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

This Is Important. For Your Health, Well-Being and for Those Around You

I normally never do this, but:

The day is wearing long, I didn’t write my daily email yet, have only just ironed out the kinks in my new IP to Profit system so I haven’t had time to create a video to show you yet, and:

… and then I find this article.

I normally never let others speak to my subscribers but this is so good, and so important, I’d like you to take a few minutes and read it. It’ll do you good, I promise.

https://www.thatseemsimportant.com/mental-health/headlines-media-panic-pandemic/

Cheers,

Martin

And Now for Some Good News

I’m interrupting normal broadcast for different kind of message, because in the last few days I’ve been falling in love with humanity.

Normally, Twitter (I don’t spend time on other social media) is a place rife with arguments, polemics, divisiveness and ‘I’m right, and you’re not’. (some of that still goes on, but MUCH less).

But in the last few days, I’ve seen so many people do so many beautiful things, it makes my heart swell.

Some guy, saying ‘If you can’t pay the bills, send me a scan and your Venmo, and I’ll pay them.

Convertkit giving a user $500, because the user was short on money.

A startup opened up a phone service, connecting people in quarantine by phone, for free.

Companies like Zoom and HeySummit giving free access to their platform.

And… well, it’s so much, I can’t even remember all the truly awesome things people are doing for each other. Too much to mention, too much to remember.

And it’s not just on Twitter:

Here in Spain, beautiful things happen too.

Each night at 8 or so, the entire town gets out on their balconies and terraces, to applaud our healthcare workers. Just beautiful.

A guy posting a notice near the elevator of his apartment building, saying ‘if you can’t get out of the house, let me know and I’ll get you your groceries’.

Owners of shops donating facemasks and soap and gloves. And more, much much more.

I never knew I’d see it in my lifetime, but for once, it seems like humanity finally realises that we’re all in the same boat, and it’s best if we all row together.

Or maybe that’s just the treehugger in me thinking that, but: damn, folks. You all are doing wonderfully beautiful things for each other.

I love seeing that. Let’s do more of it, yeah?

Like the song says: accentuate the positive.

Be well.

Martin

Values, Experience, USP

When I talk about ‘solving the good egg problem’, meaning: helping good folk sell more because of their values, that means there’s a great many variation in the kind of business that I work with. Ghostwriters, designers, architects, startups, healthcare, web developers and yoga teachers: I’ve worked with all kinds and sizes of businesses.

On the surface, that looks like bad marketing, because if I’m for everyone in general, my marketing would say ‘I’m not for anyone in particular’.

Except I’m not for everyone.

I don’t really think in terms of ‘niche’ or ‘industry’ or ‘demographic’ – what you as a business owner do can be whatever you want – but I can only work with you if and I have shared views on items such as values, integrity, truthfulness… and, the idea of running a business that does something useful.

That’s my ‘niche’ – the psychographic make-up that you and I have, and whether or not we’re aligned in how we see certain things that matter a lot to us. Like values, and stuff.

That’s why I’m for: people who see business and service and money and marketing in a way similar to me: a force for good, to be used strategically and with purpose and intent.

Here’s why this is useful:

Your values, or those that your company embodies, influence the experience your clients have with your business.

When you then lead with those values, in all your marketing and sales efforts, you’ll start to attract the kind of people who seek a provider who has certain values in common with them.

So when I work with clients to grow their business, an important job is to figure out what experience your customers have had, what that says about your values, and how that informs the communication (i.e. marketing and sales) you should be putting out in your messaging.

Because when you have the right values in common, the sale is already half closed, before you even talk to a new customer, because you’ll already have a lot of rapport.

What all this comes down to, is creating a Unique Selling Proposition for your business, that is built to appeal to exactly the kind of person you love working with.

Part of the consulting system I’m rolling out, is figuring out exactly what your USP should be, so if you want to get clear on that – meaning, get clear on what sets you apart from others and why people should do business with you and not those others – feel free to schedule a free 30 minute consultation here.

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 ‘We’re 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 actually 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, normal, non-world’s-largest, not-connected-to-celebs business owners out there: the good news is that even if you’re 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 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 we won’t get something useful out of the conversation.

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 door when you follow up, just because you didn’t try to look interesting.

Ain’t that useful.

Cheers,

Martin

The Cost of Short-Term Thinking

It’s not that I’m a consultant or coach for the hospitality industry, but man there’s a ton of lessons to be learned from what I see here in town – this time, courtesy of a different establishment than the one I wrote about last week.

“I need another waiter”, said my buddy the restaurant owner. “Just for serving drinks, but I can’t find anyone”.

I suggested he attract a quality waiter by paying above average wages – say 20 or 30% more, but he said he can’t afford that.

Which seems to make sense in winter: Not enough diners to make up for the extra cost.

Except it’s backwards thinking. Short-term numbers games, and it does his business damage.

Because if today a large family shows up – and the Spanish love to dine in groups of 8, 10, or 12, and because you’re understaffed they get sub-par service, it might be the last time you see them.

10 diners is easily 500 euros worth of food and drinks, and if you treat a group like that well, they’ll easily be back at least two or three times before summer is over.

And, they’ll be telling their friends how awesome the service was and how well we were taken care of.

So losing the support and loyalty of just that one family can cost his business anything from 1000 to several, or many, 1000s in lost sales, over the course of a year. And that’s just one family. If ten families decide to never return, he loses tens of thousands in sales.

Contrast that against an extra 300 euro per month in paying a waiter above-average… i.e. a total increase of wages of 3300 per year (11 months) and you’ll see it not only makes sense to hire a superb waiter at higher prices… you also see that it’s outright stupid not to.

But such is the mentality on the coast: pan para hoy, hambre para mañana. Bread today, hunger tomorrow.

Short term thinking is expensive.

Long term thinking works to leverage current costs against future returns.

In other words: If you want your business to be fun and lucrative, you can’t afford to make short-term decisions that clip your earnings later on.

And if you HAVE to make short term decisions in order to protect cashflow, the last area where you ought to save money, is in customer experience.

Cheers,

Martin

Better or Worse

He’s a terrific guy, an awesome waiter. He does have the Granada ‘mala folla’ attitude, but once you accept that, you realise he’s actually not boorish at all – that’s just his sense of humour.

And at work? I’ve never seen a waiter run faster than him. It’s astonishing.

But the other day, having lunch with friends, the terrace was just so full that we had to eat our paella starved of drinks. He just wasn’t able to keep up.

This morning over coffee I asked if they shouldn’t hire another waiter, to help him.

Turns out, his boss doesn’t like paying wages. Thinks he can handle things by himself.

Which he can, but if you’re serving 25 tables at the same time AND there’s nobody behind the bar pouring drinks for diners… Then it simply is impossible to handle things well.

This owner, they are doing damage to their business.

Everyone I know in town loves this restaurant – and everyone complains about the service.

Which isn’t my friend the waiter’s fault – he’s running as fast as he can.

But to the customer, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. They want a good meal and decent service.

And the greediness of the owner… well, customers only care about that once it affects service or quality, right?

Here’s the moral of the story:

While profit is essential in business, and you sometimes need to make tough decisions, never let quality and service suffer.

Yeah, it’s bad for business.

But more importantly: it’s backwards thinking, because quality and service grow a business, while inefficiency and wastage slow it down.

If you’re going to optimise for profit, start by looking at bottlenecks, redundant assets and processes, and numbers to grow: traffic, inquiries, conversion rate, number of followup actions and all those fun digits that tell you whether
your business is doing well or not.

Make things better, instead of worse.

Are you looking to make some choices at the moment? Maybe I can help you there… and help you make things better.

Cheers,

Martin

“If There’s No CTA, All You’ve Done Is Make Art”

Heard that on a podcast this morning, not sure who first said it. But it’s true, in business.

Now before any artists reading this get upset: I’m not slating anything about art or artists. In fact, art is an important and valuable part of history and society and culture – and thank you all for making it.

That said, when you create marketing materials – emails, videos, presentations, social updates – and you don’t end with a call to action, what you’ve done is a public service…

… without serving your business – like art, it’s good for people and society.

It’s useful, good, gratefully received, builds goodwill and trust and rapport – but it doesn’t serve your business.

Because a business needs customers, and – oddly – you’ll get more of them when you ask.

That doesn’t mean you need to go all ‘buy now’ in everything you put out there, mind you.

You can invite your audience to take any kind of action – so long as you ask them for some kind of action you suggest they take.

“Hit reply…”

“Check out the course…”

“Buy it if it’s right for you”

“Share this with a friend?”

“Tell me, what’s your view?”

“You’ve learned the exercise, now I highly recommend you take some time for it.”

“Now that you know the cost of sloppy thinking, is it time to start thinking better and making better decisions?”

“Think about it…”

You see, there’s a million actions your reader or viewer can take.

The best one for business is one that leads to a sale, of course.

But on days when you’re not driving for a sale, or your intention is to serve or inform or train or entertain, you’re missing out if you don’t also invite the person to take some sort of action.

You’ve just done something intended to change or better their life.

What better thing to do, than to ask them to action it?

Think about it… see how you can work CTA’s into your own materials.

Or, you can talk to me if you’re ready to level up your marketing and sales in a big way.

Either way: I highly recommend you always use a CTA.

Cheers,

Martin

P.s. Here’s an example of another fun CTA you can use:

If you’ve considered contacting me about my work but haven’t yet… what’s the thing you want the most for your business… the thing you want so much, that you’ll click this link and schedule a short conversation, so I can learn what you want and you can learn if I’m the right one to help you get it…?

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

Iced Coffee, No Ice

“It already has the ice in it”, says the waiter as he puts down the glass of coffee.

It’s my favourite restaurant at the beach, where I like to sit and work in the mornings.

I look: no ice, just coffee. I touch the glass: it’s warm. Very clearly, this coffee is not iced, even though iced coffee is what I asked for.

“Yeah”, he says, “we’re no longer buying the big icecubes, because we had an icemaker installed. These new cubes are so small, they melt away when the coffee pours over it”.

Baffling. I mean, I’m all for reducing costs and optimising operations, but if it is at the expense of customer experience, something isn’t right.

Now, I don’t know if the owner is a penny-pincher, or if he’s simply been bullied into buying the icecube machine by some overzealous hospitality equipment salesperson, but if a customer has to ask for extra ice, it doesn’t bode well for the future of the restaurant.

Which is a real pity, because the place is generally excellent, the food is high quality and the owner is a nice guy who treats his staff well. I want them to stay in business, they deserve it. But this way…? Not a good sign.

Reducing costs is good. Optimising for profit keeps a business healthy.

But a business exists by virtue of customer love, and there’s only so much you can do to reduce costs.

The moment customer experience becomes less important than profit, you’re either on the road to failure, or to becoming one of those unpleasant companies that treat customers like cash-dispensers on legs.

And without customers, a business is nothing.

So keep ‘em happy. Delight the people who give you money. Profit will follow.

Cheers,

Martin

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