Stop Trying to be so Clever in Your Selling

Stop Trying to be so Clever in Your Selling

Cheating people out of money might feel good in the short term.

But in the long run, it’s sure to result in complaints, returns, and exchanges.

In matters of business and relationships, my mentors always told me:

What you win them with is what you win them to.

If you win people over with your clever schemes and copy, then it’s only natural that you’re going to see people leave in droves.

Sure, some will stick around. And maybe you’re counting on a high turnover rate.

But is it worth gaining a negative reputation over? And is it worth putting so much time and effort into appealing to the lowest common denominator?

Yes, it does depend on who you’re selling to. Your audience matters. Entrepreneurs, for example, appreciate when sellers get to the point instead of delivering a 30-minute spiel.

But if you’re going to win people over with your clever schemes, they’re liable to turn them around on you. Then you stand to lose something too.

Clever marketing tactics reek of desperation. They tell people that you’re probably just in it for the money. They tell people that you’re probably not legit. Just that you could afford YouTube ads.

Instead of trying to skip steps, earn credibility with others. Get their permission to market to them. Then, let them know of what’s available and why they’d be missing out if they didn’t buy.

Honesty, integrity, and authenticity are appreciated more today than you even realize. And even if it doesn’t lead to immediate profit, it will lead to better results long-term.

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Bonenkai

Bonenkai

In Japan, there are two types of New Year parties.

One is Shinnenkai and the other Bonenkai.

Shinnenakai literally means “new year gathering.”

Meanwhile, Bonenkai is made up of three kanji characters meaning “forget,” “year,” and “gathering.”

Both types of parties generally revolve around drinking.

But where a Shinnenkai might be celebratory in atmosphere, a Bonenkai would not be.

Because the purpose of a Bonenaki is to forget the troubles and woes of the year past to look forward to what will hopefully be a better year.

I don’t know if there will be any parties in Japan as we approach the final month of the year.

But if there are, I bet most of them will be Bonenkais. Because that’s how most of us feel about 2020.

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The Forgotten Art of Research

The Forgotten Art of Research

It occurs to me that most of us haven’t the faintest clue of how to research. And it’s become increasingly problematic in these strange times where many reports are vastly exaggerated and even fabricated.

For many, research consists of turning on the TV and watching the news.

But we’ve got to remember what TV was made for – for entertainment. Otherwise, programs would not be punctuated by commercials, which are cleverly placed to feed our consumerism.

And rarely if ever are programs – even so-called “serious” programs – not punctuated by commercials. I’ve only seen it once.

A book does not interrupt you to sell a product. And even if it does, you’re welcome to skip over the pitch.

“Because I saw it on TV” is about the weakest argument you can make for knowing something. It’s like saying you opened the fist page of a book once, and now you know all its contents. That’s not research.

“Because I saw it on TV” is about the weakest argument you can make for knowing something. Click To Tweet

TV does not exist to educate you. You may learn a thing or two watching, to be sure, but not the deeper truths lurking beneath.

Research is about taking responsibility for yourself. Letting go of learned helplessness. Acknowledging that your life and your freedoms matter to you.

If we do not question anything and instead agree with everything, then aren’t we just mindless drones carrying out the orders of authority?

It’s easy to succumb to laziness. I know that all too well, and I’m not immune to YouTube or Netflix binges.

But I can honestly say I have put hundreds of hours into researching topics that matter to me, including current events. Revisiting everything I thought I “knew.” All the things I was taught as a child. And often coming away with a different perspective than I started with. Because it’s inevitable when you uncover the truth.

That’s the mark of true research – when your perspective changes. Because you saw reason to challenge the oversimplified, never verified, incomplete answers you were given as a child. Rather than living in an echo chamber that reinforces what you think you already know.

You couldn’t have been given all the answers as you were going through school. It’s impossible. No one would impose such a gruesome, R rated world on impressionable children (though we still subject them to a lot). They were given the G or PG rated version of history.

We were given the G or PG rated version of history.

If you come away from school satisfied that you know the facts, then you have not engaged in research at all. Because everything was presented to get something specific across.

“I don’t understand the point of history or social studies,” said many a student, including some of my friends.

Don’t you get it? You were given a narrative to follow. Because someone served to benefit from it.

And when I say “benefit,” don’t jump to profit or malicious intent. We all do things because we stand to benefit from them. Even when we do things that benefit others, we still stand to benefit from the feeling of having done good.

How silly and foolish to think we could outgive the divine. It’s impossible. We will go through this life having taken more than we gave, no matter how much we gave.

How silly and foolish to think we could outgive the divine. Click To Tweet

You can trust the narrative if you wish. But make it a well-researched, educated opinion rather than blind faith in everything anyone has ever said.

I urge you to do real research from now on. In all matters concerning life. Even those you think you know inside and out. Especially now.

And do not begin with the news. Because the media deliberately makes stories as dramatic and controversial as possible. They get paid by the number of eyeballs that see their story, and they get paid more when they hold your attention for longer.

Whether they report on facts is for you to decide. But do not accept what’s being said blindly. Look into matters for yourself.

Begin with sources you do not typically explore. Begin at the library. And dig as deep as you can. Because the answers are there. For now. They may not be for long.

Engage in true research. I urge you.

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How Much of My True Self Should I Let Out?

How Much of My True Self Should I Let Out?

I got together with a friend today, and he posed this question to me.

As content creators, being vanilla means blending in.

But if we outright attack people we don’t like, we could risk losing our following. Being banned or deleted even.

Today, certain celebrities are attacking other known figures with what can only be described as hate speech. Quite the world we live in.

I’m not here to cast judgment on it. But I do feel it’s counterproductive. Whatever you add resistance to, you empower and bring more attention to.

Whatever you add resistance to, you empower and bring more attention to. Click To Tweet

So, is there a happy medium? A comfortable middle?

Not exactly.

If you’re happy and comfortable, you shouldn’t be publishing.

If you're happy and comfortable, you shouldn't be publishing. Click To Tweet

Because, ideally, you shouldn’t be hitting “publish” on anything you aren’t a little uncomfortable with. Otherwise, the results are expected. Commonplace. Humdrum.

As content creators, we can do our best work In the “discomfort zone.”

We should leave attacking people to disgruntled celebrities. And instead attack ideas. That can lead to productive discussion.

The fun part is that, as I shared in the latest episode of my podcast, there is no one right idea. What works for me may not work for you. And vice versa.

Even that idea is worth attacking.

Because that’s where a good debate can happen. And people are going to tune in to watch the show unfold.

(By the way, I have occasionally published my complete uncensored thoughts under an alias. Because I needed to get something out of me. You might give that a try too, just to see what it feels like. I learned a great deal from this simple act.)

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Publishing Daily is Not a Decision

Publishing Daily is Not a Decision

I’ve shared about the fact that I’ve been publishing daily since the end of July.

And if you’ve been keeping an eye on my Medium feed, then you already know what’s up.

But why prioritize publishing? Don’t I have better things to do? Don’t I have higher priorities?

Here’s why I’m publishing daily.

I’m Sharing My Story

We’ve all got a story to share.

I’ve experienced all kinds of things in this lifetime – major earthquakes, the death of my father, writing five books, and a great deal more.

There’s no value in a story never told. But there’s always value in stories shared, even if they only ever touch, move, or inspire one person.

Stories can be instructive, insightful, entertaining, educational, and more.

My story may never be told to large audiences. But if some aspect of it resonates with a few people, that’s more than enough. And if it can make their lives better, nothing could possibly make me happier.

I’m Putting What I Know into Practice

Author of Show Your Work! Austin Kleon suggests artists set up a website with a custom domain and blog every day about their creativity.

Author Seth Godin talks about showing up. And true to his word, he shows up daily. Publishing daily is not a decision for him (more on that later).

Marketer Russell Brunson claims publishing daily will solve all your business problems. I don’t know whether that’s true, but I do like the sound of it.

So, I’m putting something I know to do into practice. Because I’m an artist. And love creating. And I can’t imagine not creating.

I need a portal where I can share everything I create. That’s what this is.

I’m Documenting My Journey & Answering Questions

Hopefully, by documenting my journey and answering your questions, I’m adding value to you. That’s the idea, know it or not.

I can gather that you’re not going to read everything I publish. That’s a given.

But publishing daily gives me a presence. So, you’re less likely to forget about me completely.

And if I’ve added value to you, you’re likely to return for more.

It’s not strictly about building traffic or a following, though that might be a desirable byproduct of publishing daily.

It’s just a way of saying “this is what I’m doing – if you want to, you can do it too.”

I have a vague sense of my purpose in this world, and that’s to inspire people. But you can’t be inspiring without being inspirational. And that means showing up and doing the work.

Being prolific or not isn’t the point. Because I’ve written a few garbage stories since I started publishing daily.

It’s about being available. Being a source of information. Helping people see new possibilities.

I’m Sharing My Works

I have many creative works I think are worth sharing, and many people don’t know about them.

I’ve written five books.

I have two albums, two EPs, and six singles.

And I also have eBooks, courses, a YouTube channel (or two), a podcast, and more.

These things are worth sharing. Not in a “look at me – I’m awesome” kind of way. Not even in a “buy all my stuff” kind of way. More in a “here’s something you might enjoy” kind of way.

Publishing Daily, Final Thoughts

Seth Godin often talks about the fact that certain aspects of his life are “not a decision.”

Each of us have limited willpower and it continually diminishes throughout the day. So, when he says it’s not a decision, he’s saying he doesn’t have to think about certain decisions in his daily life. He just goes and does what he’s chosen to do. This keeps his life optimized.

That’s why publishing daily is not a decision to me. I’m going to do it. And it might seem crazy, or irresponsible, or unreasonable, or unnecessary. The great news is I will enjoy myself either way! And I hope you will too.

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