How do you get a Bestseller?
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, man, practice.
How do you get a bestseller? Sell a lot of books.
Be a Friend. Order 3 copies of All About Them and I’ll send you Brandisms, my 378-page e-book of branding tips and advice with one big idea for every single day of the year. (Additional value: $60)
Be a Big Deal. Order 10 copies of All About Them and you’ll get Brandisms plus my 170-page Personal Branding Implementation Blueprint. (Additional value: $960)
Be a Mensch. Order 25 copies and you’ll get the two e-books plus a 30-minute consulting call. (Additional value: $1,435)
Be a Hero. Order 100 copies and you’ll get the two e-books plus a one-hour consulting call and a one-hour training webinar for your team. (Additional value: $6,435)
Be a Superhero. Order 1,000 copies and I will come speak to your organization and guests at your event anywhere in the continental United States and Canada. This includes a one-hour keynote and a one-hour workshop plus travel. (Additional value: $21,500). And yes, you’ll get the two e-books also.
What’s the catch? Just this: the deal ends at midnight on September 6th, 2016.
That’s right. On official launch day, September 6th all of these great offers will go away. So don’t dilly-dally and don’t delay. I want to be a bestseller on September 6th. I would love for you to help me and I’ll make it worth your while.
Carnegie Hall? Practice.
Bestseller? It’s up to you. Don’t let me down. Click HEREPublished on August 23rd, 2016
I asked a good buddy who’s got a New York Times bestseller what I needed to do to get on the bestseller list. He grabbed me by both shoulders and looked soulfully into my eyes.
“Most of all,” he said dramatically, “write a better book.”
“Sure pal,” I thought (but did not say). “If I had hired Shakespeare, Hemingway or YOU I guess it could have been better. But I wrote the best book I could.”
As a result of that tip I still needed an answer I could work with. And so I asked another successful author what he would recommend I do to get on the bestseller list.
He stared at me too. “Just remember,” he said finally, “it’s called the bestseller list, not the best writer list.”
Now THAT’S advice I can work with.
Please don’t get me wrong. I believe I’ve written a damn good book. All About Them shows you how to succeed at the new realities of building your business and your brand. Furthermore, the folks who’ve already read it think so too. One well-known writer told me he picked up the pre-publication copy merely to flip through it. But he was so enthralled that he wound up reading the first 140 pages in one sitting.
Therefore I’d like you to think this through with me. It seems that if I want to be a bestseller, I should incentivize you to order a lot of books. So I’ll make it worth your while to buy All About Them to read yourself, for your family, your employees, your customers, and everyone on your Christmas list.
Just click on one of these links to order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kindle, Audio book or 800-CEO-Read by this September 6th. Send a copy of the confirmation to email@example.com and this is what you’ll get:
Be a Pal. Order three copies of All About Them by 9/6/16 and I’ll send you Brandisms, my 378-page e-book of branding tips and advice with one big branding idea for every single day of the year. (Additional value: $60)
Be a Big Deal. Order ten copies of All About Them by 9/6/16 and you’ll get Brandisms plus my 170-page Personal Branding Implementation Blueprint. (Additional value: $960)
Be a Mensch. Order 25 copies by 9/6/16 and you’ll get the two e-books plus a 30-minute consulting call with me. (Additional value: $1,435)
Be a Hero. Order 100 copies by 9/6/16 and you’ll get the two e-books plus a one-hour consulting call and a one-hour training webinar. (Additional value: $6,435)
Be a Superhero. Order 1,000 copies by 9/6/16 and I will come speak to your organization and guests at your event anywhere in the continental United States and Canada. This includes a one-hour keynote and a one-hour workshop plus travel. (Additional value: $21,500). And yes, you’ll get the two e-books as well.
So what’s the catch? Just this: this deal ends at midnight on September 6th, 2016.
That’s right. At the end of official launch day, September 6th, all of these great offers will go away. So please don’t dilly-dally and don’t delay. I want to be a bestseller on September 6th. I would love you to help me and I’ll make it worth your while.
In conclusion — best writer? I’ve done my best.
Bestseller? It’s up to you now. Don’t let me down.Published on August 16th, 2016
Write a Book.
My mom has lived on Miami Beach since before I was born. She still lives less than a mile from where I grew up.
Every few weeks my mom gets together with her friends and goes to lunch or to the botanical gardens. The friends have known each other – and me – since I was knee high to a seahorse.
In my imagination their conversations go something like this (all details have been changed):
Mom: “So how’s your daughter, Phyllis?”
Phyllis: “Oh she’s doing great. She’s a doctor, you know. Did her residency at Columbia. Now she’s the head of transplantation at Sinai Cedars.”
All the friends nod and murmur their approval.
Phyllis: “And how’s your son, Marge?
Marge: “Couldn’t be better. He’s a partner at Schlobockie, Evenruth, and Golinsky. He was tapped for the federal appellate bench but he’s not sure he wants to move to Washington.”
The friends all look around at each other and smile knowingly.
“And how’s Bruce, your oldest?” one of the friends asks my mom.
“Oh he’s great,” my mom answers. “He’s an art director.”
The friends all stare at each other without a sound.
“Well he always was such a good drawer,” Marge says finally, filling the long gap.
They walk on in silence…
So when you think about it that’s a good reason to write a book. If only so my mom would have something to talk about.
Sure I could have written All About Them to help friends and readers like you tackle the new world we all find ourselves in. Of course I could have written it to serve as the post-modern guidebook for businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs to learn how to not just survive but to thrive in today’s increasingly connected environment. And yes, I could have written it to show you proven, step-by-step techniques to build a powerful brand.
So now you’re part of that equation. You see it’s not enough that I wrote All About Them, I also need to sell a boatload of them so my mom can brag about her son the best-selling author. And let’s make no mistake, it’s called the “best-sellers list,” not the “best writers list.”
All About Them is a beautiful hardcover volume (also available on Kindle and audio, by the way) and it’s almost 300 pages of my best stuff. But let’s face it, none of that really matters does it?
What matters is my mom’s happiness. That’s the reason to write a book. And that’s in your hands now.
All you have to do is buy books for every single person you know. Friends, relatives, your chiropodist, early Christmas gifts, whatever. I’ll be pleased if you just order one copy for yourself (or two, why the heck not?) on September 6th, the day the book is released. When you do, I’ll show my gratitude with special bonuses that will enhance your experience and really help you build your brand.
Just keep your eyes on your email and I’ll let you know how to order and how to get your special extras.
I thank you and my mom thanks you.
Marge and Phyllis? The jury’s still out.Published on August 8th, 2016
Before the Internet, selling yourself by saying how great you were was a terrific way to market your business. If you didn’t blow your horn, who would? And unless you had an enormous marketing budget and could afford a robust advertising campaign, selling yourself was the only way anyone could learn about you.
Today everything’s changed. Today we each carry a thin wafer of silicon and glass giving us immediate access to all the world’s knowledge. Got a question about a new business, product or vendor? Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Facebook’s M, and Google’s search will give you more answers than you have time for.
Of course your potential clients and customers have access to the same technology. This means your business prospects can know everything about you before they walk into your store or restaurant or talk to you. As I said, today everything’s changed. Today success requires you to turn the lens around and focus relentlessly on your customer.
If you’ve read this blog for long you can guess that the book is packed with amusing anecdotes. They are the spoonful of sugar to help the suggestions go down. Along with these illustrations you’ll find a thorough step-by-step process to selling yourself. All About Them will show you how to build your brand value based on exactly what your customers — and your potential customers — want.
Ordinarily this is where I would point you to the Amazon link and ask you to order your copy of All About Them. But today everything’s changed. What I want you to do is wait a few weeks until my publisher’s official launch of the book and then order your copies. When you do you’ll get some fantastic bonuses that will enhance your experience and help make your business even better.
If you’ve already ordered All About Them don’t worry, I’d never leave you out. Keep an eye on your email and I’ll show you how to get your great resources. After all, you were good enough to support me and I want to do the same.
I’m sitting with a potential client who is building a nascent software company that might – or might not – be the next great discovery in his particular industry.
The problem is Mr. Entrepreneur just got back from his investment road show and he’s still in sales mode. That means he can’t answer any question with a simple response. Instead he hems and haws, pivoting away from every question and barreling headfirst into his prepackaged sales pitch.
He starts each answer with a “so” or a “well” and ends each sentence with his voice raising in pitch until only dogs can hear him. It sounds like I’m listening to a nervous 14-year old girl in the Hollywood Hills.
Finally, a smart woman sitting at the table asks him what he wants to achieve. “Well, I guess, it would be helpful if I was a thought leader” he answered slowly. “So I’d like to get on TV.”
Next she asks, “Do you really believe in your brand? Do you have a blog? Do you write?”
“So, we have a website and we repost articles and thoughts from others in the space. It generates lots of reciprocal traffic. Do you know that when we reposted Peter Thiel’s article about students no longer needing to go to college it got us our highest readership ever?”
“And who benefitted from that?” she asked rhetorically. “You or Peter Thiel?”
“So, I think that if we…”
That’s when the camel’s back snapped in two.
“You really think you believe in your brand? Do you know you haven’t answered a single question with a simple ‘yes’ or a ‘no’? Each one of your answers is a diversion, a sales pitch, a bunch of hooey. You’ve been asked the same question from three different people and you haven’t answered it once. No matter what the question is you don’t answer it, you just pivot away to the same sales pitch you’ve been delivering for weeks.”
“You know who’s the perfect illustration of this? President John F. Kennedy. In 1961 he proclaimed that we would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard …because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…”
“Of course Kennedy had no way of knowing if we could actually get to the moon. There was no technological reason for him to believe it was possible. And everything in the country – from science education to financing to manufacturing – had to change to make it happen. But JFK did what a leader does. He boldly laid out the future and the rest of the country followed him into it. He didn’t equivocate, he didn’t question it, and sadly he didn’t live to see it.
But we took his direction and reached the goal. And we even did it a few months before our deadline. On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fulfilled Kennedy’s prophecy when they became the first humans to set foot on the moon.”
The rest of the room just stared back slack jawed. I thought that perhaps she had gone too far but what the hell. In for a penny, in for a pound. She started up again:
“When did you stop believing? You got into this business for a reason, for a big idea. At some point you thought enough of your big idea to quit your job, take out a second mortgage on your house, put the rest of your life on hold, and give everything to this new business. You had to convince your parents, reassure your wife, and explain it all to your boss. And you did it because you believed. You believed in your idea. You believed in your business. And most of all you believed in yourself. You knew you’d get to the moon, didn’t you?”
“Stop repeating what other people are saying. Stop reposting other people’s work. Stop overcoming everyone’s objections. Stop compromising. Stop selling. Stop saying what you think we want to hear. Stop hearing what you think we want to say. Stop upspeaking. Stop saying ‘well.’ Stop saying ‘so.” Stop saying ‘like.’ Stop hemming and stop hawing.”
“Look at Trump. Look at Brexit. Look at Elon Musk. You may not like their politics and you may not like their motivations but you can’t question their passion, their ardor, or their results. Is what they’re saying true or correct? Will Trump be president? Will England be better? Will we have fully autonomous cars by 2020 or a colony on Mars by 2030? Who the hell knows? But they said we will and their followers believe it.”
“If you really believe that your idea can make the world better then do it. Plant your flag. Make your statement. How? Write a book. If you can’t write a book, write a manifesto. Declare your future and lead your employees to it. THAT’S the way to both be a thought leader and to create your own opportunity.”
“All you have to do is to believe in your brand.”Published on July 27th, 2016
Let me be crystal clear: I’m not a money manager. I’m not a particularly astute investor. And even I wouldn’t follow my own advice. In fact, my go-to-line for advice has always been to try shorting stocks I buy. So you’ve been warned.
But today I think there’s a simple way to look for opportunity in the market. Simply watch for marketing trends that inflate big stock values and then come crashing down when the companies can’t handle the hype. The opportunity is in shorting stocks of media darlings.
Examples that have already happened? Chipotle and Tesla. An opportunity that’s ripe for exploitation right now? Keep reading.
Thanks to their inability to manage their food borne illness image crises, Chipotle’s March 7th high of $533 tumbled to $390 on July 7th. Even if you didn’t short at the maximum and sell at the minimum, there was still lots of time to exploit the stock’s volatility. Melissa Francis and I talked about Chipotle’s problems on FOX Business on December 11 and again on June 10.
Or how about Tesla? In July of 2015 their stock was valued at $282. One year later, it’s down to $224 and was as low as $143 in February. Why? Because in addition to the typical problems that plague tech startups, the word on TV screens and smartphones around the country is that Tesla’s auto-pilot software is killing people. Whether or not the car’s self-driving modes are ready for prime time is beside the point. The public believes that Tesla has a problem and their stock reflected that opinion. And all this after almost 400,000 would-be buyers plunked down deposits for Tesla’s model 3.
But so what? These potential windfalls have already happened. What you want to know is where is the great opportunity on the horizon for an astute investor like you? Easy. They are hidden in plain sight in today’s headlines.
Guess what game just made its namesake $45 million on $160+ million in revenue? It was the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app and it was downloaded over 45 million times. Forget Bitcoin, gaming is today’s new currency.
So is the Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star, number 42 on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list, the next big opportunity?
No, it’s not Kimmie. Today’s prospect is a fat little yellow creature and its friends. Pokémon Go, the mobile app version of the 1990’s card trading craze is the next big chance to score. Three days after its release the game been downloaded from Google Play and the iOS App Store about 7.5 million times and that number continues to increase. But more stunning is the company’s shareholder value which has already increased over $9 billion. Not bad for a few day’s work.
Where’s the opportunity then? Not simply because what goes up must come down but because people are going to be dying to play Pokémon Go.
From The New York Post: “Mike Schultz, a 21-year-old communications graduate on Long Island… took a spill on his skateboard as he stared at his phone while cruising for critters early Thursday.”
From The New York Daily News: “The MTA tweeted a warning for players not to follow creatures off train platforms. In Missouri, police said they arrested four teens after they allegedly lured victims to remote locations using the game and robbed them.”
From The Wall Street Journal: “Dakota Schwartz…sprained his ankle at a park trying to capture a particular Pokémon.”
Sure, these injuries are minor but it’s just a matter of time before something catastrophic happens. Players will walk into traffic, walk in front of speeding trains, walk off of rooftops and worse. And just like the people who were Dying to be in Facebook people will be dying to play Pokémon Go. Once the liability suits start pouring in you’ll be able to fan yourself with the gauge that records the dropping price of the company’s inflated stock.
As I said in the beginning of this post, I know next to nothing about buying stocks, shorting stocks, investing or speculation strategy. And until now, shorting stocks has always been something worth doing against my recommendations. But what I do know how to do is build brand value. And I also know when that value is about to come crashing down.Published on July 20th, 2016
Ashley Madison on Branding Adultery
From last Wednesday’s New York Times:
“Ashley Madison, a service that claims to facilitate extramarital affairs, has been in repair mode since last summer, when hackers exposed information attached to more that 30 million accounts and badly bruised the trust upon which its business was built.”
The news that there was an app created to facilitate cheating shocked lots of people. Many NYT readers were probably shocked that more than 30 million people had signed up. And lots of spouses were shocked to find their loved ones on the membership roster.
But what stood out to me was the ironic explanation of why Ashley Madison needed to repair their enterprise: Hackers had “badly bruised the trust upon which its business was built.” After all, if you are going to have an extramarital affair, and you are going to use a web app to arrange that affair, wouldn’t you expect — hell, wouldn’t you DEMAND — that your private information about the private things you do with your privates be kept private?
According to the Times, hackers “released nearly 10 gigabytes’ worth of stolen data, including details on member’s names, phone numbers and payment transactions.” It seems the hackers were upset because the company overstated “how many women really used the website.” The hackers also complained “the company charged members a $19 fee to scrub their profiles from the site but then failed to do so.”
But hold your self-righteous snickering for a moment. This security breech is more serious than it might appear. The Times says that the “…Ashley Madison release of user information had devastating consequences for at least some marriages. Blackmailers threatened to tell wives, and the attempted adultery of prominent people ended up in news pages. A New Orleans pastor, who was married with two children, committed suicide after his name was included in the data dump.”
The business was more substantial than you might think, too. More than 45 million members subscribed to Ashley Madison and it earned almost $80 million in revenue.
Regardless of what you think of Ashley Madison’s initial business model and extramarital affairs, you have to give them props for creating a business with authentic truth. That is, some people want to cheat on their spouses and Ashley Madison was a safe and secure way to do just that. But once the company found that the they could not walk their talk and provide a discreet way to have an affair they back-pedaled.
Now the company’s big solution to their problems is to sell itself as the world’s most open-minded dating community. Their new tagline? “Single, attached, looking to explore, or just curious.”
Here’s their their original laser-focused line: “Life is short, have an affair.”
The Three Questions Every Professional Needs to Ask.
As service professionals we all do the same thing.
Sure, I create branding programs and advertising plans and you write screenplays, reconcile trial balances, argue court cases, engineer air-conditioning schematics, run a convention and visitors’ bureau, manage finances, diagnose health issues, or whatever it is you do.
But besides the actual technical aspects of our jobs, we both do the same thing. We use our talents, skills, education, experience, knowledge, passion, and time to achieve desired results for our clients or employers.
You fill hotel rooms, protect assets, improve health, reduce taxes, and recommend solutions. I help make my clients’ products and services more valuable.
As different as those things might appear, the way we go about them is the same. We each make a promise to our clients and then we spend at least a third (and usually more) of our waking hours living up to our promise.
The trouble is, we often work for clients who don’t actually know if we’ve done a good job or not. Sometimes our successes aren’t acknowledged. Sometimes our successes (or failures) are due to circumstances entirely outside our control. And sometimes our clients simply aren’t qualified to know how well we’ve done in the first place.
The Doctor’s office called the patient, “Ma’am, your check came back.” The patient answered, “So did my arthritis!”
So we all do the same thing and we all have the same problems: We have to promise our clients a successful outcome BEFORE we work for them and then we have to validate our results AFTER we’re done.
If that rings true to you, let me suggest three simple questions that I’ve started asking my clients. They can help with both the before and the after of our engagements.
In other words, “What is your goal?” “What is your plan?” “How will you measure success?”
I find that if we have a substentative conversation with our clients before we undertake an assignment, and then we have an honest debrief after we complete it, we not only do a better job but we can help assure a satisfactory outcome and a satisfied client.
What’s more, this simple bit of client service does at least two other good things. It sets us up for additional projects and it pre-writes the testimonial that our clients will use when they recommend us to others. And both of these can lead to new clients and new revenue.
The three questions every professional needs to ask are so valuable that they should become a regular part of every client interaction. And listening carefully to the answers and incorporating them into your work should be a regular part of every assignment you undertake.
Because when you use your talents to satisfy those answers, you’ll find you’ll satisfy your clients. Regardless of what it is you do, the three questions every professional needs to ask are the three questions you need to ask too.Published on July 5th, 2016