This past weekend, I followed the news of the death of Mike Wallace.
An American journalist, game show host, and media personality, Wallace is best known for his role as one of the original correspondents for CBS’ 60 Minutes.
As stories were shared about Wallace, his reputation for the “truth” stood out above all else…
CBS News chairman and Wallace’s long-time producer at 60 Minutes said, “He (Wallace) knew that everybody else knew, that he was going to get to the truth. And that’s what motivated him.”
Another “60 Minutes” veteran, Morley Safer said, “He was a kind of one-man truth squad, a man with a remarkable gift for getting to the very core of a story.”
In the mid-50s Wallace hosted the pilot episode for Nothing but the Truth which later aired as To Tell the Truth. Later he would appear on the show as a guest panelist.
On To Tell the Truth, celebrity panelists would question three contestants (two were imposters, one was telling the truth) and then try to guess who was actually telling the truth about their occupation or an experience that happened to them.
This reminded me of one of Dan Kennedy’s lessons, the Power of Truth.
The strategy of lying or deliberately misleading by omitting things about a service or product is done by a lot of advertisers. And this sometimes DOES make success easier. However, success is usually only temporary.
In contrast, when you can use truth to your advantage, it gives you an enormous, overwhelming advantage.
Dan says, “Consumers have a 6th –sense for ‘authenticity’ and very much desire something ‘real’ (that also fulfills their desires).”
When you can deliver a 100 percent true story and a compelling promise, you have something that has the potential to be very successful as well as lasting.
And like Mike Wallace and Dan Kennedy, you’ll find the search for the truth an advantage that leads to success in your business.
Some lessons from Mike Wallace and Dan Kennedy:
1) Do your research. In an article I read on Wallace, he classified research as one of his “weapons” and would spend hours preparing for an interview. You’ll also note that is one of Dan’s weapons too.
In fact, Dan will tell you that failing to do research and due diligence is one of the costliest mistakes you can make. Thorough research will help you find the one truth that will make you stand out.
Some sources for doing research are: Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS), trade associations, trade journals, magazines, competitors, trade shows, Jordan-Whitney, books and specialized newsletters.
For example, if Dan was doing an ad for “weight loss” he’d put together a statistical snapshot of the weight loss buyer using SRDS. He’d get back issues of industry publications, women’s magazines like Cosmo and Self and back issues of muscle and fitness, health and beauty magazines.
He’d pull samples of successful weight loss infomercials from Jordan-Whitney and get the current top weight loss books from the bookstore.
He’d call the top competitors of his weight loss client and play prospect to see what they were doing and how they were doing it.
He’d talk to copywriters he knows who specialize in weight loss products and services.
And he’d look for newsletters that related to his topic and subscribe to them.
Are you doing thorough research for your products and services or are you “winging it”?
2) Ask Questions. In the stories on Wallace, it was said that he “interrogated” people, “cross-examined them” and was relentless in his pursuit of the truth. Wallace had a passion for asking questions and had a knack for finding the zingers. Similarly Dan Kennedy teaches us to do the same—to ask questions to your customers, your prospects, your employees, your partners…in search of information, the truth and the story.
Fox News Channel Chairman Roger Ailes said on Sunday, “Many people who weathered a Mike Wallace interview grew to respect him greatly and, you know, have great regard for him because I don’t recall anybody ever saying to me, ‘He took a cheap shot’ or ‘He did the obvious,’ or that he was, you know, playing some kind of game. He actually was trying to serve the audience, and that’s what made him great.”
Like Wallace did throughout his career and life, always do extensive research and ask the questions that need to be asked to get to what’s true. You’ll find you’ll be able to put together a more authentic story and make a more compelling and attractive promise to your prospects and customers.
What has been your experience with using compelling 100% authentic true stories and attractive promises in your marketing? Share your story in our comment section below.