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

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

How to Benefit From the Holiday Season Without Having To Run a Single Ad or Offer a Discount

Yay. It’s the season. The season when everyone and their donkey is mailing out offers.

Discounts, special deals, time-limited offers, promotions… what a time to be alive, right?

You may or may not have wondered why I don’t jump on the season’s sales bandwagons.

After all, I do marketing. Run a business. Have things on offer. So what gives?

Well, in my opinion, you don’t need all that stuff.

Sure it can work, and sure you can rack up sales.

But if you get your people, and you know their problems and desires and urgencies, you can do a lot better without all the noise and hype, by simply presenting people with offers that are highly specific to the solutions they’re already looking for.

When you do that, you stand out from the crowd.

Because let’s face it: most sales campaigns are spray & pray.

Blast an offer out to a list, see who picks it up, close the sale.

Which means you waste a bunch of people’s time, because those people weren’t looking for your offer. Also means you get unsubscribes from people who’d eagerly pick up another offer at another time.

So instead of blasting all those jolly season’s sales campaigns, why not offer people something that you, with a high degree of certainty, know certain people will want?

Enter: Hidden Revenue Opportunities.

This is a system I designed with my business partner Antonio, to analyse your past buyers, to figure out which segments in that customer list might want which product or service, and to present a pitch that’s designed to be highly attractive to just that segment.

Because these here are business facts:

A past buyer is the most likely individual to give you money for something else

Your customer list holds value – monetary value

Segmentation and targeting enable you to make highly desirable offers to the right people

And that’s why we built the Hidden Revenue Opportunities service:

To enable a small or medium sized business, to generate upsells by re-activating past customers.

Because the money is in the list – but, how do you get that money out of the list?

By analysing, segmenting, and making offers.

And that’s what we do.

Currently and until further notice, this 4-hour service is available at $1500 launch price.

In the new year, that will change and the price will go up.

Until then, you can get our help to surface money ready to be made, in a list of customers you already have.

No hype or season’s sales required.

More information here.



How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love ‘the Close’

What’s your biggest obstacle, where it comes to enroll buyers in your work?

The question often brings interesting answers:

Some people say it’s finding buyers in a down economy, others say it’s their own penchant for procrastination, and yet other say it’s identifying their ideal buyer in the first place.

And the other day someone said their biggest struggle was ‘the close’.

You know, the point where someone commits to giving you money for your work.

Personally, I don’t like the term. Sure you close a deal, but I much prefer to think of it as a starting point instead.

You open a buyer relationship with your client. Much nicer than ‘closing them’. No?

This isn’t just semantics, either.

Think about it: when someone wants to buy from you, they’re buying into your world.

They enroll in what you offer, and the premise that paying for it is worth it.

Someone who buys from you enrolls into your world.

And that makes all the difference, because all of a sudden it’s not longer about you wanting the other person to buy something.

It’s become a matter of them wanting to own what you have.

So instead of an outward ‘buy this’ push, ‘the close’ is about extending an invitation.

Which the other is, of course, free to accept or not.

A lot of salespeople know this, and use it to create successful and satisfying business relationships.

But there’s also a ton of marketeers and sellers who move beyond the social nature of selling, and who make it into a sort of ‘buy this or the puppy gets it’ transaction.

Which has given sales a bad reputation, but more dangerously: it has caused quite a few ethical providers of high quality goods and services to dislike ‘the close’.

And so, I often hear people say “I don’t like selling. I’m just not good at it”.

If by that you mean the notoriously unethical ‘ram it down their throats’ sales process, then good on you. Nobody should like that kind of selling, or indeed practice it.

But if you’re not like that, and you care about solving problems for your buyers…

I would suggest you switch your view on selling to having someone enroll in buying the solution you offer.

Because that way it becomes a lot more fun, and a lot easier too.

Want some personal, 1 on 1 help with that?

Then the 10-week 1 on 1 personal training on ethical selling that I built will radically improve your results, like my client Mairi tweeted, the other day:

For more info on that training, have a look here…




Building or running a business can be hard, but it should never be complex, because that’s just no good for the mind.

Simple is good.

The fewer moving parts in anything, the easier it is to run the thing, test it, find flaws or bottlenecks, and fix & optimise.

Same thing goes for business. You can make your business as complicated as you like, with teams, advertisements, funnels, infrastructure, franchise – you name it. A world of options.

But the more you add in, the more complex it gets and the harder it gets to figure out what’s broken and needs fixing, or what works and merits more resources.

So here’s a model I came up with, which you can use to analyse your own business, and keep it as simple as possible:

Step 1: Values.

These inform your purpose and your mission. And, they enable you to identify and find people who share your values, so that you’ll have rapport with them right off the bat.

Step 2: Assets

These can be tangible, like a list of names, hardware, office space – or intangible, such as your network, your skillset, your footprint and visibility, or the amount of goodwill and buy-in your audience has for you.

And of course, the single most valuable asset in any business: your list of past buyers. The people who trusted you so much that they gave you money, meaning they’re the most likely money to buy something from you again.

Step 3: Systems

This is where you tie the first two steps together, and build structures, frameworks, standard operating procedures – and points of measurement, so that you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.

Now as a framework this is useful, but how do you make it work?

Simple: ask yourself these questions (longhand brainstorming is best, for this kind of Q&A).

1: What are my values? What would I stand on a barricade for? What do I not accept, what change am I willing to fight for, or stake things for?

2: What assets do I have in place? What tangible value does each have in my business, what economic value if applicable, and what potential does each asset have, provided I leverage it in a smart and strategic way?

3: What systems are in place, and in what way can they be simplified or improved so that they work better, or become easier to measure for output and results?

4: What outcomes are my systems producing?

Because everything is a either a system or part of one, and every system is perfect for the outcome it produces. So if you see outcomes you’d like to change, you now know which system to improve.

How to improve it? By looking at how your values and assets can be combined and leveraged so that the system, again, becomes simpler and more measurable.

Yes, this is an exercise that can take a few hours, but it’s super useful, because it gives you clarity, direction, and purpose.

And if you want to cut all that short, and generate sales by leveraging your customer list?

Then the Hidden Revenue Opportunity service I launched with my friend Antonio will reveal the sales potential you have in just a few hours, enabling you to go out and make relevant, attractive offers to your past buyers.

This PDF explains how it works – and makes a very good case for why you should leverage your customer list, with or without our help.

Have a look…





Sales, Rapport, Trust, and the Values That Are Always On Display

If you want to sell your work, it’s good – no, it’s crucial – to know who is most likely to buy from you.

Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of resources talking to the ‘wrong’ people, which is inefficient, frustrating, and costly.

And so, people talk about demographics, customer avatars, psychographics, ideal clients… and usually, it brings us nowhere.

How many kids or cars someone has, where they worked or where they live, their spending power or their hobbies and social circles… all that says something about them… but it says nothing about *the two of you*.

As in: are you a match? A good fit? Is there resonance, are you on the same page?

Put differently: will you and your new buyer have instant rapport, given that rapport is a requirement for building trust, and without trust there’s no sale?

Demographics can’t predict that, and even psychographics only go so far.

But there’s one human identifier that you can use to reliably predict whether or not two people will hit if off: shared values.

So, instead of demographics or psychographics, think in terms of valueraphics.

Shared values instantly put you on the same page with another person.

And, someone’s values are super-easy to glean, from just reading a few blog posts or checking out someone’s social profiles. Our values are always on display.

So if you start by looking for people who share values with you, you’ve effectively crossed the rapport-hurdle – the most important and tricky thing in the context of sales – long before you even reach out to a potential client.

And once you identify people with values similar to yours, it’s really easy to add in psychographic or demographic markers, to further niche down your outreach and marketing efforts.

Efficient? You bet.

Fun too, because once values become your north star, you keep meeting people who are just awesome to deal with – and it becomes a lot easier to enroll them in your work, as well.

So if you’re struggling to find buyers, start by looking for people with whom you have values in common, and talk to those people first and foremost.




Plus, here’s 4 ways I can help you:

1: Curious how much revenue you could generate by re-activating past buyers? Have a look by using this calculator

2: Discover how to sell ethically – the way nice people do

3: Choose – and execute on – those projects and tasks that get your business the biggest growth, results, and impact.

4: Upgrade yourself and your business: tune the human machine

Wait, What? People Like Us Can Play Amazon’s Game? And… Should We…? 🤔

There’s a lot about Amazon you can disagree with, what with reports about worker’s conditions, and the way they create an unfair playing field for many smaller businesses.

But, there’s one thing they do really well – and it’s something that we can all do.

Should do, in fact. If only because of the massive cost-savings.

Besides: you’ve already paid the cost of building up your list of buyers – why not do the smart thing, and leverage that investment already made?

See, finding a new buyer and turning that person into a client, that’s a very costly thing.

If you take all all the time you spent on your business each year, multiplied by your ideal hourly rate, and you add all the expenses that go into running a business, and you divide that number by the number of clients you sign on each year, you get a pretty clear idea of how much it costs you to acquire one single client.

(There’s far more accurate calculations for Cost Per Acquisition, but I’m trying to give an example that also makes sense to business owners who don’t have granular insight into all financial aspects of running their business)

Anyway: whether or not it’s a high cost or low, or it’s offset by the profitability of your services, it’s a hard cost, and… here’s the thing:

That cost will always be higher than the cost of contacting a former buyer, and seeing if they need any more help.

And that – converting previous buyers into repeat buyers – that’s something Amazon does extremely well.

They’re scary good at predicting what an individual will want to buy next.

And of course they would be: they have vast, massive, datasets, with millions and millions of datapoints – and, they have algorithms to analyse that data, and make increasingly correct predictions.

Would be nice, if you could predict with the same level of precision, what your past buyers might be interested in, right?

If you’d have a prediction engine like Amazon’s, you too could show the right people the right offer, at the right time, with the right messaging, and then you’d get more repeat purchases.

But alas… you don’t have Amazon’s dataset. And you don’t have their kind of algorithm, either.

Well no, maybe not.

But there’s one thing that you do have:

Customer intelligence.

You’ve spent however many years, talking to buyers, learning your market, filtering for the right and the wrong buyer, testing offers and pricing and messaging. You’ve paid school money to gather intel.

And put together, there is a LOT that you know about your people.

But, for most of us, the majority of that information is mostly unconscious. All the little details you picked up, all the learnings, all the insights about why people bought this thing or that, at which time, for what reasons… we know, consciously, a lot of it, but a lot of knowledge is subconscious, half-forgotten, never really analysed well or acted upon.

Put together, it’s a ton of info, and it’s not until you start looking at that data (because that’s what it is, even if it’s not millions of datapoints), that you get to do what Amazon can do, in a SMB kind of way: you get to make accurate predictions and precisely targeted offers, to the people who are most likely to want them.

This is why my buddy Antonio and I created a service, where we uncover revenue opportunities hidden in a list of past and current clients.

Basically, we apply analysis and customer intelligence, to map out all the info you might have.

That will reveal segments, and once you see that intelligence get mapped out into those segments, you suddenly realise:

“Holy cow… these people here tend to struggle with those problems, which I can totally solve, and these people tend to be open and eager. I’m going to talk to them, see if they need help!”

See the parallel? That insight, that’s pretty much what an Amazon generates.

So if you have a list of buyers, and various offers to make, and you want to not just blast a general offer message to your own list, but you want to specifically speak to a certain segment that is highly likely to want a specific offer, then Antonio and I basically operate like an algorithm.

We ask specific, buyer psychology-based questions, to help you identify revenue opportunities that are already present in your list, and we give you the specific wording and framing to make sure those people in particular will resonate with it.

Tl;dr: Antonio and I can help you play Amazon’s game.

With this link you can download a PDF that explains a little more how it works:

Oh, and here’s a fun little exercise:

A calculator we built that shows you in just a few minutes how much potential revenue from re-activating buyers you might have. 

Give it a try, you might be surprised at the value present in your main asset – your customer list.




Wading Through a Sea of NO

A while ago on a webinar I hosted, someone said in the comments that they’d like to become like a magnet, i.e. have inbound sales, instead of having to go out and find buyers.

And yeah, it’s something we all want:

Buyers show up, money in hand, ready to buy your work.

But while it’s possible to achieve, the path to getting there is long, hard and filled with disappointments.

There simply is no way around it, no matter what ‘miracle solution’ the sleazy marketing types try to sell you.

See, someone like Steven Pressfield, or Jay Abraham, or Michael Gerber (all people you’d learn a lot from if you buy their books, btw), sure they have inbound requests.

But that’s only because they’re super famous.

And to become famous, they had to build up their fame. Took a long time, too.

They had to hit the pavement, knock on doors, kick up dust.

The only way to achieve magnetism and the inbound requests that go with it, is to get out there, show up, and wade yourself through a sea of ‘no’ until you get to a ‘yes’.

Nobody shows up successful – buy you can make yourself successful.

Stephen King is another example: no matter what he writes, his fans will buy the books.

Film makers seek him out to get the rights to his work.

But good ole’ Stephen had to wade through his own sea of ‘no’.

In fact, he received so many rejection letters from publishers, that he had to replace the nail he’d stick them on, with a longer one.

Here’s the lesson:

To become successful, or famous even, or to get inbound sales working for you, don’t focus on that as a goal.

Instead, focus on the activities in your control, choose the ones that will ultimately get you there, and execute relentlessly, no matter how many times you hear ‘no’.

So the question is: what activities can you implement, that are doable enough, and fun enough, for you to carry on doing them, no matter how many no’s you have to run into?



P.s. If the answer is ‘have more conversations with buyers’ and your challenge is that you’re not very good at the selling bit, this 1 on 1 training will help. 

Count Yourself

Yeah I know – there’s only one ‘you’ to count, right?

But check the way you write your business communications… emails you send to your list… replies on Messenger and Whatsapp… blog posts, your about page…

In the things that you write, how often does  the word ‘I’ show up?

Ah… suddenly there’s a lot more of ‘you’ to count…

Look, it’s natural to reference self when writing. After all it’s us, ‘I’, in dialogue with someone else, or it’s ‘I’ delivering discourse.

But most business writing is full of self-reference and the word ‘I’ shows up so much, that the reader can’t help but feel that it’s not about them.

And then they’re lost, they stop reading, they unsubscribe, or don’t follow up on your proposal.

So to make your business writing better, remember a few ground rules:

Never start a message with ‘I’. You might be the most loving and compassionate person in the world, but when ‘I’ leads the message, the reader reads ‘self-importance’.

Following on from that: Avoid as much as possible, starting a sentence with ‘I’. Reason: see above, but cumulative.

Ok. So with that, you’ve edited and improved your missive. Well done.

But if you count self, you see there’s still a lot of ‘I’ in there… now what?


Replace each instance of ‘I’ with ‘you’, see how it breaks the sentence, and then: rewrite the sentence so that you keep ‘you’ and it all makes sense again.

Do that with each instance of ‘I’, and you’ll be sending messages that instead of driving people away because it *feels* like it’s all about you, will draw people in to working with you, because the absence of that ‘I’ focus allows them to relate your message to themselves.

Make people feel it’s about them, and they get closer – which is pretty damn required if they’re going to buy from you.

One of the things I love doing for clients, is improve their copy for them.

I’ve done it a lot back when I was a copywriter, so fixing something that’s almost good and make it great is something I can do on the fly –  and for my clients it’s great, because they can focus on doing their work, while they get a pro to create written business communication that causes sales.

It’s not that I sell that as a service, but it’s a nice bonus to give, and super profitable for my clients.

Like that series of emails I wrote a while ago, and which helped my client net almost $10k in five days.

Could be the kind of help you have in your corner.

Should we have a chat about what it would look like to get my help?

Let me know…

In any case, watch out for self-referencing in your writing – make sure that even if you write about yourself, it’s always for the reader.



How to Not Try, and Actually Help People

It’s kinda cruel, how we’re wired.

The more someone else struggles or suffers, the more we feel it and the more we want to help them, make things right.

But more often than not, we get exactly the opposite result… and it’s only down to trying too hard.

For example, you’ll know that I’m very hot on meditation. It’s a wonderful thing, I’ve done it for 25 years, it’s done me tons of good, has scientific backup as to positive effects…

And yet, you’ll never see me make a case for meditation – not until someone asks me.

Because if I were to try and persuade someone to try it, it would mean ‘trying hard’ – and the problem is that today someone might be swayed by my recommendation, and try it, but because the choice was made because of my clever pitch and not because of their own inner pull, they’ll likely find it a disheartening experience and give up. Trust me, I’ve seen this more times than I can remember, since I started meditating 25 years ago.

And then they might consider themselves ‘not fit for meditation’ or vice versa, and never get back to it.

So by trying too hard, I would risk putting comeone off their own course. Much better to help those who want change, or meditation, or growth or whatever, and who want to start it now.

Self-motivated, self-inspired. It’s the best way for anyone to step into change, and the best way to help with that is by helping the other find their own solution, and not imposing our own good ideas on anything or anyone.

Now back to opening lines: the more we care about someone, and the more we hurt seeing their struggle, the more important it is to give the other space for wanting change or help, instead of proffering our help and suggestions before that person is ready.

It goes completely against our mind’s direction, because we know – our minds know – that we can help, that there’s a solution, that if only they’d listen…

But the mind will have to suck it up, because the more we try, the more wrong the mind is in its conviction.

Go ahead and try, helping someone who isn’t ready yet… has it ever worked?

Most likely, you ran into resistance and objections, and the other person’s process didn’t speed up, no matter how hard you tried.

Could even be that things stalled or slowed down, or maybe the conversation got difficult…

Or maybe you’ve been on the other side, where someone just wouldn’t stop trying to fix things for you and didn’t give you space to even think.

All because of ‘trying too hard’.

Their efforts didn’t exactly help you, right?

Pay attention to the gut-wrenching feelings of grief and compassion and pity and helpfulness, at seeing another person’s struggle, and when you notice them: check yourself.

You might just be on the verge of giving the person the very opposite of what you want for them.

Be available, ready, present, but be careful not to hamper the other’s process by inadvertently getting in the way.

If you really want to help, create a space and a conversation that enables the other person to seek and find their own inner pull, and avoid trying too hard to help.

Which, incidentally, applies to all kinds of relationships and conversations: spouses, children, vendors, team members, clients and prospects.

No matter who it is: the harder we try to help, the easier it is to help less. But now you know what to look out for…




P.s. This whole attitude of helping people to want help by not trying to help so forcefully, is the foundation of my LEAP framework for ethical selling, and it’s really effective… and it actually helps. Both you and your buyers. More information here.

The Cure For Impatience (That Nobody Wants – but Maybe You’re Different?)

There’s no easy way to say this, but…

The cure for impatience comes down to the decision to get over oneself.

Or, put more gently: to apply some humility.

Because impatience has at its core a form of self-importance.

Impatience comes from the idea that things ought to be different, and be in accordance with how we say the world should be.

It shows itself in the way we think and talk:

“That person should buy already.”

“The knowledge I gained should give me skills – now please. What is this practice thing you’re talking about?”

“This business has to be bigger, better, more profitable – and what’s taking so long?”

You can influence the world and the minds of your prospects, sure.

You can nudge, and guide, and steer.

But you can’t command things to be this way or that way.

Which everyone will have experienced at some point or other.

A prospect will buy when you’ve given them enough time, in your learning about their frustrations and in addressing their concerns.

A business will grow once you’ve practiced, iterated, and learned what’s required of you to make it grow.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but impatience is a sign that something in you considers you important enough to decide how the world should be.

And as for that cure?

A decision… to practice a healthy degree of humility.

Because after all, we’re not as important as we think we are.

Remember rule #6: Don’t take yourself so seriously.

Bonus: when you make this shift, it’ll do wonders for your sales conversations and the results you get!

And so will this.



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