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

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

Are You Frightening the Natives?

Everybody wants to be well, and nobody wants to be in pain.

And since some kinds of pain (or danger, a different form of pain) can be fatal, and wellbeing makes for thriving individuals and societies, evolution has built in a simple, very effective mechanism, right at the very core of our psyche.

A sort of bodyguard, always looking out for us. Always trying to drive us towards pleasure and wellbeing, and away from pain, risk, threat, or danger.

So when we want to get results with people, we need to be careful to not scare or threaten them – doesn’t matter whether the other person is a buyer or spouse or team mate.

If you meet a shy child, you speak softly, calmly. Maybe get down on one knee, to not be overbearing.

If you see a guy or gal you like and you’d like to speak to them, you approach them gently, attentively, so as to not appear threatening or needy.

If you’re in the wilderness and you meet a tribe that’s not used to people from the modern world, you’d be doubly careful. Wouldn’t want to go home with a spear sticking out of your back.

Even with animals, you make sure your behaviour doesn’t threaten them.

All living things – and that includes buyers – have a radar for threats.

But when it comes to sales conversations, we often, inadvertently, appear threatening in some way.

Not because we are posing a threat – after all, we’re good people, we sell something truly useful, and we don’t mean harm nor do we want to be pushy.

But, that’s making it about us, and things are never about us.

See, a buyer has a slew of thoughts, wishes, frustrations, doubts, and yes: fears.

And if we’re not careful, and we focus on ourselves instead of on them, it’s super easy to overlook their reality, and appear threatening as a result.

I.e. we scare the natives – when really, all we want to do is help!

The trick is to feel into them.

Care about them and their decision and results – use empathy and place yourself in their shoes.

Learn to see the world that they live in, and you’ll know what kind of things they need to hear, or ask, or feel, in order to not feel threatened, doubtful, or untrusting.

The money that you earn as a reward for your product or service: sure. That’s about you.

But the conversation that makes people want to give it to you, that’s about them.

And the more you make that clear, the safer and trusting they’ll feel.

Selling your work? It’s about them. Always, 100%.

Here’s where you can learn how to do your selling in that way.






What if You’re Already Ready?

We weren’t ready.

We hadn’t rehearsed in weeks.

We still had a problem ending the songs properly – you know: at the same time.

And many of the tracks we played, we just didn’t sound together.

You know that feeling, when a band is just tight? We’d never really gotten there, yet. Not consistently, at least.

But somehow, we’d gotten booked in for a performance at a local bar.

So what’s a band of funky musicians to do… turn down their first gig?

Hah, not us.

Even if we’d never performed together before.

Even if, since starting the band, we only had some 10 or 12 rehearsals behind us.

Of course you can wait until everything is perfect. Rehearse until you can play the songs in your dreams.

Or, you can just get up on stage, and rise to the occasion.

Which is what we did, and wouldn’t you know:

The crowd (small crowd, but still) loved us.

We ended all the tracks properly, and yes: at the same time.

And we sounded tight. Together.

People even commented on how well we worked together.

So yeah, your friendly funky monk played a little show, and much fun was had by all.

The lesson?

There’s a difference between being prepared, and being ready.

That big thing you want to get started, that phone call you want to make to an influential person… that followup call that’s waiting to happen, the article you want to submit to Huffington Post, that video you recorded but haven’t published yet…

What if you just run with it, knowing that while you might not be fully ready – at least you’re prepared?

Because the dirty little secret of performance (be it musically, as a speaker, as a seller or as any other kind of professional) is that you’ll never be ‘ready’.

Never as ready as you’ll be after launching, or after your next experience.

‘Ready’ is a moving target. The more experience you get under your belt, the more ready you’ll be.

And my instinct says that while you might not be 100% ready, you’re probably well-prepared.

So, what if today you call yourself ‘ready enough’ and just do the thing you’ve been putting off?



P.s. if the thing you’ve been putting off is ‘getting better at selling’, have a look here.

Interesting vs Useful

While asking questions and listening are at the heart of ethical selling, there will come a moment – more likely several – where the buyer wants you to say something.

Answer a question, explain something, repeat something…

That’s a crucial moment, because the way you handle that determines whether or not your sales conversation will go smoothly, or instead ends up a struggle.

Most people, when it’s their time to talk, will go for ‘interesting’, which leads to statements like:

“We’re the world’s largest XYZ”, or “I work with some of the most influential authors” or, “We’re an award-winning agency”, or “I was talking to Richard Branson about that last week”, or whatever message is thought to add weight.

The problem is not that these statements don’t make you look interesting.

The problem is that they do.

But a buyer doesn’t give a damn about how interesting you might be.

A buyer wants to know how interested you are in them.

And that doesn’t mean ‘interested in the money they might pay you’

They want to know how interested you are in understanding, and solving, their problem.

And for all you regular, normal, non-world’s-largest, not-connected-to-celebs business owners out there: the good news is that even if you’re as boring as a wet sheet of paper, you can still sell your stuff, and at good prices too.


By being helpful.

If your thing doesn’t help, people have no reason to buy it – and you can already start being helpful before people even buy from you.

And, if you want a buyer to understand how much you could help, and how useful you could be, you show them.

Because the most useful person is someone who shows an interest in whatever problem or challenge we’re facing.

So when it’s your turn to talk, you can safely skip over all the things that make you look interesting.

Instead, say things that are useful: share insights, ask clarifying questions, suggest ideas or changes, and above all, and before anything else:

Make sure the buyer knows that you really get their situation.

Because it’s super useful to talk to someone who gets us – there’s no way we won’t get something useful out of the conversation.

And even if they don’t buy then, they’ll be happy they spoke with you, and you’ll be welcome when you reach out again.

There: an easier conversation, with better positioning.

And an open door once you follow up, just because you didn’t try to look interesting.

Ain’t that useful.



P.s. You can learn how to have conversations like this, where buyers love the way you show up and learn them, here.

How High-Integrity Entrepreneurs Make Followup Easy

What do you do when it looks like a sale is going to close… and then it doesn’t?

Everything looks good, the other person is on board, they may even say yes… but then something goes wrong, and the buyer doesn’t buy.

What I see happen far too often, is that people rich with integrity and ethics stop there, give up, and start looking for the next candidate.

And I get it – it used to be the same for me.

When an opportunity broke down, I just moved on.

But if you do that, you’re leaving money on the table.

As they say: the fortune is in the followup.

And sure, then you get the gurus telling you that you must follow up because it’s your moral and ethical duty to make sure that the right buyer gets his stuff from you, and not someone else, but: fat lot of good that does.

Knowing that it’s your duty doesn’t make it any easier to do followup – especially if you’re a person who sticks to their values, and you treat people with respect, and you don’t want to be a nuisance.

So then, how do ethical people do sales and follow up?

What made the difference for me, and: could it work for you as well?

Maybe. Most probably: yes.

It’s really simple, too:

Make every buyer interaction a moment of joy.

Have fun talking to your customers, serve them, be yourself, be light.

You’re not there to be all dry and professional – or indeed, salesy – because who wants to talk to someone who shows up like that?

Instead, make the interaction about connecting, and learning that person, and figuring out what’s real and/or challenging for them.

When you do that, you leave people with a feeling of “Yeah, I feel respected by you. I’ll talk to you again”.

Do you see where I’m going?

When you have conversations people enjoy, they’ll be open to hearing from you again.

They’ll welcome you following up – they’ll thank you, even.

Once I got this, following up with folk became as natural to me as writing these daily articles.

But it’s not just about how you follow up – it’s about how you do everything everything in your business.

Do those things – including having sales conversations – in a way that makes people love dealing with you.

You know, like friends do.

That way, you’ll never have to fret about following up again.





Incompatible Currencies & Why They Prevent Sales

Whenever you find yourself in a situation where someone isn’t going along with the good ideas you have, or indeed: buying in to your offer, you need to ask yourself:

Are the two of you trading in incompatible currencies?

Because if you are, and you’re not aware of it, you’ll go nowhere real fast with that person.

For example:

A husband comes home to find his wife distressed and upset. Oops… something’s happened.

He sits down, listens to her troubles, and starts thinking of ways to help, to improve the situation, to fix things for her.

Useful, no? Girl’s got a problem, let’s help. Let’s fix this!

Except his wife grows increasingly frustrated and upset.

Until finally the whole conversation disintegrates: he ends up frustrated because she doesn’t seem to want his help, and she’s upset because ‘he just never listens’ to her.

In such a situation, the ‘currency’ she’s hoping for, is someone who listens and who gives her space to vent, so she can clear her head, get some clarity, and not feel alone in her troubles.

At that stage, she’s not looking for a solution, but instead she just wants him to be present.

He on the other hand, is trying to ‘pay’ a different kind of currency, in the form of quality problem-solving.

But that’s not what she wants – and so we end up with incompatible currencies.

This kind of problem arises when we interpret the other person’s situation, conclude that we know what they want, and proceed to try and give it to them.

And in that interpreting and concluding, we often break a sale.

A client might say: “I want a website with custom branding and e-commerce built in”, and on the surface that seems straightforward enough.

But below the surface, they might want different things, like:

‘A site that works, doesn’t break, and that’s easy to manage and update’.

Or: ‘A site that enables me to earn more from the traffic I’m getting’.

Or: ‘An online presence that I’m proud of’.

You can’t know what’s behind the obvious or surface-level issue – and even when you ask, you’ll only learn what they tell you, which may or may not be the complete picture.

So if you then go answer – and try to fulfill – the surface-level wishes, you likely speak to something that isn’t the real, true, deeper desire… and you might lose the client.

Whenever you try to help someone, serve someone, or try and do something in order to solve a problem for someone… but they’re not having any of it?

Very likely, you’re trying to trade in incompatible currencies.

Your job then is to figure out what it is that the other person actually wants.

That’s how you move forward with people, and yes: that’s how you get your work picked up and sold.

More about that right here, if you want to close more of the opportunities in your business 👉




Buyer Psychology, Impact, and Pricing Your Work – and Making Selling 10x Easier

What would you prefer: a dollar, or ten dimes?

Sounds like it’s the same thing, but it isn’t.

See, there’s a common misconception in the mind of many business owners:

That selling at a lower price point makes it easier to land clients.

But that’s the kind of sloppy thinking that makes for a tough business to run.

Think about it:

For every lead that you create, you have to spend resources:

Money, time, mental resources, and so on.

If you then try to create a client at say $100, you have to spend ten times the resources to reach *counts fingers* $1000 in revenue.

And then you have to deliver your service – your coaching, training, consulting, whatever it is you do, ten times.

But if you try to create a $1000 client, you have just reduced your efforts and the cost of generating that client by a factor 10.

And the ‘secret’ is that it’s usually just as much work to land a $1000 client, as it is to land a $100 client.

So far for the logic.

Next up: the psychology of the buyer.

If you do something really valuable for people, something transformative, something that gets them a high return on the investment they make with you (whether that’s in terms of cash returns or changes in their life), you want people to buy because of the value you deliver.

Your best buyers are those who want the impact you provide.

And if you price your work low, you’ll end up talking to people who aren’t looking for high impact and high ROI, but instead they’ll be looking for low price.

And the psychology of low price is that as long as the dollar amount you propose isn’t what they’re happy to spend, no amount of promised impact will convince them to hire you.

In other words: there’s value-buyers, and price-buyers – and price buyers are very, very costly because they tend to be very hard to convert.

Whereas value-buyers are more discerning, easier to identify, less concerned about dollar amounts – AND they are overall much more fun to work with.

A price-buyer thinks in terms of scarcity. They want ‘value for money’, and while you should obviously provide value for money, that kind of buyer will always want more, because they tie value to a dollar amount.

Value buyers however, tie value to impact.

And if you position yourself right, and put yourself in front of people who want impact, you’ll find that they’re far easier to enroll.

Yes it’s scary to ask for the big bucks, but you’ll find that people who want to buy impact are the kind who are much less concerned about the actual price.

And, bonus: that’s also the kind of buyer who is more likely to actually have the money to invest with you.

So before you go out and underprice yourself, ask:

Who do you actually want to work with?

People who count dollars… or people who size up the impact you can deliver for them, and base their decision on that impact – the outcome you promise?

As for me and the impact that my work delivers:

I can help you get comfortable with selling your work, and get really good at it.

And the impact of that… well, that’s huge.

No more stress, no more awkwardness… and instead, an approach to enrollment that both you and your buyer enjoy.

And, you’ll be working to earn a dollar, instead of ten dimes – and that’s a lot easier.

Want that?

Then talk to me, and let’s see what we can do.

We’ll take 30 minutes on Zoom to see where you’re at, and whether the 1on 1  LEAP training on ethical selling is right for you.

If it is, we’ll take it from there, no pressure.




Stewardship in Sales

An average seller tries to reason with people:

“Once you understand how good of a choice it is to buy this thing…!”

A good seller though, works with benefits and desires and outcomes:

“You’re telling me you want outcome X, which is precisely what we created this offer for. It looks like this is the thing you’ve been looking for”.

But a terrific seller works relationships and service:

“I’m here to help you get to the right decision, be it buy or don’t buy. Talk to me about any concern you may have, I’m not pushing anything here”.

And someone who sells with a purpose, from the heart, out of sheer desire to make a positive impact?

That person seller sells stewardship:

“I’m here to make sure you’re taken care of – by me, and by the product or service you’ll be using. I’m here to be a steward over your outcomes”.

That seller btw is the one who gets the easiest sales, most referrals, and best clients.

Sell stewardship.

Let people know you’re there for them, looking out for them

Oh, and for those readers who want to learn how to do that: I’m here for you.




How to Make Selling Easier by Looking at Your Buyer’s Perspective

It would seem to make sense, that in order for someone to enroll in your offer, you need to find out how to get that person to see what you see.

Once they see your vision of their ideal outcome, then they’ll get on board.

You know that if they go along with your proposal, they’ll benefit. You can see it, clear as day.

So, the job at hand becomes ‘how to convey my vision’.

But as you’ll have experienced, that’s a damn hard thing to accomplish.

People have their objections, their fears, their reasons why and why not…

But if only they would see what you see… then they’d buy in!



You can’t sell people on your vision.

Instead, you need to step into their vision – or what psychologists call ‘perspective-taking’.

Because when a sale happens, it happens not in your world, but in theirs.

It’s the vision that they have, that determines whether or not they’ll buy into your proposal.

And once you see their side of things, you’ll be able to ask the questions they need to hear, in order to get clarity, remove doubts, and dissolve fears.

That way, their vision adjusts, so that it ends up overlapping with yours.

And that’s when the sale happens.

So how do you do that – how do you create a shared vision?

Simple: use empathy. And not the kind where you empathise with their problems, and give them a shoulder to cry on.

I’m talking about the empathy that enables you to see their world, through their eyes.

It’s not their job to take your perspective – instead, it’s your job to take their perspective.

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and your sales will be much much easier.

Learn how to do exactly that, in my 10-week 1on1 training on ethical selling.

Details here:






Values –> Alignment –> Resonance –> Sale

Whenever someone buys something, there’s something that resonates with them.

Somewhere in the mix of desired outcomes, emotions, trust and thought, there’s a ‘vibe’ that goes “Yeah. Want”.

And if ever you came out of a conversation with a potential buyer and they didn’t buy, it means that there was some element of resonance missing.

So how do you create that? How do you have the kind of sales conversation that resonates so much with people that they buy?

Lead with values.

The things that you’d get on a barricade for, and the things that you consider wrong.

You have them, and so does your buyer.

When talking to people, it’s easy to discover whether or not you have values and principles in common.

If you don’t, you’re out of alignment with that person – which isn’t a disaster, but it does make it more likely that you won’t reach enough resonance for them to buy.

The solution?

Put yourself in front of people who have similar or same values as you do.

That way, the moment you start talking, you’re aligned on an extremely important psychological level.

And as you converse, you’ll both discover that you have more and more values and principles in common.

Each time they realise that, they feel more aligned with you.

And that makes it SO much easier to create a client, compared to trying to enroll someone whose values are far off from yours.

Making sure your buyer-conversations are with people who are aligned with you is one of the quickest and most powerful ways to increase your conversion rate.

Did that click for you?

Then have a look at what the LEAP Framework for Ethical Selling can do for you…






“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.



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