Let’s talk about being “reasonably successful.”
Not because you don’t want to be a raging success. Of course you do. We all do.
Raging success, however, is a poorly-defined goal for most of us. We all have our own version of it. One man’s success is another man’s dismal stop-gap, slopping out latrines at summer music festivals.
We occasionally hear of people who claim to be “scared of success”. I don’t believe that. I don’t think anybody is scared of success.
After all, if the ethereal “success” we seek was handed to us on a plate, we’d take it, scarf it down, belch and say “thank you”.
We’re more likely afraid of the hard work that leads to success: because we’re not convinced that the legwork is worth the payoff.
I’m not in the least bit religious.
But there’s a lot of beauty to be found in religion and its artifacts.
Most of the prayer of St. Francis, for example, is a pretty good maxim to live by:
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
[…] Where there is sadness, joy.
In fact, we have a solid commandment in the More Clients Mastermind:
“Thou shalt not be a dick.”
Do good and be kind. (Or, in the words of Marcus Aurelius: “If it’s not good, don’t do it, and if it’s not true, don’t say it.”)
I’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.
So 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.
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.
PS Danny Iny is doing something cool you should check out.
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.