A few things you might want to know about where we were speaking and why, before I get into the meat of it:
1. We were speakers at T. Harv Eker's The World's Greatest Marketing Seminar. This is quite an honor, but it's tantamount to torture until after the event -- you're not allowed to let anyone know! Even at the event, the speakers all "rise up out of the crowd," unannounced until just before their presentations begin. This is my second year there, and I'm glad I went, but I'm frustrated that I couldn't tell you sooner.
2. John is the only speaker I've ever worked with who, like me, has studied with the Player's Workshop of Second City, the training arm of the famous improv troupe in Chicago that spawned the late John Belushi, Bill Murray, Steve Carrell and others. Now we won't be hobnobbing with those celebs any time soon (I can already hear John grousing, "Speak for yourself, Garf... "), but, it does make a difference to be on stage with a partner who has the confidence, and the in-the-moment flexibility, to move in just about any direction based on what was said or done a couple seconds ago.
I'll share a secret with you:
John and I set a private goal to have the most fun of any speakers there, and I'm pretty sure we succeeded. I've never had a better time speaking. And we got rave after rave review, from professional meeting planners who were there looking for new talent, as well as from people in the crowd who paid to hear what we had to say, and, just as important, from the event staff working the seminar.
Anyway. Just a hint for you if you speak, write, do teleseminars, sell, walk, perspire, or can fog a mirror (be sure to check before you leave the house).
We provided a ton of content and I want to share some of the most important points. Each of these could explain why your business isn't doing what it should be (in terms of ringing up dollars, keeping customers buying again, or even staying afloat, if you should be having that unfortunate problem):
1. Problem number one is that most businesses practice what we call Handgun target practice on roller skates while wearing a blindfold. Hey! You could hit anyone or anything, and what's worse, whether or not they're a moving target, you're a moving shooter! Not good. The expert marksperson stays still, focuses on a precise target, and squeezes the trigger without moving while exhaling. Got it? Of course, most people don't even know who their target prospect is. Finding that out would be a good place to start.
2. Problem number two is Pretending people are basically rational and will say 'yes' to a 'sensible' proposition. OK, cookie, guess what? What's sensible to you isn't necessarily sensible to them. At first glance, it seems like a lot of marketers were absent the day they taught about human nature in school. Except for one thing. They didn't. They never told you the truth about human nature in school. Otherwise you would know how to easily close a sale and develop long-term customer relationships with the written word alone, wouldn't you? Don't worry -- most people are in your situation. Including, even -- gasp! -- employees of big, high-priced advertising agencies. (Think about it -- would you trust one of them to sell your car? If not, why not?)
3. Problem number three is Expecting prospects to "read between the lines" and then lurch to get their credit cards out for immediate purchase. The Beach Boys have an old song called "Wouldn't It Be Nice," and that's what you should be singing in your head if you ever fall prey to this mis-belief. Here's why people get stung by it so often: Most marketers have lived with, slept with, eaten, breathed and overdiscussed their offers so much that they forget they know more about their product than their customers. Big, big mistake. Yes, get to know your product. But don't forget to give your customer every opportunity to do the same, to the point where they know they can't live without it.
4. Problem number four is Letting your own optimism and overconfidence kill the sale. Ever hear someone say, "This product is so good it sells itself."? OK, I'll tell you what. That attitude (and the actions, or lack of action, that follow it) are so overconfident that they can, by themselves, bankrupt a business, just as they have many, many times before. Sure, you gotta believe in what you're doing. But don't let the lame mental self-medication of "positive thinking" interfere with your rigorous and religious practice of the fundamentals of selling to close the deal.
OK, confessions time. We spent the rest of the talk giving people the specific solutions for these four problems. And you probably wouldn't be surprised, if you're a student of mine, that you know what they are -- since the 17 specifics we shared make up a good portion of what John and I separately and together teach in seminars, in our products, and in our individual consultations, critiques and mentoring sessions.
Not to mention when we write our own copy, for our businesses and for clients.
So, it wouldn't be fair to the people who paid good money to attend Harv's seminar and spent a week away from their families and businesses to share the 17 points here and now. But you don't need them to still get a great deal of benefit from this information. Because if you find yourself falling into any of these traps, the basics of copy and good selling will pull you out and get you on track to much more profitable promotions.
Publisher, World Copywriting Newsletter