December 31, 2009
Are you ready for a marvelous 2010?
I am. I’m always excited to see what’s going to happen during the next year.
I’ve made my predictions and talked about what to focus on for next year (based on what I see working best in client businesses). Today I simply want to talk about a few characteristics I find in those who are most successful in business compared to those who flounder around.
If these traits don’t describe you, work on them. Cultivate them till they’re a part of your life.
Trait #1: Confidence
This one is actually hard for me to describe, but those who become successful often exhibit a confidence even from the beginning. They KNOW they can do this.
In my own life this was true. Even with all the failures I had before I came online, I still somehow “knew” I could do this. Having a wife that kept encouraging me, telling me I could do this, definitely helped.
I also see this trait in some of the questions my clients ask. I’ve never kept any clients from asking the questions they want or need. Remember the old saying, there aren’t any stupid questions.
But I do notice after a while the kinds of questions they ask the most. The clients who are struggling to get confidence are the ones usually asking things like how quickly can I make money…or wanting to confirm every little element of their plan before taking a single action. Since I don’t answer questions on weekends, they may sit around all weekend waiting for Monday so they can ask me whether they should spend two hours trying to write their first article.
The most successful ones will often be running minor tests which I don’t hear about UNTIL after they have a question about the results. They do it. Then they ask what I think of the numbers that came back.
I’m not sure if I’m getting this across correctly here, because it’s not simply that they’re asking basic questions. All beginners ask basic questions. The difference I’m talking about is that willingness to take a few risks…and not have everything laid out perfectly for them (which is impossible no matter how much experience you have because there are some differences in every market).
Business has risks. There is no foolproof plan. I used to write in sales copy that something was foolproof, but I’ve learned better. Anything you say is foolproof hasn’t been tested by enough people yet (no offense intended to anyone in that statement but its true).
There is a reason why many some frozen dinners give you the directions to “defrost first,” Nytol Sleep Aid says “may cause drowsiness,” and the manual that came with the dishwasher says not to allow children to play inside the dishwasher. The spray paint can says do not spray in face. And the drug says for oral use only.
I bet they’ve all learned from experience that someone has tried it.
If you want to KNOW you’ll earn $20 per hour for your work, it’s called a job. You will take risks in business…and you have to be willing to take those risks. The key is to take very small intelligent risks…that you can grow into successful businesses after testing.
Trait #2: Quick Action
This stands out very obviously to me when coaching. You discuss a new promotion with one of the successful clients, ask them when do you think you can have this sent out. Their answer, “Hmm….kind of busy today…I think we can have it sent in about 3 hours.”
The less successful person’s answer, “about a month.” When a month comes, they still didn’t do it because they bought so-and-so’s course and they talked about doing it this other way.
You have to go from idea to implementation QUICKLY. It’s a key factor in success.
Let’s say for example that you attend a conference. At the conference you hear a dozen things you feel will help your business. That’s OK, but more important are the 3 things you wrote down to finish BEFORE the week is over. Even better if you choose a partner at the event to call and make sure you did it.
We ALL have this issue at some point or another. I have this problem at times just like you do. You hear it…and think that’s a great idea. You’ll get to it eventually. Probably not. The best thing is to break it down or even a small aspect and put it in action immediately…meaning today.
While you’re reading this article, what is it you’ve been procrastinating about your business? Stop reading right here and go DO IT.
What are you still doing here? I told you to go do it. This article isn’t going anywhere. It will be here when you get back.
Trait #3: Willingness to Take the Right Advice
I say “right advice” because a lot of people are willing to give you the wrong advice. They’ve simply read what they’re referring to you somewhere or they’ve had their one shot success story to tell you about.
But I’m wary to say the common, “Only take advice from those who’ve done it.”
Why? Because I’ve experienced people who are able to give excellent advice very quickly. An example of this is when I’ve done website reviews at conferences. You have someone come up and show their website. Then you come up with suggestions to improve the site. After I’ve done a couple of these, the audience could do the rest without any other involvement.
They quickly know exactly what they’re looking for…and ALL of us have experience being a customer online. You’ve had times you were frustrated so you know what frustrates you. You’ve had purchases that you loved so much that you went back to buy more (why did that happen).
So almost everyone has at least some experience in the online world…at least from the buying side (think specifically about companies you KEEP buying from – not one time purchases).
And sometimes good advice is just using good common sense…instead of parroting what has been shouted from the rooftops by the gurus.
Here’s a measuring stick to help judge right advice. It should always involve small steps that can be easily tested. It should prove true in multiple different markets. And it should be fine with your conscience (if something doesn’t “feel right” then don’t do it).
How to Start 2010 Out Right
On January 15, 16, and 17, I’ll be speaking in Orlando along with Mark Hendricks and other experts. Our goal is to help you setup that successful internet business that provides the freedom you deserve.
But the best part isn’t just the information you receive. It’s the connections and networking that takes place all during the event. Be surrounded by people who are serious about creating a successful online business – and want to do it right.
And of course I like the fact it’s in Florida. In January. Can’t ask for better weather especially if you live up north (I’m glad to have left the snow behind). Sounds like a good time for a vacation.
Make sure to use this coupon code: 100discount
It entitles you to $100 off the prices you see currently posted on the site. And hurry. The price goes up again in just a few days.
I hope to see you there.
December 28, 2009
One of the most important elements to success in business is focus.
It’s EASY to be distracted. And it’s easy to concentrate on the minor issues instead of the ones really making the money in your online business.
In my last post on this subject, I looked back at what was working in 2009: Successful and Failed Experiments
Now it’s time to apply what has worked…and hasn’t worked to my plans for next year. I suggest you do the same. Go back over the entire past year and look for what is working best.
It’s surprising just how often the 80/20 rule comes into play. Twenty percent of your work produces eight percent of the results. Where’s your 20%? Where should you center your attention at next year?
When you do your own numbers, you may find some differences to what I’ve seen. That’s fine and normal. We likely work in different markets and you’ll see unique results for your market. The key is to focus on what’s working best and eliminate anything holding you back.
EVERYTHING you do has an opportunity cost attached. By focusing your attention here, you don’t have time to focus on another element. So even profitable elements of your business have to be slimmed back to make room for what produces the greatest results for you and your customers.
Don’t ignore the opportunity cost of anything you do. That’s a key element, because you’re always limited in attention and focus for your business. What is the best producer you can concentrate on?
Here are five of my suggestions based off the results I’ve seen in my own business and my clients.
1. Focus on joint ventures.
You could call this your affiliate program, but joint ventures go further than just your affiliate program. You can joint venture to create products, share free interviews, or drive traffic to your sites. You can even partner to build a business together (for example a content writer and a designer or copywriter working together).
The best source of traffic I’ve seen for making sales comes from other people’s promotions of my products. This means I need to concentrate more attention here…on partnerships and promotions (which can be difficult at times since I avoid the big product launches which I feel aren’t good for the “internet marketing” niche).
2. Focus on outsourcing routine activities.
Everyone is talking about outsourcing, but you’ll sometimes end up with MORE work if you’re not careful when you’re outsourcing. If you hire a low cost writer, and then you have to rewrite everything they produce, you end up with more work than when you started.
Also I’ve seen several business owners who you could rely on their product quality who have lost serious points with me over the past year. Why? Because their main products were obviously outsourced and lower quality than what they produced in the past. You definitely have to keep a close eye on your outsourcers if they’re producing paid materials for you.
Even with transcriptions I’ve had the experience of hiring a good quality transcriptionist versus a poor one. It’s so much more work when you get someone who does a poor job. It’s worth it to pay a little more for quality work. Think about that with any of your outsourcing.
It’s worth it to pay for quality work that saves you time and money in the long run.
3. Focus on a Continuity Program
Every client I have who is doing a good income (20k a month or more) has a continuity program that’s producing a good level of income for them. A couple of my clients have 2 or more continuity programs they’re relying on to bring in the income. Where’s yours?
I have noticed the past year that it’s a little tougher to convert people to a continuity program and people do cancel earlier UNLESS you’re giving them exactly what they want. This simply means you need to focus more on the value you’re providing in the membership, and if there is anyway you can add more community and value in the program.
On the conversion side, a lot of this has to do with trust. There have been so many ripoffs and people who make it impossible to cancel. In fact I had a client tell me he tried to cancel from one popular internet marketer’s continuity and still wasn’t canceled after he sent a registered letter! When people contact my support system to cancel, they seem surprised at times when we simply reply back they’ve been canceled and thank you for being a member (as long as they include their name and email so we know who they are they get canceled immediately).
This simply points back to building more credibility in your emails and in the professionalism of your sites (along with the reputation you develop).
4. Focus on a High Ticket Offer
For my own business, this means I will test running several group coaching programs over the next year (if they work the way I like I’ll expand on them). Anything that involves direct feedback from you on an individual or group level is a way to sell a higher ticket product that gives people what they want.
Even if you KNOW what you’re doing, you still like to have that feedback and support. Perhaps a little change in how you’re doing something produces a huge change in results (there is that 80/20 rule coming into play again). In your current business, how can you offer a product or a service that pushes up the value of the average sale. What is your customers really want?
Besides coaching, another high ticket element to include are tools. For example if you sell to a specific business industry, perhaps they want ads to run, websites designed for them, or even a complete turn-key email follow-up series they can simply add to their site. “Done for You” is a key element to higher ticket products. What can you provide for them that’s ready to simply install and go?
5. Focus on Your Autoresponder Series
The first 30 days someone is on your list is a defining time. Do you simply send content to build a relationship, are you an aggressive sales person they want to ignore, or do you have a balanced mix. My answer from many previous tests is to be balanced and similar to your long-term approach.
When I’ve consulted people who focused on simply giving a ton of value the first month without making sales, they had the lists which were the HARDEST to convert into sales long-term. They established a trend from day one that they simply gave great information away. When we tried to sell, the list got offended at us…and complained like crazy.
The other imbalance is to focus just on selling without any value. When you do this, you don’t go deep enough in developing the relationship…and you’re simply seen like a slimy salesperson. It’s a BALANCED approach from day one where you provide value that also converts people into the sale. You’re in a business and you don’t apologize for selling products. It’s the product sales that fund the emails you’re sending.
The first 30 days is a priority time for this. A majority of your initial sales will take place during this period. You’re also establishing that long-term relationship. Look back through emails you’ve sent to your list over the past year. Which ones had the best open rates and made the most sales? Will they fit in your initial autoresponder series? What about those with the most comments about how much they appreciated the email? Will those fit in the initial series?
Look at the emails which have already worked to add them in at the very beginning when someone subscribes. These become your initial autoresponder series.
This is such an important element, it’s what I’ll be covering in the Monthly Mentor Club in the upcoming January issue…how to produce a strong autoresponder series to make the sale. The right series can easily double or triple your conversion rates. In some markets, it’s the difference between a wildly profitable business and even staying in business.
Look for it coming soon in January…
December 21, 2009
It’s Christmas week and I’m using this time off to have fun with my family. I love taking a break during this season as a great opportunity to think about next year…and the plans coming up.
Today I simply want to feature a few great posts from other authors to help you earn more, work less, and enjoy life.
Tis the Season to Tell Lies by Ryan Healy
Ryan makes very good points about telling stories in advertising…and making sure they’re the truth. You see a lot of stories being told. Which ones are true? Which ones aren’t? Where should you draw the line?
Using the Search Query Report For CTR Boosting Ad Copy Ideas by Glenn Livingston
Glenn shows how you can look at the search query report in your Adwords account for ideas on new ads…ideas coming directly from your searchers. This is a very good way to come up with some additional ads to test using the mindset of your customers themselves.
Do Coupon Codes Increase Checkout Abandonment by Eric Graham
Good test results here. It appears has been testing those coupon code fields in most shopping carts and has found they cause additional shopping cart abandonment. How many orders are they costing you? Nice quick fix to most order systems here.
5 Ways to Make Next Year Your Best Yet by John Jantsch
Unique ideas on transforming your business next year. It’s great to see a post that doesn’t just give us the normal, set goals and plans for next year. His focus on an ideal customer is especially important because I’ve found this a great way to increase profits while having more fun in your business.
December 17, 2009
One plus one equals four.
Or at least it seems like it when you get the right partner working with you.
What’s the fastest way to create a product?
Get a partner whose an expert on the topic. Make an outline. Do an interview. There you go…almost instant product. If you did a great job on the outline and you work well with your partner, you can even create an excellent product this way in less than one fourth the time it would take you to write an ebook about it yourself.
How about creating a quick sales piece?
Sure, I do some heavy research at times, but let’s say you need a quick shortcut to get a small product out fast. Get a good listener who knows how to ask the right questions on the phone with the product developer or a customer, and watch as indepth information about the real attention grabbing story comes out.
How about traffic for your new product and site?
There it goes again. Find a partner that already has the attention of your desired audience. Maybe they have a large email list or a popular blog. Get them registered as an affiliate and run a special deal to their audience. Your new partner just generated more sales with one email than you could all month experimenting with other traffic methods.
The Partnership Principle
A lot of people think it’s easier to go it alone. Then you don’t have to deal with disagreements or problems that come up (issues do come up at times). The only problem is that you’re only making life difficult for yourself. This isn’t math class. One plus one doesn’t equal two. There is a multiplying effect that comes into play.
Find people who have different skill sets than you. Perhaps you LOVE writing, but you hate doing the work it takes to get traffic to your site. Bring on a partner to work together. Maybe you want to grow your affiliate program, but don’t want to spend any attention there. Bring on an affiliate manager who you give 20% of all affiliate sales to. In other words pay them well if they’re worth it to you.
Here’s a secondary affect you often don’t think of. Having the partner also working on a project with you adds a measure of accountability. Now it’s not just YOU that’s being slowed down by your procrastination at getting the project done. You’re also hurting the person working with you. You have to get it done because so-and-so is relying on you.
I don’t care how dedicated you are, sometimes it’s easy to let your own projects slide. It’s not so easy once someone is working alongside you.
Partners also allow you to make up for your weaknesses. If you’re a great writer, the best way to make money is to keep you writing as much as possible. Let someone else handle the other stuff that gets in the way. Perhaps you’re an incredible speaker, but generating traffic to your site is a pain in the butt. Bring a partner in to schedule you a whole collection of joint venture partners to hold teleconferences for you.
Here’s where to start. Look at anything in your business you’ve been putting off…or you simply can’t find the time to get to. It’s rarely because you “don’t have the time.” It’s more often that you’re putting it off because it’s not something you enjoy doing. Then think about whether you have anyone in your life or in your circle of influence who can do this much better than you. Contact them and see what it is going to take to get it done right.
One of the simple ways to begin working with partners is through creating an info product together. I’ve seen dozens of people drag their feet about this. But the moment they get a partner, they get it done quickly. Choose the interview model for this first product…and make a committment to get it done before the New Year.
If you need help with discovering how to create products using partners, check out the Ultimate Interviewing Pro product I did with Fred Gleeck. It covers step-by-step how to put together your own high profit projects quickly. Click here now…
December 14, 2009
Have you ever had anything that failed online?
If I asked you to raise your hand, everyone’s hand should be up.
One of the steps I take at the end of each year is look back over the past year for what worked and what hasn’t worked online.
I’ve made it a habit from the very beginning of my online business to look at EVERYTHING as a test. And you learn just as much from the stuff that doesn’t work as you do from what does work.
This attitude also allows you to not take any specific failure personally. It was simply a test. Some things work. Some things do not.
At the end of the year I go back over my notes and figure out what worked best during the year and what failed. Obviously this is so I can do MORE of the stuff that’s working best in the future.
I suggest you do the same in your business.
So what exactly are you looking for?
Show Me the Money
First of all, look for which products are producing the most money. In my shopping cart I’m able to pull up Analytics and see how much money is coming from each product for the year. My one-on-one coaching clients come from another payment system (not the main shopping cart) so they weren’t included in this listing.
The most profits came from the Monthly Mentor Club, yet I didn’t even promote it that heavily for a majority of the year. In second place was the Internet Lifestyle System. In 3rd, the A-to-Z Internet Truthprints. There is a LARGE dropoff in numbers after these 3 products.
My failed experiment for the year was trying multiple lower cost products as lead generators ($10 to $27). They were profitable, but the numbers show I would have been much better off focusing more attention and promotions on the Monthly Mentor Club.
This fact holds true for clients I’ve worked with this year as well. You’re better off focusing heavily on a strong lead generation and conversion system on one primary product than trying multiple doorways into your business. It simply separates your attention to much to go for the multiple approach.
All of this means heavier focus on the Club next year.
Where’s the Traffic?
More important than where the traffic is coming from is where the BUYING traffic is coming from.
The #1 way a majority of people find me the first time is through the search engines, specifically Google. They land on a page of this blog. Normally they visit a couple of additional pages here. Then they subscribe to the email list. Then the email list makes the sales (almost all sales come from people who are already on the email list).
The next biggest way that people are buying from me is through affiliate JV partners. I’m referring to them as JV partners because the ones making sales all have a few things in common:
1. They have a large email list (audience).
2. It was a special contact we had. I may have spoken to them over the phone, they’ve been a subscriber for a while, etc. They weren’t just random affiliate signups.
3. We often did some unique for their promotion – special price, extra bonus, or at least a fully custom set of emails for their list.
A third method visitors find me is through OTHER people’s blogs. What has surprised me from a few tests is just how valuable participating on other blogs is (posting comments, writing content for, etc.). Everyone gets so excited for the social media, but the simple step of high quality comments has produced better in tests.
You’ll notice I didn’t mention PPC. I still like and use PPC, but I’ve noticed my use of it has been decreasing over the year. It is very useful (especially for testing), but it is not essential to my online marketing.
What about failed traffic experiments? Any paid ad on a social network has failed for me. Stumbleupon for example sells paid clicks. Wasn’t worth it. Bought reviews from blogs. Wasn’t worth it. They send visitors, but not buyers from my experience.
Where’s the Content?
What kind of content has done best for my emails and blog posts? First of all one interesting test I’ve been running consistently lately has been the first name used in the subject of an email versus not using it. It has been a close race with multiple trials for MY list. The winner is not using the first name in the subject line. I’m still using in the opening of the email but not in the subject line anymore for this list.
What about emailing a full post versus posting on the blog with a short teaser to the email list? For sales offers, the full email wins. For shorter posts (say 800 words or less) sending it all in the email again wins. Once you get longer posts or multimedia (audio/video), you’re better off with the short teaser taking them to the blog for the rest of the post.
What types of posts have done best at generating traffic and sales? Obviously straight up offers have been the best at producing sales…a discount for a limited period of time.
Here’s a very interesting stat I’ve noticed from my own results and that of my clients during 2009. It seems that on any specials, a huge majority of the sales are made in the last 24 hours. In fact, several times I’ve run a special and thought it was a failure because very few people bought on the first day or two.
Very consistently it seems that 60%+ of sales even on a week long special have been coming in the last 24 hours. So running 24 to 48 hour specials are where it is really at right now. I’ve found this interesting because it wasn’t true a year or two ago. Sales were pretty consistent over the sales period, but not anymore.
For generating visitors and subscribers, the best producing content for me has been lists…those posts where I tell you 5 predictions, 21 ways to increase sales, and so on. Those posts are also fun to write. You simply brainstorm all the ideas for the post and then write a quick couple of sentences for each.
So you’ll see even more of those in the future.
So now it turns to you. Feel free to add what you’re seeing in your results over the past year from your business in the comments section below.
December 10, 2009
As we come to the end of 2009 you’ll likely see multiple prediction posts coming up. Below are some of the trends I’ve been seeing which we can expect to continue and improve on in 2010. Please don’t change your business based simply off these predictions. They are simply my opinion, and I will be moving along these lines in the new year.
1. More Focus on Real Useful Content
Right now seo is pretty much a popularity contest. Whoever has the most links with the right anchor text wins. That’s it. If you want to rank well, get more “content” (whether good or bad) and get a ton of incoming links to that content that uses the keyword phrase you want.
I don’t know if it will happen next year, but I predict there is coming a time that the big search engines figure this out and institute a way to “judge” how useful this content is to their visitors.
Already Google appears to keep track of how long their visitors stay at ads they click through in the Adwords program. If a large number of visitors click on your ad and immediately click back to Google in a competitive market, you’ll see your quality scores start dropping. That technology could also be used in the free results to start categorizing the sites people are visiting.
Whether they’ll use that, a voting system, or some other method I don’t know, but we can expect they will eventually find a way to provide better results to those who are giving visitors what they’re looking for. Any business built off of tricking the search engines is eventually doomed to failure (because if you’re tricking search engines you’ll also likely tricking your visitors).
Build an authority site with quality content on your subject. Connect with others in your market to build real links. Deliver what your visitors and customers are looking for.
2. Improved Sales Videos
Video will continue to grow. Right now in tests it is running a pretty close contest between “long copy” and sales videos to make the sale. Tests seem to lean toward whatever is your strongest skill set (meaning those who are great writers do better with written sales pieces while those more comfortable on video do better with sales videos and webinars).
Over the next year we will see an improvement in the quality of these sales videos. Right now the majority are simply a talking head or a Powerpoint presentation. We can expect to see more demonstrations of products on sales pages, plus better use and editing for video.
Right now online sales videos lag way behind TV commercials in quality. We will see a little closing of this difference with more stories told through videos in the coming year. You can expect the best selling videos will also have TV commercial quality titles and transitions in them.
If you’re not already developing your video skills, 2010 is definitely the year to get started.
3. More Focus on Site Design & Functionality
The old one page long sales letter model is not working as effectively for new visitors (it still seems to win when delivering to previous customers and list subscribers). In some recent tests, videos have been winning (as mentioned above). In others, splitting the page into multi-step pages is working (one page that lists the primary benefits and starts the story with the rest on future pages).
In other tests I’ve been doing the design itself has proven very important. People look at your site to see how professional it looks. They check the photos to see if they integrate into the sales message. Where we could ignore design a couple of years ago, that is changing.
The Internet is NOT just a direct marketing sales medium, like we have treated it for years. It is also a communication tool to have a conversation with your customers and prospects. It’s a dialogue instead of a monologue. We’ll probably see smaller businesses like us institute some type of real feedback mechanism into our sales copy instead of simply listing all the testimonials.
I’ve noticed an online purchasing habit of my own lately. I see someone advertising a product. Almost without fail I open up Amazon.com and search for the product there. Because I want to see REAL reviews of the product since Amazon allows both good and bad feedback. I may go back to the site to purchase, but I wanted to see those reviews before buying first.
How exactly we’ll integrate this (and keep competitors from taking advantage of it and posting bad reviews) is yet to be seen, but you can expect it’s coming. Use the dialogue nature of the Internet to expand on your credibility.
4. Longer Sales Funnels
If you made no changes to your site, you will notice that conversions are down over the past year. They vary by market but a 20% to 30% drop is common for those who haven’t been testing and improving their sales copy. Of course with the right testing and improvements, your conversion should be up…not down!
This connects in with the other issues above…and people are not as likely to making instantaneous purchases online. The clients I have who have the best conversion look at it as a funnel and a process…not a one shot sale.
This means you get them on a list. No surprise there. And you follow-up by email, teleconferences, webinars, and offline mailings. That first 30 day period after someone joins your list is the big sales period (when a majority of sales are made), but we’re finding sales coming further out this year also.
You’ll also find that the majority of sites doing extremely well are running multiple upsells after the first purchase. You purchase A…and then are offered B…and then C…and so on. This is where the real profits come in a competitive marketplace. This means you have multiple products for sale (or affiliate products you can recommend in the series).
These follow-up upsells aren’t always “required,” but you’ll find them vital in competitive markets. And once you put them in place you’ll see how a good portion of the net profits are coming from them…not from the first low cost product sold.
5. Deeper Businesses
Google hates affiliates. Ok, they probably don’t hate them, but their actions make it seem like it at times. This past week was another cleaning out of affiliates from Adwords. Many affiliates who promote directly or who promote a landing page that takes you over to an affiliate link had their accounts canceled again.
Google is only one source of advertising, but affiliates sure have been put into pain over this multiple times during the past few months.
Google’s logic appears to be they’re only interested in affiliates who build up their own substantial site and content. Those who have been focusing on an authority site and getting people on their own personal list have mostly survived through these purges.
You can get mad about it. You can use other sources of traffic (and you should). But in the end it is part of a longer trend. You need to find a way to build a deeper, more substantial business.
This means that while you promote affiliate programs, you’re not relying on a specific one in your market. Instead you’re finding multiple products and services which are related. You’re building up your heavy content rich site. You’re building a list. You’re promoting the core programs plus other related items. In addition you may run ads for sell on your site.
You’re building your business and your authority. If an affiliate program screws you over, you switch and promote a different one. You’re the one in control. It’s your list and your audience.
For product based businesses, you need to find multiple items you can sell. Some are yours. Some can be from others. But you still have to build the deeper business model.
What Does It All Mean?
All this simply means the Internet is growing up. The Wild West attitude is thankfully disappearing. This is also why you see me constantly talking about how this is a REAL business. I believe it’s the best business in the world because you can follow your passion, have a load of fun, and make your own schedule. But it is not simply a “business opportunity” where you push a few buttons and money comes out.
Here’s looking forward to 2010…and the growth of your business!
December 7, 2009
What is the business sin that your prospects and customers will never forgive you for?
We could discuss many different items, but you’ll find people are more forgiving than we give them credit for. And no I’m not suggesting you go out and mistreat your customers…not by any standard. But we are all human…and we make mistakes at times. You won’t find any business owner who has everything perfectly together.
A fast growing business often slides behind in customer service for a while (which they hopefully fix and improve on). Products don’t work correctly or have bugs in them at first. A weird occurrence for example in my business is we had a customer ticket last week that all the DVDs from our big course were in the wrong boxes (weird I know). Faulty DVDs go out and times and need to be replaced, but the customer said they had all the DVDs – just in all the wrong cases.
So what is it that customers will not forgive you for?
Being BORING. Why can’t they forgive this? Because they simply don’t pay attention to you anymore. You’ve lost them.
There are THOUSANDS of messages every day clamoring for a cherished spot in our limited attention. And there isn’t going to any let up on this in the future.
Why should they “pay attention” to your message (paying attention is a very correct analogy as it is costing you something – your time)?
You can give me all the logical reasons someone should pay attention to you such as how you’ll improve their lives. But every one of your competitors says that as well.
I remember when I was back in college.
I had this professor who can easily be in the running as the most boring teacher in existence.
I’d sit there. He’d drone on and on in a monotone voice, never changing his pitch. I remember one specific day where he simply read from the textbook for at least an hour – although it seemed like all day at the time.
I looked at my watch. I doodled on my notebook. I watched a student sitting next to me reading notes from his last class. Gave a quick glance at the professor to make sure he knew I was paying careful attention. Back to the watch…
If life was a science fiction movie, the evil mastermind must have slowed down time.
For all I know he might have been explaining the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. I’ll never know because it was simply too painful to pay attention anymore.
The question is…do you ever do that in your blog, your emails, or your speaking?
Do you make it easier to ignore you than to pay attention?
A quick tip to combat this is to USE STORIES. Even that teacher had his moments. He would quit reading the book for a minute…and tell a story about something that happened to him.
Those who were still awake perked up and listened intently. You could see them look up from whatever they were doing at the time.
Story connects you with the audience.
You’ve had a great selection of teachers if you can’t think back to a teacher/professor you’ve had who was similar to the above. They BORED you to tears by loading facts, figures, dates, etc. on you with no passion or excitement. There was nothing to connect you with the subject. If you’ve never had an instructor like this, consider yourself very lucky!
This means we’ve had a shared experience. We have a connection and an understanding from this experience.
How can you use stories in your business to accomplish the same purpose?
The above story is short and not too detailed. I could have went into much deeper detail and threw in some personal tidbits, but I feel it was enough to get the message across. Go out and spend time reading some great sales copy. How do they use stories to hold your attention and build connection with you?
How about the last audio you listened to? Did they use any stories about their life or their business? Did you notice how your attention focused as the story was told? What about some of your favorite blog posts? Sure there are those 101 ways to… type of posts, but how many others are there that grab your attention because of a story (especially a humorous story)?
Think about the ways you can integrate stories in your sales copy, your emails, and your presentations…all your business communications.
The December issue of the Monthly Mentor Club is coming out in a few days on December 10th at 9 AM EST. Click here now to subscribe and get all your instant bonuses…plus December’s issue when it’s released.
It’s all about Story Telling. Learn how to find your stories, what makes a good persuasion story, and how to integrate those stories in all your online communications.
And this isn’t just for the small home based business. Even big companies tell their stories. Watch the majority of commercials and you’ll see the simple story they’re telling. Some work. Some don’t. But they all KNOW they need this connection. How well are you using stories for persuasion?
December 3, 2009
Business is all about getting the momentum up and running…and it just keeps rolling and growing.
I see a lot of disappointed newbies who never seem to get that momentum going.
One of the reasons this happens is they just dip their toe in the water. They are just testing the business, but they never go all out. They never jump in the water. It never becomes sink or swim to them.
I remember when I started online…it wasn’t a maybe. Maybe this would work out. It was either this works out…or I don’t know what I’m going to do. I came at it with a desperation inside of me. It had to work. There wasn’t any other option. I had already tried everything else and it wasn’t working.
And you know what…I’M GLAD I was in that position.
If I wasn’t, I’ll bet you I would have gave up when it got hard. I would have gave up if a product I sold didn’t make any sales. I would have given up when people complained about the sales email I sent them (that old line of everything on the web should be free was told then too).
There is ALWAYS another opportunity to give up. There is always another distraction to grab your attention. There is always a reason to lose your focus.
It’s that dedication and that desperation that keeps you moving and keeps you going.
Sometimes we see disagreements about whether you have to be truly passionate about your subject or not. While I believe passion is an important element, it’s not vital. I’ve seen many people build successful businesses when the subject wasn’t really one they absolutely loved. I’ve seen people who are very successful who do something totally different with their free time.
But I don’t believe I’ve ever seen someone who succeeded without passion or desperation.
Passion is a motivator. So is desperation. Both of them can cause you to overcome obstacles and keep working when it doesn’t seem like anything is going the way you want. Both can keep you moving forward.
Both allow you to get that momentum moving for you.
This is where so many people have trouble with internet business. This isn’t a job. On a job, if you work an hour, you get paid for the hour. If you work 50 hours this week, you get your normal pay and then you get overtime pay also since you went over the mystical 40 hours.
Online business is more like investing. And I’m not talking about day trading or short-term investments. It’s more similar to buy-and-hold investments. But instead of investing your money, you’re investing your time…to see your investment grow and payoff in the future.
Work 20 hours this week…and you might not see any return at all. But you’re building the foundation, the knowledge, and the experience so you can be paid MUCH MORE months or years into the future.
The other issue is that it’s not a nice easy growth line either. Wouldn’t it be great if your income grew with a beautiful curve of you earn $100 this month, $200 next month, then $400, then $800, and so on as it multiplied nice and neatly each month.
You’ll have plateaus and breakthroughs. Everyone does. For the brand new beginner it’s earning that first dollar or making that first sale. It seems so tough to get over the hurdle. Then you break it…time for celebration. Most people then move up to a few hundred dollars per month and it seems like they get stuck here.
Usually the next level is broken through once you understand something new about your customer, how to increase your conversion, and then expand out your marketing.
Then you move to the several thousand a month level. That’s a nice income. For some it’s just a little extra money while others it might enable them to leave their job to focus more on this business. Either way it is often another sticking point in business. Once you breakthrough here another one occurs in the ten to twenty thousand a month level. And so on.
Yet we like to think in nice looking graphs that just flow up one month after the next. I went looking for a photo to display here to show what I’m explaining…and it was TOUGH. Why? Because all the graph photos I found were showing that nice regular growth for every business. It’s how we think, but it’s NOT how things work out in reality.
In fact, the plateau effect can be seen in almost everything – not just business. For example if you’re losing weight you’re experience the same effect. You lose weight for a while and then all of sudden everything seems to stop for a while. At these points you can’t give up. Instead you need to switch something up and refire your desire to get it moving again.
And that’s where it comes down to in business. How bad do you want it?
Once you’ve started seeing some success, do you still have that desperation or passion pushing you to reach the next level? Are you willing to do what it takes to get moving again.
Because it all comes back to that momentum…that sink or swim marketing attitude.
Are you just dipping your toe in the water or are you jumping in?