“You’re young, you’re drunk, you’re in bed, you have knives… shit happens.” (Angelina Jolie)
Did you go out and do any damage on New Year’s Eve?
Hope you got home safe, if you did.
The world turns into Crazy Town every 12/31, and you can’t projectile-puke in any direction without hitting people who seldom (or should never) drink pounding down Jagermeister and double-bourbons like they’re channeling Hunter S. Thompson in his prime.
It’s been years since I’ve ventured away from home for New Year’s…
… and even then, I only went out because I was sitting in with a band in some bar or club.
There’s a small bit of safety being on a stage while the rookies party below. Even in the sleaziest biker bar I’ve ever had the pleasure of performing in… the bad-asses never assaulted the band.
They might bust a tweaker’s head against the bar just to see what the dude looked like sprawled on the floor…
… but they wouldn’t dream of crunching a musician’s skull (no matter how much you offended his sense of anti-bourgeois anarchy). That would harsh the party vibes.
Just make sure you keep playing kick-ass tunes. My philosophy for playing rowdy joints was simple: Every song had to either…
1. Make people wanna shake their booty, or…
2. Cry in their beer.
So, when I put together pick-up bands, I made sure everyone had the chops and the stamina to play set after set of cranked-up rock at blistering paces… with only the occasional retreat for a slow tune (which had to rip open old heart wounds to make it on the list).
Seriously — you wanna wear out the biker crowds quickly, both physically and emotionally.
The “message to market match” here is make ’em dance, and hit ’em in the soft part of their gut every so often. So they’re passionately exhausted, gasping for air, and lovin’ life.
This approach works with writing killer sales messages, too, you know.
Reading and watching videos is a passive behavior. The data goes into the eyes, glances off the brain, and dissipates before any retention can happen.
You don’t want this when you’re trying to make a sale.
Instead, you need to wake your prospect up. If you can get him to lean forward, and even say “No way!” or “What? This can’t be…” then you’ve goosed him into an active state…
… where the deal can go down.
Don’t get fooled by the massive views that videos on YouTube can pile up. Scoring a chuckle, or even a ROFLMAO Tweet to buddies is NOT the same as persuading someone to haul out their wallet and fill out an order page.
How do you pull off this “wake ’em up” tactic?
Well, you start by realizing who you’re dealing with.
And that’s why we’re going back to New Year’s Eve.
This annual excuse for Bacchanalian excess is just downright dangerous, in ways few other celebrations come close to matching. (And I say this, having been Best Man at a few weddings that ended in drunken brawls.)
(I still have a fondness for watching loving couples in elaborate gowns and tuxedos try to cold-cock each other, while the dance floor turns into a booze-sloshed hockey rink.)
Many people should just stay away from alcohol altogether.
Most people should avoid drinking while out in public.
And everyone who values life should avoid mass celebrations where amateur drunks wanna party like Caligula.
Because you have left the world of rational thought… and entered a Twilight Zone where emotions blurp to the surface and obliterate inhibition.
Folks who can’t hold their liquor (and even veteran boozers who’ve wandered past their limit) become dangerous, unpredictable, and uncontrollable one-man soap operas.
I’ve seen hard-ass bikers crumble into sobbing messes of vulnerability, and I’ve seen shy, petite brides growl like werewolves and back down transgressors twice their size.
For a writer, this is fertile info.
For a salesman, it’s a window into the hidden world of human decision-making.
When you’re attempting to sell something, you need to move your prospect out of his comfort zone. For most people, that zone is a zombie state of near-comatose procrastination.
You can’t close. You may get them to agree that, sure, what you’ve got there sure seems like a great deal… but you won’t close the sale.
Think about this from a personal perspective: It can actually hurt your brain to make a decision that involves money.
Unless you slip into that warm and fuzzy irrational state where you can shrug off fear and anxiety and all those troubling doubts…
… and just say “What the hell” and slam your money on the table.
Basically, as a salesman, you’re hosting a little party between you and your prospect.
You’re not literally plying him with drink… but you are very much creating an alternative state of consciousness where the stubborn reluctance of a dude deep in his comfort zone gives way to the uninhibited decision-maker hiding deep within.
Now, I am NOT recommending you immediately begin a life of bar-hopping and booze-swilling, in the hope of becoming a better salesman.
You don’t even need a drop of alcohol to pass your lips to understand the lesson here.
You just need to stop and consider the way the human mind can fool a careless observer. If you spend your entire day around sober, rational people who never let their guard down, you’re going to be lulled into thinking your sales message needs to appeal to our higher sense of reason and empirical data-crunching.
And it’s just not so.
The old rule of thumb (which I learned from incredibly savvy street-wise sales experts): You pitch on reason, but you close on emotion.
So you’ve got to pay attention to the emotional world most people ignore, pretend doesn’t exist, or hide.
That’s the lesson from Amateur Drunk Night. Folks aren’t suddenly being controlled by outside forces that make them dance crazy, laugh too loud, and start fights with close friends.
Nope. That’s just another part of their being, burbling to the surface on a raft of booze.
Let the rest of the business world fantasize about a race of reasonable, astute and clear-headed prospects.
Your inside track: We’re actually a tribe of unpredictable, erratic, mush-brained emotional lunatics.
We just keep a tight lid on it, most of the time.
Side Note #1: Learning these lessons about human nature does NOT turn you into a snarling cynic.
Quite the opposite. I find that the more I learn about my fellow travelers, the more I love ’em all.
We’re all sharing this wild, amazing ride… on a planet rippling with beauty, horror, pleasure and pain…
… and none of us have an advantage in living well that can’t be learned by everyone else.
The business owner who learns how to sell, and puts what they learn into action, is just a little more awake, and a little more involved in the realities of existence.
It can be startling, at first, to realize how weird we all are… but after that initial shock of awareness, you really wouldn’t want it any other way.
Most of the world sleepwalks through their day. They are reactive, not proactive. (In other words, stuff happens to them. They don’t initiate much action.)
As a salesman, you have to wake up and take on more responsibility.
And the good ones live deep, play hard, and love without inhibition. You can’t do all that while snoozing.
Side Note #2: I was introduced to Tony Robbins over 20 years ago… when, after a night out partying, I became entranced by his infomercial on the tube.
I kept my guard down, and just went with the rising sense of “gotta have it” he triggered in my gut. And I bought his tapes. (Yeah, that’s how long ago it was — he was selling cassette tapes of his course.)
I don’t know how many folks who buy from late-night infomercials are wasted, but I don’t think I would have gone through with the purchase if I hadn’t been a little tipsy. (This was back in my youthful days of improper behavior. I’m better now, thanks.)
Nevertheless, I was glad I ordered, and happy when the package arrived. Got a lot out of the experience, and was introduced to new psychological discoveries through those tapes.
Fast-forward to two weeks ago: I finally met Tony, down in San Diego, when he interviewed me for his Money Masters series. (Other experts in the series include John Reese, Frank Kern, Russell Brunson, Dean Jackson and other notables from the sizzling online marketing world.)
He thought it was hilarious when I told him this story. And it got us talking about the crossroads of passion, emotion and decision.
Tony understands what makes people tick. Going deep with that kind of knowledge is the key to living large.
It was a real treat to discuss such heady intellectual philosophies with a renowned master of observation.
(This is also what I most appreciate about Zen — a complete acceptance of the entire range of human weirdness, without judgment or idealism. To understand us is to love us.)
Again: I’m not recommending you start drinking at dive bars.
Just start registering what you observe in your fellow man… in all the wonderful and frightening variations we reveal.
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