Six Courses Behind: Why I Refuse To Stagnate

beat stagnation

At any given point in time, I’m exactly like the next person.

I’m six courses behind.

Right now, I’m learning GREP (InDesign), Colour for cartoon scenes, Lighting and Shadow, Scrivener—and I just bought a new camera (the Fuji X100s). And yes, there are about 60 lessons of my Portuguese course that I still have to work through (I’ve completed 30). This means I’m a lot behind in my courses—at least six courses of about 18-20 hours each.

And yes, it frustrates me

I’d like to have finished the courses. I’d like to have mastered GREP and know all the buttons on that camera that looks like something my grandfather owned. And yes, I’m no newbie with Scrivener, but I’d love to finish that course, if only to find out what I’m missing.

And at this point in time, I remember. I have about six copies of Harvard Business Review to go through, and yes, at least seven books on my Kindle that I still have to read.

That’s when I look at my nieces

One is five years old. The other is ten. They have so much stuff to learn as well. Week after week they’re pummelled with maths, writing, spelling, reading, and it’s endless. Like every one of us they struggle, but they don’t think of the future like we do.

Even with an enormous amount of stuff coming up in the future, they’re taking it one day at a time. They don’t say things like “I haven’t finished my maths, so I won’t take on spelling”.

And we adults do just that

We believe in our silly, ideal world. A world where you start something and you finish it. Possibly even master it on the first sweep! We think we’re not going to spend on this course, if we haven’t finished that course.

We will not buy this book, if that book is not complete. Adults call themselves realists, but they live in a fantasy world where all the boxes are ticked.

No one is saying that you should be irrational

This is not a suggestion to go out and do seventeen courses, or buy twenty-three books, knowing that you haven’t finished any of the preceding ones. Yet, in this fast-moving world, you can’t afford to sit down and say: I’ve not completed this, so I won’t learn that. No, no, no, non, non, no! You want to be six courses behind, or five courses behind. Or even three! You want to be constantly learning, implementing and knowing that you’re going to be behind all the time, from now until forever.

That is the state of the human condition

Your to-do list is always in a state of “things to do”. We’re always behind, because if we were not behind, we’d be stagnant. And that’s precisely what I would feel if I had completed all my courses, read all the books on my list, learned all the languages I needed to learn. I’d be stagnating.

You have to dig your well before you’re thirsty

I bought myself a bunch of Moleskine books back in 2009. They’re expensive watercolour books, but they lay on the shelf for about two years and I never so much as opened the wrapping.

Then, one day in 2010, I suddenly decided to use them, slowly at first, but soon I got momentum. I started using up one book every couple of months (that’s 60 pages of illustrations). But my books were there on the shelves the moment I was just semi-keen to get started. So were my paints. And the same applies to the courses I buy, the stuff I do.

I’m always behind

Six courses behind.
Six magazines and seven books behind.
But you know what? I’m constantly striving to close the gap knowing I never will.

But it sure beats being stagnant, eh?
—————————————————-

Announcing! Live US Workshop—May 2015

How To “Actually” Finish Writing A Book

How To
Most of us would, at some point, want to write a book. It seem logical, doesn’t it? A book is a pretty cool achievement. It opens doors. It’s a marketing tool that boosts your credibility. It helps you to empower your clients–even expand your market.
So how do you write the book itself–without feeling frustrating? For more details–and to meet Elmo, go to: How To “Actually” Finish Writing A Book


Do you sometimes wonder if planning books are written just for the ‘organised’ people?

Chaos Planning Psychotactics
Organised people already know how to plan. They don’t need information like this. Yet most planning books are written without considering chaos at all.

Learn how the ‘Chaos Planning System’ is a radical, yet perfectly intuitive way to plan. And learn how to get things done, and take long vacations as well.
Judge for yourself: Chaos Planning System.


NEW! The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t (Available in Different Formats)


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Announcing: US Live Workshop 2015

Announcing: US Live Workshop 2015

How To “Actually” Finish Writing A Book

Most of us would, at some point, want to write a book.
It seem logical, doesn’t it?

A book is a pretty cool achievement.

It opens doors.
It’s a marketing tool that boosts your credibility.
It helps you to empower your clients–even expand your market.

What I found, instead, surprised me…

When I finished my book, I got a sense of order. I got clear on
what I wanted to say. I had a system in place, first for myself.
The book, it seemed, would open doors, boost credibility, empower
and expand. It even brought in really good clients and revenue.

But most of all, I had a system

My first book, “The Brain Audit”, was a mishmash of ideas, until I
actually wrote it down in a structured way. That structure then
enabled me to improve my own work. I wrote better
sales letters, better e-mails, and most of all I could spot the
gaps. Before I had a system in place, it was a bit of hit and miss.
I’d put in some stuff and leave out bits.

Then I’d wonder why things didn’t work out like they should.

But the moment I had the book complete, the system clicked in
place

Sure, I called my first book “The Brain Audit”, but in reality
every book turns out to be a form of audit. It’s a checklist
encapsulated in a whole bunch of pages. Pages that
need to make sense to yourself, first. Then the reader. Without
“The Brain Audit” we’d struggle in our own business a lot more than
we needed. The writing of the book itself–that was the most
frustrating, yet most rewarding thing I’d ever
done.

And yet, the frustration is a waste of time

The reason why we’re frustrated, is because of the belief that if
you have the knowledge, you’ll be able to put it together somehow.
That’s a bit like having the ingredients for a dish, and hoping
you’re going to be crowned the winner at “Masterchef”.

Putting together a book without a “recipe” is an exercise in madness
We all know this, because at some level we’ve all tried it. We may
not have gone into book-writing land, because we’ve been so busy
just trying to get an article off the  ground.

And yet, writing has a structure, a skeleton, a system

When you follow that system, you’re able to assemble the
information in a way that not only makes sense for you, but also
for your client.

Today’s world is cluttered with books that readers
never complete. And that’s because a powerful book is based
on the elements of “consumption”. Without understanding
consumption, a book is just a mass of endless content–just like a
squillion books out there.

Spinning is not an option

It’s pointless to struggle and spin endlessly when there’s already
a system in place. And a workshop is the answer, precisely because
you have to travel. You have to put off doing work for those three
days. You get to focus, instead of being distracted by all the
stuff that invades your day. For three days, you talk, breathe,
drink and eat the system.

Then you implement

This is not a chatter-blah-session. The notes are sent in advance.
You get ONE speaker, that’s me. And I speak for a third of the
time. Two thirds of the time, you get to actually do stuff. And
better still, you don’t even have the claustrophobia of the meeting
room.

Most of the outstanding stuff is done outside the room,
over drinks at dinner–and if there’s a pool, by the pool. Because
when you think about it, you don’t learn very well at a desk or
being chained to a seat, do you?

To actually finish a book you need structure

You need to understand consumption.
And that’s when you can put your own system together.
Yes, there’s credibility, empowerment, expansion and all the good
stuff. But most of all you have a system that sends a quiet tingle
of happiness down your spine.

That’s the real victory.

Yes, there’s an important condition…

Come join us, but be aware that you need to have read The Brain
Audit in advance. Yes, it’s a barrier. But it ensures that we have
clients that are truly interested in learning and improving their
business. You can buy and read The Brain Audit at any point before
the event, but we will not accept you if you have not read
The Brain Audit. There are no exceptions to this rule.

For more details–and to meet Elmo–go to:

http://www.psychotactics.com/dc

Regards

Sean D’Souza


Why It’s “Dangerous” To Sell Products/Services With Benefits Alone…

benefit selling products

You know Dasher and Dancer
And Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid
And Donner and Blitzen.
But do you recall…
The most famous reindeer of all?

Sure, we’re talking about Rudolph

And notice how they talk about the “red nose” as Rudolph’s “problem”. And how that enabled Santa to use Rudolph as a guide to his sleigh, because of that bright red nose.

But think about it for a second: was the nose always a solution? No it wasn’t, was it? It was a problem. Right before Santa figured out that the nose would stand out on a dark night, the nose was proving to be a real pain. It stood out; the other reindeer jeered.

And yet, without that problem standing out, Santa would never have spotted Rudolph.

The same concept applies to your marketing

You may believe that your product or service solves an obvious problem. And so you don’t bother to talk about the problem, preferring instead to slide right into the solution; the benefit. Yet, that bypassing of the problem and getting right to the solution causes customers to miss the point.

Let’s say you’re selling a product that allows you to send personalised cards to loved ones

Let’s just say you’re a brand new service, and the cards aren’t anything like the cards you see in the marketplace. Instead of being generic, you can actually put in your own words, and in your own handwriting.

You don’t have to lick the stamps or even mail the card—it’s all done for you. So where’s the problem? There is no problem, is there?

The client can clearly see the solution, can’t they?

Yes, they can. But let’s just change the scenario for a second. Let’s now assume that there’s not just a single card service in the market. Instead, there are 8000 other card services doing approximately the same thing.

Now your business doesn’t stand out with just the “solution”, does it? Now your business/product/service looks exactly like the next one. Just touting the “solution/benefit” isn’t helping to get customers to buy from you.

And this is why the “problem” is critical to get the customer’s attention

Our business may start out working in a vacuum. But soon enough competition creeps up and within next to no time it’s a full on onslaught of competitors. The only thing that separates you from your competition is the way you describe the “problem”. And in the book, “The Brain Audit”, the method of how to get to the problem is clearly explained.

You don’t just dream up the “problem”

Instead you use the concept of the “target profile”. You speak to a single customer—not an audience—a single customer. They then tell you what they see as the problem. You then put that problem up and centre on your sales page, your brochure, your presentation. And then others with the same problem relate to it instantly.

Let’s take an example, shall we?

Let’s say you’re buying a camera, shall we? The solution for a camera is pretty darn easy—all you’re doing is taking photos. So there you are with your budget for this fancy camera with a zoom lens and all the bells and whistles. You have dozens of Nikon, Canon, Leica etc staring at you in the face. Instead you pick on the Fujifilm x100s. So why did you pick on that one?

It takes amazing low light pictures, that’s why

The problem with taking pictures is that your best pictures are often at dawn and dusk—not in the bright, harsh glow of the day. You may also want to take pictures at parties, and weddings and all those special occasions. And now you reach for your fancy camera and guess what? You need a flash.

That clunky add-on flash that weighs a ton. And you need to bump up the ISO (yes, technical term) way up, so you end up with grainy pictures. Yet, if you look at the Fujifilm x100s, you don’t need that crummy flash. In many cases, you don’t even have to bump that ISO (yes, technical term again) very high. You get crisp, yummy pictures in incredibly poor light.

Fuji x100

The Fuji x100s—my favourite camera.

I made you feel like buying a camera, didn’t I?

You had no intention of buying a camera, let alone the slightly expensive Fujifilm x100s. And yet, the description of the problem first—yes, long before the solution, made you feel like your next camera needs to somehow be the Fujifilm x100s. You noticed the solution only after the problem was brought out in great detail.

Too many of us expect clients to work out the problem

We think clients are smart—and yes they are. But they’re also busy; also inundated with far too many offers; far too many options to choose from. So when someone like you comes along, brings up the problem, then describes the problem, you are now creating that hook that a client will latch on to.

But this “problem” isn’t just a marketing issue alone

It’s a biological issue as well. When we deal with “solutions/benefits” our heart rate may go up, but only marginally. Think of a cup of coffee for a second. That warm cup of amazing coffee calling out your name.

And your heart rate goes up, doesn’t it? Now think of reaching the cafe and finding they’ve run out of coffee. Instantly your heart rate goes up. There is no cafe, no coffee, and no one has run out of anything—this is just a theoretical exercise, but your heart rate went up nonetheless.

This is the power of the problem

If you depend on the solution alone, you’re making a pretty big mistake. You’re allowing your clients to not feel this increase in heart rate. You’re assuming they will choose you instead. And yet, Santa didn’t choose Prancer. Or Blitzen. Not even Dasher or Vixen.

He chose the reindeer that had the “problem”. But he had to work it out. And you can bet that your busy client has no time to “work it out”. If you don’t do the work for them by highlighting the problem, they may just end up buying the product/service from the competition.

Your product or service can’t be just any ol’ reindeer

It has to stand out. And the best way to stand out is to get to a “target profile”, speak to that person, and get that person to give you the “problem” they’re facing—and yes, how you can solve that problem for them. You then take that information and put it on your product, your sales page, your marketing material. And that will make you stand out from the other “reindeer”.

Be Rudolph. Be the Fujifilm x100s. Stand out with the “problem”.
It’s the best way to get—and keep—the attention of the client.

Announcing! How To “Actually” Finish Writing A Book
Live Workshops 2015
April 2015: New Zealand
May 2015: USA


Do you sometimes wonder if planning books are written just for the ‘organised’ people?

 Chaos Planning Psychotactics
Organised people already know how to plan. They don’t need information like this. Yet most planning books are written without considering chaos at all.

Learn how the ‘Chaos Planning System’ is a radical, yet perfectly intuitive way to plan). And learn how to get things done, and take long vacations as well.
Judge for yourself: Chaos Planning System.

 


NEW! The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t (Available in Different Formats)


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


How A Single Book Turned Our Business Around

How To Write A Book Workshop

In 2000, I just moved to New Zealand.

I didn’t know a soul in Auckland.

I hadn’t even been to New Zealand before.
And to top it off, I ditched my cartooning career to get into marketing.

Getting work wasn’t easy

Who would trust an ex-cartoonist to do their marketing? Was I even able to trust myself? I felt like such a fraud. And yet, after a presentation–a short, rambling presentation, one of the audience members asked me to give her the notes.

I had no notes

But she was persistent. So I sat down and wrote the first version of The Brain Audit. It was just 20 pages long. 16, if you remove the filler-stuff. But it was my first book. Imagine the thrill, when I spoke at other events, and people were buying this book.

Except it wasn’t a book

It was an e-book. And it was 2000. An age when people barely dealt with e-mail, let alone read a book on their computers. And yet, the book brought us clients.

At first, just local clients. Then it spread to the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan. That tiny little book grew in stature (and pages–it’s now 180 pages). And to date, that book has generated over half a million dollars in revenue. Yes, one book!

$500,000 isn’t something I’d dreamed of earning for a single book…
The money is nice. It lets us live well, travel, take three months off every year. But it did so much more for me.

It helped me organise my thoughts–make it a system.

It helped me avoid toxic clients. And get clients we could go to dinner with, instead. It helped me open doors. A lot of doors. And generated a sizeable revenue over the years. And most importantly, it proved that I could do it.

Today we sit at a juncture of pure chaos–and opportunity

When we look at the marketplace, everyone seems to be an “expert”. And yet, you only have to read the first few pages–or maybe the first chapter–to figure out the experts from the run-of-the-mill.

Because customers are being swamped with so much junk, they want to shop around a lot less. They want to find a trusted source and then stick with that source. A customer like that, becomes a client. Buying any books, courses, workshops and consulting from you. But for this to happen, you have to be able to construct the book in a way that’s consumable.

People are sick of junk, yes, but they’re more sick of mountains of junk

When you learn to write a book following a structure of “consumption”, it’s a lot like a dinner. Where you start, and finish and come back for more. Instead, many books are so
overwhelming that the customers never finish, never coming back for more.

The more they come back, the more they ask questions

The more questions they ask, the more answers you can give. This in turn creates content for more books, more courses, more consulting.

In short, close to the perfect business!

There’s no such thing as perfect, but getting a book together is the closest thing to starting down that line. Your thoughts are clearer. Your clients are nicer. You do stuff that you really want to do, instead of the same boring stuff.

The Brain Audit was my first book

I gave it my all. 20 pages was my whole world. I didn’t know if I’d write another book. But I learned how to write books, conduct workshops, do courses and get consulting gigs. In fact, we got so busy that we didn’t even have to do consulting by 2003. In just three years, we were moving away from things we “had to do” vs. things we wanted to do.

The workshops at Silver Spring-US and Auckland-New Zealand are an invitation to enter the world of structure. A world where consumption matters. It’s not where you learn to write, but rather how to take the information you have in your head, and structure it in a way that it gets read, listened to, absorbed. Besides, it’s fun. A heck of a lot of fun.

One speaker.

One topic.
Actual implementation, instead of blah-blah.
You know you’re ready, but judge for yourself.

We’d love to meet you there. And oh, you get to meet Elmo! ;)

Silver Spring, UShttp://www.psychotactics.com/dc
Auckland, New Zealandhttp://www.psychotactics.com/workshops/auckland/

Regards,
Sean
P.S. Eight seats are gone already. That’s about a third–and so far we’ve only announced it to a few clients. The remaining ⅔ may not last long.

P.P.S. Not everyone is allowed to the workshop. You have to have read The Brain Audit before the workshop. If you have, that’s cool. If you haven’t, then it’s a requirement before the workshop. You will also get the entire workshop notes a whole month in advance.


Why Gravity Wins And How To Break Free Of It

Gravity Wins

Gravity.
It’s working against me.
Gravity.
It’s trying to bring me down.

Twice as much ain’t twice as good.
And can’t sustain like one half could.
It’s wanting more than brings you to your knees.

Exactly.
Gravity is a pain.
It also happens to be a boon.

If you let it, it will take over your life. You’ll never change, never take off, never see the clouds from above. And so, fighting gravity is a part of what we need to be. When we learn something new; when we do a course that puts us even more demands on us; when we take on a new challenge, it’s all about the war on gravity.

I went through this exercise myself about a month ago

My life is very, very good right now, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t secure it in a different way. And so we decided to make some big changes, including upgrading the software of our websites, next we work on the design and then we work on the direction.

All of this is like fighting gravity. It’s a ton of work on top of the work you’re already doing. As if that were not enough, I’ve signed up in a course to learn more about photography. And another one to learn about InDesign and the possibilities. All of it sucking up time, money and resources.

The world is split up into two kinds of people

The excuse makers and the non-excuse makers. A client of mine has a brain issue. She has this growth in her brain and in a while, not very far in the future, it will affect her life in ways she can’t imagine.

Even now, it’s affecting her. She finds herself making crazy comments that embarrass her, and everyone in the room. She finds herself doing things that are weird. So there’s a gravity pushing against her at high speed.

So what does she do? She learns cartooning. She takes on a blogging course and learns to blog. She’s not an excuse-maker. She’s not part of the whiny, “I’m sick, I’m busy, I’m tired” brigade.

We’re all tired, we’re all busy

But the non-excuse makers realise that gravity is a great competitor. And if you and I make excuses, gravity wins. You stay rooted in one spot. This is why people achieve little or nothing. You can’t be anything but relentless against gravity. But just piling on the work isn’t going to help either.

It’s about a sort of forward-management of learning, improving, changing your situation for the better. As the song says: Twice as much ain’t twice as good. And yes it’s not twice as good, if it’s a permanent feature in your life. If you’re always overworked, you’re doing something wrong.

If you always have to whine and complain, you’re doing something seriously wrong.

So how do you get twice to one half?

That’s the irony of gravity, isn’t it? If you fight long and hard against it, you can pull away high enough. So when you’re learning a skill, it’s pure madness. You struggle like crazy. So when I first started to write articles, it was sheer torture. Two whole days of torture.

And at the end of those two miserable days, I couldn’t even tell if I would have an article that was solid; an article that would empower my audience. All I felt was drained and frustrated. And now, just this morning, I’ve written two articles. And I wrote one yesterday and the day before. I also wrote a 40-page book last week complete with illustrations and graphics.

You can tell, can’t you? I’ve pulled away from the forces of gravity

I’m in the one-half zone. Maybe even in the one-sixteenth zone. Instead of battling it out against article writing for 16 hours, I can do better than before in less than an hour. And this is gravity in a nutshell.

Gravity doesn’t care. It continues to pin you and me to the ground. We can whine. We can complain. We’re sick, we’re tired, we’re busy.

And whining is the symptom that you’re losing the battle against gravity

Whining is a sure-fire way to know that you’re on the wrong side of the fence. And the problem with whining is that it’s become such a habit that you use it as a crutch, to get sympathy. To tell yourself you’re okay. To let others feel sorry for you.

And people don’t feel that sorry if you’re a perpetual whiner. They understand how gravity works, and they understand they’ve got to win their own battle against gravity. If you stop the whining and get on with the battle, they’ll help you too.

Are you a whiner?
Or a gravity-fighter?

Gravity, it’s working against me.
Gravity, it’s trying to bring me down.

Gravity, stay the hell away from me
Gravity has taken better men than me (how can that be?)

——-

Gravity
Writer(s): John Mayer, John Clayton Mayer
Copyright: Sony/ATV Tunes LLC, Specific Harm Music, Goodium Music, Reach Music Publishing-digital O.B.O. Goodium Music

——


How do you get meaningful testimonials, without needing to bribe anyone for it?

 Testimonial Secrets Bonus Video

“Utilizing the easy to understand, easy to implement information in this book should bring in far greater revenue. And even better, it solves a problem for me of how to get real, meaningful testimonials, doing it legitimately-and without making anything up, or needing to “bribe anyone”.

The best thing of all: I’ve learned how to get these testimonials long before anyone has bought the product!”

Allen Weber
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Judge for yourself: Testimonial Secrets


NEW! The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t (Available in Different Formats)


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Announcing: How to join 5000bc (Without Being On The Waiting List!)

5000bc is the membership site of Psychotactics
And from Tuesday 10th February to Saturday 14th February 2015,  you get the chance to join (without being on the waiting list). The last time we opened up the waiting list was over four months ago.

Yup, long time ago.

But how do you know if 5000bc is the place for you?
You read the testimonials. Do your due diligence and read the testimonials and you’ll see for yourself why our members join–and more importantly why they stay. And how you can be part of that select group as well.

The doors are open for a few days.

Have a look and judge for yourself.
http://www.psychotactics.com/5000bc

Warm regards,
s-


Is The Four-Hour Work Week A Waste Of Time?

Four Hour Work Week

I don’t mow the lawns. I outsource it.

I don’t do my accounts. It’s what keeps my accountant in business. I bake my own bread, cook my own food, but at least half of the time it’s all outsourced. In fact, when I think about it, a good chunk of my life is outsourced.

I don’t build my own computers, code my own programs, generate my own electricity. I didn’t even bother to weave my own carpet. So yes, you could safely say that outsourcing is a good part of my life.

What I don’t outsource is magic.

And magic, that takes a lot more time and effort.

So what is magic? And how do you create magic?

If you are on iTunes:
http://www.psychotactics.com/create-magic

If you’re not on iTunes
http://www.psychotactics.com/four-hour-work-week/

Have a great weekend.

Warm regards from summer
Sean
P.S. The Three Month Vacation Podcast isn’t about making endless amounts of money, working like a lunatic. Instead it’s about how to really enjoy your work, enjoy your vacation time-and yes, get paid in advance. To get all the podcast visit: Three Month Vacation

 


Why Stories Are Great For Sales Copy

Why Stories Are Great For Sales Copy

On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average students, both were personable, and both – as young college graduates are – were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.

Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion. They were still very much alike. Both were happily married. Both had three children.

And both, it turned out, had gone to work for the same Midwestern manufacturing company after graduation, and were still there.

But there was a difference. One of the men was manager of a small department of that company. The other was its president.

What you just read was the story used for a sales letter that is rumoured to have generated between $1 billion-$2 billion in revenues for the Wall Street Journal.

So what makes this letter so dramatic?

Well, it’s clear isn’t it? It’s a story. And a story helps dramatise an event in a way that mere “sales” words may not. A sales letter may just spit out benefits, problems and solutions. But a story can bring in emotion and sequence in a way that gets your attention. So the question does pop up quickly: Should you use stories for all your sales letters?

And the answer is, it depends

A story works very well to get the reader’s attention. But you need to be clear at the start what you’re trying to achieve as well. And you use a story to:

Create a point of difference

Get attention

Create emotional tugs

Make the product/service easier to explain/retain

Let’s start off with: create a point of difference

It’s often hard to know the difference between one product and another. For instance, let’s look at The Brain Audit. It’s a book about customer behaviour. This means that you, as a casual browser, can’t tell the difference between The Brain Audit and just about any book or product on or off the Internet.

This also means that if you were simply browsing for marketing-type books in the store, you couldn’t tell between one book or the other. This concept also applies to services, of course. You still have to stand out from your competition. This is where the story element helps tremendously. In a world of me-too, products and services, the story becomes the point of difference, because of the way it’s being told.

So when we look at the story above about the two men who graduated from college, we see that the story causes us to react differently. Now we aren’t looking at yet another financial newspaper. We’re looking at the Wall Street Journal vs. other newspapers. But that’s not the power of the story alone.

The story also gets and keeps your attention

The moment you have a story, you have a natural sense of a movie rolling out in a sort of sequence. Two men, did something, then they did something. Then they reached at some point in the road. That flow is part of almost every good story (yes, there are crappy stories too). And when you read the analogy of The Brain Audit, you realise that there’s a story in it.

The bags come out on the conveyor belt and all six red bags show up—but one, just one is missing. You may call it an analogy, but it’s a well-crafted story. You’ve been there at that airport. You know that there’s that possibility of your bag going missing. It’s not just a random analogy.

It’s a story that you’ve thought about, even if you haven’t experienced it personally. The flow of the story gets and keeps your attention. But there’s the third element: creating emotional tugs

So how does the story create emotional tugs?

You’ve already worked this out yourself, haven’t you? You can see how you feel aligned to the guy who’s the president of the company. You feel his success. You feel the sense of “failure” at the second guy who just managed to become the manager.

Most stories have a core emotion factor. And just by telling the story, you stop the customer’s brain from going down the logic route and right into the emotion and feeling. The emotion doesn’t have to be positive. It can be negative like in The Brain Audit.

Losing the bag is not something you want to experience, but experience it you do, if only through the words in the story. Those emotions are very powerful because they creep in below the layer of logic; they force you to pay attention.

This of course, takes us to the fourth point: Make the product easier to explain

When you’re selling something, you think you’re holding the other person’s attention with words like “service”, “better product” etc. If you watch closely the customer is trying to find some cafe to duck into while you’re not looking.

But you rattle on. If on the other hand you start with a story, that very same customer stops and starts paying attention. But right after you’re done with your story, that person is able to do something magical.

They’re able to repeat the story to someone else almost without any dropout. So you can, after a single reading, tell someone else the “two men who graduated from college” story. Or you can tell them the “seven red bags” story.

So yes, the story becomes not just a point of difference, or gets attention, but it also makes the product a lot easier to explain—and retain. And yes, let’s not forget that emotional tug.

But can you use stories in every product or service you sell?

Well, technically you can. Should you do it all the time, is a difficult question to answer. If your product is very me-too, it’s almost imperative that you use a story or analogy to differentiate it from the rest. So when Steve Jobs first introduced the MacBook Air, his method of using the Manila envelope was critical because it’s hard to wow people when one thin laptop looks just like another thin laptop.

It’s the story/analogy that made the difference.

However, if you have a strong point of difference, that alone may do the job. For instance we have the Article Writing Course which is the “toughest writing course in the world”. Well, that doesn’t need a story on the sales page. The difference is clear from the very start.

Start with the difference

If your product/service is very me-too, you’re going to need a point of difference.

If you don’t have a very clear point of difference, reach for the story.

It’s the key to getting your product/service to becoming “president” instead of just another “manager”. wink


How do you get meaningful testimonials, without needing to bribe anyone for it?

 Testimonial Secrets Bonus Video

“Utilizing the easy to understand, easy to implement information in this book should bring in far greater revenue. And even better, it solves a problem for me of how to get real, meaningful testimonials, doing it legitimately-and without making anything up, or needing to “bribe anyone”.

The best thing of all: I’ve learned how to get these testimonials long before anyone has bought the product!”

Allen Weber
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Judge for yourself: Testimonial Secrets


NEW! The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t (Available in Different Formats)


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
2) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

3) Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
4) Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

5) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
6) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
7) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) Online Membership Sites: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


 

 


Why You Should Commit 30 Minutes To Daily Learning (Without Fail)

Daily Learning

I own a sieve.

It’s called my brain.

I distinctly remember listening, then reading a book and then months later I listened to it once again. And I couldn’t remember almost 90% of what I’d read and, mind you, listened to, earlier. With such a terrible memory, it does cross my mind that I should really give up. What’s the point of trying to spend hours trying to learn something when it just washes away mindlessly.

And yet, every single day (almost without fail) I still spend at least 30 minutes learning something.

So why do I bother?

Two reasons, really.

1) I get smarter and faster.

2) Unexpected, practical ideas.

About the faster and smarter bit…

I’ve realised that my pathetic brain is not so pathetic after all. If I were to spend 30 minutes learning something I was already familiar with, it wouldn’t be a big problem recalling more than 50% or even 90%. It’s when I run into unknown areas that my brain gets stuck, and remembers little. But if I persist, it remembers more. And then you, I, we all get to a stage where the brain knows the topic quite well.

So for instance, I bought Adobe Lightroom last year. Well, I spent all of last year in Lightroom hell, because I learned little or nothing. This year, fortified with good intentions, I spent 30 minutes a day learning Lightroom. And voilà, about a month later, I’m wondering why I didn’t do it earlier. All those klutzy looking photos, all those erroneous ways of storing the photos—all gone. But it’s taken me many passes to get to this stage. So yeah, repetition does count if you want to get smarter and faster.

But there’s one other thing that’s even more interesting—and it’s called “unexpected, practical ideas”.

So what’s unexpected, practical stuff got to do with daily learning?

Input equals to output, right? Not really, not when you have a mind like a sieve. But no input definitely leads to lousy output. And one of the most underrated elements of output is “unexpected, practical ideas?” So let’s take for instance the scenario that unfolded on our walk today. Renuka was listening to some marketing-based audio, when she came up with some very smart ideas for improving our “welcome to Psychotactics” auto responder.

Was the marketing audio related? No, of course it wasn’t. And I in turn was listening to what she said, and nodding politely, when the idea hit me for a pre-sell for our upcoming home study of the sales page course (version 2.0). Suddenly in a matter of minutes we were swamped with three, very practical, very doable ideas.

Oh yes, there’s this factor of not having time

Nobody has time. Nobody in the history of mankind has ever had time. The people who want to make time, make the time. The others binge-watch “House of Cards” on Netflix. They find ways to get to Facebook. They find reasons and methods to waste the time. This message isn’t for those who make excuses. It’s for those who are diligent and need that extra push to be super-diligent.

However, it’s hard work keeping focused on daily learning unless you get someone else to help along. So find a buddy, or find a group. The more you try to do everything alone, the harder it gets. So first spend at least a little time working on getting yourself someone who will nudge you when you slow down. That way if you miss a day or two, they’ll help you get back on the daily learning pattern.

Daily learning solves a lot of problems

And gives you a ton of ideas.

My brain is a sieve.

I’m trying to block up the drainage, 30 minutes at a time.

So should you.


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) How to  design a solid home page that helps customers find their way around, and do what you want them to do

2) How To Put That Zing-Kapow In Your Articles (With StoryTelling)


Top Selling Products Under $50

Testimonial Secrets: Powerful Techniques to Get Better Clients-And Sales
Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds

Sales Pages: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
Article Writing: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines

Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done

Critical Website Components: How to write compelling content for your key web pages
Free! Excerpt of The Brain Audit: Why Clients Buy And Why They Don’t 



Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room-without turning anyone off?

Online Membership Website: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website


Why Focusing on “One Concept” Helps Create Powerful InfoProducts

Why Focusing on "One Concept" Helps Create Powerful InfoProducts

I don’t know if you’ve read a watercolour instruction book before.

But no matter which book you read, the instructor will tell you one thing: You need to understand ‘values’. Without ‘values’ in your painting, you will never create a watercolour that is dramatic.

And then you open the book, and guess what?

One page.

One measly page.

One measly page among about 150 pages of the book has been devoted to ‘values’.

So what just happened there?

The instructor told you what was important, and then failed to drive home that importance in greater detail. Why? Because there’s so much to teach that they feel this need to rush from one thing to the next; one concept to the next.

And this is approximately what we tend to do with any training program or infoproduct. We are in such a hurry to create this massive infoproduct, that we fail to understand that one concept needs to get far more mileage than the next.

So why does one concept need to get more importance?

For one, because your clients are plainly confused. When they start learning any new skill or system, it’s like being sloshed around in a whirlpool of information. And the moment, you, the teacher, says: “Hey listen up, this is important!” all the ears perk up. Now the clients know what is important. And they feel a sense of relief.

Instead of being tossed around madly, someone (that someone is you) has taken the trouble to hit the “pause” button and identify what’s important.

When you’re a student, it makes perfect sense to slow down, understand and implement the most important fact. But of course, as the teacher/creator, you’re in no mood to pick just one thing and make it important.

That’s because you think everything is important

And it is. Everything is important.

All that you have to say is important, but ONE thing is more important than everything else.

And if it’s not, it’s your job to drive home that factor of importance. It’s your job to pull out that single element from a tangle of elements—and then drive home why it’s so important for the client to focus on that one point. This not only calms down the client but also gives you the chance to create a solid foundation that you can go back to many times over.

But let’s take an example or two, shall we?

Let’s take the DaVinci cartooning course, for instance (It’s a course we conduct at Psychotactics). When we teach cartooning, it’s easy to get lost in hands, legs, faces, and a ton of other things that you need to teach in cartooning.

But instead we start off with what is called ‘circly circles’. And if you were to speak to anyone who’s done this course, and you asked them what ‘circly circles’ was all about, they would tell you clearly.

They not only understand the importance, but know how to implement it, and know how to fix the problem. What’s happened here is that despite having dozens of elements to choose from, we had to focus on one element and drive that over and over, until it became second nature. And it doesn’t just apply to a course. It can apply to a book or any type of infoproduct as well.

So let’s take another example

In the book called The Brain Audit, (which is about ‘why customers buy and why they don’t) there are seven critical points that need to be considered. But when you read The Brain Audit, it’s quite clear which one gets the most attention. It’s the element called the ‘problem’. What’s interesting is that it’s not even the most important of all the seven elements.

You don’t always have to pick the most important. You just have to pick one and give it the highlight so that you slow down the learner and get them focused. And in The Brain Audit the one element that gets picked, is the ‘problem’. And the message is driven home over and over again.

But how do you pick what’s important?

Because in every infoproduct you’re going to have many elements to choose from…

And in your brain, at least, everything is just as important. Sure it is. There’s no one thing that’s more important than the next. Even in watercolour painting, if you don’t have a ‘focal point’ or don’t have ‘foreground, middle ground and background’, you can still create a crummy picture. But still, one element has to be picked.

Which one is important?

They’re all important. So make a choice. Pick one.

Then make it important.

And highlight its importance drive home the point—in great detail.

And that makes things easy for you, as the creator of the product. And makes things easy for the student as well. It makes your work stand out from the rest. And that’s what you want, right?


Next Step: Links you should visit

1) How do you create presentations that enthrall, hold and move an audience to action? Find out more…

2) Are you serious about getting your business to the next level in 2015? Have a look at 5000bc.

3) Are you losing tons of potential business because you don’t know how the brain works? Read how The Brain Audit can help you.


Products: Under $50
You already know that 80% of a sales letter depends on your headline.
So what’s the remaining 20% that causes customers to buy? Find out more

1) Do You Often Hit A Wall Called ‘Writers Block’?
Learn how the core elements of outlining can save you from the misery of writing your next article.

2) Do you know that visuals immediately improve your sales conversion?
Learn how to create drama and curiosity and help improve your web page conversion with visuals.

3) Do your websites, brochures, presentations, etc… confuse your clients?
Put some sanity into your design, even though you are not a designer?

4) Chaos Planning
Year after year you sit down and create a list of things you want to achieve. Then suddenly it’s January 204, and you’ve not really moved ahead as you’d expected! Learn Why Most Planning Fails: And The Critical Importance of Chaos in Planning.

5) Nothing bugs you more than a painful client.
A client who hassles you at every step of the way. Learn how to use the power of the ‘six critical questions’ to get incredible testimonials—and attract clients that make every day an absolute joy.


Black Belt Presentations: How do you create presentations that enthrall, hold and move an audience to action?


Why Some People Achieve Creativity Highs–And Others Don’t

 

Creativity Triggers

We all know this to be true when it comes to bad habits.

We open the fridge knowing that a Coke is doused in sugar.

But once the fridge is open, the trap is sprung.

We can’t help but reach for the can, pour that liquid sugar down our throats and then feel good—and miserable shortly after.

The good news is that your so-called creativity needs a trigger too

And the mistake that most of us make is that we fail to set the trigger. In her book “The Creative Habit”, choreographer and author, Twyla Tharp talks about how she has to exercise every day for two hours.

And no matter how dedicated you are, there’s going to be a fallout of some kind. A late night, a virus, some well-meaning friend—they can all keep you up too late. And then it’s a drag all the way to the gym.

But Twyla depends on the taxi

Every day her trigger is the taxi. She just has to get to the taxi, and then she’s on her way. It’s like getting on the top of a huge water slide and finding there’s no way back up. That’s how she gets stuff done. She nudges herself towards the trigger.

Think about it: how scary is the handle on the fridge?

How scary can the taxi be?

And yet it is very scary because you suddenly have enormous momentum on your side and you have to get things done.

I wake up every day to a similar sort of trigger

I wake up and I avoid email. They often sends me hurtling into some black hole. Facebook will do approximately the same. Instead I wake up and there in front of me is my InDesign file. Or my Photoshop file.

The night before, I’ll make sure the file is open on my computer and then I’ll wrap up. When I boot up the computer again, nothing opens, but the file itself. And then I’m propelled to making that first step. I’ll either write a book, an article or draw a cartoon (depending on which file is open).

Some days of course, I forget

And Facebook or email is the last thing I have open. Those days I’m down the hell-slide. It might seem like just 10 minutes, but I will often find that 20 or even 30 minutes pass before I can pull back.

But what works for the hell-slide also works to get me productive. Shortly after I write or draw for two hours, I have to take a walk. At this point, I’ll pull out my iPhone and look at my score on Fitbit.

And there is Steve S.

Steve S. is the nemesis. A nice nemesis, but a nemesis all the same. No matter how many steps I take, he seems to take more steps than me. But I can see how many steps I need to catch up and overtake Steve. And so that sets me off on my daily walk. That in turn sets off a trigger to listen to an audio book, and then learn a language on my way back.

Of course, no one is motivated all the time

There are days, even weeks when things don’t get done. Life just gets too bothersome, you promise too much—it’s the same old story. Or you just want to sleep in some days. Even Facebook and email can wait.

And yes, we all get into that zone which it’s kinda pointless to avoid. Sometimes you just go with the flow.

But most days the flow gets you nowhere

Twyla Tharp drives home this core fact with the concept of the trigger. The trigger is what’s important. Most of us don’t have triggers. What we have is to-do lists. But to-do lists are hard to get into without the trigger. Once the trigger is activated, we’re on our way.

Good habits start with a trigger.

Bad habits too.

P.S. Steve S. is ahead of me today. But not for long.


Next Step

1) If you haven’t read the free report—Why Do Most Headlines Fail? (And How To Create Headlines That Work Every time), subscribe to get your copy.

2) Isn’t it time you got a real break—every year—without any drop in income? Announcing—’The Three Month Vacation’.


The Blech System of Pattern Recognition

The Blech System : Headline Writing

 

Did you eat something today?
Drank some sort of drink?
Well, there’s a good chance you’ve been exposed to the multi-billion dollar flavour industry. Almost all the products we eat or drink have these flavours and companies spend massive amounts of money researching to make sure the get the right flavour for their product. And yet, in the early 1990s, a well-known flavour company did something really weird.

They’d conduct tons of very expensive market research and then ignore that research
Instead they’d go to one of their employees and ask her to taste the flavour and they’d wait for the “blech” response. If this employee said ‘blech’ and contorted her face in disgust, the company would do something even more weird. They’d treat that particular flavour as the winner. And invariably, the flavour would do amazingly well in the marketplace.

But what was causing that employee to say “blech?”
No one really knew—not even the employee. She could kinda describe what she felt, but if you asked her to write it down so that anyone else could get the same “blech” response, she wouldn’t be able to explain it to you.

But the results were outstanding nonetheless.

This is the “blech” factor at work with most talented people
They cannot tell you why they think something is wrong. But they can spot an error a mile away. In the case study above, the employee was doing the opposite. She was identifying what she thought was an error, which of course the public loved.

It doesn’t matter which way you slice and dice the result, the fact remains: the talent for identifying the winner remained in place. But the problem is that the person still can’t explain the steps involved.

And this is why talent becomes so very mysterious
Vic Braden is a tennis coach of great repute. He has the same problem. He can spot a double fault before the player hits the ball. Professional tennis players are able to go through entire games without making more than two or three double faults. And yet, like magic, Vic can tell—long before the ball has been hit.

There’s something about the way the players hold themselves or does just before, that causes Vic to call the double fault.

And there’s a reason why they can’t explain this pattern recognition
For this we have to go down the road with two sets of parents. The sun is rising. And one parent turns to their child and says: “Look at the sunrise. It’s so beautiful.” And the child learns the word “sunrise” and “beautiful”.

The second parent walks with their child and says: “Look at the sunrise. Look how blue the sky is right at the top. Look how it then moves to a mix of yellow-ochre and blue. And then finally look how much yellow ochre there is on the horizon. And notice that orange glow just as the sun comes up, maybe even a little pink.

And yes, isn’t that a beautiful sunrise?

Now what’s happened in the brain of these two kids?
Something quite interesting actually. Both are seeing the same sunrise. But one is being exposed to a completely different set of facts that goes way beyond the terms “beautiful” and “sunrise”.

They may not even understand what “blue” and “yellow ochre” is, but they will register it.

As you have registered it in your brain right now.

When you step out to look at the sky, you will never see “blue skies” again. You will see shades in the sky that you’ve never seen though you’ve been looking at skies for decades.

The problem is that the moment of recognition is brief and often unimportant
If you asked the parent: When did you teach  your child to recognise the shades in the sky? they will often have no recollection. The child themselves, will have no recollection of the event.

And yet the brain is at work. It’s seeing the pattern and recognising it. Sometimes the pattern is pointed out by someone else, as I’m doing here. Sometimes the pattern is just detected in your brain, without any conscious effort.

Over time, the pattern builds up and there comes a moment when “blech” becomes the norm. When you can see the “blech” factor unfolding before your very eyes.

But this does bring up an important question: Why is the “blech factor” so important?
It’s important because the definition of talent (yes, my definition) is a “reduction of errors”. The fewer errors you make, the more talented you are. So for instance, if you were writing headlines and I showed you, and worked you through a series of ways to write headlines, you’d have to go through three separate stages.

Stage 1: How to detect a blech headline.
Stage 2: How to fix it.
Stage 3: How to get a great headline.

And because headline writing consists of simple elements that you add or subtract, it’s easy to know when a headline is blech
And how to fix it. When you fix it, you get a great headline. There’s no great magic to it. But without the blech factor it’s hard to tell. Because beauty or greatness is abstract. But when that child grows up a bit and looks at an oil painting that has a perfectly blue sky from top to bottom, they’ll know something is wrong.

They may not be able to tell you that the shades are missing, but they’ll voice their “blech”—and you’ll think of them as extremely talented, even though the can’t explain why they are able to spot the good from the crappy.

That employee was able to detect the blech factor
Even though the market research (yes, the very, very expensive market research) was pointing in one direction, she would be able to spot a winner by the one flavour that made her feel all “blech”. And it made her company millions of dollars in contracts.

But it’s all a mystery, because it can’t be bottled. That code may not decrypted easily. And yet, there is a code, if you’re truly interested in learning a skill.

When you find the right teacher and have a system of training in place, this code is easy to crack
You have to learn the code. And practice it. Then it becomes second nature.
You know the good stuff. And you know the blech. And you can fix it.

And people call you “amazingly talented”.
And you smile and say “thank you”.


About The Brain Audit
There are two very specific extra “weapons” that The Brain Audit gave me. Weapons that I never got from the many copy writing courses out there (and if you’re like me, you’ve got them all, too).

The Brain Audit

The Brain Audit not only explains HOW it works, but also WHY it works. This is master-level applied psychology, necessary for any self-respecting marketer.

Gabor Wolf
Marketing Consultant— Budapest, Hungary 
Judge for yourselfThe Brain Audit Kit is a complete system that enables you to understand what’s going on inside the brain of your customer.
(P.S. The Brain Audit has received over 800 testimonials)


Top Selling Products Under $50


1) Story Telling Series: How to suck your audience right in, in a matter of seconds
2) Client Attractors: How To Write Benefits and Bullets That Speed Up Sales
3) Outlining: How To Speed Up Article Writing With Simple Outlines
4) Visual Basics: How Visuals Help Increase Sales Conversion On Your Website
5) Design Clarity: How to put sanity into your design with some really simple tweaks
6) Chaos Planning: How ‘Irregular’ Folks Get Things Done
7) Critical Website Components: How to write compelling content for your key web pages


1) Black Belt Presentation Series: How to completely control the room—without turning anyone off?
2) New! Be Kind, Be Helpful or Begone: How To Build A Powerful, Community-Driven Membership Website