Productivity Hacks – Hanging Out with Carey Green

Productivity Hacks

The early bird catches the worm, as the old proverb says.

Sometimes I think that’s a rather destructive piece of advice.

Earlier this month, I shared a few of my most useful productivity tips with Carey Green. We were talking about my contribution to his new book Entrepreneur Mind Hacks Part 1. The dual volume series is a compilation of tips from some of the brightest entrepreneurial thinkers in the game today (like Seth Godin and Cal Newport), as well as powerful insights from thinkers of the past (like Winston Churchill).

Somehow I sneaked into the roster.

During this interview, Carey and I talk about:

  • why “early to bed and early to rise” isn’t always best
  • one of the many business lessons I extracted from sermons of an itinerant 18th century preacher
  • generosity versus greed in business
  • why humans need to stop treating their brains and bodies like machines during the workweek
  • how two different Schwartzes (Gene and Tony) forever altered the way I set up my schedule — their advice will revolutionize your productivity if you listen and apply
  • step-by-step instructions to discover your unique rhythms
  • how God made you different — and what you need to do to make the most of that fact.

We also got into copywriting and marketing a little bit. I talked about how important persuasive copy is, but there are two things that have far more impact on the punching power of your sales messages. Most decent copywriters are aware of this. That doesn’t mean they’ll talk about it in public.

Carey was a great host. He’s also a top-notch businessman and MAN. The world could use more like him.

Get more details about Entrepreneur Mind Hacks books. Book 1 addresses productivity and creativity. (That’s the one I contributed to.) Book 2 dives into connections and success.

If you’re in business or thinking about going into business, pick em up. You’ll definitely learn something.

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Selling Lessons from the Trenches: Interview with ClearSales

Selling Lessons ClearSales

Selling is a transfer of enthusiasm from one person to another.

This is one of the common definitions of selling — and it’s a good one. It’s the job of the salesperson to connect the inherent benefits of a product or services with the needs and desires of the potential customer. For the buyer, getting what they want is something they can get excited about. The person doing the selling oftentimes has to find the enthusiasm-inducing elements and bring them to the top. And the more impassioned he is about those benefits, the more persuasive his presentation will be.

We’re all selling something. We might as well get good at it.

Last month, Ash Patel over at ClearSales interviewed me about big lessons I’ve learned selling products and services face-to-face and through the written word. I answer sales-related questions for people who find themselves in selling situations but don’t always think of themselves as salespeople.

The interview lasts 40 minutes:

You can take a look at the raw transcripts in the ClearSales blog.

Ash delineated 11 separate takeaway lessons:

  1. Personalize sales message (generic is BAD; any sales conversation should feel one-to-one)
  2. Focus on the customer, not on yourself, your company, or even primarily on the product itself
  3. Keep following up
  4. Sell the outcome, not the tool itself. This sounds obvious, but I’m constantly surprised by how many entrepreneurs, marketers and salespeople revert to selling their “thing” rather than the transformational results it produces for the buyer
  5. Avoid jargon and corporate talk, unless that’s the language your customers speak. A conversational tone usually works best
  6. Educate your prospects. It’s a great way to share value and position yourself as an expert at the same time
  7. Be strategic
  8. Spend at least as much energy converting and retaining clients as you spend on chasing new ones. The best new customer is a satisfied old customer
  9. Sales don’t happen by themselves.
  10. Recognize your own value. Confidence is a huge factor in successfully transferring enthusiasm
  11. Communicate that value. It’s not bragging if it’s true, right? Plus, you’re not bragging — you’re helping potential customers see all the ways you can make their lives better. Don’t be shy about making the world a better place in your own unique way.

Enjoy the interview!

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Need Your Content to Sizzle and Sell? Here Are Some Tips

Write Content that Sells

Just in case you missed it…

A couple weeks ago, Jeff Zelaya and I did a Google Hangout on Air to talk about “How to Write Content that Sizzles and Sells.” There’s a ton of mediocre content out there, both online and in print. We talked about getting ideas, honing your craft and writing stuff that doesn’t suck.

Because you’ll never bore anyone into buying, subscribing, or even reading your next paragraph.

Check out the replay:

Jeff also wrote a terrific recap of the Hangout at 13 Tips to Make Your Content Sizzle and Sell on Triblio’s blog, distilling the interview down into 13 actionable (and tweetable!) steps. Smart writing on his part, without a doubt.

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Get Attention With These Not-So-Average Marketing Ideas

Attention Marketing

“Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing but nobody else does.” ~ Steuart Henderson Britt

Marketing your business using the same methods everyone else is using isn’t much better.

One of the biggest problems any business has these days is getting and keeping the attention of their should-be clients and customers. Another problem that many of entrepreneurs and solo professionals have is that they have no idea what to do to stand out from everyone else who’s trying to get attention (not just the competition).

Many also fear doing something they’ve never done before or something that seems risky.

During times like these, being bold enough to take risks and step outside of your normal comfort zone may be what it takes to make your marketing work. A lack of courage may leave you unnoticed and under-appreciated as the expert you are.

In his constant quest to share practical marketing insights, tactics and strategies, Steve Lahey invited me to share a few “outside-the-box” marketing ideas with his audience. Check out the 30-minute interview, Creative Marketing Ideas for Solo Professionals.

In the half hour, Steve and I spoke about 3 proven tactics that are rare enough to be ridiculously effective:

  1. direct mail
  2. “best buyer”/influencer outreach and
  3. a unique kind of live, in-person event.

If an injection of fresh thinking might rekindle the spark in your promotional efforts, I think this is a pretty good investment of your time. Even if you don’t use the techniques mentioned, the thinking behind them and the reasons they’re effective are sure to be thought-provoking and inspiring.

My personal philosophy of business and marketing comes out pretty strongly here, too.

I’d love to hear your feedback on the interview. I’d also love to hear about your favorite outside-the-box marketing ideas in the comments below.

 

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How to Write Sizzling Content

Sizzling Content and Copy

“If the woman howling from the backseat of Agent Carson’s black SUV weren’t already dead, I would’ve strangled her. Gladly.”

So begins Darynda Jones’ latest book. But the book is captivating even before the opening line. The title instantly sends your mind on a journey of curiosity.

Seventh Grave and No Body.

To be fair, I haven’t read anything other than the first page of the book. The book cover caught by attention yesterday at Barnes & Noble. My imagination isn’t ready to stop thinking about where the story might go.

That’s what sizzling content does. It grabs your attention and puts it in a headlock. It activates the movie screen in your brain and reaches down to pull on the ol’ heartstrings, at least a little bit.

This is not the kind of writing we were taught in school. The style we mastered between K and 12 is almost the polar opposite, when you think about it: matter-of-fact, even clinical in it’s lack of emotion. Without personality. Yet, a large percentage of business owners and marketers carry this dry, academic style over into their attempts at sales and marketing.

Then they wonder why no one opens their emails.

Now, I know YOU don’t have that problem. But there’s a good chance that you feel like your writing could be stronger. You’d like for your content to be more persuasive. You want your marketing to pack more punch in whatever media you’re using.

If so, I hope you’ll join Jeff Zelaya from Triblio and me for “How to Write Content that Sizzles and Sells,” a Google Hangout On Air tomorrow (Monday, November 17) at 1 Eastern. We will discuss turning your articles, blog posts, video scripts, etc., into “page-turners” your  potential clients will have a hard time ignoring.

Check out the Event page for more details. You can even ask content marketing, writing or persuasion questions and we’ll try to answer them.

Hope to see you there!

P.S.  I want to quickly emphasize a takeaway we learn from the book I mentioned in the beginning of this post.

The title Seventh Grave and No Body, is pretty interesting all by itself. Even more than the words themselves, this title is engrossing because of the mental associations the reader carries while he reads. The title doesn’t mention anything about crime scenes, tricky murder investigations or elusive serial killers. You read that into the words on the page. The pictures created in your mind have more to do with your own personal experience than anything else.

The meaning of a word is greater than its definition.

Leveraging the power of mental associations is an advanced writing technique we’ll be covering during the Hangout. You’re not going to want to miss this.

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What Being a Christian Entrepreneur Means to Me

I’ve never been one of those guys who uses his faith as a “hook.” It’s never been part of my sales pitch.

But I’m not shy about being a Christian.

I had the chance to talk with Roger Bush about where my business life meets my spiritual life on the Entrepreneur By Faith podcast last week.

Roger asked a question I’ve never answered publicly; he asked me to describe a failure I’ve experienced in my business. The story I told isn’t something I should be ashamed of, but a big part of me didn’t want to talk about this. Only a few people had heard this story…until now.

It’s strangely liberating to let the cat out of the bag. But I’m not going to let it out here. You gotta listen to the podcast.

Check out the 43-minute interview here: Entrepreneur By Faith Episode 3.

Listen to the other interviews on the site, too. You’ll get to know some great people and get inspiration, encouragement and direction at the same time.

Update: The URL where this interview was previously located is currently unavailable. You can listen to the audio at the bottom of this post.

P.S. Roger got in touch with me after reading Unexpected Insights for the Christian Entrepreneur Pt. 1. If you’re a Christian running a business — a secular business, in particular — you might find some helpful ideas in that series.

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Hanging Out With Jeff Zelaya

Jeff Zelaya's Google Hangout with Copywriter Donnie Bryant

It’s not often that you’ll catch me on camera; I have an irrational fear of leaving photographic evidence of my whereabouts and activities… (I’m just kidding)

But for my buddy Jeff Zelaya, I made an exception. We spent about half an hour on a Google Hangout talking about copywriting,  marketing and being self-employed. Fun times for everyone. Now I’d like to share the fun with you.

You could check out the video on Jeff’s fantastic marketing blog, where he says some very nice things about me (check’s in the mail, Jeff). There’s also tons of other great content, including Hangouts with other smart people. But for simplicity’s sake, I’ll embed the video right here:

Now, one of the nice things Jeff says about me on his blog is about how cute my 4 children are. He’s telling the truth, of course. And he knows cuteness when he sees it. Have you seen how adorable his son Elijah is?

Elijah

 P.S. If you enjoyed this, there’s a good chance you’ll get something out of my recent interview with Steve Lahey.

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Steve Lahey Picks My Brain About Stealth Selling and Copywriting

Small Business Talent Podcast with Stephen Lahey

Over the years, it seems like I’ve sold almost everything: Swiss watches, cell phones, warranties, coffee grinders and even plain old advice. You’ll never hear me say I’m a natural salesman. I wasn’t even always good at sales.

In 2012, I wrote Stealth Selling: Non-Pushy Persuasion for Professionals, an ebook revealing my personal selling philosophy along with insights and advice I’ve picked up along the way.

This week, I had the privilege of appearing on Steve Lahey’s Small Business Talent podcast. He asked me about stealth selling, ethical persuasion and life as an entrepreneur.

I even performed a live dissection (guess that would make it a vivisection) on his new service page sales copy.

It was fun and I’ve received a lot of great feedback. If you have about half an hour, I’d be thrilled if you listened to the interview here.

By the way, the Steve’s podcast is always excellent. If I were you, I’d check it out every week.

I’m also working on making a second edition of Stealth Selling. Up until the time I release it (hopefully by the beginning the end of April), you can pick up the original for $5, which the lowest price I’ve ever offered (a large percentage of buyers paid $19 for it). I’ll also send you the updated version as soon as it’s ready, free of cost.

If you’re interested, click here.

One more thing: if you listen to my interview with Steve Lahey, leave a comment and send a screenshot of the comment to db at donnie-bryant dot com, I’ll give you the book for free. Why? Because maybe what Steve said on Twitter is true:

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Struggles and Success as a Marketing Copywriter

Michael Zipursky interviewed me the other day about the struggles and successes I’ve experienced as a copywriter and consultant for his Business Consulting Buzz podcast.

We talked about:

  • the power of guest posting to build credibility and find an audience (instead of having to build one from scratch)
  • the crucial mindset you must have to sell anything, in any medium — it’s a simple switch, but human nature makes it a perpetual struggle
  • some of my early inspirations as a copywriter (I still love all of ’em)
  • how I got my first clients
  • one thing anyone can do to automatically boost the persuasiveness of their sales copy.

Listen to Direct Response Copywriter and Consultant: Interview with Donnie Bryant.

Thanks for listening!

 

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Joe Sugarman, Drayton Bird and Me

A couple weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of speaking at length with Joey Bushnell about copywriting, marketing and finding ways to get your business through tough economies like the one we’re facing right now.

There are two reasons this interview was special:

1) You know it’s hard for me to stop talking once I get started. Joey gave me a full hour to speak my mind.

2) This chat follows interviews with some of the greats in our industry: Joe Sugarman, Bob Bly, Drayton Bird, Ted Nicholas, Chris Marlow and others. I was humbled to be named among these legends.

During the call, we cover

  • why unique selling propositions (USP) can be bad for your brand – and what you should replace them with
  • 4 ways many businesses are sabotaging their own marketing
  • the reason most people struggle to persuade others and plenty more.

Check out the interview, Compelling Marketing Messages, over on Joey’s Web Marketing Inner Circle site.

It’s free to listen to. You don’t have to give your email address or anything, and there’s nothing for sale. Just sit back and see how much you can learn.

Enjoy!

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