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.