CEO Advice, Movie Stuff and Info Product Marketing
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Glad to see that the Golden Globe voters felt the same way I did about Slumdog Millionaire.
It won BEST DRAMA and deserved to. The Oscar nomination, and WIN is not far behind!
Just watched the movie, “The Insider” on regular TV. After watching so much stuff on Netflix’s I’m spoiled. I hate commercials even more than a month ago.
The Insider tells the story of a guy who almost single handedly brought the tobacco companies to their knees. If you may recall, the C.E.O’s of every major company had been called up to testify on Capitol Hill a decade or so ago.
ALL of them said that they did NOT think tobacco was addictive. This guy had the internal research that proved it was. Plain and simple, these weasels were lying.
As a Libertarian, I think you should be able to smoke if you choose. As long I don’t have to breathe your second hand smoke! At that point, YOUR smoking becomes MY problem.
I am not a big fan of lying.
In the information products business it happens a LOT.
And, many of the bigshot, well known, information product marketers KNOW they are lying with some of the patently outrageous claims they make.
Why do they do it? To make more money? Just like the tobacco weasels, there are info product weasels.
And, that bugs the CRAP out of me. Why? Because people get hurt. Financially. It also hurts those of us who refuse to lie to make an additional buck.
Customers and clients of these folks are promised things that CAN’T be achieved in time frames that are wholly unrealistic.
Who are these weasels so you can avoid them? There are too many to mention individually. I can count on ONE hand the people who I can confidently recommend. Sad but true. I’m also constrained by legal folks who tell me to keep quiet.
Since we are dealing “ONLY” with people’s money I guess I’ll not risk the lawsuits. If It was a life and death matter, I’d make a different choice.
But what GENERAL information do you need to know to make the right decisions on WHOM to trust in the field?
Here are some guidelines:
1. Don’t trust anyone who isn’t a world class expert in the field. Geoff Colvin’s book, “Talent is Overated” tells us that you need at least 10,000 hours of “deliberate” practice to get to this level.
So, you need to ask someone in the info marketing field how many hours they have doing what they claim they can teach you. Watch their faces when you ask them the question:
“Have you spent more than 10,000 hours producing and marketing info products?” If you see them flinch, keep moving.
2. Are they ethical and honest? Some of the people who pass the test on question #1 will fail miserably on this question.
The problem is that the uninformed consumer is hard pressed to figure out whether or not one of the self-proclaimed gurus is in fact honest and ethical.
The best way I’ve found to check them out is by asking other people in the field lots of questions.
Some of the questions:
1. Do you know this guy/gal?
2. Have you had personal dealings with them?
3. Do you know of someone who has?
4. Since you’ve had personal dealings with them would you say they are honest and ethical?
Don’t just ask one or two people. Find a dozen people to ask. After all, this is your money. And more importantly, your TIME!!
Once you are certain you have a person who has the knowledge of this field (and has the hours to prove it), AND you’ve determined by doing your due diligence that they are honest, you now have to do a final test.
Do you “CLICK” with the person? If you’re go on the first two and then get a NO on the last item, find someone else!
You need someone who has not only really done the work, AND is HONEST, but also has a personality that meshes with your own.
There are some people you RESONATE with and others you do NOT. Please don’t brush over this as a trivial matter.
Advice from a C.E.O.
So I’m traveling from Columbus to Dallas on yet another American Airlines flight and I’m seated in the back row of first class. First class because I fly enough that my upgrades are FREE and the back row because on an odd numbered flight I get to choose my meal first.
I get to talking to the guy next to me and he’s a C.E.O at a company called Sterling Commerce. A $700 Million subsidiary of AT&T. They operate in 40 countries and they have a LOT of employees.
Or at least a LOT compared to MY company. That would be just me!
As we are talking I’m doing my traditional thing. I basically end up interviewing people like him informally.
I find out that he started his career with I.B.M. At IBM they would always have you ask yourself the questions: What? Why? How?
Before we get to that he tells me about how he runs his business. He gets his direct reports together and goes through their list of “to-dos” with them. When he hears their list he then asks them to cut the number of priorities in half. Take only the most important 50% of the list.
After doing that, he asks them to cut them again and AGAIN! Until everyone is down to just 2 or 3 things max. He then tells people to “gray out” – on their computers, all of the other tasks they had written down.
He’s nice enough to go through that same exercise with me. On my computer sits a file I call my “BIG PIC”. It has all of my important stuff to do and various key contacts and info that I might need all in one text file.
On the VERY top of my Big Pic file sits a list, very similar to the list that his employees come to him with.
My list as we speak is this:
Fred Radio Show
Finish writing my new Info Product Marketing Book
Rewrite my existing books
My seminars and bootcamps
Speak more at other people’s events
Do more Coaching
Write a song
Write my Screenplay that I’ve almost outlined
Take a Documentary Film Class
I read the list out to him. He then tells me to pick the TWO most important ones. As it turns out, mine are the two at the top of the page. He says: “OK, now spend all of your time working on the top two. BUT, on your calendar at some reasonable time in the future put a note on a specific date to see if you can PROMOTE one of the grayed out items.
When I complete the one of the top two I can then promote one of the other items which has been grayed out.
But, he’s not done with me yet.
He asks me WHAT I want. I tell him that I want to: NET
$1 million a year with no employees. He then asks me: WHY? I tell him so that I can be completely debt free including EVERY asset I have including mortgages.
He keeps drilling down deeper and asks: why that? I tell him because I want to live a relaxed, stress free life and only work with clients I LOVE.
My answer to this drilling down ends with the same results of the exercise I do at virtually all my events. Although for some reason I did NOT do this exercise in Columbus this last Sunday when I spoke.
The answer is to live my ideal day, every day which consists of:
Read every day for an hour or so minimum Watch a movie everyday Play with my dogs everyday Have a massage every day – real person or a machine Exercise aerobically for 30-60 minutes Spend quality time relaxing/talking/hanging out with friends/family
What? Net $1miillion a year Why? So I can live my ideal day every day How? Finish and publish my book and get a radio show
I’m glad I struck up a conversation with him!
BTW, we started speaking because I saw him reading a book by Wally Lamb called “The Hour I First Believed”.
What? A business guy, reading fiction? Isn’t that a criminal offense in some States? You would think so from the way some business people respond.
After showing him my Kindle and having him assure me that he’d be getting one I then asked him if he reads any non-fiction business books. He says: NEVER!
A C.E.O. of a major company NOT reading any business how-to books? Should he be arrested?
According to him, he doesn’t need to. It all comes down to: What? Why? How?
If you think about it, this makes a LOT of sense. Will I stop reading business books. Nope. But, I will take to heart his lesson of doing just 2 things and GRAYING out everything else.
I’ll keep you posted on how this works out.
Don’t Try and Convert the UNconvertible
I met another guy up in first class on the leg of my flight from Dallas to Las Vegas who was not nearly as nice. BUT, he was interesting. We got to talking. He’s in the fundraising business. He does most of his work for local schools in the area where he is from.
He explained how he did his work and while he was doing so, I thought he would be a PERFECT candidate for my www.FredInfoBootcamp.com. I didn’t pitch him on it, because of what happened, but the example will illustrate a good point.
After telling me what he does, he then asked me what I do. I told him that I was in business of creating, packaging and marketing KNOWLEDGE. He gave me a funny look. Many people do when I feed them this line.
I then said to him: Over the years you’ve gained a boatload of knowledge about fundraising. You’ve been making decent money but you have acquired one asset that is still in your warehouse and it remains unsold
I would bet you have as much as $2 million in unused inventory that you’ve accumulated in your warehouse that you haven’t even attempted to sell.
(Another funny look from him at this point)
What I’m saying is that you’ve acquired a LOT of knowledge about how to do what you do. I’ll bet there are a ton of people who would pay some good money to know what you know about fundraising.
(He looked a bit interested)
You are currently operating a business where you make pretty slim margins. What if you could make something that would sell for $100 that has ZERO cost of goods once it’s produced? And, the production cost would be less than $1,000.
I then explained that he could outline his knowledge about fundraising and put it into various types of info products and make money selling the knowledge he has gained about the topic over the 30+ years he had been doing it.
The margins would be PHENOMENAL compared to what he was currently selling and it’s inventory that he already “OWNS.”
At this point he looked down at his magazine and started reading.
That was my cue to shut up and complete the writing of this ezine.
I had stated my case very well and very clearly. He was NOT interested. I did NOT attempt to “sell” him on the concept.
Do not attempt to CONVERT the UNCONVERTIBLE. It’s a waste of time. Keep moving. Look for another prospect. It’s just not worth the effort.
People who try and convert others to their religious beliefs are probably a bit more persistent. If you know any of these folks, you know that some are a LOT more persistent. Mainly because they feel the stakes are much higher.
I would suggest that in the case of more mundane issues, like selling info products, that one NOT try and convert those who have no interest. Just keep moving and try to find someone who IS interested.
The same holds true in ANY field. Like yours!
Books and Domain Names
I had a chance to speak to a real nice guy after my presentation on Sunday to the Columbus chapter of the National Speakers Association.
Because of the nature of this story, I can’t give you his real name or the name of the book, but the story will still make sense.
He had come up with a name for his book that is scheduled to be on the market this Summer. He has already come up with a title for the book.
That’s all fine. Here is the problem.
He came up with the book title BEFORE he checked to see if the domain name was available.
He has the .net version of the name but does not own the .com version of the same url. This presents a problem.
Additionally, he has already contacted the owner of the .com and has let him know that he has a book coming out by that title and wanted to buy the domain name.
First off, anyone could have made these mistakes. He’s not in the business and these are fairly common errors.
The question NOW is what should he do. AND, what do I suggest he (and you do and not do) in the future.
Here is my read on things.
First off, calling a guy who owns the .com name for your book that’s being published and letting him know you’d like to buy it and telling the owner why is a BAD idea.
(Please note that the current owner of this domain name does not have it up with any content right now.)
Why? By announcing your intentions, you have now just inflated the price you eventually pay. IF you can get it at all.
He acknowledged his negotiating mistake and asked what he should do NOW. I suggested he approach a third party to try and buy the domain name on his behalf.
After giving me a guesstimate of how many books he thinks he will sell (about 30k on the low side) I GUESSED that he should be willing to pay as much as $5,000 for the domain.
I also said that I thought it MIGHT be possible for him to get the domain name as cheap as $750. BUT, even at the $5k price, I still recommended he shell out the cash.
Why? The simple answer: it’s worth it!
If he pays the $5,000 for the domain name once and he now owns it forever. Assuming he only sells the 30,000 books, this will more than pay for itself in the long run. When people hear about a book, they almost always go in and Google the name. If he owns the .com version of the name, they will find him.
If he does NOT procure the name (he owns the .net version of the name), here is what will happen.
I’ll act like I’m the guy who owns the .com name for his book. To maximize revenue, I’ll set up a site that not only gives me a commission for selling the book, I’ll also put other links on that site to related topics where I’ll get an affiliate commission.
Since he is not the publisher of the book, and the publisher is primarily concerned with maximizing sales of the book (as they should be), as the owner of the .com name I would approach the publisher and ask to buy the books at a significant discount.
If I negotiate well, I MAY be able to get the book for 40% off the cover price. In some cases, I may be able to get this deal buying as little as 20 books at a time.
Let’s take this example to the extreme. Let’s say I owned the domain name: www.TheSecret.com.
(For the record, I’m not a fan of the book but it makes for an easy illustrative example)
I set up a great looking website which sells the book itself (which I got from the publisher at 40% off) plus a lot of related items that I think readers who like this kind of “stuff” would be interested in.
In the case of a blockbuster like this, I’m guessing I could make as much as $100,000 a year. Just because I owned the .com name of a major best selling book and knew what I was doing.
If the person in my original example goes he ahead with the book and only owns the .net domain name for it, there will be problems. POSSIBLY big problems. The reason is that if he is even moderately successful, the owner of the .com version of the name will POACH his traffic.
People (as well as browsers on computers) default to the .com version of a domain name. We all do this without thinking. This may, however, NOT be the case with a non-profit which someone would FIRST guess is a .org.
So, what should he do? My first question to him was can he change the name of the book without causing all sorts of hassle? As you might expect, the answer was NO.
My first step would be to have a third party go in and try and grab the domain name for the best price possible.
Second I would grab all the misspellings of the name and the .org version as well. If he goes to http://www.UltraCheapDomains.com he’ll pay around $8/year per domain. (It will also put a few pennies in my pocket! lol)
Third is I would try and come up with a great catch phrase that is either used in the book or encapsulates the message and reserve the .com, .net and org versions of it. I would then try and use that catchy phrase whenever I did publicity or PR and try to get people to find me that way.
In short the major lesson is this: As soon as you come up with the name of a book, make sure you reserve the .com name before settling on it as your title. If you MUST have a name where the .com is not available, have a third party negotiate to get that .com name at the lowest possible price Also, make sure and reserve the misspellings of any .com’s the you reserve.
On Thursday 1/15/09, from 3pm to 4pm EST,
Bob Bly and I will be chatting with Dave Hamilton about how to “Squeeze More Profits from Your Online Sales.”
The call is $49 to non-members. But as a premium member of my Internet Information Marketing Club, you can attend free of charge.
Please respond with your name and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to register for this teleseminar.
Lunch with Fred in Europe:
London, January 18th – 4 spaces left
Munich, January 25th – 5 spaces left’
Brussels, January 30th – 6 spaces left
http://www.TheSpeakingSchool.com – March 5th – 12th
http://www.FredInfoBootcamp.com March 26-April 2nd
That’s all for Now!
All the Best,