Good Eggs Sell More & Sleep Better

“We didn’t like that estate agent”, she says. He kept showing us properties that were above our budget – and like, 200K over budget. It was weird”.

Friendly dinner conversation, at Burn’s night with friends this weekend. (Yes, there was haggis, and no: it’s not as bad as people say).

“It bit him in the ass though, because in the end we bought a property through a different agent, and it turned out that Mr. Greedy Agent also had it in his portfolio – but because he never showed it to us, we bought it through someone else”.

And so it is with selling: if you try too hard, if there’s neediness, if there’s greed, it’ll backfire.

It’s quite the opposite to my friend Dick, who’s one of the top sellers in his agency.

His secret? “I sell people the house they want, and make sure they don’t buy the wrong house”.

That’s ethics in selling, it’s looking out for your buyers, and it’s a perfect way to do well.

Good eggs sell more, and they sleep better. (well, they *can* sell more, if you learn how to)

When you’re an ethical person, with a lot of integrity, never make the mistake of thinking that this makes selling (or enrolling buyers) harder – it doesn’t have to be that way and in fact:

If you know your values and you lead with integrity, it makes selling a hell of a lot easier and a lot more fun too.

Want to talk about how that would work in your business?

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

When You ‘Can’t Find the Energy’, Ask Yourself These Questions

“I just don’t know where to find the energy”, she says. “Used to be, I’d get home from work and spend the evening working on my own business. But these days I just don’t have it in me”.

But is it about finding the energy?

Or is it about eliminating that what takes the energy we used to have, are meant to have?

Whatever it is that you put your time or attention into costs energy.

If you don’t have enough of it, ask yourself: are you being drained without you knowing it?

It’s more likely than you think, especially when you consider that whatever you put in your mind stays there and rambles on, costing you much energy.

And the worst kind of energy drain? Conversations that you shouldn’t be having in your head.

The kinds of conversations that go on because of all the opinions and statements and points being made on social media.

Want to have more energy?

Consume art instead of social media. Books, music, films, poetry… or, have actual, real, quality conversations with people you care about.

Those are the kinds of conversations that fill the well, that stay with you because they matter. That kind of conversation gives you energy, instead of taking it from you.

I’m not against social media, but it’s good to know that social media are deliberately designed to hook us on having more and more mental conversations.

And you know the cost of that…

Cheers,

Martin

Choosing Which Problems to Solve

At any given time, there’s a million things you could try to fix, change, or improve in your business – a million different problems you could solve.

But which one are most in need of solving?

Those that are easy to solve often don’t make that much of a difference, whereas the hairy ones are often too complex or time-consuming to tackle.

And yet, the hardest, most complex, most complicated problems tend to make the biggest difference once they get solved… except we avoid it, because they’re so complex.

The solution is to look for the problem behind the problem (similar to the 5-why’s exercise).

If ‘no traffic to my site’ is the problem, an obvious solution would be ‘fix SEO’ or ‘start guest posting’ or ‘start a podcast’.

Or you could ask yourself why you have no traffic to your site, and you realise that behind ‘no traffic’ lies ‘no visibility’, and behind that you might find ‘never made visibility a priority’ and behind that ‘insufficient attention to long-term business sustainability’.

Pretty nice discovery on the heart of the matter, I’d say.

And if you then solve that problem, and you make long-term thinking a priority, you might end up with solutions and actions that don’t just bring traffic, but that make your business healthier in general.

The problems you look at are only the surface.

Dig deeper before trying to solve them.

Cheers,

Martin

Three Pillars Required for Business Success

When trying to create clarity and fun and growth in your business, there’s three core areas to pay attention to – fundamental pillars, in my opinion:

Mindset, method, and skillset.

Mindset is about how to think, how to look at the playing field, the decisions to make, the things to say no or yes to.

Mindset is the overarching ‘how’ of the way you run your business.

Method, is straightforward, hands-on, measurable. It’s about planning, strategising, and steps to take, in such an order that one thing can build on another.

In other words, it’s the ‘what’ of being in business. What next, what not, what way, what to measure, and what assets to leverage in order to create a thriving business.

Skillset is, as the word says, about capabilities: the specific skills you need to bring to your game in order to actually make things happen.

It’s really important to work with all three, because it’s like a three-legged stool: if one leg is missing, the thing will fall over.

You may have an excellent method and strategy, and crazy good skills at marketing or delivering your work, but if your mindset says ‘it’s pointless, the economy sucks, people just don’t pay what I deserve’, then method and skillset don’t do you much good.

If your mindset is ‘I can do this, and I know I can find the people who do want to pay good rates’, and your method for finding them is great – but you don’t have the skills required to actually find those people, it won’t work either.

So as an exercise to look at where you’re at, where you want to go, and how to fill the gap between those two, it’s useful to assess where you’re at with each of the three pillars.

If mindset needs improving, work on yourself. Read books, get a coach, go to workshops and retreats. Learn to make your mind work for you, instead of against you.

If method is undefined or underdeveloped, straight-up learning is in order, especially in terms of strategy, measurement, and systems.

If skillset is lacking, train yourself. Be it in copywriting, or selling, or SEO, or using social media or building your list: there’s things you can do and do well, provided you train yourself.

So whenever you feel things aren’t working the way they ought to, take yourself through a little thought exercise, and ask:

Is my mindset configured correctly for reaching my goals? Is there any belief or elements to my attitude or showing up that I can change, improve or replace?

Do I have a well-defined, hypothesis-based method in place for growing my business, that allows me to test, iterate and optimise?

Do I have the skills required to actually make it work – or do I need to acquire new skills?

(Warning: rabbit-hole ahead. Not every skill is something you ought to learn – very often it’s better to outsource a particular skill, instead of trying to learn it yourself.)

Either way, if you want to make it in business, you need the three pillars: mindset, method, and skillset.

Which is the one that you need to pay most attention to?

Cheers,

Martin

“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

Before You Rush Into Action

Thinking gets a bad rap – and in many cases, justly so. This when we get stuck up in our heads and start overthinking things.

But if you want to do or build something, it’s good to spend time thinking it through.

After all, as my former abbot likes to say: “Humans are profoundly irrational creatures”.

For example, there’s a tricky hairpin turn in my street, and right between the two directions, there’s a 1-foot high little brick wall. A few times a year, a driver takes the turn too narrowly and drives over the wall, leaving broken bricks and rubble. A few days later a worker shows up to dutifully repair the damage, until before too long, history repeats itself.

All it would take is a little thinking: “Huh… apparently people don’t SEE where the little bit of wall is. What if we’d build that wall a few feet higher? Or, what if we put a simple pole on the end of it – that means people can’t avoid
seeing it, and it would guarantee people won’t take the turn too narrowly!”

But apparently, town hall has a budget for rebuilding damage, but not for actual practical thinking.

What about you? How often do you leap into a project, only to find out later that had you given it some thought, you’d have done it differently, or later, or not at all?

Helpful questions, when you’re about to do something and you want to make sure you’re getting it right:

What’s the opportunity cost of this?

Have I proven before that I can do this, or is my passion only based on optimism and confidence? (Also known as ‘uninformed optimism’ – the realm of rabbit holes and red herrings).

Should I talk to someone and get a reality-check?

What, actually, would my plan look like from the outside?

If I were employed and I’d present this to my manager or CEO, would they OK my plan?

What attitude is required of me, in order to make this work?

Which skills will I need, that I don’t have yet? Can I learn them as I go, or would it slow everything down?

Do I have enough time, patience, and grit, to see this through to completion? (unfinished projects are super costly).

If this goes wrong or doesn’t work, what would be the first, second, and third culprit?

If it’s me who screws this up, in which ways would I do that?

Which assumptions am I making about the work involved and the results I’m projecting… should I challenge these assumptions? (Hint: if anything is being assumed, the answer is always: Yes, challenge the assumption).

If I execute on this plan, will I get demotivated because of elements I’ll try to avoid at any cost – in fact I’m even avoiding thinking about those things right now?

Note that I’m not recommending you start overthinking: what I’m getting at is spending some time – and 10 minutes is often enough – to properly, coldly, logically, think through something.

And then, once you’ve challenged assumptions and thought about worst-case scenerios, and adjusted your plan to make sense… that’s when you launch into execution with all the passion you’ve got.

When you work, do it from the heart.

When you plan, it’s best done from the mind.

Holler if you’ve got a plan or project, and you want to talk to figure out if you’ve got it built properly.

Cheers,

Martin

How to Make It Much More Likely You’ll Actually Get the Job Done

A quiet Sunday, and I’m having coffee at the beach with friends.

“I don’t get it”, she says. “I keep telling myself that this weekend, I’ll get stuck in and do this or that big job I have. And I always end up procrastinating on it and doing something else. But I resolved to do it, with all the intent I have – so why don’t I do it?”

There’s a university full of psychologists who could make a fortune answering that question, but in the end, the why isn’t relevant.

More relevant and more useful is asking ‘in what way do I need to show up, execute, or perform, so that the job can get done?’

Consider:

If you say “I’ll get it done this weekend” means you saddle yourself with an amount of work, time-spend and exertion, that you can’t completely measure or schedule for. Too many moving parts, no telling how much energy you’ll have or how much you’ll actually need…

So the moment you show up to do the job, your subconscious gets overwhelmed and poof goes your motivation, and hello Netflix.

If you want to get a job done, don’t impose a ‘done’ on yourself.

Instead, decide to spend time working on it, with the specific attitude and type of focus required to do that job.

Process instead of outcome – and the attitude you’ll need to bring in order to perform the process best as can.

This weekend, I wanted to knock my projects & tasks back into shape. And so I didn’t say “I’ll sort Todoist out”, but instead my intent was:

“I’m going to spend time like a strategist, and give my most top-level mindwork to planning out my weeks and months, and making sure all my projects are sorted properly” – and yep, that worked.

‘Complete a project’ isn’t a very good goal. It’s an outcome that results from a goal that describes your way of operating… so when you want to get stuff done, choose not the goals, but the version of you (and the behaviour that version brings) that can make the goals real.

Cheers,

Martin

If Questions Are the Answer… (Stop Asking How)

Asking questions helps, creates clarity, gets you answers.

But to get quality answers, you need to ask quality questions.

I remember when I was 10 or so, trying to work out maths problems and asking my teacher how to do it, and she replied: “You’re asking me to do it for you”.

Asking people how to do something is actually a low-quality question.

The only person you should ask ‘how’, is yourself. Asking it from another, is a way to disempower yourself. You put the onus of finding a solution on the teacher, but it’s much better to put it on yourself.

One of my coaches, when I ask him ‘how to do thing A or B’, will throw the question back at me.

And if I then say ‘I don’t know’, he tells me the penalty for saying ‘I don’t know’ is $10.

A strong and effective way to force me into finding my own answers.

From my experience, some of the most powerful and effective questions to ask yourself, are all formulated so as to make you fully responsible for finding the answer.

“How do I solve for xyz?”

“What can I do to change this (or create that)?”

“In what way is my attitude an obstacle in this issue?” “What shift in my behaviour or habits will lead me to an eventual breakthrough?”

“Which belief do I cling to that keeps me stuck, and what new belief would I like to put in its place?” “What skill can I learn that helps me achieve result X?”

That’s the kind of question that actually helps. Especially if you ask yourself.

Of course you can also ask them of others – teachers, mentors, peers, coaches.

But be careful who you ask, and question the answer.

Because if someone proceeds to answer the question, it’s their answer and not yours. Which might help, but it can also send you into the weeds.

The best kind of help, is the kind that pulls out the answer from you.

Enter the world of coaching, where answers are triggered, not given.

If that’s what you want, hit reply and let’s talk – let’s see if we’re a good match.

And if not, at the very least, develop a practice of asking questions of yourself.

The right kind, the type listed above.

And for best results, journal your answers. It’s the best way to get out of your head, and access your deeper levels of intelligence and insight.

You have a lot of answers in you. Just make sure you ask the right questions, so as to bring them out.

Cheers,

Martin

Much, Much Better Than New Year’s Resolutions

Now that the holidays are over and all the talk about the new year and resolutions has died down, let’s talk about something that actually works for creating change and growth:
Implementation intention.

Because if you’ve ever had another slice of pie, whilst telling yourself that come January, you’ll be on a diet, you’ve probably noticed that resolutions don’t work. I mean: no gym is as full in use in January, as the number of people who sign up for membership in December. QED etc.

The problem with resolutions is that they go against the way our brain works.

When you eat now and decide to diet later, you’re giving your future self a problem. Today hedonism, tomorrow diet…? Hell no. And thus, making the resolution is in itself a way to ensure you won’t keep it. You can try to enforce today’s decision on the person you are tomorrow, but the moment you do that, your subconscious rebels.

Implementation intention though is different. And it’s simple, elegant, and effective.

And to put it to use, simply take some time in the morning, and reflect on what you want to do today, what might get in the way, and what you’ll do if that happens.

In other words: you visualise the best-case scenario, and then the worst-case scenario, and then you build solutions into your plan, for when things go wrong.

And the simplest way is to use the IF / THEN format that pogrammers use.

In other words: simple process-rules.

IF: it’s a new day
THEN: take some time to reflect and plan, before jumping into work

IF: planning is done
THEN: close FB, IG, mail, airplane phone & set a timer for 20 or 40 or 60 minutes ofuninterrupted execution

IF: I’m feeling tired and tempted to go onto Facebook
THEN: close laptop and go for a walk/call a friend/do a few pushups/make some tea

IF: listed tasks are done
THEN: review calendar and todo-lists – and then take a break

See how simple and powerful it can be, to pre-define triggers, the actions that they cause, and solutions for when things break down?

Now obviously, planning your implementation intention doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get everything done. Sure you wrote the ‘programme’, but you’re not a computer, and you won’t always follow your own rules.

But once you have them, and you know what the rules are, you have a course, a compass, by which you can measure your performance.

And if you find that you deviated or slacked off, you can go back to your rules and re-commit, or revise them.

IF: didn’t stick with the plan
THEN: stop executing, sit down, review & improve plan

Right?

So here’s where implementation intention differs from resolutions.

A resolution is a decision you make once, and then it’s meant to keep you on track ongoingly, based off that single decision.

But for any change to happen, any order or discipline or progress to be made, decisions need to be made again, and again, and again.

You don’t ‘go on a diet’ – you decide each day, and with each delectable morsel that shows up in your day, to stick with the diet. Decision, decision, decision, over and over again.

You decide – with intentionality – on what you’ll implement and how, and you keep deciding over and over.

So, now that you’ve seen your resolutions dissolve like a whisp of smoke the way they always do… implementation intention is what will actually get the results.

Good luck, and let me know if you need any help.

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

Menu Title