Have you ever watched a cat stalk birds?
I wasn’t raised on a farm, but I did grow up near one of the last edges of American civilization — specifically, a far-flung suburban outpost in pre-densely-populated Southern California, long before the tsumani of pavement washed in and covered up all the vineyards, orchards, and xeriscape foothills.
When the sun went down, it got real dark, cuz there weren’t any streetlights. And since it was a working class neighborhood, people crashed early. Late at night, the only sounds of man you could hear were the distant ka-chunk-ka-chunk and wail of trains.
And coyotes ate your pets if you left ’em out.
We weren’t exactly pioneers… but we were butted snug against an uncowered and unforgiving Nature.
So we learned a lot from animals. (Though I’m not so sure that watching the pained look on my dog’s face as he hopped around still attached by his Johnson to the bitch he’d just inseminated was the best way to learn about sex.) (Kinda explains some of my early adventures in the back seat of the Impala at the drive in, though… but that’s another story.)
Humans have lost most of our natural hunting instincts. We’re impatient, unskilled even with the opposing-thumb advantage, and easily grossed out. At least until we re-learn the Zen of stalking.
Watching cats go after Tweetie was a favorite past-time. (This was before X-box, you understand.)
If you’ve never seen the show, allow me to explain why it made such am impression: Fluffy sees bird, and immediately goes into kill mode. This is entirely different than any other mode she ever adopted. Playing with yarn, batting the cat-nip ball around, attacking an unsuspecting foot tapping out a beat to the radio… all these behaviors are clearly NOT total hunting mode.
You see that when you finally catch her getting serious.
She doesn’t tense up, and launch on the target, either. No. She zeroes in on it, and patiently goes to school on every move it makes. Knowing her own abilities, she judges distance, marks obstacles, gauges the awareness level of her prey.
No Attention Deficit going on here.
If she needs to get closer, it’s an almost imperceptible creep. Muscles will hold a pose frozen for long minutes to avoid detection.
Finally, after digesting every scrap of available information… and unable to close the distance any further without detection… she pounces.
Every fiber of her being is focused on taking Tweetie down.
And if she misses… fine. She returns to her hidey-spot and waits for the next opportunity. Just a little more prepared this time. A little looser.
All grown up now, I still remember watching Fluffy work.
Because what I learned from her is still amazingly relevant in business.
Don’t scoff. Now that I’ve pointed it out to you, the concept of being a cat becomes obvious when you observe savvy, experienced businessmen operate.
It’s the opposite of the impatient, grabby rookie.
The veteran doesn’t rush into any opportunity. No way. He stalks it first.
Studies the market, the demographics, the competition. (Especially the competition.)
Even more relevant… he gauges his own skills against what is necessary to win. Fluffy could have caught Manfred the big lazy beagle much more easily than any bird in the neighborhood… but winning involved more than just catching the prey. Winning meant conquering.
Rookies come to me all the time, hopping up and down with excitement about getting into, oh, the diet market. They heard how much money can be made there, and they can’t wait to dive in.
Until, of course, they discover that while it’s easy to get into that swampy pool… it ain’t so easy to stay afloat. Lots of nasty federal agencies hiding in there, with big teeth and no mercy. Lots of vicious competitors unemcumbered with ethics or a sense of fair play.
You don’t know what you’re doing, you’re gonna get your lunch eaten.
The first advice I give rookies who are looking at a new market… is to simply study it first.
That’s what the pro’s do.
Study whatever you lust after like a cat.
Now, as a freelance copywriter, I have stalked so many different markets, I’ve lost track of them all. When I take on a new client, I don’t just sit down and knock off a brilliant ad. I need to get neck-deep in the details of the market first. Learn what makes the customers tick… what triggers their buying decisions… what the competition is up to (and what they’re doing better than my client).
After, oh, twenty-five years of getting hip to various markets, it’s no longer a big deal to me. All markets have certain things in common, and the differences are often very similar, too.
It’s kind of like being a major league pitcher. At first, you gotta study each new batter with all your might — you ask other pitchers and catchers what they know, you agonize over film, you gather and absorb as much info as possible.
And then, after a little experience, you realize you can shortcut the process a bit. Cuz there are only so many variables involved. Those variables look daunting to a rookie… but become familiar to the pro.
Eventually, you begin to “read” opposing batters with great skill, more easily.
You still ask around, you still watch the film… but you don’t need to agonize so much anymore. You’ve been there before.
You can’t get jaded about it, of course.
But you can — and need to — use the available shortcuts.
This never-ending process of learning and conquering so many different markets is what makes veteran copywriters such “total” marketers.
I’ve been exposed to every kind of marketing tactic and strategy there is. Seen some of ’em work like crazy, seen others crumble like a mud hut in a storm.
I’ve tried every angle of salesmanship, too. From the basic and fundamental forms of “just sell the damn thing”… to the advanced and psychologically-complex techniques that establish long-term relationships between seller and buyer.
And everything in between.
So… when you deal with a veteran freelance copywriter, you’re actually getting access to almost every aspect of business. Selling, yeah… but also positioning within a market, creating good product from scratch, finding new target audiences, avoiding pitfalls that swallow up rookies, and on and on.
Heck, I even have experience with hiring the right kind of people to staff your joint. I can look at your plans and tell you about the warehouse you’re gonna need to lease, the parade of employees who will pass through your scrolls, even how your life will look three months down the road.
I’m not psychic.
I’ve just been around the block a few times.
I like to think of my skills set as a Bag of Tricks. There are several bags within the main bag, too.
There’s a bag of marketing tricks. Strategies and plans I’ve tested out and seen others work, plus all the ways I know to reach prospects with a sales message (including the Web, direct mail, print ads, seminars, all of it). It’s a pretty impressive bag of goodies.
Then, there’s a smaller bag full of insight into running a business. Essentially, Operation MoneySuck at full tilt. I’ve worked closely with large corporations and small entrepreneurs… and each has their foibles and habits and ways of making it happen (and, too often, ways of making it not happen). Knowing this stuff can shortcut years of failure, and speed up success like crazy.
Then, there’s the bag of salesman’s tricks. This also is a very deep bag… because I’ve studied salesmanship like a groupie. And I’ve been lucky about finding “old school” mentors who know how to sell face-to-face as well as how to reach crowds with copy. Everyone has an Inner Salesman… but most of the time (even with experienced marketers) he’s fast asleep. Your first order of business, if you crave success, is to kick that bad boy awake and put him to work for you.
Finally, of course, is the big damn bag with all my copywriting skills. All the secrets and shortcuts and tested methods of delivering a world-class written sales pitch that have kept me at the top of the game for so long.
When I talk to you about business, I’m not pulling this stuff out of thin air.
I’m just reaching into my bag, and showing you what I KNOW to be true.
Copywriting is critical to the success of any business. Nothing happens until the copy gets written, in fact.
However… there’s copy… and then there’s pro-level copy, written by a veteran with a cat’s sense of stalking the prey. Taking it ALL in, every detail and nuance of your business and market… and delivering the most killer sales message possible straight into the tender emotional sweet-spot of your prospect.
You know — the sweet spot that’s connected to his wallet.
Anyway, if you’ve never heard me talk about this process in person… and you’d like to (cuz it’s the best way I’ve ever discovered to learn fast)… I’m about to deliver my last scheduled in-person speech for the forseeable future.
The event is The Big Seminar, Armand Morin’s amazing three-day blow-out focused entirely on selling online. My fellow speakers are a “Who’s Who” of Internet marketing, and I can guarantee you that when I’m not onstage, I’ll be in the audience taking serious notes.
If you’ve never heard of The Big Seminar, you need to get hip right now. It’s happening November 4, 5, and 6, so you need to act fast, too.
Here’s the first — and easiest — thing to do right now: I’m talking, on a free teleconference call, with Armand this Tuesday, October 4th, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time. (That’s 9 p.m. East Coast Time.)
I’ll be going over some of the things I want to cover at the seminar… including filling up your own Bag of Tricks. Should be a killer call, and if you’d like to listen in, it’s easy to do.
Just leave your email at this link:
Armand will email you with the details of the call — the phone number, and your code that lets you listen in.
Do this even if you have no intention of attending any damn seminar, for any damn reason.
Why? Because… Armand is a MASTER at Internet marketing… and just experiencing how well he treats people through email, and moves along the process of creating and holding such a massive event… is an education in itself.
Watch this guy work. Be a cat. Show a little patience, and study how the very, very good do their thing.
It’s a free call. You’ll get an email or two urging you to attend the seminar… and again, even if you have not the slightest inclination to go, you need to see how the process happens.
Stalk this process. Have some fun with it. It’s one of the ways the smartest marketers online make a LOT of money.
And hey — you also get to enjoy listening to me rant on some very interesting — and profitable — subjects.
Again, you gotta hurry, though.
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