Takin' It Too Far…


Thursday, 11:49pm
Reno, NV
Qu’est-ce que c’est?” (Talking Heads,”Psycho Killer”, ca. 1979)


Quick lesson today, which should help you understand one of the fundamental truths of kick-ass marketing.

That truth: There is almost always a way to fix or solve a marketing problem.

Actually, that truth is also functional in every-day life…

… but that’s a much longer lesson.

Here’s the quickie version, for marketers: I was just delivering this story in one of the Simple Writing System classrooms, and thought I’d share with you here, too.

As any decent marketer knows, the Prime Directive of a sales process is to discover your best possible prospect… and “reach” him with your sales message.

Seems simple enough.  Sometimes, it is.  If you’re selling hamburgers near a starving crowd, you’re set. Just open your doors and tell folks to line up.

For a while (back in the Good Old Days of Internet marketing), all you had to do was:

Step One: Be the first into a hot niche…

Step Two: With a sloppy website…

Step Three: And let the search engines round up your prospects.

Oh, and bank the piles of dough cascading in.

It’s fun when things work smoothly like that.

And it gets frustrating when things should work smoothly… but don’t.

Like, when you have a great product, and you can point out your perfect prospect… (he’s right over there, right there)… who really will benefit from your wonderful stuff, and who should be buying from you right now, cuz you’re a bitchin’ dude and your offer is so flat-out primo.

But it’s a living nightmare, because that prospect isn’t paying any attention to you — (and you’re right here, dammit, hey, stop ignoring me!) — and you’re invisible to him.

While he wanders along, oblivious, and even (gasp!) buys that inferior crap from your trashy competition, who are mean, unethical psychopaths who eat kittens.

It’s just wrong.  It’s not fair, it’s a really, really bad situation, and Reality sucks and should be ashamed of itself.

I hear this refrain a lot from folks who cut their marketing teeth during the Gold Rush period of the Web, when they could do no wrong, and the wired world beat down their door to worship at their feet.  (For a brief time, they were like the only boy in a school full of girls around prom time — saddling them with a much over-bloated sense of their attractiveness and power.)

Meanwhile, us grizzled experienced veterans from the Old School offer rueful sympathy.

Hell, yeah, it was fun back when moolah poured down on us from magic online faucets, when gold crunched under our feet everywhere we went, and low-hanging fruit stretched forever into the distance.

It was fun… and it never had a chance of lasting very long.

And here we are, in this brave new world of an all-grown-up, super-competitive marketplace crusted with economic vagueness…

… where, what d’ya know, a little honest experience in selling can once again save your butt.

Look — it often IS hard to reach certain types of prospects in the real world.

It’s not impossible, however.  In fact, it can be done fairly easily, once you get your head straight (and learn a few simple salesmanship chops).

I learned this lesson early on, as part of my “Gun To The Head” attitude of creating ads.

That attitude was simple: With a gun to my head that would go off if my ad didn’t work…

… would I still use that headline… that sales message… that word in that paragraph… or any other risky tactic to FUBAR the chances of the little ad I was sending out into the cold, cruel world?

Back then, it really would have been career-suicide to write ads that bombed.  I had no reputation, no contacts in the industry, no one watching my back.

So being clever, or funny, or taking grandiose creative risks with a client’s advertising was out of the question.

Instead, I concentrated on classic salesmanship — the Old School stuff that has worked since the beginning of history, and has never stopped working (not even for a moment).

This attitude didn’t win me any friends among the other professional copywriters I was competing against.  They hated salesmanship, mostly.  Considered it beneath them.  They saw their job as being clever and creative.

Meanwhile, my ads worked (while theirs bombed), and suddenly I had a reputation as a guy who could get the job done.

(It was also extremely satisfying when clients discovered I was a funny, witty dude when not working.  I just didn’t take chances with my ad writing… cuz there was money on the line.  I assured them that the moment the universe shifted, and clever ads started pulling down bigger profits, then I would be the first writer to start pumping out clever copy.  Until then, however, I would continue to skip the goofy attempts to circumvent good salesmanship… and just write what brought in the cashola.  And we could use the profits to go buy privileged seating at the comedy clubs when we wanted to laugh at something.)

(I had a note taped to my monitor that kept me focused, too.  It was a quote by the painter Renoir, who knew what he was talking about:  “First, learn your craft.  It won’t prevent you from becoming a genius later.”  Huge wisdom there.)

Now, this “Gun To The Head” attitude also worked when I (or my sales letter) had to dodge and weave through layers of gate keepers to reach The Dude Who Can Sign A Check.

This is a critical step for ANYONE and ANY AD sent out into the business world to collect coin.

It causes no end of problems to have lengthy sessions with someone who can’t make a final decision… or to put a sales letter into the hands of that guy… who then has to go sell THEIR boss — or, worse, a committee — on the deal , without you there to guide the pitch.

Memorize this:  It is usually a waste of time to sell someone in a company on something, when that someone can’t write a check to pay for it.

No matter how excited or ready-to-go that person is… if he has to take his request through a gauntlet of gate keepers, the deal will die.  (A gate keeper — also known as a “Little Hitler” because they wield the power to axe any project on a whim — considers their primary job as protecting their boss from strange new out-of-the-box ideas.  They’re like a hungry bear standing in the river during salmon spawning season, gobbling up every incoming message.)

So, how do you handle a situation where you cannot reach The Dude Who Signs Checks by phone, or by email, or direct mail, or any of the normal channels?

Cue “Gun To The Head” thinking.

With my life on the line if I failed, what was I willing/able to do… to get my sales message into the hands of the right person?

Just working this out is excellent brain-exercise.

And you start by imagining every single way you can come up with to get past those gate keepers.  No idea is too wild, too outrageous, or too nonsensical during this early brainstorming period.

There is always a way to get something done. Always.

Of course, I refuse to be unethical, or do anything illegal… so most of the imaginary scenarios that burble up to the surface aren’t something I would ever do.  But I put them down on the list anyway.  Like sneaking into the offices after hours, Mission Impossible-style, and leaving my sales letter on his chair, marked “Urgent”.  Or hacking their email system and stealing the password of his most trusted assistant, so the email could come from her.  Or joining his golf club, so I could be introduced to him.  Or marrying his daughter.  Or kidnapping him.  Or showing up at his house and begging him to look at the offer.  Or…

Or whatever.  The idea is to think of every single way you MIGHT be able to get past the natural barriers to reaching The Dude, without censoring anything.

You take it too far, in every direction.

How, with a gun to your head, could you get the job done?

And what you realize by doing this is the secret behind some of the better Hollywood movies: There is always a plausible scenario, well within the bounds of reality, to make any plan succeed.

These scenarios may involve illegalities, or Mafia-style behavior, or taking over entire municipalities with a specially-formed militia…

… but the thing is…

… it CAN be done.

Now, again, I refuse to do illegal stuff.  I’m sure you do, too.

So most of what you come up, using this “Succeed or Die” attitude, cannot be implemented.

However, what you have done is still important:  You have proven to your brain that it CAN be done.

So you can stop pretending it’s “impossible” to reach The Dude with your sales message.

You just have to find the way to do it that doesn’t involve bloodshed or blackmail or losing sleep at night.

This kind of thinking is how Gary Halbert came up with his infamous “ethical bribe” angle.  A real bribe would have worked, but he was unwilling to do that.  So he created a goodie-crammed bonus package that was pretty much equal to a bribe in value…

… and used it to demolish all reluctance on the prospect’s part to engage in the deal.

It also led us to send Fed Ex packages to hot prospects (and to force clients to send out Fed Ex packages to their hottest leads)… a special delivery system so extravagant at the time, it never occurred to other marketers to even attempt such a tactic.

However, those packages got past the office managers, where “normal” letters, phone calls, or even personal visits wouldn’t succeed.  (Other marketers soon invented “fake” Fed Ex-looking packages to sneak past the gauntlet, cheaper.)

We also came up with ideas like sending the letter from a lawyer, making it very obvious that this was something from the lawyer’s office, personally meant for our prospect.  (Even though the actual product had nothing to do with lawyering.)

That also often slipped by the gate keepers, and made it straight to the prospect’s desk.  (The idea came out of a completely outrageous imagined scheme using a doctor as the sender, and writing “Your lab tests are enclosed”.  That was, of course, brilliantly sneaky and completely out of the question as a usable tactic… but it lead to the more practical idea of hiring a lawyer to “host” the mailing, which was perfectly fair.  We made zero suggestions anywhere that this was an actual legal matter… but it still got the letter past the gate keepers.)

As a freelancer trying to get in front of The Dude to solicit jobs, I also started using real detective tactics — “working” the receptionists and secretaries for the hobbies, birthdays, and other sundry bits of info about their boss (including juicy gossip). Intel that any good salesman can use to quickly bond, create an opening, and follow through on.

(This tactic will sound very familiar to anyone wondering why Facebook is collecting so much personal info…)

It’s all about thinking outside the box, of course.  With a loaded pistol to my head.

It’s not fair… but the world doesn’t always reward the marketer with the best product, or the best deal.

Often, personality, gifts (or bribes), and cheap psychology wins the day.

This concept of proving to your brain that something is at least possible… and almost never impossible… completely inverts the usual way people think.

Take it “too far” in every direction, and just air out all the ways it CAN be done.

Then walk it back to a plan that meets your requirements for not getting cuffed, shot, sued, or tarred-and-feathered.

As a killer salesman, you never take a “no” personally… and you don’t let it stand as the final word, either.

Just keep mulling it over. What else can you do to stand out to the right people, to win over the advocacy of important groups , to slip past obstacles, to make sure you’re playing the game on a higher level than your competition?

There is always a way to overcome an obstacle.  And often, somewhere’s between the utterly outrageous notions and the dumb-ass get-yourself-killed schemes…

… is the brainstorm that gets her done.

This is high-end salesmanship, folks.

Again, if you’re hungry for more… and if you’re finally realizing it’s time you learned the simple secrets of selling (so you can get busy with your new life of fame, wealth and the kind of giddy happiness you’re not even sure you deserve to enjoy)…

… then stop lollygagging around and check this opportunity out:



Because, you know who you’re up against out there?

You’re up against guys who DO know classic salesmanship.  If you’re getting your clock cleaned by the competition… and you don’t like getting your clock cleaned like that…

… then this is where you muscle-up and begin to turn the tables on them.

Learn to sell.  It’s fun stuff to know, and it will make your life better at every level, in ways you cannot yet imagine.

You have any other old school selling secrets you care to share here?

Just lay it out in the comments.  We’re doing righteous work here, in these threads…

Stay frosty,


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"11 Really Stupid Blunders You're Making With Your Biz & Career Right Now."

  • Jan says:


    the link to http://www.simplewritingsystem.com in this post is broken…

    Just to let you kinow

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eric Graham, James Foster. James Foster said: Takin’ It Too Far…: Thursday, 11:49pm Reno, NV “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” (Talking Heads,”Psycho Killer”, ca. 1979) Ho… http://bit.ly/9drn4P […]

  • Jan says:

    Uups sorry, it works now. Seem like it was a hickup of infusionsoft. Sorry. Feel free to delete these comments

  • Chris Hunt says:

    The art of the long…
    …blog post!

    Another outstanding lesson John. I like the concept of taking things to the extreme with the sale in mind – opens up a NEW world of possibilities.

    Most things GREAT doesn’t tend to be the most convenient…
    …”Yeah we decided to fly to the moon because it seemed like the easiest thing at the time”.

    • John Carlton says:

      I actually had a note about the ’69 moon shot, but it didn’t make it into the post.
      Convenience is a trap, like you say, Chris.
      Finding love, for example, is never convenient. And looking back, you wouldn’t have it any other way, would you. A convenient life would be boring…

      • Chris Hunt says:

        Look at the picture John. Wonder if that triggered the moon idea…

        Influenced, perhaps?

      • Well, you fellas know that we (the USA) never landed on the moon.

        The film was made in a warehouse in Tijuana where Howard Hughes lived. And done by his film company.

        There ain’t no wind on the moon to flap the American flag. Sorry……Not even Newt Gingrich can make that happen.

        Also, if we did land on the moon, why build a floating space lab instead of a permanent lab on the moon? That floater will someday come back to earth and then we will have nothing but a fireball for all the money and effort we have wasted.

        I know I will be flamed, but I’m used to it. So let err rip.

        No ads on this site. Just facts.

        After you read it…..while getting drunk….
        You can come back and apologize to me.

        It’s OK…. really….

  • John,
    this is so timely. I guess it’s not essential to be psychic as a writer but somehow you managed it.
    I haven’t laughed so much in a long time/

    A great post thanks,


  • Now look here John

    I TOTALLY refuse to read this long post … I just don’t have time.

    So I’ll just scan the first few lines.

    OK, OK quite interesting, so I’ll just read the next few … and … OK, dammit this is fascinating, but you can’t fool me. I’ll keep going and only read only just a dash more . WHAT? I’m at the end!

    Dang that was good. Great demo of practising what you preach John – your copy gets me every time. 🙂


    • John Carlton says:

      Hey, Jonathan.
      Yeah, it was a little longer than I thought it would be, but once into the damn thing, I didn’t want to cut anything out.
      I swear I don’t start out thinking “novel, I’m gonna write a novel on this subject, yep”…
      Really, though, I’d be cheating folks if I didn’t air it out.
      Think of these longer posts as listening in on a conversation… this one, for example, could easily have been a back-and-forth with me and Halbert from many moons ago. Finding yourself within hearing range of one of those rants, would you really rather we stopped short of dumping everything we had?
      Sometimes, the good stuff needs a little elbow room.
      Anyway, thanks for the nice note.

  • Jennifer says:

    I love it! Your blog posts always get me thinking…Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I appreciate it.

  • John

    LONG? Nah … your post is as long as it needed to be.

    You know what? I cursed copywriting every single day that I worked on TV commercials and had to fit a message into 30 seconds, although it was good discipline. Bottom line is it means I could write a post of 40,000+ words right now and you’d read every one. Yes you would.

    WHY? Because it would be entitled:

    ‘All About The Private Life Of John Carlton’

    Joking aside, your writing does exactly this. It always seems to relate personally to me and I’m guessing to all others who read it. I hope we get to meet some day Sir.


    • John Carlton says:

      I thought Halbert invented that line about a long ad titled “The secret sex life of so-and-so”.
      Ah, well, it was too good not to have been thought up by multiple sharp minds in the same era.
      It’s a good point to remember, anyway…

  • JasonZ says:

    Hey John,
    Great stuff…I honored to be able to inspire you to create a fantastic blog describing with my challenging sales funnel!
    Dr. Z from Vegas

  • Henri Henell says:

    Thanks John to sharing this blog – There was a lot of wisdom, and it will help me further with my project. Was your blog “long” – I don’t think so, ’cause when you start to read it – you read it from the beginning to end (as usually). You write it as you learn.


  • Thank you for sharing John,
    is there a reason why the gun to the head works better than the gorgeous gal/guy on the sofa who will be your slave once the sale is made? In a world of carrots and sticks does the stick always have to win?

    • John Carlton says:

      I ain’t going there, Fergus.
      However, yes, the stick works better sometimes. More flies are caught with honey, but more cattle is moved with a stick.
      Or something like that. It’s a case-by-case basis.
      The world isn’t black-and-white, unfortunately. This is why experience should be valued — more often than not, what is needed is the nuanced “gut check” of a dude who’s been around the block a few times…

      • Thank you for the reply John – I guess where I was coming from was if you advocate the carrot for the customers, why use the stick on the self (file under newbie naivety)? On reflection its a different scenario altogether and what works, works. I have a whole cupboard full of sticks I use all too regularly on myself whereas my carrot patch has been somewhat neglected!

  • David says:

    Dam you Carlton….Out of all the spam i get….your email is the one I look forward to…. Simply amazing…good work….Ok this comment sounds like a testimony…
    I think you owe me a drink now

    David from Las vegas

  • I think Gary Halbert stole the ‘secret sex life of … ‘ line from someone else. I stole it it from a copywriter of 20 years ago … but memory fails me as to who it was.

    Oops, that dates me.


  • Robert Gibson SWS Instructor says:

    Hi John,
    Great post!
    The “Good Old Days Syndrome”…
    When sales are coming in, all you have to do is collect the money.
    That makes you an “order taker” more than a salesperson. Selling skills drive the engine.
    Reminds me of the proverb:
    “Smooth seas do not make for skillful sailors.”
    Great for fair weather.
    But eventually the storms arrive.
    And the game changes.
    The rules change.
    The arena changes.
    The players in the game change.
    When that happens, what will you do then?
    Blame the customer’s bad taste?
    Blame the economy?
    Or get to work?

    Work is the antithesis of the magic box.
    At some point, the sale must be made.
    Are you willing to do whatever it takes?
    I mean that in terms of effort – not shady tactics.
    They don’t have a book called
    “4 hour Work Week
    for Emergency Room Doctors.”
    Because when the pain hits you have to respond when it happens. 24/7.
    Give up some sleep. Sacrifice.
    That’s what you do when there’s a gun to your head.
    You prepare yourself to do whatever it takes to succeed.

    You nailed it. There is ALWAYS a way to make a sale.

    Someone is selling the people I’m after.
    So if I don’t get the sale, it’s not the economy.
    It’s me.

    True or not, that’s the gun to my head.
    When the sale gets harder to make, it’s time to make adjustments and sharpen the axe.

  • Sally Neill says:

    Hi John, mission impossible has sprang into my mind several times since reading your post, I can almost here the theme tune buzzing around in my ears! I can also imagine you dangling down from some wires Tom Cruise style, trying to sneak your ad onto someone’s chair and with your bad back I don’t think that’s such a good idea 😛 As always your blog posts force me to think about sales in a whole new way, thanks again for sharing such valuable information, Sally 🙂

  • Anand says:

    Hey John,

    Initially when i saw ur article so long, i tried to skim and scan it… but couldnt succeed. It was so well written that I had to read every single line of it.

    I liked the concept of passing letter through the gate keepers. 🙂
    and the part where u mentioned “my ads worked (while theirs bombed), and suddenly I had a reputation as a guy who could get the job done”

    I also have taken a big task to finish, i.e. to make Amazon like online shopping system In India with superb delivery system with amazing customer satisfaction. I know this is a Herculean task, But I am very sure to Succed in this challange.

    Wish me Luck 🙂
    Anand Mallik

  • Kirk says:

    John, I hung on every word of the post! Ok, well maybe not EVERY word but it certainly gave me a lot of inspiration to tackle situations differently.

    I think you should charge for these nuggets that you put in the posts as they are worth a lot. Your posts are the only ones I never skim. After all why should I take a beating when I can learn from your experiences. Besides I already get my fair share.

    Thanks so much for another great motivator. I can now justify my daydreaming. Just kidding. I can now use my daydreaming to focus and be productive.


  • Sean McCool says:

    Good stuff.
    Isn’t it amazing despite all the proof we have that old school sales ideas continue to deliver the dollars there are still some people who don’t want to believe it – of course some people don’t believe this internet thing will ever take off either.


  • Scott says:

    Brilliant post. Love the Gun To The Head mentality … this one’s definitely going into my “wisdom” file, John.

  • Kurt Schmitt says:

    The most important old school selling secret that I can think of is not to sell. Recommend. In order to be qualified to recommend something to someone, you have to pass the test they give you (know, trust, like).

    The way you get people to know/trust/like you is to be genuine and deliver value. Beyond that, involve/engage. Give folks a place to have their say (which is also something of value).

    This is assuming, of course, that you’ve researched a target market and you’re delivering great free information (which is what people need to make decisions) and you’re speaking to that target market, and not farm animals who don’t have credit cards. Did I say farm animals?

    Not rocket science, but so many people forget the basics. Oh yeah, and what did you do here? Provided free info to your target market and involved them in the discussion. That’s the gem inside the lesson in your post. Oops! Just gave away your secret.

  • […] Homer Simpson makes when he’s realized the futility of his efforts).  From John’s blog post today: Memorize this:  It is usually a waste of time to sell someone in a company on something, […]

  • Eria Odhuba says:

    Excellent post! The art of getting past the gatekeeper and focusing on the person that writes the checks is totally necessary for success right now.

    And this is a great example of how to keep long copy captivating.

  • Larry says:

    Yes John,
    That’s the only thing that keeps us going, knowing there IS a way through the static.

    The latest marketing guru offereing that’s hot right now, further muddies the water.

    The software offered is what I call the “Inane Article Machine.”

    In order to create “content” they have an article repurposer that you use the same article, and just change a few off the verbs and sentence structure, and – voila! – you have a new article of “content” to post on your site to get you more noticed by Google.

    Instead of strong, crisp, direct content like yours, which always makes an astute, salient point, we have endless “About.com” types of sites, where all the pages and articles sound kinda like the other, mundane, inane endless variations of a bland theme.

    It’s almost like “keyword stuffing” tactics of the late ’90’s.

    Luckily, it’s poor salesmanship, and DOES sink under it’s own weight. Over time, if I see a search result is About.com, I don’t bother.

    Yes gary halbert, rest his soul, with the mind of an irreverent brilliant inventive genius marketing madman, was right about “whatever it takes” it-can-be-done-if-you-find-a-way salesmanship.

    And he found some of the most creative over-the-top ways to sell incredible products.

    That includes not following every trend like its a short skirt, especially articles repurposing.

    You and benciavencia are the only guys who come near the inventiveness of halbert. Thanks for your insights.

  • Susie says:

    I heard you mention the “gun to the head” somewhere else recently (sorry – don’t remember where) – so recently I used that concept a bit differently….
    I had several personal projects that were “screaming at me” from the kitchen counter top (like filing my taxes!!!) – but have been easy to put off.
    So…I wrote out a note, telling myself that if I didn’t complete them by a specific deadline…I’d be shot. Even spent a few minutes visualizing it…eeeeeek!
    Worked like a charm….checked those nagging project off my list in no time. Based on that experience…I know it must be effective in writing copy.

    • John Carlton says:

      Humans need these kinds of weird motivational tricks. Once we realize it, it becomes a powerful tool to get stuff done.
      Thanks for the note…

      • Susie says:

        It sounds kind of morbid – maybe I’ve watched too many “action” movies – lol – but it worked well for a short stint…to get some really yucky projects off the list.

  • Dum, dum, dum, Here comes the heretic again, rising from the depths. 🙂 What so many miss is that there is a proper length to every project. If the “proper” length is short, a long ad will fail. If the ad is short and the need is a long one, vice versa. Your column is exactly the right length, which is why you “couldn’t find anything to cut.” A “Master” writer like you, knows that length, almost by instinct. The rest of us have to learn to “feel” it.
    If you find yourself forcing more material, or unable to stop when you think you should, stop fighting. your brain is saying. “This is the ideal length, for this project.”
    Also, as you say. “Nothing really changes.” Looked at in modern terms, it’s still the same, just needing rediscovery.

  • ken ca|houn says:

    John’s copy is always irresistable… I’ve never been able to break away from one of his posts/letters without reading the whole thing… I’m still working on becoming a better writer.

    I liked your thoughts re outrageous stuff; marrying the client’s daughter? why not…:o and showing up at their businesses unannounced with collateral in hand — I used to do that all the time.. (plus join trade groups so I could be a speaker/article writer for them, chambers of commerce/rotary) and pounding the pavement, cold calling for years, then flipping to getting all referral business in the brick and mortar consulting world… it’s all classic salesmanship.

    the trick is, learning how to write as good as you do, John… as you told me years ago, reading good writing, good authors (and thx for the earlier suggestions) is making a difference, though there’s still a looong way to go, to be a good storyteller and sales pro….

    I mean c’mon phrases like “your trashy competition, who are mean, unethical psychopaths who eat kittens”… that had me laughing out loud — how could us mere mortals come up with hooks like that? I’ll keep trying, you’re a great role model for successful, engaging writing… I wish it was easier, probably more practice helps (I’ve been reading books on writing, they help too, in addition to the sales background). Being a talented, gifted writer, sales pro and storyteller is a rare skill set. thx for showing the way.


    • Estanislao says:

      LOL :D, yes I also laughed when I read it in the subway train. Then I re-read it and laughed again.
      And what you say of this?
      […] so you can get busy with your new life of fame, wealth and the kind of giddy happiness you’re not sure you deserve to enjoy) … LOL

      John is an exceptional copywriter, every time I start reading a content from him I get glued to the text. I’m a Cuban trying to learn the language, and John is one the best English teachers I ever found.


  • Sarah says:

    I absolutely love your “quick” lessons! From my perspective, your lessons always get over with too soon, even if they are pages and pages long. Ah, to have the gift of gab and be an excellent storyteller…I love the “gun to the head” gambit. You really do think of some great things when you know that your life…or livelihood is on the line. Thanks for the continuing lessons!

  • fidelis says:

    Great post teaming with lots of lessons. The “gun to head” tactic is a great take away. Thanks for the tip

  • Mike says:

    The blog was great as usual… But did anyone really take a look and read that email?

    I actually counted the words: 114 (not including the URL, “Stay frosty”, or “John”)

    Long Copy vs Short Copy… whatever, John hits it out of the park no matter what.

    And then the subject of the email… Really? Who could resist that?

    Like I said, the blog was great… but I’m going to print out the email and tack it to the wall – that was golden!

    Regards – Mike

  • […] blog post entitled “Takin’ It Too Far“ is a little taste of John’s “gun-to-the-head marketing” philosophy.  […]

  • Bob says:

    I think….

    John is a swell guy…..

  • John:
    Good piece.
    From years on the street selling for our own book and newspaper publishing companies, here’s the best advice I ever got for reaching Mr/Ms YES.
    You MUST get through the gatekeepers.
    The assistants. The sycophants. The toadies.
    How do you you do this?
    Lets say you’ve been trying to reach M/Ms Yes for weeks.
    His/her yes can mean big bucks in the bank.
    Nothing has worked so far.
    Court the gatekeepers.
    Romance the pants off them.
    Make them feel like the special people they are.
    Find out what they like and don’t like.
    Find out their birthdays and remember them.
    Do what it takes to gain their trust. Get them on your side.
    If you don’t think selling takes hard work and patience, you’d be better off as a 9-5er.
    Joining the same golf club works, too.
    Marrying his or her child is even better.
    Not too practical but what the hey?
    Thanks, John. Stay frosty yourself.
    Jerry Bellune
    The #1 Small Business Authority

  • […] Takin’ It Too Far… | The Official Blog of John Carlton […]

  • Stephen says:

    Tremendous Post, John
    I couldn’t agree more. Society has ‘pidgeon-holed’ everyone (including ‘new grads’) to keep control.
    But you can’t control an ‘entrepreneur!!
    Rock On!

  • Kirk says:

    Well this is the first long post you’ve had in a long time. First two paragraphs caused me to stop reading and go grab a beer knowing I’d be here for a while. Shoot I read your posts for entertainment purposes. LOL!

    Not really. I read them to stimulate the old gray cells. Reading it with a beer makes it so much more fun. Good post and good thoughts always go with a good beer.


  • […] finish their overflow work. My favorite idea I’ve heard so far from John Carlton is the gun-to-the-head marketing approach in which he writes a sales letter as if he has a gun to his head, and if that letter […]

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