The first thing you have to know about my car: Her name is Blue Thunder.
Second: She has a tape deck.
Why a successful businessman would choose to drive an automobile riddled with ancient technology, my friends and family can’t quite figure out. But I can. She’s safe, she’s loyal, and she brings me back in time (more on that in a moment).
Last night I found myself sprinting toward Blue Thunder, trying to avoid the arctic blasts of Wisconsin’s winter wind. Nearly out of breath, I reached the driver’s side door, got inside, and with cat-like reflexes slid the key into the ignition and brought her roaring to life.
Before shifting into gear, before checking my mirrors, I did what I always do: I reached toward the tape deck, nudged forward the awaiting cassette, and sat back as the reliable machine scooped it up and filled the car with sound.
Welcome to another edition of PowerTalk. I think you’re going to especially enjoy this session…
It was an interview I’ve heard many times before. In fact, the first time I heard Tony Robbins plucking insights from the mind of marketing titan Jay Abraham, I was just a kid sitting next to his dad.
Sundays with Abraham
I’ll never forget those afternoons, the sights, the smells, the sounds. Every Sunday my dad and I would head to Kopp’s Frozen Custard, a small chain started 64 years ago. We’d get our food, walk back to the car, and just as I did last night, gently nudge the cassette into the tape deck.
I loved every minute of it.
We’d listen to Zig Ziglar’s timeless tales about succeeding in sales and in life, Michael Gerber’s thoughts on the entrepreneurial myths, and, of course, Jay Abraham.
His success amazed me even then, as a kid. One story in particular made my jaw drop…and food tumble out of my mouth…a story about growing a $300,000 company to $500,000,000 in 18 months. Can you imagine? (Just how he managed that is below.)
He had learned so much over the course of his life that his mind operated like a supercomputer, churning out ideas as powerful today as they were on those lazy Sundays. It’s the reason I still listen to that interview. It’s the reason I’ll listen to it for years to come.
But, I think, it’s more than that. I think I also play that tape, that original banged up and bruised tape, to bring me back to those Sundays when life was simple and all that mattered was sharing an afternoon with your dad.
A Story of Silver & Gold
Abraham was tasked with growing a company that sold precious metals and rare coins. Up to that point they had no marketing systems in place aside from haphazard recommendations in a small newsletter. Jay was about to shake things up.
- He completely reversed the marketing message from get-rich-quick to get-rich-slowly
- He carefully educated the market with balanced perspectives on the investment opportunity
- He put systems in place to follow up with people who didn’t initially invest, bringing in thousands of lost customers
- He formalized the newsletter endorsement, ensuring each new subscriber would immediately learn of the opportunity to invest in gold, silver, and rare coins as well as drafting a quarterly newsletter insert
- He replicated the systems and success of the newsletter campaigns with dozens of other industry periodicals
- He put in place a biannual mail campaign for newsletter subscribers
- He sent prospects $100 worth of research reports containing the history of precious metals and rare coins, interviews with experts, and arguments for and against investment (to be balanced)
- He sent prospects two silver dollars to give them a sense of the history, mystery, and allure of silver
- He purchased textbooks with chapters on precious metals from publishers to send to prospects, without obligation
- He convinced Intergold (now the World Gold Council) to underwrite two million 30-page brochures to send to prospects
- He created starter kits for gold and silver investment
- He put in place a full-scale direct mail campaign
- He took over operations of under-performing investment promotions from other companies and, through back-end sales, turned a profit
On and on the list went, brilliant strategy after brilliant strategy, all focused on one goal. And he achieved it…masterfully.
The $500,000,000 Lesson
The tale dazzled me as a kid; the lesson delights me as a coach.
The Internet has introduced a bug into the entrepreneurial system. The ease of getting online has fooled people into believing in the ease of growing a business. It’s not easy. It’s hard work. Very hard work.
Every day I read about someone who tried a thing or two to grow their business, only to conclude it didn’t work and it’s too hard (or, better yet, impossible). One or two? One or two?!?!
This is the $500,000,000 lesson.
To grow the company from something small to something colossal, Jay Abraham didn’t try one or two things; he unloaded an arsenal of marketing mayhem. He thrust himself into the task and just…worked…hard.
If you want to succeed as an expert online, you have to do more than produce lonely content. You have to do more than a guest post or two. You have to do more than post a quote on Facebook. You have to do more than wish for better things to come.
- You have to speak to your market–live–and truly understand their hopes and their struggles
- You have to create uncommonly valuable content that makes a difference in the lives of your readers
- You have to create products and offer services that deliver reliable, tangible results
- You have to reach out to peers and colleagues, everywhere, and establish relationships that will benefit all involved
- You have to spend a lifetime trying to master advertising and copywriting
- You have to orchestrate guest posts and ad swaps and joint ventures and interviews and webinars
- And on and on and on…
It’s cheaper than ever before. It’s more efficient than ever before. But growing your business still requires good ol’ head-down hustle.
Some people have what it takes. Many do not. The ease of entry has welcomed millions online that aren’t prepared for the difficult–though worthwhile–road ahead.
But something amazing happens when you’re willing to go above and beyond, willing to put in the time and effort and, like Abraham, thrust yourself into the task.
Something a Little Different
The first draft of this post included a footer asking for your greatest business lessons. I changed my mind. I now want to know your fondest childhood memory. Take a second to share your story below and move one step closer to creating a connection with the community that supports you.