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

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

How to Not Try, and Actually Help People

It’s kinda cruel, how we’re wired.

The more someone else struggles or suffers, the more we feel it and the more we want to help them, make things right – but in far too many cases, we get the opposite result… and it’s only down to trying too hard.

For example, you’ll know that I’m very hot on meditation. It’s a wonderful thing, I’ve done it for 25 years, it’s done me tons of good, has scientific backup as to positive effects…

And yet, you rarely hear me talking about it here, or in general.

Until someone asks me – then I’ll talk for hours. But until that moment? Probably not the best time, yet.

But if I know how good it is… shouldn’t I promote it more? Be vocal about it, recommend and urge and suggest?

Well, no. Because that would mean ‘trying hard’, and the problem is that today you might be swayed by my recommendation, and try it, and because the choice was made because of my clever pitch and not your own inner pull, you’ll likely find it a disheartening experience and give up. Trust me, I’ve seen this hundreds of times since I started, 2,5 decades ago.

And then you might consider yourself ‘not fit for meditation’ or vice versa, and never get back to it. Or maybe you’ll try again in a decade or two, which is a long time to not meditate.

So by trying too hard, I would risk putting you off your own course. Much better to help those who want change, or meditation, or growth or whatever, and who want to start it now.

Self-motivated, self-inspired. It’s the best way for anyone to step into change, and the best way to help with that is by helping the other find their own solution, and not imposing our own good ideas on anything or anyone.

Now back to opening lines: the more we care about someone, and the more we hurt seeing their struggle, the more important it is to give the other space for wanting change or help, instead of proffering our help and suggestions before that person is ready.

It goes completely against our mind’s direction, because we know – our minds know – that we can help, that there’s a solution, that if only they’d listen…

But the mind will have to suck it up, because the more we try, the more wrong it is in its conviction.

Go ahead and try, helping someone who isn’t ready yet… has it ever worked? Most likely, you ran into resistance and objections, and the other person’s process didn’t speed up, no matter how hard you tried. Could even be that things stalled or slowed down, or maybe the conversation got difficult… or maybe you’ve been on the other side, where someone just wouldn’t stop trying to fix things for you and didn’t give you space to even think. All because of ‘trying too hard’.

Pay attention to the gut-wrenching feelings of grief and compassion and pity at seeing another person’s struggle, and when you notice them: check yourself.

Be available, ready, present, but be careful not to hamper the other’s process by inadvertently getting in the way.

If you really want to help, create a space and a conversation that enables the other person to seek and find their own inner pull, and avoid trying too hard to help.

Which, incidentally, applies to all kinds of relationships and conversations: spouses, children, vendors, team members, clients and prospects.

No matter who it is: the harder we try to help, the easier it is to help less. But now you know what to look out for…

Cheers,

Martin

Bye Bye 2019

A day can make a big difference – or a year, or a decade, or 5 minutes.

Every moment in any life can be a moment of complete inflection.

And obviously, a calendar date makes no real difference – except if you assign a specific meaning to that date, when you give it its significance.

If for you that’s New Year’s then today’s your day and all the power to you.

Just remember that it’s always you who gets to chose the point of inflection and significance – and that you get to choose it whenever you want.

Today, tomorrow, next week: you assign significance to a moment, in service of an inflection you desire.

Change happens all the time, and the change you want happens continuously, by repeatedly choosing, and it starts whenever you want it to start, and the best moment for it to start is whenever you’re ready.

Pro tip: if you want to be ready for change, chances are you already are, whatever the date.

All it takes for change to happen is to make a decision – but you’ll need to make that decision over and over again, until it sticks.

Anyway, such are my year’s end thoughts for you. It hope it’s been a good year for you and that your next one will be even better.

Love & luck,

Martin

What You Wanted, and Did You Get It?

You know I’m not the kind of guy to jump on bandwagons, but in all the talk about goalsetting, and reviewing the year and the decade, and gearing up for a new one, there’s something missing – and it’s possible the single most important notion for you to install, if you want to *actually get* what you *actually want to get*.

And I chose those words with care, in that order, because:

What you think you want, isn’t usually the same as what you really want. Meaning, on a subconscious level.

“What is it that you really want” is a fantastic question to ask (yourself or others), but it’s the reason why you want that, where things start getting interesting.

And then the reason why you want that, and the reason behind that…

It’s similar to the ‘5 why’s’ principle, except you ask 5 times: “What about that makes me want it?’.

You’ll quickly come to an insight as to the deeper reason, and that will serve you set the right goals.

Because the goalsetting secret nobody seems to talk about is that our mind may well set goals and make plans, but it’s our subconscious that mostly drives where we’ll end up.

It’s what your subconscious wants that’s dominant in how you think, decide, and operate, so you’d better *know* what your subconscious wants.

That way, you can set goals that are aligned both with your mind, and your gut&instinct. And those goals are the kinds you’ll achieve – whereas if there is no alignment, things probably will be a struggle, or won’t work, or you’ll be stressed and overwhelmed or things will end up a mess…

Been there, have you? Yeah, me too.

What you want to achieve in 2020 is one thing. What your subconscious wants to achieve is probably, somehow, different.

Figure out what it is, and overlay the two. Happy 2020 etc etc.

And if you didn’t reach your goals, it’s good to do some thinking and figure out in what way your subconscious wanted something other than what you rationally told yourself you wanted, because likely there was something off there.

Meanwhile, I’ve just had an idea:

What if I give you a single, one-off session, specifically intended to help you set the best possible goals for the year?

I don’t usually do this, because clients work with me in coaching programmes, and not one-off sessions…

But hey it’s Christmas, so why not make an exception and help you get started right in the new year?

We’ll take 50 minutes on Zoom, put an X-ray on your aspirations and challenges, and create a set of goals that are as perfectly aligned as possible.

And unlike my normal fees, which are much higher, this session will be only $50. I’ve no idea how many people will sign up for this, so this offer can disappear at any time.

Want goals that are actually attainable, plus advice on how to reach them?

Let me know…

Cheers,

Martin

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…

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