Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Martin Stellar - Coach & Consultant for ethical sales and business growth

Do You Spend Other People’s ‘Currency’? Might Want to Check…

I can’t be sure, but there’s a good chance you too spend other people’s currency.

It’s a human, social thing – but it’s wise to avoid, and if you don’t it will have consequences.

Here’s two recent examples of ‘spending other people’s currency’, so you know what I mean.

Two of my friends were meant to come over for dinner a while ago.

But the day before, one was wavering on their decision, so the other friend texted me to ask whether they should both come, or only one, or nobody.

Fair play, things change. But this text reached me right in the middle of deep work, pulled me out of my concentration, and had me thinking about an issue that wasn’t mine to resolve – it was something they needed to figure out, so asking my help or opinion really made little sense. No big deal of course, but an example of how I suddenly found myself spending ‘currency’ (in this case: thinking-time) because of something sent to me – and it was something I couldn’t do anything to resolve.

The other example: in my mastermind group, one of the guys once asked if we could move our weekly session, so that he could watch a football match.

Again: no big deal (though in my world, football ain’t nowhere near important enough to, well, change any appointment. I just don’t like football. Also: I am the king of euphemisms – can you tell? But anyway).

When my buddy asked, that meant two other people (me and our 3rd mastermind member) had to think about accommodating the change. Spending mental currency.

And to accommodate the request, in my case would have meant changing two appointments, which would have further implications for the people whose appointments would get changed – and the same thing would apply to the world of our 3rd mastermind member).

In other words: a small action on our part can have a lot of domino-type ramifications for other people, and not only the first-line people get affected. It affects their people as well.

Even something as small as the difference between an email that states a bunch of things and then just ends, compared to the same email, but ending it with a clear type of Call to Action or next steps, will make a big difference on the currency that the recipient will need to spend.

Email 1 turns your ‘problem’ into somebody else’s problem, because they now have to decide on what action to take next. Email 2 is far better, because it already suggests a next action for the reader, and they don’t have to also take the action of thinking about the next step. So none of their currency gets wasted.

Now, you might that these things don’t matter all that much. That I’m making a fuss over trifles.

But nope. This stuff really matters.

Because you and I and everyone, we know the people who spend other people’s currency.

They are the ones who always seem to need something, always seem to need help or guidance, always bring things into your world that aren’t yours to deal with but now suddenly you find yourself thinking about it, people who blindly delegate whatever they’re not in the mood for dealing with, to whoever happens to be in the line of fire…

They are the people that always cause a sigh or a grunt when they show up. Because they never arrive without a complication, or problem, or some sort of cost. For you to pay.

It’s not that these people are bad, don’t get me wrong.

But MAN is it annoying to have people spend your currency!!

Therefore, don’t be that guy or gal.

Don’t spend other people’s currency, don’t make your problems their problems.

I invite you to spend this week looking at your communications and decisions, to see in what way you might unwittingly spread around bother in the world of others – the bits that are small and subtle is what we’re trying to uncover here.

You just might find that paying attention to this will very fast, almost magically, improve your relationships… even those who are already quite healthy.

Have a look, see what you discover… and let me know how you go.

Cheers,

Martin

Go For Exhaustion

There’s two kinds of tired: depletion and exhaustion.

Both are a consequence, and both require rest before you can give it another go.

But they are very different, and it pays to be aware, because depletion and exhaustion have different causes.

Depleted is how you end up when you’re running around putting out fires, going through mental loops, and doing the kind of busywork that doesn’t lead to results.

(Another big cause for depletion is having to make too many decisions, because decisions have a high cognitive cost).

Feeling, or being, depleted is no fun, not rewarding, and makes you want to hit snooze when you wake up in the morning.

Exhaustion however, that’s different. It’s what you feel after you climbed a mountain, completed a large customer project, or spoke to potential customers all day.

Exhaustion is the tired yet satisfied feeling you get after you’ve put in a long day of hard, focused, productive work.

Yeah you’re exhausted – but man, look at everything you got done… you’re *supposed* to feel tired, and it sure feels good.

The difference between depletion and exhaustion is big in many ways, and it’s a terrific way to measure how you’ve showed up to your work.

Exhaustion makes you wake up energised, and ready to rock and roll, whereas depletion has you wake up to another tiring day of ‘what actually am I supposed to be doing, what’s most useful’, which often leads to a day of procrastination and inconsequential activities.

When I end up feeling depleted, I know I’ve been working *in* my business, instead of *on* my business. Executing without much strategy or planning.

And when I notice that, I step back, stop doing things, take stock and map the playing field – and then I organise, prioritise, and plan… and only then do I go back to executing on my tasks.

Depletion is a warning sign that says ‘think’, so when you feel depleted, maybe it’s time for you to stop, and… think.

Don’t you think?

Cheers,

Martin

The ‘Good Egg-Problem’

Most people I come across in my work (clients, fellow coaches, podcasters, authors, students etc) are terrific people, with values such as integrity and truthfulness high up in their list of priorities.

Which is awesome, because it’s great to deal with people who share the same values as we do.

But the more people I meet, the more it seems that the higher on the scale of integrity someone is, the more conflicted their relationship with selling – and as a consequence, the lower their success rate in terms of signing on clients.

Do integrous people sabotage their own results?

I don’t have enough data to say yes or no, but it sure does look like it.

I call it the ‘good egg-problem’, where high integrity is (seems to be) correlated to low sales results.

But listen: if you live by values, then logically the work that you do is good, worth the money, and something that people ought to buy, right?

They buy, you serve, and that’s how you make your money. Right?

Then why not take the sting out of ‘selling’, and let your values guide you?

As in: if integrity matters to you, and you want to do right by people, then helping someone make a decision *is* doing right by people.

I mean, you’re not going to force anyone into buying anyway, because integrity says we don’t do things like that.

So you’re there to have a conversation about a choice the other person is considering.

You help them get clarity, identify desire, discuss doubts and objections, and figure out if your thing is right for them, at this moment.

And, since integrity is central to your life, you happily accept yes or no, depending on what’s right for that other person. The only outcome that you’re attached to, is the right decision for that individual.

This way, you turn ‘selling’ into an act of service… something that’s actually quite aligned to your values.

Does that take the sting out of selling for you?

Cheers,

Martin

“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

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

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

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

get the book

and discover how to sell the way nice people do

You’ll also receive a short daily email on ethical selling and business growth.

Get the FREE eBook...
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy