A good handful of my friends loved the show Breaking Bad with Bryan Cranston. The show is about a broke high school science teacher, Walter White, who turns into a Crystal Meth drug dealer.
Walter fights rival drug dealers and his cancer diagnosis so he can provide enough money for his family, so they never have financial troubles again.
What’s interesting is very few of my friends watch the spin-off show Better Call Saul with Bob Odenkirk, which is just as good. In Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman is Walter White’s crooked lawyer who advises him how to launder money, avoid the authorities and navigate the criminal underworld.
In Better Call Saul, the spin-off is a prequel to Breaking Bad, and follows Jimmy McGill (Before he became Saul) who is fresh behind the ears as a lawyer.
When Jimmy first starts out, he is a broke public defender, only representing people who can’t afford an attorney. He’s so broke, the only office he can afford is a broom closet in the back of a nail salon.
And every day he checks his voicemails, waiting to get calls back from prospects, but nobody answers.
There’s even a scene where he meets a husband and wife at a diner and right when he hands them paperwork to close the deal, the wife talks the husband out of it, and tells Jimmy they’ll think it over.
As someone who’s sold in-person before, I’ve heard “I’ll think about it” more times than I want to admit.
I’ll save you watching 4 seasons of the show to make my point. Due to some trickery and backstabbing, Jimmy loses his license to practice law for one year. So for a year he has to pay the bills using his other talents.
One of his big talents is the gift of gab. He is fearless and can talk to anyone. He finally accepts a job as a sales manager at a cell phone store. The show is a prequel and takes place in the early 90’s so the cell phones are all flip phones.
His first day on the job, Jimmy is pretty much bored to death. He is staring out of the store window and no one is coming in. Knowing full well that he needs to do something off the beaten path, he does 2 things to sell a ton of phones.
- He re-positions pre-paid cell phones altogether. On the front of the store, he paints a sign, “Is the Man Listening? Privacy Sold Here!” After his sign goes up, someone calls the store and places an order.
- After he sells his first order proving he’s onto something, Jimmy leaves the store and hits the streets. He goes to a hot dog stand in the middle of the night wearing a track suit with his pre-paid phones in hand. He talks to all sorts of shady people who could use those pre-paid phones as burner phones. Jimmy sells a car trunk full of phones that night, to basically a brand new market of customers.
Now, I’m not going to give too much away, but Jimmy eventually becomes a lawyer again and gives himself the name Saul Goodman. But he’s basically stuck with the same problem that a lot of businesses face, which is how do they get clients.
So in the first episode of this new season, armed with a new colorful suit and a circus tent, Saul goes back to the parking lot of the same hot dog stand and talks to the same exact people who bought his pre-paid phones.
In the circus tent, he makes them 2 offers:
- He hands them a free pre-paid phone with his office number on speed-dial.
- He offers them 50% off any non-felony related cases.
Now that offer isn’t bad. It’s actually kinda clever, but the main take-away is everybody is looking for new customers, but your old customers are your new customers.
Your old customers may not buy everything thing you offer. But they will like you, trust you and listen to you and are more likely to close than a brand new prospect.
Even Dan Kennedy has said, “A buyer is a buyer is a buyer.” If you have an email list, there is a certain percentage of people who will buy every product you offer them.
They will buy Product A, but they’ll also buy Product B and Product C, even if they don’t need it or never even use it.
So if you have an email list with buying customers, it’s important to sell other products and services to them. You can sell newer versions of products, sell consulting services and even sell someone else’s product for a commission.
You can also use those customers for references, testimonials, or set up a system for getting referrals.
Just like in Better Call Saul, you can change your company name, your wardrobe, and you can even change your whole business, but your current customers are your going to be your gateway to getting new customers and new business in the future.
During this Great Coronascare, it seems like every company you’ve ever submitted your email to in the past suddenly found it and wants to be your pen pal again.
And for the most part these emails are all nonsense. For example, I got an email from the bank where I pay my mortgage.
Did they mention anything about a mortgage interest freeze? Nope!
Instead, they sent an email along the lines of, “We’re here for you, and you can bank with us 24/7!”
And honestly, I don’t blame them. They’re interested in making money just like everyone else is.
But still… *Deleted*
However, I did get one email that caught my eye. It was the only one made the cut. And it wasn’t even related to promotions, special accommodations or anything.
There was an app I used a while back simply called Service. Basically what the app did was when you booked a flight, if by chance there was a delay, the app would re-coup some pocket change for you.
You didn’t even have to do anything except be a user.
The app did the same thing with hotels. When you booked a hotel room, if there was a price drop after you booked, Service would try to get some money back.
It was kinda handy. I got over $100 back, so put that in the Win column. But somewhere along the way, I must’ve deleted the app because I don’t have it now and I probably stopped caring.
But a few days ago, I got the following email from the Founder and CEO of the company, and he didn’t have good news…
“Despite partnerships with major brands such as KAYAK and Microsoft, we have never turned a profit, despite a focus on revenue growth and cost cutting through software automation. We were in the middle of a fundraiser when it collapsed two weeks ago, and then we were in the middle of an acquisition that collapsed last Friday due to everything going on COVID-19 and the economy. Having explored all possible options to continue on, we have exhausted them, and Service will be shutting down on Friday, March 20. We are giving our users a 24 hour grace period in case they want to log in to their account to download any data; the app and website will stop working tomorrow at 9am PDT.”
Just from this paragraph, there are some interesting takeaways. I’ve also seen some of this first-hand during my time in business…
- Some industries, like the hotel and airline industries, depend on a good economy in order to thrive. When there’s a recession, that’s when a lot of the money stops coming in for them.
- As much as companies intend to turn a profit, a good portion just break even.
- A ton of companies focus on cutting costs, but there’s only so much bottom line you can cut before you start bleeding big-time.
- Some companies, including start-ups, focus on one-time income events (Fundraising, acquisitions, new website launch, big announcements, the major industry trade show) and not consistent revenue-generating marketing systems.
- Companies like to blame factors outside of their control (Bad economy, industry innovations and disruptions). They don’t like to look inward and see what they can fix internally or how they can pivot.
Now I could analyze this several ways from just personal experience, but I’ll stick to one angle.
Did they do marketing? Sure! They had a blog and they even had social media which has since been taken down.
- However, did they do any good direct marketing like email marketing?
- Did they produce interesting informational and personality-driven content?
- Did they use different media like video and podcasts?
I don’t remember if they even sent regular emails. If they did, they weren’t good enough to stay subscribed to. So my guess is no across the board.
The bigger question is did they even sell anything like additional products or services?
Or did they have the typical start-up mindset where they were only focused on users, and not how the money was coming in? My guess would be the latter.
The bottom line is any 9/11, financial disaster or pandemic could leave you standing, but completely wipe out your business or leave you in the red.
That’s why it’s important to generate as much money and do what you can, regardless of whether times are good or bad.
And with the economic damage this virus is doing, everybody is going to take a hit. It just depends on how much of a hit you take.
For example, a portion of my retirement account took a major nosedive. Sure it’ll bounce back eventually, but me and all of the rest of my friends don’t want to talk about our 401K’s. It’s a sensitive subject.
But business owners are getting hit the hardest right now. I have a friend from college who operates a diner in the small town where he’s from. He had to shut his restaurant down temporarily by order of the State and told his employees they won’t have a full paycheck this week.
Is his income going to take a major hit? Hell yes. But once he opens his doors again, the money will be coming in. That’s a much better position than the owner who just wants to break even.
A few days later after he had time to process what happened, he jumped on his Instagram and posted away. He said if anyone near his area needed food from his kitchen due to shortages to message him and he would hook them up.
He’s definitely not making money right now, but what he is banking is a ton of goodwill, and giving himself great positioning with his customers.
You may not be able to do everything you want during this time, but this too will pass and there’s always something you can do to give yourself a running head start.
It’s that time of year. The time when you have to tally up all your hard-earned bucks and shovel part of your income to Uncle Sam.
And even though this virus business might delay the normal regularly-scheduled file date, you eventually have to pay the tax man.
And who does my taxes but my best friend’s wife (From high school).
And she’s great. She’s done my taxes since I graduated college, and one year she really saved my ass…
I forgot to report a portion of my income one year and the tax man sent me a bill for $3,000. I paid them, but then about 3 months later, they sent me ANOTHER formal letter asking for MORE money.
Well, wouldn’t you know, my crack accountant sent the IRS a series of “hand-holding” letters politely and diplomatically letting them know the error of their ways.
After a few months of worrying and handwringing… I got a check for $7. I texted her that I was annoyed because I only got $7.
She said, and I’m paraphrasing, “More often than not, the end-result is people just have to suck it up and pay regardless of whether they’re right or wrong. I would put that $7 in the Win column!”
Talk about golden.
The following year, I was talking with a friend of mine, who also hired my same friend to file his taxes. But then I uttered the following sentence…
“And the best part is, she’s free.”
And then my friend looked at me.
“Uh, she wasn’t free for me! *Nervous Laughter*” he sheepishly said.
Which meant for years, my friend, who was doing my taxes wasn’t charging me, even when she was charging everyone else.
So after my return was filed, I asked her how much she wanted.
She was completely taken aback by this. She responded with the usual line that friends give each other. The “Oh, you don’t have to pay me” line.
That’s when I wrote her a $100 check and told her to just take it. And I also told her, if the day came when she wanted to charge more, she was welcome to increase my bill.
Who even says that?? Nobody.
Which brings me to my point. Nobody wants to pay their rent, their mortgage, their water billl, electric bill, or their car loan, but people will gladly and willingly pay for people they like and trust.
At one of my old jobs, I brought in 2 boxes of Girl Scout Peanut Butter Tagalongs. I bought them, but quickly changed my mind deciding I finally wanted to lose those extra 20 lbs for good.
One coworker took a few cookies, but then handed me a single dollar. I told her, “Hey, Thanks a lot but I don’t need this. Just go ahead and take as many cookies as you want.”
She replied, “I was going to give this money to the vending machine anyways.”
What that meant was, she was gladly going to hand her money over to a stranger, but she’d much rather give that money to me.
The moral of the story is, offer something of value and importance, whether it’s a product (Girl Scout cookie) or a service (Tax Prep). If people like you, and you offer them a solution, they’d rather pay you than someone else.
I was at a board meeting last week. One secret to networking is joining and volunteering on different boards.
However, the downside is keeping yourself entertained during those meetings, because they are formal and stiff as hell.
Towards the end of the meeting, when I was super-excited to throw on my coat and peace out for the rest of the night, everybody started talking about what was going on in their personal lives.
And one girl sitting near me proudly announced that she officially “joined the club” because she bought a new Jeep.
And upon hearing this, I immediately felt bad, because I knew there was nothing I could do to save her.
Now about a year ago, I even thought about buying a Jeep myself. But after some research (which people rarely do), I quickly abandoned that idea.
- The miles per gallon is low
- If you’re buying a Wrangler, barely any features come standard
- They don’t last long after 100,000 miles
- The only things you can do well with a Jeep compared to other SUV’s is off-roading and climbing rock walls, which I don’t do
So no thanks! I decided to buy a CRV and ride it to 200,000 miles.
But one of the main reasons people buy a Jeep is because they can join this exclusive club of Jeep owners.
First off, there are actual Jeep clubs where you can join, meet up with other Jeep owners and ride around together.
Then there are all the special add-on’s, accessories and mods you can buy.
But last and not least, there’s the exclusive, super-special two-finger Jeep wave that you can do when you drive around and see other Jeep owners at the helm.
You can’t do the wave if your daily driver is Kia Sorento. You’d find yourself on the outside looking in if you’re rockin’ that.
Now, I’m a guy and unlike women who blow their money on hundreds of stupid items, men blow their money on big-ticket stupid items. And 9 times out of 10, that big-ticket item just happens to be a much nicer car. I speak from personal experience.
If it’s been your life-long dream to own a dream vehicle of your choosing like a Jeep or a Corvette, I get it.
I’m not going to stand in the way of someone’s dream or big goal.
But if part of your reasoning to buy a car is just because of the name…
(Unless it’s a Harley. It takes real balls to ride a motorcycle)
You’re a special kind of normie and conformie, who has been brainwashed to the point where there is no hope and no return.
And look, I have close friends and family who own Jeeps. Not knocking on Jeeps at all.
My step-sister’s partner just bought a new Jeep Gladiator truck and it’s fuckin’ dope. They also live in a cabin off a dirt road in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska, so there’s that.
But I do know people who bought a Jeep and they don’t even off-road or go anywhere adventurous.
And it’s all a big giant show. These are the types of people who can barely afford a $500 monthly payment but their top tier priority at the dealership is getting the right photo opp with their new whip.
But my hat is off to Dodge, the company that built a community with a loyal following, all from a vehicle with 4-wheel drive.
And it is loyal. In fact, jump on the Gram and search for Jeep Tattoos. It’s depressing.
I spent this morning going to a morning breakfast seminar at my local American Marketing Association chapter.
First off, I’m not a morning person at all. So it required me waking up at 6 am, which I wasn’t happy about.
That, along with being in a room of other business owners and marketing people who actually want to socialize at that hour. I successful avoided any early-morning conversation by sitting in the back row taking care of personal business on my phone.
Anyways, the breakfast seminar was titled ‘Sales and Marketing Tips from a Top Realtor’. I’m not going to mention who the realtor was because it really doesn’t matter. What she had to say was more important than who she was.
I honestly also thought the presentation was going to really suck at first. That group had other realtors speak at breakfast seminars in the past, and they weren’t worth listening to.
But the girl who spoke actually had a lot of great advice for the room as far as marketing goes. It’s a bunch of stuff that I kind of knew, but she confirmed it after good ol’ fashioned hard work.
Here were the most valuable “writer downers” she told the room:
- The free ride from Facebook is officially over. From now on, it’s pay to play. She basically said if you want your posts to show up in peoples’ feeds, sponsored posts are the way to go.
- It’s also pay to play on apps like Realtor.com and Zillow. Those platforms basically hold realtors at gun-point if they want to be fed leads. Realtors have to pay hundreds just to have their name next to their seller’s property. If the realtor doesn’t pay that, then the house is up for grabs for other realtors who want to pay for leads. And that’s assuming those realtors even pick up the phone and call the client.
- Video is King. Everyone is watching video. Even though older generations don’t like to be on camera, if they really want their boost their marketing, they have to be willing to take the leap.
- Public speaking is a good way to get confident and you can also use the presentations on video. Even the Breakfast Seminar was recorded. The speaker said she used to be the worst public speaker. She admitted used to shake bad. I could sympathize since I used to be the same way. She even said she still does from time-to-time, but with practice, it’s gotten a lot better.
- As much as realtors invest in professional headshots, she said she only got one lead from a sign in someone’s yard.
- She also only ever got one lead from a newspaper. She also added that the biggest demographic on Facebook now is in the 50’s now, which is good if you want to sell to people with a lot of money.
- Only stick to one social channel if you can and post everyday, if not multiple times a day. Don’t make a point to be on all of them and spread yourself thin. I’ve seen this myself with start-ups. They have a website, and they’re on all the social channels but they would rather have 0 followers than start off with even double digit numbers.
But the most revealing part of her presentation was towards the beginning. At the start she had a graph of a break-down of where all her leads came from.
The overwhelming majority of her leads came from either past clients or what she called her “circle of influence”. Basically referrals from her personal network.
Now I haven’t asked my realtor, who sells well over 100 houses a year, but if I did, I know she would 100% say most of her clients are repeat clients or referrals.
She even co-owns 2 Cross Fit gyms (Talk about making me look bad). And those businesses feed each other. Her clients become members of the Cross Fit gyms. And those gym members eventually become her real estate clients.
I hired her after my close friend referred her to me, and she got our first house closed. She even wore a gym outfit to the closing.
My friend who referred me said she also wore a tank top at his closing that said, “My Jerk is as good as my snatch” (Cross Fit reference, but it just sounds funny).
But the speaker added towards the end that even if one of her past clients gives her a referral, it may be a great referral, but that prospect will still look her up. So it’s extremely important to her that the majority of her ratings are as close to 5 Stars as possible.
Her whole marketing method, which she didn’t even know at the time, was to do a great job for her customers, so she could bank that all that good-will and generate endless repeat business, reviews and referrals.
Biggest Marketing Tip of the Story: Try to do A+ work all the time.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big Howard Stern fan. I’m also a huge fan of his business model.
In a world where there are hundreds of comedians offering free podcasts, you have pay a monthly Sirius XM bill if you want to listen to Howard’s show.
As much as I love Joe Rogan’s show, I think Howard does much better interviews. That’s just my opinion.
Howard and his team do a lot of research before he talks to a single celebrity. He uncovers stories and secrets that the average person couldn’t even Google.
That’s what businesses should be doing. Most of them should be doing extensive research in their market, but they don’t. So they get average results.
Towards the end of last year, Howard and Robin were reminiscing about all the radio stations they were worked at before they hit it big.
Just like in his movie Private Parts, when Howard and Robin both worked at a radio station in DC, it became #1 in the ratings.
After that, they went to WNBC in New York. Despite all the epic fighting with executives that’s shown in the movie, that station became number 1 in the ratings too.
Howard made the following comment on his radio show recently and I’m paraphrasing:
“I love how we used to go into these markets, become #1, leave to go someplace else and then the radio station would crash and burn.”
In Private Parts, Howard had a major turning-point in his career when his wife told him he did a really funny show when he was 100% honest and just himself on the radio.
After that, he evolved and grew into the shock jock that he’s known for.
With Howard out of his comfort zone, he said more and more outrageous things, which got him more attention.
Which got his show more ratings.
Sure people didn’t like what he had to say. Neither did his bosses. He certainly painted a target on his own back. But he also got raving fans in the process that couldn’t stop listening.
And that should be your ultimate goal in business. You should strive to get as many raving fans as humanly possible.
However, that requires you to get outside your comfort zone. Stuff that most people don’t want to do.
You see this in just about everything.
How many people don’t want to write emails people actually want to read. They don’t want to put themselves on video or express an opinion that might not be popular.
They’d rather just hide and send 100 cold emails a day, or buy an ad that doesn’t work. And then they complain how they don’t get anywhere, or how hard it is to get customers.
They want to stay in their comfort zone more than they want to go outside of it. For fear of who knows what.
But outside the comfort zone is where all the money lives.
It’s also where the competition is not headed, so it’s all the more reason to go there.
As you can probably guess from visiting my site, I’m kind of into marketing.
One of the downsides of that is on a daily basis, I constantly get bombarded with Facebook and YouTube ads targeted to me selling Biz Opp courses.
These are ads selling courses on how the average joe can make money…
- Starting an Amazon FBA business
- Starting a Shopify store
- Starting a Social Media Marketing agency
Just like the Gold Rush, more money was made selling shovels and mining equipment than actually finding gold itself.
But in the Age of Social Media Biz Opp, there are now pages and channels that are dedicated to calling BS to Biz Opp courses and products.
Some of them are kinda entertaining.
One of these channels is BallerBusters on Instagram. This channel calls out so-called “gurus” who peddle Amazon FBA and Forex trading courses and labels these guys as scam artists.
Another is a YouTube channel called Coffeezilla. The channel exposes some of the more notable names like Tai Lopez, Sam Ovens and Dan Lok and exposes them as frauds.
Some of these guys are downright liars and hacks, just trying to sell to anyone with a credit card.
However, there are real business owners out there who absolutely swear by guys who sell Biz Opp courses and genuinely like them because it helps them improve where they’re at professionally.
One is my all-time favorite podcasts is Your Mom’s House with stand-up comedians Tom Segura and his wife Christina P.
A few months ago they had Grant Cardone on as a guest. Some people can’t stand Grant. They think he’s shady and a loudmouth. He also advertises everywhere, he’s always on YouTube and always selling something like his real-estate fund or his online sales training courses.
However, both Tom and Christina, couldn’t get enough of Grant. They talked about his core business philosophies and his message to people who’re motivated. It was an overall positive interview.
Now I’m also part of a Facebook group called Smart Leverage run by Sean Vosler. Sean has made a lot of money doing affiliate marketing, working with JV’s and sells his own book on Copywriting.
He has also done work with names in the Biz Opp industry like Lewis Howes and Tai Lopez.
There was even a thread that discussed Sam Ovens consulting course and how well it worked for members of the group.
And that comes to my main point…
Who you’re selling to is as important as what you’re selling.
One example of this is Transcendental Meditation.
Now I’m not big into meditation or yoga. It’s just not my jam. But that’s just me. I’m more into taking long walks and listening to podcasts.
Basically, here’s the Reader’s Digest version of Transcendental Meditation (Or TM) for short…
- You sit in a quiet room by yourself and clear your mind of all your thoughts (which is so much harder than you think. Try to spend 20 minutes not thinking of anything and forcing thoughts out of your head).
- You repeat a single word to yourself that is basically meaningless so it doesn’t trigger any thoughts.
Now, there are videos on YouTube heavily criticizing TM.
I watched one YouTube video with a guy ranting and raving about how you shouldn’t have to spend thousands of dollars just to have a TM master teach you to repeat one word to yourself.
That it’s highway robbery and a sham.
And that gurus in the TM community were actively trying to censor people trying to expose them.
However, one notable fan of TM is stand-up comedian Tom Papa. He has mentioned it twice on 2 different Joe Rogan podcast episodes. He claims it changed his whole life, and that he’s more relaxed and at peace with himself.
Now is Tom Papa a fool for spending that kind of money? That depends on your perspective.
For him, spending $1,000 or more to learn TM is worth it because he’s already interested in meditation, willing to learn more and he doesn’t mind spending a little bit to learn more.
So as you navigate the online world that we live in now…
As a business owner, salesperson and marketer, you ultimately want to find your ideal and unique customer who is qualified to buy, and repel anyone who would not benefit from your products and services.
This is why my home page starts off with, “Who is your customer?”
If you sell a Copywriting book to business owners who’re already selling an existing product and have funnels in place, that will lead to a successful customer relationship.
Same thing with selling a $1,000 TM course to someone who’s already interested in yoga, relaxation and mediation.
You want to sell to people who are already interested…
To people who’re already actively trying to solve their problems with similar solutions…
And lastly to people who don’t see price isn’t a big deal. If you have a choice, you should choose to sell to the dedicated few rather than the unmotivated many.
Despite my best efforts, this Black Friday I was dragged out of my house to go shopping with the family.
We drove over an hour to this shopping outlet in Manchester, VT, where they have Kate Spade, Armani and a bunch of other big deal designer shops I can’t remember.
Here’s a side note: I live in New York State and there are a ton of articles online about how my state is the most unfriendliest to businesses.
But I disagree. Vermont is way unfriendlier by a mile.
During a Bachelor Party brewery tour in Burlington, our guide discussed (proudly) how unfriendly VT is toward businesses.
The entire state doesn’t allow billboard advertising. Fast food restaurants aren’t allowed to build drive-thrus because it panders to the state’s outdoorsy folk. For the longest time they didn’t allow Wal-Mart stores to do business in VT (I don’t blame them either).
But in that shopping outlet is a small bookstore called Northshire Books. It’s been there as long as I can remember, but it’s been in business for over 40 years.
I remember only wanting to go there as a kid because there was nothing else to see or do when my parents wanted to go shopping there. There wasn’t even a toy store so this was the next best spot.
And since that time, decades have gone by where Borders and Barnes & Noble have driven places like Waldenbooks and smaller stores completely out of business.
A few months after Borders went out of business nationwide, I even remember Northshire opened up a 2nd store about 20 minutes away from me.
If you own a bookstore, and you’re doing better than breaking even, what are you really selling anyways?
And yet on Black Friday that little bookstore in VT was the busiest store in the entire shopping area. In all of its 2 floors, it was packed wall-to-wall with annoying kids and their poor parents.
I worked with a girl at a sales job a few years ago who opened up that 2nd store, and I asked how Northshire could even compete with Amazon.
She simply told me, and I’m paraphrasing this, ‘They can’t compete at all, so they don’t even try.’ She said, they try to create an environment people actually want to go and hang out.
And then on Black Friday, it finally dawned on me. This bookstore only prospers because it attracts a certain type of customer.
The store is right in the middle of a high-class designer shopping outlet. On top of that, the store is the only bookstore in the entire outlet.
My friend, who opened the 2nd location, told me the reason they opened a 2nd store was because people didn’t want to drive over an hour away, so they gave the original owners money as investors.
They also don’t just create an environment where people want to just stop-in and hang out. They’re in a money-making environment already with all the boutique stores around them, so they’re already attracting customers with money, who’re ready to spend.
On top of that, the people that stop in aren’t shopping for the lowest price. They stop in and they happen to buy something on a whim, or they see a neat gift idea, or they buy something for their kids.
It’s not all about how you market to your customers. It’s about finding out who your ideal customer is, who’ll spend the most money with you.
I was reading Howard Stern’s latest book, Howard Comes Again, when I recently realized something.
But first, let me give a brief overview. The book is all about Howard’s favorite celebrity interviews during his career and what he’s learned from them.
And a quick side-note: This book is a great gift idea to anyone you know who listens to Howard.
I’m the slowest reader in the entire world. I was given this book in March and I’m just wrapping this up in December.
But anyways. Onward.
One of Howard’s regular guests in the book is Donald Trump, and every couple of chapters, there are sections titled, ‘And Now a Word from our President’, which dive into one of the several interviews Howard had with Trump over the years.
And after about 400 pages in, I recently realized Trump speaks as if he’s reading sales copy.
Here’s a snippet…
Howard: I know that’s your real hair. When I was on (Some other guy’s) helicopter, I saw him walk up to the helicopter. And you know how the wind blows? It was attached to his head.
Donald: Oh, it’s my real hair. In fact, I’ve gone on some shows recently where the announcers jump and touch it and say it’s real. And I say, “I know, it’s real. It’s just the way I’ve combed it over the years, and I guess I shouldn’t change.”
Here’s another one…
Howard: You don’t drink?
Donald: No. Never had a drink. That’s one of my good things. Never had a drink, and I never had a cigarette. Other than that, I’m a disaster.
Okay, last one…
Howard: It’s a sad day (9/11 anniversary). But you’re one of those guys who said to keep investing in New York, and people are doing it, right?
Donald: They are. I don’t think it’s ever been better. I guess it has a lot to do with interest rates being so low. But it also has to do with the fact that people want to buy a piece of the Big Apple. They really do. I’ve never seen it like this.
You get the gist.
One of my good friends calls Trump, “Johnny Freakin’ Hyperbole”.
And immediately after he said that, I had to look up the meaning of “Hyperbole”. My friend definitely reads more than me, so his lexicon is better than mine.
But after I learned the definition, I realized that Trump is a walking-talking sales letter.
He uses really simple words. And he uses them in really short sentences.
He also repeats himself constantly. So what he says sticks in people’s heads. He’s like a broken record that people are tired of listening to.
And everything he says, it has to be larger than life.
Let’s say you’re listening to Trump at a press conference describing the U.S. economy…
In reality, the economy is not doing bad at all. It’s not ideal, and there have been dips in the stock market every couple of months, but it’s not like it was 10 years ago.
But Trump would say, “The economy is doing great. Really great. Never better. Everyone agrees!” Something to that effect.
Yes, there would be some built-in hype and probably a few lies, but what else would you expect from a politician?
Alright, so enough about politics. On-to the subject of marketing. When you read your sales copy or the content you publish, what does it look like?
Are the sentences short and easy to read?
Do you repeat all the good stuff early and often?
Do you describe things Bigly? Try not to lie, but try harder not to be boring either.
I don’t know if the books history will call Trump a successful president, but he definitely has a way with words.
Let me take you back to my first ‘real’ job out of college.
I graduated from college and I was doing everything I could to get a full time job.
This was back in 2007. Back then, you had Monster, CareerBuilder and classified ads in newspapers before Indeed wiped all those options out of everyone’s minds.
When I was 22, I basically emailed and mailed my resume everywhere I could. I cold-called people I didn’t know and my spiel was, ‘Hey… you don’t know me, but did you get my resume?’
Their response was usually… ‘Uhhhh… don’t worry… We got your resume. And we’ll definitely call you back.’
*Click* Never heard from them again.
Like everyone else who gets a job, I finally got a job through someone I knew. My first job right out of college was as a marketing coordinator for a small company.
At the time, they offered me $28,500 a year and I thought… ‘Alright. This is it. I finally made it to the big leagues’, which was the furthest thing from the truth.
My responsibilities were pretty much writing the monthly newsletter for the company, doing their graphic design (Making brochures ‘look pretty’ as the VP called it) and updating the company website.
Remember brochures? No, wait, forget brochures. Do you even remember websites back then?
This was back in 2007. Back then you had to write updates within HTML tags. You had to know all the tags and if you did anything out of order, it would throw off your entire website.
If you missed one little < or > all hell broke loose.
I wore a lot of hats at that job but I didn’t know that one of those hats would be selling ads directly to other businesses to help pay for the newsletter I was managing.
This job wasn’t one of those cold-call-all-day, smiling-while-dialing-for-dollars jobs that you see in The Wolf of Wall Street. That job would come later in my resume.
Even though my company had a small list of about 1,000 members, we sold them events, webinars, advertising and sponsorship opportunities mostly with direct mail and email marketing.
Much to my surprise at the time, I grew to love selling. We had a handful of customers who were regulars, and they were just awesome people to work with.
They got their artwork to me on-time. They were pleasant to talk with on the phone. They even paid on-time.
They were a dream.
And then there were those who weren’t a dream.
They weren’t an all-out nightmare to deal with, but for every few who ‘got it’ there were also a few who ‘didn’t get it’ at all.
The ones who ‘didn’t get it’ would ask me tire-kicking questions for weeks, and I would have to hand-hold them through the entire buying process.
And then they would complain to me that their ad didn’t get a response.
First of all, advertising is one thing. Direct response is another. So if you’re looking for a response, direct response is your best bet.
And you’re going to run an ad where you expect a response, for God’s sake, don’t write the same stuff everyone else is writing. Give them an actual real reason to visit your site other than some email promotion that’s ‘This Weekend Only!’
If you’re going to go the direct response route, you need to include an opportunity for customers to submit their information. Years ago, print ads used to do this by simply including an order form right below the ad that you could tear off and mail back.
Today, businesses drive customers to a landing page where they can submit their contact information in exchange for a free e-book, webinar presentation or video.
But do you think your average advertiser wants to spend time creating all that? No.
Rather than spending a little bit of time upfront, they would rather play the same game everyone else is playing, which is force their customers to call a salesperson to beat a sale out of them.
Which in this day and age is a dying process. No one wants to talk to a salesperson. Including me, who used to be a salesperson.
So if you want to measure an ad’s response, make sure you take the time to create something of real value to the customer and that it’s something that you can actually measure.
If you send them a lead magnet that enhances their life just a little bit, and they still want to buy from you, mark that down as a successful response.