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

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

Lead vs Lag – Are You Looking at the Right Thing?

A while ago I read Cal Newport’s excellent book Deep Work, where he talks about how isolated, almost monastic blocks of highly-concentrated work are something increasingly rare in our society, but utterly essential for growth and innovation.

Which is ironic: here’s an ex-monk who tends to struggle with productivity, and who needs to read a book by a researcher in order to remind him that ye olde monastic practice (being devoted to the work, and taking action, i.e. active devotion) is what’s been missing.

‘Scuse me while I facepalm.

Anyway, he also talks about lead indicators vs lag indicators – a very important distinction.

Everybody has dreams. Results we want to create. A lifestyle, and an economy, that we work towards.

The results of those efforts show up in things you can measure, like the amount of free time you have, or the number of dollars coming in.

Between those metrics and the effort needed to create them, there’s delay and lag. Depending on what you’re building, that can be weeks, months, or years.

Now if you pay a lot of attention to the lag indicators (free time, money, number of customers etc etc), it’s very easy to get disheartened.

Growth usually starts slow, a nearly flat line for months or years, until it suddenly sweeps upward.

That happens when you reach the tipping point, and the flattish line suddenly sweeps upward – and you get the hockey-stick graph we would all like to see in our bank accounts.

Until you get to that point, you really want to avoid looking at the results too much.

Meaning: ignore the lag indicators, and focus instead on the lead indicators: the actions that will, eventually, bring you to the tipping point.

Look; measure; plan; schedule – get serious, scientific, monastic and scholarly on that stuff, and become a veritable pro at executing on the activities that will lead you to the tipping point as fast as can.

Create those blocks of single-pointed attention, to work on the growth-driving activities, and keep executing. Whether that’s an hour a day, or a 5-day bout in an AirBnB each month depends on what works for you.

But do that important work, and measure how much of it you do. Measure tasks checked off. Reflect on and measure how focussed and productive you were. Journal so as to find ways to optimise your output in those blocks.

Keep chipping away at – and improving – the lead metrics, while basically ignoring the lag metrics.

Those will show up, but ONLY if you execute on the lead metrics.

And the best way to do that is to ignore everything that comes after lag.

This is precisely why a while ago I created a strategic accountability coaching program:

To keep you focussed on, and executing on, those most high-value, growth-creating activities.

It’s an affordable way to get 1on1 time with me, to help you choose the best activities for growth, and to keep getting them done.

More information here…

Cheers,

Martin

 

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…

Cheers, 

 

Martin

 

 

How to Make it Easier to Pivot Your Business

The other day I was reminded of my old piano teacher from 40 years ago.

Lovely old lady. Good teacher, too!

Whenever I played a piece and made a mistake, my next step was always to start all the way at the beginning.

But she wouldn’t have that: she always made me repeat the parts I got wrong.

Otherwise, that way you keep getting better at the parts you know, while doing nothing about the part where it gets tricky.

Oh and I remember those long lessons, with the warm Dutch sun highlighting dust motes and me being as bored as can be.

But, she made me repeat the hard bits, over and over, and over, until I got them right.

Now, any business consists of various bits – some are hard, and some are easy.

And the only way a business runs well, is if all the parts work. Together, but also by themselves.

Marketing, outreach, followup, advertising and enrollment conversations: each of these need to work, and then there’s a ton more:

Your target market, your pricing, your messaging, your ability to find and fill your customer’s needs… it’s a lot.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you probably have most of those parts working well to some degree.

But what if you need to pivot?

What if right now clients are not buying, but you want to keep selling and serving?

Then essentially, you’re looking at learning an entire new musical score, with a whole bunch of hard bits to challenge you.

Because ‘making my business work better’, which used to be the norm before all this mess started happening, is very different from ‘reinvent my revenue stream now that there’s a crisis going on’.

One way to pivot is by trial & error.

Or, you can use a recipe – a manual that says ‘do this, in that order, in that way’.

In other words, a system that shows you all the individual parts, and how to do them.

And that recipe – that system  – that’s what you get when you watch this training.


Cheers,

Martin

 

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.

Cheers,

Martin

Stacking Your Assets

A list of past and current customers is a terrific asset to leverage.

If people have paid you before, there’s a good chance they’ll do so again – provided you show up and talk to them.

Or consider your specific, individual talent or ability.

Whether you call it Intellectual Property, or intellectual capital, or your ‘Zone of Genius’ work: it’s a super valuable asset.

If you package it into a programme or system, meaning you can&clone yourself, you can get your work into the hands of more people.

(Incidentally, it’s why I built the IP to Profit System, to help you do exactly that).

Then there’s your values – the things you’d stand on a barricade for – that too is an asset, because when you identify and connect with people who have similar values, you instantly have rapport with them.

And there’s more: your team, your intelligent ability to think up solutions or systems, your likeability, your network… lots of assets, and each can be put to use for greater results.

So many assets to leverage!

What most people do though, is take one asset and try to make it work.

Create a course, and sell it.

Analyse and segment your customer list, and get on the phone.

Redress your ideal client profile, and start seeking more narrowly for people who match your values.

All that is good, useful, and can even be necessary…

But what if you stack your assets?

What if you make each one work better, and together, and have your assets work to leverage each other?

Look at all the building blocks you have, all the assets present and under-utilised…

What if you stack them?

What could you build?

Cheers,

Martin

 

P.s. If you want to go with your business’ two core, most valuable assets and take the shortest route to revenue, start here.

Of Recipes and ‘Spaghetti-Thinking’

Oh sure, I get it: no system ever guarantees a perfect outcome – after all, a system can only get the result it’s built for.

If the system isn’t perfect, neither should we expect the outcome to be.

And so the feedback I got last week – that even my brand spanking new IP to Profit system can’t guarantee to bring in sales for people who use it – was on point.

Especially at a time like these, we just can’t know which system for generating leads, making proposals and creating clients is going to work, or not.

But:

In my – systematic and obviously biased – opinion, it’s better to have a reasonably logical system you can run and optimise, than to practise what I call ‘spaghetti thinking’.

Like a bit of advise I saw the other day, where the instructor had some recommendations for drumming up business.

They were good instructions, but they were kind of like loose tactics – like throwing spaghetti at the wall.

Simple actions we can take like calling up clients and former clients and using ‘helping instead of selling’ as a way to find new gigs.

And yeah, that can work, and it’s good advice. But it’s going to work a lot better if you include that kind of tactic, inside a larger, planned, strategy.

Because then you get to make educated guesses.

You get to ask the right questions, of the right people.

You end up offering the things they need, instead of the things you think they need.

You get to aim your efforts precisely, and you get to measure and iterate for continued growth in results, and yes: sales.

When sales are falling you need to take action, sure.

But do you want to randomly throw ingredients into a pot and hope the end result will be edible?

Or are you going to use a recipe and have that guide you along the way?

A system, a strategy: all that is like a recipe.

Whether it works or not depends on many things: The cook, the quality of the recipe, the ingredients.

But even someone who can barely cook, can create something that tastes quite nice, so long as they follow a recipe.

And IP to Profit is just such a recipe.

Have a look, see if it looks apetising…

Cheers,

 

Martin

 

 

 

Why Do People Give You Money?

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

In other words: Do you know why, actually, 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 themselves have told you, you’re probably mistaken, or at the very least, you’ll have an imcomplete picture.

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.

It’s a losing proposition.

Get the foundation in place first: find out from your people why they choose you, and not someone else.

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.

That’s exactly why the IP to Profit system starts with surveying your people.

Check it out here.

Cheers,

 

Martin

 

 

When a Buyer Says “I Don’t Have the Money”

Really annoying when that happens, isn’t it?

You’ve spoken with the person, they love what you do, they have a clear and present need and want, you’ve made your offer…

And then they say “I just don’t have that kind of money”.

In some cases, they’re stating a fact. Sometimes, people just don’t have the funds to pay for your offer.

In many cases though – if not most of the cases – what they’re really saying is “I don’t have the money for that”.

Where ‘that’ means: the value that could bring the, but that you didn’t manage to adequately show.

More often than not, people hem and haw about buying your work and the cost of it, but then they’ll turn around and buy a TV or phone or an extension to their home.

Because that, to them, is value they want, and so that’s where they allocate their money. They have the money for that.

So if they clearly need and want your help, but they tell you they don’t have the money or it’s to expensive, remember this:

It’s your job to have a buyer see the value of what you’re offering.

And if they don’t, it means you didn’t get that value expressed and perceived.

And, it’s not necessarily game over at that point.

You can still continue the conversation, and still get the deal – but only if you ask questions that have the buyer see for themselves what the value is.

And one very powerful question to ask is:

“If money weren’t an issue, would it be a yes?”

You’ll be amazed at where a sales conversation can go if that’s your reply to “ain’t got the money” or “it’s too much”.

Do you ever get into situations like these, where people want your thing but they didn’t see the value?

Then check out the IP to Profit system… it’ll show you how to create an offer that’s so aligned with their needs and wants, they’ll easily see the value – and buy into your offer.

The training video is, for the time being, yours to have at a reduced rate.

 

Cheers,

 

Martin

 

 

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:

Cheers,

 

Martin

 

 

 

 

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.

How?

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.

Cheers,

 

Martin

 

 

 

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