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

Can Selling Be Fun?

Almost every day, someone tells me a different reason why they don’t like selling.

“Selling is stressful”.

“It’s frustrating that the process takes so long”.

“I wish I wouldn’t have to always look for new prospects”.

“It’s such a waste of time, to issue proposals and not get the sales”.

I get it. Building your business, marketing, having sales conversations, writing proposals… it’s work, of the kind that you simply can’t get around.

But it doesn’t have to be a slog.

In fact, for me it’s the opposite. I find the whole marketing and sales process fun – a ton of fun.

Why?

For one thing, because it’s like a puzzle: who is this for? How can I reach them? Who’s most likely to buy? What do they want to hear, or know, in order to want what I’ve got? Puzzle, puzzle, puzzle. Shifting pieces, figuring out what works, seeing a picture emerge… it’s endless discovery and learning.

Which brings me to the second reason I like sales so much:

Learning. Learning about myself, for one thing, but also: learning other people.

Every person is a world, and for that person to buy my work, means I need to learn that person.

What are their fears and frustrations… which wants and aspirations do they have…?

How committed are they, how can I help them, what can I do to help them get out of repetitive and dysfunctional thinking and operate from the heart?

What’s the key I need to turn, in order for them to see their own abilities, leadership, communication and sales skills?

Who, in other words, IS this person – and how do I need to show up so that they can relate to me?

You can see selling as a separate thing, something you just have to do if you’re in business – or you can see it as an integral part of being human.

Where ‘being human’ means you exist in relation to others, and at any moment you have the opportunity to connect with someone, share in an experience, and figure out how you can create resonance with that person.

Much like you would with relatives, a partner, or a friend.

Selling isn’t some terrible task: it’s what we do all day long anyway.

And once you internalise that, once you make the shift into selling as a normal, helpful human activity, suddenly it becomes fun.

You don’t need to ‘get over yourself’ or ‘suck it up’ or ‘just accept sales’.

All you need to do is discover your own innate curiosity for others, and make it your mission to learn.

It’s fun, and it’ll make selling a lot easier too.

Cheers,

Martin

Incompatible Currencies

Last week I told you how easy it is to spend ‘other people’s currency’, and today the story is about you spending your currency… but the other person doesn’t seem to want it?

This – incompatible currencies – is the cause of many, MANY misunderstandings and disagreements… and yes, lost sales.

Here’s an example:

A husband comes home to find his wife distressed and upset. Oops… something’s happened.

He sits down, listens to her troubles, and starts thinking of ways to help, to improve the situation, to fix things for her.

Useful, no? Girl’s got a problem, let’s help and fix it!

Except his wife grows increasingly upset. Frustrated, even. Until the whole conversation disintegrates: he feels frustrated because she doesn’t seem to want his help, and she’s upset because ‘he just never listens’ to her.

In such a situation, the ‘currency’ she’s hoping for, is someone who listens, who gives her space to vent, clear her head, get some clarity. She’s not looking for a solution, but someone to just be present.

He on the other hand, is trying to ‘pay’ currency, in the form of quality problem-solving, but that’s not what she wants – and so we end up with incompatible currencies.

The problem arises when we interpret the other person’s situation, conclude that we know what they want, and proceed to try and give it to them.

A client might say: “I want a website with custom branding and e-commerce built in”, and on the surface that seems straightforward enough.

But below the surface, they might want different things, like:

“A site that works, for a change, and that’s easy to manage and update”.

Or: “A site that enables me to earn more from the traffic I’m getting”.

Or: “An online presence that I’m proud of”.

You can’t know what’s behind the obvious, and even when you ask, you’ll only learn what they tell you, which may or may not be the complete picture.

So if you then go answer, and fulfill, the surface-level wishes, you likely speak to something that isn’t the real, true, deeper, desire… and you might lose the client.

Whenever you try to help someone, serve someone, or try and do something in order to solve a problem for someone… but they’re not having none of it?

Ask yourself: Are you trying to ‘pay’ in a ‘currency’ they don’t want?

Cheers,

Martin

Do You Spend Other People’s ‘Currency’? Might Want to Check…

I can’t be sure, but there’s a good chance you too spend other people’s currency.

It’s a human, social thing – but it’s wise to avoid, and if you don’t it will have consequences.

Here’s two recent examples of ‘spending other people’s currency’, so you know what I mean.

Two of my friends were meant to come over for dinner a while ago.

But the day before, one was wavering on their decision, so the other friend texted me to ask whether they should both come, or only one, or nobody.

Fair play, things change. But this text reached me right in the middle of deep work, pulled me out of my concentration, and had me thinking about an issue that wasn’t mine to resolve – it was something they needed to figure out, so asking my help or opinion really made little sense. No big deal of course, but an example of how I suddenly found myself spending ‘currency’ (in this case: thinking-time) because of something sent to me – and it was something I couldn’t do anything to resolve.

The other example: in my mastermind group, one of the guys once asked if we could move our weekly session, so that he could watch a football match.

Again: no big deal (though in my world, football ain’t nowhere near important enough to, well, change any appointment. I just don’t like football. Also: I am the king of euphemisms – can you tell? But anyway).

When my buddy asked, that meant two other people (me and our 3rd mastermind member) had to think about accommodating the change. Spending mental currency.

And to accommodate the request, in my case would have meant changing two appointments, which would have further implications for the people whose appointments would get changed – and the same thing would apply to the world of our 3rd mastermind member).

In other words: a small action on our part can have a lot of domino-type ramifications for other people, and not only the first-line people get affected. It affects their people as well.

Even something as small as the difference between an email that states a bunch of things and then just ends, compared to the same email, but ending it with a clear type of Call to Action or next steps, will make a big difference on the currency that the recipient will need to spend.

Email 1 turns your ‘problem’ into somebody else’s problem, because they now have to decide on what action to take next. Email 2 is far better, because it already suggests a next action for the reader, and they don’t have to also take the action of thinking about the next step. So none of their currency gets wasted.

Now, you might that these things don’t matter all that much. That I’m making a fuss over trifles.

But nope. This stuff really matters.

Because you and I and everyone, we know the people who spend other people’s currency.

They are the ones who always seem to need something, always seem to need help or guidance, always bring things into your world that aren’t yours to deal with but now suddenly you find yourself thinking about it, people who blindly delegate whatever they’re not in the mood for dealing with, to whoever happens to be in the line of fire…

They are the people that always cause a sigh or a grunt when they show up. Because they never arrive without a complication, or problem, or some sort of cost. For you to pay.

It’s not that these people are bad, don’t get me wrong.

But MAN is it annoying to have people spend your currency!!

Therefore, don’t be that guy or gal.

Don’t spend other people’s currency, don’t make your problems their problems.

I invite you to spend this week looking at your communications and decisions, to see in what way you might unwittingly spread around bother in the world of others – the bits that are small and subtle is what we’re trying to uncover here.

You just might find that paying attention to this will very fast, almost magically, improve your relationships… even those who are already quite healthy.

Have a look, see what you discover… and let me know how you go.

Cheers,

Martin

Go For Exhaustion

There’s two kinds of tired: depletion and exhaustion.

Both are a consequence, and both require rest before you can give it another go.

But they are very different, and it pays to be aware, because depletion and exhaustion have different causes.

Depleted is how you end up when you’re running around putting out fires, going through mental loops, and doing the kind of busywork that doesn’t lead to results.

(Another big cause for depletion is having to make too many decisions, because decisions have a high cognitive cost).

Feeling, or being, depleted is no fun, not rewarding, and makes you want to hit snooze when you wake up in the morning.

Exhaustion however, that’s different. It’s what you feel after you climbed a mountain, completed a large customer project, or spoke to potential customers all day.

Exhaustion is the tired yet satisfied feeling you get after you’ve put in a long day of hard, focused, productive work.

Yeah you’re exhausted – but man, look at everything you got done… you’re *supposed* to feel tired, and it sure feels good.

The difference between depletion and exhaustion is big in many ways, and it’s a terrific way to measure how you’ve showed up to your work.

Exhaustion makes you wake up energised, and ready to rock and roll, whereas depletion has you wake up to another tiring day of ‘what actually am I supposed to be doing, what’s most useful’, which often leads to a day of procrastination and inconsequential activities.

When I end up feeling depleted, I know I’ve been working *in* my business, instead of *on* my business. Executing without much strategy or planning.

And when I notice that, I step back, stop doing things, take stock and map the playing field – and then I organise, prioritise, and plan… and only then do I go back to executing on my tasks.

Depletion is a warning sign that says ‘think’, so when you feel depleted, maybe it’s time for you to stop, and… think.

Don’t you think?

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

Resources vs Being Resourceful

It’s tempting to gather resources: trainings, skills, education, adding powerful people to your network…

Videos, courses, workshops and retreats… there’s a ton of things you can learn, install into your mind, add to your practice, acquire as a skill or add as a resource.

But nothing beats being resourceful.

Except, if you fall for the trap that marketers lay for us.

It’s the trap that says ‘without this book/training/retreat/course’ your life isn’t complete and your business stagnates.

They prey on our built-in sense of scarcity, making us feel that we’re missing out (FOMO is a real thing), and so we buy more stuff, and our shelves fill up with more shelf-help.

But no matter how many resources you acquire, they won’t help if you don’t use them.

You can learn the science of Facebook ads, but if you never run a campaign, it don’t do you no good.

No, resources are not what you need.

Being resourceful, that’s where it’s at.

Being able to make do with what you have (which is all we do all day long anyway), to cobble together available resources, to test and iterate and improve.

Hoarding resources is satisfying on an emotional and intellectual level, but it’s not what we’re made for.

What we *are* made for, is getting the best result out of the situation we’re currently in. That’s how our species survived and evolved: Check the playing field, see which pieces are there to be moved, and get to experimenting on how best to move them.

Read books if you want – but never forget to apply the resources you already have – by being the most resourceful you that you can be.

You might feel down or beat at times, but never forget that you were designed to thrive, regardless of the situation you find yourself in.

And each moment of each day, you’re in a situation where you get to choose to be resourceful.

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

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