Average read time: 12.16 minutes. Highlights 2.14. Long, but my most valuable article ever. It’s what I wish I knew twenty years ago.
I noticed her from across the bar. She stood out with her long legs and blond hair. She would have easily fit in at Hugh’s house–where the men wear pajamas.
When she walked up, I could barely hear what she said over the music. We were at a nightclub in Vegas, where unless you’re on the list, the suckers wait two-hours to get in.
I will get to the business and marketing in a bit…but first let me tell you this story…it’s good gossip, so let’s keep it between us.
“Will you buy me a drink,” she asked.
I rolled my eyes and turned towards my buddy.
She walked around and wedged herself between my friend and I, obviously annoyed by my attitude.
“Can you believe this girl?” I asked, loud enough that she would hear.
“What’s your problem?” she demanded, obviously used to being the center of male attention in Las Vegas.
“He doesn’t buy girls drinks,” my buddy said, feeding off of my attitude.
“You don’t?” she asked with a confused look.
“But you can buy us a drink,” I said.
“Um…ok!? What do you guys want?” And then the lady resembling playmate, bought us a round of drinks. We spent the rest of the evening together and dated afterwards.
I did everything “wrong,” and it worked! This was my first lesson in marketing…I mean dating.
Sex is Marketing
Everyone must learn and master marketing, no matter what field or position you’re in. Business owners, entrepreneurs and even employees.
Everything you’ve been taught is wrong!
I’m going to dispel a myth. It may piss you off, but that does not make it untrue.
It’s foolish to bury our heads in the sand and wish reality were different.
We can either learn and adapt, or be angry and do nothing. It’s your choice.
I was fresh off a divorce. Out on the “scene” for the first time ever.
I married my high-school sweetheart. And unless you consider copying her homework in class as dating, I had never experienced the dating scene. At least not back then.
After my divorce, I was out on the “prowl” trying to figure this thing out. After being in such a long relationship, dating didn’t make much sense. To be honest, girls still don’t make much sense, but that’s another subject 🙂
I did what you’re supposed to do. I was a nice, bought drinks, offered dinner, and even lifted weights –every guy knows that if he can bench press 325 pounds everything will fall into place, right?
Doing what we’ve been taught will work once in a while, but rarely do girls notice these things.
And it doesn’t matter which “type” of girl you’re seeking. If you do what everyone else does, no one will notice you.
What does a playmate have to do with your job or business?
It wasn’t until I was frustrated that I accidentally stumbled upon what really works. You see, I didn’t plan that stunt with the “playmate” in the bar. The reality was I had already been blown off a few times during that night.
In my naiveté, I discovered that some girls go to bars to get guys they don’t know, or intend to talk to, to finance their evening—silly me. Annoyed, I reversed the roles by accident.
Without realizing it, I got her attention in a way none of the other guys had. Then, with her attention, I sold her on my benefits. We usually begin selling our features before we have their attention. That always fails.
Good marketing connects someone with a need to someone who has the solution.
It’s difficult for these two people to find each other. The market is cluttered with too many messages competing for the same attention. Good marketing solves this.
Are you seeing the connection yet?
The Lie You Tell Your Kids
“If you are the best at what you do, you will rise to the top.”
Unfortunately, this is not true. Not even slightly, and it’s a disappointing discovery. How many times have you seen an extremely attractive woman with a less than desirable guy? A guy with no future, not even a nice guy, and wondered, how in the world did he get together with her?
It happens all the time but we refuse to believe the world does not operate from the lens we want it to, so we demonize the action?
“He must have lots of money.” Occasionally that’s the case. But often that’s not it.
The truth is, that guy did a better job of marketing. He was able to get through the clutter and capture her attention.
Year after year, Coke out sells Pepsi, yet in test after test, people enjoy the taste of Pepsi more.
Who do you think is the best financial advisor in the world?
Is she the most skilled, knowledgeable or even most qualified? Does she have the most credentials? Frequently at financial advisor conventions, she is criticized as a poor financial advisor, but she clearly is the most well known and the best marketer in the industry.
If Coke sells better, Suze Orman is not the most qualified, and the best man does not always get the girl, why do we believe that “If you are the best at what you do, you’ll be successful.”
Origins of a Myth
Our parents, and a failing education system, have taught us that success comes from good grades, degrees, and climbing ladders.
Schools want you to believe the more degrees, credentials, and letters after your name, the more successful you’ll be.
The graph below depicts median lifetime earnings based on formal education. These results taken in isolation make it appear there are huge benefits to formal education.
On average, someone with a professional degree will earn more than a high-school dropout, but that does not mean pursuing higher formal education will result in more income or higher levels of success.
There is truth in the data on education and income, but it is misleading. It leads you to believe that formal education is THE path to greater income. I argue that it is NOT the most direct path.
This data ignores training in areas outside of formal education; for my purposes here, marketing and sales.
The college = success myth is the result of fabulous marketing from the education system itself. It’s in the best interest of schools to indoctrinate students into believing that myth to keep the bureaucracies running.
It is also what we WANT to be true. It is easier to believe what we think is fair and just. Often when we discover things are unfair, we refuse to accept them.
Frank Kern, a multi-millionaire consultant to coaches and experts, said “The people who are professing to be experts, telling you what you can and can’t do in life and how to do it, are a bunch of fucking jackasses. The model that society teaches you to become successful is highly flawed.”
Marketing and sales are the most important life skills you will ever learn. No other skills will lead you to greater success — no matter how you measure it. The perfect spouse, career advancement, money or happiness.
I’ve testified many times in court as an expert witness. Interestingly the legal definition of an expert is one who has more knowledge of a subject than a lay person. That degree of knowledge always seemed thin to me, but it’s what is necessary in a court of law.
When you apply that measure to your profession, it doesn’t require all that much to provide your services. Just how much expertise does it really require competently handle your clients’ needs? Look at the chart below.
Your customer’s knowledge vs. all available knowledge
- Red bar depicts your customer’s knowledge level of your field
- Blue is the minimum knowledge required to perform the job, or pass entrance exams (Bar exam for example)
- Your present skill level
- Purple is the leader in the industry. The top guy. Smartest in the field
- The bottom turquoise colored bar represents all available knowledge in the field
To bring this from abstract to real, let’s use your gardener as an example. He is operating in the green bar in the gardening field. He mows your lawns, trims your trees, and pulls the weeds.
He even knows the right fertilizer to use and he has set the sprinkler timer after you’ve tried and failed. He does a good job and you’re happy.
He could return to college and study the science of blending two plant species so that your red roses, mixed with white ones, turn pink. It would take him four years of college and a degree to become “certified” to do this, but you don’t care about this. You just want your lawns mowed. If you wanted pink roses you’d go to Home Depot and buy them.
If he continues as a gardener, will his business and income grow by advancing his gardening skills or by learning how to attract more customers?
Maybe that example was too blue collar.
Imagine if the playmate in the bar bought you a drink, and in another bar a Chippendale is buying your spouse a drink. Then imagine that you both decide to skip into the sunset with your new lovers.
It’s time to hire a lawyer — Yes, the wort part of a divorce, I know.
You agree to a divorce and hire an attorney to make your fantasies legal. You want to split everything 50/50 and just need it written up.
Do you need a lawyer with twelve different sets of three letter initials after her name? Do you care if she has a PhD, MBA, or other fancy titles?
Most say no. Consumers will assume she is minimally qualified simply because she is a lawyer.
Do you check the credentials of your doctor? Most do not.
Here is where this all comes together.
If the gardener example seemed obvious to you, then why aren’t you spending more of your time and energy learning and implementing marketing?
The reason is because it’s fun to learn more about your field. It’s comfortable, but not usually profitable.
You entered your profession because you enjoyed the subject, so you have a natural tendency to want to learn more about your craft.
Professionals in all fields spend more time perfecting their craft then they do becoming better marketing and sales people. This is a huge mistake for you and your clients.
For the most part, after you reach a certain level of expertise, there are diminishing marginal returns for the clients’ benefit and your income. You have to keep up to date, but don’t waste time learning things you’ll likely never use.
It’s equally important for employees to learn this way of thinking. You need to learn how your boss and customers think. You will advance faster than anyone else in your organization if you learn sales and marketing.
According to Michael Ellsberg, “There’s no better way to rise up the ranks of your organization than bringing in new business, or coming up with ideas that bring in new business. Not in your job description? Too bad, learn it if you want to advance faster.”
By becoming a better marketer you will provide your prospects and customers with a better experience.
“Marketing is a mentality. It’s a worldview that puts customer’ emotional reality first, and inquires deeply about their needs, wants, and desires.” Michael Ellsberg, the author of Education of Millionaires.
The majority of the value that most service providers offer is not in-depth technical skill. That is a percentage of it, but the bulk of the value is in influencing your clients to make good decisions.
The core of marketing is understanding human psychology and influence.
Why do you think most people hire personal trainers? Is it because of their knowledge of kinesiology, nutritional science and exercise technique? I’ve been in that industry for years and I can tell you for sure, the answer is no.
Everyone already knows they need to eat less and exercise more. However, they don’t know how to motivate themselves to do it. That is what they need you for.
The financial planning industry is no different. Spend less, save more. Easy right?
It’s very hard to implement especially with competing psychological priorities for their money.
In every industry, there are the technical details that people hire experts for, but the overwhelming majority of the value service providers offer is influence.
Still don’t believe me? Schedule an appointment with your doctor, the high paid guy that went to school for 500 years or something.
Before you leave he will tell you to exercise more and watch your diet (now you owe me for an office visit).
When you become a marketing expert, you will learn to shift your perspective your from your angle to your customer’s view. You will discover what they want and need, and you will deliver better services.
Your reach will expand and you will help more people.
The majority of service providers enter a profession first out of a desire to help people; second to make money.
If you’re not able to gain attention, and demonstrate the value you offer, they will not hire you, nor will they benefit from your services.
Are your ready to develop your marketing skills?