Take it From an Ex-monk or From an Expert – But Take This Stuff Into Account

Been listening to a ton of podcasts lately.

I love how it makes the brain swell up with information.

Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, John Jantsch, Chris Ducker, Derek Halpern… smart people interviewing smart people.

In many of the talks I’ve been hearing, there are two key notions that keep coming back – at one moment from an author, later from a researcher, then it’s an entrepreneur – whatever direction people come from, those who broke through and reached success, they all keep reverting to two things:

 

1: People choose (or purchase) based on emotions

2: You’re not going anywhere without grit, tenacity, and character

 

Pertinent to the first point: You could explain how your stuff works till you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t also emotionally engage the reader, you’re only talking to half of your customer.

And as much as they’ll understand what it is, what it does, how it works, why it’s worth the money and why it would really help them to buy from you – they won’t if you don’t manage to trigger emotional responses.

 

The second point – well that’s one of my favourite topics, innit?

I mean, you’re never going to finish things if you don’t finish them.

If you want to make a tortilla for 100 people, you’re going to break and beat 200 eggs. If you give up halfway through, there won’t be enough to go round.

Which is so painfully obvious – and yet when it comes to being in business, or building an audience or list, or a social media following of real and active people – folks just give up way too soon.

You’ll be busy trying to drive traffic – you’ll spend some money on ads, a ho’ bunch of time following and interacting – and after a few months, you decide it’s not working?

I don’t know, Bub. It ain’t gonna work if you don’t MAKE it work.

And yes, that means soldiering on, even when it sucks, when you’re depressed, when you’re broke, or when you want to set things on fire.

Can’t give up, not if this stuff is ever going to work.

You can take it from a severe expert like Paul Tough (Google that guy), or you can take it from an old ex-monk.

Doesn’t matter who you go with, just so long as you stick with your plan and push on through.

It’s the only way to get anything done, and giving up is a perfect guarantee that it won’t.

Push on through with what, though?

Oh I dunno – whatever floats your boat.

Me, I’m happy to simply listen, explain, ask and profit.

Here’s how that works and how you can learn the same methods I use –> http://martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/

Cheerio

Martin

How Daily Emails Get You Sales From People That Aren't Even On Your List

Bit of a long one today, 1400- words. Iron clad case for sending daily emails though, plus some tips and instructions. Methinks you want to read this one.

Whenever another entrepreneur looks at my business, the first thing I always hear about are the things I do wrong. There are, apparently, quite a few of them.

It’s no news to me: there’s a lot to be desired here.

My site for example is a bloody mess, and it’s as unstable as a house after an earthquake. That’s what you get when you’re a-technical and start setting up websites.

Touch anything, slam the door too hard, and the entire thing will collapse on itself. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve made it happen myself, more than once.

But just the prospect of starting from scratch, going through the entire process of rebuilding, and adjusting the design and setting up all the plugins – it’s something I just can’t bring myself to do.

I want a Guy or Gal Who Can to take the project and send me an email when it’s ready.

The formatting and design aren’t ideal either, I’m sure you’ll have seen. What can I say? I’m as inept at that stuff as a dyslectic person is at reading a book. That’s not offensive – that’s exactly how it is.

I think I’ll call it dystechia.

Another example that you should probably not follow: how I launch products.

I mean, this year I created two new services – first the mentorship program, and then recently, my premium, print-only newsletter.

And did I do a launch sequence for either of these, like a good marketer should?

Nooo…

In both cases, I did no launch to speak of. I didn’t go onto social media, didn’t generate buzz, didn’t accompany it with guest posts nor ads, no list building – nothing.

I just announced the new services to my list, and that was it.

Arrogant, perhaps, to think I wouldn’t need a proper launch. Or maybe lazy, I don’t know.

I do know it’s not how it should be done.

Another thing: I rarely do any list building. A guest post a few times a year, that’s about it.
SEO? Please, you’re giving me a migraine. Just the thought of doing keyword research… brrr.

Ads? Social media campaigns?

Sorry, no time – I need to write and say something to my list. I believe they’re waiting for a daily update.

Evidently, none of this is an example to follow in any way whatsoever.

Then again, I’m known for saying that a bad example is also an example, so I imagine there are some conclusions waiting for you to draw. (Damn, does English really work that way? Wow.)

Now for the one thing I would seem to be doing right: people. (Yes, I know how wrong that sounds. Just let me, I’m trying to make a point).

Yesterday an email came in that unequivocably proves that email is every bit as effective as I always say, and even more so than I myself had expected.

I mean, how likely is it that sending daily emails works for getting sales even with people who are not on your list?

Seriously: part of my method (the one that I teach in the LEAP Marketing approach), is that you are 100% yourself, to the point that people leave if you’re not right for them, and then you cheer because with every unsubscribe your list gets more qualified.

And then one day, a reader who got fed up and left suddenly needs sales copy, and who’s the first guy he thinks of? “Martin, of course”.

Months later. Months after he left.

I think that’s testimony to email being pretty much something you should make priority #1 in your promotion and marketing and sales.

But that’s just me saying so.

Not that I take client jobs any more, but don’t you think it’s telling, that someone who decided to leave my circle, had become so engaged with my writing that even months later, I was the top-of-mind-copywriter for him?

I laugh quietly when I hear people say that daily emails are a bad idea, that they turn people away.

Those critics have no idea.

Me, I do have an idea. That’s why I send daily updates.

You’re reading this, so you’re at least hip to the idea.

Now it’s just a matter of developing a writing habit.

20 minutes a day should do the trick for the first two months. Just riff away, don’t overthink it. Drop me a line if you have questions.

Question one?

EVERYTHING that’s not directly about your product or service is a topic if you can somehow link it back in a casual or logical way.

You’re welcome. Now please, just… get to writing, you’ll thank me later.

But I’m tired of trying to convince people who won’t even hear me out, who immediately spew their objections.

I want everyone to email their lists daily, but it’ll only work if they understand – not swamp in objections – the benefits.

Benefits such as:

– People looking forward to your updates, every single day

– Readers getting in touch – to ask questions, to offer suggestions, to ask for more information – and yes: to tell you “I don’t have the cash just now but I’ve got your number and I’m saving up to buy”

– People saying: You’re hot, I want to work with you, where do I send money?

– And let’s not forget the massive transformation in your own mind and your business: it’s frigging therapeutic, to sit every day with that task: What can I say today that will help them, how can I write something that’s both fun and useful?

That act, the daily, repeated “There are individuals out there who joined my list to follow what I have to say – I want to say something that helps them, out of sheer gratitude if nothing else” – you gotta experience that for yourself, there’s no describing what it does to the mind

– People getting back to you months after unsubscribing from your list and wanting to work with you (how often does that happen? Not often, I guess)

These effects are real, tangible, not mythical or hyped – this is what happens when you train your brain and your whole system to every day be, no expectations, at the service of people who told you “Interesting, tell me more.”

But, you can also continue to try pulling sales off of Facebook, I don’t mind.

If you get better results Pinteresting your way around the web, then go for it.

Me I prefer the easy, fun, service-based, people-first approach of showing up every day and saying: “Hey there, it’s a new day – I’ve got something to say that might help”.
It works.

I think you should give it a try.

For all I can tell, it’s at least something I’m doing right. If you want to follow an example, daily emails are terribly worth your time.

Stick with it though: you shouldn’t expect to draw conclusions, or give up, before three months are over.

This stuff works, but only for those who are able to put in consistent effort over extended periods of time.
Which is in fact what a business requires, so you basically have no excuse.

Damn I’m persuasive.

Ok – let’s be fair: there may be reasons why you can’t write daily – but if ever you get me on the phone you’ll have a hard time convincing me you can’t find 20 minutes a day to develop a writing habit. But, I don’t know your situation so I won’t meddle.

Seriously though – 20 minutes?

Another reason might be you don’t really know fully how you should go about writing those emails.

In that case, I have a 3-month email training program for you where you and I go one on one and turn you into an email marketer to reckon with.

It’s called Starship Mentorprise, it’s no joke, it turns you into a very prolific and sales-getting writer, and you can get it here –> http://www.martinstellar.com/starship-mentorprise-writing-coach/

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I should go do some SEO or something.

Cheers,

Martin

How to Deal With Hagglers Once and for All: Raise Your Prices

Talked to my friend the other day, who runs a cleaning business.

Things are going well for him: better clients, closer to home, more fun, more money, better equipment, more free time…

And then he tells me what he does when people ask for a discount.

“Martin I never lower my price any more these days. You know what I do when people ask for a discount?

I raise the price.”

I was dumbfounded hearing that. What was he on about?

“When I quote 45 pounds and they ask if I’ll also do it for 35, I smile at them, and tell them this:

“Well actually, 45 is a special deal, because if I’d be charging for my hours it would be at least 50, and probably 60. And I may have to buy special cleaning chemicals to treat the oven in the kitchen because it’s not had any cleaning in a long time.

“So you see a discount is…”

Fantastic, truly brilliant. They grow up so fast *sniff*

Seriously though: With that he’s doing everything right:

First he smiles, because he’s not upset or offended – he just needs to explain something.

Then he first explains the value he offered: a largish job, but with a discount included in the price.

He follows by explaining what the job really entails – the features of what’s being sold.

Then he shows the benefits: By accepting this price, I’m happy to do more than what you’re paying for.

Finally, he protects his business by setting boundaries: at less than 45, I can not do this job for you.

And because he’s a truly affable guy and his smile is genuine, it works.

“Martin, they never let me finish my sentence – when I say that they laugh and say: ”Ok then Adam”.

The result?

Adam gets to pick the clients he wants to work with.

Good for him because he gets the pay he deserves, and good for the client because by giving the guy what he asks for, he’s 100% motivated to do his best work and then some. Sparkles, I tell you.

And obviously, they then become his regular client.

If you’re going to give a discount, do it for a good reason.

But if you want clients that value your work, it’s a good idea to avoid it, as a rule of thumb.

When you lower the value you’ll accept, you’ll also lower the value of what you produce. You might think not, but I believe it always works through, one way or another.

Someone who haggled you down to a discount once – well you might not be as attentive next time they contact you, for example.

That’s value lost.

Of course if Adam had been sending emails to get his clients, he’d never be asked for a discount, because people would already know the ins and outs of working with him.

In fact, it would be the emails, and liking the way he runs his business as shown in those emails, that would cause people to get in touch with him.

But like so many people, he thinks that sitting his ass down daily for half an hour is time badly spent. That he’s too busy for it.

It’s not: it’s an investment in your business, and if you do it consistently it adds up to rather a large asset in terms of content, audience, engagement, sales…

And if you can’t find 30 minutes a day to invest in promoting – really strategically and effectively – not just dicking around on Facebook – on your business? Hm.

The benefits are huge. I say you want this. And it’s only going to cost you 30 minutes a day.

But, no pressure (said Pinocchio).

If, while you’re sharpening your writing skills, you want to learn a system of building an engaged audience, that also teaches you every month how to use the psychological and common sense like the one Adam uses?

Then consider yourself courteously invited to here and
slam yes on that friendly blue button.

There –> http://martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/

Cheerio,

Martin

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 –> http://martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/

Cheery-bye

Martin

In Which I Get Naked. Also: A Dancing Skeleton

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”

– George Bernard Shaw

No dummy, that Mr. Shaw.

In marketing your business, you can make fantastic use of that idea.

Those skeletons we so carefully hide, they can actually be a very useful tool to get more sales.

Provided you take them out of the closet and make them dance.

 

First the why, and then I’ll show you how.

 

When in business, it’s tempting to do nothing but paint rosy pictures

You’re fun, you’re smart, you’re capable and honest, you’re on time and communicate well…

You’d be great to work with, and that’s the message you want to convey.

So far, so good.

Problem is, if something sounds so good, if there’s nothing amiss… you don’t actually build trust, but you reduce it instead.

We don’t trust something that looks too perfect.

That goes back to my pet caveman Grog, remember him?

He might find prey in a forest clearing, but if there are no other animals around, they just might have been scared off by another predator, larger than him.

So his lizard brain tells him – and still tells us – that if something is absolutely perfect, something must be wrong.

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

That notion is hardwired into our brains.

 

To your prospects, a totally perfect picture has the same effect: it makes them apprehensive. Nothing could be that perfect, could it?

So instead of making everything look perfect, take one of your flaws and open up about it.

Get naked, admit you’re human.

Nobody expects you to be perfect.

In fact, we know you’re not.

And being able to say so is brave, effective, and shows that you understand you’re fallible, and that you’re ok with that.

It makes people like you more because you demonstrated that you have the courage to show the world that skeleton of yours.

Your sheer humanity.

You’re not afraid, you don’t hide.

You’re yourself, warts and all. Transparently. And people love transparency.

 

Not only that: if you look really closely, you’ll see that your biggest weak spot, the thing you’re most ashamed of, is actually at the same time a quality

Think about it: If your particular shortcoming is that you always give harsh snap-reactions to people, that means your brain works really fast, and that’s a quality.

Ok, so maybe it runs unchecked and you often upset people with it – that’s something you can work on.

But that actual aspect of your character? It’s good as well as bad, at the same time.

And showing that to people helps them like you, and trust you more, and that helps you get more sales.

My problem, my particular skeleton?

Let’s see, which one shall I pick today… Ah yes, this one. His name’s Bob.

Bob, say hi to the good people.

*Bob rattles a wave and clatters his jaw*

Good man. Now dance.

*Bob starts dancing an Irish jig*

 

Bob is one of my favourite skeletons

His fault is procrastination and I resent him for it.

More than once – or twice – I’ve missed deadlines.

Not the life-and-death, “we’re launching tomorrow and where’s my copy” deadlines – when push comes to shove I show up.

But I must (and no, this not an easy email to write) admit that sometimes I have to ask a client for another day, because I didn’t do my work on time.

It’s uncanny: I’ll sit myself down – research done and notes at hand – to start drafting pages, and right I hear the cupboard door creek open.

A second later I feel Bob’s boney hand on my shoulder.

“Dude, did you see the sunshine out today?”

Angrily, I rucksack my laptop and follow him out the door, pretending I’ll be doing some work on a terrace while he plays on the beach. I usually don’t.

And thusly, another golden afternoon is spent inefficiently – or so it seems.

Remorsefully I follow him back up to the house in the light of the setting sun.

 

And that’s always the moment Bob shows me why he’s actually there, part of my life.

I close the door behind me, and he smiles that lipless, no-ear to no-ear smile of his.

And I want to kick him in it.

Angry with him, with myself, and with the world.

But that’s when the magic happens.

I sit down, hoping I’ll have a good roll in the morning, writing that salespage.

My mind wanders over the notes and bits of draft I’ve pondered together in my mind, and suddenly:

CLICK

In an instant, the whole thing crystalises in my mind.

From the corner of my eye, I see a joyous glint in his empty eye-sockets as I whisk my laptop out of my rucksack.

And I know what he’s not saying: “You, Martin-boy, were not ready earlier today. All that research of yours, you had no idea of what to write with it. True or not?”

I ignore his unspoken words as I open a new file and start riffing a draft at breakneck speed.

“Aren’t you happy, now that I’ve forced you to sit and stare at the sea, now that all your ideas have slotted into place?”

I’m not listening anymore, absorbed in a torrent of ideas. My fingers barely keep up.

“You know I’m not all bad. Hm? Not really – I mean just look at that draft you’re creating!”.

Smug bastard.

 

I tell him to shut up and to go back to his closet – his work is done for the day.

He stalks off – very smugly – and hangs himself up on his hook.

 

Missing deadlines sucks.

I’m embarrassed to say it now, I’m embarrassed when I have to write to a client ‘Please allow one more day’.

But as a creative person – I’m pretty sure you can relate – pause and pondering are part of my work.

When I sit and stare at the sea, it looks like I’m wasting time.

It so much looks like it that even I believe it.

But in reality, it’s détente-time for my brain.

 

It’s when all the info I’ve been chucking in there gets reshuffled, when phrases and taglines get concocted, bubbling up by themselves.

It’s the time my subconscience needs to assimilate and puzzle together what I actually want to say.

For a creative person, purposeful procrastination is essential.

Without it, you’re only going to frustrate yourself, trying to create something that your creative engine isn’t ready to give you, yet.

I finish the draft before midnight, happy and satisfied. Good piece, it’ll be quick work to clean it up in the morning.

As I walk past his cupboard on my way to bed, I hear a rattle that sounds like ‘sweet dreams, little Stellar’ and there’s a distinct mockery to it.

 

Making your skeletons dance is good for business

But, you need to know how to do it because it can backfire horribly – which is why I’m planning to make issue #2 of the LEAP newsletter deal with exactly that.

Don’t forget: if you sign up before June 1st, you get 30 minutes of free consulting time on Skype with yours truly.

Best not miss it, I’d say.

Bob agrees.

Signup is here –> http://martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/

Cheers,

Martin

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.

Anyway.

 

“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 –> http://martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/

Cheerio

Martin

Let's Throw Jimmy to the Lions. He's Doing Things Right

Let me introduce you to a client of mine, a gent by the name of Jimmy Kelly.

I love what he’s doing these days, and I want to show you that you can do the same thing for yourself with a small bits of concerted effort every day.

He had the mentorship program with me earlier this year, and like a good little soldier has been steadily plugging away, writing and sending an email every day.

They’re not bad, in general.

And sometimes, they’re a pretty little gem, like the one he sent today:

==========================

Updates from The Art of Creating Meaning

Framing People

It was Degas who said that “The artist’s reward is the frame”. He wasn’t far off the mark with that statement.

It’s amazing what a frame can do for a work of art. It’s a form of validation for the effort and brings it one step closer to actually finding a home on someone’s wall.

There is one problem however, frames can be prohibitively expensive, even the cheap ones. For someone like me, who is quite prolific when it comes to producing art, hard decisions in this area have to be made.

I line up newly produced paintings and I tell them straight – “You are all beautiful and deserving in your own right, but not everyone can go on to the next round”

It’s like a scene from America’s Next Top Model. There will be tears and tantrums, mainly mine. The paintings themselves are decidedly non-plussed by the whole affair. Almost telling me to just get on with it.

Finances are examined and then duly ignored as I procure some the materials for framing. Then the final decisions are made as to what will hang on the wall, for a short time at least, until a worthier new-comer arrives, fresh on the scene.

The painting that I swore would never be frameless again is ripped out without a second thought and the new one finds its true home on the wall. It will be there only for a short time, but a good time. It won’t be ignored, rather the opposite. It and the frame will be scrutinized every time I walk by.

You see, I make my own frames. Have the guillotine for cutting the angles and the under-pinner for joining them together. Everything a professional framer requires. I love that buzz of cutting and pining a new fresh frame together and then neatly slotting in the painting.

Hanging it on the wall is icing on the cake and the five, ten, sometimes fifteen minutes of staring that follows that moment.

It’s important to share our joys. A painting is for life and keeps on giving in new and unexpected ways. If you’re lucky enough to buy a painting of mine and it’s also in its original Jimmy-Kelly-made frame, your joy is possibly doubled.

This can be arranged by clicking here and allowing your imagination to see it hanging on your wall.

==========================

 

I say one could do a whole lot worse as an artist.

In fact, this email is a fine example of what you can achieve if you learn the right methods, and if you diligently apply yourself to regular practice

Now, this piece might not be your style or to your taste

But objectively speaking, for the audience he’s trying to reach, it’s brilliant.

For one thing, it’s perfectly personal: the way he describes – storifies, really – how his mind works is exactly the sort of showing your personality that makes emails work so well.

It makes people understand you, it gets them to KNOW you, and that allows them to like you

But there’s a lot more he does right: Jimmy mentions Degas, hinting at the fact that he’s not just a brushworker, but also UNDERSTANDS art, that he’s done his homework.

And even if a reader isn’t familiar with Degas, and even if the quote is (at first sight) superficial, showing you know what you’re talking about helps build trust.

There’s also some humour and self-mockery in it, which is another great way to engage people.

He talks about the practical process – another highly engaging thing because people generally really like learning how something works, what the process looks like, how things go together and so on.

And did you notice the ease, the relaxed style?

He’s not there to sell anything – he just shows up with something to say, something which is likely to be interesting to art buyers.

Oh wait, he IS selling something, since there’s a call to action and a link at the end.

And yet, nothing in the piece is pushy, or marketing-y, or desperate for attention.

It’s just a guy, talking to us about his work.

 

Real nice work

The result of some learning, and a ton o’ practice

Because believe me, when Jimmy started, his emails weren’t anywhere near this good.

Now I just wish he’d work harder to generate traffic so that more people see his writing.

That said, there’s also sense behind his madness: He has a job and doesn’t depend on art sales for his living, so it makes sense for him to really train his writing prowess first, and build the traffic once he’s confident and comfortable in his writing skin.

 

Anyway: I like this email. A lot.

So much so, that I’m going to piece that sucker apart for you in issue #1 of the LEAP newsletter, and give it an in-depth analysis.

It’ll be like my regular copy review – and then some, because I’ll be framing (heh) Jimmy and this email within the Listen-Explain-Ask-Profit framework which shortens to LEAP.

Now, don’t misunderstand: The newsletter won’t be just for, or about, artists – it’ll be much more than that.

In fact, I’ll show you how the principles and mechanisms he uses are universally applicable, because they work at the core of what building a relationship is about

It’s not about ‘artist-focused’ sales techniques – instead it’s about how you as a designer, or coder, or indeed painter, can use the principles and methods that work for you and with your people, regardless of what you actually make.

Why am I so convinced it’s universally applicable?

Because if you’re reading me, I’m pretty sure you are an artist in your own right: building your own ideal life, carving out your niche, living the work of art that is your life.

Confused?

I’ll bet. It’ll all become clear in a week from now, when the first issue goes to the printer.

Sign up before May 31 and you’ll get a free 30-minute introduction call to go with it –> http://www.martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/

 

Cheerio

Martin

There's a Market for Everything, Even Rotting Fish (No Joke)

Long one today: Subscriber Gareth writes in with a question about Leap and selling art:

###

Dear Martin,

As always thank you for your e-mails – much appreciation.

I have a question. Do you think this LEAP product would be very useful for an artist who is trying to sell or at the very least promote his art work? My concern is that most business approaches are about finding what people want and then giving them a tailor made product that suits their wants, but it doesn’t seem like I can use that approach fully. I’m like someone who has made a suit and is dashing around the streets looking for the person who might fit into it.

Yours sincerely,

Gareth

###

The simple answer is: yes it’ll work.

But, there’s a big but.

The Leap system is a series of trainings that over time show you how you can find your own niche within the market

It shows you, if you study carefully and implement the lessons, who you really are to the people most interested in you and how you can find those people and build strong rapport with them.

In that sense, it applies to artists just like it does to a copywriter or a designer or a UX expert.

But.

 

But how long can you hold your breath?

Look at it like this:

If you’re a tailor and you made a suit, and you’re looking for someone who fits into it, I doubt you’re going to be very lucky.

I know this for a fact, because I used to be a tailor.

That said, the very comparison doesn’t work, and here’s why.

When a tailor makes a suit, a client comes to him and gets measured up.

All details about style, comfort, fit, appearance are duly noted, and the tailor proceeds to create something specifically to the wishes and the form of that client.

When it’s finished, it is indeed very unlikely that another person will have exactly the same sizes or the same set of stylistic wishes.

In that sense, you could compare a fancy suit to a commissioned portrait.

The client comes to you and describes the type of painting they want, and you work to find the balance between those instructions and your own style choices

If you really ‘get’ what that person wants, and if you are able to put that identity down on the canvas, it’ll be him – not any other sitter. The guy who patronised you, well that’s the guy who’s on the painting.

No other man would recognise himself in it, and he shouldn’t: This one was made specifically for the client. Just like a suit.

But Gareth is in a different class: He creates the art that he himself wants to create, instead of what people ask him.

Which is obviously scary as hell, because indeed: Where on earth are you going to find those people who like exactly those things that your own drives and inspirations wrench out of you?

Interestingly, I created LEAP to answer exactly that kind of question.

That is to say: the newsletter doesn’t give you cut and dry readymade answers, but instead teaches you methods, strategies and ways of reading your market, so that you can answer those questions for yourself.

It teaches you how to ‘learn’ your market and how to connect with those people

It’s that saying: Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but teach him how to fish and he’ll have food until he dies.

The newsletter is that: a fishing net, the instructions on how to identify your ideal ‘fish’, where to find them, how to listen to them, what to say to them, and how to craft an offer – bait, if you will – that’s right for them.

In other words, to paraphrase Jesus, (will I lose subscribers over this? I might, but man it’s a good quote):

Come with me, and I’ll make you a fisherman of clients.

 

Now, let’s look at two notions, more specific to Gareth’s question

The first is: Keep your day job.

That is to say: make sure you have some activity that pays the bills, whether it’s working in a store or painting nativity scenes for Hallmark.

I mean, that whole starving artist myth is mighty romantic, but your landlord doesn’t care much about romance, and the art supply shop takes cash for payment instead of broken dreams.

So if you don’t have enough clients to keep you afloat, or a strategy to keep those clients coming in, you are indeed going to be a starving artist.

Which sucks, because they don’t tend to have a very high happiness rate, and the degree of daily starvation is entirely unrelated to the level success or indeed artistic expression of the starving artist in question.

 

I say: take care of yourself first, then make art. YMMV

Then there’s another notion: There’s a market for everything. Literally

Even rotting fish is a product that has fans and gets sold – which is not to say that I compare art to fish, rotting or otherwise.

But it’s true: it’s called Surstömming, it comes in a can, and according to a Japanese study, opening the can produces the most putrid smell in the world of food.

In Sweden, it’s a national heritage and it’s considered a delicacy.

And the people who like it? They really, really REALLY like it.

So Gareth’s task, if he’s adamant about making HIS art and not something with proven commercial viability, is to study the market, to listen and to suss out who actually are the people that like his kind of work.

And then, to create a way to get himself in front of those people and start communicating with him.

It’s not that hard – you just need time and consistent effort.

You gotta keep plugging away until it works, just like –

– guess what –

– EVERYBODY who has ever ran a business, online or otherwise, artist or carpenter or baker.

 

So the question ‘will LEAP work for me’, I can answer with another question: ‘Are you willing to MAKE it work?’

I can give you a net, a boat, the diesel to get you to the fish and the course to follow.

But it’s up to you to set sail and start angling for customers.

Over and over and over again, until you figure out the best way to catch ‘em.

Which, if you’re lucky, smart, and you work hard, can be within just a few months.

If you have that stamina, if you’re willing to learn, and if you’re so committed to selling your work that you’ll keep learning and implementing until it works?

Then yes, Leap will do you a world of good.

Sign up here –> http://www.martinstellar.com/leapfrog-your-business/

Cheers,

Martin

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/

Avast!

Martin

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?

“Hm…

“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.

Aaaanyway.

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.

Martin

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