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December 6, 2019

How to profit from the stupidity of the masses

Check this email from my accountant:

“I wouldn’t offer such an onerous guarantee; people will take advantage.”

I appreciate the concern, and there is some truth in it… but it misses the point.

Here’s what I mean… 

Onerous really means that I’ve taken on all of the risk in the transaction. That’s exactly the point of a guarantee. Reducing the risk on the prospect makes it easier for them to say yes and make a decision to purchase.

Yes, one or two people will probably take advantage. And one or two more will take me up on the guarantee because they had a bad experience; in which case, I’d want to make up for it anyway.

I’ll be testing it, of course, but in the majority of cases: the increase in sales from an “onerous” guarantee far outweighs the cost of refunds.

Have you ever studied the late, great success coach Earl Nightingale?

I believe it was in his program Lead The Field that Earl said something to the effect of:

“If you want to learn how to be successful at something and you don’t have a role model, start by observing what everybody else does… and do the exact opposite.”

You might not know what you should do, but you can be more or less certain that the masses are doing it badly.

A great example of this truth is in the field of productivity. I run two businesses. If you’re reading this, you probably run (or aspire to run) a business as well. So you know that intense demands on your time forces you to consider how to spend life’s most precious asset productively.

So what do the masses do?

They work in an office. They’re constantly distracted by colleagues and clients. Nowadays, it’s probably an open office—which, to me, is just an invitation to be interrupted. They answer calls on their mobile. They’ve got WhatsApp messages to respond to. Facebook notifications. Instagram. Emails.

It’s a wonder anybody gets anything done!

So when I decided to get more out of each minute and hour, I started to behave differently: I threw my phone in the bin (actually, I just sold it on eBay, but that sounded more dramatic), deleted my social media profiles, and asked my assistant to handle all emails (and change the password so I can’t get in). I work from home. I don’t take any phone calls live; they go to voicemail. The result? I get long spells of writing without interruption.

My clients benefit, too. Although it can be frustrating, it’s incredibly effective. They don’t have to play phone tag. If they want to talk, they can schedule an appointment, and they know I’ll be prepared and ready to give them my full, undivided attention. And they know that, by working without interruption, I’ll be much more effective on their project.

This is too radical for most. And that’s fine. It works for me. You have to find what works for you. But my very long-winded point is that, if you believe in Earl’s observation, even if you don’t know what to do to be successful, you can start by observing the masses and NOT modeling their behavior.

You know, this natural law is very evident in marketing, too.

The masses use passive and untested methods. They have no idea if what they are doing is working.

The minority of well-informed marketers tend to be bold and relatively aggressive. They hold their marketing investments accountable. They insist on a measurable return just like they would an investment in the stock market. 

But listen: being in the minority tends to attract criticism from the majority. My accountant is a great guy and excellent at what he does, but his comment is also a very good case in point.

It takes courage, conviction and faith in your beliefs to zig when everyone else zags.

It’s not easy, but worth it in the end.

It’s like I often remind myself:

To be extraordinary

… you can’t be ordinary.

Here’s to your success.


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