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

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

“Martin, Where Did You Learn Selling?” Me: “In a Monastery”

Most people raise an eyebrow or two, when I tell them that I learned how to sell while living in a monastery.

Not what you’d expect, but it’s true.

During my 12 years there, I was often in charge of projects, which meant I had to manage teams of volunteers.

And if you’ve ever tried to get things done with volunteers, you’ll know hard it can be.

In a monastery, visitors don’t always want to do dishes, or help out with cleaning rooms, or do gardening work, or help with building projects.

Much nicer to sit in the garden and feel all spiritual ‘n stuff.

So, nearly every day I had to work with people in order to have them cooperate in supporting the community.

Tough schooling, I tell you.

Especially because in a monastery, the rules are different.

In the outside world, it’s easy to get away with a little manipulation, white lies, or mild obfuscation of the truth.

In a monastery however, not so. There is zero room, no tolerance, for any behaviour that’s not 100% ethical.

Any faux-pas, any action or word inspired by self-interest, and you get slammed hard with the reality of how you deal with people.

Folks might get upset, they might refuse to do anything at all, they might complain about you to others, or, most fun of all, you’d get called out by the abbot and you’d go back to your room with an earful.

Like I say: tough schooling.

Which is exactly why I became good at ethical persuasion, and it’s why I was able to create a training system that makes enrolling buyers into your work something fun and effective.

Is that what you want?

Then here’s more info about the training for the LEAP Ethical Sales Framework…






Mandela, Ghandi, MLK & Lincoln: Some of the Best Salespeople In History

If you struggle with the idea of selling because you think it’s wrong, unethical or manipulative – or the biggest problem of all: that it doesn’t align with your values: I wrote this one for you.

Because yes, the names in the subject header each were phenomenally good salespeople.

Even Jesus was a terrific salesman.

Yes, I’m going there. You coming?

See, while they didn’t sell time or goods for money, they all spent their lives… selling ideas.

They had a mission for the benefit of others, they believed in it, and they worked tirelessly to give people reasons to buy in to that mission.

Their job wasn’t to sell so much, but to *enroll* people in their mission.

And that’s what ‘selling’ comes down to.

Enrolling someone in something.

Joining a movement for change, finally going on a diet, sticking with your exercise regime, flossing, or indeed: seeing yourself as a happy, satisfied buyer of something, who’s happy that the money was spent – because look at that computer or car or training or coat that I’m so happy with!

It’s all sales.

And where it comes to selling in an actual business context, what you’re doing isn’t manipulating or forcing or coercing, or even persuading:

Instead – if you do it right and you’re ethical (unlike politicians, who are also good sellers but who often appear to suffer from a severe lack of ethics) – ‘selling’ to a potential buyer is a way to invite them to buy into a different view on themselves.

Integrous, effective, ethical selling means you provide a way for the other person to see themselves in an ‘after’ stage, where the problem they have is solved..

You don’t ‘sell things to people’ – they enroll themselves, if they want to.

Note that I’m eating my own dogfood here: I’m trying to find a way for you to buy into a different view on sales – one that, if you adopt it, will make a massive difference to your enrollment process. I hope it’s working.

And if it is, and you’re ‘buying’, and you like this different way of looking at sales, and you want to make it part of your business and let it make your own enrollment easier and more effective and fun?

Then one way to do that, is to get my 9-week training on ethical selling.

More information here.



Can Selling Be Fun?

Almost every day, someone tells me a different reason why they don’t like selling.

“Selling is stressful”.

“It’s frustrating that the process takes so long”.

“I wish I wouldn’t have to always look for new prospects”.

“It’s such a waste of time, to issue proposals and not get the sales”.

I get it. Building your business, marketing, having sales conversations, writing proposals… it’s work, of the kind that you simply can’t get around.

But it doesn’t have to be a slog.

In fact, for me it’s the opposite. I find the whole marketing and sales process – a ton of fun.


For one thing, because it’s like a puzzle: who is this for? How can I reach them? Who’s most likely to buy? What do they want to hear, or know, in order to want what I’ve got? Puzzle, puzzle, puzzle. Shifting pieces, figuring out what works, seeing a picture emerge… it’s endless discovery and learning, and I just love learning people.

And that’s the second reason I like sales so much:

Learning. Learning about myself, for one thing, but also: learning other people.

Every person is a world, and for that person to buy my work, means I need to learn that person.

What are their fears and frustrations… which wants and aspirations do they have…?

How committed are they, how can I help them, what can I do to help them get out of repetitive and dysfunctional thinking, and operate and grow their business from the heart?

What’s the key I need to turn, in order for them to see their own abilities, leadership, communication and sales skills?

Who, in other words, IS this person – and how do I need to show up so that they can relate to me?

I promise, when you turn marketing and sales into that kind of exercise, it becomes a lot of fun.

Now, you can see selling as a separate thing, something you just have to do if you’re in business – or you can see it as an integral part of being human.

Where ‘being human’ means you exist in relation to others, and at any moment you have the opportunity to connect with someone, share in an experience, and figure out how you can create resonance with that person.

Much like you would with relatives, a partner, or a friend.

Selling isn’t some terrible task: it’s what we do all day long anyway.

And once you internalise that, once you make the shift into selling as a normal, helpful human activity, suddenly it becomes fun.

You don’t need to ‘get over yourself’ or ‘suck it up’ or ‘just accept sales’.

All you need to do is discover your own innate curiosity for others, and make it your mission to learn people, figure out what’s going on in their world.

If you talk to me, I’ll show you how…



Everything That’s Wrong With Marketing and Sales, in One Handy Sentence

The other day I saw a salespage for some new thing that Tony Robbins is doing – I forget the details, but it’s some sort of programme designed to help people start mastermind groups, or something like that.

So far, so good: a mastermind group is a fantastic tool in the life of any business professional, and everyone should be in one. Seriously.

But somewhere on the page, it read:

“Social Pressure – This is going to be one of the biggest launches in history with more hype leading up to it then ever before. And people are going to be afraid to miss out on this new wave of opportunity.”

Well, yuck. Made me feel like I needed a shower.

Because that single line describes perfectly why marketing and sales have such a bad reputation.

I mean, come on Tony: Hype? Afraid to miss out? New wave of opportunity?

Oh sure, it’s effective marketing. Hype works.

And it’s effective selling too: Painting a ‘wave of opportunity’ reels people in, and pushing scarcity buttons and triggering fear of missing out, that works too.

But it’s scuzzy, manipulative, and in my monkly opinion: highly unethical.

Marketing and sales campaigns like that, they prey on the gullible. It’s designed to coerce people into buying something – not because they actually need it, but because there’s an artificial sense of need being created in the buyer. It’s manipulation.

Now while I’m sure Tony is a good guy, nice to his grandma and so on, and I guess he makes a difference for people. All good.

But seeing this? Bleh. What a turnoff.

Selling – done right and done ethically – doesn’t need any hype, or ‘wave of opportunity’ or fear of missing out.

Selling done right means you serve a buyer in making a yes/no decision, based on actual – not manufactured – need.

And on that note: if you have an actual, current need for growing your sales, business, impact, and revenue… and you wonder if a sales coach might help?

Then why not reply, and we’ll set up a time to talk.

We’ll take 20 minutes for a strategy call, to see if we’re a match.

And I promise: 100% hype-free.

Let me know…



Ethical Sales Strategies, for People Rich With Integrity

A while ago, someone asked what I do, so I said: “I teach people ethical selling”.

“Huh”, they said. “That’s odd, because selling and ethics are diametrically opposed”.

Are they though?

If a baker sells you a loaf of bread, is he being unethical?

He’s got something you want, and you’re both happy to exchange things of value.

Selling – or, trading value – is natural. Older than language. Belongs to being human.

Lack of ethics only comes in when a seller sells something that the other person doesn’t need, or won’t benefit from, or when the buyer is manipulated into buying.

But as long as you, the seller, want the buyer to make the best possible decision for themselves – be it to buy or not to buy – there’s no ethical conflict.

In fact, when you’re happy to take a no if that’s best for the buyer, you’re in full alignment with ethics.

Which is why I like to say that I teach ethical selling to people rich with integrity.

And if that’s you, and you want to sell more at better rates, let’s have a chat.

Hit reply and let’s set up a time to talk – let’s see what we can do to get you enrolling more buyers…




Are You Selling Them a Problem? (part 1)

Did a coaching session a while back, which gave me a super useful insight you might find handy.

I was asked: “Martin, I have the hardest time recruiting people for these franchise opportunities. What do you suggest?”

I had him explain his process to me, and when he was done, I told him:

“Stop trying to sell people a problem”.

Obviously he was confused, because what he’s selling is actually a great opportunity.

But an opportunity for whom, and at what cost?

Because to start a franchise, even if the cost to entry is $0, means that you’re taking on a huge, enormous, all-consuming ‘problem’.

You know this, since you’re an entrepreneur: Building and growing and running a venture is HARD work and will be so for many years.

To 99.99% of the population, that’s a ‘hell no!’ kind of problem.

It’s only for the daring, the crazy, the true heart & soul entrepreneurs.

Starting a business, of any kind, takes a very special kind of person.

The kind of person who LOVES working ongoingly, on solving big hairy complex ‘problems’. Or challenges, if you want a more constructive framework.

An entrepreneur is someone who doesn’t just accept the ‘problem’ of being in business – people like us, whether consciously or not, we love problems.

Getting our hands dirty, extracting every ounce of creative problem-solving we have in us.

So for this franchiser, his solution is simple: go present the option to just that kind of person.

Skip talking to anyone who is the employee-type, and not the entrepreneur type.

Because anyone who doesn’t have the entrepreneurial gene, all they’ll perceive is a big problem, and that’ll block them seeing the opportunity.

The guy I talked to, he can make his life easier and his number go up, by only having conversations with the right kind of person.

But what about you?

I’ll assume your work is excellent, worth the money, solves problems, and yet… why are not more people buying your thing?

Could it be that, in the buyer’s perception, buying your stuff somehow represents or causes or includes some sort of problem?

Think about it: what, in your offer and your marketing, could be problematic for the buyer, in some way?

Are you, somehow, ‘selling them a problem?’

Sure, ‘finding the money’ or ‘am I willing to part with that cash?’ can be a possible problem for them, but beyond that:

In what other ways might you, unwittingly, be selling a problem?

Here’s a simple, quick fix, if you feel this might be why you’re not getting more sales:

Keep your offer simple.

You wouldn’t believe how many sales fall through simply because the package (or it’s presentation) is too complex and too overwhelming.

And when there’s overwhelm, there’s confusion, insufficient confidence, and lack of trust.

Confusion and lack of clarity are some of the biggest buy-blockers – but they’re easy to fix.

Simplify, and you remove those barriers to entry in the mind of the buyer.

And as always: drop me a line if you want to have a chat about the specifics of your own sales process, and how to enroll more buyers.






Doing the Next Thing Right vs Doing the Right Next Thing

When choosing what to do, there’s a difference between doing the next thing right, and doing the right next thing’.

Of course, it’s always a good idea to do the next thing right. Kaizen, improvement, measurement & iteration… if you want to go places, it’s important to do things right.

But that ‘doing the next right thing’ – that’s a really astute way to describe what my work is about:

Helping entrepreneurs do the right things, and in such a way that everyone gets better and money gets made.

That’s what an ethical business is about, if you get to the heart of it: doing the right things.

Making things better.

And that’s why I so much love doing this ethical sales coaching work.

Because once you figure out what is the next right thing, and you’re able to select the next profitable right thing, that’s when buyers enroll themselves.

Because if you make ‘the next profitable right thing to do’ a returning issue in your business, everything will get infused with not just the idea or intention, but the actual action of doing the right things.

And people can tell.

You’ll causes massive change – in how you operate, how your team treats their work, the way your buyers respond… it’ll shift things, across the board.

Make ‘the right thing’ your goal, and all the right people will start to fall in love with your brand.

And if you choose the profitable right thing to do, they’ll give you money as well.

It’s fun, and it’s perfect for people who live and operate by values, and who are in business in order to make things better.

And if you want to grow your business and want to figure out which things you should do that are the both the right and the profitable thing, you know where to find me.







Lead With Values and Sell More Because of Them

When I talk about ‘solving the good egg problem’ – meaning: helping good folk sell more because of their values and not despite of them –  that means there’s quite a bit of variation in the kind of businesses that I’ve worked with.

Over the years, I’ve worked with coaches, consultants, ghostwriters, designers, architects, startups, healthcare, web developers and yoga teachers and SaaS founders: I’ve worked with all kinds and sizes of businesses.

On the surface, that looks like bad marketing, because if I am ‘for everyone in general’, my marketing would say ‘I’m not for anyone in particular’.

Except I’m not for everyone.

Sure I like working with coaches and consultants and people in tech – but I don’t necessarily think in terms of ‘niche’ or ‘industry’ or ‘demographic’.

What you do as a business owner can be whatever you want – but I can only work with you if and I have shared views on items such as values, integrity, and truthfulness…

And, very importantly: the idea of running a business that does something useful.

That’s my ‘niche’ – the psychographic make-up that you and I have, and whether or not we’re aligned in how we see certain things that matter a lot to us. Like values, and stuff.

That’s who I’m for: people who see business and service and money and marketing in a way similar to me: a force for good, to be used strategically and with purpose and intent.

Here’s why this is useful for your own marketing:

Your values, or those that your company embodies, influence the experience your clients have with your business.

When you then lead with those values, in all your marketing and sales efforts, you’ll start to attract the kind of people who seek a provider who has certain values in common with them.

So when I work with clients to grow their business, an important job is to figure out what experience your customers have had, what that says about your values, and how that informs the communication (i.e. marketing and sales) you should be putting out in your messaging.

Because when you have the right values in common, the sale is already half closed, before you even talk to a new customer, because you’ll already have a lot of rapport.

That’s why I believe an ethical, for-good business should always lead with values.

Makes the entire process of marketing and selling so much easier – and, you’ll consistently end up talking to people you love dealing with.

If all this rings true, and you want to enroll more of the opportunities available to you:

I’m re-launching the LEAP Framework for Ethical Selling – a 10-week 1 on 1 training programme, designed to help you create sales without ever having to go against your values.

More information here.






The Antidote to ‘Death By Opportunity’

In a world as big as ours, there’s an unlimited amount of opportunities.

Every email you open, every streetcorner you turn, each stranger you look in the eye in passing, every book someone recommends – you never know what opportunities you’ll encounter when you make a decision: you’ll always meet opportunities.

But it can be hard to figure out which opportunities are worth diving into.

If you take them all on, you’ll end up adrift and directionless.

Following too many opportunities is a major cause of procrastination and stuckness (i.e. death by opportunity).

And there’s so many of them, all so interesting or filled with potential!

Should you take on that client?

Have that conversation you’ve been wanting to have?

Invest in that coach or that truck or that SEO service?

Accept the invitation to speak at an event?

Dig through your journals from last year?

Read that book that your gut tells you will cause a big shift for you somehow?

Reply to that email you haven’t had the nerves yet to reply to?

Go on that retreat?

Stay home tonight?

With so many choices and each with their own opportunities, how do we decide which of them ought to be in our lives or not?

If ever you’ve felt overwhelmed, or if ever you’ve gotten off course by choosing certain opportunities, the answer is:

Choose those opportunities that are aligned with your objectives, and that – if you analyse the potential returns logically, instead of solely following your instince – stand a chance to directly contribute to your reaching your objectives.

That’s the antidote to overwhelm, ‘death by opportunity’, and unfulfilling results.

Obvious and simple as a concept, but very tricky to put into practice. Works though.

Whatever goes in your mix of objectives (hobbies, revenue, relationships, fun or sales or fame or happiness etc etc), let that mix of objectives be your north star for decisions and the opportunities that you choose to act on.

Everything that’s not aligned: best ask yourself long and hard whether you want to go for it, and be as rational about it as you can.

Because everything that’s not aligned with your objectives, will very likely prevent you (or at least it’ll slow you down) from reaching them.

If you feel it would be helpful to have guidance in defining objectives and selecting the right opportunities, to get you to your goals, this will help.






The Cost of Business That Nobody Should Pay

Being in business has many upsides: you call the shots, you set your prices, you are the only one you’re accountable to, you plan your days and vacations as you want, etc…

And, to have all that, we know that there’s a price to pay:

Long hours, patience, trial and error, sacrifice, and so on. And as an entrepreneur, we’re happy to pay that price.

But there’s one price nobody should pay:

Losing out on buyers.

Think about it: for each prospect you enter into conversation with, you have to spend time, money, and elbow-grease in order for that person to find you.

And yeah, it’s a fact of business that you’ll never ever convert every prospect into a buyer.

They might not have the budget, maybe timing isn’t right for them, or maybe what you offer isn’t exactly what they need.

But what about people who do have the money, who do need what you have, and who do want it, and they want it now… except in the end, for some reason, they didn’t buy?

Horrible feeling isn’t it? Everything looked so good, ducks in a row, stars aligned, and then:

‘Damn. Another one that got away’.

Emotionally this can be devastating. But it can also cause your business to itself to fail, if this happens too often.

Because, again, for each prospect you meet, you have to work, and if you fail to convert those who could be, ought to be buyers, you’re losing on the most scarce resource available to you: your time.

The solution?

Learn how to get good at selling. Whether by working with me, reading books, listening to podcasts or going to trainings: the one skill that will make or break a business, is the ability to enroll people.

And guess what: when you learn how to enroll in a way that’s based on empathy and values, it’s fun, a lot easier, and you’ll never have to convince or persuade anyone.

If any of this resonates with you and you feel that yes, the time has come to develop your enrollment skills, reply to this email.

We’ll set up a time for a short chat to figure out if I can help – and no, I won’t try to convince or persuade you – if you want my help, I imagine you’ll let me know.

Either way: if your personal efforts don’t yield results and returns, you’re paying a cost you shouldn’t have to pay, and you’d do well to get better at enrolling.

Let’s talk…



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