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

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

A Lesson George Bernard Shaw Wants You to Learn

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw

Ok, it’s presumptuous of me to speak for Mr. Shaw, but whatever – I’ll take that liberty, because I’m sure he’d be happy if more people realised the wisdom of his words.

Because yes, we often think we communicate, when actually we don’t.

That is: we think we communicate thing A, and then act all surprised (or even upset) when it appears that the other person heard thing B.

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you found yourself thinking ‘why are they not getting it?’, then that’s what happened.

You said one thing, but the other heard another thing.

Of course you can blame the other for being stubborn or contrary, and in some cases that may be at play – but even then, that does not exonerate you from the responsibility of communicating in a different way, and trying to find out how to get your message across.

And this applies everywhere: In business and selling; at home; with your spouse or kids; with your students or team mates or prospects:

It’s on us to find the way ‘in’, and figure out how to get the right message across.

And here’s the secret: saying more won’t help more.

In fact, when two parties think that communication has taken place when it hasn’t, the number of things said are inversely proportional to the degree of understanding.

Put differently: if the other person doesn’t seem to get you, explaining harder will be counterproductive.

Instead, ask questions.

Because unless you learn more about the other person and what they heard and what they think of it, how are you going to accurately adjust your message?

When you find that a buyer (or friend or team mate or spouse) isn’t getting what you mean, ask yourself this:

What did they hear me say?

How does it differ from what I meant?

What should I ask them, to figure out how to adjust the message I’m trying to communicate?

A useful tool in all communication – and especially in the context of selling and signing up clients.

Incidentally (actually: intentionally) that’s why the system I designed to help you generate sales now that everything business has changed or stalled, starts with asking questions. 

It’s the only way to figure out what new, changed needs your buyers have, so that you can create offers that they’ll want. 

And that will enable you to create a new revenue centre, even when right now everything is so complicated. 

Check out the system here…






It’s the Singer, Not the Song: Your Revenue Needs More Than Just a System

When I launched the IP to Profit system a while back, for developing a new revenue centre in your business, my coach said:

“In such uncertain times, how do you know that a system will work?”

Brought back memories of that Stones song: It’s the singer, not the song.

Because he’s right.

Not just in uncertain times, but always:

We can’t ever know if a system will work, because any system depends on how you use it, how well it’s executed.

Everything hinges on how we show up to a task or a project.

How we operate, implement, execute.

The song (i.e. the system) might be good, but if it also ‘sounds’ good (gets you sales) that’s because of the ‘singer’ (you, the one operating the system).

And the IP to Profit system is no exception.

Sure it’s really well-built even if I say so myself, and yes it’s got all the steps to go from market research, through the copy you need to write, through selling and optimising.

And yes, you can make a revenue centre around your Intellectual Property, even at times like these…

…but it’ll require the best of you.

Meaning: By itself, the IP to Profit system itself isn’t enough – it’s down to you, and your dedication and attitude and execution.

If you’ve got those in place, then you *might* be able to make your IP earn you money, even if the business world right now is in full VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity).

Point is, if you don’t use some sort of structure or framework or system, it’s hard to know what to do, and in which order.

And from the actions you take, it’ll be hard to see measure what worked best so that you can iterate and optimise, if you’re not using a testable system.

And that’s why the IP to Profit system is so useful:

Not because it promises the end-all solution, but because it gives you a framework in which to operate, enabling you to indeed show up as your best self, and get the most out of it.

And, it enables you to get the most out of your single most valuable asset:

Your list, your database, all the people in your world you can talk to and help.

And to leverage that asset in a systematic way and keep your serving and selling going, consider getting the system: a 1-hour training, yours to have and own, slides included, at $19.



Solution-bias (Plus, a Solution For You)

Specifically, a solution in case you suddenly have a lot fewer sales than before, like so many people out there.

Here’s the situation:

Being human means being biased. It is literally impossible to be completely unbiased, because on an evolutionary level, we’ve always needed to make snap-assessments about the world around us.

Otherwise, we wouldn’t have survived this long.

If you can’t be biased to assume that fangs = threat, you’ll quickly discover just how deadly fangs can be.

So if you think that you’re completely unbiased, your lizard brain says no, that’s not true.

The good news here, is that you get to choose your biases.

Good and useful ones, or silly and obstructing ones. Up to you.

And choosing them isn’t all that hard, once you start to identify the ones that you already have.

For example: You may be inclined to think that society is going to collapse – a bias that will cause you to spot in your world all kinds of confirmations of that fear.

Or, you can choose a different bias: that amidst the mess and chaos, there are quite a few good things happening.

Those may not make the bad things less bad, but looking at positive sides and silver linings helps you see opportunities that you can then leverage.

Someone this week pointed out that I have a ‘solution-bias’ – something I’d never considered, but it’s true: I like creating solutions.

It’s what my work is built on.

And, it’s why I was able to quickly create the IP to Profit system, and launch it in less than three weeks from Spain going into lockdown.

Because I saw a problem (people suddenly not selling and earning) and I figured ‘Let’s build a solution’ (take your intellectual property and convert it into a new revenue centre).

Biases are kind of like air: You’re going to be breathing anyway, so you might as well breathe fresh, clean air.

Or consider food: if you’re going to be eating, best eat well & healthily.

As for biases: you have them, whether you like it or not, agree or not.

Best choose those biases that enable you to create, solve, grow, serve, and thrive.

For me, that includes a bias for creating solutions.

And if your bias is ‘it should still be possible to sell my work, even now’, then the IP to Profit System gives you a complete roadmap to make that happen.

Check it our here:








When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Make Lemon Merengue Pie

You get to choose your attitude at any given time.

And when life gives you lemons… well, making lemonade is always good…

Or wait! What about a lemon merengue pie!?

Which isn’t as funny as you might think:

Lemons into lemonade is a great attitude…

But what opportunities would you see… what could you invent… create, or build…

If your current hardship was the best thing that ever happened to you?

I mean, that’s how you’re likely to end up feeling anyway at some point – “it was tough but it was one of the best things to ever happen to me”…

You’ve felt that way about stuff from the past, right?

Well, then you’ll feel like that again, sooner or later.

So, what if you’d feel that right now?

What if the mess you need to deal with at this moment – the disruption, the changed markets, the different buyer behaviour – would actually be the best thing that could happen to you…?

That’s a choice you can make, it’s in your hands.

Which doesnt magically fix all problems, but it’s a damn useful attitude to take.

So if this were the best thing that could happen, and you still want to sell, and serve your people, but it’s not working the way it used to?

Then what you want to do, is figure out what’s different for the people who used to buy.

If they gave you money in the past, or were about to but didn’t move forward… what’s changed for them?

What are their new, current, pressing, urgent problems, that you could solve for them?

See, everything is different for everyone. Which puts the onus on you to align your sales process and the offers you make and the buyer conversations you have, with that new reality that your buyers are currently in.


Many different ways.

The IP to Profit System is one way, and it might just help you get your sales rolling again.

More information here.







“Is It Still Ethical to Sell at a Time Like This?”

Saw that question on Twitter the other day.

And I get it. We’re all reeling to some degree or other, and don’t we have better things on our minds, besides business?

Well yes, we do: Smile. Or do you have anything better to do?

(Ok, that’s a bit snide, but I really really mean it: smile. It’s better).

But that business and selling thing…

Should we? Is it right? Does it matter? Is it ethical?

Well, think of it this way:

You’d better hope your baker keeps selling bread.

It would be nice if you supermarket keeps selling and serving your needs.

If your phone breaks, hopefully someone is selling new or second hand ones, or selling repair services..

Petrol, for those who need to get to work, such as medical, transport, foodstuffs professionals…

The online platforms you use for your business, they’d better keep operating and taking your monthly payments.

Now these are obvious… of course they should stay in business and keep selling. They’re important, for all kinds of reasons.

But if you think that because you’re a solopreneur, or a coach, or an author, or literally whatever it is you do or whatever reason you’re telling yourself why you should take your foot of the gas, that you’re not supposed to be selling your work, you’d be making a mistake.

Even if you’re an artist, and you’re telling yourself that ‘there’s more important things than art at a time like this’, you’d be wrong a mistake. (Art matters a lot for culture, and even more now that folk will increasingly struggle to keep their head on straight. As evidenced by the uptick in the consumption art and music during past recessions and such.)

And another thing: it’s not that you have to keep operating and selling if you don’t want to, but there’s nobody ‘exempt’ from operating their business.

Because whatever the world is going through, it will always have an economy, and you’d better hope that it keeps working, in whatever way.

Without an economy there’s little left except barter, and humanity is no longer organised in a way that makes barter easy on a wide scale. Besides, barter is just another form of economy, so my point stands.

‘The economy’ is a big, big thing, spanning continents and industries and demographics and crossing all kinds of societal and cultural divides… a huge, complex, web. And while I don’t know a whole lot about ‘the economy’, I do know this:

An economy exists, and functions, by virtue of people trading things of value against each other: buying and selling things. And the more that happens, the more things can happen. Hopefully, good and ethical things.

But without an economy, things suck a lot more for people. Kind of like smiling, in fact: if there’s less of it, life is less fun.

So the question ‘is it still ethical to sell’, can be replaced with a more important question:

Do people still need what you do?

If the answer is yes, and people also want it, but you’re struggling to enroll people under current circumstances, you might want to check this out.

Your baker is selling bread. Go and keep selling your stuff. And then go give your baker some money.

Smile as you do so.



No Ethics Were Harmed in the Making of This Sale

Do you consider yourself an ethical person? Someone with integrity? Someone with values that speak of care for others?

And, do you ever feel conflicted when it comes to selling your work, or quoting prices, or indeed: setting rates that your work is worth?

If yes, then it’s very likely that your ethics and values are the very thing that cause you to undercharge, or to miss out on buyers.

“I wouldn’t stoop so low as to manipulate people into buying!”

Nor should you. Not people like us.

But, if you do care about others, and if your product or service genuinely solve problems and make people’s lives better, isn’t it an act of service when you enable people to buy?

Right, that’s what I thought.

So then how do you get around that barrier, set up by your morals and values?

It’s simple:

Forget about all the sleazy, pushy sales tactics that reek of the 80’s. That’s not you, and you don’t need them.

Next, reframe what selling really is:

It’s helping someone make a decision. Selling is guiding someone through a decision-making process.

Finally: be unattached to the outcome, and embrace the no.

When you have something to sell, you’ll go through an ocean of no, so you might as well get comfortable with it.

And the more comfortable you are with the no, the less pressure the buyer will feel, meaning they’ll have fewer objections and worries – AND you’ll be selling without ever violating your values and ethics.




Generosity, not Charity

There’s a trend where coaches and consultants are being told to give first, to lead with generosity.

In itself that’s not a bad idea, especially when that generosity is meant to deliver value to a potential buyer.

But what’s not always explained, is the difference between generosity and charity.

Which is how quite a few people keep giving away free sessions, and never actually land the clients they give to.

Point is, if you run a business, you’re not a charity. Dollars matter, and if you don’t distinguish between generosity and charity, you’ll end up in trouble.

So if your lead generation is based on generosity, and if you tend to give people strategy sessions as part of your sales process, there’s two important things to remember:

1: Never give to takers, but only to matchers or givers (see: Adam Grant’s Give and Take for an explanation on the difference between the three).

2: Get a picture of who you’ll be giving too, before you do. Qualify your prospects first, because the worst thing you can do for your business is giving your scarcest resource (your time) to people who aren’t ready, or able, to hire you.

Generosity is good, but only if it’s not charity, and only if you go about it strategically.




Let’s Break Things

Gutenberg said: ‘Copying texts by hand? How tedious, how inefficient. That ain’t right’.

And he went on to invent a printing press, and he broke how things were done.

Steve Jobs said: ‘Computers big and bulky, and only for corporations? That ain’t right’.

He went on to put a personal computer in every household.

Abraham Lincoln saw slavery, and said: ‘No you don’t’ – and became one of the people most associated with abolishing it.

Just a few random, yet impactful, instances of people saying ‘that ain’t right. I’m going to break that’.

History is full of examples like these.

And if you look at the world we live in, I’ll bet there are quite a few things you consider wrong.

Things that should change, be disrupted, be righted, be broken and replaced by something better.

At what point does it become right for a politician to lie?

What makes it right for a corporation to please its shareholders, whilst treating its customers like cash-cattle, and damage the land in the process?

How is it right for a (social) media corporation to foster hatred and divisiveness, with its clever algorithms designed to hook people and keep them addicted to fear and panic?

There are many things in the world that just ain’t right, and as a business owner, you get to choose whether or not you help break them, and build something better instead.

And it’s wonderful to see all the driven and passionate founders and coaches and activists and authors and researchers taking a stand, and saying ‘this ain’t right. I’m going to change this’.

If you’re an entrepreneur who is in business to break thins so that something better can be built, you’re my kinda hero. Keep going.

And if you also want to move faster, break things faster, and build a better new faster, then maybe I can help.

Hit reply and let me know what wrong you’re righting, and let’s have a chat.




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.




Or, You Could Stop Blaming Money

Money can bring out the best in people, and it can bring out the worst.

For example: When centuries ago Lisbon was hit by an earthquake, then a tsunami, and then a fire all in one day, the place was in ruins – and it was a very wealthy citizen who donated fortunes in order to rebuild.

As for examples where money brings out the worst… well, examples aplenty. Like the dude who bought a patent to an Aids medicine and raised its market price by – what was it? 3000%? Something crazy.

Where’s the difference?

In the person. Not in the money, because money is agnostic of right and wrong. It’s just a placeholder for value.

But, the more of a good guy or good gall someone is, the easier it is for that person to blame money, and call it – or subconsciously consider it – something inherently bad.

This is a problem, because if you Do Good Work, eventually money will start coming your way, especially if you think big and work long&hard on doing that good thing you do.

But, if you have a secret or not-so-secret hangup about money being bad, you’re going to constantly find ways to keep it out of your life, sabotaging whatever development is bringing the money closer.

That’s silly, and it’s a disservice to the people you want to serve, because the more you make, the more you can scale and reach more people.

So, stop blaming the money, and instead: want the money.

If you’re generous and your needs are covered, you can always donate, or support social good companies, and make money work for good.

But never, ever, blame the money – because *it* has never done anything wrong. People may have done things wrong with it, but as a tool, money itself deserves no blame.

And if you agree, and you want the money, and you can’t wait to get more of it so that you can use it to increase your impact, then let’s talk.

Because helping people make more is something I’m pretty damn good at.

Want that help, from me?

Then, let me know…



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