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



Announcing: Why Chaos Is Your Buddy (And How To Use Chaos in Planning)

Chaos Planning: Why Chaos Is Your Buddy

Most of us detest chaos.

But there’s not a day when chaos doesn’t show up
and hang around for a good part of the day.

We can ignore chaos, but it won’t go away.

But what if we planned around it?

What if we actually took chaos into consideration
so that when it shows up–if it shows up–we’re more
than prepared and not flustered at all.

As we head into the new year, it’s easy to get stuck
into planning. What we really need is chaos planning.
Because chaos will show up.

Here’s where you can find how we worked with chaos
(and how you can too)

Click here to read more: Chaos Planning

Warm regards,
Sean


The 6 Most Important Lessons In Marketing

The 6 Most Important Lessons In Marketing

1) Follow up.

2) Follow up.

3) Follow up.

4) Follow up.

5) Follow up.

6) Follow up.

How do I know this to be true?

Because recently we launched a book on Membership Sites. As is the norm, we give the best price to our members at 5000bc. We also let them know about the product a lot in advance. They read it in announcements, on the forum etc. So what price would your members choose to buy the product at? The lowest possible price or a higher price?

You’d be surprised at what you’d find…

Our logical minds would tell us that the lowest possible price is when you’d pick up a product. But that’s not the case. Yes, many members do pick it up at the member’s price. But at least 15% or more pick up the product/service/workshop at a higher price.

Now why would they do that?

We can’t say. And neither can you. Maybe they weren’t convinced. Maybe they didn’t read the earlier emails. Maybe they were on vacation.

Maybe—and the maybes don’t matter.

What does matter is that a reasonable number of buyers (and we’re still talking members here) do buy at a higher price, and on a later date. Which means that if we didn’t follow up, those sales may not have happened.

And this little insight shows you that if your closest, tightest band of followers aren’t paying that much attention after being reminded over and over again, how will the rest of your audience react?

Yup, you got it right

The rest of the audience is more skeptical, more distant and so yes, logically they would react much slower. The less connected your audience is to you, the more they’d hesitate to buy your product. And hence, if you don’t follow up, you miss the chance of getting the sale from this audience for sure.

But that’s not all.

When you miss out on a sale, you don’t just miss out on one sale

I recently bought a series on “how to draw trees, how to draw skies” etc. I bought that product about three weeks ago. Yesterday, I bought some more product from that very same instructor. So what are the chances that I’d buy the second series, if I’d not bought the first?

It doesn’t take much to guess that you don’t get to second base, unless you slide to first. And yet the first would have never got my interest if it wasn’t for the consistent follow up.

Which is all very fine in theory, but how do you follow up without being a pest?

Well, it depends. There are several ways of following up. Yes, the most effective way is to be direct and to the point. That means an email that says: “Announcing the book on XYZ…” is going to get far more response than anything else you can send to your list.

That single announcement that is pure sales and nothing else will get a far greater open rate than any other email. Yes, it’s salesy, but customers want to buy from you. So if you have something to sell, they want to see it.

But being direct and to the point continuously, isn’t the best of ideas

If you keep pummeling someone with sales offers, they’ll soon tire of you, and stop paying attention no matter how great your offer. You can however, follow up with other methods. E.g. a book excerpt. Or a few testimonials from clients embedded in your weekly newsletter. Or an interview where you talk about your book.

As you can tell, there are many ways to follow up for a single product

And you don’t want to do them all at once. The mistake that rookies make is that they send out the excerpt, the testimonials, the interview etc. all in one email.

Well, fine, so now what do you have left to send to you list, when you want to follow up? Not a lot, huh! So keeping the follow up sequence ready is pretty darned critical. And yes, make sure you create this sequence well in advance.

In advance?

Yes, in advance. When you’re first selling a product/service all your cylinders are firing. Yes, you may be exhausted from having to put the product together, put the sales sequence etc. but that’s the point when you’re most focused on your product.

If you put together the entire sequence—or at least six follow up steps, you’ll get those follow up steps out of the door on time. If you don’t, you’ll soon get distracted with taking a break or just launching something else, and your existing product will get bounced to a black hole on your to-do list.

So follow up:

1) Follow up many times. Six is a good starting point.

2) Even your best customers don’t pay attention the first time, or even the fifth time.

3) A great starting price is often not incentive enough. Your best customers are likely to buy even when the price rises, so keep at it.

4) If your best customers are not paying attention, ahem, guess how much more work you have to do for the rest of your customers.

5) So it’s one sale. Nope, it’s not. If you don’t make this one, you miss out on future sales as well.

6) You can indeed follow up without being a pest—provided you plan your sequence of follow ups.

7) If you front-load all your follow-ups in one email, you have nothing to follow-up with. So yeah, space them out.

8) Plan and put the follow-ups in place at the time when you’re most exuberant (and yes, most exhausted). It may not make sense to work when you’re so fed up of everything, but once the moment passes, it will be even harder to put any sequence together.

And that’s it

You now have the 6 Most-Important Lessons in Marketing.

Unless you follow up 9 or 10 or 15 times.


Next Step: Links you should visit

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

2) Are you serious about getting your business to the next level in 2014? 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 2015, 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?


The “Power of Enough” and the tuna sandwich..

Why A Break From Writing Will Kill Your Spirit

More.
More.
More.

We seem to live in a an world that’s never satisfied…
But there’s also something called “enough”.

On this day, you may want to listen and read about “enough” and how the “tuna sandwich” plays a role. What’s your tuna sandwich going to look like? It’s definitely a question worth answering. And…

If you’re on iTunes:
http://www.psychotactics.com/tunasandwich

If you’re not on iTunes or just want to read:
The Power of Enough

There’s a nice Kenny G type of track in the podcast, as well a cool Calvin and Hobbes Christmas story (There I go, name-dropping, ho, ho, ho).

Have a superb day.
I certainly will.

Warm regards,
s-