A Sales Lesson From an Ancient Fisherman + Don't Go Swimming With the Whales

Old Bo pulled his cap down and squinted.

He scanned the water left and right, and then pointed: “Dar, see? Dar’s a shoal of fish under dat dark patch o’er yon.”

He turned the key, and the ancient diesel engine hiccuped itself into motion.

He ruffled his beard, drew from his pipe, and said: “If ye wanna catch a fish, laddy…”

The boy had heard it a hundred times or more and chimed in: “… you gotta go to where the fish are”.

A few minutes later the boat was over the shoal and the fish started to bite.


In business, it’s the same.

If you want to sell something, you need to go there where your buyers are

That’s where you can listen to their problem and fears and doubts.

That’s where you get to talk to them and explain what you do and build trust.

That’s where you get to ask questions about their problems and the solutions they want.

And that’s where they’ll tell you everything you need to know in order to create and offer something that solves their problems.

This listening – really learning people – is something most people skip.

And that’s not only a recipe for business disaster, it’s also incredibly silly.

Because if you meet a person with a problem, and you start listening to them?

Then that person will tell you exactly what their ideal solution would look like, what they’re willing to pay for it, what they expect out of it, what the fears they have about buying, how they want to be talked to,how they do and don’t want to be marketed to…

If you listen long enough? People will tell you EVERYTHING.

So it’s no surprise that Listening – in other words, studying your market intensely – is one of the four main pillars of my LEAP marketing approach.

And, it’s why the first issue coming out in little over a week, is going to focus very heavily on the various ways you can listen to your market.

In issue #1, you’ll find:

– Why using Facebook for ‘market research’ is like fishing for sardines amidst a family of whales – completely ineffective cuz the whales gobble up everything – including you if you’re not careful

– How to identify not just your market and ideal buyer, but how you can instantly assess each individual and determine whether or not this person is indeed right for you, and you for them

– How to decide which places you should spend your time on, and which one to leave bloody well alone (hint: it’s mostly about the fun you’ll have – and no, I don’t recommend Flakebook)

– How to radically dissuade anyone who wouldn’t be right for you from getting in touch so you don’t waste your time with tire-kickers and fence-sitters

– How you can attract people who not only have great respect for your work, but who also want to pay you well (people will actually tell you ‘tell me where I can send you money’ if you do your marketing right)

– How, if you listen closely, you can use people’s very own words when selling to them, which makes the whole process easy and fun

And that’s just a few key points. The full 16 pages will contain much more in terms of hands-on strategies.

And, issue #1 will be about the one thing that makes your business work: THEM.

The other person, the guy or gal whose problem you want to solve.

I’ll show you where to find ‘them’, how to best filter out the noise and listen only to the people who are most likely to buy from you, and how you can use the things you hear to create marketing content that they’ll love and that will make them buy.

16 physical pages delivered on your doorstep, the result of many years of study and experimentation.

Wrapped up nicely in a simple layout but a structure that you can take up and implement in your business right away.

Oh, and, I’ve decided to add on an extra bonus for new subscribers: I’m giving everybody who joins before June 1st, a free 30-minute consultation

For me it’s good because it allows me to get to know the people who want to learn from me.

For you it’s good because you’ll be able to ask me anything you want and it won’t cost you anything extra.

Want in?

Then have a look over there, but bring your wellies and your sou’wester, because you and I are going fishing –> http://www.martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/



The Difference Between $2-Plonk From a Carton, and a Fine Bottle of Rioja

Every now and then I get challenged on the prices I put on my products.

Interestingly, I never hear complaints from readers, prospects or customers (the people for whom I actually make my things) – it’s nearly always a friend in real life who’ll try to persuade me that things should be more accessible.

Now, I could do that, it’s not an unreasonable point of view.

I could offer discounts, or special offers, or indeed use a cheaper pricing model.

But here’s the problem with that.

People for whom price is a deal breaker are not shopping for quality – they’re looking for a bargain.

Which is fine – there are all kinds of valid reasons to save money.

For example, if I go on a trip and forget my headset but I have a podcast on my phone that I want to listen to while on the road, I stop at one of those Chinese-owned general stores we have here, and I buy a 1-Euro headset.

I know it’ll break before I get home, but that’s fine – I’m buying a disposable thing and it’ll last for as long as I need it. Probably.

However, if  I want to by headphones that’ll make my music sound like Adele is whispering sweet nothings straight into my ear, it’s different: Then I go to an audio store, try several, and will probably shell out $100 or whatever. Because at that moment, I’m looking for something really really good.

“Oh that’s more expensive than I had hoped for?


“Is it worth it?

“Ok then, here’s my money.”

Somebody who just wants to get hammered will go to a supermarket and buy cheap wine in a carton that tastes like diesel but gets the job done, while someone who wants to savour a bottle of fine fermented grape juice with a friend over dinner will have no problem paying a premium.

A person needing a knockabout car that’ll help them drive up the mountain to their cortijo will spend $500 on an old beat-up jalopy and they won’t care if it disintegrates or blows up within a year. It’s done its job, let’s find another one.

But someone who wants a safe, stable car with good traction so that even in heavy rains they’ll be able to reach home safely with their kids, without having to overnight with friends on the coast until the rain stops, they go and purchase a solid 4×4.

It’s all about how much value you are looking to get from your purchase. If you want something really cheap, then you are by definition not expecting a lot of value.

Because you now very well, deep down, that we tend to get what we pay for.

And that’s why my new LEAP newsletter isn’t cheap: at $79, it’s among the more expensive monthly courses. (In reality, that breaks down to less than you pay for a cup of coffee each day, so I guess it depends where people have their priorities).

But because of that price, I will feel obliged, morally and ethically bound, to fill those suckers up as densely as I can, each month.

I mean, I could easily create a $19/month newsletter, if I didn’t care about quality.

But just for the fact that you’d not be expecting much from it, I wouldn’t be very motivated to create something stellar. If people are not expecting much – why go all out?

That’s not how I do business. It wouldn’t help you.

I give you the very best of what I know, the very things that make my business work, and I present that in a structure that gives you grip on your business, your market and your sales.

The first issue, for example, is going to be a fantastic little starter: I’m going to show you exactly how I managed to create the relationship I have with my readers, and how that turns into sales over and over again, even though my list is – I’ll say it again – tiny.

In fact, my list is so small that it makes me want to buy a Ferrari. Yes, I have issues.


Issue #1 will be like a Single Malt Copy case study – you’ll learn how and why these daily emails work so well, and what I did beside writing emails to make all this work.

And no, it’s not at all because of my writing skills, such as they may be.

In fact, scrutinous readers will have noticed I take grotesque liberties with grammar, cultural idiom, spelling, you name it. And yet, it works. How so? That’s what you’ll learn in Issue #1.

And yes, this is supposed to be the call to action, and yes, I should have had the salespage with more info ready by now, but as they say in Spanish: En la casa del herrero, los cuchillos son de palo. Or something like that: In the home of the blacksmith, the knives are made of wood.

Ah yes, the life of a maker of things: As a tailor, I only had one decent suit for myself… as a copywriter, creating pages for myself is an advanced type of torture, and the cobbler’s kids have no shoes.

Oh well, we push on like good little chillun’, doesn’t we?

Pip pip.


Two Shopping Experiences Where I Was Misjudged – One Lost Me Forever, the Other Won My Respect

“I don’t know if this pump will fit the valve on my tyre, you see. It’s a type only used in Holland. Can I just quickly try the pump, and see if it works?”

“The young woman looks at me and says: ”No”.

“Really? I just want to try it before I buy. My bike is right outside”.

“No, she says. ”You could just pump up your tyre, and then you wouldn’t need to buy the pump anymore”.

Clearly, she mistook me for someone with nefarious intentions.

So I smiled at her, and said “Que no, tonta!” – Of course not, silly! – and put a 20-Euro note on the counter.

She understood I was ok and started rummaging round for a boxcutter.

I tried the pump, paid, pumped the tire to 5 atmosphere, and rode off into the sunset.

Later that day, I’m in a bar having a beer, doing some writing on my novel.

Comes time to pay, I notice that one of the coins in my hand isn’t a 2-Euro piece – $3.50 or thereabouts – but a Turkish coin of almost exactly the same size and no monetary value in Spain.

I think back and remember where I received it – a guy gave me change earlier that day and I pocketed it without looking, I remember clearly.

So this morning I go back to his shop and say: “You made a mistake yesterday with the change – you accidentally gave me a foreign coin”.

He takes the piece from me, barely even looks at it, and walks to the till. The coin disappears somewhere and without any objection at all, he gives me a 2-Euro piece.

I tell him: “You need to get rid of that you know, the next guy who gets it might get angry”. I don’t even have time to tell him that passing counterfeit money is illegal, when he answers:

“No, I’m keeping it, for myself”.

Riiiight… for himself. As a souvenir – of course.

Bollocks: someone played him a bad coin, and he’s going to put it in someone else’s hand, and hope it won’t get noticed.

Two experiences, two results: The guy, I now know I can’t trust him.

The woman – well I could have been offended at how she misjudged me, but I prefer to respect her for running her business with a bit of care.

And, I respect her for having the balls to tell me why ‘no’, when I asked her. Many people would just oblige even though they’d rather not.

And hey, she’s got every right to refuse.

Sometimes you have to.

A few weeks ago a guy got in touch wanting copy, but before he could tell me anything – even the name of his company – I’d have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Yeah, that just don’t work for me – so I had to decline. Even though it was a sizeable project and the money would have come in handy.

No is a useful word in business. It should be used any time you feel someone invades, or very likely will invade, your own personal territory, your space, your truths, your peace of mind or your ethics.

You have every right to decline.

You can, for example, decline to take up my new LEAP Marketing Newsletter, once I finally get the sales page ready this week. (Today? Is there a copywriter in the house?)

Not that I recommend it – it’s a pretty solid piece of business training, the way it’s shaping up.

More about that in the next few days…

Meanwhile, go here if you already know how to run a successful business, but you just want to learn how to write daily emails that keep bringing in sales –> http://www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/



DOH! So It Was In Front of Me All the Time?

It’s not that I’m dumb, but it sure is interesting how sometimes, the obvious stares us in the face and we just will not see it.

Which is, for example, what happens whenever a woman happens to like me.

I kid you not: almost every time a chick is interested in me, I’m over in the other corner, trying to make eye contact with a completely different woman, usually one who has no interest in me whatsoever (and who may or may not be wearing yoga pants).

But I digress.

Read moreDOH! So It Was In Front of Me All the Time?

Let My People Go! Thoughts on Writing a Novel

Ok, so a few days ago I told you about my big audacious plan, the one which is going to turn my life upside down.

The plan which, I mentioned, starts with the novel that I’m currently writing.

I think I’m about 50% through with the first draft, and I have the storyline about 80% ready. More or less.

I’m not yet sure how to marry to main character to the waitress at the roadside diner, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out as I go along.

It’s a bit of an adventure, this book.

I think I would call it a sci-fi comedy noir, but that doesn’t really do it justice.

It’s… more out there than that.

It’s called:

“We’ve got humans!”

This is the Prelude (for now):



Vlardr slammed on the brakes.

His mining rig hung still in space, slightly humming.

Somewhere outside in the vacuum, it seemed there was a gospel choir going “Hummmmm….” in a particularly jazzy harmony of hot fifths and sevenths.

He looked at the shimmering apparition in front of him and said: “Guy, get out of the way. This is a very powerful machine and if you don’t move it’ll hurt you. Badly.”

“I said stop”, replied the shape. “Let my people go!” The gospel choir picked up in volume, and a tiny trumpet started playing a solo in a blues scale.

Vlardr said: “Who are you?”

Thunderously, it sounded “I am GOD”.

Vlardr the Stoic blinked.



I TOLD you it’s out there…

In stores and on Kindle in the next two months or so, Zarquon help me.

Do forgive that this isn’t a helpful sales-teaching email like normal – I’ve been stuck with the storyline for months, and only yesterday finally had the a-ha moment, so now I know where to go with it.

I’m excited, I can’t wait to finish this thing.



P.s. Yes, I’m still working, obviously.

Even though I no longer accept writing projects for clients, I do still have my mentorship program for people who want to learn how to email daily for fun and profit: www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/

Chicken or Egg – Write Emails or Build List?

Got a nice reply to my yesterday’s email:

“I have one [a list], but it’s got one person on it: me. Should I start emailing myself, just to develop the practice?
I am very much stuck in the “busy making a living” cycle, except I’m too busy and not making enough of a living. Lots of “plans” to “fix” this, but only the most preliminary of steps have been taken toward the actual fixing. Everyone tells me I need to offer a freebie to get people to download. Bogus? I see no other reason for someone to subscribe to me, though.”

You might be surprised, but I hear that a lot.

So this is what I replied:

“Yep, start writing, even if you don’t have anyone reading. Better that, than to have traffic but no experience writing this kind of stuff, or indeed a body of work to show, once you do start getting traffic.

For list building, have a look at Kim Roach’s work at buzzblogger.com to get some good ideas for traffic. Then make a landing page, explain why your daily updates are fun and useful, ask for a signup.  A freebie is very useful, start making one now. The notion ‘why else would they sign up’ is not useful, that’s just because you’ve not yet had the extended practice and experience of writing, or the reactions it will get you once you start.

Don’t wait building your list until you have a freebie though, that would just be procrastination.

So, write :) Get that into your system, and all the other aspects will get taken care of as and when appropriate.



Nuff said, methinks.

Not sure you know how to write those emails and write them well? Lemme help you with that –> http://www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/

Because If Your Diet Isn't Working, You Obviously Go Eat Pizza

I received a few bits of bad news yesterday: First, a colleague told me that he’s had to pause his daily email writing because he’s too busy with client projects.

“Busy making a living”. Yep, I know what that’s like.

Second piece of bad news was from another reader, who, you won’t believe this, has paused her daily writing while she – GASP! – is fixing up her site.

Ok, look here people.

If you need more sales, email marketing gets you those sales.

And not just any kind of *more* sales – email marketing gets you more, BETTER sales, meaning you’ll be able to pick the clients that are most interesting to you.

Look at it like this: If you are swamped in client work, you’re likely taking on too much work at too low a price, just to make sure enough cash comes in.

But if you were charging what your work is actually worth, you’d be earning the same or more, with fewer clients and at fewer hours per week. With me?

Email is a perfect way to end that vicious circle, since you pre-select the people you work with by talking to them every day: you show who you are and what kind of client you like to work with, and that will appeal to exactly that type of person – which means those will be the ones most likely to get in touch and hire you.

In other words: your readers qualify themselves before they ever even get in touch with you, and that means you’ll be getting more high-hanging fruit: the kind of client who really appreciates your work and is willing to pay good money for the best you can deliver.

The result: a lighter workload and higher earnings from a smaller pool of clients – which is how it should be if you really excel at what you do.

And email gets you that.

But only if you keep up your efforts – or even better, start emailing twice a day. Yes, you can do that without burning your list, if you do it right.

But if you stop emailing, you’re effectively pinching the fuel line that feeds your business – which you don’t notice while plodding through underpaid gigs, but as soon as you need another gig, you’ll wish you hadn’t stopped emailing, all those months ago.

On another note: I also had some awesome news come in, because one of my clients just landed in my inbox saying that yep, he’s going to take me up on that 90-day challenge I casually mentioned the other day.

Awesome stuff – it’s going to get him tons of results. I’ll probably do a case study about him at some point, but let’s see how he runs his daily emails, first.

So, what news are you sending me today? On the fence about doing your own daily email thing? Not sure it would work for you?

I’m telling you: Do not sweat it – just jump in and do it: you can’t lose.

Start today. You couldn’t do yourself a bigger favour.

Except, possibly, by also hiring me as a mentor, though I repeat: most of the results will come from the effort and practice and training you put in. You don’t need me for that, so even budget is no excuse to not mail people regularly so long as you’re a self-starter with a bit of stamina.

I’m just here in case you want to go fast – but go you should, with or without me.

Thus spake Stellar.

Linkification, should you want to invest in getting fast results: http://www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/



Good Unsubscribes: Yet Another Case for Daily Emails

If you think about it, it’s really bizarre that nearly everyone is so afraid of emailing daily.

Practically everyone to whom I explain what I do and what I teach is incredulous: “But you’ll see everybody unsubscribing”.

Look at it like this: If something really matters to you, and there’s a problem with that something, wouldn’t you want to hear as much advice as possible on how to solve that problem?

If you have an illness, you want to hear advice until you find the cure, right?

If you’re overweight and want to change it, you want to hear diet tips and clever calorie-burning exercises and intelligent motivational talk until you’re at the weight you want to be, correct?

If your business needs more sales, don’t you want to hear tips on how to make that happen?

Of course you do. That’s why you’re reading these daily emails.

Now, the same thing applies to your clients.

They’ve got that problem, and you have their solution.

And I guarantee that as long as your emails are fun and useful and well-written, you can not possibly lose out if you start emailing daily.

Oh you might lose a subscriber or two – in some cases 10% of your list might walk away.

And that isn’t bad – it’s actually really good.

Think about it: if someone isn’t interested in hearing tips every day on how to alleviate, for instance, his prostate problems, how committed is he really to solving those problems?

I’ll tell you: he will be interested, very much so, because prostate problems are really painful. (so I’m told! I myself – oh never mind)

If your client has that kind of problem – not with their prostate but something that’s a really big issue for them – you bet they’ll want to hear from you.

So what do you do if your solutions don’t solve that kind of big issue problem?

Ah, that’s when you want to use emails.

Writing to people daily when your solution is of a different nature – art, for example – will help identify those individuals who really REALLY want to buy art.

Those are the ones who will, every day, be happy to hear from you. And those are also the ones who will buy your work.

The others, for whom art is a luxury, or something for another year? They’ll leave.

If you keep talking to someone about ways to find, use, buy, and position art to really make a house live –  and they leave?

Then they’re probably not all that interested in actually buying art – but you sell art, so why would you want to talk to them about it?

It makes no sense.

It’s a waste of that person’s time, so it’s better if they unsubscribe.

You’ll be left will a smaller list of people, out of which there is now a higher percentage of people who ARE interested in you.

And those are the ones who will ultimately buy from you.

So by writing MORE emails you end up with a higher quality list, people eager to hear from you, and that’s the type that ultimately will buy.

Provided you actually write those emails, of course.

It’s done me heaps of good, I’ll tell you that.

Especially considering how tiny my list is.

Still getting sales from it even though it hasn’t grown in months.

So: write dem suckers and hit send.

Get to talking to your people. They’re waiting for you.

Not sure how, not sure you’ll be able to crank out ideas every day, afraid you won’t be able to keep at it?

All that and more I will fix for you when you join my mentorship program.

You’ll have ideas flying round your head 24/7, more than you can possibly send to your list.

At the end of the three months, you’ll be so fluent in writing them that it’ll be the most fun part of your day.

And you’ll be getting sales to go with it.

Join here if you’ve got the stamina to build a relationship with your people –> http://www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/

Long tail, remember? Your business thrives or withers by merit of the bond you have with your readers.

And there’s in my opinion no faster, more effective way to get more sales than with email marketing.

It ain’t magic (it’s simple common sense, in fact), but I’ll tell you that it’s so danged effective, it pretty well seems like magic.



My Last Climb, and Closing Part of My Business

I’m not doing this climbing thing anymore.

I was up against a rock today, and realised: “I don’t want to be here.”

It’s not because I don’t enjoy it, I do, very much so.

But I’ve had to make a decision. Just had to.

I’ve had to grow up, I guess, and do what I promised myself decades ago.

Read moreMy Last Climb, and Closing Part of My Business

Oddly, Even Hippies Are Salespeople – And They're Pretty Damn Good at It

Had a very interesting talk yesterday with a guy called Miguel.

Miguel is the antithesis of people like me.

He lives in a house that he built with his own two hands, he’s 61 and hasn’t worked for a boss – always self-employed – in almost 40 years

He’s what hippies turn into when they grow up, I suppose.

We talked a bit about marketing and ethics – evidently he’s quite the skeptic, and I agree with most of his complaints against the industry.

But the funny thing is that the one thing that has enabled him to survive for 40 years on his own terms, without working for a boss, is exactly same thing that I use in my work.

Read moreOddly, Even Hippies Are Salespeople – And They're Pretty Damn Good at It

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