Thursday, August 19, 2010

ETR: Mind Games

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Issue No. 3080 - $1.00

Thursday, August 19, 2010

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"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

Les Brown

Mind Games: How to Program Yourself for Success
By Clayton Makepeace

The simple, objective fact is, there is absolutely, positively no reason why you shouldn't have it all.

Billionaires are not a billion times more deserving than you are. Nor are millionaires a million times smarter than you.

If IQ points were dollars, Steven Hawking would be lots richer than Bill Gates. Plenty of people who are dumber than you are living spectacularly successful lives. Not to mention folks with less talent.

People who started out poorer than you make it to the top every day. So do folks with lousier health and severe physical limitations.

Want to light a fire under your career? Examine and then disabuse yourself of the false beliefs that block you and the excuses you use to let yourself off the hook.

Once you fully realize -- deep down, with every fiber of your being -- that you deserve success just as much as the next guy or gal, there is no obstacle you can't surmount. Nothing -- repeat, NOTHING -- will be beyond your grasp.

It's completely up to you.

Nobody cares as much about your success and happiness as you do. Nobody's willing to work as hard to make you successful as you are.

If you wait for some guru, some philosophy, some deity, or "the universe" to make you successful, you're probably going to be waiting a long, long time.

It's only when you invest the time and effort to do the practical things required to succeed that true miracles begin to happen.

Case in point:

In 1968, I was a high school dropout earning $1.40 an hour.

Today, I'm a high school dropout who (in a good year) earns nearly 1,000 times more than that. That's a 96,328% raise in pay.

Pretty miraculous, huh?

Want to know the secret? Want to know how I did it?

By working my butt to the bloody bone for nearly four decades -- that's how:

Investing the skull sweat required to learn every blessed thing I could about my craft...

Enduring the humiliation of rejection -- repeatedly -- by companies I would have done just about anything to work for...

Slaving over a hot typewriter 40, 60, sometimes 80 hours in a week to produce the best sales copy I was capable of...

Quietly enduring pride-shattering criticism of my beloved work product -- often by pompous morons who couldn't write a winning sales letter if you'd held a gun to their heads...

Rubbing my own nose in my failures until I'd painstakingly extracted every last lesson I could learn from them...

Doing it all for peanuts at first, and scrimping and saving just to keep my family fed, housed, and clothed...

And, of course, by finding the strength and the stones to get up each morning and do it all over again... for years... and even when my own family doubted I'd ever make it to the top.

I guess I could have just stayed in bed and "thought" or "believed" my career into existence.

Lucky for me, I didn't do that.

Visualize Triumph

So how did I -- and every other top copywriter and marketer on the planet -- willingly, even eagerly, endure what you must endure to succeed?

By understanding that while the human brain may not be able to create new universes on demand or alter objective reality, it is capable of doing more than just reasoning, learning, remembering, and keeping your hat up.

I'm constantly amazed at how many great copywriters use visualization to unlock their creativity and to find the motivation to keep going when it would be easier just to quit.

Fact is, most top writers I've interviewed hold four visual images in their minds during the creative process...

1. Visualize your prospect. Live salespeople have a huge advantage over us. Since they're eyeball to eyeball with their prospect, they know precisely how he's responding to everything that's happening in the sales conversation.

They can read their prospect's body language... facial expressions... and even the inflection in his voice. And they can use that information to identify unspoken objections... sense skepticism and assuage it with proof elements... judge when the prospect is growing tired of the conversation or becoming distracted... and much, much more.

So after I've consumed my research and before I begin writing a promotion, I like to take a few minutes just to think about the person with whom I'm about to have this conversation.

Who is your prospect? Where is he when he is reading my copy? What else is going on in the room at the time?

What core beliefs does your prospect have about companies like yours, products like yours, and/or about the subject at hand? What dominant emotion is your prospect most likely to experience as you raise this subject with him?

If you were attempting to make this sale in person, what would you say? More important, how would your prospect respond to the things you're saying?

After considering all that, instead of attempting to write red-hot sales copy, have a simple chat with your prospect -- all the while sensing how he is most likely responding to each proposition and promise you make.

Perhaps the greatest difference between "A" level copywriters and everyone else is that top writers have developed a sixth sense that tells them what their prospects are most likely to be thinking and feeling as they move through the sales copy.

What's the best way to develop this sixth sense?

Two suggestions:

First, practice on real folks in the real world. Next time and every time you have a conversation with someone, have your "feelers" out. Look for clues that tell you what they're thinking and how they're feeling about the conversation. Make this a habit -- and before you know it, you'll become a pro.

Second, make it a habit to read promotions written by other copywriters through the prospect's eyes. Instead of looking for techniques the copywriter used, visualize how you think a typical prospect is most likely to respond, both intellectually and emotionally, to every headline, subhead, and block of body copy.

I think you'll be amazed at what you learn... how much stronger your copy becomes... and how much higher your response rates climb as you develop this skill.

2. Visualize your client. This technique has to do with energizing you, motivating you, and unleashing your creativity...

As I'm writing, I hold a mental image of my client being absolutely blown away by the brilliance of my first-draft copy.

I see myself delivering my copy... the phone rings... and my client raves about how powerful this promotion is.

See, I only tell folks I do this for the money. The truth is, the ego boost I get from impressing my clients is every bit as rewarding for me.

And visualizing that emotional reward gives me more than enough motivation to do what's necessary in each draft to produce the highest-quality work I'm capable of.

3. Visualize your payday. Every top writer I know does this.

The mental image goes something like this: The phone rings. It's the client. My promotion is blowing the doors off of everything else they've ever mailed. His phone's ringing off the hook. Each call is a new customer placing an order.

Plus, every day, the post office pulls a huge tractor-trailer up to his offices and unloads bags stuffed with more orders. They had to add two more shifts just to count the money that's pouring in.

Best of all -- my $150,000 royalty check is in the mail!

I see myself walking out to my mailbox and finding the check. Proudly showing it to my wife. And I lose myself in all the cool things I'm going to do with that money -- and all the other royalty checks that promotion is going to earn me in the year ahead.

Hey -- if that isn't enough to make you pull out all the stops, nothing will!

4. Visualize how your success will change your life. When I first began freelancing, the money wasn't so good. I barely made enough to provide for my family.

So I went on a shopping spree.

Not a real one, mind you. It was just a fantasy. A friend and I sat down and made lists of all the things we wanted and all the things we wanted to do.

We designed our dream lives in painstaking detail -- and put it all down on paper.

And when I say "painstaking detail," I mean I wrote down where I wanted to live (Prescott, Arizona), then researched how much my dream house would cost me there.

I picked out my dream car, went down to the dealer and worked out what the color, options, price, and payments would be.

I wanted to become a private pilot, so I visited a local flight training school to see what that would cost, how long it would take. And I wanted my own airplane, so I shopped around for just the right one.

Then I added up what all the things I wanted would cost. And figured out that when I got my income to just $75,000 per year ($223,917 in today's dollars), my dream life would be mine.

Because if you don't have a clear vision of where you're going, you'll never get there.

Until I went through this exercise, I had only half the picture. I knew what the vision was costing me. But the rewards I was working for were fuzzy, unfocused. Now I could see my dream house, smell the leather in my dream car. They were real.

From that moment on, I had a crisp, crystal clear mental image of why I was going to work every day. Why I was putting in the long hours. Why I was enduring the humiliation of rejection and failure.

And then, I did something else. I began bringing my rewards forward.

Rather than waiting years to realize my full vision, I gave myself small rewards along the way. I took my first flying lesson. Moved the family to Prescott (although not to my dream house). And every time a piece of my dream life fell into place, I was reborn.

Give it a try. You'll be amazed at the energy and enthusiasm it brings to your work!

[Ed. Note: Visualizing your success and working toward it is a key part of building and growing a business. But you'll need practical skills too... in copywriting, search engine optimization, social media marketing, product creation, joint ventures, and more. You'll get in depth knowledge of all that and more at ETR's upcoming Info-Marketing Bootcamp.

Clayton Makepeace was a featured speaker last year. And this year, we've invited more than a dozen industry experts who are making millions to share their "secret" strategies for making money online, including Drayton Bird, Rich Schefren, MaryEllen Tribby, Mike Koenigs, and, of course, Michael Masterson. Find out all about Bootcamp here.

Master copywriter Clayton Makepeace publishes the highly acclaimed e-zine The Total Package to help business owners and copywriters accelerate their sales and profits. Claim your 4 free moneymaking e-books -- bursting with tips, tricks, and tactics that'll skyrocket your response rates -- at www.MakepeaceTotalPackage.com.]


Do Your Personal Goals Take a Back Seat to Work?

By Bob Cox

Early in my career, I became quite adept at setting a schedule for my workday and sticking to it. This "time tasking" made me very efficient and productive. But I had a heck of a time doing the same thing when it came to my personal and social goals. I was so involved in moving my business and financial goals forward, I simply ignored the others. And because of that, I wasn't making my time outside of work count for much of anything!

Not a good idea. As you know, here at ETR we strongly recommend that you strive for balance in all areas of your life.

Fortunately for me, I realized the error of my ways. About seven years ago, I began applying myself to my personal and social goals with the same vigor as I had been applying to my work goals. I added bowling (a favorite sport) to my weekly schedule, and shot a 300 game last year. I took up golf. I began scheduling time with friends. And after 25 years of being too busy with work, I began taking real vacations with my wife.

Do I sometimes feel like I am "sacrificing" my work for my personal goals? Yes, once in a while. But when I look back at the choices I've been making, I realize that the memories I am creating and the sense of well-being I've gained from using all my time better are priceless.

Take a moment to remind yourself of this important fact: Time cannot be replenished once it is gone. If you're not including time with friends and family (and time with yourself!) in your schedule, you're losing that opportunity for good.

[Ed. Note: Success mentor Bob Cox strongly believes that setting goals in every area of your life can help you make your longest-held dreams come true. Discover proven success strategies and motivational advice right here.]

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"Last year, he earned $350K part-time."

"This year, my 22-year-old is using what Michael Masterson teaches as he is beginning to build his real estate portfolio. Last year, he earned $350K doing Internet marketing part-time. My 16- and 14-year-olds hear clips from ETR as I sharpen their minds for business and train them to run my shipping department.

"They glean from all I've learned (and hear a ton of ETR audios in the car and in my office!). Many times, they don't even realize that the 'nuggets' Mom teaches throughout the day are from what I've learned on DVDs, CDs, and other resources ETR provides."

Sandi Krakowski

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Everything Is Constantly Changing ...

And if you don't keep up... you're going to be left in the dust by your competitors.

The good news is... our experts cover EVERYTHING that's new and hot at each year's Info-Marketing Bootcamp... ensuring that you're at the forefront of what's working NOW.

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The Language Perfectionist: A Congeries of Misuses

By Don Hauptman

Once again, it's time for a selective roundup and analysis of mistakes in the news:

  • "It is ironical that the author of the book that accurately depicted the lives of China's rural poor... was rejected by the revolutionaries themselves."

The standard form of the word is ironic, not ironical. In a previous column, I discussed "needless variants"; ironical is a prime example.

  • "The use of diapers in particular is so engrained in Western culture that it's almost impossible to imagine life without them."

The word engrained isn't wrong, but it's obsolescent. The standard spelling is ingrained. It means firmly established, deep-seated, fixed.

  • Photo caption: "Sadly, Edith Wharton was born here but never lived to see it become a Starbucks."

This is a quintessential misplaced modifier. The momentarily puzzled reader will eventually conclude that the sad event was not Wharton's birth but rather that she didn't survive long enough to order a Mocha Venti Chocolate-Chip Frappuccino. Rewrite: "Edith Wharton was born here but, sadly, never lived to see it become a Starbucks."

  • In a profile of a woman who experienced a spiritual conversion: "Her story struck me as increasingly normative rather than anomalous."

The word normative refers to a norm, a standard of correctness. But the writer quoted above uses it as a pretentious substitute for normal or common.

By the way, if you're wondering about the word congeries in the title of this column, it means collection, aggregation, or assemblage. It's pronounced either "KON-juh-reez" or "kon-JEER-eez."

[Ed Note: For more than three decades, Don Hauptman was an award-winning independent direct-response copywriter and creative consultant. He is author of The Versatile Freelancer, an e-book that shows writers and other creative professionals how to diversify their careers into speaking, consulting, training, and critiquing.]


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