Category Archives: Copywriting

How to Profit from Crotch Rot

So, I had a BIG problem last year…

Let’s just say it had something to do with “where the sun don’t shine”, OK?

I had developed a bad habit–a VERY bad habit!–showering at home 60 minutes after my exercise class ended, instead of right afterwards at the gym.  First I’d stay and socialize for a few minutes, then stop for some tea on the way home, and finally throw myself into the shower.

Before you say “TMI Glenn!”, I promise there’s a VERY important marketing insight in this story, and it’s ABSOLUTELY NOT what you think!

See, after reading everything I could find on Crotch Rot AND talking to more than one doctor on the telephone, I finally got the nerve to see a dermatologist for formal diagnosis and treatment. Anyway, this dermatologist eventually convinced me to spend no less than $1,204 non-insurance-reimbursable dollars for four little tubes of miracle cream called NAFTIN.  That’s more than $300 a tube, each about the size of a small toothpaste!

Now, since I don’t particularly like collecting funky cream in a tube–and since I DO like dollars–I started scratching my head asking “What the heck just happened, and how can I use it to become a better marketer?”  (As an aside, it was a lot more fun to scratch my head than “the other place”)

Of course, the lesson here relates to the FIRST principle of persuasion:”Market to a Desperate Problem”…but NOT in the obvious way you might think.  In fact, this story clearly illustrates a very important nuance of marketing to desperate problems which even more experienced marketers frequently misunderstand.

See, when people hear “market to a desperate problem” the first time they usually say “Glenn, that’s fine and dandy if you’re selling crotch rot cream, emergency plumbing visits, or a defibrillator…but MY customers’ problems just aren’t that desperate.  I sell________”  (E.g. spray paint, piano wire, roofing shingles, empowerment coaching, or anything else which the consumer “gets around to purchasing” sooner or later.  Something which doesn’t seem desperate on its surface)

But my response is…


Marketing is not just being opportunistic in finding desperate problems and offering up a solution.  The best marketers know how to MAKE you feel desperate about whatever their particular solution is…for your particular problem.  And they do it through a series of targeted communications, facts, and experiences…

My little adventure with crotch rot last year illustrates the point.  Because you’d THINK crotch rot, in and of itself is a desperate enough problem to create the sale. But there was actually a PROCESS the doctor and pharmacy had to take me through before I was willing to part with $1200…

It wasn’t like I said to myself “Oh, I’ve got Crotch Rot and I’m desperate to get rid of it… I’d better go get some $300 tubes of Naftin and use’m right now.”

I DID feel very desperate to get rid of it…

I DID have the idea I’d have to get a cream to treat it…

But I certainly didn’t believe I’d have to spend $300 per tube…

And I didn’t know WHICH cream to buy.

So even in this desperate state, I wasn’t anywhere near willing to purchase. It took some time to MAKE me feel desperate enough for their particular solution.  Here’s how it went down (I’m taking a little dramatic license to simplify the lesson)

During my initial visit to the dermatologist, he confirmed the diagnosis (a raging fungal infection) and prescribed a different, older and cheaper cream which WAS covered by my insurance.  I think it cost me $11 out of pocket.  He said “I think this will do the trick, but if it doesn’t there’s a new medication available which hits a much broader spectrum of fungi… the only problem is it’s not covered by most insurance plans yet”

So I tried the older, cheaper cream.  Ten days later the itch was worse.  MUCH worse…

I went back to see him again and he gave me a coupon for the NEW cream with the broader anti-fungal spectrum (Naftin).  He didn’t tell me how much it would cost, he just told me it was important to use the coupon because it was expensive.

I tried to fill the order with the coupon at the pharmacy, but they said it was expired.  At this point I asked how much it would be to pay out of pocket.  “$600+ for the first two tubes but the pharmaceutical company will pay $15 towards this” the nice lady said with a smile.  (Gee, isn’t that kind of the pharma company?)

Before paying for it, I called the doctor to ask if I really needed this particular medication.  He said we could TRY something else, but this was the broadest spectrum antifungal he knew of, and that’s what it would most likely take to succeed.  He also said his office would send out another coupon…

But I wasn’t about to wait around scratching my fire-ant infested butt for another another three days, so I just took out a credit card and paid for the order.  It took about a week to work, but I could finally sleep again, and although I was annoyed at the pharmaceutical company for charging such outrageous prices–(what do people do who can’t afford it?)–I simultaneously felt like it was the BEST $600 I ever spent.

I tried to get reimbursed when the new coupon arrived, but the pharmacy said it was still invalid.  

And here’s the kicker…

I went back a month later and refilled the prescription to make 100% sure back I’d have the tubes on hand if the infection ever came back!  Because I did NOT want to go through that ever again…and given the full experience I had come to believe Naftin really was the ONLY soluiton.  (Of course taking showers within 10 minutes of a workout helps too) 🙂


  • Picking a problem people already feel desperate to solve is a helpful, but not a sufficient condition for the sale…
  • You mush learn how to MAKE people feel desperate to buy YOUR product to solve their particular problem, even if they appear to be desperate to solve the problem already…
  • This always involves imparting enough information to convince the prospect (a) the problem won’t get better by itself–in fact it may get worse; (b) the other solutions on the market will NOT solve their problem; (c) you have diagnosed and understood their particular problem and; (d) can prove you are the only logical choice to cure their desperation…
  • Sometimes your prospect will have to FAIL trying other solutions before they’re ready for yours.  (As an aside, I often can’t convince marketers to do their research until they’ve failed enough times without it)
  • Although this particular example illustrates with a problem which DOES seem desperate on it’s surface, you can and must learn to MAKE people feel desperate about anything you sell.  For example, if you sell spray paint, you’ll need to tell stories about botched jobs using the wrong paint, degradation of color due to poorer quality of the competitor, time and expense wasted, etc… then explain to them WHY your product solves these problems, show them how YOUR solution matches their very specific needs, and then make them feel like continuing to use other solutions is no longer even an option.

THAT, my friends, is what I mean by marketing to a desperate problem…

And it’s how you too can profit from crotch rot!

OK, now, everyone go open your windows, stick your head out and yell as loud as you can “I’m going to profit from crotch rot, I’m going to profit from crotch rot!!!!”

There, doesn’t that feel better?


Dr. G 🙂

PS – If you’re a coach or consultant–or think you might want to be–you might want to consider becoming certified by my organization.  You’ll have a chance to work directly with myself and Sharon to develop YOUR persuasive sales abilities.  Get started for a one time payment of just $25.  By the time you’re done with the trial I guarantee you’ll have EXPERIENCED the conversion of a moderate itch to a desperate problem with only one possible solution… it’s worth doing the first 10 days ($25) just for this marketing experience alone.




Why GREAT Copywriters Go Broke

Copywriting is THE #1 skill a marketer can develop, but many (if not most) of the best copywriters I’ve met are consistently and painfully broke.  It’s true… I repeatedly run into people who can utterly humiliate me with their copywriting abilities, to whom I’d DEFINITELY trust my most important letters in a heartbeat, but who nevertheless struggle to pay their rent!

WHY!!?  If copywriters are holding the keys to the kingdom (and they ARE in my not-so-humble-big-fat-hairy opinion), why are so many talented writers always scrounging under the couch for change? It’s a question worth your consideration no matter what your entrepreneurial business model because within the answer lies a key element of success in business.  

And there IS a good answer.  Interested?  Great!

First, it’s important to realize everything you’ve heard about the value of copy IS 100% true. As Ken McCarthy astutely pointed out, “copywriting” is really a misnomer.   It should be called “business invention”, because NOTHING of significance really happens in a business until the copy gets written.   Some go so far as to suggest it’s impossible to turn a profit if you can’t at least recognize great copy so you can outsource it effectively.  (Which is impossible if Madison Avenue looks the same as compelling direct response to you!)  

But even though I 100% agree with Ken and thoroughly endorse copywriting as a skill EVERY marketer should develop, you have to place it in context to truly profit…


(Copywriting by itself as a business model
often leads to exhaustion and burn out if not
strategically thought through)

Before we get to the problem let me promise you there actually IS a solution.  It IS possible to leverage your copywriting skills to create a powerful, profitable, and scale-able business.  But you’re not going to do it if you’re taken with the delusion that just knowing how to write is going to get you there.

I guess what I’m saying is the following paragraphs are going to be filled with some painful insights, and unlike Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary I actually HATE being the “Merchant of Truth.”  But I think it’s the right thing to put forward this message so you can go into battle fully prepared–OR–decide on a different course of action.   No use charging forward in paper armor, right?

REMEMBER: As steep a mountain as this might be to climb, there really IS a top… and it’s amazing! OK, now to the painful problem copywriters face…

First, it takes a ridiculously long time to learn how to write GREAT copy…

  • There’s a steep learning curve and it’s NOT at all intuitive, despite the fact that most beginners THINK it will be easy.  (I’m only modestly good after 8 years of study, and that’s largely because of how well I research my market).  
  • There’s a SHAME FACTOR most writers have to overcome.  Particularly when writing about their own product or business.  You’ve gotta be 100% explicit about the benefits you provide.  Being “humble” and/or “polite” doesn’t work, because people just don’t have time to read between the lines.   You don’t want to leave it to your prospects to connect the dots, you’ve gotta tell’m straight out.  DON’T MAKE THEM THINK!  This feels counter-culture and just plain weird at first…  
  • Then there’s the HYPE FACTOR: Once people understand they can’t be humble they usually go way overboard in the other direction.  They think being explicit about benefits means shouting outrageous claims (with no support) at the top of your lungs.  But this is a great way to un-sell all but the most desperate buyers in your market.  (Like Terry Dean says, “Hype is a promise without proof”… so if you can’t prove your strongest claims, don’t make them!)
  • There’s also the “one leak in the pipeline = zero sales” obstacle:  Because the sale is very, very, very, very, very, very VERY fragile in almost all circumstances, if you have even one leak in the pipeline you don’t get any oil coming out the other side.  This means the linear “read a book, take a test, and get a grade” feedback mechanism you learned in our educational system is almost non-existent.  The experience of a beginning copywriter from test to test is often one of ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO ZERO… and then finally a few bucks.  Most people don’t have the frustration tolerance and fortitude to get through this initial run of zeros.  And who could blame them…after all, it’s a masochistic person’s game!  (“Make this arduous journey, suffer tremendously with little immediate reward, and some day you’ll reach the promised land”… hmmmmm, seems like I’ve heard that before.)   Now the truth is you CAN fix this by breaking your funnel into pieces, tracking earlier, easier to get, and more voluminous actions on the way to the sale (e.g. email open rates or order button clicks), using heat-mapping and tracking software, etc.  But how many people ACTUALLY DO this?  It’s not hard, but it takes time and energy to investigate and set up these more advanced testing mechanisms.  In my experience, less than 5% of marketers take this route.
  • Finally, there’s the need to UN-school yourself from your secondary education, particularly if you’re an erudite son-of-a-b____ (like me!) who spent an extended adolescence learning how to out-speak people at the dinner table!  That stuff just doesn’t fly when you’re trying to sell.  (Yeah, great idea professor, make them feel stupid, see how that works out for you!)
  • And it’s damn hard to know when you’re DONE with a letter!  A great piece of copy can ALWAYS be made better.  The more you know about copywriting, the stronger the desire to continue obsessing about better headlines, stories, or “just the right picture to make the point on page 16”, etc.   And you can always “tighten up” every last bit of copy and eliminate redundancies (BTW, I am not redundant, redundant, redundant, or redundant) to make each sentence just that much more powerful.  Plus, there’s something inherently gratifying about finding the right words.  Verbalization is a fundamental human need.  Language is a big part of what makes society possible, and we’re evolving to become more facile with it.  I haven’t looked up the studies, but I’m sure there are reward centers in the brain which give you a hit of dopamine when you find the just right words to express yourself. (Maybe that’s why there are so many junkies on the street walking around with a Thesaurus?  OK, not really, but you get the point.)  The result is, the process of writing a good letter sucks you in, in much the same way a good chocolate bar makes you forget your diet… and before you know it hours or even days have passed!  (Or, to continue the analogy, you wake up and wonder how all those empty wrappers wound up on the floor.)  Copywriting sucks up your time, and the better you get at it, the more time it sucks!

Because of the above, to get even moderately good at copywriting takes significant time and effort… and this needs to be subsidized if you’re gonna keep eating.  Someone’s gotta pay the bills while you’re taking courses, listening to MP3s, and copying Gary Halbert’s letters by hand to magically absorb his experience.  (BTW, that last bit really works, but in addition to absorbing his amazing copywriting abilities you also absorb some of his dysfunctional personality, so be warned!)

So the first BIG problem copywriters face is simply how long it takes to get good.

It even takes a reasonably long time to be able to recognize good copy.  And when you DO get good, well, you’re already “infected.”  You’ve got the obsession and you feel compelled to keep going despite your better judgment.  (This is only a feeling though… you CAN change course, but most copywriters never do.)

Now, when you get good, you also realize it’s a lot of damn work to write even ONE great piece.  You’ve gotta unearth every last benefit, dig for the emotional purchase motivation behind it, uncover the right mood and tone, and spend as much as a few hundred hours identifying the right hook, prioritizing the claims, organizing the dual-pathway (one for readers and another for scanners), selecting the images, and editing, editing, editing.  (Any good copywriter will tell you the gold is in the edits, not the initial draft!)  

And those “million dollar letters” which keeps every copywriter going are actually few and far between.  But the PROMISE of being “only one letter away from being a millionaire” is very, very compelling.

Take my new coaching business letter for example.  I spent months researching the market, and then at least 300 hours OF MY OWN TIME writing the letter.

And if you count the research time on top of this, you can bump that to 750 hours on just this ONE letter.  Some of my trusted mastermind buddies think I’m crazy to have written this myself…but IF you’ve got semi-decent copywriting skills I recommend you write your own PRIMARY business letter so you can become utterly with well-thought-through language to convert prospects on every point.  Successful entrepreneurs can “speak” their market, and the process of thinking through the copy is what burns this into your brain.

But here’s where we can drive home the necessary but not sufficient point…

While this is a very successful initial letter which sufficed to get me successfully buying traffic in the market, those 750 hours were a NECESSARY, BUT NOT SUFFICIENT requirement to create the business.  

To turn this into an actual business I essentially had to set up a whole fricking university! Here’s what I had to do:

  • Build the full curriculum.  (Seems so easy when you describe it in just four words, yet I’d estimate another 300 to 400 hours spent on this)…
  • Build and program a test as a front end funnel…
  • Test a multitude of traffic sources…
  • Teach the initial classes and problem solve everything necessary to keep the clients happy…
  • Set up a customer service routine and delegate it effectively…
  • Investigate and implement the right software systems…
  • Build and test a spreadsheet model to estimate cash flow, determine the appropriate payment plans, break-even months I was willing to tolerate, identify every last expense and possible margin, look at what will happen when I scale up with additional coaches, products, and services, etc…
  • Take some serious financial risks.  (I could have raised capital–which would have been another full time endeavor for a few months–but thankfully was in a position where this wasn’t necessary)…
  • Identify and contract with coaches and teaching assistants who could help…
  • Find, interview, edit, transcribe, and write copy for at least a dozen successful coach interviews as part of the free follow up system (got some help on this, which meant I had to find it first!)
  • Screen and hire writers to create free books I could give away (by the way, here’s one you should read if you’re considering the coaching field 101 Coaching Niches)
  • Determine the best structure for the program itself (which, by the way, is now requiring a TOTAL revamp to allow for one-on-one delivery with live supervision)
  • Develop policies and procedures for absenteeism, homework, final exam, granting of the final certificate, printing and delivery of same, etc…
  • Develop specifications for the “Find a Coach Directory” and then source and manage the right developer to create this web application.  (Thanks to Steve Wickham for this by the way, who has required virtually no management on this project, but who definitely took some time to find!)…
  • Find the best software to manage the self-paced and one-on-one versions of the program (in process)…
  • Figure out who I could get to help my new coaches develop and post their own websites, interviews, and other content…
  • Recruit a prestigious Board of Directors and develop policies which satisfied their requirements…
  • Research and overcome legal and liability issues…
  • Find and hire experts on Facebook and Business Plan Development whom I trusted to supplement this part of the curriculum (Hint: Terry Dean combined my experience with coach marketing with his recent Facebook experiment results to create an outrageously powerful Facebook marketing system for coaches, while John Chancellor took his decades of experience as a business coach and developed an ultra-simple and easy to implement business plan for my graduates)…
  • Coordinate systems for delivering recordings and other content…
  • Get a new merchant account willing to process high end payments for the Academy so as not to put my current solution at risk…
  • Convince my wife to teach with me (OK, that one wasn’t so hard, she loves this, but it IS another element in our relationship to manage)
  • Get up to speed on regulatory, certification, and accreditation issues in the coaching industry…
  • Create lower end trainings to stair step people into the program who aren’t quite ready for the full certification…
  • Recruit and train my own copywriters to help with all the products and services we have planned…
  • Create a Google Compliant website…
  • Begin optimizing four sources of traffic…
  • Contract with a PPC management firm and begin working with them…
  • And much, much more!

The thing is, many copywriters enter the business with the idea that knowing how to sell is going to be sufficient to create a big business.  They more or less ignore ALL the above elements.

Unfortunately, this is a big hairy delusion.  

Being a good copywriter may be enough to create a modest income within a year or two.  Perhaps $75K to $125K if you’re willing to work for clients (from what I can tell)

But it’s a game of constant hustling.  Because once you’re done chasing clients for business you’ve actually gotta DO the work, which then removes your time to sell more clients, which creates a void once you’re done with the work, which makes it necessary to go chasing clients for business again, etc!

Because most copywriters get caught up in this cycle, they never really take the time to build their own funnel.  And even if they do, training and managing others to do the work is an entirely different skill set which they need to master.

Now, you may have heard top copywriters can command $25,000 to $50,000 or more per letter PLUS residuals.  Well, that IS true, but it’s true in the same way the very best major league baseball players get multi-million dollar salaries.  Precious few people with that dream ever get to that level, and there are far, FAR more broken-hearted-ball-players out there who spend their years trying to get out of the minor leagues 🙁

Now, I’m not pointing this to depress you, but to make sure you understand the copywriter’s dilemma in the event you’ve got the disease.  I don’t want you getting caught up in a half-truth which will leave you to crash and burn later on.

SO… what’s the SOLUTION?

  1. Recognize the distinction between necessary and sufficient is a critical one to learn if you’re going to build ANY empire, no matter what skills you build it on.  Most entrepreneurs miss this and go off half-cocked in one crazy direction or another.
  2. Accept that “work once and then step back and get paid forever” must be revised to “work extraordinarily, mind-blowingly hard for a few years and then step back and get paid forever!”  Listen, I’ve supervised, worked with, coached, been coached by, and masterminded with hundreds of people playing this game.  By far the one thing the most successful people seem to know is that while you absolutely CAN build an empire which eventually runs without you, it requires a period of psychotic obsession and extremely hard work, usually for at least a year or two (sometimes more).  YES you can systematize, outsource, and delegate.  But you can’t do that until the system works… profitably!  And getting there is always a mountain to climb.  But that’s OK… it’s a lot of fun along the way, and if you pick a mountain you’re passionate about you CAN build the business of your dreams (and help a lot of people along the way too)
  3. What this means for most copywriters is to STOP DREAMING AND START EXECUTING.   Go back and look at everything which was involved in setting up my coaching business.  You are NOT one letter away from a million dollar profit… you are one letter AND all those other activities executed and optimized over a period of at least a year or two away from it.   The longer you look around for a way to escape this, the older you get and the less energy you have to get it done.  Just get on with it.  You might be exhausted and start cursing me… but the anxiety you now feel about your career path should quickly dissipate as you begin to see actual progress on what you’re building.  Life is full of trade offs and I’d trade my crazy fantasies for hard work and confidence I’m actually building my dream any day of the week.

Alternatively if you really enjoy working with clients and don’t mind making a modest income that grows by 10% to 15% per year… then at minimum SET UP YOUR OWN AUTOMATED FUNNEL so you don’t have to keep chasing clients.  You’ll gradually be able to raise your prices due to confidence in the demand for your services.  You’re a copywriter for crying out loud… if you’re not capable of researching and figuring out what to say to a particular audience, who is?

OK, you can let the darts fly now!

Dr. G 🙂

PS – It’s NOT really a great business decision for me to write these kinds of posts.  I don’t have anything 100% relevant to sell to copywriters at present, so I just sprinkled my other links throughout, which is NOT a strategy you should copy.  Plus, because the message within it is powerful but hard to swallow, I’ll get a higher than average unsubscribe and complaint rate.  (Fun!)

But I’m finding the longer I’m in this game, the more I want to scream the truth to everyone regardless, and the sadder I get when I realize most people just don’t want to know.  So, for those of you who get it, this one’s for you!  (And honestly, I do it for MYSELF too… sometimes I just write these things to solidify my own philosophy.  When you’re inundated by people who really don’t want to see the truth, it becomes very tempting to share their fantasy… and it’s a fantasy which, unfortunately, can cause you to waste years)


MP3: Targeting Your Ideal Consulting Client

Michael Zipursky of is the “Consultant’s Consultant”…

He’s also a former coaching student, friend, and a serious man on a serious mission.

In this intriguing interview, Michael sheds light on the research process for consultants looking to attract more IDEAL clients.  He also reveals some subtle shifts in the hyper-responsive process which are definitely worth listening to.


Dr. G 🙂

Nuances of Emotional Market Research Part Three

Ever wonder what the right MINDSET is to do emotional market research the right way?

Want to know how to “put your empathy meter on high?”

Curious about when getting sensitive to “drama queen language” might make you more profit than spending hours pouring over your AdWords account?

Then you’ll definitely want to listen to Michael McCarrell, the man who’s done more Livingston-Certified Hyper-Responsive Emotions Research than anyone else in the world!

I learned a few things from this interview and I know you will too 🙂

(Please listen through the whole thing even if the information in the beginning seems familiar… we really needed to set up the foundation for what Michael had to offer)

Oh, one more thing…

If you want someone to do this research FOR you, Michael’s definitely your guy.  Have a look at now!

Getting Out of the Low Margin Pricing Trap

A lot of businesses–particularly tradition local businesses selling a “commodity” service like pest control, accounting, psychotherapy, etc–feel their pricing structure is defined by the competitive landscape… thereby boxing them into a fairly narrow margin game.

But there are several not-immediately-obvious ways OUT of this low margin pricing trap…

And I do believe Ryan and I covered almost all of them in this interview.


Dr. G 🙂

Conversion Optimization |  Hyper-Responsive |  Live Webinars Club | Phone Follow Ups on Commission | Research Done For You

All My Free Cheat Sheets, Mp3s, and Videos

Been cataloging and organizing the last 5 years of MP3 interviews, PDF Cheat Sheets, and Conversion Videos…

Thought I might as well give you the benefits of that too 🙂

Right click the image above and you’ll get a PDF full of links to my BEST Cheat Sheets, Interviews, and Conversion Videos

It’s all my best stuff, all in one place!

(Don’t say I never gave you anything)

Now go turn some visitors into buyers, would you?

Dr. G 🙂

PS – If you haven’t already joined the LIVE CONVERSION WEBINARS club, you should do so now.  If for no other reason than (a) the “best conversion secrets of 2012” video is about to scroll out of the archived club recordings and become a $67 product in it’s own right; (b) the “Persuasion Architecture” bonus audio contains the crowning jewel of all my work for the past 8 years and (c) today you can still download both of these for less than five dollars

PPS – If you’ve been through the hyper-responsive club but never got around to implementing the work (or not quite as thoroughly as you wanted to)–OR–if you’re servicing clients and think whitelabeling Glenn’s hyper-responsive bulls eye research behind you might make you look stronger to your client… get your tuchas over to

PPPS – If you’re spending more than $20K/month in paid advertising and would like my team to start optimizing your landing pages and conversion funnel FOR you, well, you may be in luck!

PPPPS – If you’ve got a system that converts really well online but you’ve got NO telephone follow up in place, you really ought to consider letting this funny looking phone genius do it for you on commission.

A ZILLION Ps S:  Would much appreciate you SHARING this page, posting it in your forums, passing around the PDF by email to ALL your contacts, and telling your mama’s how cool it is to have Dr. Glenn’s stuff. (Not particularly modest, but hey, I’m too old for that)

The ONLY Answer to THE Impossible Marketing Question…

Today I’d like to talk about the ONLY answer to THE  impossible marketing question we entrepreneurs face  on an almost daily basis…

But first, you need to understand where this answer comes from in the REAL world.  I find that whenever you’re faced with a marketing dilemma, it’s helpful to try and revert back to the world of RELATIONSHIPS, which is ultimately what marketing is about.

So let’s look at the only answer to impossible relationship questions first…

In the real world, the ONLY answer to an impossible question is I LOVE YOU…

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “I love you”

Q: “Can my mother stay with us through the end of July?”
A: “I love you”

Q: “It’s not such a big deal that I leave my clothes all over the place, right honey?”
A: “I love you”…

See where I’m going?

ANY other answer leads to big trouble!

For example:

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “Not at all ”  (She knows you’re lying and doesn’t trust anything else you say)

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “Just a little, yes” …. (You’d better duck!)

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “Humongous ” (Might as well call your divorce attorney)

Q: “Do these jeans make my butt look fat honey?”
A: “Not sure, what do you think? ”  (Functionally equivalent to “Humongous”)

No, the only answer to an impossible relationship question is I love you.

Now, let’s talk about the world’s most impossible marketing question which is…


Why is this an impossible question?

Because implicit in this question is the assumption that you are a commodity.

For example, suppose you’re a coach and you’re speaking with a new prospective client.  One of the first things they ask you is “How much do you charge?”

If you answer that question too soon, you’re buying into the prospects pre-existing comparative framework…

Let’s say you answer “$200 per session” or “$1,000 per month”…

The prospect will immediately compare that to other coaches they may have spoken with, rates listed on internet sites, what their friends, family, or co-workers might be paying, etc.

Because at this stage the prospect is thinking of coaches like light bulbs… you can go to the hardware store and pick another one up, any old time.  Take the old one out and put in another one just like it.  There’s NO reason to get attached to any particular light bulb.   NO reason to assign any emotional value to it…

Light bulbs (commodities) are “things” and gets treated as such…

If you allow your prospect to treat you like a light bulb, you’re gonna get screwed!

The trick is to forestall the pricing conversation until AFTER you’ve established your value.  More importantly, to forestall it until AFTER you’ve established a meaningful emotional bond.

With the coaching prospect scenario this might look something like this:

Q: How much do you charge?
A: Oh, I’ve got a variety of packages at different rates depending on exactly what you want to accomplish.  I can almost always work something out for clients when it’s really the right fit, and if for any reason I can’t, I know a lot of people with specific expertise to match most client’s problems.  Let’s talk for a few minutes and to see if I can understand why you’re calling and what you’re hoping to achieve with the coaching.  No charge for this.  So what are you looking for help with at this time?

See what I mean?

Several things usually ensue after such a conversation…

Usually, the prospect will launch right into a more detailed explanation of what their problem is, what they want help with, and why they called you in particular.  You ask a dozen pertinent questions, listen carefully, and demonstrate empathy.  By the time this is over with, the client FEELS ATTACHED to you in particular.  They don’t want to have to go through telling their whole story again.  They feel listened to.  They want to work with YOU… they do NOT want to screw you like a light bulb (because they’re less frightened of being screwed given your demonstration of empathy and interest)…

The pricing conversation then takes on a whole new  meaning.  It’s more about “how CAN we work together” than “how can I get the most from you while giving you the least”…

See what I mean?

The online analogy to this is the famous poaching vs. ranching analogy Perry Marshall put forth in 2004.  You can be a poacher and put up your commodities for sale with a clear price right away, or a rancher who gathers, tends to, and carefully protects his herd. (Acquire opt ins, phone numbers, and mailing addresses, then invest in proving value with free content before you present the offer with the pricing you require.  And you can also have multiple packages and options available to suit the differing needs of various prospects, along with relationships to other specialists/vendors to meet needs you can’t and shouldn’t be trying to solve)

The corollary to all this is that if you’re not making enough money from your market, they may not be feeling loved enough, and you may not have provided enough options and referrals to take care of them the way you need to in order to escape the commodity trap.

Everyone’s butt looks fat in those jeans…

It’s our job to figure out how to love them in spite of it!

All my best,

Dr. G 🙂

PS – For those of you saying “but I’m not a coach, this doesn’t apply to me”, well…go eat your vegetables, OK?

PPS – I’m very likely going to be taking the Million Dollar Coaching product out of my product catalog shortly. I’m revamping a product line to specifically serve the coaching market (including personal training and certification), and unfortunately my research strongly indicates this product is inconsistent with that market’s way of viewing the world.  That’s because the product itself is marketing focused, and contains several brutally honest and powerful coach-marketing secrets.  New coaches don’t want to know about this–(believe it or don’t Charlie Brown!)–and its presence in my systems will likely hinder sale of the full certifications.  Of course I’ll still TEACH the marketing in the certification courses themselves, because what’s the point of knowing how to coach if you don’t have any clients!?  But I’ve got to “sneak in” the marketing medicine they NEED under the radar of the certification and skills training they WANT.  To make a long story longer, if you want to buy the Million Dollar Coaching from me, now is the best time!

PPPS – I love you.

Origin Stories Part Two

I moved this interview and many of you missed it.
So below (at the bottom of this post) is  the long awaited part two of “how to construct your origin story”

G 🙂

PS – If you’re struggling to  get that critical leg-up that only comes from understanding the conversation in your customer’s head better than all your competitors, you’ll definitely want to consider this DONE FOR YOU service before the price goes up.  Because you may just:

  • Make a LOT more money with less effort because you know the precise language people use when they’re getting ready to purchase…
  • Discover your most valuable buyers and convert them into loyal customers quickly (BEFORE your competition gets to them)
  • Earn MORE profit with FAR FEWER keywords (so you can focus your resources with laser-like precision in your effort to dominate your market)
  • Be the only one in your market to offer your customers real point of difference benefits (as opposed to simple “price of entry” features
  • Create products and services with distinct advantages your customers desperately want (and can’t find elsewhere)
  • Boost profits on existing product lines or help cut your risk of failure in new markets in HALF…
  • Dominate new markets you enter because you understand the conversation in your prospects’ head better than anyone else…
  • Wipe out competitors by making it difficult for others to compete…
  • Work with the only professionals in the world certified to provide these risk avoidance and maximum ROI marketing strategies…

Click here to learn more.  And enjoy the audio below!  Oh yeah, have a Happy Holiday too! (But I’ve got to ask you a SERIOUS question:  how come family members never seem to want to talk about internet marketing, market research, hiking, or lifting weights?  What’s wrong with these people!  They just want to hang out and do family stuff over the Holidays.  Geez!)

My Mom Lives in Newtown, CT (really)

I’d just like to say something about the Newtown tragedy before I get to this week’s content…

My mom lives there.

Literally right around the corner from where it all went down.

Needless to say we touched base with some urgency on Friday, and she was horrified and in shock.

But it wasn’t the first time she experienced the terror as she was in Manhattan on 9/11.  And in a moment of clear-though-indirect communication you could tell we were both recalling the weeks of confusion, helplessness, and despair we felt during that time…

Constantly asking ourselves “what can we do to help?”…

And then remembering the best thing is just to do what you do best…

Sure, we should all debate the gun laws, examine our security systems, and ask ourselves what structural changes we could make.  We can’t let this pass us by without some deep soul searching regarding what, if anything, we could have done differently.

But on the deepest level–and as heretical as this might sound–I think we owe it to society, to our families, and to ourselves to avoid becoming so overridden with upset that we cease to provide the value we’re best at providing to the world…

In a nutshell, what can you do?

Do what you do best.

Become more passionate about helping those you were helping before Friday’s Newtown tragedy…

Get better at your core competencies, and become more dedicated to share them with the world…

And even more determined to ensure you are mission driven…

Full of purpose…

And eager to give.

Because ultimately THAT is where you’ll have the biggest impact on your small corner of the world… which grows surprisingly larger the more you focus upon it.

Dr. G

The Marketing Power of Origin Stories

When I was a corporate consultant, one of the most interesting exercises I ever encountered was the “reason for existence” test.

You see, ginormous companies aren’t always as stupid as everyone says they are.  Before most of them will spend $50,000,000 on developing and advertising a new product, they force their management to articulate a very clear “reason for being”… they’ve got to justify WHY such a product should even exist.  (It’s kind of like when the bouncer makes you prove yourself to him at the bar “if you want to live”)

The point is, your prospects all know you’re in this for the money.

In fact, they know there are THOUSANDS of products on the market, each one of them eager to grab a few bucks from your prospects’ wallets/purses.

So WHY, they ask, do you have a right to exist?

WHY did you bring this product to market?

What possible reason on earth did you have for introducing yet another money grabbing effort?

That’s what you have to overcome.

And one of the BEST ways to do so is with an ORIGIN STORY.

An ORIGIN STORY provides the details behind your product.  It tells how the particular point of difference you’re trying to bring to market was “birthed in the fire” amidst a sea of mediocrity, charlatans, and scams.

More importantly, it brings the product to life by demonstrating the FIRST RESULTS ever obtained, AND THE PASSION WHICH DROVE THEM.

It proves you’re more than a man/woman with a cash register and your hand outstretched…

You’re a “man/woman on a mission!”

Listen to this intriguing interview (the first in a series) where Ryan and I discuss several concrete examples of origin stories, and begin to show you how to construct your own!

What’s your product/service’s reason to exist?

It’s something few people give much thought to, yet it’s utterly foundational for your marketing power.


Dr. G 🙂

PS – Can I get something off my chest?  I’m really annoyed at how few people want to give  CONVERSION the emphasis it deserves.  Social Media’s the hot thing these days, and if I were to take this to heart and “give the market what it wants”, I’d be blogging and podcasting all about Facebook and Twitter all the time.  Except I have trouble finding anyone who’s making serious money in social media… at least not anyone who can prove it to me with tracking.  On the other hand, EVERYONE I know who’s relentlessly focused on conversion has been able to build their business.  Because CONVERSION is the fuel that drives traffic online.  Drives me fricking nuts.  Makes me want to slap myself on the head with a spatula!  Hard.  So many people are wasting so much time, money, and morale.  (Terry Dean and I spent a year building the ultimate web-conversion product, not that too many of you will care.  Oh well, I guess that leaves more traffic, money, and fun for us!)