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

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

Of Pearls, Swines, and the One Lie to Stop Telling Yourself, Starting Today

What do you believe in?

What do you hold to be true?

I’m not talking about religion, but about what you believe to be true about the world.

Because there’s one lie that I keep hearing over and over again, and I highly recommend you get rid of it.

“People just don’t pay that kind of money”.

It’s not true, and you shouldn’t believe it.

Because whatever you make and whatever you get paid for it these days, I’m sure you consider it to be worth more, right?

But if that’s what you believe, and you also believe people won’t pay you more, guess what will happen?

You’ll find ‘proof’ of that ‘truth’ over and over again.

Oh but you’ve tried it!

You’ve shown your work to people, and they tell you you’re asking too much!

Happens to me too.

And each time I get that reaction, I know this:

I’m showing pearls to swines.

I’m presenting something very valuable (my work) to someone who isn’t able to appreciate its value, or who isn’t prepared to invest in themselves.

Don’t try to put pearls before swines.

Because no matter how much you want to earn, there’s people out there who’ll pay you that much for it.

It’s just a matter of accepting that, and making it your mission to a) find those people and b) ignore everybody else.

I was contemplating this topic, whether I should write it.

And then I saw an article this morning, saying that two people have made a very sizeable downpayment to SpaceX (many millions, I imagine), so that they can be space-tourists in 2020, and fly around the moon.

Who says people don’t spend good money, hm?

They’re out there, and they’ll be happy to meet you and pay you.

But only if you make the effort, and learn the smarts, you need to find them.

And if you want help with the effort or the smarts, let me know and we’ll see if I can help.




Everybody Does It

A client in the Cabal mastermind group I run asked the group’s opinion.

She’d been to an art show, where someone had put up a sign saying that prices were 50% off.

Except the final salesprice was what the works had originally been priced at.

In other words, an artificial price hike, in order to make the work appear more valuable.

Before posting her question in the group, she asked a few people their opinion, and she heard things like:

“That’s just marketing”.

Um, no. It isn’t.

It’s deceitful and unethical. It’s marketing done wrong.

Very wrong, in my not at all humble, ethical opinion.

Others said: “Everyone does it”.

Which is just plain silly, and infantile to boot. What’s next: “They started it”?

Come on.

Obviously, I was pleased to see that the Cabal members didn’t think that way, and called it wrong.

Smart bunch, ethical too.

If you want to give discounts, give them on the original price, whatever it is that you sell.

But I say, don’t give discounts.

You’re not Walmart, you’ll never win big if you try to compete on price.

And also: if you’re reading me, I doubt that your work (art or coaching or training or whatever) falls in the low-price category.

Here’s what to do instead: give more value.

Deliver stellar service. Give something extra for free. Be your buyer’s best purchase ever.

That’s the ethical way.

There’s a wide grey area in what is and isn’t ethical, and that’s exactly the problem.

There’s no clear defining line between what is and isn’t. Like ‘white lies’, there’s arguments and justifications you can make. “Ah, just a little bit wrong. That’s not so bad”.

Except it is.

My recommendation is to always stay very far away from the entire grey area.

You’ll feel better about yourself, and in the end it’s better for business.



Buy This or the Puppy Gets It: the Dirty Little Secret of the Business World, and How You Can Prosper Despite of It

The more time I spend being in business, and especially online, the more I’m confronted with the unethical behaviour of some people.

Now, I happen to like marketing.

Used right, it’s a force for good.

Martin Luther King for example was an excellent marketer, so let’s call this point QED.

And I like selling too, and I’m good at it.

But I often walk away from a sale.

Because that’s my code of ethics: if someone isn’t ready and eager to work with me, I shouldn’t have their business or their money.

I shouldn’t and won’t persuade people into working with me.

So what’s that dirty secret in the business world?

It’s this: manipulating people into buying by leveraging the wrong element of the human psyche.

We’re built, hardwired and programmed, to a) avoid pain and b) move towards pleasure.

That’s deeply ingrained in our subconscious, and it has an influence (and often a mandate) in literally everything we do.

But a LOT of marketing works on that first one: avoiding pain.

In a narrower sense: loss aversion. The fear of missing out.

“Get this now or you’ll never build a business!”

“Buy this or you’ll be a loser forever!”

“If you don’t enroll today, this offer will go away forever!”

“Buy this or the puppy gets it”. (Hat tip to Hugh MacLeod)

And that’s wrong.

Sure it’s good to have a limited time offer, to make a special deal that will disappear, or to create an offer at a one-time-only discount.

But to pummel people into compliance by ruthlessly pushing that button that tells your gut “Your life won’t work without this” ?

That’s trying too hard.

But, the fact that so many people do this and do it aggressively, gives you an advantage.

Because you get to show up as an ethical business professional, with an interest in your client’s well-being.

That allows you to build relationships with people.

And over time, those relationships will turn into sales.

So when you see people driving hard sales based on the human tendency to avoid loss and pain, do this:

1: Close the page and move on. I don’t feel that kind of person deserves your business and even if they do: if you were to buy, you’d do it because you’re being manipulated. And you deserve better than that.

2: Smile, knowing that you’re not like that, and that while those folk have to advertise and sell sell sell and work intricate systems of adwords and SEO and conversion rates, you’re building an audience and relationships and therefore: a healthy and ethical business.

3: Write an email to your list. Because whatever your business and whatever your audience, email marketing is a fun and non-pushy way to show up to people who just might want to work with you.

And if now or at any point you want to work with me, you know what to do.



Addendum to the ‘Stop Learning & Take Action’ Email Yesterday…

Because while learning can be a hindrance is you keep stuck in it and you don’t act on it, the opposite is also true:

If you keep taking action and those actions aren’t getting you results, you might well be stuck in a different kind of comfort zone.

And it’s even worse than the first one. After all, if you learn but don’t act, you’re at least learning something.

Whereas if you keep churning away your hours without seeing any returns from your hard work, you’re not learning much and you’re burning yoursefl ujp in the process.

Sometimes, action needs to stop.

Sometimes, you need to stop.

Step back. Look at what you’re doing, what it results in, and observing whether or not you should keep up with the same actions in the same way.

You now, analyse the input and the yield.

Because sometimes, you just need to tweak what you’re doing, change your strategy a bit (and sometimes a lot).

But if you’re stuck in action and you’re running so fast that you’re spinning your little legs like a cartoon character without getting anywher, you don’t give yourself the space to see whether what you’re doing is what you ought to be doing.

Action beats inaction any day of the week.

But there’s nothing like taking the right action.

And that’s why working with a coach is so useful.

A coach sees when you need to slow down, when you need to speed up, and when you need to stand still and take stock.

And he or she can tell you what kind of action will get you the biggest yield.

And I can tell from experience, working with my own coach: it makes you move a lot faster, helps you take the right actions, and saves you SO much time.

So today I’m inviting you for a complementary strategy session.

We look at where you’re at, where you want to go, and what needs to happen for you to get there.

No charge. Just answer a few questions here:



Tricky Business: Learning, Action, and Comfort Zones

Hey, learning is good. Learning should never stop.

But learning without implementation is pointless, it’s an academic exercise.

If you want to build something, you need to know how to do it, and then you need to actually do the building.

But it’s very easy to get stuck in learning mode.

“I’m working on my business, see?

“I’m learning all this really useful stuff, which I need in my business!

“This is crucial information!”

And it is. IF you plan to put the information to use.

Because if you’re not careful, you can end up stuck in learning mode, and then learning becomes a comfort zone.

And the problem is aggravated by all those businesses that keep putting out trainings and webinars and courses.

Telling you that THIS is the key to a profitable business, so son’t miss out.

That you need their training, or you’ll never make it.

They play on FOMO – the fear of missing out.

Which marketers and psychologists know is a very powerful tool.

There’s nary a more powerful motivator than loss-aversion.

I’m thinking about one guy in particular.

He teaches people how to become a successful self-published author.

And his stuff is good, the teachings are real and useful.

But he’s a clever marketer and a really aggressive one at that.

Keeping people in a state of wanting more of the free stuff, more and more and more.

Creating an addiction to signing up to ever more free training.

And while his audience is stuck in the very comfortable learning mode, he aggressively markets his paid products.

Just one example of many.

Don’t fall for it.

You know what to do: you need to take action.

And if you really aren’t clear on which action to take, that’s when you do yourself some googling, and you apply ‘just in time learning’.

Or you talk to me and I help you figure out what to do.

Not because without me you can’t, or won’t succeed, but just because I’ve been an entrepreneur for a decade and I can help you make useful and efficient decisions, and avoid the mistakes that I’ve made.

But on your own, you’ll also get there. Maybe not as fast, but you’re perfectly qualified and equipped to build and run a sustainable business.

Just so long as you keep taking action, instead of staying stuck in learning.

As my client Leigh likes to say: Action stations, action stations.



Would it be, Could it Be… Time to Get Off Your Assets?

Because you have plenty of them, you know.

We all do.

But we tend to disregard them, we forget how valuable our assets are.

Often because they’re intangible, or because they appear to be unrelated to our goals in life or business.

But if you take a old hard look at your experience and skills and network  – and let’s not forget your greater overarching mission…

… you’ll likely discover that you have a wealth of assets that you could leverage.

For example, when my tailoring company went bust, I needed a new way to earn an income.

I had spent ten years or so translating highly complicated texts on metaphysics and psychology in the monastery, and I had learned a lot about marketing, while trying to build (and save) my tailoring venture.

Writing skills… plus marketing smarts… two big assets.

I put the two together and started writing copy for businesses.

And within 18 months I was earning about $5K a month. Not bad, just from getting off my assets.

You can leverage your own assets, and have them contribute to a bigger, more thriving business. IF you choose to.

Your biggest asset is you. Your story, personality, the way and the depth in which you care.

And all you need to do to benefit from that, is to actively make it a part of how you operate your business.

Maybe you were a really stellar front desk worker, way back when.

Then use that in your business, and give your clients the best possible experience when dealing with you.

Or maybe you have experience networking and connecting people back when you worked in corporate – then what if you start doing that deliberately for your own business?

Or could be you have a big network of people because of your church or other local group, and these people all know you as the fun and helpful gal you are…

That network is a huge asset, and all you need to do to drum up more business for yourself is create a non-pushy way for those people to hear about what you do.

There’s endless ways you can use the assets that you have, but it all starts with a clear look at what assets you have but are not using.

And finding that out is one of the reasons I like coaching so much.

So anyway, what do you think:

Time to get off your assets, and put them to use?



I’ll Be the Last to Tell You Building a Business is Easy, but…

…that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult.

It gets more difficult the more complicated you make it.

One way of complicating things is by thinking and acting in ways that are detrimental.

That’s where working with a coach comes in.

So to give you the simplest possible way to look at a business, look at it this way.

To grow a business, there are three elements you need to create, measure, and optimise.

1: The number of potential buyers who find out about you

2: The percentage of potential buyers who do business with you

3: The amount of money people spend with you and the number times they buy

That’s it, that’s the basic model that goes for every single business.

Use these as your benchmarks when you want more results.

Results as in: your financial bottom line at the end of the year.

Because there’s ‘success for you as an entrepreneur’, and there’s financial returns, which is part of that success concept.

And for a business to be healthy, revenue needs to be high enough. And for a business to grow, revenue needs to grow up.

Separately from whether or not you’re satisfied in your work, or successful in ways that can’t be measured.

So if your income isn’t where you want it to be, use the three points as a benchmark.

Do enough people know about you? Are there enough potential buyers?

If not, find ways to show for more people.

But if you have a large number of candidates and the percentage who buy from you is low, then you need to work on that, and see if you can increase conversion rate.

And finally: if you have prospects and you have customers, what else can you offer your customers that makes them want to do business with you again?

Remember, it’s easier to get a repeat sale than a new buyer.

There you have it: A dead-simple, three step analytical tool that you can use to build and grow your business.

And here’s the kicker:

Email marketing helps you improve all three areas.

When you write daily emails and post them to your blog, you get more SEO value on your website which helps you get found by more people.

Daily emails help you stay top of mind with your subscribers (your potential buyers).

And, they help current or previous clients stay up to date with you, increasing the chance that they’ll come back for more of that awesome product or service you sell.



So what about you start writing and sending daily emails, hm?

I’ll help you, if you want.

It’s a 3-month program and it’ll bring out the writer (and natural non-pushy seller) in you.

Hit reply for more information.



There’s Something Interesting About You…

Maybe you don’t fully believe that, but I know it to be a fact.

There’s something inteeresting about everyone.

And it matters a lot, when it comes to writing daily emails and finding topics for them.

And what is that ‘thing’ that’s interesting?

The things you care about.

And everyone cares about something.

Obviously, not everyone will care about the same things as you do, which is a good thing.

Those who do, they’ll be interested in what you have to say about the things you are interested in.

Or let’s put it differently:

Interesting people are interested in things and other people, and folks who are interested in others are interesting to those others.

So when it comes to finding topics for emails, keep it siumple.

Don’t overthink it.

Anything, literally, can be a topic.

All you need to do is make sure you write *for the other*, even if you’re writing about yourself.

And in most cases, simply writing about what you care about, the things you notice,  that what inspires you is enough.

Point is, for daily emails to help your business, you don’t need to deliver in-depth high-quality epistles.

A little message, as if talking to a friend.

Also called a ‘barstool conversation’.

You meet someone in a park or at a bar or somewhere else, and they ask you a question about your work or your interests.

And without any hassle, you answer their question.

Write like that.

Write freely, without censoring or editing yourself – write as if you talk.

Just like I do each day.

About whatever you feel will help or inspire or entertain your reader.

Do that, and end with a friendly invitation to work with you or buy whatever your business provides.

Email marketing really is that simple – unless you make it complicated, and why would you do that?

As for that ‘pitch’ at the end?

Like this for example: if you want to learn email marketing in a 1 on 1, 3-month training program, I can help you with me Starship Mentorprise program.

It’s not cheap, but it will change your life and your business forever.

Reply to this email if you want more information.



Erm… Could Be You’re Asking the Wrong Question?

One of the members of my Cabal coaching group is beginning to warm to the idea of writing daily emails to her list.

Because that’s just how persuasive I am.

No wait: that’s how clever she is.

But after yesterday’s email, she writes:

“Been thinking about this as it relates to selling my art and ask of myself what would I really write about daily that would help…”

Ah, good question, and one that I hear a lot.

But the question is incomplete.

It’s not ‘what could I write that helps me sell my art’.

No no no, don’t ever start there.

The real and right question is: ‘What can I write that would help… THEM?’

Them as in: your readers.

See, sales come as a consequence of your marketing.

They are not the primary goal.

The primary goal of your marketing is to create and foster relationships with your audience.

Sales come as a result of that.

Because for an entrepreneur, people matter. Have to matter.

It’s only corporations that can ignore people and get sales with nothing but ads and slogans and pushy in-your-face marketing.

Us entrepreneurs, we fortunately can’t and don’t need to behave that way.

Just build relationships, one conversation and one person at a time.

And, yes: sending daily emails is a BRILLIANT way to to that.

Fun too.

Now, as for her question: ‘What to write about’ – that’s a topic for tomorrow’s email.

But for now, I’ll leave you with a counter-question, to ponder as you go through today:

What could you say to potential buyers – or indeed write about – that would be helpful to them?

Because that – being helpful – is where all ethical marketing starts.

What could you write that would be helpful, in any way you can think of, to your audience?

More tomorrow,


On Being… Relentlessly Helpful

Maybe you think I’m talking nonsense, when I tell you that daily emails do wonders for your business.

What with all the pundits saying that you should only send email occasionally.

So today I’ll show you someone else’s take on things, from a Cabal client who took my cue, and started writing dailies just a few weeks ago.

Says Paula Mould, in our private Facebook group:


So I’m going to be in the paper again. And I was told why. This is useful information for all of us.

I can talk about my work.

The reporter told me that with most artists, she has to spend an hour dragging information out of them. It’s exhausting.

So at my opening, with 9 artists to choose from, she zoned in on me and did an on the spot interview and photo op.

This is the second time I’ve been interviewed by this person. And there will be more because of that one important thing. [she means: being comfortable talking about her work – MS]

If you’re not comfortable talking about your art, your ideas and your work you need to start getting comfortable. It pays off in unexpected ways.

Martin will love this bit: writing about my work through daily emails helped a lot. The ideas I was interviewed about were already solid because I already wrote about them. Boom.


Boom indeed, and yes I love it.

That last line is golden: her ideas and what she would say was already congealed, because she’d been writing daily.

Which is a different way of saying that writing daily to your audience changes you.

It’s not just about marketing or sales, you see?

First it’s about the relationship that you develop with your audience.

From which comes a more engaged audience, and that will lead to more buyers for you.

But, and this is crucial: writing daily changes you.

It’s transformative, almost therapeutic.

When you start writing with the intent of showing up in a helpful and inspiring way (meaning: not salesy, but meaningful) you change the way you see yourself, your audience, and the way you relate to them.

And that’s golden, because the ultimate consequence will be more sales, and that’s never bad.

Simply put: there’s magic in being relentlessly helpful, both for business and in a personal sense.

Now, I have this email marketing mentorship program that gives you a 1-on-1 training, but it’s costly and that puts it out of reach for many  people.

So right now, I’m developing a different structure, where you get me to teach you the ins and outs of email marketing, but at a much more accessible price point.

Details to follow in the next few days.

For now, ask yourself: why would you NOT want to show up in a helpful, meaningful way, that also gets you more sales?



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