than if you keep talking.

Space and silence might be uncomfortable for you, but the more you can accept that and stay quiet all the way until they start talking again, the better you serve them and the more likely that you’ll get that sale.

Cheers,

Martin

About You

If there’s one thing that nearly everyone in business gets wrong when it comes to marketing and selling, it’s this:

Making it about ourselves.

We tell people about our work, our credentials, our guarantee policy and our T&C and our experience and our success stories…

And your buyers… well, I don’t mean to be harsh, but: they don’t care.

That’s not because they don’t care about you (in fact, if you do sales right, people will actually like you, and thus care about you to some degree), but because a buyer can’t live without asking:

WIIFM?

What’s In It For Me?

If I spend this money, what will I get out of it?

What will my results be?

How will my life change, my business grow, my relationship evolve, my back feel, my team collaborate, my golf game improve?

In other words: a buyer has no choice but to look out for themselves.

Everybody needs to preserve their well-being: it’s a biological and evolutionary imperative.

Problems arise when the ‘for you’ message gets buried under ‘about me’ messaging.

That’s when a buyer fails to feel that what you’re offering really will help solve their problem, and when they don’t feel that, they don’t buy.

You want people to care about what you do, and what you could do for them?

Then talk to them about them – their fears, frustrations, their wants and aspirations.

Cheers,

Martin

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?

Cheers,

Martin

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).

Cheers,

Martin

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?

Because:

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.

Cheers,

Martin

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