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

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

The Problem Is Not the Problem

Let’s talk about layers for a moment.

No, I’m not talking about Photoshop.

I mean layers in perception, especially perception of you in your world.

Because what we see with our eyes and perceive with our other organs, that’s just one layer.

Beyond that is the layer of thoughts – far more intangible, but real nonetheless.

And then there’s the layer of emotions, stuff that’s even more ethereal.

But then, there’s the layers of the external things that you perceive.

And this gets very interesting very fast, when we look at problems.

One of my favourite concepts is that whatever you perceive, is only the representation. It’s not the actual thing. It’s just your perception of it.

So once you know that, you can go a layer deeper, and ask yourself what, beyond the obvious, it also is.

And when it comes to problems, this helps a lot.

Because the problem you perceive is not the actual problem.

It’s just a manifestation of another issue, a problem at a deeper level.

In other words: the problem is not the problem.

Think of it like this:

A headache is a problem, but it’s not THE actual problem.

It’s a manifestation of another problem: you ate something wrong, or you’re dehydrated, or there’s muscular contraction in your back or neck, or whatever else is *causing* the headache.

But most people never look at the underlying reason or cause.

They just take an aspirin and consider the problem solved.

Which may help in lots of cases, but if the headache stems from a screwed up posture, you’re better off doing yoga or getting physiotherapy.

Translate to business: if for example the problem is “not enough sales”, you’re looking at the manifestation, not the source problem.

And you can’t really fix the manifestation, not unless you deal with the underlying cause.

So whenever you’re trying to solve a problem or improve a situation, always ask yourself:

What’s behind this? What’s causing this problem?

And then you keep asking that until you get to the core issue, and you fix that.

What can I say? It’s nice being a coach.

I get to ask questions that dig deep, and then my clients get to look at the actual causes, instead of just the end-problems.

Because I’m no fan of aspirin. It only treats the symptoms, not the cause.

So if you want me to skip the aspirin and get to the heart of the problems you’re facing, let me know.



Ever Apologise for Selling?

There’s this strange thing where some people feel they should apologise for selling something.

But if that’s your case, may I just point out that what you make/do and sell, actually solves a problem?

That it’s something people really need, or want?That when the buyer decides they want to buy, it makes their life better?

And, that if you don’t make a case of being open for business, and – ethically and non-pushily – selling your offer…

… the buyer might end up going elsewhere to spend their money – likely to another provider whose marketing and selling is stronger than yours…

But their product or service might not necessarily be as good as yours.

Which means that if you don’t make the effort to sell, you’re effectively doing your buyer a disservice, by allowing them to go elsewhere, and they’ll get less value for their money.

So if ever you feel conflicted about selling, or if ever you’re – gasp – tempted to apologise, remember this:

Selling is a duty for ethical entrepreneurs.

And if you do it right (i.e. instead of forcing the sale, you simply facilitate the buying process), selling can be an act of service.



Let’s Play Scientist!

It’s not like I can lay claim to knowing much about science, but I did spend half a year in university on Musicology, so there’s that.

Anyway, to keep things simple:

There’s this concept that if something can’t be proven, it therefore must be untrue or non-existent.

In other words: Absence of proof = proof of absence.

Which to me makes no sense, because what if we don’t have the tools to measure things and prove them?

I mean, gravity comes to mind – that existed back in our ape-days, long before the concept of proving things was even part of our psyche.

So you get what I’m saying – but then, why do so many people use this false reasoning for themselves?

It happens a lot: we try something, fail to make it work, and then we assume that it’s not possible or not within our reach.

Or we create something, offer it for sale at a good price point, and then nobody buys it, and we give up, thinking that “people just don’t spend that kind of money”.

While people spend all kinds of money on ll kinds of things.

Just 250 kms west of me, in Marbella, rich kids fly in, buy $1000 bottles of champagne, only to spray the stuff at each other on the beach. Every weekend.

So who says people don’t spend money?

What gives us the right to reason like a bad scientist?

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

So when you’re faced with something that can’t be ‘proven’ – meaning, when something isn’t working the way you hoped, borrow a cue from the good scientists, and ask yourself this:

“Considering that this experiment didn’t work, what do I need to change in order for the next experiment to have a better chance?”

See, nothing is fixed – not us and not our world.

Anything can be tested, modified, iterated, and tested again.

And as a human being, it’s our job to test and iterate and improve, mostly in terms of how best to live life.

The marvelous experiment called ‘your life’, where no experiment ever fails, and you always get to ask “How to test again?”

Fun, isn’t it?

Get in touch if you’d like me to help you run the grand experiment called ‘Your Life’.



Got a Q for You

You might know that I’m a big fan of podcasts.

In fact, many of my subscribers found me because of the podcasters who interviewed me.

And, I want to do more of those – because they’re fun and it’s a great way to get in front of somebody else’s audience (one of the best marketing principles you could think of).

But I just can’t be bothered to do the heavy lifting:

Writing to podcasters, pitching my story, following up, sending pics and bio information… not my kind of thing.

The lesson here: do what nobody does the way you do it (i.e. stay in your zone of genius) and outsource as much of the other tasks as you can.

And so, I’m hiring.

Because working with people (1 on 1 or in groups like the Cabal coaching group I run) is what I’m good at. And I want to focus my time there, not on pitching podcasters so they’ll interview me.

So here’s the question:

Do you know someone who is looking for part time VA/PR work?

If so, feel free to have them contact me.

Requirements – this person needs to be/have:

– A fan of podcasts

– Passionate about growth, personal development, business and marketing

– Native level English

– Observant and detail-oriented

– Personable yet professional

Yes I know: I just described myself, but nope: I’m not doing this job. I want to hire.

So, you know, send me any clones of me you might know.

Seriously though: I’m looking for a reliable assistant/PR person who knows how to pitch.

Know anyone like that?

Send ‘em over.



Did I Actually Destroy My Own System?

Remember that email the other day, where I said it’s a good idea to stop explaining so much and listen instead, when you are looking to find buyers?

It’s ironic, because “Explain” is actually part 2 of my LEAP marketing system.

(I haven’t talked about it in the last year or so because I discontinued the LEAP marketing newsletter, but “LEAP” stands for “Listen, Explain, Ask, Prosper”.

And so, yes: explaining matters when you’re trying to sell your work.

Except most people skip over the first part.

Which part is that? Oh, the one called ‘Listen’ – have you not been listening?

Joking aside, listening really does come first, in the sales process.

You need to know who you’re dealing with, what they need, what keeps your buyer up at night, and what kind of solution they’re looking for.

Only once you really get that (and this applies no matter what you’re selling – art too solves a problem for those who buy it), do you get to explain.

So when your sales are lacking, use this benchmark:

Listen: Have I spent enough time listening to this individual, or to my ideal market?

Explain: Have I adequately explained that I get this person’s/demographics painpoints? (I.e. have I listened so much that *they* feel understood when I explain?)

Ask: Am I actually asking for the sale? (plenty of people skip over this one)

Prosper: Am I doing those three things consistently enough to prosper? Are my prices and my Terms&conditions set up to allow for prosperity in my life?

It’s a simple system, but it’s effective: use it in your sales process, your conversations, and your overall business planning.

And use me if you want to get that system set up and running like a machine.

Because there’s nothing as useful and as much fun as having a system that you can run, test, adapt and iterate, when it comes to being in business.



The Procreation of Pain: Hurt People Hurt People

It’s easy to get upset when someone wrongs you, is being hurtful or aggressive.

But as my uncle likes to say: everyone always has a reason for what they do.

And when people behave in ways that are hurtful, it doesn’t help you to resent them or to get affected by it.

Because hurt people hurt people.

So when someone is trying to hurt you – consciously or by rote habitual behaviour – you can save yourself a lot of heartache if you stop and consider that sometime in that person’s life, something happened that caused them to act this way.

That’s not the same as taking the beating, and it doesn’t mean you should pardon or forgive everything.

Some things simply shouldn’t be tolerated, and in cases like that it’s good to stand up for yourself.

But even so: once you realise that this person acts this way because of hurt or trauma, you can rise above the effect it could have on you. It enables you to be aloof and immune to being infected by the hurt.

Because hurt often acts like a virus: once someone has it, it wants to get out and infect another person.

Which we know to be true: people who abuse others in whatever way have often been abused themselves.

So when your emotions are triggered, when someone is getting under your skin and you’re about to get upset, remember this:

Some pain simply tries to procreate. Hurt people hurt people.

Which means that whatever negativity is coming your way isn’t about you, at all.

And that will help you to not be affected, but to respond with compassion – whether that means silence, an embrace, or making it clear you won’t put up with it.

Ands vs Buts

Tell me if you’ve ever said or thought this:

“Yes, but…”

Sounds familiar, no?

Problem is, the word ‘but’ effectively negates whatever comes before it.

“Yes but” basically means “No, because”.

Won’t get you anywhere. It’s a blocker, it stops your creativity in the face of problems, obstacles, or struggles.

Much more useful to work with “And”.

Let’s say your site visitors aren’t subscribing.

You could say “I’m getting visitors but they’re not converting to subscribers”.

And then what?

Better say: “I’m getting visitors who aren’t subscribing – and I get to find a way to change that”.

Sounds a lot more fun, right? Includes possibility, creativity, change – it’ll actually set you up to fix the problem.

Subtle change, big difference.

So look at the way you talk to yourself.

Notice how often you use the word ‘but’ – and replace it with ‘and’.

See what that does for your inner world and the results you’ll see in your outer world…



Just. Stop. Explaining

Ever wondered what makes people buy?

It’s not because of a desire to own.

Not because of disposable income.

Status isn’t it nor is adding value to their lives.

People don’t buy because of persuasion or a good sales pitch.

People don’t buy in order to invest, or to feel good about themselves, or because it makes them happy.

All those things, and many more, are part of the reasons, but none of them are at the core.

The real, ultimate reason to buy, the one cause that’s at the root of all other reasons, is simple.

People buy things because they feel understood.

When a vendor – of anything – manages to make a person *feel* that their problem is understood and will be solved by proceeding to checkout, that’s when a sale happens.

And this is why a salesperson who listens more than he or she talks will have far easier time finding buyers who convert.

So if your sales aren’t happening, ask yourself:

Are you explaining – are you making yourself understood?

Or are you making your prospect feel understood.

If the former is the case, maybe change tack.

More explaining won’t make a buyer feel understood.

But more listening just might. Probably will.

And if this, or my other emails, make you feel understood?

Then I’m one reply away.

I promise I won’t clobber you over the head with sales pitches or endless explanations.

Just hit reply and let’s see if I’m right for you.



Have You Tried?

Imagine that your life is a hologram, that nothing is real the way we think it is.

That whatever we perceive is the consequence of a thought, followed by a decision and action.

Imagine that there are no limitations, that you can create anything you like, almost as if by magic?

With just your intent and your zest for action… if you would get to create whatever you want… what would it be?

What would you create?

Oh I see – that’s not how the world works.

Are you sure though?

You’ll create more by trying, than you ever will by considering things impossible.

Have you tried?



Are You an Artist and You Want to Earn More? Don’t Miss This

Gotta love it when someone smart picks up the cue, and chooses to follow something I recommend.

Like Maria Brophy, whom I had the pleasure to meet last week.

If you’ve read me for a while, you know that I never stop recommending daily emails for anyone who wants to grow their business.

So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I read that she was going to give it a go.

Now, you might now know who she is, but if you’re an artist of any kind, and you want to earn money through licensing your art, I think you might want to sign up.

Because art licensing is exactly what she teaches and coaches.

Me, I’ll be reading every single one of them.

Because while I’m barely out of my diapers as a visual artist, I do get a lot of positive feedback on my drawings.

And so yeah, I’ll try to license them – why not?

Would be fun to see them used in companies, for presentations or training materials.

No telling if I’ll pull it off, but you bet I’m going to give it a serious try.

And maybe you should too.

And with Maria’s help, your chances are bound to increase – after all, she was the brains behind getting her husband’s art licensed. The chica knows a thing or two.

Anyway, here’s where you can sign up to receive her daily art biz smarts:



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