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

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

Now More Than Ever: Go To Where the Puck Will Be

Spoke with the owner of a transport company yesterday.

You know: the people who made sure we have food in shops, regardless of crisis or lockdown or whatever happens.

Pretty essential workers, but it’s an industry that’s under massive pressure.

Regulations, middlemen, corruption, clients who insist on the lowest prices – and of course, the drivers end up getting the short end of the stick.

And it’s only going to get worse for them: in a few years we’ll have self-driving trucks on all roads, and algorithms will enable large companies to create hyper-efficient delivery routes, and let’s not forget automated drone delivery.

In other words: transport is an industry that’s breaking, and very fast too.

Now you might not be in transport, but there’s a lesson for you as well.

It’s said that you need to ‘skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is now’.

That applies to anyone in business, because while right now it might look like the world is changing fast, it’s only going to change faster and faster.

Which means that if you try to fix what broke, you’ll endlessly be chasing the puck, and you’ll never reach it.

But if you take a wider perspective, and ask yourself ‘if this continues…’ you end up with a vision of the future that might not be how the future will pan out, but you’ll be much better positioned to deal with the new and surprising changes that we’ll all be facing.

Yes, things have broken, nothing is the same, business is unusual – so instead of trying to catch up, see if you can get ahead.

If this continues… where will your industry be in 6 months, in a year from now?

What will your buyers need, what kind of new or different problems will they face that you can solve for them?

Go there.

Those who benefit and grow when things break, are the ones who take the time to project into the future: they envision where the puck will go, and they position themselves to knock it out of the rink once it arrives.

Put differently:

The entire world has been hit with entropy.

I say don’t try to fix it, but build something new instead.



Are You Torturing Your Future Self?

On any given 8-hour workday, how much is on your todo list? And, can you reasonably expect yourself to get it all done?

Before you answer, keep in mind the inevitable distractions: a phone call, an urgent email, a task you forgot about but it’s urgent – and also, the human need to eat, rest, or sit back and reflect… that’s easily 2 to 3 hours out of your day, right? At best, you’ll be able to spend 5 to 6 hours doing actual work.

Now look at your usual pile of tasks again, and consider: how many of your work hours need to be spent in states of high-focus and high-productivity, in order to get your work done and get it done right? And, can you actually work at that level for that many hours?

Unless you take your coffee intravenously, you probably can’t.

Most people can work for 8 hours, but we can only work at our highest level for 2 hours, maybe 4.

So here you have a workday that’s effectively 5 or so hours, with about 3 hours of deep work.

Now look at your todo list again: are you seriously expected to get all of that done, in what’s effectively a 3-hour day? Are you really that super-human?

Obviously neither you or I are super-human.

But here’s the trap: on a subconscious level, we think that our future self actually is superhuman.

Unstoppable. Driven. Radically committed, terrifically hard-working, able to concentrate and stay on task for hours on end.

In other words, we allow our now-self to create a massive problem for our future self.

“I, here, now, decide that X and Y and Z need to get done today – and given that the ‘I’ that I’ll be later on is some sort of productivity demi-god, we can give him another todo! He can handle it!”

3 Hours later, your future self has exerted themselves, checked things off the list, happy to have done so much – but the list of task and chores is almost as long as when the day started… and still no end in sight.

This is how a lot of procrastination starts: saddling our future self with a job that is, if not impossible, highly unreasonable.

So if you tend to find yourself overwhelmed, and frustrated that there’s not enough time in your day, and annoyed that you didn’t get more done, maybe try to be a little more compassionate with your future self.

Instead of saying things like:

“Tomorrow, I’ll catch up on all the work I avoided last month!”

“This afternoon, I’ll write that proposal that normally requires 12 to 14 hours!”

“I’ll have cake today, because starting tomorrow, I’m going to be 100% on the strictest diet of my life”.

This will never work, because your future self isn’t a magical ninja-level fixer of everything that your past self hasn’t done yet.

Your future self is – surprisingly – exactly like you.

So why do we overload and torture our future self this way?

Because psychologically (and this can be measured in brain activity) our mind pretends that our future self is a different person, not us.

But once you realise that it’s the same person, you can decide to set tasks not for ‘that other dude called future self’, but for you, yourself.

Be nice to your future self. It’s the easiest way to getting things done.

And if you want to be REAL nice to your future self, Strategic Accountability Coaching is one of the ways…



The Face, Not the Logo (Making a Case for Being Different)

There’s a thousand reasons why someone ought to buy your work.

And, there’s dozens, hundreds or even thousands, of others who people could also buy from, and get an equally good solution to their problem.

So when someone decides to buy from you, and not from another provider, why is that?

Could be your credentials, experience, expertise, price, availability…

But in all cases when someone decides that you get the money and not someone else, there’s one thing at play that you can leverage:


You’re different from all the others. That’s why people want you, not them.

But if you’re different, then everybody else is also different. So how does that set you apart?


Most everybody else is out there looking to sell to people who want what they do.

But those who see a spike in success, those are the ones who only look to sell to those buyers who want their kind of different.

As Daniel Priestley says: People don’t remember the logo – they remember the face.

If you want to make marketing and selling easier, then you’d do well to connect with – and sell to – those who like your kind of different.

Suddenly your total market has become a LOT smaller & easier to wield, and suddenly your market is filled with 100% of candidates who totally dig the kind of different that you are.

What really makes for a differentiator in business, and what sets you apart from the competition, isn’t how different you are – it’s how far you’re willing to go in terms of aiming for people who want just your particular variation of different.




Should You ‘Pay to Play?’

Following on from yesterday’s ‘be the prize’…

One of my clients contacted a podcaster: “Got a story, your audience might like it, want to interview me?”

Podcaster replies: “Sure! My guests sponsor me, and the price of admission is $160”.

Obviously, when my client asked my opinion, my reply sounded very much like “Hell no!”

For one thing, if a podcaster charges money for interviews, they either don’t know how to run a business that’s profitable enough to cover the cost of hosting a podcast.

Or, it could be that they are profitable, but they’re simply greedy. Grab what you can etc.

But ok, that’s their problem.

Our problem is an erroneous valuation of self and time.

If your story is interesting and good enough to go on a show, you bring value to the host, who gets to amplify their audience, visibility, and profits, by the value that the guests provide.

The guest is the prize, the asset who brings value.

An interview guest shouldn’t pay for the privilege, just like an artist shouldn’t pay a gallery, nor should a public speaker pay to be on a stage, like that lady in Malaga tried to get me to do last year. Hell no.

What’s next, journalists charging money to their interviewees? Sheesh.

You’ve got the value. You share it and they benefit.

So if yesterday’s message didn’t land, I’ll say it again:

Be the prize.




Choice (Best Make Sure You Make This One)

There are entrepreneurs who make things happen.

They make the plans, do the work, measure the results, and continuously iterate and optimise both self and systems, in order to reach best performance and outcome.

That’s the kind of entrepreneur who grows themselves, their business, their impact, and their revenue.

There’s also those who, instead, watch what’s happening.

These are people who do try to stay in control of things, but because they don’t plan, execute, or measure enough, they kinda stay stuck. They watch things happen, or not happen.

And then there’s those who wonder what the hell is happening.

That’s what you get when you’re aimless, trying various things, never sticking with something that works, never executing on the things that truly drive growth.

Which group you belong to is the result of a choice, conscious or not. And you’d better consciously make that choice, otherwise it’s unlikely you’ll be in the first group.

But that would be the group you want to be in, right?

Good. That’s why I created the Strategic Accountability Coaching programme.

Have a look here, and fill out the questionnaire if you feel it’s for you…



Three Pillars Required for Business Success

When trying to create clarity and fun and growth in your business, there’s three core areas to pay attention to – fundamental pillars, in my opinion:

Mindset, method, and skillset.

Mindset is about how to think, how to look at the playing field, the decisions to make, the things to say no or yes to.

Mindset is the overarching ‘how’ of the way you run your business.

Method, is straightforward, hands-on, measurable. It’s about planning, strategising, and steps to take, in such an order that one thing can build on another.

In other words, it’s the ‘what’ of being in business. What to do, in what way, what next, what not to do, what to measure, and what assets to leverage in order to create a thriving business.

Skillset is, as the word says, about capabilities: the specific skills you need to bring to your game in order to actually make things happen.

It’s really important to work with all three, because it’s like a three-legged stool: if one leg is missing, the thing will fall over.

You may have an excellent method and strategy, and crazy good skills at marketing or delivering your work, but if your mindset says ‘it’s pointless, the economy sucks, people just don’t pay what I deserve’, then method and skillset don’t do you much good.

If your mindset is ‘I can do this, and I know I can find the people who do want to pay good rates’, and your method for finding them is great – but you don’t have the skills required to actually find those people, it won’t work either.

It’s useful to assess where you’re at with each of the three pillars, so you get a view on where you’re at, where you want to go, and what needs to happen inbetween the here and the there.

If mindset needs improving, work on yourself. Read books, get a coach, go to workshops and retreats. Learn to make your mind work for you, instead of against you.

If method is undefined or underdeveloped, straight-up learning is in order, especially in terms of strategy, measurement, and systems.

If skillset is lacking, train yourself. Be it in copywriting, or selling, or SEO, or using social media or building your list: there’s things you can do and do well, provided you train yourself.

So whenever you feel things aren’t working the way they ought to, take yourself through a little thought exercise, and ask:

Is my mindset configured correctly for reaching my goals? Is there any belief or elements to my attitude or showing up that I can change, improve or replace?

Do I have a well-defined, hypothesis-based method in place for growing my business, that allows me to test, iterate and optimise?

Do I have the skills required to actually make it work – or do I need to acquire new skills?

Either way, if you want to make it in business, you need the three pillars: mindset, method, and skillset.

And, if you have them reasonably in place but you just want to be sure you’re working on the right things that get you to your results, then this will help.



Why Do People Give You Money?

Do you know why people do business with you, and not with someone else?

In other words: Do you know why people give you money?

You might answer:

“Because we’re the best”, or:

“Because of our customer service”, or:

“Because we’re an award-winning XYZ”, but:

Unless you’ve done your homework and the answer is what your customers have told you, you’re probably mistaken.

If you want to grow your company, then you can’t afford to go with what you think your people think of you.

You need to get out there and talk to them, and figure out *their* reasons, and not the reasons you *think* they have.

It’s called market research, and it’s the very first thing you should do, if you want more customers like the ones you have & love.

We all know this, yet hardly anyone does it.

So we throw more money at ads.

Hire more sales reps.

Create more offers.

Build more websites.

Do more content marketing.

Causing an enormous levy on resources, when we don’t even know the horse’s mouth facts about why people pay us.

A losing proposition.

Get the foundation in place first. THEN build up and out.

Because how does it make sense to spend resources, when you don’t even know your differentiator, your USP yet, don’t know what sets you apart and makes you desireable, in the eyes of your buyers?

Know your differentiator.

Not in terms of what you think – but in terms of what *they* say.

How to talk to your people, and how to figure out your USP – and what to do next in order to grow your revenue – is what I’ll show you this Thursday, at the training Helena Demuynck is hosting for you all.

Register here, and learn a complete, growth-driving marketing system:




20% Growth… Guaranteed…???

TL;DR: Register for a free live training session this Thursday, where you’ll learn how to increase your revenue by 20% or more, without raising your ad spend. Here’s the signup page: https//

It’s something I’ve not mentioned much here yet, but I run a marketing implementation programme, that guarantees that my clients raise their revenue by 20%.

And very often, people ask how I can make such a promise.

Good question too.

After all, there’s so many moving parts, so much uncertainty, so much to figure out.

So how, Martin? How do you guarantee 20% growth?

The answer is surprisingly simple, because this marketing system is based on leveraging marketing assets that you already have, but aren’t utilising.

But if you do leverage your marketing assets, generating 20% more revenue can be pretty easy.

Especially if a) you use a tried and tested system, and b) if that system is based on the fundamentals of business and marketing.

See, the trick is to look at the synergy between metrics. (do people still talk about synergy? Anyway).

Most businesses who want to grow, make ‘more sales’ the goal.

But increasing sales by 20% is a pretty tall order.

And, more sales usually also means ‘more cost’.

So yeah, how do you reach 20% growth without increasing cost?

Business fundamentals, and looking at three metrics for growth:

1: The number of leads you generate: how many people do you enter into conversations with?

2: Conversion rate: How many of those convert into paying customers?

3: Purchase value or customer account value: how much money does each client spend with you?

These three all influence revenue.

So here’s a thought exercise:

Could you, conceivably, raise your leads by 10%?

Probably yes, right?

And conversion rates – could you crank that up 10%?

Bet you can.

And having a buyer spend 10% more?

Not too difficult in most cases.

And now it’s going to get fun:

What if you raise each of these by 10%?

Then you get exponential growth, raising your revenue to 33% in total.

And that, my friends, is why – for the right kind of company – I yes, absolutely, guarantee 20% revenue growth.

Because literally every business has assets that aren’t being put to use – from expertise, to network, to intelligent messaging to different segments of your database of past, current, and potential customers…

There’s a LOT that can be done, when you use a systematic approach and base your growth efforts on data and metrics, and you allow those underused assets to drive your growth.

And this Thursday, at 7PM CEST / 1PM EST, I’m giving a live training, hosted by Helena DeMuynck, founder of Oxygen4Leadership.

You’ll get a training on a tried and proven system, showing you exactly which steps to take and in which order, to get all you can out of everything you’ve got.

Registration is here: https//

See you on Thursday!



How to Win Entrepreneurial Battles

Because hey, every entrepreneur is a hero in their own right – we all battle against challenges and crazy odds.

So: People tend to think that Napoleon was a great strategist, and it’s probably true.

But, strategy is nothing without implementation.

Proven by the fact that he never won another battle, once his marshall Davout had died.

Davout was the man who translated Napoleon’s strategies into marching orders for the troops, or however that works in the military.

Davout only ever lost one of old Nappy’s battles, and according to the internetz, after him it all went to hell in a handbasket.

Why would you care?

Because a) you absolutely, most definitely, need solid strategy if you’re going to win your own entrepreneurial battles.

But, you’ll also need to translate that strategy into the right actions, set the milestones and end goals, and get your head in order so as to actually get the actions and tasks done.

Or, what psychologists call implementation intention. 

Just taking action won’t cut it. Neither will strategy without implementation intention.

It all comes down to decisions, based on questions like ‘what matters most, right now’ and ‘what should I focus on’ and ‘what should I avoid at all cost’ and, very importantly:

‘What needs to be DONE?’

These are the things we focus on, in my Strategic Accountability Coaching programme.

We won’t be fighting wars, but we sure as hell will get you set up, every week on Zoom, the right way, to make sure you choose the right tasks, and execute on them.

This is a powerful programme, and inbetween calls it gets you daily access to me by email, for any course correction or feedback you need.

You can go it alone, and you know how that works out.

Or, you can get my help, and be amazed at how focused, results-driven, and ‘DONE’ your performance can be.

More info and an application form here, if you’ve had enough of spinning your wheels:



Why You Must Outsmart Your Intelligence

I bet you’re an intelligent person.

Experienced, read up on important things like business and self-improvement and people and so on.

But, everything has a flipside. Each boon comes with an Achilles’ heel built in.

And where it comes to intelligence, it turns out that it puts you at risk of making unwise decisions – or, as researches like to call it: dysrationality.

For example, intelligent people are more prone to fall victim to the gambler’s fallacy – thinking that if a coin toss gives tails ten times, #11 will also be tails, for example.

And, people who score high on cognitive tests often have more trouble seeing their own flaws, which makes sense, because:

If we’re intelligent, then logically our thoughts and decisions and plans are correct. Right?

Except, no.

Intelligence enables you to see a bigger picture, to connect dots, to see opportunities others don’t.

But because it makes you automatically believe that you’ve got it right, it’s very easy to make unwise or unsmart decisions.

For example, if you’re currently getting traction with a particular promotional campaign, it might make sense to ad in advertising.

Got results, let’s get more!

Sure. But placing ads is extremely costly – both financially, as well as cognitively.

So you’d rob time and energy from something that’s working, in order to start something that you need to figure out.

Not wise, not smart.

This is why intelligent people so often get stuck.

And, it’s why intelligent – and smart! – people put checks and balances in place, to make sure their intelligence doesn’t lead them astray.

So, are you intelligent – and you want to be wise as well…

Meaning, you want to outsmart your intelligence?

Then get yourself strategic accountability coaching: I’ll be there weekly on Zoom, and daily by email, to make sure you choose the smart and intelligent projects and activities to work on.

More information here:




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