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

How to Improve Your Marketing and Sales: Apply Empathy and Generosity

If ever you wonder why your marketing isn’t working better, ask yourself:

“Have you built enough generosity into it?”

If the answer is ‘yes’, ask:

“Am I being generous to the ‘wrong’ kind of person?”

Because if you give to takers, your gift goes nowhere and your generosity is wasted.

Adam Grant writes about givers, takers, and matchers, in his book Give & Take.

Research shows that generous people tend to be the most successful.

But, generous people also tend to be the *least* successful.

The difference between successful givers and unsuccessful givers, is that the successful ones don’t give to takers.

That’s not selfishness or being uncaring: it’s efficiency. It’s putting your resources where they’ll have most impact. For you, the recipient, and those that they give to.

Takers are like a black hole: whatever goes in, never comes out again.

Matchers and givers however, give back or pay forward, or both.

Be generous to those two, and hope that takers will learn someday.

But don’t give to them.

No matter how big your heart is, you’ll never have enough energy to make it worthwhile to give to takers.

They’ll just want more and you’ll burn up whatever resource and goodness you have; it won’t benefit them, or you, nor anyone else

Point is, generosity – in marketing and sales – is an enormously powerful driver.

It’s leverage.

It rests on the principle of creating value, before asking or wanting anything.

Do things that are valuable.

Make things that are valuable.

BE valuable – and not just as a human, because you already are.

Be valuable as a professional. In your marketing and sales.

Tune in to the people you want to serve, create something they’ll love and that will help them, and give it to them.

The above was a tweetstorm I wrote, off the cuff.

And the last tweet was:

“Huh. Looks like I wrote a tweetstorm.

“Well, best turn it into an article, and send it to my subscribers.

“I hope they’ll get something valuable out of it.”

See how it works?

That’s how you create value, and I hope this one was valuable for you.

Want a little more generosity from me, and you’re a giver or matcher?

Book a 20-minute call. I won’t sell anything at you, though of course I’ll be open to the idea of you wanting to work with me, and I promise:

You’ll take something valuable from it, regardless of whether we end up working together.

Direct link to my calendar here.

Cheers,

Martin

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

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

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

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