Frames and Status

For some reason, I enjoy watching blacksmiths on Youtube.

No, not because of their manly physique and bulging muscles – I just happen to like relaxing while watching a master craftsman at work.

At the end, he says: “Thanks for watching”.

Wait, what? No dude… thanks for making!

Now, I get his gratitude. I too am grateful for my readers (hey you! :)

But in terms of framing, he’s not helping his business.

You might thinks it’s trivial and in this context it is: whether he says thank you or something else will make little difference to his bottom line.

But consider:

In every human interaction – whether in person or across the digital divide – people have different status. In a social sense, economically, experience, age, education, network… everyone relates to others in terms o

We always relate to others who are either ahead of us, or behind. This isn’t qualitative – it says nothing about a person’s worth, just in the way a university professor might be ahead of a welder (or indeed, a blacksmith), but is not a better or higher quality because of his education or status.

It’s just status, and we all have one, and always in relation to others.

What mr Blacksmith got wrong is minor, but it’s a fact that by saying thanks instead of something else, he’s taking the lower status, or smaller frame, position.

Here’s a dude who just posted a well-made, carefully edited, highly entertaining and educational video for free… that means his status is that of generous, consummate, expert… and mine is that of a humble student and grateful viewer. It’s I who should be grateful.

By positioning, or framing, himself as needy of views, he takes the smaller frame.

And we do that all the time, and it’s terrible for business.

For example: I once landed a copywriting client – a very successful C-suite female executive, in a fiercely male niche.

When you’re talking to a buyer, you’re a doctor, inventor, problem-solver, expert, strategist, or whatever it is you do. That’s a huge frame.

You’ve got something and you know it’s super valuable.

And it’s for the buyer to discover whether or not they see it as just as valuable.

In other words, you get to be confident in having expert status, and the buyer gets to assess you.

Meanwhile, as the seller, you get to assess the buyer, to see if they’re right for you, and if you’re right for them. Expert status, again.

Problem is, we often inadvertently let a buyer take the lead, and drive the conversation.

That means they take your status, when in reality as a seller it’s your job to guide the conversation. After all, you’re the expert, right?

So I’m inviting you observe your interactions, and those of others.

See what messages people send – what body language, remarks, replies… which frames and statuses do you see in your world?

And, in what way do you yield your own status, in moments when actually you shouldn’t?

Cheers,

Martin

Count Yourself

Yeah I know – there’s only one ‘you’ to count, right?

But check the way you write your business communications… emails you send to your list… replies on Messenger and Whatsapp… blog posts, your about page…

In the things that you write, how often does ‘I’ show up?

Ah… suddenly there’s a lot more of ‘you’ to count…

Look, it’s natural to reference self when writing. After all it’s us, ‘I’, in dialogue with someone else.

But most business writing is full of self-reference and the word ‘I’ shows up so much, that the reader can’t help but feel that it’s not about them.

And then they’re lost, they stop reading, they unsubscribe, or don’t follow up on your proposal.

So to make your business writing better, remember a few ground rules:

Never start a message with ‘I’. You might be the most loving and compassionate person in the world, but when ‘I’ leads the message, the reader reads ‘self-important’.

Following on from that: Avoid as much as possible, starting a sentence with ‘I’. Reason: see above, but cumulative.

Ok so with that, you’ve edited and improved your missive. Well done.

But if you count self, you see there’s still a lot of ‘I’ in there… now what?

Simple:

Replace each ‘I’ with ‘you’, see how it breaks the sentence, and then: rewrite the sentence so that you keep ‘you’ and it makes sense again.

Do that with each instance of ‘I’, and you’ll be sending messages that instead of driving people away because it *feels* like it’s all about you, will draw people in to working with you, because the absence of that ‘I’ focus allows them to relate your message to themselves.

Make people feel it’s about them, and they get closer – which is pretty damn required if they’re going to buy from you.

One of the things I love doing for clients, is take their pieces of copy and knock them into shape.

I’ve done it a lot so it’s a quick jobbie, and for my clients it’s great, because they can focus on doing their work, while they get a pro to create written business communication that causes sales.

It’s not that I sell that as a service, but it’s a nice – and super profitable, for my clients – bonus to give. Like that series I wrote a few weeks ago, and which helped my client net almost $10k in five days.

Could be the kind of help you have in your corner.

Maybe we should talk?

Cheers,

Martin

Three Questions That Determine Whether They’ll Buy – And the 2nd Gets Way Too Little Attention

Yes yes, of course: people need to know you, like you, and trust you, if they’re going to buy your thing.

But Know, Like, Trust, isn’t enough.

On a very primal psychological level, evolutionary style, everyone subconsciously asks three questions when dealing with others.

Do I like you?

Can you help me?

Do I trust you?

And that middle part – the other’s belief in our ability to help – is something often overlooked.

Think about it:

A buyer needs to have the conviction that you help with their thing. Otherwise they don’t need what you have.

But saying that you can do X or Y for them doesn’t cut it.

Whether you say ‘I make a good breakfast’ or ‘I fix your SEO’ or ‘I help you get really good at enrolling buyers’ (that would be me saying it – hi!) does nothing to convince someone.

It’s data, information, a statement.

For someone else to believe it – to trust that it’s true – that you can help them, something has to happen in their mind.

A doubt or question needs to be addressed in such a way, that they go from ‘Can they?’ to ‘Oh wow, they can!’

Saying it won’t make it happen.

Persuasion doesn’t make it happen.

Nor does a list of awards, education, resume or bio.

For a buyer to believe that you can help, they need to have an insight that leads to conviction.

They need to know that yeah, you’re the guy or gal for the job.

That’s when people buy.

So is there nothing you can do to have a buyer go through that process?

Sure there is!

1: Have a conversation, and frame it as an exploration into goals, current situation, and obstacles inbetween those.

2: Sell only one thing: your care and concern for them as a person and as a business owner. Be genuinely interested.

3: Ask questions that invite the other to try out different perspectives.

Keep doing that, and if you’re talking to the right person and you’re truly not being pushy or needy but interested in them, interesting things will happen.

For one thing, bits of the different viewpoints will stick, and the other person will composite their own viewpoint – or rather, their vision – on their situation, next steps, and the way you fit into all of it.

Another interesting thing that will happen: when a buyer reaches that vision, they’ll have decided for themselves – no persuasion required – that for their case, yeah you’re the right person.

And the most interesting: that’s when people ask ‘Where do I pay?’ or ‘When can we get started?’.

And I’ll bet you’d like to hear that more often, right?

Well, then let’s have a conversation, to see what we can do.

Let me know if you’re ready to talk, and I’ll send you a schedule link.

Cheers,

Martin

How High-Integrity Entrepreneurs Make Followup Easy

What do you do when it looks like a sale is going to close… and then it doesn’t?

Everything looks good, the other person is on board… and then something goes wrong, and the buyer doesn’t buy.

In my work I see over and over again, how people rich in integrity and ethics stop there.

And I get it – it used to be the same for me.

When an opportunity broke down, I just moved on.

And if you do that too, you’re leaving money on the table. As they say: the fortune is in the followup.

And sure, then you get the gurus telling you that you must follow up because it’s your moral and ethical duty to make sure that the right buyer gets his stuff from you, and not someone else, and – well, fat lot of good that does.

Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier to do it – especially if you’re a person who sticks to their values, you treat people with respect, and you don’t want to be a nuisance.

So then, how do ethical people do sales and follow up? What made the difference for me, and could it work for you as well?

Maybe. Most probably: yes.

It’s really simple, too:

Make every interaction a moment of joy. Have fun talking to your customers, serve them, be yourself and be light.

You’re not there to be all dry and professional – or indeed, salesy – because who wants to talk to someone like that?

Instead, make the interaction about connecting, and learning that person, and figuring out what’s real and/or trying for them.

When you do that, you leave people feeling ‘Yeah, I feel respected by you. I’ll talk to you again’.

Do you see where I’m going?

When you have conversations people enjoy, they’ll be open to hear from you again.

Once I got this, following up with folk became as natural to me as writing these daily articles.

But it’s not just about how you follow up – it’s about how you do everything everything in your business.

Do those things – including having sales conversations – in a way that makes people love dealing with you.

You know, like friends do.

That way, you’ll never have to fret about following up again.

Bye friend. Talk again soon :)

Martin

Oh, and: if you haven’t yet, make sure you watch this training, where I show you how the above works… and after that, feel free to get in touch to talk about working together and implementing this type of selling in your business.

Success Is Not the Solution

Last year at a round table discussion in Malaga, one of the guests was a lady preparing to open a lingerie shop for plus size women.

In itself, an idea that definitely has legs.

But for her as a bootstrapper with a limited budget, I had serious doubts about the nature of her plans.

She wanted to rent a storefront in Malaga’s most famous shopping street, launch with a bang, and  with that she hoped she would be on the road.

Which might work, sure.

But to *make* it works means a lot of moving pieces have to be in the right place. Brand choice, marketing, provider deals, targeting, pricing, promotion… it’s a lot.

And if you’re bootstrapping and you bet all you have on getting all the ducks in a row, just right, just so… and something’s off?

Then you’re back where you started, minus the savings yo invested. Oops.

Again, it’s not that it can’t happen, but is it the right approach?

Doesn’t it make more sense to test first?

Get feedback from the market, test your marketing, see if people buy?

And then when it’s not only your own plans and strategies that say it’ll work, but the market confirms, voting with their money?

That’s when you know how to put all the moving pieces in place, and that’s when it makes sense to build bigger and launch with a bang.

For example, this lady could have had her shop up and running in one or two weeks, by partnering with a business that serves a similar audience, and offering her products indoors of her partner’s premises.

Low-cost, low risk, direct customer feedback. What’s not to like?

But nope, she didn’t like that.

She wanted a shop, by golly, and she wanted to open properly.

Can’t blame her, but the thing that still worries me is that she was *in love with the idea of being a successful shop owner*, when it’s much more effective to be *in love with developing strategies, systems and actions that create your success*.

The former keeps you looking at the goal and how pretty it is, and while you’re doing that you’re not looking at the latter, which is the thing that’s meant to get you to that pretty goal.

Here’s the mistake people make:

The envision success, and think that reaching success will be the solution to everything.

Where success can be whatever you want: wealth, a successful shop, a million dollars a year, buying your own home, going nomad… whatever you want.

“Once I have XYZ, then all my problems and struggles will be over. Solved!”

In reality though, success is not the solution.

Success is the consequence of the solution – i.e. strategies, systems, and actions. Those solve for the obstacles preventing you from achieving success.

Success is never the solution – it’s the consequence of it.

And if you’re the kind of person who gets this, and who makes sure that development gets time and attention, and you want to get more leverage and ROI on your efforts, maybe we ought to talk.

I only work with a handful of clients at a time, and I’m looking to connect with the kind of person who is driven, is guided by purpose, is able to look in the mirror, and has a bias to taking action.

If that’s you, let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules of Ethical Selling: #1 – Diagnose Before Prescription

If a doctor would prescribe medication or treatment without doing a proper diagnose, it’s called malpractice. It’s the stuff that hurts patients and get doctors sued, and rightly so.

It’s not just legal obligation and best practice: it’s the right thing to do.

As a business owner, our responsibility is not very different.

Yet each day, I see people with a great product or service, real good eggs trying to make a difference, and they ruin everything because they come charging in brandishing their thing, saying things to the effect of ‘You really need this!’.

And sure, maybe the other person really does need your thing – but how would you know?

If you don’t properly ‘diagnose’ the buyer’s situation, needs, and urgency first, how can you know whether they need you thing or not – how can you prescribe before you diagnose?

If you solve problems for a client, the way a doctor treats illness, do you not solve problems better, and more often, if you first figure out whether or not people actually, really, need your thing?

Now, this goes beyond good practice and doing right by people:

It’s also an excellent attitude to take when selling.

Because when you ask enough questions so that you’re able to accurately diagnose a problem someone has, you’ll gain a deep insight into the problem, its causes, and possible solutions.

And if you then state the problem better than the person you’re talking to could state it, they’ll automatically become interested in your solution.

And if that solution then is right for them, at this moment, they’ll enroll themselves – no selling required.

When you hear me say ‘I help people fall in love with selling’, that’s really what it comes down to:

A shift in perspective and attitude, that transforms ‘selling’ into enrollment, or: moving forward with people.

It’s fun and I can teach you – just holler.

On that note: I know that many people who might want to get in touch with me, don’t do so because they’re concerned about the cost.

And if that’s you, worry ye not: getting in touch has no cost, nor does an initial friendly chat – and as for coaching programmes:

I’m always happy to work out a coaching programme that works if you’re on a budget but you do want help and you want it now.

If that’s you, say ‘yay’ and let’s see what we can do…

Cheers,

Martin

Buyer Psychology, Price, Impact&Value

There’s a common misconception in the mind of many business owners:

That selling at a lower price point makes it easier to earn a living or make a profit.

But that’s the kind of sloppy thinking that makes for a tough business to run.

Think about it:

For every lead that you create, you have to spend resources: money, time, mental resources, and so on.

If you then try to create a client at say $100, you have to spend ten times the resources to reach *counts fingers* $1000 in revenue.

And then you have to deliver your service – your coaching, training, consulting, whatever it is you do.

But if you try to create a $1000 client, you have just reduced your efforts and cost by a factor 10.

And the ‘secret’ is thatq*0987T28HQHyQg%KrzStWp#8Zo it’s usually just as much work to land a 1K client, as it is to land a $100 client.

So far for the logic.

Next up: the psychology of the buyer.

See if you do something really valuable for people, that gets them a high return on the investment they make with you (whether that’s in terms of cash returns or changes in their life), you want people to buy because of the value you deliver.

Your best buyers are those who want the impact you provide.

And if you price your work low, you’ll end up talking to people who aren’t looking for high impact and high ROI, but instead they’ll be looking for low price.

And the psychology of low price is that as long as the dollar amount you propose isn’t what they’re happy to spend, no amount of promised impact will convince them to hire you.

In other words: there’s value-buyers, and price-buyers, and price buyers are very, very costly because they are hard to convert.

Whereas value-buyers are more discerning, easier to identify, less concerned about dollar amounts – AND they are overall much more fun to work with.

A price-buyer thinks in terms of scarcity. They want ‘value for money’, and while you should obviously provide value for money, that kind of buyer will always want more, because they tie value to a dollar amount.

Value buyers however, tie value to impact.

And if you position yourself right, and put yourself in front of people who want impact, you’ll find that they’re far easier to enroll.

Yes it’s scary to ask for the big bucks, but you’ll find that people who want to buy impact are the kind who are *much* less concerned about the actual price.

And, bonus: that’s also the kind of buyer who is more likely to actually have the money to invest with you.

So before you go out and underprice yourself, ask: Who do you actually want to work with.

People who count dollars… or people who size up the impact you can deliver for them?

As for me and the impact I deliver:

I can help you fall in love with selling.

And the impact of that… well, that’s huge.

No more stress, no more awkwardness… and instead, an approach to enrollment that both you and your buyer enjoy.

And, you’ll be working to earn a dollar, instead of ten nickles. And that’s a lot easier.

Want that?

Then talk to me, and let’s see what we can do.

Cheers,

Martin

How to Improve Your Marketing and Sales: Apply Empathy and Generosity

If ever you wonder why your marketing isn’t working better, ask yourself:

“Have you built enough generosity into it?”

If the answer is ‘yes’, ask:

“Am I being generous to the ‘wrong’ kind of person?”

Because if you give to takers, your gift goes nowhere and your generosity is wasted.

Adam Grant writes about givers, takers, and matchers, in his book Give & Take.

Research shows that generous people tend to be the most successful.

But, generous people also tend to be the *least* successful.

The difference between successful givers and unsuccessful givers, is that the successful ones don’t give to takers.

That’s not selfishness or being uncaring: it’s efficiency. It’s putting your resources where they’ll have most impact. For you, the recipient, and those that they give to.

Takers are like a black hole: whatever goes in, never comes out again.

Matchers and givers however, give back or pay forward, or both.

Be generous to those two, and hope that takers will learn someday.

But don’t give to them.

No matter how big your heart is, you’ll never have enough energy to make it worthwhile to give to takers.

They’ll just want more and you’ll burn up whatever resource and goodness you have; it won’t benefit them, or you, nor anyone else

Point is, generosity – in marketing and sales – is an enormously powerful driver.

It’s leverage.

It rests on the principle of creating value, before asking or wanting anything.

Do things that are valuable.

Make things that are valuable.

BE valuable – and not just as a human, because you already are.

Be valuable as a professional. In your marketing and sales.

Tune in to the people you want to serve, create something they’ll love and that will help them, and give it to them.

The above was a tweetstorm I wrote, off the cuff.

And the last tweet was:

“Huh. Looks like I wrote a tweetstorm.

“Well, best turn it into an article, and send it to my subscribers.

“I hope they’ll get something valuable out of it.”

See how it works?

That’s how you create value, and I hope this one was valuable for you.

Want a little more generosity from me, and you’re a giver or matcher?

Book a 20-minute call. I won’t sell anything at you, though of course I’ll be open to the idea of you wanting to work with me, and I promise:

You’ll take something valuable from it, regardless of whether we end up working together.

Direct link to my calendar here.

Cheers,

Martin

Buyers Are Not Liars

In the world of conventional sales (as opposed to ethical sales, the way I teach it), there’s a saying that ‘buyers are liars’.

Which in itself is pretty nasty and cynical thing to say – and complete devoid of empathy (where empathy is, again, part of the way I teach selling).

Sure, a person might say ‘I want it’ and then not follow through.

‘I’ll send the check’ and then it doesn’t show up.

‘I’ll be there at noon’, and then they don’t show up.

‘This problem at my company needs solving, now’, and then they stop responding to your calls and emails.

Is it because they were lying?

Probably not. People say things for a great many reasons, and who knows why they say one thing and then do something else?

They know, is who.

And, guess whose job it is to figure out why they said something that didn’t end up true?

Your job – the job of the seller.

Here’s the thing:

In a selling situation, when the other says something, you need to test what they say.

Not, again, because someone would be lying, but because we as humans, all of us, assume stuff.

We take things at face value.

‘Yeah I like it, I want it’, and we instantly assume that the deal is done.

But it ain’t, not until the money is in your account or the contract has been signed.

But when you assume that thing A also literally means thing A, and that ‘yes’ means ‘it’s a sale!’, you bypass that other person’s reality.

Whenever you assume something about someone else, and we do it all the time, you break rapport and create a disconnect.

It’ll show in your reactions, your questions, your body language, the way you structure your sentences… and that other person goes ‘Hey wait a minute, I never meant/said/implied that’.

And… they’re gone.

This is precisely why my framework for ethical selling starts with questions, then answers, and, very importantly, pillar three: meaning.

What someone says is one thing… but what does it *mean*?

What are they really trying to say?

What did they not say?

What do they mean for you to hear?

And, is that what you heard… or did you hear what you wanted to hear?

What’s said is one thing. What’s being heard is another. And what was meant is something entirely different.

Learn your buyer. Test your assumptions. Ask more questions.

Let your buyer tell you whether or not you actually heard what they said.

That’s how you enroll ethically, with empathy, and yes, with success and profit.

And if you want the ins and outs of ethical selling, watch this. Seriously :)

Cheers,

Martin

What Do You Do?

It’s one of the hardest questions to answer for most any business owner.

In far too many cases, the answer is ‘I am a designer’ or ‘I’m a consultant’ or ‘I’m a personal coach’ – but that’s not an answer to the question.

They’re asking what you *do*, not how you identify or label yourself.

Now you might be ahead of that curve, and say something like ‘I build websites’ or ‘I coach female business owners’ or ‘I help artists build a business’, and that’s a lot better, but it’s not best.

Best, for the question ‘what do you do?’ is to give a statement that says what you do, AND why that’s something the questioner either will or won’t be curious and excited about.

‘What do you do’ is an opportunity to give a little pitch – and no, not in the sense of trying to sell someone right then and there, but to pitch the person on why you’re different, what your unique ability is, and above all: what specific benefit you deliver for your clients.

Examples:

‘I teach heart-centered entrepreneurs how to rock social media and build a loyal, profitable following’.

‘I coach female IT entrepreneurs on how to become an in-demand thought leader in their niche’.

‘I help social enterpreneurs raise seed capital, so that they can go from kitchen-table startup to enterprise with impact, faster than by building everything up manually’.

You see the pattern?

It’s always ‘I do [this specific thing] for [this specific kind of person/company].

That’s how you answer the question ‘what do you do?’

And now, the full disclaimer: it took me years to figure it out for myself, and even now I still sometimes answer by saying what I am, instead of what I do. Last Sunday at my friend’s house, who had friends over. ‘I’m an ethical sales coach’, and I was met with a confused frown. ‘A what?’

What I should have said was, for example:

I help purpose-driven entrepreneurs, people who are committed to doing good, impactful work, and I take them from ‘Selling sucks’ and ‘I don’t know how to sell myself’ to: ‘This isn’t so bad’ and ‘Selling my work? I got this’.

And on that note: if you are like that – motivated by purpose, on a mission to make something wonderful and meaningful happen in the world and run a profitable business while you’re at it…

…and you do indeed want to land more clients by having service-based sales conversations, I just might be the ethical sales coach to help you.

Want to have a conversation and find out?

Then schedule a call, and let’s chat.

Talk soon…

Martin

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