Don’t sell polished turds (and other cautionary tales)

selling for the wrong reasonsI’ve made sales – hundreds or thousands – over my long and sometimes-illustrious and sometimes-grubby-and-desperate career.

I’ve made sales because I’ve said the right thing at the right time, or the right thing frequently enough, or the right thing just once to the wrong person who then went and passed the message onto the right person.

I’ve polished turds to sell to people who really didn’t need polished turds.

I’ve done my best to force people to buy things that I knew they needed … they just didn’t know it yet.

I’ve won business because of prospects wanting to sleep with me.

I’ve won – and lost – business because I wanted to sleep with the prospect.

I’ve lost sales because I’ve been lazy, or inconsistent, or stoopid. I’ve lost business because my mind was in other places when it should have been on the money.

I’ve been surprised when some dead-beat pulled out a black Amex. I’ve been burned by others I thought were a shoe-in (or a lay-down).

But despite all of these lessons, selling never gets easier.

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SUBJECTS: A list of discarded subject lines

A real WTF momentSo I keep a scrapbook filled with ideas for my emails.

I normally start with a subject line, then flesh it out. Occasionally I’ll have an idea first, but rarely. Normally I make it up as I go along (that will be $3,000 please.)

Anyway, of these ideas, some end up pretty complete. Others become obscure lists of words that make me scratch my head and say “what on earth?”

Here’s a sample of the latter, for your amusement:

SUBJECT: The label on your pants? I’m with THAT guy.

I have literally no idea what this means. My best guess is that it’s got something to do with brand recognition and self-identity. But it could also be about getting somebody to do your laundry, or low-slung denim trousers, or … no, really no idea.

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A peek inside …

Marketing and stuffYo,

this is one of my lazy “emergency” emails for when life gets in the way and I need a plan B.

(I always have one or two of these on the back-burner for occasions like this. Bizarrely, often these things turn out far more popular than you’d imagine.)

Back to normal service tomorrow, providing life reverts to plan. Otherwise I’ll send you to something like my most popular YouTube video ever.

MK

PS Danny Iny is doing something cool you should check out.

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What are you reading?

This biography of Mark Twain by Ron Powers. Sign of the Cross by my friend Thomas Mogford, which is a murder mystery set in Malta. No BS Trust-Based Marketing by Dan Kennedy – a gift from my friend Steve Gordon (who will be doing a special class on referrals for you in the future). A pre-release version of The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman – a gift from the author. If you haven’t read Josh’s first book – The Personal MBA – then you absolutely should.

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My dirty secret (faking it)

FakeEver felt like a fake?

Because I have.

That time I had to stare down Psycho Steve outside the James Joyce at 3 o’clock in the morning and invite him to give me his best shot because I wasn’t scared?

I was terrified.

Or the time I first saw it kick off in the LopLop Cafe? When the waiters and the bouncers dragged the long-haired neo-Nazi down the stairs bay his feet and pummel seven shades of shit out of him?

I told them I missed it because I was fetching something from the cellar.

I wasn’t. I was hiding.

(After the second, eighth and twenty-fourth time it kicked off, I’d become inured to it. Never enjoyed it, though.)

Or the time my son was born and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing?

Or the time I qualified as a certified Book Yourself Solid coach and I claimed to be the guy who could “get you more clients” when I didn’t have any track-record of doing that for other people?

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Why Award Winning Is For Losers

Award WinningDo you use this phrase in your marketing?

If there’s one lazy turn-of-phrase that makes me choke on my morning Glenfiddich, it’s this one.

It’s a phrase that you see everywhere you find sloppy folk, plastered all over websites, brochures, business cards and invitations to do business.

What am I talking about?

Yep … “Award winning”.

Which is funny, because just last week, I won the following awards:

  • Small Business Marketing Coach of the Year
  • Father of the Decade
  • Lover of the Moment
  • Intellectual Eminence of the Fucking Century

All awarded by the Association of British Thirty-Two Year-Olds Called Matthew Kimberley Who Live In Malta.

I stormed those award ceremonies, I can tell you. There were fistfights and snogging and everything.

The most shameful thing? “Award Winning” still works in marketing, it seems. It’s a convenient piece of social proof. And Lord knows we need that.

But “award winning” sales conversations aren’t ever effective.

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