Is Every Business a Relationship Business at Heart?

On one side, there’s business and sales and clients and selling… but on the other side, there’s relationships and communication.

Because no purchase is ever a strictly technical transaction.

Any time someone buys something, there’s a conversation going on in that person’s mind.

When you join that conversation, i.e. when you really *get* your clients, the conversation deepens, and a relationship starts – and inside that relationship, is that conversation.

Put differently: being in business means you’re in a relationship business.

It’s you, a thing you do, another person, and a problem they want to solve – and those are all related.

And if all works out well, you get money and they get your solution.

But only if the relationship is quality, and the conversation is about that other person and their needs and aspirations.

Here’s where it’s very easy to go wrong: far too many people talk about their offer and their accolades, but those only serve to persuade, and that automatically triggers resistance and defensiveness.

That way, the conversation doesn’t improve and the relationship doesn’t transform from ‘Tell me how you can help me’ to ‘Help me figure out if I should get your help’.

And that switch is crucial.

First, you’re a listener and provider of information, which is related to an existing problem or goal.

But after the switch, you’re a helper, serving someone in making the best decision for themselves.

Put differently: the ‘switch’ is a moment where the relationship changes.

When that change happens, a potential buyer has gone from being curious to being interested, and good things can happen from there.

But, only if you take care of the relationship.

Because the sale happens inside a conversation, which exists in a relationship.

In other words: whatever it is you do or make or offer or solve or provide:

Ultimately, you’re in the relationship business.

Now, I often get asked ‘how’. How to have conversations that work, how to build relationships, how to ask for a sale, how to ask questions that clearly show you’re not pushy and are looking out for their best interest? How, Martin, do I land more clients?

Too much to explain here, but I do have a training webinar you might want to watch, and you can do so here.

And if afterwards you want to talk, let me know.

Cheers,

Martin

They Need You

Whether you’re a coach, a CEO, an artist or speaker or author or inventor:

People need you.

That’s why you get paid (be it in fees or salary) to show up and do your work.

In other words, there’s demand for what you bring.

And, it’s incumbent upon you (and every other professional) to supply and bring that thing.

And if you’re then also someone with a purpose, who does their work because it makes a difference, marketing, promoting and selling go from ‘necessary evil’ to something you can do with pride.

After all, they need you – and nobody is going to search in order to find the needle (i.e. you) in the haystack (the marketplace for your kind of work).

No, it’s up to you to show up and be findable.

That’s how people who need you get to have what you do.

That way you fulfill the purpose you do it for, and that’s how you make the money too.

And that purpose can be anything you want – it doesn’t have to be ‘end world hunger’ or ‘invent the next generation of batteries for Tesla’.

Whether you create inclusive workplaces, or sing with Alzheimer patients, or run PR campaigns for social enterprises, or teach maths, or coach entrepreneurs on servant-leadership: you’ve got a purpose and it’s valid (and I do hope you know what yours is).

Work for that purpose, show up to the people who need you, and:

Discover your own best, most fun, true-to-values method for growing your influence, business, revenue, and impact.

Because if we don’t manage to sell, those who need us don’t get our work.

And if that happens, there’s a harsh question to ask:

Are we serving our purpose?

That’s why I teach and coach on business and sales.

Because folk like us, we do this thing we do for a purpose.

It’s our job to serve that purpose and that requires getting good at enrolling people in our work.

That’s how we get to serve our purpose.

And if that resonates and you’re ready to scale up, let’s talk and see what we can do.

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #3: Prevent the Sale

“But wait! Don’t we want the sale?”

Yep, we want the sale. I sure do, and I hope you as well.

Except when we learn that buying wouldn’t be the right choice for the buyer.

And that’s where you see the difference between ethical sellers, and who only care about the numbers.

Selling is a way to facilitate a decision-making process, and if a buyer is about to make the wrong decision?

Then it’s not just a friendly respectful thing to stop the sale: it’s your duty.

If they ought not buy, they should not buy. That’s how you sell with the other’s best interest in mind, and that’s how you build the trust that causes people to come back to buy later on, when the time is right for them and it IS a good decision.

And that’s why, when I talk to new people, I’m not there to sell. That’s not my job.

My job is to help you figure out what’s the best decision – for you.

Because that ultimately is the best decision for me as well.

So… been on the fence about talking, because you might want help but you’re not sure?

Then let’s meet, have a conversation, and see what’s the best decision for you.

Book a call here

Cheers,

Martin

Things You Want

Obviously, I have no idea if anything of what I do fits into your world. I may be a great ethical sales coach etc, but we’ve never met, and I have no idea what you would or wouldn’t need – or if my approach even resonates with you.

In that sense, there’s nothing that I can ‘sell you’ (Yep, I’ll bet you’re happy to hear that :)

But seriously: everything really is about where you are at:

Could you get more sales – do you miss out on opportunities?

Is enrolling, or selling, something you kind of dread, and you would like to come to terms with it, or maybe even enjoy it?

Do you find it hard to earn the kind of money you ought to?

Are you frustrated that your work isn’t having a bigger, wider impact yet?

If any of that resonates with you, the next question is:

Are you like me – are you a driven entrepreneur, on a mission to do something good, led by values…

…and is ‘doing right by people’ something sacred in your life and business?

And you want to improve your reach and impact?

Well like I said: I can’t know if you need any help, or want it from me, but we could find out…

We’ll take 20 minutes to talk about your business, your goals and challenges, and I’ll show you the ethical sales framework that enabled two of my clients to net $9K in a week, a while back (true story).

And if we both feel there’s a good fit, we can talk about working together.

Sounds good?

Here’s a link to my calendar.

Talk soon,

Martin

Context Before Content (And Awesome Sales Conversations!)

When you show up to a potential buyer – whether it’s in person, by email, phone or on social media – you’re asking them for their most precious and scarce resources:

Their time and attention.

And, if you do it right, people will be happy to give you those. Get it right, and people will give you permission to talk, ask, inquire, and explain.

What often goes wrong though, is that we launch into the content – the meat and potatoes of our thing – before we set the context.

That’s pretty much what’s wrong with traditional selling:

We have a solution, and we go out looking for a problem that it can solve.

And so we show up, and the pitch is on.

Thus, the context becomes ‘I have a thing, I want to tell you about it, tell me if you want it’.

In that context, it’s no surprise that people have no time, or make excuses, or raise objections.

Instead, set a different context right at the start: one that causes your buyer to care about the conversation.

And you do that by being *interested in them*, instead of trying to be *interesting to them*.

Nobody cares how interesting we might be, or our offer or service or product, until they realise that we are interested in them.

That’s a context most everyone will like, agree with, and it’s how you start conversations that everybody enjoys.

And that’s the kind of conversation that causes people to listen, consider, and buy, all without you ever having to sell anything unto them.

Much nicer for people to buy, instead of us having to ‘sell’, don’t you agree?

Cheers,

Martin

Oh, and: if it so happens that you want to buy ethical sales training, just raise your hand. It’s super effective, will rock your business, and is MUCH more affordable than you would think. Let’s talk…

Why You Need Permission in Sales, and How to Get it

Selling without permission is coercion.

You can’t morally or ethically have a sales conversation with someone who hasn’t given you permission for that type of conversation.

And, selling without permission is ridiculously ineffective.

You’ll have heard people talking about ‘handling objections’ – but, isn’t it better to not have any buyer objections at all?

Then seek to gain permission first, before ever talking about your offer.

It’s the difference between talking to a person who says ‘yes but’, and someone who says ‘Tell me more’.

And that ‘tell me more’ is what you get when you gain deeper levels of permission, ongoingly.

Level 1: permission to ask questions. You get that level when someone agrees to meet with you. Not that difficult.

Level 2: permission to ask deeper questions, to find the problems behind the problems, and the causes behind the causes (google ‘the 5 whys’ for more on that kind of inquiry – it’s pretty useful).

Level 3: permission to discuss how you might be able to help. This isn’t where you’re selling, it’s where the two of you are exploring if you’re a good fit, mutually.

Level 4: permission to ask for the sale. Asking for the sale is often the most daunting of the entire sales process, but it won’t be if you first took care of gaining the first 3 levels.

When you do, asking for a sale will be as easy and natural as saying to a friend ‘So shall we catch that movie tonight?’.

It’s not for nothing that Seth Godin coined the term ‘permission marketing’.

Well, there’s permission selling, as well.

So how do you gain permission from your buyer?

Ask questions.

We say too much. Recommend too much. Expound and reason and explain and… well, we waffle a lot, don’t we?

Especially when we’re uncomfortable with the sales process, which is largely due to not having paid enough attention to what level of permission we have from a buyer at any given time.

Instead of talking, listen more.

Ask questions.

Questions are the currency that buys you permission.

Cheers,

Martin

P.s. I’m looking for a few people whose business exists to make a difference in the world, to work with me 1 on 1 this winter.
I’ll coach you on how to make a bigger impact (and a bigger splash, financially :) than you thought possible, by showing you how easy sales becomes when you let your values and integrity lead the process.
Let me know if you’re interested…

Niche <--> Alignment <--> You

You can get all marketing-technical when it comes to finding the right niche for your work – and it’s useful, if only for the ‘huh, they made that for me!’ reaction people have when you get your niche right – but it’s easy to forget that a niche consists of people.

So who are the best people to talk to? Who are your most likely buyers? What are they like? What do they care about? What do they need to hear, in order to care about my thing?

Questions like these are what an entrepreneur’s business – and nightmares – are filled with.

And nope, it’ll never get easier, you’ll always have to re-think and re-adjust, as your business and your person evolve.

Here’s three questions though, that may help you shift your thinking:

1: What values would I love to see in my buyers?

The trick here, is to look for shared values. When you have the same brand of ethics, integrity, morality and values as a potential buyer, you’re more likely to get along – to have rapport, even before the first meeting.

This bit is a must-have: shared values are what make selling SO much easier.

2: What would you take a stand for, and what would your ideal buyer take a stand for?

This contemplation isn’t about must-have, but rather: nice-to-have.

Perhaps you’d take a stand for equality, but John Prospect might be all over workplace health and fair treatment. John and you don’t need to take a stand on the same things – but they are similar enough for you two to have overlap in terms of purpose and mission.

That helps you align, helps you two move together forward – which hopefully will include moving forward in a professional (i.e. paid) relationship.

3: What drives you up the wall, and what about them?

In your ideal buyer… what are the kind of things that they loathe, resent, would never stoop to, condemn or remove from their life?

What about you… what kind of thing really gets your goat, makes you angry, is unjust, should stop or change – what would you stand up against?

The overlap of what you and the other consider as ‘this is wrong, it should change’ is where you have a shared drive, an energy, a motivation to make stuff happen.

Again, these are nice-to-haves in terms of matching – not specific hard items like the values in point 1.

How to make this work:

Do some journaling, make lists, map things out. Be exhaustive and brainstorm-y.

In the center of the Venn diagram, start jotting down aspect and qualities about your ideal person – the kind of *person* inside of your niche that might be in the market for your work – AND they’ll have so much in common with you, you could have been friends for years.

None of this guarantees a sale – but it’s a damn fine way to find people you can move forward with, in some way or other.

And because you’ll have so much common ground, the chances of them buying go up enormously.

Every day I help entrepreneurs – coaches, trainers, artists, designers, authors – land more clients, by getting real specific about identifying, and finding, the people they love working with and who are ready for it.

And yes, we have things in common: we agree that truthfulness, integrity and justness are inviolable values. We both take a stand for doing right by people, and using commerce as a way to improve things – and we don’t abide things like racism, bigotry or divisiveness.

So if you’re like that too and you’re ready to convert more opportunities into sales, and stop losing so many, I can help.

Ready?

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.

What Fronting a Band Taught Me About Selling

It had been years – decades, really – since I’d been in a situation like this:

On a ‘stage’, with a band, guitar around my neck, in front of an audience… and I was loving every second of it.

(‘Stage’ in quotes, because really it was ‘us against the back wall in a local restaurant last summer, but still)

The people were grooving and so was the band, but c’mon… the song proper had long ended, we’d been jamming and soloing for a good while now on the back of it, and it was time to call the tune to a close.

Except we hadn’t really rehearsed ending songs.

During rehearsals, songs mostly just fell apart at the end.

(No, we weren’t prepared to play live – it just… kinda happened. Long story)

A quick look around, to check in with the guys – I could tell they were all wondering ‘where next, Martin?’

I nodded, signalled, and… bam. A perfect, tight, together, way to end a song.

Now here’s the thing: I’m not a ‘band leader’. I’ve seen musicians do it, but it was all new to me.

I just did what felt natural, and everyone played along, and it all ended well (ba-dum-tshhh…).

And that’s a sale. Selling is nothing more or less than moving forward with people, in a way everyone is happy about.

At that moment, without even thinking, I ‘sold’ the guys the ending of the song, and they were happy to buy.

And leadership plays a big role in selling.

Not because you need to ‘control the conversation’ (or the band), but because unless there’s a plan and someone to keep track of its implementation, people don’t move forward.

Leadership means plans get implemented right, and good leadership means everyone is happy.

And you want folk to move forward, right? I mean, does your business exist because something good happens for your buyers…?

They move forward in their life, in their well-being, in their status or skills or wealth or career?

Right, then in order for them to move forward, you need to learn how to move forward *with* them – i.e.’selling’ or ‘enrollment’.

Because unless they buy, they don’t get your help moving forward.

And that means you don’t get to have the impact you want, or the revenue, or the lifestyle – or, indeed, the ability to invest in growing your business so that you get to have a bigger impact.

Not pretty.

But, everything gets different, and better – and sold – when you move forward with people.

Because really, that’s all that selling is.

Each day, I talk to people who are doing something good, and they want to reach more people.

And when they learn, and internalise, the framework I teach, they go from ‘selling sucks and it’s hard’ to ‘huh, this ain’t so bad, and I’m getting the hang of it’.

Want some of that for yourself as well?

Cheers,

Martin

What I Want for You, and What That Might Look Like

It’s a delicate thing, when you’re in business and values matter to you: yes you want to sign on a new client, but you don’t want to seem needy, or greedy, or pushy.

And yet: unless you sell, you don’t get to have an impact, so something’s got to give. But values of course won’t ‘give’ – those are immutable and non-violable.

And so one of the biggest dilemmas for ethical people, is that while we want to give, help, and serve, we’d never want to make the impression that we ‘want something’ from the other person.

So here’s how I would flip that around, because it’s never about what I want from you.

Instead, it’s about what I want FOR you:

I want for you to grow, achieve, succeed.

I want for your people to be touched by your work.

I want for you to have impact, and a thriving abundant life as a result.

Thing is, I don’t know what any of that looks like for you. Do you want to scale? Grow? Move fast? Work in sprints, or marathons?

Do you want high visibility and the rewards that come with it, or are you more the slow-burn type of entrepreneur?

And what about money? What kind of returns do you want, what sort of personal income, what type and levels of investments do you want to make?

And yes, I know: it’s not about the money – same here. Money is just a nice reward, and a way to measure impact.

It’s not the only measure, but it’s damn useful because it keeps a company going.

So one of the things I want for you, is to enroll more buyers.

And I’d love for you to have fun doing it, knowing that you’re strengthening your company without ever having to go against your values.

Instead, you’d be enrolling people with ease, and really enjoying it.

Yeah… that would be awesome… I can see it now! :)

Let’s schedule a short video call, and see how I could help you make the above real?

Cheers,

Martin

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