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

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

“Is It Still Ethical to Sell at a Time Like This?”

Saw that question on Twitter the other day.

And I get it. We’re all reeling to some degree or other, and don’t we have better things on our minds, besides business?

Well yes, we do: Smile. Or do you have anything better to do?

(Ok, that’s a bit snide, but I really really mean it: smile. It’s better).

But that business and selling thing…

Should we? Is it right? Does it matter? Is it ethical?

Well, think of it this way:

You’d better hope your baker keeps selling bread.

It would be nice if you supermarket keeps selling and serving your needs.

If your phone breaks, hopefully someone is selling new or second hand ones, or selling repair services.

Petrol, for those who need to get to work, such as medical, transport, foodstuffs professionals…

The online platforms you use for your business, they’d better keep operating and taking your monthly payments.

Now these are obvious… of course they should stay in business and keep selling. They’re important, for all kinds of reasons.

But if you think that because you’re a solopreneur, or a coach, or an author, or literally whatever it is you do or whatever reason you’re telling yourself why you should take your foot of the gas, that you’re not supposed to be selling your work, you’d be making a mistake.

And another thing: it’s not that you have to keep operating and selling if you don’t want to, but there’s nobody ‘exempt’ from operating their business.

Because whatever the world is going through, it will always have an economy, and you’d better hope that it keeps working, in whatever way.

Without an economy there’s little left except barter, and humanity is no longer organised in a way that makes barter easy on a wide scale. Besides, barter is just another form of economy, so my point stands.

‘The economy’ is a big, big thing, spanning continents and industries and demographics and crossing all kinds of societal and cultural divides… a huge, complex, web. And while I don’t know a whole lot about ‘the economy’, I do know this:

An economy exists, and functions, by virtue of people trading things of value against each other: buying and selling things. And the more that happens, the more things can happen. Hopefully, good and ethical things.

But without an economy, things suck a lot more for people. (Kind of like smiling, in fact: if there’s less of it, life is less fun).

So the question ‘is it still ethical to sell’, can be replaced with a more important question:

Do people still need what you do?

If the answer is yes, and people also want it, but you’re struggling to enroll people under current circumstances, you might want to check this out.

It’s a complete system that helps you identify exactly what your past buyers need from you, right now, and how to present in such a way that they’ll buy it.

Only two more days to get the 1,5 hour training a pay-what-you-want.

Your baker is selling bread. Go and keep selling your stuff. And then go give your baker some money.

Smile as you do so.



Three Questions That Determine Whether They’ll Buy – And the Second Gets Way Too Little Attention

Yes, of course: people need to know you, like you, and trust you, if they’re going to buy your thing.

But Know, Like & Trust, aren’t enough.

On a very primal psychological level, evolutionary style, everyone subconsciously asks three questions when dealing with others:

Do I like you?

Can you help me?

Do I trust you?

And that middle part – the other’s belief in your ability to help – is something often overlooked.

Think about it:

A buyer needs to have the conviction that you can help them  their problem. Without that, they’ll never buy.

But saying that you can do X or Y for them doesn’t cut it.

Whether you say ‘I make a good breakfast’ or ‘I fix your SEO’ or ‘I help you get really good at enrolling buyers’ (that would be me saying it) does nothing to convince someone.

It’s data, information, a statement.

For someone else to believe it – to trust that it’s true – that you can help them, something has to happen in their mind.

A doubt or question needs to be addressed in such a way, that they go from ‘Can they?’ to ‘Oh wow, they can!’

Saying it won’t make it happen.

Persuasion doesn’t make it happen.

Nor does a list of awards, education, resume or bio.

For a buyer to believe that you can help, they need to have an insight that leads to conviction.

They need to know that yeah, you’re the guy or gal for the job.

That’s when people buy.

So is there nothing you can do to have a buyer go through that process?

Sure there is:

1: Have a conversation, and frame it as an exploration into goals, current situation, and obstacles inbetween those.

2: Sell them on one thing only: your care and concern for them as a person and as a business owner. Be genuinely interested, in finding out exactly what their needs are.

3: Ask questions that invite the other to try out different perspectives.

And the best way to do that?

Talk to people – especially past buyers – and ask them specific questions, so that you get to the full understanding of their needs.

That way, they’ll realise that yes, “This person can, indeed, help me!”

This is why the IP to Profit system starts with research, and it shows you exactly which questions to ask.

Pay what you want for the 1-hour training (until Friday, then the price goes back up to $49).

Access the training here.






Stacking Your Assets for Fun & Profit

Far too little attention gets given to the assets a business has, and the way they can be made to leverage each other.

And we all have assets, but most of the time we don’t make them work for us, and then we end up spending more time and money on driving new sales, when we can easily get sales from our customer list.

Because yes, a list of past and current customers is a terrific asset to leverage.

If people have paid you before, there’s a good chance they’ll do so again – provided you show up and talk to them.

Or consider your specific, individual talent or ability: whether you call it Intellectual Property, or intellectual capital, or your ‘Zone of Genius’ work: it’s a super valuable asset.

If you package it into a programme or system, meaning you can & clone yourself, you can get your work into the hands of more people.

(Incidentally, to help you do that is exactly why I built the IP to Profit System)

Then there’s your values – the things you’d stand on a barricade for – that too is an asset, because when you identify and connect with people who have similar values, you instantly have rapport with them.

And there’s more: your team, your intelligent ability to think up solutions or systems, your likeability, your network… lots of assets, and each can be put to use for greater results.

So many assets to leverage!

So then, how do you make most use of your assets, and get all you can out of everything you’ve got – how do you ‘stack your assets’ in the simplest, fastest way?

Simple: you take your customer list, you analyse and segment it for needs and urgencies, and you create an offer based on your intellectual property, and you ask your past buyers if they want it.


That’s precisely what you’ll learn in the IP to Profit system. Until this Friday it’s pay-what-you-want, and you can get it here.






A Lesson George Bernard Shaw Wants You to Learn

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw

Ok, it’s presumptuous of me to speak for Mr. Shaw – but, whatever.

I’ll take that liberty, because I’m sure he’d be happy if more people realised the wisdom of his words.

Because yes, we often think we communicate, when actually we don’t.

That is: we think we communicate thing A, and then act all surprised (or even upset) when it appears that the other person heard thing B.

If you’ve ever been in a situation where you found yourself thinking ‘why are they not getting it?’, then that’s what happened.

You said one thing, but the other heard another thing.

Of course you can blame the other for being stubborn or contrary, and in some cases that may be at play – but even then, that does not exonerate you from the responsibility of communicating in a different way, and trying to find out how to get your message across.

And this applies everywhere: In business and selling; at home; with your spouse or kids; with your students or team mates or prospects:

It’s on us to find the way ‘in’, and figure out how to get the right message across.

Misunderstandings are not ‘their fault’ – they are ‘our responsibility to fix’.

And here’s the secret: saying more won’t help more.

In fact, when you think that communication has taken place but it hasn’t, the more you keep talking, the bigger the misunderstanding will become.

Put differently: if the other person doesn’t seem to get you, explaining harder will be counterproductive.

Instead, ask questions.

Because unless you learn more about the other person and what they heard and what they think of it, how are you going to accurately adjust your message?

When you find that a buyer (or friend or team mate or spouse) isn’t getting what you mean, ask yourself this:

What did they hear me say?

How does it differ from what I meant?

What should I ask them, to figure out how to adjust the message I’m trying to communicate?

A useful tool in all communication – and especially in the context of selling and signing on clients.

Incidentally (actually: intentionally) that’s why the IP to Profit system I designed to help you generate sales from your customer list, starts with asking questions.

It’s the only way to figure out what current, pressing, costly problems your past buyers have – and you need to know that, if you’re going to make them offers that they’ll want to pick up.

Doing so will enable you to keep serving and keep earning, even when right now everything is so complicated for most every business. 

Check out the system here…

And in case you missed it: you can access the 1-hour training at whichever price you like, even free – it’s pay-what-you-want, but that will go back to the normal $49 ticket soon.






When a Buyer Says “I Don’t Have the Money”

Really annoying when that happens, isn’t it?

You’ve spoken with the person, they love what you do, they have a clear and present need and want, you’ve made your offer…

And then they say “I just don’t have that kind of money”.

In some cases, they’re stating a fact. Sometimes, people just don’t have the funds to pay for your offer.

In many cases though – if not most of the cases – what they’re really saying is “I don’t have the money for that”.

Where ‘that’ means: the value that could bring the, but that you didn’t manage to adequately show.

More often than not, people hem and haw about buying your work and the cost of it, but then they’ll turn around and buy a TV or phone or an extension to their home.

Because that, to them, is value they want, and so that’s where they allocate their money. They have the money for that.

So if they clearly need and want your help, but they tell you they don’t have the money or it’s too expensive, remember this:

It’s your job to have a buyer see the value of what you’re offering.

And if they don’t, it means you didn’t get that value expressed and perceived.

And, it’s not necessarily game over at that point.

You can still continue the conversation, and still get the deal – but only if you ask questions that have the buyer see for themselves what the value is.

And one very powerful question to ask is:

“If money weren’t an issue, would it be a yes?”

You’ll be amazed at where a sales conversation can go if that’s your reply to “ain’t got the money” or “it’s too much”.

Do you ever get into situations like these, where people want your thing but they didn’t see the value?

Then check out the IP to Profit system… it’ll show you how to create an offer that’s so aligned with their needs and wants, they’ll easily see the value – and buy into your offer.

For the time being, you can have the entire training system + slides, at any price you like, even for free. (normally: $49, but right now it’s pay-what-you-want)

Check it out here. 







Upgrade Yourself & Tune the Human Machine

Last summer, just when I’d finished a new page on my website, I clicked the wrong button, and completely nuked my website. Oops.

Normally I’d try and fix it, but this time, I decided to rebuild it all from the ground up.

The experience was deeply transformative, and the lesson I learned might be relevant to you, because the process wasn’t just an upgrade to my website:

It involved an upgrade to my branding and positioning, but more importantly, it was an upgrade to the self: a change in self-identity.

And when you’re trying to sell your services, that self-identity is massively important.

Are you a mere provider, someone who needs the client to please ok your offer and give you money?

Or are you the holder of specific, unique-to-you skills, and you qualify the prospect just as much as they need to qualify you?

In many, many cases, it’s the former.

Far too many people position themselves as a supplicant.

“Please mr prospect, will you please validate me, and buy my thing?

That’s wrong on many levels.

For one thing, where’s your self-esteem, your positioning, your confidence?

But also, it’s wrong because it gives the wrong signal to the buyer.

It shows neediness, and that drives people away.

When you seem needy, the buyer will have alarm-bells ringing in their subconscious.

Instead, show confidence.

There’s a million potential clients out there.

But there’s only one of you.

So that self-image you have – what does it look like?

How do you perceive yourself, what’s your stance, what’s your attitude?

Would it need an upgrade?

If so, maybe it’s time to ‘tune the human machine’ and upgrade yourself and your self-image.

And, provided we’re the right fit, maybe I can help.

More info here…



“But If I Charge What I’m Worth, People Don’t Buy”

It’s a common error, and I see it all the time:

The idea that in order to land clients, you need to discount your work. “Otherwise I’ll price myself out of the market!”

Most of the time though, that’s not the problem.

Instead, the problem – and the solution – are to do with positioning.


Far too many people, including those with extremely superior skills, take the small, subservient role:

The position and attitude of a supplicant.

“Please mrs. Buyer, would you please buy this thing from me? If you don’t mind me asking?

“Oh, and wait: I’ll give you a discount!

“And throw in a bonus!

“Will you buy it now, please?”

Sounds weird?

It happens though in this format or something similar – and it’s a perfect way to talk a buyer out of the purchase.

When you sell, you’re the prize.


For the work that you do, how many potential clients are out there in the world?

Dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands.

And how many of you are there?


That means that you are a super-scarce resource, with only 24 hours in your day and a method and Intellectual Capital that are superbly unique to you.

Scarce resource, you?

I’ll say.

And yes, of course you need to win the buyer over.

But that’s only half the story, and you just don’t win over clients by positioning yourself as someone who needs a favour and a blessing.

The other half of the story, that’s the client winning you over.

Getting your ok on working with them.

And that is why you can’t afford to set yourself up as if you were a commodity, and get all beg-y on the situation.

You’re unique and scarce.

You might well be in a saturated market, but you’re still a rare breed.

So whenever it comes to asking for the sale and enrolling your buyer:

Be the prize.




P.s. How to have a conversation with buyers that positions you as an authority and a coveted resource, without manipulation or faking it, that’s what you learn in my 10-week training programme. 

And in case you missed it: it’s available to you at $1500, but only until midnight, December 31st. If next year you want your buyers to enroll themselves, this is where you go to learn how to make that happen:



“They Need My Solution, but They’re Just Not Buying!”

Want to know why some highly-qualified prospects just won’t buy your solution?

Here’s the scenario:

To you, it seems clear: the problem this person has, is totally something you can solve for them.

And they are on board as well: they like you, they trust you, they know what’s in the tin and they’ve got the budget.

You have their solution, right here… and they need it, and they want it… so then why don’t they go ahead and buy…?

Annoying, to be sure, when the sales process stalls.

The good news is, there’s a simple, effective way for you to unblock stalled sales situations, and it comes down to problem-finding.

Because in many of these cases, where everything seems to line up and yet there’s no sale, it’s because we try to sell a solution for the ‘wrong’ problem.

You’re trying to sell someone on a problem that ‘isn’t worth solving’.

‘Our website is outdated and we need a new one’ is a good problem to solve, sure.

But for a business owner, an outdated website is not the actual problem.

Not if there’s other, bigger problems to solve first: make payroll, deliver product or service, manage the team, improve IT or fleet of vehicles… oh yeah, and then there’s that website.

“We’ll deal with that later, once I get this stuff off my plate.”

So the problem ‘outdated website’ isn’t worth solving for your buyer, at that time. Other priorities take precedence.

However, if you identify the actual problem, and the cost of not solving it – what I call ‘problem-cost’, everything changes.

Like so: “Your competitors have spiffy websites, with great SEO, and they’re signing on clients.

“And because your site isn’t up to date, you’re losing out on sales, while your competition is ‘eating your tortilla’, as they say in Spain”.

Lost sales? Overrun by competition?

Costly stuff – definitely a problem worth solving!

Your job as a seller isn’t to convince someone that their problem needs solving.

Your job is to identify the actual, underlying, costly problem – the one that’s the consequence of the surface-level problem.

Point at that, and watch how engaged your buyer becomes in deciding to solve the problem.

This kind of approach is what you learn, to a masterful degree, when you enrol in my 10-week training programme on ethical selling.

Each week we meet, 1 on 1, on Zoom.

You’ll learn the 10 pillars of the system, gain an in-depth insight into buyer psychology, and you acquire the ability to enrol buyers like you never thought you could.

Details and signup here.

Note: the price will go up to $2800 on January 1st.




They Need You

Whether you’re a coach, a CEO, an artist or speaker or author or inventor or software develper:

People need you.

That’s why you get paid to show up and do your work.

In other words, there’s demand for what you bring.

And, it’s incumbent upon you (and every other professional) to supply and bring that thing you do to people.

And if you’re then also someone with a purpose – doing your work because it makes a difference – marketing, promoting and selling go from ‘necessary evil’ to something you can do with pride.

After all, they need you – and nobody is going to search in order to find the needle (i.e. you) in the haystack (the marketplace for your kind of work).

No, it’s up to you to show up and be findable.

That’s how people who need you get to have what you do, and benefit from it.

That way you fulfill the purpose you do it for, and that’s how you make the money too.

And that purpose can be anything you want – it doesn’t have to be ‘end world hunger’ or ‘invent the next generation of batteries for Tesla’.

Whether you create inclusive workplaces, or coach executives, or run PR campaigns for social enterprises, or teach maths, or coach entrepreneurs on servant-leadership: you’ve got a purpose and it’s valid (and I do hope you know what over-arching purpose is).

Work for that purpose, show up to the people who need you, and:

Discover your own best, most fun, true-to-values method for growing your influence, business, revenue, and impact.

Because if we don’t manage to sell, those who need us don’t get our work.

And if that happens, there’s a harsh question to ask:

Are we actually serving our purpose?

That question and it’s answer – the why and wherefore of your work – that’s why I teach and coach on business and sales.

Because folk like us, we do this thing we do for a purpose.

It’s our job to serve that purpose, and that requires getting good at enrolling people in our work.

That’s how we get to serve our purpose.

And if that resonates and you’re ready to scale up and enroll more buyers, have a look here – I think it might help. 



How to Sell Things and Still Sleep at Night

“Oh if you like that movie, you should totally watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, said my mastermind buddy.

I wasn’t feeling it – I mean I like Star Trek just fine, but it never impacted me as much as some other scifi shows and films. And DS9, the few bits I’d seen, just didn’t grab me all that much.

He went on: “I really like it as a show because it’s kind of the forgotten stepson of the franchise and it’s the deepest one. Really interesting commentary on occupation, religious freedom, and racism”.

With that, I was sold. Must give it a try.

And I joked: “You should be in sales”.

Here’s why this matters, if you own or run a business.

Because if you do, you need to sell your work or products.

Without sales, you don’t have a business.

But most people have hangups about selling.

Limiting beliefs, erroneous views, and of course the bad taste we have in our mouths, seeing how sleezy and corrupt and unethical sales can get, if it’s the wrong person doing it.

But, as per Daniel Pink: to sell is human.

“Shall we go get a pizza?” –> selling someone on an idea.

“Don’t beat up your little brother” –> selling your toddler on learning and adopting societal norms.

“Eat your greens” –> selling your kid on learning to do what’s best for them.

“Will you marry me?” –> selling your partner on forging a lasting bond.

Sales are a tool for creating an exchange of value, nothing more or less.

Another tool is a hammer, a tool made for putting nails into things.

And both tools are agnostic of ethics – it’s the handler of the tool who puts on the ethics and morals. Both can be used for right or wrong.

So, if you have doubts or concerns about sales, or if you think selling is bad, or that you’re not good at selling, here’s the solution:

Transfer enthusiasm, because in the end, that’s what selling is.

It’s what my buddy did, and it works, and it’s ethical.

He suggested reasons that might make me care, by appealing to values that are important to me.

How to transfer enthusiasm?

That’s a long story and it’s what I show my clients and students, but the basic rules are as follows:

1: Be real. If you’re not enthusiastic about what you’re selling, you’re selling the wrong thing.

2: Care about the other person and their needs. If someone buys something, it’s because they want their life to improve, in whatever way. To be effective at selling – and I mean: transferring enthusiasm – you’ve got to actually care about them and the outcome they’re looking for.

3: Listen. Not for the cue on what you’re going to say next, but really, truly, listen to what’s going on in the other person’s mind and emotions.

4: Once you ‘get’ what’s going on for them, make sure that your replies are tailored to join the conversation that’s going on in their minds.

5: Ask for a decision. Note that this is different from pushing people into one.

6: Accept ‘no’ with grace and gratitude. The person who says no has just freed you up from a conversation that won’t lead anywhere useful either for you or for them.

That’s something to be grateful for – you get to move on with your life, and they too.

You now have more time to seek other potential candidates, and have conversations with them.

Bonus: you get to sleep at night, because you know you’ve operated with ethics and true human concern.

More bonus: you’ll always be able to restart the conversation with the person who said no, because you treated them with care and respect.

Now: Do you want to get really, really good at having those kinds of conversations, and develop your ability to enroll people – AND feel good about it?

Then this training will do the trick. 






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