A while back, I had a really fun experience…
I was listening again to the Ken McCarthy interview that he did with Gary Bencivenga. Gary was talking about a project he’d done for a client, writing for a specific financial newsletter…
And I’ll tell you what made this fun in a moment, but first, the context…
Gary was one of my earliest heroes. Ever since I first connected with Ken McCarthy around 2007, and Ken said, “Not a lot of people know who he is yet, but among those in the know, Gary Bencivenga is the best copywriter in the world. If you’re serious about copywriting and you don’t study Gary, you’re not really serious.” And then he mailed me that interview, gratis, because Ken is a freaking gem.
I listened to it over and over and over again. Much of my development as a copywriter came from really getting to know Gary’s lessons in that interview, inside and out.
And I’ve occasionally gone back and listened to it, which led to that fun experience.
I mentioned Gary was talking about one of his projects with a client… And I was in the middle of writing a promotion for the very same client, for the very same financial newsletter!
It was a full-circle experience.
Here I’d basically tried to become the next Gary Bencivenga, and I was now in the lineage of copywriters holding controls on some of the same products!
If you’re serious about playing in the biggest of big leagues, among the “Titans” of the direct response industry (or any other industry)… Here’s how you get on the radar of, in the Rolodexes of, and eventually, on the payroll of some of the biggest players in the space…
The secret to selling high-ticket services (or, how I caught a whale!)
During the recent conversations around the Titans of Direct Response promotion, I had a lot of questions come up…
But there’s one that kept surfacing again and again, so I’d like to address it here…
“Just how did you land a whale of a project like this — and a whale of a client like Brian Kurtz?”
I think there are a lot of lessons that can be learned from this.
But I’d like to focus on one of the most fundamental…
And this takes us all the way back to Selling 101…
To a lesson so simple and fundamental, that you’d almost think it’s not worth repeating.
And yet, because it is so fundamental, it’s one of those lessons you should hear again and again and again.
(What I find fascinating is how often beginners seem to want “the next big thing,” but how much the pros focus on getting “back to basics.” Bruce Lee once said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”)
Here’s our Selling 101 lesson…
People buy from people they know, like, and trust!
And wickedly effective.
First, the back story.
I met Brian a few years back at AWAI’s Bootcamp. Through mutual acquaintances, I connected with him on a causal basis. No pressure to make the relationship anything. We were just making a good connection.
Around the same time — and honestly, it could have been before or after — we connected on LinkedIn. And instead of just “connecting,” I actually reached out with a message and said, “Hello.”
Some time later, I sent him a note with a copy idea for a Boardroom direct mail package I’d received. All value, no pressure. It was along the lines of, “Here’s an idea that I think is worth testing…” I don’t know if they ever tested it, but it helped build the relationship.
When I was actively doing interviews for my podcast (on hold, for now), I reached out to Brian and asked him for an interview. He agreed, and because I did my homework and made sure the interview was the best it could be, he came back and said it was one of the best he’d ever done. (You can listen to it here.)
Again, notice this is all value-delivery, no pressure.
This led me to getting an invitation to their closed-door, invitation-only workshop last year, featuring Perry Marshall. I registered for the event myself. I wrote Brian a huge first-person story testimonial about my experience with Perry and his marketing and copywriting ability, that he was able to use in promoting the event. And I sent an announcement to my Claude C. Hopkins Copywriters group on LinkedIn, to help Brian fill more seats at the workshop. (There was no affiliate commission or referral fee, or compensation of any kind for this.)
More value. No pressure.
Then, when Brian sent out a note late last year (2013) asking about what he could do to make this year’s event awesome, I was one of the only people who replied. I got on the phone with him for at least two hours of brainstorming, to talk through his plans, my ideas, and generally help him out. With no expectations.
At this point, our relationship had become pure professional friendship.
When you’re dealing with a friend, you’re not trying to take from the relationship, you’re trying to give.
That’s what I’d done for years…
He’d seen some of my copy. But he also knew me through all these interactions. And he knew I was seriously interested — aside from any compensation — in helping him make his events the best they could be.
He wasn’t even looking to hire a copywriter for the event…
All his past workshops were small, and, as I said, invitation-only. They weren’t exactly private — but they were put on first and foremost for his friends, acquaintances, and professional connections.
And he’d written all the copy for them.
Now this is someone who has spent the last 33 years around the top copywriters in the world.
And he knows what good copy should say. He knows what it looks like.
And so — in a pinch — he can write copy that gets the job done.
But he’s NOT a copywriter. And he’ll tell you this himself.
Yet, because he’d written the copy for his previous workshops, he took a first go at doing it for this year’s big event as well.
When he ran it by A-list copywriter David Deutsch though, David told Brian…
“Get yourself a real copywriter!”
And so, one Sunday afternoon, Brian emails me and says, “Can you talk tonight? I have an urgent request!”
Well, I made him wait until Monday morning…
And the rest — as they say — is history…
Lesson: the relationship is the most important thing…
Now I know this is a “long game” and not an “I need to feed my family today” lesson.
But the seeds you plant today will feed you for the rest of your career.
So even as you’re getting clients now…
(Or selling whatever it is you’re selling.)
You need to ALSO be developing these long-term relationships with “Players.”
Clients and customers who you’re willing to say, “We probably aren’t a fit right now, but I’d like to connect with you anyway.”
And continue to build and nurture the relationship.
For its own sake.
Yes, having them know, like, and trust you may come back and lead to a huge opportunity, like this…
But today, don’t focus on that.
Today, focus on them.
Providing value. With no pressure to get anything in return.
That’s how you catch a whale.
It’s also a damn good way to live your life.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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