Devious Plans for World Domination

How’s 2012 going for you so far? I hope your plans are big ones! Big visions are what leads to big breakthroughs. Why settle for small progress?

What if your goal was to rule entire planet? What would it take to pull that off?

While world domination is not in my schedule for this year, ask your favorite conspiracy theorist and he’ll be more than happy to describe who is plotting a global takeover and exactly how they plan to do it with minute detail.

Conspiracy theorists are usually written off as paranoid nutcases with too much time on their hands. But have you ever noticed not fiery adherents of any particular theory get when expressing their ideas? How loyal they are to their chosen “whistleblowers?” Could you stand to have some of these kinds of followers?

I don’t have a figure for how much money is floating around in the conspiracy theory space, but some people build full-blown careers out of it, Alex Jones possibly being the most notable example.

As business people and communicators, there are numerous lessons we can learn from how the “good” theorists operate. Let’s look at two major takeaways today.

(Note: For the record, I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I’m not saying real conspiracies never take place…)

Dramatic Characters

No one can deny that the people who concoct these vast conspiracy theories are dramatic personas. They tend to have intriguing pasts; they used to perform experiments in Area 51, or they worked in a secret office at the Federal Reserve. Because of their experience, they’ve become privy to information that is being concealed from the rest of us regular citizens.

There’s a good chance that there have been attempts to kidnap or even assassinate them to silence their voices.

These whistleblowers take a passionate stand against the bad guys (whoever they might be) and against secrecy. They stand passionately for truth and for the good of the population at large (or at least those who will listen).

Are you or your business passionate advocates for your customers and clients? Do people in the market for what you offer see you taking a strong stand for their good? Are you boldly standing against their enemies and anything that might endanger their well-being?

Are you revealing information clients need, but can’t get anywhere else? Are you telling them the truth when no one else has the guts to?

This sort of pathos is uncommon. It will anger a lot of people. But you will also attract more committed followers than you could ever get otherwise. You’ll definitely be harder to ignore.

Intense, Comprehensive Stories

It’s nearly impossible to find stories with more intricate detail than good conspiracy theories. They dive deep into the shadows of events and organizations we don’t fully understand, uncovering clues of hidden agendas. They paint pictures illustrating the reality behind the mysterious. They answer unsolvable questions, point out inconsistencies and point fingers at people we know (but don’t really know). Breaking news meets secret history.

Controversy is appealing. Mystery is magnetic. These narratives take our curiosity and run. You almost have to question everything you thought you knew.

And they cover all their bases. Claiming George Washington was a Martian invader won’t cut it. They provide extensive “documentation” to prove it! Then they explain all the implications of those facts.

Are you making big statements that call into question harmful myths that are hurting your audience? Are you appropriately controversial?

Do you add proof elements and “documentation” to back up the claims you make about your business? Do you offer complete solutions and have answers for any questions your customers might want to know?

Do you have a well-thought out, customer-centric company narrative, culture and/or value system?

Conspiracy theories also create a scary bad guy, or at least define exactly who the bad guy is. They channel paranoia, distrust and anger toward this source of evil. Having an enemy is a powerful motivator. Assembling a group around a common enemy creates an incredible bond. Think of the Cold War. Every American knew who the enemy of world peace and progress was: communism, most clearly expressed in the Soviet Union. The culture and many of the policies of the entire nation were shaped by the fear and hatred of the enemy.

Americans also knew the threat posed by this enemy: nuclear war. That’s what was at stake.

Who or what is the “bad guy” your audience is up against? It could be something like a lack of respect they face in the marketplace or a difficulty getting clients. It could be a governmental policy that’s bleeding them dry.

What is the threat this enemy poses? What’s at stake for them? Bankruptcy? Heart attack? Embarrassment when speaking in public? Don’t be afraid to attack the bad guy! You can be the knight in shining armor, helping your customers fight off their foes and protect them from their version of nuclear war.

Most of your peers promote their products and services like this: “We are Acme Co. We sell anvils and dynamite to coyotes like you.” But Wile E. doesn’t want anvils and explosives. He wants to finally catch that slippery Road Runner and have a tasty meal. How much more interesting would their message be if they talked about that?

Think about it.

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Strategic Selling for Startups

Among the most important books I can recommend to entrepreneurs, executives or anyone in a leadership role at a startup company is Chet Holmes’ best-selling book, The Ultimate Sales Machine.

If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out big time.

One of the biggest concepts all businesses have to get a good grasp on is strategic thinking. The problem is, most businesses, marketers and sales people are tactical thinkers; they can only see what’s right in front of them. They rarely move toward any long-term strategic goals, if they’ve even established any.

Without belaboring the point, I’m going to share a short excerpt from The UItimate Sales Machine that highlights the inability of the tactical thinker to see the “big picture.”

When your salespeople get in front of a client or customer, what would you like them to accomplish? What are your strategic objectives?

“When I ask executives that question, most of them reply tactically: “I want to make a sale.” Then I ask them to think strategically: “What else do you want to achieve?” And they say, “What else is there?” The conversation goes like this:

ME: Would you like to be respected?

THEM: Well, of course, I’d like to be respected.

ME: Would you like to be trusted?

THEM: Well, of course, I’d like to be trusted.

ME: Would you like referrals?

THEM: Well, of course, I’d like referrals.

ME: Would you like a preemptive strategy for when your competitors try to undercut your pricing?

THEM: Well, yeah, that’s a great objective.

ME: Would you like to be perceived as an expert?

THEM: That could be valuable, yes.

ME: How about influence? Would you like to have influence in that meeting?

THEM (the tacticians): What does that mean?

ME: Hang with me here a second. How about brand loyalty? Is that important?

THEM: Heck, yes.

ME: What about some urgency to buy now? Would that be a good thing?

THEM: Yes. That would be good.

If you even think about these objectives, doesn’t it automatically change how that meeting might go?”

Think about those objectives, and come up with real answers to them. Get past the short-sighted “get this sale today” mentality and think strategically.

It may take more time, more thought, and more effort, but believe me, it will pay off. And if you don’t want to trust me, check Chet’s record. The results he’s produced speak for themselves.

By the way, you can download chapter 4 of The Ulltimate Sales Machine for free at http://www.chetholmes.com/media/documents/Chapter4_MYS_NEW.pdf

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Start-Up Advice

I spoke with a new internet marketing student the other day. During the conversation, I gave some advice that I think is pretty doggone profound.

Here’s what I said:

“Just take it one step at a time, and keep moving forward.”

Deep, huh?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not minimizing how difficult it can be to get a business endeavor off the ground. That grind that comes at the beginning can wear down the toughest guys and gals out there. A lot of the time it does.

Studies show that as many as 9 out of 10 of business start-ups fail within the first 5 years. Ugly odds. So I’m not saying this is easy.

What I am saying is that success doesn’t happen by accident. You have to figure out the steps it will take to get you where you want to go. That in itself can be really difficult. How do you know what needs to happen? Who should you listen to?

I won’t go into depth on that here, except to say that you should be cautious taking advice from people that are not successful themselves. That success should be in your chosen field or one where the lessons are translatable.

Next, take one step at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Put one foot ahead of the other, and get steady before you start to make your next move.

Then, keep stepping forward. Concentrate your efforts and conquer each step along your path to the promise land. One step after the other.

Sometimes you can make leaps rather than little steps. But don’t get over-anxious. Once you’re fully focused on what you’re doing, you’ll recognize your opportunities when they come.

If you follow the basic formula (determine needed steps — take one step at a time — keep moving forward) success becomes easier and more predictable.

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