Careful With Other People’s Problems…

It’s good to be compassionate and caring, to look out for others and help when you can.

But there are certain types of people you need to be careful with, especially if other people’s wellbeing matters to you greatly.

The first type of person is the Taker (as opposed to Givers and Matchers – see Adam Grant).

Takers only receive, and don’t give back nor do they pay forward – and you can deplete yourself completely, dealing with those people.

Then there’s the people who don’t realise that their problems are affecting others.

These are the people who always create drama, who amplify problems, who blame and rant and rave and complain bitterly – and consistently leave you worse for having dealt with them.

Avoid those people.

We all have problems, and only those who own their problems end up solving them.

Those who don’t dare look in the mirror don’t benefit from our help.

Because ‘helping’ someone who doesn’t take ownership isn’t helping – instead, it’s enabling their destructive behaviour.

I suppose it’s related to ‘misery loves company’, and so you get dragged down to their level of misery. Their problems – Somebody Else’s Problem, or SEP as Douglas Adams called it – become yours.

And you’ll agree that this doesn’t help them. And, if it leaves you worse off because now you’re saddled with someone else’s problem, you’re less able to properly help those who do take ownership, and who want actual help instead of enablement.

So to make sure you perform and help and serve as best as can:

Never let an SEP (Somebody Else’s Problem – kudos to Douglas Adams) become your problem.

If you’re going to help, help those who’ll benefit. It’s the only way to give people your best and have it actually have an effect.

Cheers,

Martin

Simple

Building or running a business can be hard, but it should never be complicated, because that’s just no good for the mind.

Simple is good.

The fewer moving parts in anything, the easier it is to run the thing, test it, find flaws or bottlenecks, and fix and optimise.

Same thing goes for business. You can make your business as complicated as you like, with teams, advertisements, funnels, infrastructure, franchise – you name it. A world of options.

But the more you add in, the more complex it gets and the harder it gets to figure out what’s broken and needs fixing, or what works and merits more resources.

So here’s a model I came up with, which you can use to analyse your own business, and keep it as simple as possible:

Step 1: Values.

These inform your purpose and your mission. And, they enable you to identify and find people who share your values, so that you’ll have rapport with them.

Step 2: Assets

These can be tangible, like a list of names, hardware, office space – or intangible, such as your network, your skillset, your footprint and visibility, or the amount of goodwill and buy-in your audience has for you.

Step 3: Systems

This is where you tie the first two steps together, and build structures, frameworks, standard operating procedures – and points of measurement, so that you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

Now as a framework this is useful, but how do you make it *work*?

Simple: ask yourself these questions (longhand brainstorming is best, for this kind of Q&A).

1: What are my values? What would I stand on a barricade for? What do I not accept, what change am I willing to fight or stake things for?

2: What assets do I have in place? What tangible value does each have in my business, what economic value if applicable, and what potential does each asset have, given smart leverage?

3: What systems are in place, and in what way can they be simplified or improved so that they work better, or become easier to measure for output and results?

4: What outcomes are my systems producing?

Because everything is a either a system or part of one, and every system is perfect for the outcome it produces. So if you see outcomes you’d like to change, you now know which system to improve.

How to improve it? By looking at how your values and assets can be combined and leveraged so that the system, again, becomes simpler and more measurable.

Yes, this is an exercise that can take a few hours, but it’s super useful, because it gives you clarity, direction, and purpose.

Or, we can have a conversation, to have a look at your values, assets, and systems, and to see what’s the quickest way to get you to landing more clients and making more money.

It’s a 30 minute strategy session, there’s no cost, but it will be useful and fun.

(In case you’re wondering: Yes, I’ll likely ask if you want to work together afterwards – but trust that I won’t be trying to convince or coerce – that wouldn’t be fun, would it now :)

Here’s my calendar, just pick a time…

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

Righting Wrongs

A savvy business owner sees a hole in the market, and figures out a way to fill it.

A savvy and compassionate business owner sees a pain in the world, and finds a way to ease it for those who suffer from it.

These are the people we all know, and their products and marketing are wherever we look.

And then there’s a third kind of person.

This type isn’t in business because there’s a need, or a hole in the market, or because they found a way to make money.

It can even be argued that these people aren’t in business, necessarily – they’re on a mission.

They see a status quo that they refuse to accept, and they make it their mission and their purpose to right the wrong that they see – to change the status quo.

(For me it’s ‘the nicest people, those most concerned with making things better, are often those who struggle most to grow their business’. That to me is wrong, because it means that the less nice, the more aggressive or less scrupulous, do move forward, while good eggs don’t. I stand against that and my mission is to make the good eggs, those business owners who actually care, grow and profit the way they deserve).

Incidentally, my favourite kind of client is of course the kind of person who’s on a mission: it’s a lot of fun to see someone scale up because of, rather than despite, their values.

Because that’s the whole simple essence of an ethical business:

Your values don’t have to stand in the way of your growth – they can enable your growth, and impact, and money, and all those good things.

And good eggs, folk on a mission, well that’s the kind of person I have a lot of time for.

So anyway, I’m curious:

What mission are you on? What do you stand up for? What wrong does your business serve to right?

Cheers,

Martin

Ten Rules for Ethical Selling, #4: Never Decide for the Buyer

Obviously, it’s the buyer who decides to buy. For a seller to make the decision would be all kinds of wrong – as well as practically impossible.

We don’t get to tell people what to buy and when – all we can do is offer help in making a decision. Facilitate, you know?

Problem is, it’s really easy to communicate the opposite, and when we do, the buyer runs for the hills.

A buyer – anyone, really – subconsciously is always scanning the environment for anything that could end up being a threat. That’s the protection our lizard brain gives us.

And in that hyper-alert mode of perception, which is active 24/7, anything that could potentially one day become a threat is instantly and automatically classified as ‘Threat. Avoid’.

Now what’s the things that’s most threatening to anyone?

Having our autonomy taken away. It’s one of the worst things that can happen, to not be free to do or be who we are.

And the moment we show up with a ‘well this is what you ought to do’, in whatever variation, that subconscious bodyguard of us asks ‘Yeah but wasn’t it us who runs this show? Why is someone telling us what’s best? This can’t be right. Avoid’.

And there goes another buyer, suddenly nowhere near as bought in to getting your thing as before.

All it takes is the impression that autonomy is being threatened, and the impression will be treated as if it were an actual threat. The other can’t help it.

So if you want your enrollment to be ethical and effective as well, rule #4 of ethical selling is:

Never decide for your buyer.

And, be hyper careful to not even allow that impression to exist – in fact, actively seek to have it known that any decision made to get started and buy, is not yours to make.

At most, you can decide to *not* work with someone if you feel it’s not the right fit, but that’s all.

The ‘yes’ is the buyer’s choice, so make sure they know that you mean that.

As a result, people enroll themselves – no persuasion required.

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

Did You Design It?

I’m a complete sucker for good design.

Whether it’s a car, coat, pen, keyboard or the kerning (letter-spacing) in a book: when something’s been designed well, it’s a joy to see or use.

The flipside of loving design, is that it’s almost painful when something’s designed badly.

That kitchen gadget that slips out of your hands when they’re wet, a black website with white text, or the way Mailchimp has designed its user interface:

Bad design is unpleasant and frustrating, and can easily lead to lost time.

So then why do we so often omit to design our work?

Procedures, routines, or even simply the way we plan our day: don’t things get better when they’re designed well, with intention, and with usability in mind?

Of course they do.

So if you ever find that your days are too short, or your work doesn’t progress the way you want it to, or you have trouble staying on task, maybe ask yourself:

Are you spending enough time each day, to organise, plan, and *design* your day?

If you’re not satisfied with the results of any given day… did you design the day beforehand?

If your efforts aren’t getting you the results you want… did you design a strategy for reaching goals, and one for implementation?

Cheers,

Martin

Doing the Next Thing Right vs Doing the Right Next Thing

I forget where it was, but the other day I read about the ‘difference between doing the next thing right, and doing the right next thing’.

There’s so much to contemplate in there!

Of course, it’s always a good idea to the the next thing right. Kaizen, improvement, measure&iterate… if you want to go places, it’s important to do things right.

But that ‘doing the next right thing’ – that’s a really astute way to describe what my work is about:

Helping entrepreneurs do the right things, and in such a way that everyone gets better and money gets made.

That’s what an ethical business is about, if you get to the heart of it: doing the right things.

And that’s why I so much love this ethical sales coaching I do.

Because once you figure out what is the next right thing, and you’re able to select the next profitable right thing, that’s when buyers enroll themselves.

Because if you make ‘the next profitable right thing to do’ a returning issue in your business, everything will get infused with not just the idea or intention, but the actual action of doing the right things.

That causes massive change – in how you operate, how your team treats their work, the way your buyers respond… it’ll shift things, across the board.

Make ‘the right thing’ your goal, and all the right people will start to fall in love with your brand.

And if you choose the profitable right thing to do, they’ll give you money as well.

It’s fun, and it’s perfect for people who live by values.

Want to have a look and see what profitable right things you could do, to grow your revenue and impact?

Then this link gets you in my calendar: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=11652475&appointmentType=544906

Cheers,

Martin

Solutions Rarely Find Problems, But…

…problems very, very often find solutions.

Here’s the thing: a fundamental mistake we make far too often as entrepreneurs, is to create a solution, and then go out looking for people who want that solution.

This makes for excruciatingly ineffective marketing and sales.

A solution looking for a problem to solve will rarely find that problem it can solve.

If we go out looking for ‘people who want the thing we have’, two things happen:

First, we become myopic. We narrow down our vision, to the select set of people or companies who might want our solution – but we only know so much about who they might be.

So we miss opportunities because we’re not finding what we think we should be looking for, and we keep looking for it.

Thus we keep ourselves blind to the actual problems out there, that we might be able to solve, and that people do want our help with.

Secondly, our communications become self-sided, because we have that solution in hand, right? “Look at this cool solution, and what it can do, and why you might be interested. Are you interested, in my solution?”

Your buyer will hear or read that discourse, and they’ll disconnect. Because nothing in business is ever about us, or even our solution – it’s always about the other and the problem they want solving, and that’s the kind of messaging we ought to be giving them.

It’s not ‘This is an awesome thing, the best I have’ – it’s: ‘This is exactly for you, for the kind of problem you want to solve’.

When you communicate that, you’re ‘speaking into the buyer’s world’, instead of from inside your own world.

And that gets people interested, and that makes for sales.

So as you go about your business building and marketing and sales etc, remember:

Don’t be a solution looking for a problem to solve.

Be a researcher, trying to find out which problems exist for those you want to help, before you do or say anything else.

And only once you’ve achieved that and identified those problems, do you talk about the solution you have for them.

And, if you’re dealing with a problem in your business related to growth or sales or impact, maybe I do have a solution, who knows.

But tell me about the problems, first.

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

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