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Archive for 2011


You’re Fired!

By: Dan Kennedy on: August 1st, 2011 19 Comments

A while back, Donald Trump became the 2,327th person to get a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Almost before the glue dried, but then his TV show was rather abruptly cancelled. Somebody at NBC called and said: “You’re Fired.”

That’s life.

Tom Monaghan once said he went from the World’s Wonder Boy to the Village Idiot almost overnight. Personally, I’ve never actually been fired, but there are plenty of times when I should be, but if I fire me, there’ll be nobody to do the work. I know what ignominy is. I’ve been in bankruptcy court, I’ve been thrown out of a trade association, I’ve been served divorce papers.

At some point, usually more than once, everybody who’s doing much of anything gets their teeth kicked in. Goes from being the most popular king to the outcast nobody admits knowing. Has a series of really, really, really bad days. Fortunes turn.

Michael Eisener led a renaissance at Disney and was then driven from the kingdom. He’s far from the first or last CEO to have that experience.

There’s little of interest in any of these many fall-from-grace stories, although the public and the press take so much delight in the embarrassing crashes off pedestals you can almost hear a collective snarling and chewing of bones.

Most of the fall from grace stories are maudlin and representative of remarkable stupidity and smallness and arrogance or greed or absence of control, and poking around in all that only leads to a need to shower.

What’s interesting and instructive is those who are unabashed, who are quickly resilient, who achieve redemption, who have a greater and grander next act. From those people, there are philosophical, attitudinal and methodical, operational object lessons. A comeback story is infinitely more instructive than a success story.

Over the long haul, this ‘resiliency’ may be the single most important of all personal characteristics.

How well you can take a punch.

How quickly you can recover.

How you can weather storms of criticism or humiliation. How adept you are at reinvention.

If you want to cultivate a characteristic, this is the one. And one way to do so is with the little stuff. The day to day.

A lot of people are easily de-railed. Easily put into a funk lasting hours or even days.

Easily compromise or sacrifice their agenda. The breeze from a missed punch is sufficient to send them to the canvas. They wonder why they don’t get a lot more accomplished. It’s their glass jaw.

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Sales As Performance, A Metaphor

By: Dan Kennedy on: July 18th, 2011 3 Comments

I was recently going over Sydney Biddle Barrows material, particularly her “training class” for the ‘escorts’, I was reminded that I have always viewed selling as performing, a sales presentation as a performance – and that I tend to forget, most salespeople do not share my view, or Sydney’s.

This viewpoint translates in many practical ways, including scripting; rehearsal and practice; attention to detail; pride in the performance itself….as opposed to saying any damned thing that comes to mind in any random order, winging it, using any old pen or pad, no props, and so on. Ernie Kessler, who has since died , a superb speaker/platform salesperson (who is in the Platform Selling Boot Camp program with Ron LeGrand and I) had his presentation choreographed….so he took his sip of water at the same minute, against the same phrase every time. I’ve always sold that way.

That’s important if you happen to sell, face to face, by phone, from the stage, and very, very, very few folks have the self-discipline to perform professionally like this, even when it is pointed out to them as the difference between a peak performer and an also-ran. But it is also a metaphor for whatever you do. One of the great speakers I’ve had opportunity to work with and learn from, Bill Gove, had a talk: “Are You A Pro?” Most people simply aren’t.

Woody Allen famously remarked that 50% of success was “showing up.” Too many people stop there, and get 50% of what they could – if they showed up as a real Pro. Alert. Prepared. Practiced. Primed in every way to deliver an extraordinary performance and get extraordinary results.

Nido Qubein and Tom Hopkins who both spoke at previous SuperConferences are speakers we all recognize as consummate professionals. But why shouldn’t you be a consummate professional doing whatever you do? And imagine a whole business staffed by consummate professionals.

The person taking phone calls, a consummate pro, with practiced scripts, polished skills. The salespeople, the service people. The guy putting the packages in the trunk of the car. Each person viewing their job as “Performance Art”. Such businesses are rare – and usually ENORMOUSLY profitable, as they are fueled by zealous word of mouth advertising, spend little or nothing on paid advertising and keep all that money as profit.

In fact, professionalizing yourself and everyone in your business might be the best way to boost net profits.

3 Ways to Quickly Double Your Mailing List

By: Brian Horn on: July 6th, 2011 14 Comments

While most of us are aware that “the money is in the list,” we also know that it can be very difficult to get that list in the first place. Struggling to get that first dozen or so sign ups is one frustration many small business owners encounter, but one which is even more common is the dreaded sign up plateau.

This refers to the time in your campaign when you’ve been stuck at the same number of opt-ins for weeks at a time. Whether you are just starting your newsletter campaign or you’re seasoned pro looking to boost results, here are 3 ways to double your mailing list quickly.

Ask people to sign up.

Ok, so it might seem a bit ridiculous to call this a “tip”, but you may be surprised how many people out there are simply not asking others to sign up for their newsletters. If they are asking, then it is possible they just aren’t asking the right way!

For example, many site owners create opt-in forms that blend in with their site so well that no one even notices them. As a general rule, try using the secondary color in your site’s palette as the background color for your sign up box. Let’s say your site uses three colors: teal, forest green, and sky blue. The background is forest green, and most of the objects are teal. Only a few lines or text here and there is sky blue, so it would be your secondary or accent color. When you create your opt-in box, make the background sky blue and most of the text could be that forest green color. It will stand out while still tying in with your site’s palette.

Another tip that many overlook is the “Sign Up” button on the form. With many auto responder programs, this button is automatically set to say “Sign Up,” but some of us change that to something we think is more witty. Things like “Gimme” or “Let’s Go” and the like are commonly used in place of the traditional text. Studies have shown, however, that given many other options, visitors are up to 28% more likely to click on a button that either says “click here” or “sign up.” Why fix what isn’t broken?

Create a custom Facebook welcome page.

You do know that you should have a Facebook page for your site, right? If not, that should be your first step – go get one set up and then come back to read this.

Traditionally, new visitors to a Facebook page are greeted with that page’s news feed. This is all fine, but what if you could make your page stand out by creating a full-page opt-in or advertisement for your website? Good news! You can do exactly that with a simple Involver Application. Involver allows anyone to use up to two of their applications for free on any page, and one of them just happens to create custom Facebook tabs which can then be set as your “home” page.

If you don’t want to use an Involver application on your page, you will need to code the page yourself using iFrames or have someone else do it for you. If you happen to be lucky enough to already have FBML on your Facebook, then that is still a viable option as well! With so many ways of doing it, there is really no reason not to get one set up for yourself today.

Create a “tips or questions” opt-in

The common opt-in form asks for a name and email. Sometimes there is a variation to this with a business name or occupation field, but for the most part, opt-in forms are pretty short and boring. This is great when they are going to be sitting on the sidelines of a website, but why not try creating one with a life and purpose all its own?

Try creating an opt-in that asks for something extra, like a suggestion for the site or an upcoming event, or any burning questions your visitors might have for you. You can even take it a step further by stating on the squeeze page that each entry qualifies that person for a drawing to win something. This will quickly raise the number of subscriptions to your list, as well as create the image of a site owner who talks with his or her visitors rather than just at them.

With most auto responders, you are able to create multiple opt-in forms which link to the same newsletter or list, so this large opt-in won’t require a whole separate list or additional headache.

Implementing these three strategies won’t take you more than one day. After that, it is time to track and test or simply watch those subscription numbers rise!

Are You Really “IN” Control?

By: Dan Kennedy on: June 27th, 2011 10 Comments

Years ago, you’d walk the streets of New York and see homeless folks all over the place, many with mental problems, muttering to themselves, or talking loudly at no one or at everyone or at each person who passed.

It was disconcerting at minimum; intimidating, frightening or depressing at times.

These days, a lot of the homeless problem there seems to have gone away – I can’t tell you why. But they’ve been replaced by a better-dressed population who appear just as addled…they rush through the streets, all talking loudly, seemingly to no one. And this population has expanded from city streets to airports, supermarkets, theater lobbies, everywhere. Even public bathrooms.

Sometimes I don’t realize they are talking on their invisible phones and I think they are talking to me and I respond. They think I’m an idiot. I know they are.

People are now plugged in and connected non-stop from eyes opening to eyes closing, iPod in one ear, invisible phone in another, computer and TV integrated, text messaging, checking e-mail, ad nauseum.

They think that’s making them more productive. It is not, anymore than running faster in the wheel gets the caged hamster anywhere. In fact, it makes them less productive simply because they are less in control. Less in control of their time, their order of priorities, their very thoughts. Less in control of the environment in which they sell and communicate.

Contrary to simplistic interpretation, I am not anti-technology. I like using it to make money, solve problems or enhance productivity. But that’s not what’s happening for most people.

In his best and most important book, ‘Grow Rich With Peace Of Mind’, Napoleon Hill wrote of having his phone disconnected to shield himself from a rising tide of intrusion he could not control. He preferred using it only to make calls, not to receive them (just as I do, all these years later.) Imagine what he’d think of what the telephone has become: an out of control octopus.

Those who teach and sell “time management” often say ‘time is money’ and everybody conceptually concurs – although few actually treat it as such; and they often say that your income reflects your use and value of your time….but the precise truth is, your income reflects your control of your time. And you really want to pay close attention to who (or what) is in control of or interfering with your control of your time…your energy, your thoughts, your opportunity to perform whatever functions you perform at peak performance.

All successful people fight, constantly, to regain control they let slip out of their grasp from one day to the next, one relationship to the next, one project to the next. It gets away; I get it back. It gets loose; I round it up and fence it back in. That’s the way it is.

One Step At A Time?

By: Dan Kennedy on: June 20th, 2011 4 Comments

Within 12 weeks of deciding that every store needed an HR manager, Home Depot had interviewed 3,000 people, hired 1,300, trained them and had them in place. Also, during their peak growth year of 2004, they opened a new store every 48 hours. What do you make of such things?

Most of you know my favorite Iaccoca story, of impulsively having the roof removed by blow-torch, to test drive a new convertible. However, reading Iaccoca’s autobiography’s account of his turnaround years at Chrysler, you’ll find many more stories with three similar themes: speed; massive action; and many initiatives launched simultaneously….in his case, even while under financial duress.

At Glazer/Kennedy, in just 12 months, we launched the local advisor program, developed and launched the Gold+ online community, went from two to five events, developed and launched the new Peak Performers program – and the list goes on.

On the flip side, I see companies actually bragging about getting one new thing done all year. You’ll read their annual reports and discover they spent the whole year to get into the catalog business or get a web site up or create a slogan. These are companies to avoid investing in, or get money out of if you are invested.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth about success: you do not get there as taught as a child…one step at a time.

One of the things I learned, in part, thanks to Dr. Maltz and his Psycho-Cybernetics work is that instruction and advice given to us as children may have been valid and useful at the time but needs to be jettisoned like old skin as we mature; it can be crippling if carried into adulthood, especially if you choose to be an entrepreneur or sales professional. “Don’t talk to strangers” is a classic. Good idea for an 8 year old; bad idea for a 28 year old. ‘One step at a time” is a very similar admonition. Useful for the toddler learning to walk. Crippling for the entrepreneur.

People often ask me – puzzled – how I get so much done. The answer is not comforting at all. I put all sorts of things in motion before I am prepared and ready to give them all due attention or they are fully crystallized as step-by-step plans, then I chase them. I over-commit myself, then press to juggle and honor the commitments. I create then complete; I don’t create complete. I rarely do one thing at a time. I never take one step at a time. It’s my observation other high-performers follow this same path.

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I Can Raise the Dead

By: Dan Kennedy on: June 14th, 2011 5 Comments

You’ve heard that “you can’t raise the dead.” Well, very recently, with a marketing campaign I got response from a dead guy. So I can raise the dead. Amazing. But if you were fortunate enough to be on my group call with the folks in my personal coaching groups, you heard tell of even more amazing feats – theirs, not mine.

In a mail-order business selling to hobbyists, the addition of a forced continuity program collecting 1,200…creating NEW, additional income stream of more than $200,000.00 a year, with the potential of topping $1-million.

Another, from zero to $1-million in revenue in 6 months, in his 2nd business.

Another from $1-million to $2.7-million in a one year jump.

Another used a price increase strategy to create about $250,000.00 of new, 100% profit – and on the call, we added the “what’s next?” strategy that will turn that into $1-million+ next year.

And more. Amazing? Well, not to me. Somewhat, still, to some of them. Unbelievable to “outsiders.”

At our Independent Business Advisor Thad Winston’s meeting, a fellow stood up to report on his experiences at the L.A. event, and added that it was free to get in, but cost him about $10,000.00 to get out…but that, on arriving home and implementing ONE idea heard there, he’d brought in $320,000.00. Amazing? To most people, sure. But to those who really understand, no – expected.

Other things that would amaze most, from this group’s call…. Mike Miget made the point emphatically that he’d learned to put things in motion without having figured out how everything would work out, to create chaos and messes and profit by cleaning them up.

He and others talked about “success” made in a messy kitchen; a messy business, full of uncertainties and mistakes and “clean up on aisle three” fire drills.

Our approach of implement, get in motion, get moving FIRST, worry about all the answers later would amaze (and frighten and dismay) most MBA’s — Stephen Oliver, on the call, a notable exception.

I’ve made ALL my money making messes. Starting things without knowing exactly how they’ll proceed. Applying Maxwell Maltz’ observation that you never get anywhere via a straight line. I have no fear of that. This group who shared their experiences on this call is liberated from those fears as well – and leaping tall income levels in a single bound as a result.

Kudos!

Are You Competent?

By: Dan Kennedy on: June 6th, 2011 9 Comments

It Really Isn’t Hard To Have The World Clamoring For You
(and: how to make next year your best money year ever)

It has reached the point where I am annoying A LOT of people by turning them away and being unavailable to speak or consult or write, weeks to months tardy in responding to correspondence from those not already clients, yet still having so much to do I’m having trouble keeping my commitments (something I hate with a passion) and crave relief from pressure, so I am again re-engineering my entire approach to work between now and January.

Looking backward, I see it is not difficult to get into this position, of having the world clamoring for a piece of your attention, lined up outside your door waving money at you. Anyone can do it. The key components are simple.

I talked at length at my Sales Seminar in about one of them: Authority. A linked component is Competence. Consistent, reliable competence. It is SO rare these days that anyone who reveals himself, within an organization or to a clientele or market, as being solidly competent quickly attracts far, far, far more work or customers and clients or opportunity than can be handled.

It is, in fact, how we all kill The Competent Employee: you have five but one is The Competent One. All work and responsibility gravitates to her until she is so overwhelmed she becomes incompetent. If you place yourself in the middle of some group of people capable of giving you money for Service, Know-How and Expertise – of any kind – and prove yourself Competent, they will quickly come to rely on you (at exclusion of all others). Once you’ve done this, to make this year your best money year ever is child’s play; just keep raising your fees or prices, charge for access or the right to buy from you, “stretch the top of the pyramid”, so you get more and more money for the same hours.

I suppose that sounds horribly simplistic, as did your last success marketing strategy e-mail. Oh, you can complicate it and bring in all sorts of sophisticated and intriguing nuances, from NLP to hypnosis to preferred language for handling customers or clients, to our kinds of marketing strategies, and on and on and on. However all that and a dollar isn’t worth but a dollar if not matched with truly “delivering the goods” – competence. And sadly, most don’t. most are far more adept at promising than at keeping.

No, being the best is never, in and of itself, good enough to attract money in today’s cluttered, competitive, confusing markets. Emerson would starve sitting next to his superior mousetrap. But being the best, being extraordinary, getting it right and promoting like crazy, now you’ve got something. In business, “getting it right” extends to the answering of the phone, the frequency of cleaning the public restrooms, whether the thank you notes go out on time, and a million other ‘little things’.

A lot of businesses have most of it right but are then undermined by one incompetent or rude or lazy employee, one stupid policy, one neglected step. I moved a lot of business from one vendor to an overall less competent vendor only to end dealing with the first’s Battleaxe Bertha on the phone.

Just Stay Away From Them… If You Can

By: Dan Kennedy on: May 31st, 2011 7 Comments

The Shadow knows. And so do I.

With another holiday weekend behind us, you may have encountered “friends”, family and relatives, and others with evil intent, conscious or not.

Some will attempt to slime you with GUILT. Simply because you are doing better than they, notwithstanding that you exhibit initiative and they exhibit none, they will attempt to guilt you into giving or loaning them money, paying their bills, repairing their car for them…or, at bare minimum, feeling queasy and uncomfortable about you own success.

They will advance their notion that you are “the LUCKY one” in the family, thus undeservedly more prosperous or happier than they. Whether they attempt extorting money or merely seek to “bring you down a peg” and s*** on your self-esteem doesn’t matter much.

Either way, they bear you ill will, they resent you. Welcome them into your home if you must, but dare not welcome them into your mind – or the mind of your spouse. (Incidentally, I encourage giving generously, but 100% voluntarily, and preferably to individuals who exhibit initiative.)

Some will attempt to tar you with DISRESPECT. Maybe it’s your brother The Doctor or his snooty trophy wife or pipe-smoking College Professor or the M.B.A., who is secretly jealous of your independence; who eagerly shines a spotlight on the odd and unexplainable nature of what you do as an entrepreneur or on the ugly, silly advertising and promotion you insist on doing.

As Mrs. Roosevelt said: no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. But that won’t stop them from trying. The cocktail party at your neighbor’s house might very well be infested with desperate, empty shells of men, vying for superiority by making others inferior. Small people try to be bigger by making others feel smaller.

Some will be eager to rub everyone else’s noses in their latest accomplishments – could be having remodeled their game room or traveled to Italy or bought matching new BMW’s or some such thing. When you hear it, think: DEBT. Unlike us, most of what these pompous show-offs’ll be showing off is financed to the hilt. Such one-upmanship is a juvenile game. Act as you would if playing chess or Monopoly® with a mere child; let him win.

Genuinely bright, successful serenely confident individuals play none of these games. They prefer talking about IDEAS, and seek out others who do the same. Find them and spend your time with them. And beware the rest.

Should You Pay Attention?

By: Dan Kennedy on: May 23rd, 2011 8 Comments

Very Good News: You can finally, completely stop worrying about Al Gore’s global warming. We are all destined to die of something else instead.

A front page headline on USA TODAY read:

90% of the ocean’s edible species may be gone by 2048, study finds

Having North Korea, Iraq, Iran, etc. isn’t enough. They have to devote half their front page to scaring us about the potential scarcity of Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks forty-two years from now.

Since I will either be dead or eating mush, this matters little to me. For many of you, though, it’s permission to cease all worry about global warming. The lack of crab cakes will kill you first. Hooray!

It might interest the boneheads behind this survey and those reporting on it as fatalistic gospel at USA TODAY that I have, in my files, news reports of academic studies projecting the end of seafood by the year 1967…..the melting of the polar ice caps and drowning of us all by 1959…..and, well, you get the idea.

Scientists, psychics, cult leaders, politicians and ignorant, irresponsible journalists have frequently predicted the end of life as we know it – via over-population (a scare popular in the 60’s), under-population, starvation and famine, flood, asteroid attack, the earth veering from its axis, killer bees, or – the latest – mad cow disease, etc. – and they have all been wrong.

Eventually ONE will get to say “See, I Told You So.” But this is a charlatan’s game, and nothing more.

For some, it gets taxpayer monies to support all manner of silly research. For others, it sells books or newspapers.

It’s hard to tell Stanford’s much hyped ‘doom research’ from the plot of an old Star Trek episode. One is no more credible than the other.

Why should you pay attention to any of this? That’s the point – you shouldn’t. In fact, you should be pretty rigorous about NOT paying attention to anything that doesn’t advance you toward your goals, enhance your important skills, or inspire and motivate you to be your best self and achieve your greatest ambitions.

Unless it is your hobby, be that golf, football, gardening, or ulcer assured, politics.

All else ought be filtered out. Blocked. Ignored. Just because USA TODAY feels compelled to fill its front page with silly, decidedly unscientific drivel, with scary stuff about the future-without-fish, does NOT mean you must swallow it.

I even choose most of my pure entertainment with some purpose, to extract from it some useful ideas or content or examples, in addition to being amused or entertained. I don’t need distractions provided by silly soothsayers looking 40 to 400 years into the future.

I’m perfectly capable of manufacturing sufficient distractions of my own! Success requires FOCUS. You have to guard the gates of your mind. You have to ask: what will I gain by paying attention to this?

Are You Too Jaded?

By: Dan Kennedy on: May 16th, 2011 8 Comments

This is one I am writing for myself. You can read it if you want to, but it’s really for me. (I’m toying with starting to write all these for myself. I need a lot of counseling, so it seems like a clever and efficient way to use this time.)

Many moons ago – a phrase I find appropriate with frightening frequency – I took one year nearly off from business and made a living betting on horses . To bet horses at multiple tracks or at the big-handle New York tracks, you had to go there physically; this was before simulcast.

So, every Saturday and some weekdays I flew from Cleveland to New York in the morning, drove to Belmont or Aqueduct, bet the thoroughbreds there until I won $1,500.00, then immediately left – even if after just one race, flew home, and most nights got to Northfield in time to do the same thing there with harness races.

I did just fine, I made over $50,000.00 that year, and that was in the early 1970’s, and I was young. But it took all the fun out of it. Losses were of monumental importance because too many in a row would wipe out the bankroll, and it is impossible to make money gambling without money and the courage that comes with it.

The wins came devoid of joy or satisfaction because they were a necessity. It was a grind. Doing anything to make money – or doing anything else, for that matter – without frequent celebration makes Jack a very, very dull boy.

And I do not celebrate enough. Maybe you don’t, maybe you do, I don’t know. But I know it’s easy to start taking all your successes and achievements and victories for granted, as just what you do.

For me, making $100,000.00 delivering a speech or closing a $100,000.00 copywriting contract or contemplating taking or rejecting a proposed arrangement to conduct a coaching program for a client for $750,000.00 or seeing my book on a shelf or a bestseller list or giving somebody strategies and copy that brings in $500,000.00 from a zero start in 90 days – well, that’s just what I do.

The other night it briefly occurred to me this deserved some recognition and a toast. A few days before Bill reported on a new product promotion that topped $500,000.00. Same thing. Days later, I thought – gee, maybe that ought to be celebrated.

So, my advice is: don’t become too impressed with yourself, but don’t become too jaded either. Recognize the amazing nature of your progress and accomplishments. Celebrate your victories with whoever’s in your life that matters. Be more cognizant of others’ accomplishments and generous with recognition and praise. Celebrate good times, c’mon.