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

Music, Space – Silence and Sales

Way back when, I spent 6 months in university, studying musicology.

My favourite professor was a Sinologist (where Sinology is the study of Chinese culture, language, history, etc) and he taught me something that serves me to this day.

In Eastern traditions, music isn’t a matter of sounds, notes, patterns, and rhythms:

Music is the silence inbetween the sounds, punctuated by the sounds.

Something that a guitarist I know has no idea of, because when he plays, he’s not silent for a single moment – his playing is literally an endless progression of sounds… which makes for pretty awful music.

How does this relate to business and selling?

Very simple:

When you’re in a sales conversation with someone, one of the best things you can do is to shut up.

Not just to let the other person talk, but also to let the other person *think*.

Which most people get wrong: instead of giving others space, we fill every silence with words.

We keep talking, afraid to let a conversation pause – but it’s in those pauses that the other person reaches insight, identifies objections and comes up with questions.

Silence and space are what make a sales conversation natural and progressive, whereas if you just keep talking, you give the other person no space, and they clam up.

Yes, it can be uncomfortable to be silent and wait for someone else to say something, or to give you a cue to say more.

But in that silence, that’s when things shift for people.

And the most important moment for you to hold still and say nothing at?

Right after you quote your fee.

Think about it:

You’ve just told someone a number, and now they need to figure out how that number fits in their world, their business, their emotions, their budget…

The worst thing you could possibly do at that point, is keep talking.

Instead, sit back. Be quiet. Take the pressure off. Give that person time to integrate the conversation you were having, with the dollar amount required to acquire your product or services.

Put differently, let that person hear the ‘music’ (i.e. their own inner world) inbetween the sounds (the things you’ve been saying to each other).

The result?

Beautiful music, and a far easier sale than if you keep talking.

Space and silence might be uncomfortable for you, but the more you can accept that and stay quiet all the way until they start talking again, the better you serve them and the more likely that you’ll get that sale.

Cheers,

Martin

Music in You?

One day, the world-famous violinist Niccolo Paganini was about to play for a sold out opera house.

But he wasn’t ready. There was five minutes left, but he was running around like a madman.

They told him it was showtime, and get yourself ready, man.

He dashed into a room, came out with a violin, and went on stage – where he proceeded to, let’s say, rock the house.

Afterwards, he was asked: “Normally you’re so cool and collected, but you were a madman before the opera. What happened?”

Paganini replied: “I couldn’t find my Stradivarius, so in the end I had to borrow someone’s violin. I’m glad it happened, because I discovered that the music isn’t in my violin. The music is in me”.

And so it goes with all of us:

We spend half a lifetime thinking that the magic, the talent or the results exist outside of us – when in reality, it all, already, exists in you.

And that notion is exactly why we have teachers, trainers, and coaches:

To help you discover, access, and unleash ‘the music in you’.

And, it’s a perfect test for me, to figure out who I can actually help.

Because there’s nothing I can do for someone who is ‘running around trying to find their Strad’. Except for, maybe, show them this article.

But beyond that, no coach or trainer can help a person who looks for the music or the answers outside of themselves.

So ask yourself: where are you looking – inside or out?

Because if you’re looking for the music in you, and if these coaching articles resonate with you, then maybe I can help you find your music.

Want to give it a go?

Hit reply, let’s have a chat and see what happens…

Cheers,

Martin

“Martin, Can You Help?”

Help me manage my team, help me sell more, help me get unstuck, help me get on track, help me grow my business and my revenue?

Truth is, I have no idea whether or not I can help.

Everybody’s situation is different – and, it’s really important that you and the person guiding you are on the same page.

So whenever someone writes in asking if I can help, I have only one response:

Let’s talk, and let’s find out.

Very often, we find there’s a click, a type of resonance: we get along, we understand each other, my ideas find fertile ground and the conversation triggers discovery and decision.

But when it comes to the decision to work with me, I’ve been unavailable to far too many people.

Reason being that normally, I coach people in super-intense, 3-month programmes – and the cost of such a programme puts it out of reach for too many people.

That means I miss out on clients (boo, of course) but more painfully: those people who really are eager to work with me, often aren’t able to.

So, I decided to create a different format for my coaching help, where no matter what your budget, you can still get my personal help in running your business and growing your sales.

If you’ve been contemplating getting my help in building your business and growing your sales, here’s three different ways you can enlist my help.

Have a look, see if there’s something for you there…

Cheers,

Martin

Presence and Intentionality

Each morning when I go out for my walk, I stop at a local café for an espresso and a glass of water.

I get out my notebook, and write at the top of a new page: DI.

Daily intentionality.

I then title the page along a goal or focus I have for the day, and question myself on what I want, how I want to perform, and how I want to show up.

Sometimes it’s about life stuff, but most of the time it’s to do with business.

This single, simple act has a massive impact on me.

Because there’s a big difference between intending to do something, and creating an actual intent around it.

If you intend to do something, it’s easy to get waylaid or distracted or to procrastinate.

But if you shape an intent, especially at the start of the day, it shapes your mood, your thoughts, and your resolve.

The result is that you get to be more present.

And that – presence – is required if you want to perform at the top of your game.

Which you’ll know: if you go about your work distractedly, half-assing things and not giving it a fair shake, little good happens.

But imagine if you assign your day to a specific, outcome-oriented goal, and a specific way of showing up… and you then take the time to properly shape an intent around it…

It’s said that we overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year.

But I put it to you that you can do more in a day… so long as you create the intent to get the most out of your time and your energy for that day.

So… what’s you intent going to be…?

Cheers,

Martin

About You

If there’s one thing that nearly everyone in business gets wrong when it comes to marketing and selling, it’s this:

Making it about ourselves.

We tell people about our work, our credentials, our guarantee policy and our T&C and our experience and our success stories…

And your buyers… well, I don’t mean to be harsh, but: they don’t care.

That’s not because they don’t care about you (in fact, if you do sales right, people will actually like you, and thus care about you to some degree), but because a buyer can’t live without asking:

WIIFM?

What’s In It For Me?

If I spend this money, what will I get out of it?

What will my results be?

How will my life change, my business grow, my relationship evolve, my back feel, my team collaborate, my golf game improve?

In other words: a buyer has no choice but to look out for themselves.

Everybody needs to preserve their well-being: it’s a biological and evolutionary imperative.

Problems arise when the ‘for you’ message gets buried under ‘about me’ messaging.

That’s when a buyer fails to feel that what you’re offering really will help solve their problem, and when they don’t feel that, they don’t buy.

You want people to care about what you do, and what you could do for them?

Then talk to them about them – their fears, frustrations, their wants and aspirations.

Cheers,

Martin

All Kinds of Grumbles… Which to Pick?

There’s a million different things you could choose to work on:

From the way your office drawers are organised, to the way your team operates, to starting an ad campaign, updating your website, or following up with those prospects you have on file.

Each has a promised reward, and obviously, also a cost.

And like I said yesterday: the things you most resist, are often the things you’ll most stand to benefit from.

But there’s another way of looking at the wildly varied playing field called ‘your business’, and for that I want to remind you of Maslow.

You’ll remember his hierarchy of needs – the things a human needs to have in place, in order to live well and reach self-actualisation.

As a model, it’s nice and inspiring – but it doesn’t give you actual tools… there’s no manual or checklist it comes with, for which actions to take in order to build your hierarchy.

And as you know, action is what moves the needle.

But *which* action?

What out of all the possible activities will have the biggest impacts?

Introducing: Maslow’s hierarchy of grumbles.

Everyone in business (and everyone else, for that matter) will have things that need to get done.

Problems to solve, systems to build, todos needing to get done… a whole washlist of ‘grumbles’.

You grit your teeth, you do stuff, and things start moving.

The trap we fall into, is doing the easy things, the busywork – the low-level grumbles. Cleaning out your inbox, tweaking your social media profiles, updating your email signature – and thus, we get a feeling of accomplishment, because hey – we’re doing things!

Yes, but are those things worth it?

If you busy yourself with low-level grumbles, you might feel good about being active, but will you be making a difference in your business?

Instead of working on low-level grumbles, what would happen in your business if you’d focus on high-level grumbles – the tasks, projects and activities that challenge you and require that you show up as your best, business-building self, instead of occupying yourself with things that seem useful but that have little impact?

What if you:

Worked on a strategy that consistently places you in front of potential clients?

Developed a lead-generation habit, so as to fill your pipeline?

Finally committed to showing up daily to your audience?

Put together that pricing page you’ve been procrastinating on?

Started that podcast? (*points at self*)

Would create standard operating procedures for your team, so that new employees have an easier time on-boarding?

Started reaching out and get booked for public speaking?

Launched that course your people have been asking you for?

What would change in your business and your life, if you gave priority to the high-level, or even meta-level, grumbles?

Pick your battles with care…

Cheers,

Martin

Compared to What?

I’m sure it’s happened to you:

You’re talking to a prospect, everything seems to line up, they want what you have, but then comes the devastating price objection.

“I don’t have the budget”, or “It’s too expensive”.

The one thing you never want to do at this point, is lower your price. For one thing because it attacks your own self-worth – never a good idea – but also: it gives the buyer the feeling that you were asking too much to begin with. Result: broken trust, meaning the sale is much less likely to happen.

One thing you can do when a buyer objects to a price, is to increase the scope – i.e. the overall value of what you’re offering.

You can probably think of something extra you can do, give or provide, at little cost to you but of meaningful value to the buyer.

And that word – value – is key.

Because most people don’t mind paying an asking price, so long as they value the purchase high enough. Just look at Apple computers and phones – very costly, yet very popular.

So when someone says ‘too expensive’, why not ask ‘compared to what?’

Very often a buyer will walk away from a purchase, but the next day you see on Facebook that they ordered a flatscreen TV or booked a cruise. And they told you they didn’t have the money!

Well, looks like they did – except they preferred to spend it on something else – and when that happens, it means they didn’t fully internalise the value of your work.

So next time someone objects to your price, admit that your fees are not the lowest, and then move the conversation away from price, and into value.

It’s your job as a seller to figure out what someone wants, and why – and if their view is on price, it means you’ve not yet helped them see the value of your work sufficiently.

Price objections are not the end of a negotiation: they’re a new jumping-off point, where you get to focus on value.

And to do that, ask questions that help the buyer uncover their fears&frustrations, and wants&aspirations.

That way you’ll shift from price to value, and that’s how you create clients.

Cheers,

Martin

Transactions VS Relationships

It might look like a simple equation:

You have a product or service that solves problem A for such and such a person – so when you meet that kind of person, they pay you and you deliver your solution.

After all, a business solves problems or fulfills needs, and earns money in return.

But if you look at it that way, you make it transactional, and that means you’re likely to ignore a host of items that matter a lot to your prospect.

Wants, aspirations, fears and frustrations… trust and concerns and objections… all kinds of things that are very much alive in your buyer’s mind.

And until your buyer has a resolution to all of those, there will not be a transaction, because they won’t be ready. (unless you bully people into a sale, but that’s not the kind of person you or I are).

The thing to remember is that a sale happens in the context of a conversation, and a conversation happens in the context of a relationship.

So if you find that prospects don’t end up buying even though they seem ready, willing and able, ask yourself:

Are you focused on the transaction, or on the relationship?

In nearly all cases, backing away from the transaction you hope for in favour of developing the relationship, will enable your prospects to bring items to the table that they need resolved.

Whereas if you keep your focus on the transaction, they’ll feel incomplete, that there’s something missing in the overall picture – and as long as that state exists, they’re not going to buy.

Relationships lead to transactions.

So: Build relationships.

Cheers,

Martin

Said VS Heard

I’m sure it’s happened to you:

You’re in a normal conversation with someone, everything is going well, you say something perfectly straightforward or helpful or appropriate…

… When suddenly, out of left field, you get the most bizarre reaction, usually something with lots of emotion behind it.

Anger, resistance, objections, blame, self-pity… can be any kind of thing – but it’s definitely not what you expected, and things seem to have broken down.

For example:

“Have you considered trying XYZ” is met with “Stop telling me what to do!”

“Yeah I used to make that mistake too, but I learned my lesson”, gets a “Yes I know, you’re so damn perfect!”

“Oh, that sounds like a pretty rough situation to deal with… if I can help in any way” receives a “I can handle it on my own, thank you very much!”

Or, the other day, when a friend asked me to help market his father’s invention.

This friend and I, we go back 25 years, and rather often, we end up in dire miscommunication. Which means that I don’t know if I can help with the project – if my friend and I keep ending up in misalignment and arguments, how much help can I give?

So I told him: “I don’t know if I can actually help”, to which he replied with defeat: “Oh, well then I guess not”.

In all situations like that, when a reaction you get is completely unlike what you expected, ask yourself:

What did they hear me say?

My friend heard “I don’t think I can help you”, when that was not what I said, or indeed what I meant. I just wanted to open up a side-conversation, about the way he and I tend to communicate.

But that’s not what he heard – and the crux of the matter is that what is being said is never as relevant as what is being heard.

After all, no matter how good or useful your message may be… if someone hears something different, your message is lost.

And of course you can blame the other for misinterpreting, but what good does that do? They reacted to the best of their abilities, with the means available to them, based on the information they have and heard (or, think they heard). Blaming them for not listening or not getting the point does no good.

What does do good, and lots of it, is asking yourself ‘what did they hear?’, and then finding a way to deliver your message in a way that enables them to get what you actually meant.

That’s your job, as a communicator: to find the method and approach that enables the other to get your point.

And in business, you’d better pay attention to this, because it’s very easy to lose a sale just because someone heard something different than what you said.

If ever you see someone get defensive, or shut down, or protest, or give an unexpected reaction in any way, ask yourself (or even better: ask them): What did they hear me say?

Cheers,

Martin

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