Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bad NFL Refs. Great Marketing!

Last night, I got an email with this headline and HAD to open it:

Hate NFL replacement referees? Benefit with this special promotion from Daren Steneman at Da Vinci Restoration

Now, I didn't think I needed furniture restoration ...

... but because the NFL replacement referees have been ALL OVER the news the last few days, following their nationally televised debacle on Monday Night Football, the subject of this email cut through the clutter and got my attention.

So I opened it.

Now. Two questions for you:

1. How intriguing are YOUR email subject lines? Or the headlines on your web pages, sales letters, or postcards?

If they don't grab readers by the eyeballs, like Daren's headline, answer question 2 ...

2. What stories in the news can you tie your promotion to?

There's a very old copywriting trick from Robert Collier that urges you to always join the conversation going on in the mind of your prospect. The news gives you a boatload of opportunities to do this every day. FREE.

In the past, I've done hugely successful promotions tied to these news stories:
  • monthly unemployment numbers
  • the presidential debates
  • the U.S. Central Bank
... to name, but a few.

In Daren's case, although there are several things about the language of his promotion that I would change, he got the big idea RIGHT. He got attention by entering the conversation going on around the water cooler of every office in America that has 2 or more men in it.

Did he lose out on a few female readers? Probably. But his response to this will more than make up for that, I suspect.

Here's a portion of Daren's email ...

If you want to read the rest of it, click here.

Meanwhile ... if you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, grab your free Client Cloning Kit here.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The $120,000 Brainstorming Technique

The other day, I got an idea worth at least $100,000.

Want to know what it is?

I can't tell you.

What the idea is, I mean. Because it's so lucrative and easy to do that my competitors would copy it before 5:00 today.

But ... though I can't tell you WHAT the six-figure idea is, I'm happy to tell you HOW I got it.

Who knows? It might be worth six figures to you, too.

Still want to know what it is?

It's this: The next time you get stuck trying to solve a problem, pick up a pen.

Here's the story ...

Last Thursday morning, I was sitting in the lobby at Victory Auto in Chanhassen, waiting for my car to get a tuneup. (Victory Auto does AWESOME work at great prices, by the way -- free plug for those guys :-)

Anyway, I had been brainstorming on my laptop for solutions to a vexing problem. For more than 30 minutes, I was pounding away at the keyboard. Idea after idea came flowing out ... all of them crappy.

Eric, the manager, walked up and said that my car was done. So I closed up my laptop and got ready to leave.

Two minutes later, Eric came back to apologize -- my car would take another 15 minutes to fix.

"No problem," I said. "I can still do my work."

Not wanting to fire up the laptop again, I grabbed a scratch pad of paper, like the one in the picture above.

I started brainstorming solutions to the same problem, but this time on paper --  doodling, scribbling, and jotting down ideas with a pen.

In 15 minutes, I had sketched out a new business unit worth about $120,000 a year. That was Thursday.

I opened that business unit on Friday morning and had my first conversation with a prospect on Friday afternoon.

The first order came in on Monday.

So, yeah, it's a pretty good idea. That's why the picture above is not of the actual doodle sheet with the actual idea. (It's now in a safe deposit box in my closet.)

But you can have the process behind that six-figure idea free and clear. The process is this: To get different ideas, move different muscles.

If you keep using the same muscles to think -- your fingers tapping the same way on the same keyboard -- you may keep getting the same ideas.

Instead, grab a pen and paper, and move different muscles -- by writing out your ideas longhand. You know, like back in grade school, when everybody told you how creative you were. You still are creative, but life in a cubicle or chained to a desk may have caused some of those creative muscles to atrophy.

Get away from the desk. Grab a pen and paper. Move different muscles. Get different ideas.

Meanwhile ... if you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, grab your free Client Cloning Kit here.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Service: Keystone for Growth?

What makes some entrepreneurs wealthy and successful, while others struggle to survive?

In a word, habits.

Forget what the economy is doing -- up or down, that's not the determining factor. There were plenty of successful people in the Great Depression, and plenty of failures in the recent boom years.

Your success stems from what you think and what you do. And most of what you think and do stems from your habits.

Psychologists estimate that approximately 95% of the thoughts you have today are the same ones you had yesterday. Yikes.

And as much as 45 percent of our actions each day are habitual. We run on autopilot for much of the day, day after day, week after week, month after month ....

That's the power of habit.

To get better results in your business, you need better habits.

But not all habits are created equal.

In the book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg offers powerful reasons why some habits are more important than others.

These so-called keystone habits "have the power to start a chain reaction, shifting other patterns as they move through our lives," writes Duhigg.
Keystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate. Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything.

This, then, is the answer of where to start: focus on keystone habits, those patterns that, when they start to shift, dislodge and remake other habits.
Get that? Keystone habits can change other habits -- and change your life.

Now. If you're looking to grow a service business, sales career, or other entrepreneurial venture, what keystone habit(s) should you adopt?

You might think sales or innovation. And you might be right.

But sales skills take months or years to sharpen. And innovation can be a tough slog.

Here's an idea: Why not make service a keystone habit for growth?

Service has propelled businesses like Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, Disney, Starbucks, and Zappos to outrageous levels of success.

Zappos, in particular, has profited wildly from making service as a keystone habit. Zappos is literally "Powered by Service" -- it's their corporate motto. And #1 in their list of 10 core values is this: "Deliver Wow through service."

Stories of Zappos customer service are more than the stuff of corporate legend. They are a big reason why Zappos, which sells the ultimate commodity -- shoes! -- reached $1 billion in sales in only 8 years, before being bought by Amazon in 2009.

So, to sum up: Your habits make or break you, in business and in life.

Keystone habits, like keystones in bridges, are little things that support bigger things. The right keystone habit could support massive growth in your business. And you might want to make service a keystone habit in your business -- it's free to deliver and makes everything better.

Meanwhile ... if you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, grab your free Client Cloning Kit here.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Visualization For Busy People: The Mini Vision Board

This casual video is a BIG departure for me. It felt really odd to just blurt out this idea at 10:30 last night, sitting on my porch. But the idea was too good to wait (I think).

It boils down to this: Almost every successful person I know has written goals. You, too? Good!

And most successful people are familiar with visualization. It's a concept dating back thousands of years, to King Solomon's Proverbs: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

Nowadays, many people use vision boards for their visualization. A vision board is nothing more than a collection of pictures that illustrate the good things you want to bring into your life.

But here's the twist: Combining your written goals on one side of a 3x5 card with a "mini vision board" on the other -- a single picture of the Big Idea behind your goals.

Anyway, that's what this video is about. What do you think? I REALLY want to hear what you have to say. Please comment below and share your thoughts!

Meanwhile ... to discover 3 simple habits that let you create more for yourself in the next 30 days than in the previous 6 months, click here

Monday, September 10, 2012

You, a Strange Creature of Habit?

You are a creature -- a creature of habit.

So am I.

We all are.

We think and do a LOT of the same things every day, almost without thinking.

You see, of the 60,000 thoughts you and I have each day (about one every second that we're awake), "95 percent of them are the same thoughts you had yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that." That's according to research in the book, Happy for No Reason, by Marci Shimoff.

And studies show that up to 45 percent of what we do every day is habitual.

We often act without thinking, usually because of subtle cues. Example: You feel tired (cue), so you grab a cup of coffee (routine). You're bored (cue), so you check out Facebook (routine).

That's a lot of non-thinking routine every day, isn't it?

However ... this preference for shortcuts in your thinking and acting doesn't mean you're lazy. It simply means you're human.

That's because our brains naturally prefer doing things that require less effort, according to Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman:
   "... if there are several ways of achieving the same goal, people will eventually gravitate to the least demanding course of action. In the economy of action, effort is a cost, and the acquisition of skill is driven by the balance of benefits and costs. Laziness is built deep into our nature."
So. To sum up: You and I are largely bundles of habits.

It follows, then, that if you want to change your thoughts and actions -- and grow your business -- you must change your habits.

The good news is, you don't have to change all of your habits to change your world. You need only adopt a few critical routines, called "keystone habits," according to New York Times writer and author, Charles Duhigg.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Duhigg describes keystone habits as causing a cascade of positive effects to support the success of other habits. A keystone habit is like three or four good actions for the price of one. Example keystone habits include exercise, visualization, safety, meditation, and relaxation.

Now. What are your keystone habits?

Stated differently, what one or two things, if you did them consistently and well, would have the greatest impact on your business?

Answering this question could unlock untold potential for you and your business.

Now. To discover 3 simple habits that let you create more for yourself in the next 30 days than in the previous 6 months, click here

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How To Do All Your Email In 45 Minutes

I read, replied to, and wrote all of my emails (including the jokes from my mother) in less than 45 minutes today.

Want to know how?


You see, writing, reading, and replying to emails is a process, just like everything you do at work.

By doing all your email just once a day -- twice at most -- you can save incredible amounts of time.

Here's the funny thing: No email is so urgent that it requires an immediate response. If it were an urgent, life-changing matter, that message would have come to you by phone or in person.

Not only is 99.9% of all email not urgent, but answering it efficiently is not hard.

In fact, it's soft. Like bread. (Work with me here.)

Think, for a moment, about how a baker works.

He doesn't bake 3 loaves of wheat bread, then 2 loaves of pumpernickel, then another 2 loaves of wheat bread.

No. He bakes one batch of similar bread all at once, then moves onto the next one.

Email (like paying your bills, answering the phone, etc.) is a process, just like baking. And batching makes it go faster and easier.

So ... try batching your email tomorrow. Better yet, outsource or delegate it.

The less repetitious crap you have to slog through each day, the more mental energy you'll have to work on your business, instead of in your business.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I had so much time left over this afternoon that I'm going for a walk with the dog :-)

Resource: If you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, grab your free Client Cloning Kit here

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lost Children and Lost Business

What if, heaven forbid, your son or daughter went missing?

You call their name and they don't answer. You can't find him/her anywhere.

Who do you call?

The police. They find lost children.

Could you give the police a clear description of your child, so they knew whom to look for? Of course, from the freckles on their nose to the color of their socks.

Now, what if, heaven forbid ... all of your prospects went missing?

You call them, but they don't return your messages. You can't find new leads anywhere.

Who do you call?

The people in your network. They "find" lost business by making new connections for you.

Could you give the people in your network a clear description of your ideal prospect, so they know whom to look for? Uh, oh. Probably not. A description like, "I'm looking for anyone who runs a small business," won't cut it.

So start there. When it comes to prospects, who exactly are you looking for? What is their:
  • age?
  • gender?
  • industry?
  • job title?
  • income?
  • etc. etc.
If you really want to find more prospects faster, use The Mackay 66 series of demographic questions. When you know your prospects that well, your network can make connections for you lickety split.

As a parent, I was hesitant to use the frightening analogy of lost children.

But, then I thought, if you could network with a fraction of the fervor you would search for a lost child, you could make all the connections you need in just a few hours.

Why not try it and see? (And give your kids an extra hug today for no reason at all :-)

Resource: If you want to put an end to "feast-or-famine" syndrome in your business, grab your free Client Cloning Kit here