Wanting Something From People VS Having Something for People

Had a chat last night with an old friend – one of the guys who used to visit the monastery. He’s in business too these days, so it was fun to chat and compare notes.

And once again, I had someone tell me “I don’t like selling”.

“I don’t like that the moment you have something for sale, it’s nasty because it means you want something from people”.

Is that true though?

Me I’ve got plenty for sale, but I don’t want anything from anyone.

I want things *for* other people – not *from* other people.

I want for readers to enjoy a daily dose of healthy business thinking.

I want for clients to get the very best of me, and for them to transform their life and their business.

And for potential clients, I want for them to make the best possible decision, whether that means working with me, or not. Both outcomes are fine, as long as the outcome is best for you.

So my friend suffers from two problems: first is the good-egg problem, where the better kind of person somene is, the more they prevent themselves from getting out there and helping people.
It’s a very common thing.

Th second problem is in his way of thinking, because:

It’s never about getting anything from people. Not for people like us.

And, when you sell from the heart, when you enroll because you’d truly love to work with that person and they themselves buy in voluntarily, you’re not taking anything: you’re giving.

And as long as the sales conversation goes on, you get to give them super powerful and enjoyable conversation, one that will help and be remembered.

And if the stars align, the other person will stop you and say ‘How do I get more of this?’ or ‘When do we start?’ or ‘Take my money!’ – all of which are things I’ve been told.

It isn’t ‘I want something from you’, it’s: ‘If you’re this kind of person, I have something for you’.

And when it’s ‘no sale’?

Then it wasn’t for them, at this point. But if you do it right, you’ll have had such a pleasant exchange, that the non-buyer remembers it positively, which means they’ll be happy to hear from you when you follow up. And you never know when someone will ready themselves to buy. (hint: it’s never when we’re trying to push. that isn’t ‘being ready’, that’s ‘being coerced’).

Now, the good news: if you’re like my friend and you don’t like selling, I’ve got something for you.

Right now, I’m running a pilot-programme for the ethical selling course that I wanted to launch a while ago, but didn’t.

Once I launch it properly, it’ll be $1500, for a 10-week video course with email support and a community membership.

But because this is a pilot programme, I’m giving the training live, 1on1, for a limited number of people, and while this offer lasts it’s $950 for the ten weeks.

Ten seats maximum.

Includes email access to me, and Q&A after each weekly training module.

So, are you a ‘good egg’ and you want to have more impact, and have more fun enrolling clients?

Then this programme was meant for you. More tomorrow… (or get in touch for details).

Cheers,

Martin

What Is It You Do For a Living?

Most people answer that question by not answering it:

“I’m an author” or “I’m a massage therapist” or “I’m owner of a design agency”.

Those are not answers, because they say what you *are*, not what you *do*.

And people are a lot more interested in the thing we *do* that makes us different, than in the label we put on ourselves. It’s why they asked the question, isn’t it?

Leave it up to Seth Godin to answer the question, and answer it right. In an interview he gave, he said:

“I notice things for a living, and then I try to point them out to people”.

Wonderful, isn’t it?

When people ask what you do, you need to know what message to convey, that has them see the change you make, in just a few words.

Elon Musk could say “I’m CEO of a couple of companies – Tesla, The Boring Company, SpaceX, amongst others”.

Or, he could say “I’m working on a multi-business plan to improve humanity’s conditions, and help ensure its survival”.

You’ll agree (whether or not you support his approach or not) that the latter sounds a lot sexier than the former.

My current best is “I learn people for a living, and then I try to come up with ideas that grow your business”.

Though admittedly, it’s wonky: It’s not learning people that earns me a living, but coming up with those business-growing ideas. In other words: my reply is still under construction.

But what about you?

What is it that you *do* for a living?

Not what you are, but what do you do, that someone else might value so much, they’d pay money for it?

What value do you create, what change do you make, what does your work for others?

Find the answer to that, and you’ll never have to lose another person’s interest again, when they ask what you do.

And the secret to finding the perfect reply?

Make sure that it answers the two most fundamental questions that literally everybody needs answered when dealing with a business:

‘So what?’ and:

‘What’s in it for me?’

Craft a reply that answers those two, and you’re set.

Oh and hey, let’s play a game!

Send me your best reply to the question “What do you *do* for a living?” and I’ll use my old copywriter-brain to help you turn it into a nice 1-sentence introduction for when people ask you.

Want to play?

Alright, here we go:

What is it that you *do* for a living?

Cheers,

Martin

Who Sells the Talk?

A couple of years ago, working with a number of artist clients, I was shocked to see a greedy trend in the gallery world: where artists used to be represented by a gallery, now increasingly galleries ask rent fees in order for an artist to hang their work.

Now, it appears that the same trick has appeared on the public speaking field.

Last week I had a meeting, to discuss my giving a talk at an upcoming local conference. Seemed like a nice organiser, the theme and other speakers fit my area of interest&operation, and hey: public speaking. Good for making connections&getting the word out.

And then she drew up a price list and started talking about the different price levels.

“Just a sec”, I said. “We’re talking about giving a talk – a speaking engagement, right? Not renting a stand?”

“Yes, a talk”.

“Ok, I’m just checking, because normally people pay me for giving public talks”.

She was quiet a bit, and then: “Erm… we sell talks”.

Seriously?

What she sells isn’t a talk, it’s floorspace and an audience. The speaker sells the talk.

“Ok, well why don’t you send in a proposal and a quote, and we’ll see if we can fit it in”.

In the end, I didn’t. It would probably be fun and useful, and paid, but:

Aside from the fact that I consider it wrong to charge an artist for wallspace or a speaker at a normal conference for floorspace, it’s a sign of bad business thinking.

The argument is ‘we need to cover our costs’ – but that cost should be covered from other things, such as ticket sales, revenue share on sales the speakers make, book sales, workshops… there’s a hundred ways to create revenue around a conference.

But if the organiser does it by charging the very people who bring life and value and content to the affair, there’s something wrong.

A gallery should be so confident in their ability to attract the right audience, that they’ll take their commission, but charge nothing.

And likewise, a conference organiser should have a marketing plan so well thought-out that they know they’ll cover their costs from ticket sales.

If they don’t have that in place, how do I have the confidence that there will be people in the room?

A paid speaking gig sounds like a nice opportunity, and it is – but only if I can develop it with people a) who share my values and b) with whom there’s alignment in the way we both see how things should be done.

Opportunities abound. Pick only the ones with the ‘right’ people, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and a lot of disappointment.

Cheers,

Martin

Stewardship

An average seller tries to reason with people: “Once you understand how good of a choice it is to buy this thing…”

A good seller works with benefits and desires: “You’re telling me you want outcome X, which is precisely what we created this offer for. It looks like this is the thing you’ve been looking for”.

A terrific seller works relationships and service: “I’m here to help you get to the right decision, be it buy or don’t buy – talk to me about any concern you may have, I’m not pushing anything here”.

And someone who sells with a purpose, from the heart, out of sheer desire to make a positive impact?

That person seller sells stewardship. “I’m here to make sure you’re taken care of – by me, and by the product or service you’ll be using. I’m here to be a steward over your outcomes”.

That seller btw is the one who gets the easiest sales, most referrals, and best clients.

Sell stewardship: let people know you’re there for them.

Cheers,

Martin

Good Deeds, Acceptable Costs, Thousands of Eyeballs

It’s always fun having visitors from abroad – never a dull moment.

“Martin I injured my knee, can you make an appointment with your fysiotherapist?”

I make the call, and: first option is ten days from now. Clearly not ideal, when someone is in pain, but that’s life.

“That’s a pity – could you recommend someone else, where we might be able to get an earlier appointment?”

She thinks for a moment, and I can almost hear the names going through her head coming out of my headset, and then she says: “Sorry, I couldn’t tell you”.

Which is fair enough, but it’s not how you create great relationships with your customers.

If she were to recommend a few people, I’d really appreciate that – and why wouldn’t she? It’s not like the clinic is empty, so… why not?

So far for good ideas on treating customers.

But if you want your people to have a stellar treatment?

Then you take their number, you call your friends and peers in the industry (whether you’re a fysio, coach or designer), and you set an appointment for the client.

Not only will the client love it, you’ll also have created a stronger bond with your peer, who will be more likely to refer work to you if ever they need to.

Does it require guts to do this?

Does it make people love you and talk about you?

Does it require a bit of faith in humanity?

Does it require that you choose wisely who to refer to? (givers and matchers only – there’s no point in giving to takers)

Yes to all the above.

Does it pay dividends over time?

You bet.

Doing things that make people talk about you is enormously profitable, even if there’s a cost or a client buys elsewhere.

Consider this story, where a bride called FedEx, because her wedding was the next day, but her wedding dress had not yet arrived.

Turned out, a routing error had landed the dress in a different city.

The FedEx operator arranged for a private plane to fly the dress in on time (literally going the extra mile), and guess what:

Not a single person at the wedding did not hear the story – easily 100 to 200 people, many of whom would relate the story to others afterwards.

And because it’s such an awesome story, it has real selling power in terms of having at least some of those people choose choose FedEx instead of a competitor, next time they want to send something.

Multiply by the lifetime value of a typical customer, and the cost of a private plane suddenly becomes very acceptable indeed. And you even get guys on the internet talking about it in articles.

One good deed. One cost. And thousands upon thousands of people who hear about it in articles, word of mouth, podcasts, mentions in books, and training materials.

Next time you have a chance to do something wildly loveable for a client, even if you’re concerned about the cost or loss of it, you might be well off doing it.

Cheers,

Martin

Interesting vs Useful

While asking questions and listening are at the heart of ethical selling, there will come a moment, or several, where the buyer wants you to say something.

Answer a question, explain something, repeat something…

That’s a crucial moment, because the way you handle that determines whether or not your sales conversation will go smoothly, or instead you have to struggle.

Most people, when it’s their time to talk, will go for ‘interesting’, which leads to statements like ‘As the world’s largest blah blah’, or ‘I work with some of the most influential authors’ or, the best of the worst: ‘I was talking to Richard Branson about that yesterday’ (or insert whatever more minor celebrity that someone might know).

The problem is not that these statements don’t make you look interesting.

The problem is that they do.

And a buyer doesn’t give a damn about how interesting you might be.

A buyer wants to know how interested you are in them.

And not in the money they might pay you, but in the solution they’re hoping to get from you.

And for all you regular, average, non-world’s-largest, non-connected-to-celebs business owners out there: the good news is that you can be as boring as a wet sheet of paper, you can still sell your stuff, and at good prices too.

How?

By being helpful, obviously. If your thing doesn’t help, people have no reason to buy it.

And if you want a buyer to understand how much you help and how useful you are, you show them.

When it’s your turn to talk, don’t start with things that are interesting, or make you look interesting.

Instead, say things that are useful – share insights, ask clarifying questions, suggest ideas or changes, and above all, and before anything else: make sure the buyer knows that you really get their situation.

Because it’s super useful to talk to someone who gets us: there’s no way they won’t get something useful out of the convo.

And even if they don’t buy then, they’ll be happy you spoke, and you’ll be welcome when you reach out again.

There: an easier conversation, with better positioning, AND an open when you follow up, just because you didn’t try to look interesting.

Ain’t that useful.

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

Reality? It’s Relative

One of my favourite notions is that nobody, ever, shares the exact same experience of reality.

And you wouldn’t believe the amount of pushback I sometimes get on that.

Because, the argument goes, reality is there, it’s real, and we all perceive the same reality.

And sure, I suppose we do (leaving philosophy about the nature of reality aside).

But we can’t ever share the same perception.

To illustrate: take a pen, and hold it up horizontally. Imagine there’s a person in front of you, and the pen is inbetween you and them.

For you, the point is on the left, and the end on the right. Right?

But obviously, for the other person, the opposite is true.

Now, imagine you’re side by side, looking at the same pen. Same reality?

Sure, but not the same perception. Slightly different viewing angle, different light refraction, different way sound waves bounce off it… It’s subtle, but it’s a different perception.

So what does this have to do with selling?

Simple: it’s a big mistake to assume that you know what your buyer is experiencing.

They might nod, but they might feel concern or contemplate a doubt.

They might say yes, but that might just be to win some time, while they think something through.

In the sales conversation, making assumptions is a big mistake.

Yes, you’re having the same conversation, together – but what do they make of it?

The way you think it’s going is only one side, and we must be careful not to project our views onto the other.

Because if we do, the other person will experience discord – they’ll experience that you’re not aware of their experience, and that doesn’t help the situation.

Instead, enable the other person to tell you what their experience of the situation is.

After all, every person is a world, and what they experience in their world, is their truth. It’s what’s real for them.

So ask questions. Explore. Discover. You’ll learn a lot when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes – and you’ll be far more likely to land yourself a client.

Cheers,

Martin

Permission –> Trust –> Vision –> Decision –> Sale

And, always in that order.

A potential client will only make a decision to buy, when they’re ready – and that means, they need to *see* themselves enjoying the benefit of having bought your thing.

That’s the vision element of a sales process: getting to the point where they see the vision you have for them.

But before they’ll buy in to that vision, they need to trust you.

Unless there’s trust, they’re not going to have that vision.

And, in order to gain trust, you need to gain permission first.

Permission to explain, permission to ask questions, and, yes: Permission to ultimately ask for the sale.

And so selling in an ethical way, where you have sales conversations that people enjoy, works like this:

First, you gain permission – to explore their situation, to address objections, to discover what they need.

Do that right, and you’ll earn their trust. Trust that you’re looking out for them, that you’re not just in it for the money, and – very importantly – that your product or service is what they need, and that it’ll solve their problem.

That trust causes people to get curious, to ask you questions, and that builds a vision in their minds.

And once that vision is ready, and they’ve sold themselves on wanting your thing – that’s when you get to ask for the sale, and that’s when they make the decision to buy (or not).

And if they don’t, you graciously accept their no, and you continue the conversation (i.e. followup) until such time that they are ready.

There you go: ethical selling in a nutshell.

Ah, you want a deeper dive?

Got one right here for you: a webinar where I go into detail on how these four elements (permission-trust-vision-decision) are built and supported by the 9 pillars of my ethical selling framework.

For your enjoyment and edification, right here: http://martinstellar.com/ethical-sales-training/

Cheers,

Martin

Values –> Alignment –> Resonance –> Sale

Whenever someone buys something, there’s something that resonates with them.

Somewhere in the mix of desired outcomes, emotions, trust and thought, there’s a ‘vibe’ that goes ‘yeah. want’.

If ever you came out of a conversation with a buyer and they didn’t buy, it means that there was element of resonance missing.

So how do you create resonance?

That’s a long and complex answer – which you’ll hear in next week’s training webinar – but one very simple way to improve the level of resonance, is to start with one of the deepest psychological elements:

Values.

You have things that are values for you, things that come before anything else, should not be violated. Principles you live by.

And, so does your buyer.

Usually when talking to people, you’ll discover whether or not you have values and principles in common.

If you don’t you’re out of alignment with that person – which isn’t a disaster, but it does make it more likely that you won’t reach enough resonance for them to buy.

The solution?

Put yourself in front of people who have similar or same values as you do.

That way, the moment you start talking, you’re aligned on a psychologically important level. Usually not even consciously.

But as you converse, you’ll both discover that you have more and more values and principles in common.

Each time they discover that, they feel more aligned with you.

And that makes it SO much easier to create a client, compared to trying to enroll someone whose values are far off from yours.

Making sure your buyer-conversations are with people who are aligned with you is one of the quickest and most powerful ways to increase your conversion rate.

Did that click for you?

Then don’t miss the free webinar – you’ll see a lot more things click, where it comes to sales.

Here’s where you register…

Cheers,

Martin

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