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

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

On Brutal Honesty, A-holes, and Getting Your Message Across

Saw a video yesterday where Ramit Sethi answered a question from a follower, who wanted to know whether brutal honesty is something recommendable.

Ramit explains that he himself used to be brutally honest: if someone would complain about a lack of money, he’d go “Well maybe if you start getting your finances in order!”

Next, he says: “Only assholes talk like that!”

I disagree.

People who talk like that may be perceived in a very negative way, but does says nothing about their intentions.

I see his point, but he’s forgetting about something: The difference between intention and perception.

Because while some brutally honest people might simply be unpleasant, but lots of people just don’t know any better.

They’re not necessarily assholes – they just learned somewhere, at some point, that this is how things are done.

They might in fact be labouring with the very best intentions.

But here’s where ‘the other person’ comes in.

See, our intentions might be made of solid gold – but they amount to nothing if we get perceived as being a bully, or arrogant, or uncaring.

What matters is that our intentions manifest in the world. That’s the value of an intention.

Just like the value of an idea lies in its implementation.

If a guy or gal thinks that spewing forth harsh truths is the best way, I’d say he’s misguided sooner than an asshole.

How do I know?

Because I too used to be too brutal. Still am, sometimes, I guess.

But I’ve always had the best intentions with it – I just needed to learn what Sufis have said for centuries:

Speak to the other person at the level of his or her understanding.

When you do that, they’ll be far more receptive to the truth or opinion or message you want to share with them.

It’s a matter of openness, of allowing the other person to be receptive to you, by virtue of your first and foremost considering them and their feelings, their situation and their state.

We’re all vulnerable.

Someone who shouts at us or is harsh with us, our lizard brain perceives that as a threat and will instantly pull up barriers.

The ‘harsh truth they need to hear’ gets discarded instantly, instead of understood.

When you recognise that the other person has doubts and fears and worries that you need to adjust your message to, they listen to you.

That’s why listening is such an important part of my LEAP marketing philosophy.

Listening to people’s doubts and worries, understanding their fears, recognising the keywords they use when talking about the problem for which you have a solution.

Get that right, and you can deliver any harsh truth you want, nicely wrapped in silky soft “I get you, I understand what you’re going through”.

And you bet people will respond when they feel you’re with them, instead of against them.

Anyway, Ramit made a good point. But by sharing his ‘harsh truth’, calling everyone who dishes out brutally honest comments an asshole – guess what? He gave me the feeling that he’s the asshole.

Interesting, no? Talk about good intentions getting lost in the message…

Ah, good ole psychology. Love it.

If you want to learn the inner workings of this type of thing, so that you can get your intentions across and be perceived without being mistaken for someone you’re not, you can get that for about $2.5 a day if you sign up for the LEAP newsletter.

Not a bad investment for someone who’s in business, in my not at all humble opinion.

Want in? Here you go –>



Hey Man, This Mellow-Thighed Chick Just Put My Spine Out of Place

Today’s pop-culture reference: David Bowie’s Suffragette City. Good track.



“Come closer”, she said in that husky voice of hers

I scooted over.

She wrapped her arms around me from behind, and proceeded to mildly wrench my torso off my hips.

Next, she put her knee in the small of my back and did something to my spine that would make Jean Claude van Damme feel like an amateur.

Following that, she sat herself down on my ribcage, and everything popped and cracked.

From there on in, things started to become a bit painful.


Some five minutes later, I was shouting and grunting and actually thrashing about in agony on the table.

I may have insulted her, I don’t know – I was unable to hear myself think through my shouting.

To make sure I’d remember her, she put patches on my back that she connected to electrical wires.

I think the wires went straight into a wall socket because it felt as 220 Volts were being injected straight into my spinal fluid.

Took about 20 minutes to charge up my batteries, apparently, because then she came and unhooked me and said I could dress my beat-up frame.

I paid for the hour of first-class, medieval-grade torture, and went home.

My back feels terrific. I’m a new man.


There’s nothing like quality

I go see her any time I have a problem with my back, and I’ll wait three weeks for her to be available, instead of her assistant. I want Toni, nobody else.

We all know quality rules, but the question is: how do you make people understand that what you do or make is of real and true quality?

You know, without having to brag, or lie, or manipulate, or get all salesy on people – how do you do make people understand that you’re worth your salt?

As always, I’ll say by sending daily emails.

It’s free, it’s fun, people love receiving emails, and hey – it gets you sales too.

You know I preach that stuff every day.

You know I consider it business salvation, to communicate frequently with your people.

But, you might not be sure how it would work for you, in your particular business.

And that is why I created the LEAP Marketing newsletter.

Where my free daily emails tell you what I think – in my not at all humble opinion – you ought to be doing for your business, the newsletter tells you how to do it.

It’s hard teaching, the kind of stuff that gets into the nitty gritty of building lasting relationships based on trust

Which is, in case you weren’t sure, the kind of relationship that gets you sales over and over again.
16 pages, print only, delivered to your doorstep once a month wherever in the world you may live.

I’ve been waiting to say this: She’s going to the printer’s next week.

Don’t miss out, because issue #1 is going to be a massively packed doozy.

Sign up here –>



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 –>



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 –>

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

A Literary Goatherd? Now That's Why My Stuff Ain't Cheap, and Neither Should Yours Be

A few evenings ago I sauntered into my friend’s bar after my daily walk&webinar.

I enjoy walking at sunset with a good bit of audio to get my learn on. is my latest discovery.

Anyway, my friend introduced me to a guy called Manuel and we chatted for a while.

I instantly noticed his mental prowess – he had things to say and knew how to say them.

Not a very common occurrence in this very rural area.

He was, in a word, erudite.

At times almost lyrical.

Read moreA Literary Goatherd? Now That's Why My Stuff Ain't Cheap, and Neither Should Yours Be

Here You Go: Some Advice I'm Not Qualified to Give

I’m not a parent.

As such, I have little right to tell parents what’s right and wrong.

But, I know a few things about psychology, and with that I can see that some parents are doing damage without being aware of it.

And, there’s a sales lesson in it, so read on even if you don’t have children.

I just watched Jimmy Kimmel’s April fool’s day video.

Read moreHere You Go: Some Advice I'm Not Qualified to Give

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