Perhaps THE Key to Success

In my sophomore year in college, I drove my VW bug from Colorado all the way back to Pennsylvania to be with family for Christmas.

My black Labrador retriever “Bingo”, sat in the back seat all 1800 odd miles over icy roads and through blizzard conditions with me. When we finally arrived at my parents house, he burst in the front door, bolted right to the Christmas Tree there in the living room, lifted his leg and did exactly what a dog often does with a tree. Much, of course to everyone’s horror and amusement.

Now I tell you this story because I want to illustrate a point about giving. All in the spirit of Christmas of course.

By “giving” of himself in an endearing, although inconvenient manner, Bingo formed an immediate and lifelong bond with everyone in the room. I mean, without a doubt, he gave us all a great story to add to our Christmas lore. In his own way, he gave us something first. And, after the initial hubbub, was given a great deal of love and attention.

For us entrepreneurs and business folk, it’s a good thing to remember. As Earl Nightingale put it in his audio program “Lead the Field”, hoping and wishing for results without first putting in the effort is like sitting in front of logs in a fireplace and demanding, “Give me fire!”. You’ve got to add kindling and light the darn thing first.

A minister I know has a talk where he asks the question, “What if your business simply provided outrageously great value? Would profits or growth even be an issue?”

However, just because you deliver great value doesn’t mean folks will beat a path to your door. In today’s hypercompetitive economy, you’ve got to get that message out to your ideal prospects. And the giving principle applies in direct response marketing.

To get more leads, for instance, you offer something of value first – a report, a promotional discount, an event, etc. to get attention. This is not advanced calculus.

To bring your business to the next level, you might want to look at each stage in the “customer lifecycle” and ask, “What can I offer here that will elicit a better response?”

How are you doing in each of these stages?

  • Attract Interest
  • Capture Leads
  • Nurture Desire
  • Convert Leads to Customers
  • Fulfill and Deliver a “Wow!” Experience
  • Provide Added Value (Upsell)
  • Ask for Referrals

Dan Kennedy talks about giving first, how it is habit with him and how he often overdelivers. Dan’s success as a multi-millionaire copywriter offers pretty good evidence this giving thing works.

Joe Polish, dead-broke carpet cleaner turned marketing guru with entrepreneurs paying $25K a year to be in his mastermind group is another example. Joe is notoriously successful networker, known for always bring value to the table before asking for a favor.

And lastly, if you haven’t read or listened to the Og Mandino classic “The Greatest Salesman on Earth”, it’s a good holiday read, and for anyone in business adds meaning to the spirit of giving.

I hope you find value in this message not just today but every day of the year. And no matter your religious bent, here’s to a very happy holiday season and a new year filled with newly earned wealth and success.

– Mike Connolly
In the trenches with you