“Can’t They Guess?” Maybe They Can, but Is That Their Job?

Of course the other person has intelligence. And ears, and intuition.

They know how to compute and make sense of what you’re saying.

But, when you want to get results with people in any sort of way, you shouldn’t give people the job of trying to figure out what you mean.

It’s your job to make sure your meaning gets across, and gets registered on the other side just the way you meant it.

But very often, we don’t do that job.

We say vague things, or give ambiguous messages, or we use catch-all words, like ‘you know’ and ‘kinda’ and ‘wow’.

But what does ‘wow’ mean? It underlines an emotion – but which one? And because of which impression, experience, thought, or insight that you had did you get to feeling ‘wow’?

Pretty unfair to let someone else do the job of figuring that out, isn’t it?

Even worse, when you don’t speak clearly and unequivocally (meaning: there’s only one possible interpretation of your message) you give the other person a job to do, where they need to spend cognitive resources, and guess what:

The other person will be too lazy, disinterested, or occupied with their own thoughts, to do that job for you.

And there you go: misunderstanding, confusion, broken communication, and in the context of business: no sale.

Want to move your relationships, sales, and conversations forward?

Then let everything you say have only one possible interpretation. In other words: take on the job of communicating so well that you’re understood, instead of leaving the other person responsible for figuring out what you meant.

Cheers,

Martin

The Shift: Serving Customers Before They Buy

As a coach, I meet lots of people – and it’s amazing how many folks are hung up where it comes to selling their work.

Stressful, ‘no good at it’, awkward, ‘I just want to do my work without having to sell it’… these are some of the things people tell me.

It’s a sad state of affairs, especially since most people have a truly valuable offer, are good people, and genuinely want to serve their buyers.

But, until you land a client, you don’t get to serve that client, right?

Actually: wrong.

If you really want to serve a buyer, then your serving them starts before they buy.

If you deliver a rocking product or service, then your first order of business is serving your buyer in the process of making a decision.

That decision being: whether or not to buy your thing.

It’s a bit like coaching, in that sense: you’re not there to convince or persuade, but to hold a space where someone reaches their own clarity, uncovers their own motives for making a decision to buy, and where they enroll themselves into saying yes and sending you money.

This shift in attitude – from ‘I got something and I need to figure out how to get people to pay me’ into ‘Let’s help this person figure out if they actually want my thing’ makes all the difference.

It changes the dynamics, creates conversations that are zero % pushy and 100% enjoyable, and lands you buyers that really want your work (i.e. you drastically reduce buyer’s remorse).

And, if a prospect doesn’t buy, they’ll remember you as someone with integrity, and they’ll very likely welcome it when you follow up again in the future.

It’s a significant shift, with big consequences, and all it takes is for you to reframe what a sales conversation is about.

From selling… to serving… so that you get to serve your buyer even more, once they buy.

So how does that sit with you… are you ready to shift your framework, and move from selling to serving?

Cheers,

Martin

That’s Right!

It’s nice to be right about things.

Especially when selling, when you know you’re right: you know that once the other person buys, they’re doing what’s best for them.

You know your stuff, you understand their problem, and yeah, you’re right: buying your thing would be a good choice.

But being right is only as useful, as how right the other person thinks you are.

And very often, we’re satisfied when someone says ‘you’re right’.

But as Chris Voss – a former hostage negotiator – says, ‘you’re right’ is a blow-off. It says ‘I’m done with this conversation. Just stop talking and leave me to do my thing’.

When a buyer says ‘you’re right, it makes sense’, your reaction will determine whether you’ll land a client or not.

If you think it’s confirmation – a proper ‘yes, I’ll buy’ – you’ll miss the opportunity and they probably won’t buy.

Instead, go for ‘that’s right!’.

Because when someone buys, it’s because they trust – they know – that you truly *get* their situation.

That’s the highest level of rapport and resonance, when all someone can say is ‘that’s right!’.

That’s when you’ve completely absorbed, integrated, computed and summarised their situation.

In other words, at that moment you’ve moved into their world, got a perfect workable map, and you’re now showing it to them.

And they go: ‘Holy cow, this guy totally gets me’.

And that’s when they’ll be most likely to make a yes-decision and buy your work.

Don’t fall for ‘you’re right’ – always seek to understand the buyer so well, that they’ll say:

‘That’s right!’

Cheers,

Martin

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love ‘the Close’

When new subscribers join my list, I like to ask a question:

What’s your biggest obstacle when it comes finding buyers for your work?

The answers are often interesting.

Some people say it’s finding buyers in a down economy, others say it’s their own penchant for procrastination, and yet other say it’s identifying their ideal buyer in the first place.

And the other day someone said their biggest struggle was the close.

You know, the point where someone commits to giving you money for your work.

Personally, I don’t like the term. Sure you close a deal, but I much prefer to think of it as a starting point instead.

You open a buyer relationship with your client. Much nicer than ‘closing them’. No?

This isn’t just semantics, either.

Think about it: when someone wants to buy from you, they’re buying into your world.

They enroll in what you offer, and the premise that paying for it is worth it.

Someone who buys from you enrolls into your world.

And that makes all the difference, because all of a sudden it’s not longer about you wanting the other person to buy something.

It’s become a matter of them wanting to own what you have.

So instead of an outward ‘buy this’ push, ‘the close’ is about extending an invitation.

Which the other is, of course, free to accept or not.

A lot of salespeople know this, and use it to create successful and satisfying business relationships.

But there’s also a ton of marketeers and sellers who move beyond the social nature of selling, and who make it into a sort of ‘buy this or the puppy gets it’ transaction.

Which has given sales a bad reputation, but more dangerously: it has caused quite a few ethical providers of high quality goods and services to dislike ‘the close’.

And so, I often hear people say “I don’t like selling. I’m just not good at it”.

If by that you mean the notoriously unethical ‘ram it down their throats’ sales process, then good on you. Nobody should like that kind of selling.

But if you’re not like that, and you care about solving problems for your buyers…

I would suggest you switch your view on selling to having someone enroll in buying the solution you offer.

Because that way it becomes a lot more fun, and a lot easier too.

Want some personal, 1 on 1 help with that?

Then sign up for a no-cost strategy session, by answering a few questions here: https://martin283.typeform.com/to/v7Dsh8

Cheers,

Martin

What to do When ‘the Face Ain’t Listening’

So you’re talking to someone whom you’d like to buy in to your idea – buyer, spouse, team mate, etc – and you realise:

They’re not buying. No matter what I tell them, they don’t seem to be enrolling in my idea.

So you try a different approach, different logic, another kind of appeal to their senses…

But nope, no cigar – they still don’t seem to get the sense and usefulness of that thing you’re trying to have them see.

In other words: it’s like you’re ‘talking to the hand, and the face ain’t listening’.

When that happens, you need to realise that (very very likely) you’re trying to reason with someone who isn’t in a rational state.

Their emotional senses are looking for the stuff that feels good, and you’re here, trying to appeal to their intellect, intelligence and insight.

Obviously, that will go nowhere: the other person’s emotional world doesn’t understand stuff – no matter how compelling, logical, and sensible your argumentation may be.

You’ve probably had the experience, and if you don’t remember: if you’ve ever thought to yourself “But why don’t they *see* what I’m saying, that it makes sense?”, then you’ve been trying to reason with their emotions.

You can explain until the cows come home, but the mind won’t deal with information if the emotional world doesn’t feel it yet.

The other person’s emotional world is large, mostly subconscious, and it’s got power to overrule the mind, because the subconscious is tasked with keeping us safe, watching out for threats. It knows more than the mind does, it intuits – and it’s a paranoid gatekeeper.

Looks, feels, sounds, like a potential threat? Best be safe, and consider it a threat.

Live another day, in terms of evolutionary psychology.

Now obviously, it’s illogical that they’d feel some sort of unconscious threat – after all, you’re not trying to harm anyone, or force anything on them – but that lack of logic is exactly what the irrational nature of emotions is about.

So. If ever you find yourself reasoning with someone who’s just not getting it, seeing it, buying in to your idea and vision:

Stop.

Something in their subconscious triggered an emotional defense or disconnect, and hammering your point is only going to strengthen it.

Stop, and instead get that person to talk. Ask questions such as ‘what’s on your mind’ or ‘what does this situation look like to you’ or ‘are there any concerns you have about any of this’ or ‘if you were master of the universe, how would you solve or arrange this?’

The actual question you ask depends on the situation, but the important thing is that you get the other person to share their view, the vision that they’re working with.

With a bit of luck, you’ll uncover the reason why their emotions block understanding or adoption – which gives that person the validation that their concerns are valid, and that will help them trust you enough to at least try and see –
understand – the sense of what you’re trying to say.

In short: never try to reason with emotion, because it’s a ‘face’ that will never listen to reason.

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

The Three Biggest Mistakes in Sales

The first one is blindingly obvious: too much talking, not enough listening.

If you want a buyer to care about what you know, or do, they first need to know that you care about them and their problem.

The second mistake, is selling on features and benefits.

The saying goes: features tell, benefits sell – but that’s only part of the story.

What *really* sells – and amazingly well – is a person’s own desire… meaning, their wish to gain a positive outcome, or alleviate a burden or problem.

And guess what: listening and asking questions that facilitate insight and discovery, helps your buyer discover just how deep the desire goes.

The third mistake is the hardest to get around: being afraid of the no, and therefore not asking for the sale.

It’s hard to hear no, because nobody likes being rejected – and the fact that ‘no’ to your product or service isn’t a personal rejection, makes no difference. It still feels bad to hear no.

But, being open to a no, or welcoming it – or, best: asking for a no – is the best move you could ever make in the process of sales conversations.

“Here’s an idea… I don’t know if this will fit into your world, so tell me if it doesn’t, but: what if I could help you get outcome X? (Or solve problem Z)”.

Say that to a potential buyer, and you’ll be giving them the right to veto, which means you respect and emphasise their autonomy, and that means they won’t feel threatened, rushed, or pushed – which obviously means they’ll be more open to considering what you have to offer.

Obviously, there’s a lot more that can go wrong, when selling – but these three need attention and improvement, before anything else.

And, while I don’t know if my work will fit into your world, I’m happy to schedule a 20-minute sales audit with you, to see if I can help.

After that we can discuss ways to work together, or if you don’t need further help, we simply part as friends.

Sound fair?

Let me know, and I’ll send you a schedule link.

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

How to Make Enemies and Alienate People

Saw two examples of how to network with people, at an event in Malaga a while ago.

One good, and one disastrously wrong.

Before the socialising part, each attendee got one minute to pitch their business.

Afterwards, I was accosted – literally – by an attractive young woman.

She came up to me, introduced herself, and without pause launched into an endless, aggressive salespitch.

How her co-working space is this and that, how there’s seminars and a virtual mentoring programme… on and on.

I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Not even to say that I have no need for any of it, because my friend Antonio runs his own co-working place, and I get everything she offers and more, at his company, each time I go to Malaga.

Silly of her, because showing up this way meant that she made herself absolutely unattractive to me, from a business point of view. Repellent, even.

On a personal level too, because there was nary a smile or friendly expression during her entire rant.

Compare that to the second experience.

Guy comes up and tells me that my pitch really interested him.

And, would I mind if he gave me a little feedback, and a tip on how to improve my presentations?

Look what he did there: he built rapport (in a sincere way, I could tell he wasn’t faking it) and then asked me permission to give feedback.

Next he told me something useful, and invited me to stay in touch.

Effectively, he sold me on liking him, and on wanting to meet again.

Obviously, he’s hoping to get business out of me at some point – every business owner is.

But the way he did it pulled my closer, whereas the lady drove me away.

Now I imagine that you’re far more like that guy, than that lady.

I imagine that if you read my articles, you probably like to give value, and listen, and try to attune to what others experience and need.

But what if all that doesn’t land you the clients you want?

What if you don’t manage to get paid what you’re worth?

Or, what if you do, but you just really don’t like the sales process?

And, what if you want to do something about it?

Then I can help.

More information here: http://martinstellar.com/how-can-i-help/

Cheers,

Martin

Proof?

Maybe you doubt it works, when I say that listening, and silence, help you sell with more ease.

If so, read what a reader named Mark Keefner sent me, after yesterday’s article:

“Hi Martin!

Just read your email about silence and sales. Super true, been applying the art of no-pressure listening as of late and customers just seem to magically order products from me when I let them think about what they want or need rather than telling them about all the great stuff I have for sale!”

(I also received a – joking – reply from a friend who told me that in order to not get any objections, the best method is to talk non-stop and bulldozer over people… something I do not recommend, unless you wear 80’s polyester suits and enjoy living in a ‘boilerroom’ full of sales people).

Anyway:

Yes, silence and space and listening make selling easier.

Add in the habit of asking strategic questions about wants, needs, fears and frustrations, and you have the makings of a sales conversation that causes people to enroll themselves, just the way Mark is experiencing these days.

And, add in 1on1 sales coaching, and selling will get even easier, and it’ll become a lot more fun as well.

More info here: http://martinstellar.com/how-can-i-help/

Cheers,

 

Martin

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