The Most Important Business Skill

BY Tom Antion

I’ve been in business 40 years formally and way more than that if you count all my entrepreneurial endeavors starting at about 10 years old. I hit multi-millionaire status about 17 years ago and have maintained that ever since. So, I think I know a little bit about the skills you need to thrive in a business.

Certainly to be in a thriving business, you need all kinds of skills. Customer service, sales, product development all come to mind as obvious ones. The one that stands out the most in my not so humble opinion is copywriting. No, I’m not talking about “copyrighting” which is protecting your intellectual property. I’m talking about your ability to write words that make people want to give you money.

Getting copywriting skills pretty much lets you write checks to yourself.

This skill really trumps all the others. Without copy you wouldn’t have any customers to service.

Without copy no one would call your company so that you even have a chance of selling them.

Products would just sit on the shelves if it wasn’t for copy.

I’ve preached for years to all my high-end mentees . . . “Copywriting is the number one skill I’ve developed in my entire business career”. . . . And one more thing; If you really like writing, people too lazy to learn this skill will be forced to pay you big money to do it for them.

I’M NO GOOD AT WRITING

Copywriting is not like writing a novel. I’d say it’s a hundred times easier since you don’t have to have a plot full of twists and turns and a bunch of character development. It’s way easier than writing a how to book (which is pretty easy) because it’s not nearly as long. I will admit many books are written only to be a GIANT sales letter for the product that is written about in the book. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about using simple writing techniques that create desire for your product. And guess what . . . you can “swipe” most of them.

You don't have to be a hyper intellectual scribe to write great copy.

SWIPE FILES

Let me be clear. Taking into consideration my consumer advocacy and anti-scam TV show I’m developing I’d be the last one to advise you to steal someone else’s work and claim it as your own. However, in the field of copywriting, borrowing ideas and customizing them to make them your own is pretty much the norm . . . NOT the exception.

Every top copywriter keeps a “Swipe File” of copy they have seen that really grabbed them. They use the idea of the copy, but insert their own material and tweak it to make it their own. This is relatively easy since you are surrounded by advertising copy every day both when you are out and about and when you’re in front of your computer.  Just start collecting things you like.

I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WRITE

This excuse always cracks me up. There’s no one busier than I am, but I can find the time to write copy because it makes sense. Hiring a copywriter will not save you time. . . . Hmmm. Let me think about that for a second. I guess hiring a bad copywriter would save you time. A bad copywriter will not take the time to interview you about your product and it’s benefits for hours. Of course, the copy you are paying for will most likely flop. You did save time though.

The real reason hiring someone will not save you time is that a good copywriter will want to know every detail, every feature and every benefit of your product. He/she will want to know all the details of your target market. If you have more than one target market, you’ll have to tell the copywriter all the details of each market because each market will have to have the core sales letter tweaked to that market.

You will have to take time to carefully review each draft of the sales letter to make sure a false claim is not made about your product and to make sure the copywriter is conveying your wishes appropriately. Figure on at least three drafts with hours spent on each draft and days or weeks wasted between drafts. I’m not exaggerating here. A good copywriter will have many clients and won’t be able to spend full time on your project unless you’re willing to pay a super-premium price.

Bottom line is that you will not save time. A sales letter that you could knock out in a day or two-part time could conceivably take months to finish.  I.e. you’re paying for things to take longer. I don’t have that kind of time and money to waste.

YOU ONLY GET A SALESLETTER

When you ignore this skill and hire a copywriter for a product, all you get is a sales letter for that product. What about all the other things you need copy for? Video scripts, blog postings, articles,flyers, brochures, post cards, facebook type ads, Google type ads all contain copy. You may not realize it, but all of those things you need for your business to be more successful have elements of copy in them.

All your business materials, blog posting, video scripts, flyers and the like use copy. Do you want to have to hire someone every single time you need a piece of copy?

When you learn the techniques of writing words that sell, all your business communications will be more likely to move people to action. Compelling copy will start invading your YouTube videos, your social media postings, and all your business correspondence.

I’m not going to make you look like the proverbial used car salesperson, but ignoring the fact that there are techniques you most likely don’t know about that make people want to buy will cost you enormous amounts of money in the future.

EXAMPLE

Here’s a technique that you are surrounded by every day of your life and they even use it on the evening news. It’s called the Ziegarnik Technique. I’ll bet you’ve never heard of it. Bluma Ziegarnik was a Russian psychiatrist / psychologist who discovered an interesting principle of the human mind --- that it cannot stand unfulfilled curiosity. Let me show you several ways this is used.

But first let me tell you about two news directors from major TV stations that were in my mentor program a while back. They both told me they simply lie to you in their news broadcasts. They might say something at the beginning of the newscast like, “When we come back we’re going to tell you who Britney kissed. You won’t believe it.” Then they keep doing teasers like that and then they finally tell you at the end of the show.

TV News uses this technique against you every day.

How do I know about the Britney example? I witnessed it one time in Los Angeles while I was in my hotel room getting ready to go downstairs to speak to a big group. Even though I don’t give a darn about Britney Spears, I was almost late for my speech because I fooled around getting ready long enough to hear who it was. It turns out it was that guy she married in Las Vegas for about 12 hours. The Ziegarnik technique got me.

So how can you use this without being big liars like the news people? One place you use it is in subject lines of emails. Really the subject line of a promotion is by far the most important part of any email related online sale. If the email never gets opened, nothing else really matters after that.

Here are a couple Ziegarnik style subject lines and commentary:

Boy did I get in trouble!  (My readers wondered what I did to get in trouble.)

My Most Important Business Skill (People wonder what it is.)

The 3 Smartest Dogs (People wonder what they are and maybe think there is a list of all the other dogs so they can see how their dog rates.)

So, you can see that the Ziegarnik technique is used online to increase “Open Rates” on emails.

Now let’s look inside an email.

There’s a trend in email marketing to have shorter emails that drive people to a website. This is a good idea for several reasons. First, the shorter the email, the less likely it is to get caught in a spam filter. Second, when you have more website visits you look more popular to the search engines and you can control the look of your website better than you can in email. Third when you have people at your website it’s easier to expose them to a nice long sales letter, sales video and all the other goodies you have on your site.

Ziegarnik to the Rescue.

Here’s an example of the inside of an email using the Ziegarnik technique to get people to click through to a website:

Dear Sally,

Did you ever wonder how your dog rates when it comes to intelligence? Click here to see if your pooch made it in the top three, and if not, where your little bundle of joy falls in the smarts section. Don’t worry, we love every one of them no matter where they rate.

Click here now!

I’m not saying you should always do super short emails. I’m just trying to show you options that work.

 

The bottom line is that your business will climb in sales AND save a ton of money if you bother to learn to write copy.

LOTS OF TECHNIQUES JUST LIKE THIS

There are many easy-to-learn, yet extremely powerful techniques just like the one above that savvy business owners know. The same exact techniques are used in any type of business. You just change the words to suit the industry you’re targeting.

These techniques can be the difference between a business that’s losing money and one that’s profitable. They can be the difference between a business that’s making some money and one that’s making lots of money. Plus, remember if you like to write, you can get others to pay you large sums of money to write for them.

To learn more I have an extremely popular FREE webinar that teaches five super powerful techniques that by themselves can triple the effectiveness of all your promotions. The online event will be held at three convenient times this week. Register now! http://www.GreatInternetMarketing.com/copywriting

Anyone and I mean ANYONE can add these five techniques to their business. You don't have to be a good writer or even be able to spell that well. Even though I'm only going in depth on 5 techniques on the webinar, I'll be showing you 31 other salesletter elements that are used to sell more of your ideas, products and services.

If you want to massively increase your bottom line, don’t miss this webinar http://www.GreatInternetMarketing.com/copywriting

Top 11 Ways People Sabotage Their Success

silhouetted man watching a television screen of static

TV is a time sink that could be derailing your success.

Watching Television: Television is a great thing if you use it strategically to increase your success. If you watch Home / Garden TV to learn how to stage your home so it sells faster and for more money, that’s a strategic use of TV. If, however, you get addicted to “Desperate Housewives”, you are pretty much wasting your time and knocking out 52 hours a year that could have been spent on something that would help you achieve your goals.

Too Much Relaxation: I certainly understand unwinding and occasionally smelling the roses, but it seems our society has overemphasized this to the point where every spare moment is devoted to “taking a break”. A colleague of mine who is a psychiatrist told me our society is becoming weaker all the time. No one knows the real meaning of working hard. If you work full time at a dreaded JOB and you want to start your own business, you are going to have to work evenings, early mornings and weekends to make it a reality. If you’re not thrilled to do that and willing to give up a few rounds of golf or blowing all Saturday going to the movies and out to dinner, then don’t bother starting. You’re doomed to fail.

Resisting Self-Sufficient Learning: To be successful usually involves increasing one type of skill or the other. There are enormous learning opportunities available because of the Internet starting at FREE and going up from there. I learned how to hook up network cables and punch blocks in my entire school just by watching free YouTube videos. Not only did I save thousands of dollars, I can troubleshoot the system if something goes wrong which again would save me time and money. I bought cheap Udemy courses to learn how to do retargeting advertising on line. You can hardly think of a skill that doesn’t have a corresponding online course available somewhere. You can also find tutors either in person or through Skype. Heck they are even teaching dog training one-on-one (plus the dog) on Skype. If you don’t seek out training, the chances are it won’t just fall into your lap.

Image of a hand offering a credit card.

Credit makes it easy to over spend and dig yourself into debt.

Overspending: With high interest credit so easy to get, people are tempted to buy things impulsively and in many cases overspend while they’re doing it. Much of my adult life has been used up selling on the commercial Internet so I’ll use that as an example. Literally hundreds of people have come to my training after spending anywhere from $5,000.00 to as much as $80,000.00 for a website. Unless you’re swimming in money and don’t really care, this is crazy! Nowadays a child can make a world class website for less than 100 bucks. It’s OK with me if you spend 50 to 800 times as much for your website, but I can tell you if you keep up that kind of spending, it will be 50 to 800 times as tough to become successful in your business. The same applies to anything you spend money on, from apartments, to houses, to cars, boats, etc. The more you know, the better deal you can make.

Man in suit where the head has been replaced by a toy reptile head.

If you're a terrible person, people won't do business with you.

Rotten Personality: I don’t want to blow my own horn . . . OK I’ll blow it a little . . . I believe my personality has really helped to make me successful and in more ways than you might think. First I try to be pleasant to be around. When you’re pleasant more people want to be around you, make deals with you, do favors for you, etc. I’m not saying anything about being a push over because I have the ability (which I reserve for bad people) to be their worst nightmare. What might surprise you about this is that by treating people nicely, I have few enemies (except for the bad people noted above) so I sleep really well. Sleeping well helps you to be successful because you have plenty of energy to do the things you’re supposed to be doing.

Man stuffing cheese puffs into his already full mouth with cheese puffs falling on the ground below him.

Hoarding all the resources for yourself will hinder your success.

Always Taking: TAKE, TAKE, TAKE, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME, MINE, MINE, MINE . . . People get sick very quickly of others who are all about themselves. Everything belongs to them, everything revolves around them, no one else matters. This can be as simple as borrowing 5 bucks and making the person you borrowed it from remind you to pay it back. Or it can be as serious as getting into a relationship where the other person must cater to you and you never give anything back. Inevitably the people you take from will quit giving and word will spread that you’re a “taker”. Soon no one will want to do anything to help you toward your success. If you’ve been really selfish, they will probably do everything in their power to undermine your success.

Being Late: When you are chronically late you are showing a tremendous disrespect for others who are expecting you at a certain time. When you consistently disrespect others do you think they will have a great respect for you? They are more likely to make fun of you by saying things like, “Let’s go. Joe’s never on time and he may not show up at all.” In my book you don’t deserve any respect if you’re late all the time. Get up earlier. Start out earlier. There’s no excuse to be chronically late. NONE.

Man in Easter bunny suit with Easter basket, stands above plastic eggs that have spilt on the ground.

Not taking pride in your work can hurt your success.

Little Pride in Your Work: Want to get a terrible reputation fast? Half ass everything you do. There are people in my life that I know are just coasting. They get the bare minimum done to get by. Do you think I have a great respect for them and that I can’t wait to help them be successful? Heck no! I go overboard to help people who go the extra mile and I put up with people that don’t. If you give poor quality, you will most likely get poor quality assistance toward your goals if you get any at all.

Being Unfair: Most of us were taught to be fair. “Split the piece of cake with your sister”. “You get a turn to play with the truck and then your friend gets a turn”. “I’ll help you clean your room and you help me clean mine”. If you forget that sense of fairness you learned as a kid, ultimate success will be hard for you to achieve. I’ve always tried to be fair with people in both my business and personal life. Here’s an example from my business. Let’s say I messed up a customer’s order and they’re mad about it. I say, “It’s my fault and I want to be ‘fair’ about this. What can I do to make it up to you?” Most people know what’s fair and what isn’t. I’d say in almost every case over many years in business, the person asked for way less than I was willing to give. Plus, they were happier because they got what they wanted . . . not what I offered them.

Not Doing What You Say: It’s sad that we’ve become a society where “I’ll call you Tuesday” could mean any of the following. “I will never call you”, “2 Minutes from now I won’t even remember I said I would call you Tuesday”, “I’ll call you any darn time I feel like it”, “I’ll email you sometime and it might be Tuesday”, “I’ll buttcall you accidentally, Tuesday three years from now”, etc. What’s good for you is that it doesn’t take much to stand way above the crowd. Just do what you say you’re going to do. At first other people will be surprised because they forgot you were supposed to call them Tuesday 30 seconds after you said it. After a while you will get the reputation of being a reliable person that is dependable. Guess who gets the breaks in life when it comes to something important . . . the reliable people.

What You Can Learn From a Firewood Rack

Tom Antion's homemade Firewood Rack

What Could You Learn From This Firewood Rack?

Last weekend I bought a metal firewood rack for $225.00 off Amazon. It was really fancy and had a cool custom tarp to keep the wood dry. I put it together and filled it up with wood I had chopped.

Coming from an extremely frugal background where my Dad admonished my brothers and I for wasting anything like water, electricity, used nails, etc. it was irking me that the simple rack cost so much especially since I needed two more.

I thought, "I should be able to build this." So, I started looking for plans to build one out of pressure treated lumber. I ordered the plans for $4.95, downloaded them and went right to the parts list.

(6) 8 foot 2 x 4

(44) 3 inch outdoor screws

(16) 2.5 inch outdoor screws.

A quick trip to Home Depot got all the supplies for about $22.00 . . . more than ten times cheaper than the commercial rack that I still had to put together.

So what does this have to do with you and your business?

Without that set of plans I certainly could have built a firewood rack. I estimate it would have taken me ten times longer (just like the cost of the commercial rack was ten time more). I would have had to come up with a design, work out all the measurements for all the cuts and angles, and make up my own parts list.

Isn't that what we sometimes do in our businesses? Almost assuredly someone has already been through what you're trying to accomplish yet we try to figure everything out on our own and waste tons of time that would be better spent selling things to bring in revenue.

Even my mentor students do this. Now let me say I'm thrilled they want to explore and get themselves immersed in Internet Marketing, but when they have paid me dearly to be their plan, it just doesn't make sense to run down every rabbit hole that gets emailed to them. If you're a beginner, and you have a trusted advisor, then it simply makes the most sense to do what the trusted advisor tells you to do even though you may not understand it at the moment.

After you get more experience in whatever you are trying to accomplish you can start to venture out and test out new things on your own. So, the bottom line is if you want to have a firewood rack, get a plan or plan on spending ten times as much.

The Science of Seminar Scams – Beware!

As many of you know, for the past several years I’ve been railing against the seminar industry and begging for some self-policing. The shame is that the industry is getting worse and worse. Up and coming speakers see how the established scammers operate and think the fraudulent techniques they are seeing are the ways things should be.

In a very popular past article http://www.Antion.com/top20seminarscams.htm I showed you many of the techniques seminar scammers use to defraud you and your friends. In this posting I’m going to show you the science behind the techniques.

It’s an Illusion

Before I begin, let me address the principle of “Illusion of Invulnerability. In layman’s terms it’s the concept of “It will never happen to me.” This principle is prevalent in our educated, ego driven society. It means that since we never believe bad things will happen to us, we never take steps to protect ourselves.

  • “I’ll never get mugged, so why should I study self-defense.”
  • “I’ll never forget my house keys, so why should I hide one out in the yard (just happened to me last night after living here 12 years.)”
  • “I’ll never get cancer, so why should I quit eating toxic foods”, etc.

It’s the same thing with seminar scams. “I’m too smart to get sucked in by one of those slick talking pitchmen/women.”

A famous conman once said, “If you think you can’t get scammed, . . . . I want to meet you.”

Let’s say you are too smart to get robbed by a sociopathic seminar speaker. Are your friends that are going to a seminar smart enough to keep from getting fleeced? At least pass this information on to them to heighten their awareness. They’ll thank you for it.

Oh, and one more thing about being too smart and business savvy, — according to a report by (FINRA) the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Foundation, investment fraud victims had more education, earned more and were more financially literate than the general population. “Many of the victim lists look like a ‘who’s who of American Business”.

Same Old, Same Old

In interviews with many convicted scammers certain underlying principles are almost certain to appear. Many of these techniques have been used for centuries to rob people.

  • A heightened emotional state — AKA “ether”
  • Phantom Riches
  • Source Credibility
  • Social Consensus
  • Urgency / Scarcity
  • Good Deal
  • I’m your friend.

The Most Important Scammer Tool

“Under the ether” is slang used by con artists to describe a heightened emotional state of their victims. The con artist / scam seminar speaker wants you under the ether the entire time they are dealing with you because they are absolutely sure you will not be able to make great decisions for yourself when in this high level emotional state.

I don’t know for sure, but there are a couple ideas I have on how they started using this term. 1. When you are under ether (the chemical) you are unconscious which means they can take your money and you don’t even know what’s going on, or 2. Ether is also used to describe the sky as in “All your money is going off to the ether.”

Emotions cause us to turn off our normal internal warning signs. We all know the phrase, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Can you really use that phrase to your advantage when music is blasting, people are clapping, people are running to the back of the room, and a fiery motivational speaker is pushing every emotional button you have and many you didn’t even know you have?

Music, dancing, chanting, back massages, celebrities, packed in crowds, fake or real testimonials and many other techniques are used at seminars to get you in the “ether”. Sometimes it’s opposite in that profound and mind numbing silence and meditation is used to get you in the ether. Either way loud or not, it’s going to be bad for your decision making abilities and the scammers know this.

In a study done by Joseph LeDoux, a neuroscientist and Professor of neuroscience and psychology at NYU, he discovered what he calls the “low road” (I think aptly named because scumbag speakers chose to take it). This “low road” is a direct path to the emotional parts of the brain. Information on this road travels twice as fast as information going to the rational part of the brain. It’s a scammer’s job to overload this road with emotional stimuli thus effectively “hijacking” the rational part of the brain. This is why people who are considered very rational can act in very irrational ways when their emotional buttons are pushed.

The Phantom of the Seminar

Instead of, as in the play, a disfigured musical genius being obsessed with a beautiful girl, the slick talking, finely dressed speaker is obsessed with your wallet. One of the extremely powerful techniques they use is “Phantom Riches”.

When you are told you can have something that’s normally unattainable (phantom) you would think the old saying about “if it’s too good to be true” would kick in. It won’t kick in if the scammer has done a good job of getting you “under the ether” as I discussed above.

The next part of sucking you in deeper is to tell you about all the great money you could make. One female speaker I distanced myself from many years ago was on stage saying matter-of-factly things like “a 30% return on your money is no problem at all.” A few years later I saw her and she had reduced it to 15%. Most recently I heard she had over 200 lawsuits against her. I guess a few of those people that gave her money didn’t quite see their 30% returns.

Another loudmouth punk who’s made deals with the devil(s) (the devils I’m referring to are other scammer speakers and Internet marketers) was reciting figures like this. “All you have to do is sell 500 of product X for $197.00 each and out of those buyers sell a coaching program to 100 of them for $5000.00 each and you’ve made nearly $600,000.00 for the year.

Are you kidding me? Are you aware of the abilities, reach, and expertise it would take to accomplish such a feat? He made it sound like just by buying his stupid videos and talking to his $2.00 an hour coaches you would be immediately able to do this. That’s just one of the reasons he’s high on my scammers list.

It’s Incredible How Credible I Am

Another of the absolute musts in a seminar scammer’s box of tricks is to make a big fuss of how credible they are. In fact almost all the scammers I know spend the bulk of their time trying to prove how credible they are rather than “actually being credible” by servicing their customers.

There are various ways they do this.

  • They pay large amounts of money to get in a position where they can get their picture taken with an “A” list celebrity. They then plaster these pictures everywhere potential victims can see them.
  • They have celebrities appear at their events.
  • Using their charisma, false promises and peer pressure they force situations where people give testimonials (preferably on video) while in the ether and BEFORE they have been fleeced. Again they put these testimonials everywhere possible.
  • They tie themselves to credible charities who don’t really know how to vet their donors. Sometimes the charities get the donations and sometimes they don’t. By the time anyone finds about the chicanery, the charity’s name has been used to rob new victims.
  • They dupe the media into featuring them knowing that guests are not usually fully vetted  because of time constraints.
  • They flood the Internet with fake websites, blog mentions etc. claiming the scammer speaker is NOT a scammer.

Scammers spend most of their time trying to convince you they are NOT scammers.

Scammers spend most of their time trying to convince you they are NOT scammers.

The problem with this section is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting your picture taken with celebrities, having them at your events and getting lots of testimonials and media attention. Where this crosses the line is when the only reason you do these things is to use fake credibility and fake Internet mentions to rob unsuspecting victims.

Keeping Up With the Joneses

By falling in to the trap of following everyone else rather than making your own rational and well thought out decisions at a seminar is more like keeping up with the Rev. Jim Jones’ People’s Temple suicide cult. I.e. your money will be lost along with everyone else’s.

We saw above how scammers use celebrities to build their credibility. The con artist also knows that if you see or hear about someone else “just like you” that has had success investing in the speaker’s training program you will be more likely to invest. That’s why you see an endless parade of regular people saying great things about the speaker.

Can you believe what these supposedly regular people say? Maybe or maybe not. One of the major networks did an undercover sting on infomercials where they found for as little as $50.00 they could get an out of work actor to say anything they wanted about a product that didn’t even exist. For as little as $5000.00 they got the chief dermatologist at a world renowned hospital to say a product was great when it wasn’t and they caught her on camera doing so. How she is still practicing is beyond me.

Remember, in the seminar world many of the testimonials were recorded while people were “under the ether” and before they were robbed. Couple that with stooges in the audience who were either paid or given more access to the speaker in exchange for their glowing tales of success. These tales may be espoused publicly in the middle of the event, or even more insidiously, while at lunch or even in the bathroom during breaks.

Buy Now or Be Sorry Forever

Another of the traits of almost all scams is the push to get you to decide quickly. This provides several advantages to the scammer. The first being they won’t have to waste time answering your questions and being nice to you during the seminar if you aren’t going to buy anyway. If you just walk away and get out of the room or go to lunch, that suits them just fine because they don’t have to take time away from potential victims.

The second reason is “Buyers aren’t readers and readers aren’t buyers.” According to the interview done by the AARP sanctioned book “Outsmarting the Scam Artists” by Doug Shadel the saying was coined by Johnny Weber (may not be his real name) a convicted scammer serving a ten year prison term. Johnny knew that the best prospects to scam were the ones who hurriedly signed on the dotted line without actually reading the agreement or asking a lot of questions.

To cover their fraudulent asses most seminar scammer agreements do say many of the things that are against your best interest. The scammers employ scumbag attorneys to draft these agreements and write them in such a way that it would take careful reading and probably a consultation with your attorney to actually understand what they say.

The scammers know that if they can get you to sign immediately before you really read the agreement, they have a great chance to take your money.

To create this urgent need to sign now, you’ll see and hear things like:

  • “I’m flying out right after my talk so this deal is only good for 30 minutes after I’m done.”
  • “I can only take the first 20 people at this price because I have to reserve time to take care of my full price clients.”
  • “There are only 10 slots left”
  • “This is a seminar only price. Once you leave here it’s $3000.00 more.”

Let’s Make a Deal

Another ploy that’s always used is that what is being offered is the best deal in the world and you’d be crazy to pass it up. It’s become the norm at a live event or webinar to provide heavily discounted products. You’ll see things like:

A $27,500.00 value

You pay only $1997.00

When showing this deal the scammer will go over a ton of items included in the deal all the while showing the “inflated” values of these items. Frequently these items are doubletalk and sound way better than they are. I actually burst out laughing when I heard one female scammer out of Canada say, “You get unlimited one-on-on coaching with me via teleseminar. (a $5000.00 value) ” . . . WHAT?

Wait a minute! Let’s break this down. First of all if you are on a teleseminar, that is not one-on-one coaching. Secondly, teleseminars only occur once a week or once a month which is certainly not “unlimited”. This doubletalk was totally designed to make you think you were getting one-on-one coaching with her when in fact there was ZERO one-on-one coaching.

You also hear things like, “This program has never been offered at this low of a price and never will be again.” Of course, next week the speaker will say the same thing at another event.

Karma Chameleon

Sociopathic seminar speakers are chameleon-like in their actions. They are your friend . . . at least until they get your money. A prominent psychiatrist on my anti-scam team told me, “These speakers are “grooming” the audience for the financial kill.”

If the speaker needs to act friendly to you to get your money, that’s what he does. If she sees you are star struck, then she’ll play the diva and make you feel honored to be around her. If he can tell you love humor, he’ll joke around with you and if he sees you’re all business, he’ll parade big, fraudulent numbers in front of you to get you to sign.

You'd be lucky if the fraudulent speaker you run in to is only two faced.

You’d be lucky if the fraudulent speaker you run in to is only two faced.

I.e. he or she will do or say anything true or not to take your money. I recall one victim statement where the scumbag speaker praised the ideas of two sisters who wanted to start a business. As soon as he got their money he dissed them and said their ideas were stupid and would never work.  . . . They had to file bankruptcy and default on the credit card they used to pay him.

In an interview, Culture Club front man Boy George explained: “The song Karma Chameleon is about trying to suck up to everybody. Basically, if you aren’t true, if you don’t act like you feel, then you get Karma-justice, that’s nature’s way of paying you back.”

I wonder if that had anything to do with his long time public heroin addiction denials and his 15 month prison sentence for falsely imprisoning a male escort and beating him with a chain.

Anyway a chain beating would be too good for many of these predators that “up until now” have been flying under the radar.

You Can Taste the Difference

Circa 1984 Pepsi Cola Company started using the ad slogan “Taste the Difference” Prior to this circa 1975 they started the Pepsi challenge where they gave people a sip of unlabeled Pepsi and Coke to see which one they liked better. Even though the challenge faced many challengers that cried foul in how the challenge was orchestrated, it still brings up a good point. Similar products can have significant differences. For instance:

Many speakers give you a special deal at live seminars. . . Fraudulent speakers lie about the value and exclusivity of the deal. Honest speakers don’t.

Many speakers get you to buy at the event. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that . . . Fraudulent speakers do it so you can’t slip out of the ether and rationally analyze what you are buying which is probably bad. Honest speakers allow you to fully review what you are getting.

Many speakers use testimonials in their speeches. Fraudulent speakers use fake or misleading ones and a bunch of celebrity pictures to create false credibility. Honest speakers don’t.

Many speakers show potential income. Fraudulent speakers out and out lie about results or paint pictures of great riches only attainable by one in a million. Honest speakers give true pictures of the work and time needed to achieve good results and they don’t hype these figures.

Many speakers are willing to give you an evaluation of your ideas before you sign up with them. Fraudulent speakers will say anything to puff you up to get your money. Honest speakers will tell you their true thoughts even if it keeps you from signing up for their program.

Address the Objections

Any good salesperson will tell you that you must bring up objections before the prospect does. This keeps the salesperson from having to back-pedal and look guilty when someone brings up something negative. Certainly this is a time tested technique in the sales process. Bring up your weaknesses before they do and you look totally honest and transparent . . . but are you really?

I hate to be the one to tell you. . . . The scammers know about this technique too.

You’ve got convicted felons out their running events and speaking. You’ve got people who’ve had their assets frozen by the government because of their deceptive business practices out there speaking. You’ve even got people that have killed participants in their seminars out there speaking. They all have their carefully crafted stories to overcome these seemingly insurmountable bad marks on their records (objections).

The sad part is. . . . many people believe their horsepucky stories and continue to get robbed over and over. Con artists call this “loading” or “reloading”. They know absolutely that a person suckered once is not wiser but is the most likely person to get suckered again. One of the reasons is explained below.

Robert Cialdini in his classic book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” talks about commitment and consistency. He relates story after story of how once someone makes a decision, even if it was bad or not at all what was promised or they expected, they defend it. He calls this “self-delusion”. Not only is it bad for the person that got taken advantage of to do this, it’s bad for future victims. Had this person stood up and complained they wouldn’t have been robbed again and others would have had fair warning about the scammer.

You’ll hear statements from scammers like:

  • “Other speakers are jealous of my success and are spreading false rumors.”
  • “The Government needed a scapegoat and I was it.”

Here’s my favorite which I’ve heard from at least three major scammers:

  • “My partner did some very bad things and I was left holding the bag.”

How Can You Protect Your Friends?

Since we know you and I are far too smart to be fleeced hahaha what are some of the things our friends and colleagues must realize and do to keep from getting robbed?

First let’s recall some of the proven characteristics of people that have been victims of financial scams, i.e. where money was invested for some kind of return:

Compared to the general population victims have:

  • A higher level of education
  • Higher incomes
  • Better financial literacy, and

Many victims are older which makes sense because being older gives you more time to accumulate money, credit and other assets that can be stolen.

Let’s look at the some cumulative results of studies about financial fraud victims. These studies compared the behavior characteristics of people that have been conned to behavior characteristics of the general population as reported in the Doug Shadel AARP book.

Victims allow themselves to be exposed to more sales messages. At home this might be staying on the phone with a cold caller rather than hanging up or reading all your junk mail. It might mean going to a “Free Lunch” put on by a financial planner. In the seminar world it would be attending more seminars where sales pitches are made.

Victims showed more interest in persuasive statements rather than immediately dismissing them as horsepucky. Statements like “You’ll make more money.”, “I’ve got thousands of happy customers.”, “Celebrities love me.”, “I only have ten slots left.”, “This is the best deal I’ve ever offered, “ etc., are all examples of persuasive statements. Whether they are true or not or whether it really matters to your success or not. . . well, that’s another story.

Victims don’t take steps to protect themselves. How many people “thoroughly” check out the speakers and promoters at seminars they attend? I contend not very many or I wouldn’t have to be doing my anti scam work. Also, I emphasize the word “thoroughly” because scammers flood the Internet with false positives and glowing testimonials about themselves knowing victims won’t dig deep enough to find the real dirt. Combine this with the “invincible factor” mentioned above and you’ve got a recipe for disappointment and financial disaster.

Victims are risk takers. . . . Nothing ventured / nothing gained types. This is another one of the problems that’s tough to overcome because it can be a healthy attitude if approached judiciously. When it’s used to manipulate you into making unwise purchases based on false promises and deceit, it can ruin you financially.

Victims have low financial self-control. A joint study by Kristy Holtfreter, Michael D. Reisig (Florida State University) & Travis C. Pratt (Washington State University) for “Criminology” http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/crim.2008.46.issue-1/issuetoc showed that certain behavioral activities correlated highly with fraud victims. Admittedly this study is six years old,  when remote ordering of products was not as prevalent as it is today, but some of its findings are rather telling. They found that two forms of remote ordering  . . . from phone solicitation and from infomercials resulted in a 61% increase in the chances of being targeted by scammers. The other thing that jumped out at me was that by adding only one additional risk factor on their scale increased your chances of falling prey to a fraud by 302%.

Awareness

Just by reading this and my companion article “The Top 20 Seminar Scams” http://www.Antion.com/top20seminarscams.htm you and your colleagues will have a much greater chance of avoiding becoming a victim at a seminar.

The problem is as our friend Johnny Weber said above, “Buyers aren’t readers and readers aren’t buyers”. You have partially passed the seminar safety test because if you read this far, you are far more aware of the kinds of psychological and NLP type techniques that can be and are used against you in many seminars. If you take the time to read the companion “Top 20” article you could become a General in my Scam Brigade against sociopathic, criminal speakers.

What about your friends and colleagues? Are they readers? If not, they have a rude awakening in store for them unless you do them a favor and give them a synopsis of what you’ve learned about here.

Send them links. Offer to talk to them on the phone, or on Skype to discuss a plan to stay financially safe at any seminar they are planning to attend. I advise people to print out my “Top 20” article and take it with them to a seminar. I frequently get reports back that almost every scam on my list was used by one speaker or another at multispeaker events.

Conclusion

It’s getting harder and harder to find speakers who are totally legitimate. Besides the industry simply being flooded with bad apples, regular speakers are being pressured into questionable behavior just to stay alive.

Promoters of events expect a large amount of money to come from prime time slots at their seminars because they get a large percentage of the sales. What I’ve seen over the years is that speakers are telling bigger and bigger lies from stage so they can sell more than the scammer who spoke just before them.

It can be even worse when the promoter is also the main speaker. That “person” (and I use that term loosely) has total control of the entire event. If the speaker is a cunning rip-off, this is an extremely dangerous situation for you and your colleagues. There is absolutely no interest at all in serving and helping the audience members. The event is orchestrated like a sick play to rob as many people as possible.

This is when the entire fraudulent parade is unleashed. Fake “Marketer of the Year” sideshows, fake application processes, paid celebrity endorsements, stooges and just about every other technique you see in my article http://www.Antion.com/top20seminarscams.htm are used to keep you in the “ether” and take your money.

I’ll be the first to admit that even the worst scumbag speaker has some good information to impart. Many of these speakers are very smart. They’ve just chosen to use their skills in a negative way. They use the limited good information they give you to lure you into paying for inflated “Phantom Training” they’re NEVER going to give you.

Slick onstage personas can make a piece of dog poop look like the most important dog poop you will encounter in your entire business career.. The bad ones all manipulate your emotional state (ether). They dangle big money in front of your face with little work (Phantom Riches). They look great with celebrity endorsements, (dubious) testimonials, and deals of a lifetime. It all has to happen for you right that minute or to them you are the dumbest loser ever to be let out of your house without a chaperone.

Don’t let yourself or someone you know become the next highly educated, high income, financially literate victim of professional level onstage con artists.

Please leave your comments below.

Related Items:
http://www.TomAntionWebinars.com – The first webinar is on the sociopathic mind of scam speakers

http://www.Antion.com/top20seminarscams.htm – A listing and explanation of the exact techniques used to rob people at seminars (print it out and take it with you to your next seminar)

Results of My Viral Plugin Test

Here’s the results of my viral plugin test:

I tested two plugins for wordpress (you can also get versions for regular HTML sites):

“ViralLock” and “Social Locker”

The plugins were designed to lock off a piece of content and then reveal it if someone shares the content. (see the graphic below)

sociallocker

The idea seems to work best if you give some good content first and build anticipation toward the best piece of content. This is relatively easy by making top ten lists, top five lists or what have you where the most important piece of content is the last one of the list. It’s kinda like a David Letterman top ten list.

I did a top 15 list about mistakes people make with their websites.

The first plugin I tried was called “ViralLock”. Despite many positive reviews, I can’t recommend it at all. Much of the time it wouldn’t work by either refusing to reveal the content, or not passing the shares on to Facebook,Twitter and Google+

The second plugin “Social Locker” was the one that we are going with, but at this point I don’t think you can count on the share function to work 100% of the time. There are too many different combinations of browsers operating systems and handheld devices.

We are still going to use it and recommend it though because the numbers below speak for themselves. What we gain FAR OUTWEIGHS the minor problems with people not being able to get it to work.

Our Fault

Actually some of the problems were our own fault. In the beginning we weren’t really clear enough on what exactly to do and what should happen after you do it. Tech savvy people had no trouble with understanding what was going on, but not so tech savvy people were a little challenged until we put out more clear instructions. Because of our less-than-clear instructions we had 15.38 % trouble which has been fixed.

Three other things we discovered:

1. Our “leave us a voice mail” app was covering up the instructions on smart phones simply because of the small screen. We are changing widgets for the voice mail app so that doesn’t happen anymore.

2. People were clicking on our other social media icons rather than the ones needed to unlock the content so we improved the instructions on that.

3. Many people did not know to come back to the blog to read the unhidden content. They tried to read it on Facebook and couldn’t. We improved the instructions on that.

Let’s take a look at the rough numbers (Note: this is a far cry from a scientific test):

I sent notice of this test out to only a portion of my email list and I asked for people to give me feedback:

Also, if you didn’t try the test visit
http://antion.com/blog/top-15-mistakes-people-make-on-their-websites/

I didn’t even track the numbers for ViralLock because it was an immediate fail.

For “Social Locker” here’s what I got:

225 People shared the content

75.34 % had no trouble

15.38 % had trouble because they didn’t know what to do (our fault)

9.28 % had actual trouble because of browser/handheld devices, etc.

So, the bottom line is that this piece of content would have only been seen by subscribers I already have. By using this technique the content was shared 225 times so far and has the potential to be seen by tens of thousands of people that previously never heard of me.

And it’s working perfectly now nearly 91% of the time and most likely more than that since we took off the voice mail app and improved the instructions.

It’s cheap too. . . only $24.00 and it’s got plenty of customizable features like size and color of the box and what goes in the box, blurring of the content under the box, timed delayed boxes and much more.

If you ask me that’s a pretty good deal to reach tens of thousand of people that never heard of you.

I’m recommending this plugin and yes I get a tiny affiliate commission.

Click here and search for “Social Locker” then please come back and leave a comment.

Thanks
TA

 

Top 15 Mistakes People Make on Their Websites

Hi Everyone: This is the first post on the new antion blog. I hope you like it and there’s an interesting viral marketing technique included in this posting that I’ll tell you how to do in a future posting.

The first 14 mistakes are in no particular order.

No plan or purpose for the website – People get what I call a “CSI” AKA Crappy Stupid Idea and throw up a website without thinking through what EXACTLY they want to accomplish with the site.  This allows the site to go off in all kinds of directions with no cohesive content visitors can depend on.

Too many topics – For the best chance of success the fastest, sites should be about one topic.  Google wants to please the searcher by giving the searcher the best possible sites based on what they were searching for. If you lump multiple topics on one site, you are hurting your chances of being found in the search engines.

No instant recognition – When someone lands on your site, they should instantly know they are in the right place. Put a tag line near the top of the site so they know. http://www.FatsoTennis.comFatsoHeaderFor instance at it says, “The Blog for Out of Shape People Who Love Tennis”. You know immediately if the site is for you or not. If you aren’t out of shape, then the site is not for you. If you are out of shape, then it is. Poor recognition is part of the cause of high bounce rates which means people find your site, but then leave immediately.

Form over function – Many people let creative “web designers” who were probably out of work graphic artists the day before run away with design elements for coolness sake. Websites should look just good enough to represent you well professionally and concentrate on the marketing elements rather than fancy design.

 Too much Navigation – Back in the year 2000 a book came out called “Don’t Make Me Think”. It’s been revised two times since. It was all about making it easy to move around your site without getting lost or confused.  Here’s something you can do. If on the first screen of your website you have more than let’s say eight places to click, you probably need either another website or you need to rethink and simplify your navigation.

No obvious opt in form – Everyone at my level makes virtually all their money from email. When you hear, “The Money is in the List”, ….believe it.  You must get serious about getting people to opt in to your email list and then you must get serious about emailing them regularly with great things that will help them.

Not including social media – Social media can be a big waste of time if you get sucked in to playing games and yapping about your bunion operation. It is a necessary evil for business. Google and the other search engines demand that you have social media indicators on your site to prove that you are worthy of high rankings. Their conventional wisdom . . . .”If you’re site is great, then someone is talking about it and you better be able to prove it with social media.”

Broken Links – Nothing screams “non-professional” like links that don’t go anywhere. You should review your site regularly or have someone else do it for you.  You can use this free tool http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/

Disappointment – I lied. This screams “non-professional” louder than broken links. When you make people feel by clicking on a link they are going to see something they want and then you show them something else or make them search all over to find what you promised, you have just committed a website sin.  The visitor will immediately think, “This site is too hard to figure out,” or worse yet, “I can’t trust this website.”

Poor sales copy – On a business site almost everything should be leading people in some way to buy something. Writing words that sell is one of the most important things you can ever learn how to do. These words don’t have to be cheesy or smash you in the face, but they should be crafted to move the visitor to action and to the ultimate conclusion they should be doing business with you. I created the site http://www.CopyWriting901.com to teach you how to write these words for written, audio or video sales messages.

Slow loading – Google has come right out and said, “If your site doesn’t load fast, you will not get a high ranking.” The idea behind this is that Google and the other search engines want the searcher to have a great experience. Faster loading websites contribute to a great user experience.  Use this tool to check your site https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Poor quality videos hosted on YouTube – Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE YouTube. I love it to drive traffic “TO” your site. Once people are on your site I don’t want them to easily be able to “LEAVE” your site. Videos on your site in most cases should be yt-brand-downloads-logo-for-webhoused on high quality file hosting like Amazon S3 and connected to your site by means of a video player. An example would be FloPLayer or the top of the line EVS .The videos better be good too! You MUST have good audio as your number one priority. People will sometimes put up with questionable video but they will never stand for poor audio.

No call to action – In business you must get people to do something and you must tell them to do it. You can’t assume they will read between the lines and do what you want them to do. It could be clicking on a link or filling in an opt in form. It could be reading an article or watching a video. Whatever it is, you must tell them to do it. One thing I like to do to get people to click on a link is to put a command and a benefit in the text of the link. Here’s an example from my Wake’em Up Speaking System: Click here to get standing ovations around the world where “click here” is the command and “standing ovations around the world” is the benefit.

Overpaying for services – This is what I’ve preached against since 1997 when Microsoft Front Page came out. This was a program that allowed people to easily make web pages themselves with no web designer involved. This is one of the top two skills to which I attribute my success online. (the other is copywriting that was mentioned above). Now we use WordPress for all new sites and with a very small amount of tutoring you can be making world class websites yourself for less than 100 bucks. I have a course on this at http://www.GreatInternetMarketing.com/wordpressecourse You can also use http://www.Fiverr.com for custom graphics and all kinds of other services.

And Drumroll Please!

The number one biggest mistake I see on websites is: