This week’s question was so good, that I thought it could benefit You. Don’t focus on what it is about, rather focus on the how and why that I answer.
****Original version Question****
Nice to see all the success you’re booking with your new book and company, congratulations!
I remember when we used to talk about diets and health before and I have a question for you, I need help!
I’ve been a vegan for 8 months now and I love every aspect of it. I believe it’s the best choice you can make for your health, the future of our planet and in a way you don’t contribute to animal-cruelty. It has so many benefits: it might help you lose weight,
I feel more connected to the earth and to my core values, I have a new passion, it helps to prevent and sometimes even reduce some of the major diseases. Still it is something a lot of people do not want to think about due to the fact that they will be confronted with their own diet and lifestyle choices, they will really have to come out of their comfort zone. How do you “sell” the idea of eating plantbased or living a vegan lifestyle to those who really aren’t up for change, or those who simply do not want to think about it. I know, inside of veganism, there are 3 major groups of people: people who do it for the ethical reasons (against animal-cruelty), those who want the health benefits and those who want to safe the earth.
If you talk one to one, you can more easily find out what drives that person and change your approach to that specific thing what they are interested in and will benefit from. But what if you’re speaking for an audience of people?
(I’ve seen documentaries and speeches, there are many approaches (Gary Yourovsky ‘the best speech you’ll ever hear = rather harsh at some points), James Aspey who has a more loving and respectful approach, 101 reasons to go vegan is a pretty normal and basic introduction to veganism. But what would be your approach?)
I’m so glad you emailed me that question. The topic of diets has been my passion since I was in High school. I have tried a lot of them (yes, even vegetarian, but I didn’t last long). However, diets only became a science and a passion to me when I started the Bulletproof Diet. It’s then that I also started doing blood analysis’s every month so that I could see what impact these “passionate” diets had on my body. Instead of believing what so-called experts would tell the impacts would be on my body. I did tests so that I could prevent the Placebo-effect from happening, because if it works for Tim Ferris it doesn’t mean it can work for me.
I’m not a Vegan, however, if I distil your question, what I think you’re asking is not about Veganism but rather, how to “sell the idea” of living a vegan lifestyle. Considering this is your passion, this goes exactly in line with what we teach at the workshops “From Passion to Profession.”
The answer is too long for this email, but one that can benefit everyone of you that is passionate about something and reading this, because it shows the step-by-step on how to make YOU, as a person (and as a brand, because that’s what you become when you stand for something), more Trusted, Knowledgeable, and Appreciated.
The most crucial steps to remember in making your passion more appreciated are:
1) What is your goal? What do you want to achieve by this passion or idea?
As I’m writing this, I have just finished up a huge project that took all of my time. A project, to me, is a phase where you are exercising the skills you have, and the vision you created before you started that project.
As an example, we can take creating a movie. In order to make a movie you have to plan a movie script and a storyboard, then you go and execute.
Same goes for business or promoting a passionate idea you might have. You see, business is not an ugly word, it’s just a synonym for organized work that can promote that idea, and because some of the top minds have perfected that system, it looks so daunting to us. It’s not, believe me, the steps are logical because you have to follow what the market says. Which leads to #2
2) Bring your passionate idea to life by treating it like a business exercise ( ONE KEY FAN philosophy – by Timothy Marc)
Have you ever been to a business workshop or had a coffee chat where you were planning to do a business with some friends? Like open a bar, a book shop or a pizza place that actually makes good pizzas?
What were the steps you were taking in the conversation? Those steps are usually logical steps that market to YOUR needs, because you are the ONE KEY FAN. In other words, when you’re creating your passion into a profession you need to really dig deep into what problem it is that you’re solving with your passion and find your ONE KEY FAN that wants the same solution. The one key fan in this example is you, and your friends you were having a laugh with.
Do not shape your idea to the masses, cater to the ONE person that is perfect for that passion. The ONE person, that will actually take action when you explain your knowledge to them. Considering we have almost 7 billion people on the planet, there is big chance that there would be others like your One Key Fan.
Example: Why Not 3 is branded specifically to Overachievers & Entrepreneurs, wherever you go on the site you see blog posts, videos and beliefs posted that reflect me and what I envisioned for this community.
“We serve those who serve others.”
“We believe in inspiring freedom in you, so that you can live your passion and become the best you can be.”
Do these beliefs make you feel excluded when you read them?
If you are not passionate about something, if you don’t feel like you’re entrepreneurial (maybe because you’re not in that headspace yet), you will probably look at the site and think this is useless and click it away (to go find a tv show like Game of Thrones). You don’t resonate with it, because you’re not in the right mindset, yet.
The last “yet” is the beauty of entrepreneurship, which brings us to #3.
3) Not everyone will buy into your passion or idea, YET.
A couple of years ago I was working as a sales coach in a startup in Belgium and Bulgaria. One of the first lessons I gave the people I trained, is how to recognize a clear “No” from a “Maybe”.
In order to do that you need to recognize the 3 types of buyers:
a) Some people are NOT interested period, those are the people you will not convince (maybe right now). What you do with them is simply leave your contact details, and leave with grace.
“ALWAYS LEAVE PEOPLE BETTER OFF, THAN WHEN THEY FIRST MET YOU!”
Never insult someone. You never know when your paths might cross in the future. Constructive feedback can be said, in order for them to improve in the future. However, not everyone is open
You never know when your paths might cross in the future. Constructive feedback can be said, in order for them to improve in the future. However, not everyone is open for constructive feedback. In other words, sometimes you’re better off by just leaving with grace.
b) Some people will buy into your passionate idea without hesitation. I once had a guy wait for me on the street for 10 minutes, while I was closing someone else at the door. He did that, Just so that I could sign him up as well for a monthly payment.
Does that happen often? Hell no, from the 207 closes I did in that three month period, that was the ONLY person that did that. However, it’s those successes that inspire you and gives you motivation to keep going. That person was my ONE KEY FAN, I just needed to discover him.
c) These are the difficult ones, the “Maybe” person. This is where you’re sales skills will be tested, because what we do when we convince someone of something is we SELL. In other words, Sales is not “ugly” or “hard”. Sales in its true essence is an exchange of value. Whether it’s time, effort or money. You exchange value, because you believe it is worth something. In other words, if you want to convince someone of something you need to speak the SALES language, which brings us to #4.
4) How can I learn the Sales Language & techniques to make my idea a reality?
You have the first component which is passion, the second one is knowledge. As you go through your sales pitch, you will start getting what we call “objections”. In essence, you hold the clients attention with your passion, you sell them based on your knowledge. Which means you don’t start selling until your first objection comes up.
Then based on your experience in the industry, amount of people you have talked to and books/research you have read. You will be able to answer every single one of those objections with a logical statement that is BACKED UP by evidence.
This last part is what a lot of passionate trainers tend to forget. They mention research without actually ever having read the research and knowing if there is some variable that made the validity of the research not valid.
Usually, this understanding is what shows the difference between a certified trainer and a non-certified trainer. (There are more that I will get to in the next point.)
Before we move on to the next point however, I want to close this with something the philosopher Karl Popper once said: “In order to really prove a theory, you have to assume it’s wrong and start collecting evidence to disprove it. Only IF you have tried your best and you couldn’t find anything, ONLY then will you have a proven theory, NOT a Hypothesis.”
Which brings us to #5
5) Know your industry, research and clients
Many people don’t realize why this has to be treated seriously. It’s not to give you authority, although it does that too. The reason why is because when you are convincing someone of something you’re impacting his or her life for better or worse.
An example I can give you from my life, is that I have seen trainers go into a room, because they learned a “cool trick” to make a crowd emotional by talking about a story where someone dies at the end dying and saying things like “Imagine if you would die today”.
They did this trick for their ego, not because the crowd needed it and what ended up happening is a girl with suicidal thoughts running out of the room and only later did the trainer discover why she had done so. Believe me, this is not a fun conversation to have after you screwed up someone.
REALIZE that taking on a leadership position is NOT to feed your ego! It’s there to SERVE people, which is not glamorous at all. It’s hard and grueling, but you do it because you believe that nobody else will serve the people as you will. You do this because there is a love for humanity that you want to show by helping. And The way you serve is by Your experience and knowledge so that others don’t fall in the same traps that you or others have experienced.
I’m giving you this example so that you can understand that knowing your area of expertise is important. If you are deciding to go and speak in front of people, you need to know most (if not every) failure and success that happened in your area of expertise. The way you do that is to read research that has Trust and Validity. That way you can prevent something ugly from happening in the future.
It’s only when you feel comfortable enough, and you have accepted the consequences that your words can bring that you can decide morally to take the step and impact people with your experience. You will never have perfect knowledge, so don’t let it cripple you. But arm yourself with as much ammunition as possible, before you actually start impacting others.
Which brings us to #6
6) Authority Switches
Ok so you have done all the steps before, and you know Why, How and What you’re doing with your passion. Now we go into what is called branding yourself and your passion (or maybe by this point already profession). Let’s have a look together at how branding works:
A woman on the street comes up to you and starts talking about vegan lifestyle and how amazing it has been for her and that she sees a new world right in front of her eyes.
What are you thinking?
You might think she is a bit crazy or you might just walk further.
What if the same woman stops you on the street with a cameraman and a sound guy, and she says she would like to talk with someone about a vegan lifestyle for one of the most respected tv shows on the planet. You end up in discussion and you find out that the woman you’re talking to is a regular speaker at TED and she has reached over 1 million views on every speech she has done.
What are you thinking now?
This is the power of social proof. It shows to people that other people resonate with what you say. As the experiment of Asch on conformity in groups shows, we as humans tend to conform to what the people around us believe is good. Even if, it’s obviously wrong or not what we believe.
Step 6 is only for people that really take their topic or passion seriously.
In Why Not 3, I took the time to go and speak in over 6 countries on the topic of optimal productivity and work-life balance.
Because I had a friend that ended up in the hospital, because of the ridiculousness that our 21st century society is promoting. Which is work, work, work and no sleep.
It might work over the short-term, but believe me, over the long run it’ll be more expensive.
I was also a victim of this myth and I have kept all of my doctor bills. I can show them to you, it wasn’t cheap to get me back to a balanced lifestyle.
Anyways, this promotion resulted in me getting over thirteen people giving me 5-10 min video testimonials of them saying how strong the message was and how much it had impacted their lives for the better. This investment in going to these conferences also gave proof that I spoke in front of audiences of over 150+ people. This then snowballs into other people giving me opportunities to speak at their events, and so on, and so on, …
In other words, if you want to treat it seriously and impact crowds of people, you need to start with collecting those first video testimonials, which you can then leverage to impact even more people.
Considering the FULL HD camera you have in your pocket (your phone), it’s not that hard to get a really good quality testimonial. The first testimonials can even be from family and friends that have changed something, because of what you have taught them.
This leader-servant model of being a trainer is NOT for everyone. Maybe you have different priorities in your life, in that case you don’t need to brand yourself. In your social circles (with your friends) you are already “branded” as being someone that can be trusted.
In that case, branding is not necessary anymore, knowledge will be enough.
REAL knowledge, and that takes time.
It’s the reason a Phd student writes for sometimes more than 2 years on one specific topic. REAL knowledge takes time and effort on your part, and it’s the reason why some trainers are at the top of their game and others will be eventually exposed for what they actually are.
I’m playing the long-game in Why Not 3, I want to Impact and inspire. I have my other business to make money. Which means it’s taking longer to make Why Not 3 profitable, but that is a risk I’m willing to take, because for now I haven’t seen anyone (not even TED speakers) out there that have said anything that closely resembles to what I am presenting here at Why Not 3.
Do you know Why?
Because the things I learned from my mentors, are being used by them to have multi-million dollar businesses and they will not take the time to make a community like this happen. That’s why.
Founder of Why Not 3? Work-Life Balance for Entrepreneurs