Just flew in from San Diego, and boy are my arms tired.
Okay, scratch that bad joke. I’m exhausted. Forgive me.
Still, since getting back in the office and plowing through the thousand or so emails waiting for me after being gone for all of six days… I have noticed a very nasty trend among wannabe entrepreneurs. And I feel the need to discuss it.
It’s all about attitude.
The “bad” kind of attitude.
Let me explain: I teach newbies in business to be more aggressive in their salesmanship. But I’m very careful when I define just what I mean by “aggressive” — I do NOT mean go out there and lie, cheat and steal to get people’s money.
Far from it. My point is this: Most people, when selling, are either embarrassed or shy… and they need to get over it. If you truly have a great product that your prospect needs or can really use, then shame on you if you botch the sales pitch and they end up not buying.
It’s your JOB to get your point across. You have something of quality that will make their life better… so step up and make your pitch: This is what the product does, this is how it can help you, here’ s how to get it.
Most folks “sell from their heels”… meaning, they have a garbled sales message, and never clearly and forcefully ask for the order. That murders results.
So, yeah, I teach “attitude”. The attitude of a clear-headed, persuasive salesman with a good product or service to offer.
But what I’m seeing a lot of now is “bad” attitude. Pure, ugly greed.
A subscriber just told me about the hassles he’s getting from “experts”, trying to use quotes from them in his new book. Now, I consider quotes to be free publicity — it’s a good thing to have people reference you as someone worthy of a quote. There’s no bad side to this (unless the quote is somehow twisted into being an endorsement of something you don’t actually endorse — then, it’s fraud).
Nevertheless, this subscriber was encountering all kinds of petty nonsense. People were asking for $70 for the “right” to use a quote, or dictating all sorts of ridiculous conditions (which mostly just meant their quote would never be used).
Seventy bucks for quoting you? What the hell is that all about?
Stupid greed. Foolish, stupid, unnecessary greed.
I recieved an email that I liked so much, I wanted to feature it in an article. So I asked the writer for permission… and got a “what’s in it for me?” reply.
I won’t even get into a conversation with the guy now. What’s in it for him? Nothing. I’ll find some other way to illustrate my point.
And you know what? It’s easy. There is a line out the door of people desperate to be quoted by me. People who understand the PR value, and won’t let stupid greed get in their way.
I have clients who create teaching DVDs using unknown experts as the “star”. They’ve put out literally hundreds of these projects… mostly with different stars in each one. Occasionally, when the market responds well to a given series, they will produce multiple DVDs with the same star. It all depends on the results and feedback from the buying audience.
And there is no end to the line of potential “stars” waiting for their turn at the game.
Nevertheless, something we call “The Primadonna Syndrome” occurs almost every time a DVD sells well. (And sometimes it happens even when sales are dismal.)
Here is how the syndrome plays out: At first, the unknown expert is excited to get the chance to create a teaching DVD that will be aggressively sold by this proven marketing company. They are ecstatic to get a fat check for their participation, yet they are humble because they know they could never make the project successful on their own.
Then, they get that second check, as sales come in. At the same time, they start to hear the “buzz” about their “stardom”.
The humbleness disappears.
Sometimes, it is a spouse or partner or friend who gets in their ear, telling them the reason for all the buzz and sales is that they’re so GREAT. Without their “star power”, the project wouldn’t be successful. They are, suddenly, the single most important element in the success equation.
And they now believe they deserve more money. More fawning attention. More of everything.
The truth: They are completely replaceable. There is a long line of unknown experts behind them, waiting for their shot.
And they very much are NOT the reason behind the success of the project. That credit belongs to the advertising and marketing — the stuff the company brings to the table.
So… what happens, once “The Primadonna Syndrome” kicks in, and the star demands more?
My clients sigh… and simply say “Next.”
And the primadonna quickly goes back to being unknown again.
This happens so often, and so predictably, that I urged my client to write up a “Primadonna Pre-emptive” letter, which is sent to each new “star-to-be”. It says something like: “Right now, you are grateful for this opportunity. The first check you receive will be a happy thing in your life. However, when you receive the second check, you will begin to feel that you are the reason for the success of this project…”
And it goes on to explain exactly the thoughts and feelings they will have as the syndrome takes hold. This pre-emptive strike has actually kept a few experts in check. But many more ignore it, and succumb to the idea that their ego deserves the feeding it cries out for.
The shock of reality will ruin them for a very long time. Some never recover, and end up drunken bores babbling about their failed shot at stardom to all who will listen (though they seldom admit their own culpability in the failure).
Why is this stupid, foolish greed so common?
I don’t know. It’s part of a “starvation mentality” most people have. I recently read a USA-Today interview with Howie Mandel about the psychology of people on his game show (“Deal Or No Deal”), and he is dumbfounded by the decisions most players make. They almost always come to the show with a sensible figure they will accept (like “If I get offered $70,000, I’m taking it, no matter what”)… and immediately get glassy-eyed and pass it up.
They’re like deer in the headlights. That million-dollar max amount is “theirs”, godamnit.
And they will gamble and risk a fortune to get it.
Result: Many go home with $100, or less. They pass up offers that would have put their kids through college, paid the down on a new house, and helped them retire… because of stupid, foolish greed.
I’m sick of it, and will not deal with anyone who shows evidence of this “gimme, gimme, gimme” attitude.
I don’t have to. There are plenty of other folks out there who have their heads screwed on straight.
Nearly ALL of the super-successful entrepreneurs I deal with are hyper-generous, quick to share, and eager to give back. The fundamental books (like “Think And Grow Rich” and “MoneyLove”) that most of us read early in our careers support this attitude. (I even devote an entire chapter to it in my course “Kick Ass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel”.)
You don’t get ahead by being selfish and greedy. Often, it will hold you back, instead.
There’s plenty of success out there to be had. Enough for everyone, really.
And, in many wonderful ways, good guys do finish first. That realization has kept me in the game, and allowed me to relax and be myself even when engaged in maximum capitalism.
Life can be cruel and senselessly unfair at times. But that doesn’t mean you need to be cruel, unfair or greedy in response.
Gut-check yourself. If you’ve been harboring a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, look no further for reasons you’re struggling.
Loosen up, and stop pretending that every dollar you don’t grab and keep today will never be available ever again. That’s not the way the ecomony or the universe works.
In fact, we’ve just entered the last fiscal quarter of the year. Why don’t you write a big, fat check to a deserving charity, today, and send it off. Make it hurt a little bit — share your success, and see what happens inside your heart and head as you do it.
As wacky and dumb as people can be, we’re still all on this crazy ride together. The bonds between all of us are real, no matter how much you try to hide and hoard.
It’s an important lesson.