Recently, I got this ditty from an MBA:
(I know he’s an MBA because it’s stated in his name attached to the email he sent me)
Please know that I absolutely adore your stuff. So much so, that it took me a couple of weeks to actually accept the fact that I needed to do this. But with the government shutdown, my business has tanked and I need to conserve every dollar I have right now until it’s over.
So I need to cancel my newsletter subscription before it renews on Sunday. It pisses me off beyond belief that I have to do this, but business is down 60% since December and I have to cut every cost I can. I realize this means I probably can’t come back. I’m not okay with that, but I have to feed my family first. I’ll keep reading your stuff and buying your books.
Thank you, but please cancel my membership.
“It is cancelled, and you are correct, there is no coming back”
And, just like that… he was banished from elBenbo’s midst ever after.
A bit extreme to someone who seems down on their luck?
No, it’s just the opposite.
First, I carefully curate who I want around my business.
I do this mainly because if I sell to and waste time with people who are unmotivated, unwilling to learn, lazy, or simply full of excuses, then I won’t be giving my good customers my very best. And this bloke’s defeatist, victim-hood mentality, hiding behind the Fed government shut down is a loud bullhorn signaling the exact opposite of what I demand in my customers.
In fact, my first thought was:
All that MBA education and he can’t use the info he admittedly adores to write an email each day that recoups his whopping $3.23 per day investment (which was preventing him from feeding his family?) and have the wisdom to sell something on the backend that makes him many more sales to boot?
Instead he treats the info as an “expense” to be cut.
And not an investment to be used and profited from.
And while I’m not saying he’s a bad person — he sounds like a good guy, salt of the earth — or that his plight is to be made light of (it’s not)… people like that have no place amongst us in the Email Player-hood.
Why in the world would I want him back?
Or anyone else with a similar prole-mind who just thinks in terms of “cut!” when it comes to doing the things that build a business, specifically ongoing education and marketing.
Speaking of prole-minded:
How do you know if you have one?
You discontinue and “cut back” on services and programs that make you sales (i.e. assets) before you discontinue your cable, your overpriced morning sugar coffee, your satellite subscription, magazines subscriptions, music site subscriptions, software subscriptions you never use, eating out 5x’s per week, and other entertainment and consumable expenses (i.e. liabilities) that are, by design, created to keep you entertained and passive, a servant of the system, building a lifestyle for someone else and his family, and not a master of your own destiny building a lifestyle for you and your family.
Being temporarily broke is certainly no crime.
But it’s never the money. Even a street bum rattling a coffee-stained styrofoam cup with holes in it can afford $3.23 per day, and if he can do it, an MBA should be able to do it and easily make more than his investment back, and build from there.
i.e. it would not have “cost” him anything if he was using it.
And to me, that’s the “crime” — not doing something about his situation.
I would bet someone else’s kidney he never once bothered using the two issues and book he got other than to send an email or two out, at most. I’d put my money on zero times. And also, it clearly never even occurred to him to take advantage of the perk I give “Email Players” subscribers where they can ask me questions (not copy critiques, I don’t do critiques) via email about anything I’m qualified to talk about. Now, admittedly, there are many, many things I am not qualified to talk about. Too many to list here. But, there are a few things I’m good at and can help people with, and have helped people with, and making sales with email — even when someone’s back is to the wall — is one of them.
He didn’t even bother to ask, before quitting:
“Mr. elBenbo, I am in this pickle… yada yada yada… any ideas?”
To which I might have been able to rattle off some ideas he could quickly implement.
Like, for example:
Having a Federal Government Shutdown sale or special on whatever it is he sells (which may very well be marketing advice going by his email address — ironically).
If he at least tried, that’d be one thing.
But he didn’t even bother.
Instead, it was just react, then despair for two weeks, then quit.
The social sciences are bull shyt in a lot of cases. But, there is observable truth to, “you become the sum total of the people you spend the most time with.” And since I interact (i.e. spend time with) my customers via email, I don’t want anyone’s sad sack attitude getting on the bottom of my shoe, which can then get tracked around my business like mud, and have to be scrubbed clean.
“But Ben doesn’t this mean losing sales if they want back in later???”
In the short term, yes.
But in the long run?
That old business is always, without exception, replaced with better, higher quality, and more serious customers, and my business grows as a result.
The point to all this?
People are always looking for a boogeyman to hide behind (government shut-downs, the economy, Trump, Obama, the weather, the stock market, whatever it is) to justify their inaction.
And to those types, I sincerely wish them the best.
But, they’ll have to practice their in-action somewhere else.
Because they are not welcome back in my business once they – on their own volition – foolishly and short-sightedly cast themselves out into the void…
Anyway, this is one reason I’m teaching list building in the February “Email Players” issue. Your *list* is the beating heart of a direct marketing business. Not your puffed-up-in-numbers Facebook or Twitter friends. Not your podcast listeners. And certainly not your Instagram following. Those can be great to have, but only work as a way to make sales directly until they don’t — because you don’t control those platforms, and can’t export (to my knowledge, at least) your followers, friends, and audiences to a spreadsheet you can then “plug” into another platform like you can with email.
One more thing, before I let you go:
I once had a brilliant client in the self defense niche.
This was right smack dab in the middle of the worst part of the last recession in 2009.
And the client said something I will never forget.
He said (paraphrased):
“Direct response marketers who know what they’re doing love down economies. We make a lot more sales during these times, because all our competitors react in fear, and immediately ‘cut back’ on their marketing expenses and education, instead of ramping them up and seizing market share.”
And so it is, but only if you have:
1. An offer people want
2. A list of those people to sell your offer to
3. Something else to sell those people who buy your offer
The offer parts are on you, but if you want to learn the list part, check out the February “Email Players” issue, which goes to the printer tomorrow. It shows you one particular way of building a list that, while it takes time and patience (and a network — even if it’s a small network), it can pay you many dividends over time, and in a consistent way. And because it’s slow and takes time, the sooner you do it, the better.
After tomorrow’s deadline, it’ll be too late to get it, no exceptions.
Here’s the link: