Have you ever
felt the white-hot heat of being roasted in front of 100
Iím not a big
fan of criticism. Whenever I offer the point of view that
"there is no such thing as constructive criticism" itís
always good for a stimulating debate among the purists who say
there is no improvement without criticism.
Last weekend, I
had the privilege of having 100 very smart and successful
people collectively "criticize" then brainstorm one of our
toughest marketing problems. I was in Orlando for the "Patches
of Light" seminar hosted by legendary marketing expert Gary
The two men at the front of the room leading
the roast have had more marketing successes over the past 30
years than most of the top ad agencies. Between them, Gary
Halbert and John Carlton are responsible for a billion dollars
of products and services sold, and are considered two of the
very finest copywriters and marketing minds in the world.
They attacked our marketing problem with
double-barrel buckshot, and enjoyed every minute of blasting
holes in our theory, approach, strategy and tactics. They
sliced, diced and skewered every word I uttered. They roasted,
toasted and barbecued until I was singed, then seared, then
scorched. My butt is still on fire!
When it was over, I got a very nice and warm
applause for standing in the fire. I suffered the slings and
arrows to get to the breakthrough answers we needed. And,
we got answers!
It was a "breakthrough" experience. I heartily
recommend you do a "hot seat" experience IF you really want to
break down barriers, bust through the BS, and break out to
bigger and better possibilities. No real growth can occur
unless and until we let go of existing thinking and the
comfort zone of the status quo.
Itís not easy; but itís well worth it. Are you
ready to stretch?
I was gifted with the opportunity to spend
three days experiencing major breakthroughs by being part of a
dozen business-building hot seats, designed to generate
solutions to peopleís most challenging marketing problems.
It was a weekend with no handouts, no
pontificating and no success BS.
Here was the entire agenda:
"Who Has A Marketing
If you volunteered, the only condition for
roasting was that you really wanted to solve your marketing
problem. Donít laugh; many people have big problems, but have
no intention of listening to suggestions (even from experts)
or doing whatís necessary to solve them.
Here Are 27 "Pearls Of Wisdom"
I Dug Up Last Weekend:
1. Donít worry about improving your image.
Improve your substance. The world is starved for substance.
Most people are working on image. Few work to improve
substance. Those who do will stand head and shoulders above
2. Fail fast. Drop losing projects
immediately. After trying to find a solution to a marketing
problem which simply didnít exist, Gary Halbert wrote three
words on the white board which most of us were thinking in our
Itís not easy to let go of things weíre
emotionally attached to, but itís necessary to move on.
3. Most people are self-absorbed. Appeal to
their selfish side. Forget your point of view. It doesnít
matter. If you want to sell Johnny Jones what Johnny Jones
buys... you MUST see Johnny Jones through Johnny Jones' eyes.
What does he want more than anything?
4. Gary said, "If I found the cure for
AIDS, everyone would get it. How much money I make would not
be an issue. When you discover something important enough, the
goal is to make sure everyone who wants or needs it can get
it. Shift attention from how much can you make to how many
people can you help. The money will come."
5. NOTHING is risk-free. LIFE is not
risk-free. Youíre a heartbeat away from a Christopher Reeves
moment. If you canít accept risk, you are living on the wrong
planet. What risk can you take which might alter the quality
of life as you know it?
6. Hire experts. Donít try to do everything
yourself. Especially when it comes to the most important
parts, including copywriting and crafting your sales message.
Donít spend a fortune on the unimportant things, then
economize on the pivotal items. Know when to bring in the
7. Outspend the other guys. Many businesses
do things on the cheap. Shoestringing and bootstrapping are
successful strategies when money is tight. When money is
there, spend it. A business campaign can rise or fall based on
the money behind it. Donít hesitate to invest money,
especially on the important things. If you donít have it, find
someone who does and share the bounty. 100% of nothing is
8. You donít want to sell just one million
books (widgets, etc.). You want anyone who wants what you have
to be able to buy it. Donít set arbitrary limits. Find a way
for everyone who wants what you have to get it. It will enrich
you in the process.
9. Donít become a student of
products... but... do become a student of markets.
Know your markets better than you know your products. If you
fall in love with your product, it will blind you to reality.
Fall in love with markets. If there isnít a market, reconsider
or drop the product. Use the SRDS (Standard Rates and Data
Service directory) to find your buyers (www.srds.com). Itís
not a cheap resource, but itís vital if you plan to reach a
pool of hungry fish.
10. Donít do LMSÖ ("Lesser Mortal Shit") [a
Halbertism]. Delegate everything except your highest value
work. If you run out of highest value work, do the next most
valuable work. Donít do $10/hour work or you wonít ever reach
your highest and best value.
11. Two things will get a personís attention
and interest: Showmanship and the "Reason Why". To get the
attention of the person youíre after, a little theatre will go
a long way. Be creative. If youíve got 20 big fish to catch,
donít send a letter... but... do send a courier. Gain their
interest with a powerful "reason why". Why would
they... why SHOULD they... give you their time and
attention? Whatís the most compelling "reason why" you can
give which satisfies their self-interest? If you donít know,
ask your buyers.
12. Understand the Triangle of MarketingÖ #3
is the copy, #2 is the message, and #1 is the audience. Make
sure you have the right/best/hungriest/rabid audience, or your
message and copy wonít ever get seen, heard or read. A
mediocre message to a great audience will always do better
than a great message to a mediocre audience. Know your
audience, hone your message, and donít scrimp on copy. Like an
interesting story, good copy gets read.
13. Donít care about what ANYONE thinks. How
often do we hesitate and delay because of what others might
think? We thwart our success and happiness worrying about what
other people think. We donít regret the shots we do
take, even when they donít work out. We do regret most
of the shots we donít take. Follow the real desires
which lurk deep in your heart. Donít worry about what others
14. Tell your story. A powerful story creates
an emotional link. I call this the "E-Link". John Carlton, one
of the worldís highest-paid copywriters, says personality is
missing in most marketing messages. He suggests we
"pinch-them-in-the-butt" and tap the passionate "sweet spot".
Tell a story. Connect it to what the person can DO (results,
accomplishments), and how the person will FEEL (the strongest
E-Link). What story can/will you tell?
15. Gary wrote on the board...
Greedy People Lead
Lives That Suck!
16. "Gun-to-the-head-thinking" can get you out
of a jam or tough time. If someone had a gun to your head, and
to save your life you had to craft the best message you could,
what would you say?
17. Thereís too much bad news. We canít hear
the voices of light. Cats find the sun spots. They seek the
patches of light. (Did you catch that? That's where the name
of the seminar came from... "Patches of Light" seminar.) How
can you be a source of light?
18. SpeakÖ "from down below." If you want your
credibility to soar, donít speak from your mouth; speak from
your pelvis. Imagine your entire chest cavity as one big voice
box. Speak "from down below"Ö and you will create a stronger,
more powerful presence. (Thank you, Burt Dubin for this
little-known sage advice used by opera singers to get the most
from their precious instrument.) [Gary's Note: I have no
recollection of Burt's statement.]
19. Youíre NOT in the marketing business.
Youíre in the ARITHMETIC business. If your arithmetic doesnít
add up, you wonít have a business for very long. Start
20. You want to sell your products and
services to "addicts" - profound, irrational, passionate,
rabid, insane people who buy frequently and spend a lot.
Thatís your IDEAL buyer. Where are they? How can you reach
them? What will you say to them?
21. 10,000 hoursÖ thatís how long it takes to
become really good at something. Thatís 2,000 hours per year
for five years. It can take doctors and other professionals
twice that long (10 years), and most self-made millionaires
take four times that long (thatís right, 20 years is the
average time it takes for self-made millionaires to achieve
"overnight" success). You canít invest a few hours in
something and expect to become an expert. There are many
self-proclaimed "pseudo-gurus" who emerge after one or two
successes and claim expert status. Experts hone their chops
over time. Whatís your expertise? Hone it, refine it and
continuously improve it.
22. The "instant-gratification-society" claims
millions of lives each year who fall for the Success BS that
the road to success, fame and fortune is quick, easy, painless
23. Entertainers, artists and musicians
practice 10,000 hours to hone their chops, most of it in
solitude and anonymity. Entrepreneurs suffer ups and downs,
ins and outs of all kinds over many years before they hit
their stride and achieve consistent and lasting success.
24. There are no shortcuts. Then again, why
should there be? The journey, the process itself is the
reward. The achievement of a goal or objective is icing on the
cake. The real payoffs are what we learn, how we grow, who we
meet and how much we pass on to others.
25. If we polish up and internalize these
pearls of wisdom, especially those which challenge our
existing boundaries and beliefs, the payoff can be priceless.
26. If we seek out and embrace critics, we
will learn things we could not know otherwise. Itís courageous
to listen to the truth, especially when itís unpleasant. Seek
the truth and embrace it. Donít run from it or hide from it.
The truth WILL set you free.
27. Things I
disagree with most can often be the truth which does me the
most good. Beware of what you defend, protect and reject. It
just might be a life-changing gift in disguise.
This weekend I opened up to the possibility
that my view is skewed (it is), and my thinking is broken (we
all have blind spots). That doesnít mean Iím broken, just my
thinking. Last weekend I didnít defend, protect or project an
image or vested interest. I didnít try to prove I was right,
look good or be inauthentic. As a result, I got astounding
insights and an amazing amount of valuable input.
I hope in sharing these Pearls of Wisdom they
make as much a difference in your quality of life and quantity
of prosperity as I know they will for me.
With my highest esteem, I am yours truly,
PSÖ Today more than
ever, people are hungry for substance over style, truth over
hype. The dumbing-down of advertising and marketing
communication, lowered expectations and the unrelenting appeal
to our ignorance... not our intelligence... have people
thirsting for messages with substance and truth.