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Sales Letter Case Study: The Coming Home Retreat

Russell Touched Up 1Writing sales letters is hard. 

I wrote a whole blog post on my thoughts on how to do it in a warmer and yet still effective way years ago called Nine Thoughts on Copywriting for Hippies. So, I’ve got opinions but there’s no denying that writing a good sales letter is one of the toughest nuts to crack in any business. A sales letter is the dojo of the marketing world. It’s where you find out exactly how clear you are or not. The best resource I’ve come across on how to write a good sales letter is by Carrie Klassen and it’s called Selling Sweetly

Writing a sales letter is especially hard when you’re writing it around very personal issues such as spirituality. How can selling spirituality not feel gross?

And yet, if you run these kinds of retreats (and it’s where your income comes from) it’s only fair you articulate what it is you’re doing. 

But how?

This was the conundrum of a colleague and dear friend, Russell Scott (the handsome rogue pictured here) who I recently worked with to reword his sales letter. Here’s what he had to say about the process: “I wrote a sales letter based on a copying template I had downloaded from another coach but I just couldn’t get it right. It was awkward. In some sections it was too clinical in some it got far too personal. I was totally stuck in getting it right. I gave what I’d written to Tad and he worked it over. When I read how he had re-written it I literally cried. The whole sales letter had come alive! It was as if Tad had reached into my heart and translated into words all the compassion, care and understanding I have for the people I serve and put it on paper.” 

So, what I’d like to do is walk you through the sales letter with my commentary and show you what I came up with as an alternative that Russell loved so much. I should qualify that this was done in a couple of hours and that there is likely much more that could be done by far better copy writers than I to make this sales letter sing. But I am pretty happy with what came out. 

Coming Home

-an enlightenment intensive –

So, right away, I don’t like the phrase ‘enlightenment intensive’. It sounds like it’s promising enlightenment. Which sounds like hype. 

Ending the search.  Living a deeper life.

Ending the search? That for sure sounds like hype. Like one weekend is going to end a search humanity has been on since time immemorial? Sounds too good to be true – and therefore untrue.

A lot of people secretly wish that they could let go of the pressures of living in the rat race and come home to a deeper peace… the kind that many of the great spiritual teachers of the ages have spoken of.

Meh. This sounds ok. But a bit generic to me. It sounds like a set up for a pitch.

If they could, they’d feel more alive, happy, inspired and fully engaged with others. They’d would feel a sense of harmony with life and be a lot freer to totally be themselves.

Generic promise. I’m already not feeling much of Russell’s wonderful personality.

But right now, you walk, talk, sit, drive, work, buy, eat, sleep and dream in an endless daily cycle. At the end of the week, you stare into the TV wondering “is there more than this perpetual treadmill?” and ask “What am I obviously missing here?” There’s restlessness like something is shifting or fragmenting. You don’t know what it is or what needs to change or even if it’s a good thing. Yet something deep inside is calling your true self to come out and play but you’re trapped in the social way you are supposed to be. You’ve come to the conclusion you don’t know the one that’s been living your life. Sometimes the emptiness is downright painful. You hide it well but it’s deep…slowly eating your soul.

Here’s where I start to pull back even more. It feels like a bit of an assault. A pitch. It’s trying to be empathetic and yet I feel defensive. I feel like I’m being set up. I don’t identify with everything I’m reading. I find myself leaning away. And part of this comes from the fact that he’s speaking directly to me. He’s saying ‘you’. Which is, ironically, how we’re taught to write sales letters. Speak directly to the other person. We’re admonished, wisely I think, to remember that every sales letter we write will be read one person at a time. So, we should be writing it to our ideal clients and no one else. Sales letters aren’t read by ‘the masses’. They’re read by individuals. So, let’s write to them. Fine so far. But it’s a very modern conception of sales and communication with others to imagine that every conversation with someone should be talking directly to them using ‘you’. We forget that, since time immemorial, humans have best communicated with stories. In a story, people can identify with the parts they do, and leave the rest. A story doesn’t get your hackles up. A story doesn’t make you defensive because it’s not about you. But, in a sales letter or video when we start saying, ‘Do you ever struggle with…’ it can trigger people’s shame around those issues and also ignore how vulnerable they might feel about the issue. It forces them to confront something they may not be ready to confront. 

You’ve tried the latest self-help books and videos about affirmations, positive thinking and “the secrets” but they don’t do the trick. They actually make you more confused. The hype hurts. Maybe you’ve explored the “isms” and different philosophies, crystals, chakras, gone to healers, etc.  Maybe you have tried a religious path for awhile. You’ve gotten calmer and more relaxed but the big promised “aha” just hasn’t happened. (you’ve been told it takes a long time). Or maybe the whole guru/student thing gives you a rash so you’ve tried being an independent non-follower for awhile. But you’ve gotten lost and alone.

This might all feel true enough but it also feels like it’s setting me up for the pitch, ‘and this will be the thing to finally solve all of your issues’. 

What you really need to do is give up.

This sounds flip and condescending. He’s already telling me what to do? How the hell does he know? It seems like he’s being clever with his language on an issue that isn’t ‘fun’ for me.

That’s right…give up trying to find the answers on the outside. These are just ideas, thoughts and concepts. They are in the head. They are like a menu. They are not the food. You need to take a 180 degree turn away from books and find a proven technique that will help you experience the truth for yourself. And let go of the ridiculous idea that awakening takes a lifetime. That’s just another belief to trap you.

Intellectually, I get where he’s going but I’m feeling a bit offended by the tone. Like it’s so easy. 

I know what it’s like

That sounds salesy come out of the set up I just went through. A bit too formulaic. 

In my twenties I spent 10 years exploring every religion under the sun and reading so many books I could have started my own library. I sat at the feet of so many gurus and instead of finding peace I got athletes foot. My head I was so much in the clouds I was no earthly good.

Again, that sounds clever. Like something he’s said a lot of times. It’s kind of funny. But the issue we’re talking about doesn’t feel funny to me when I’m the one suffering. 

I just got more confused about myself and life. One day I decided I didn’t really know anything and decided to find the truth for myself.

I’m feeling connected.

It was then I discovered a method of self-inquiry that changed my life.

And now the sales pitch.

I broke through my lonely shell and experienced the magnificence of my true self. Everyday I experience the greatest gift in life… being who I really am!

Every day? Every. Single. Day? He’s enlightened now? This sounds hyped up.

I trained in this method called the Enlightenment Intensive. Since then I changed the name of the retreat to Coming Home and have mastered over 65 retreats over the past 30 years.

Whoa! That’s a lot of retreats! Maybe the man has something to say.

What is Coming Home?

Coming Home is an accelerated process of transformation that takes you to the pinnacle of self-actualization –the direct consciousness of your true Self and Life! 

Pet peeve. Exclamation marks. I hate these in sales letters. Imagine you get three of these that you ever get to use in any sales letter for the rest of your life. Ever. All too often, they trigger hype. Mostly, I  suggest people cut them out entirely.

Second thing, this claim sounds like hype. Big time. This sounds like some flavour of the month spiritual technique.

This illumination is simple, obvious and indisputable, enveloping you with sense of wholeness, completeness, peace and lightness.

Obvious and indisputable? Indisputable? This sounds like he’s not very open to feedback or dispute. And it sounds like a generic, new age pitch.

It’s like coming home after you have been lost for many years… only you come home to yourself. 

I do like the idea of coming home. That sounds lovely.

The East/West Approach

Using a self-inquiry format inspired by Zen-style contemplation on a key question such as; “who am I?” or “what is life? combined with a paired communication structure drawn from relational psychology you silently contemplate your question and then communicate the result of your investigation to a listening partner. You alternate speaking and listening every 5 minutes. Every 40 minutes you work with a different person or go on a silent walk. Meals, snack, exercise and rest are interspersed in the schedule.

I like the specifics. Though there’s an abrupt tone shift from salesy to academic here that’s a bit jarring. But it’s nice to finally get to the nuts and bolts of this. 

The Structure

Within the structure there are agreements of non-interruption, non-judgement and deep listening that help you bypass the subtle influences of “normal” relating that have socialized you to deny what is true for you.

That actually kind of makes sense. I like it. Tell me more.

You connect deeply to yourself and others and let go of layers of false beliefs and experiences that have imprisoned you in years of suffering. There are no religious ideas, dogma or philosophy taught. You learn and practice the technique and I give you guidance. It is not psychotherapy.

I like this. 

In a renewed space of openness, within 3 1/2 days you can spontaneously awaken to the magnificence of your true self!

Bah! Another huge claim that sounds inflated. And an exclamation mark. Grrr. My trust drops. 

Awakening

This phenomenon in the west has been called by Abraham Maslow “Unitive consciousness” or “Self-transcendence”. In eastern traditions it is labelled as awakening, enlightenment, illumination, self-realization, cosmic consciousness or satori. Just as technology has advanced in modern times, so too have spiritual and transformation techniques.

Not sold. Sounds like a vague attempt to rationalize hyped up new age bullshit.

When safe communication structure is added to the eastern method of contemplation, the results are remarkable. Self-realization usually occurs to 30-90% of participants. You no longer have to spend months, years or even a lifetime to awaken. 

It’s promising I’m going to awaken. Blurgh.

Is this just another “You’ll be happy for the rest of your life” thing?

Yes. That’s what it sounds like you’re saying. I’m glad you’re self aware enough to see that.

To be realistic, awakening does not mean that you will no longer have any problems or you will be in a state of bliss or happiness for the rest of your life.

What? You said you had this experience every day. This now seems like the bait and switch. I’m feeling lied to a bit. 

What it does mean is that you will be living the rest of your life more from the inner strength of your real self and less from the insecurity of a social personality. You will be more able face and transform the obstacles of your life into valuable growth experiences and achieve the kind of success in life defined by who you really are, not others. Coming home to your true self is the most precious gift you can ever give to yourself. And because we all want to relate to others who are real, you are the best gift you can give to the world!

Exclamation mark. Vague platitudes. Interest fading fast. 

 “When you know who you truly are there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is: vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on form. That is the joy of Being, of being who you truly are.”

Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart can not save this sales letter right now. 

After a Coming Home retreat participants commonly report feeling:

  • More authentic
  • Peace, contentment and lightness permeating their body
  • Totally embodied as if they have finally come home to themselves
  • Loving-kindness towards themselves and others
  • Greater self-acceptance
  • Psychologically whole
  • More inner strength and inner resolve
  • Freer to express themselves around others
  • Improved intuitive ability
  • Enhanced and balanced energy levels

That all feels a bit vague. 

Participants also commonly report having greater capacity to:

  • Be open and authentic in relationships
  • Persist and accomplish personal goals
  • Face and overcome problems and difficulties
  • Fully experience love, joy and happiness
  • Understand the deeper truths in traditional philosophy and religion
  • Achieve greater mutual understanding with others 
  • Be assertive and communicate their needs
  • Find meaning, inspiration and insight in daily living
  • Make rapid progress in their personal and spiritual growth

Again, a bit vague to me.

Why can’t I just do this on my own?

Good question!

This question can be answered with another question. If you were able to do this alone how come you are still searching? There is a paradox here: You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone.

I love that phrase. 

There is a great power in coming to together as a group. The energy of the group is more than the sum of everyone’s individual energy.

That energy propels you to make much greater progress than doing this on your own within the ongoing distractions in life. 

That actually makes sense to me. 

But more importantly I’ve been guiding people for over 30 years on this journey to self.

That is indeed credibility building.

I’ve been up every blind alley there is and helped thousands of people in a very short time get through barriers they have struggled with by themselves for years.

Humility is nice. And credibility is building.

Why spend any longer being blocked?

That sounds dismissive of how much I’m suffering.

You’ve got to be kidding…enlightenment in 3 ½ days?

Now I’m so confused with what he means by enlightenment. How is he defining this?

Awakening is the “direct experience of the way you actually are”. You can come to the same awareness that many of the great spiritual teachers have had. After all they were ordinary folks just like you. The difference is that people like Buddha spent many years in meditation deepening and ripening their awakening to total enlightenment.  So once you experience your true self, that’s it. The search is over.

Wait. So you’re just offering me a taste of who I am? I’ve had some ‘peak moments’ before. Is this just another one? What happens when I come down from the mountain top and get lost in the valley again?

Then the next project is to start living from the real you.

Ah. That makes sense.

That will continue to deepen what you have come to know. You will be given instructions on how to do this on the last day of the retreat.

Very curious what advice he’d offer here. 

Who the retreat is for?

  • You are looking back on your life and wondering what it is all about?
  • You are feeling empty and you are asking “who am I really?
  • There’s a sense of meaningless about life.
  • You’ve been on a spiritual path for a long time and never had the big“AHA”
  • You are not interested in following a religion or taking on more beliefs
  • You are able to take 4 days away from your job and family

 Something about the bullet points here feels salesy but enough are specific enough (especially the last two) that these could really help me figure out if it’s a fit. 

Are there any pre-requisites to take the retreat?

If you have not done the retreat before I ask that people set-up a 10-15 minutes orientation interview with me. Together we will explore where you are at in your life and what you want from the retreat. 

I’ll explain the schedule, the guidelines and the self-inquiry technique used. I’ll go over any concerns you have about diet, accommodation and health challenges you may have and then you can decide if the retreat is a fit for you. There are no subtle sales techniques. I only want people on Coming Home who are right for it. It makes for a better retreat for everyone.

I like this. That feels personalized. I like that he says ‘no subtle sales techniques’. Huge building of trust. 

 

– END OF SALES LETTER #1 – 

 

So,that was what Russell sent me. Here’s what I sent him back as a rewrite. He’s made a few changes since.

Coming Home

Ending the search. Living a deeper life.

with 

Russell Scott

If you’re reading this, you already know something: life is hard. 

I wanted to start with the truest thing I knew that might resonate with the place Russell’s people are in.

It’s full of beauty and wonderful things – but it’s also full of heartbreak.

Life feeds us but it can also break us.

So, how do we deal with it?

I wanted to acknowledge the complexity of life and the experience of the person reading it. 

In truth, I don’t completely know. But I can share what I’ve discovered in the hopes it will be useful.

For me, when people admit they don’t know everything, it’s so credibility building. I trust them more. And it’s such an ‘anti-sales’ thing to say. I felt like his first letter simplified things too much. I wanted to complicate it a bit and bring more openness to it. 

It’s not an answer but a paradox I want to invite you to sit with as you read this (we’ll come back to it later): You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone.

This is an old story telling trick of starting a story and then starting another story inside of that story while promising to come back to it. It grabs people in a bit closer. It’s a nice hook. Bring something provocative or compelling up as a tease and promise to get back to it later. 

If you’re reading this, then my guess is that you have been broken a down a little or a lot by life (maybe slowly over years or maybe all at once) to a point where you know you need to dig deeper. But there’s a good chance you feel lost as to how to go about that.

To me the key phrase is here is ‘my guess’. Not making assumptions.

And I’d like to talk about a different path to spiritual growth you may not have tried (or even considered). And to invite you to come to a retreat that’s coming up soon. 

This is the beauty of being direct. The other sales letter didn’t directly say it was about the retreat until the end. Be direct. Tell them that you’ve got something to offer and that you’re going to make your best case for it to help them figure out if it might be a fit for them.

A lot of people I speak with secretly wish they could let go of the pressures of living in the rat race and come home to a deeper peace… the kind that many of the great spiritual teachers of the ages have spoken of. They want to feel more alive, happy, inspired and fully engaged with others. They would feel a sense of harmony with life and be a lot freer to totally be themselves.

But right now, they walk, talk, sit, drive, work, buy, eat, sleep and dream in an endless daily cycle. 

At the end of the week, they may stare into the TV wondering “is there more than this perpetual treadmill?” and ask “What am I obviously missing here?” There’s restlessness like something is shifting or fragmenting. They don’t know what it is or what needs to change or even if it’s a good thing. Something deep inside is calling their true self to come out and play but they feel trapped in the way they are socially supposed to be. 

This is the exact same as the words above, but I changed it from ‘you’ to ‘they’. It’s more a story now. It’s less an accusation or pitch and it’s more of him relating what he’s experienced. 

Some of them tell me that they’ve come to the conclusion that they don’t know the one that’s been living their life. They just have no idea. Sometimes the emptiness is downright painful. Most of them hide it well (some very well and you’d never guess) but it’s deep…slowly eating their soul.

As Stephen Jenkinson said, “It’s in the nature of being human to forget how to be one on occasion.” But what happens when we forget for a long time? And how do we remember. Many of the people I have worked with are in the midst of the forgetting and don’t know how to get on track.

I wanted to seed the idea that we forget and that remembering is important. 

And it’s not for a lack of trying. 

They’ve tried the latest self-help books and videos about affirmations, positive thinking and “the secrets” but they didn’t do the trick. They actually made them more confused. The hype hurts. Some have explored the “isms” and different philosophies, crystals, chakras, gone to healers, etc.  Some have tried a religious path for awhile. For most, it’s helped them become calmer and more relaxed… but the big promised “aha” just hasn’t happened (they’ve been told it takes a long time). 

Again, I switched it from ‘you’ to ‘they’. No need for the reader to get defensive. 

And, for many of them, the whole guru/student thing gives them a rash so they’ve tried being an independent non-follower for awhile. But they’ve gotten lost and the truth is that the solitary approach feels incredibly lonely.

It’s not just that they’re alone. It’s that it feels lonely. It’s vital to remember that we’re talking to human beings. Their problems are not mechanical. They are deeply felt. I’ve written about this extensively in my blog post Empathy in Marketing

I’m guessing that, in some way, you can relate to this.

Again, guessing. Not stating definitely. Just supposing. This lets the reader confirm that it’s true. 

And if you can, this is what I want to say to you: What you really need to do is give up.

That’s right…give up trying to find the answers on the outside. These are just ideas, thoughts and concepts. They are in the head. They are like a menu. They are not the food. You need to take a 180 degree turn away from books and find a proven technique that will help you experience the truth for yourself. And let go of the idea that awakening takes a lifetime. That might just be another belief to become trapped in.

I left  this in because it didn’t feeling quite as abrupt and insensitive with a more sensitive intro. Reading it now, I’d probably still want to rework this. 

I know what it’s like…

In my twenties I spent 10 years exploring every religion under the sun and reading so many books I could have started my own library.

And I learned something very important – that the easiest way to avoid meditation… is to read books about meditation. A wise Hawai’ian Kahuna once said, ‘The shadow side of knowledge isn’t ignorance. It’s theory.’

This felt like another important premise to seed. The difference between theory and experience. He’s offering an experiential retreat. This distinction needs to be crystal clear. 

I sat at the feet of so many gurus and instead of finding peace I got athletes foot. I was so much in my head I was no earthly good. I just got more confused about myself and life. One day, I decided I didn’t really know anything and decided to find the truth for myself. It was then I discovered a method of self-inquiry that changed my life. I broke through my lonely shell and experienced the magnificence of my true self. Everyday I experience the greatest gift in life… being who I really am. I trained in this method (called the Enlightenment Intensive). Since then I changed the name of the retreat to something that felt more true to what my experience of it was: ‘Coming Home’ and have led over 65 retreats over the past 30 years.

Coming Home

What is Coming Home?

Coming Home is a simple but beautiful process that weaves together community and inner contemplation to bring you back to an experience of wholeness, completeness, peace and lightness. It’s like coming home after you have been lost for many years… only you come home to yourself.  

“community and inner contemplation” seemed like a simple way to put it. 

The East/West Approach

Using a self-inquiry format inspired by Zen-style contemplation on a key question such as; “who am I?” or “what is life? combined with a paired communication structure drawn from relational psychology you silently contemplate your question and then communicate the result of your investigation to a listening partner. You alternate speaking and listening every 5 minutes. Every 40 minutes you work with a different person or go on a silent walk. Meals, snack, exercise and rest are interspersed in the schedule.

It sounds so simple. But, I think that’s why it works so well. 

If you know that something you’re saying sound ‘too simple’ acknowledge that immediately. A good sales letter should read like a dialogue where you are making statements and then anticipating their responses and respond to them. A good sales letter is a wonderful experience where you find yourself constantly saying to yourself, ‘Yes. I was wondering that.’

“It’s like I did ten years of meditation in 3 days.”

Beth Clark, Kingston

Testimonials. These add so much credibility to this letter. If you say it, it could be hype. If someone else says it? Much more credible. 

The Structure

Within the structure there are agreements of non-interruption, non-judgement and deep listening that help you bypass the subtle influences of “normal” relating that have socialized you to deny what is true for you. You connect deeply to yourself and others and let go of layers of false beliefs and experiences that have imprisoned you in years of suffering. There are no religious ideas, dogma or philosophy to be learned. You learn and practice the technique and I give you guidance (if you need it). It is not psychotherapy. In a renewed space of openness, within 3 1/2 days many people (more than you might think just reading this) spontaneously awaken to the magnificence of their true self. Or that’s how I’d describe it. 

“Or that’s how I’d describe it.” Again. Taking the pressure out of it. Just sharing his experience rather than saying, ‘this is the truth’. More like, ‘this is how I see it’. 

What I see when I work with people is their eyes widening, broad smiles, tears of joy and their bodies melting as the thousand stresses caused by the expectations of who they think they need to be evaporate from their bodies. 

This is using the senses. When you’re describing the result you offer, paint me a picture. Help me see it. Help me hear it, taste it, touch it, feel it. Use all five senses. 

“Words are so inadequate when I try to describe the immense gratitude I feel. I am now moving through my life with new eyes, new ears, and a new voice; and feeling so much more peaceful, alive, and present in this world. Thank you for holding the retreat space in such a patient, gentle, loving, and compassionate way.” Sekoiaa Lake, Peterborough, On

To be honest, I’m not sure I understand it still. But maybe that’s the point. Some things aren’t meant to be understood. Some things can only be experienced and lose everything in the translation. 

Russell is a humble fellow. And I wanted that to come through. Admit that you don’t understand everything. Admit your limits. Admit your faults. And watch people lean in and trust you more. 

Again, ‘The shadow side of knowledge isn’t ignorance. It’s theory.’

If you have a core message that is central to your offer, bring it back again and again – make it a familiar refrain you return to. This message of knowledge vs. theory is vital to his workshops. If people don’t buy that idea, they won’t buy his retreat. 

I think what most of us need isn’t more theory. What we need is a dedicated space where we can be supported in doing the one thing we need most – go within. As the old saying goes, ‘if you don’t go within, you go without.’ And it’s the one thing we don’t actually do enough of. We think about it. We read about it. We talk about it. But when we sit down to do it, we get bored, lost or lose steam. We have to do it ourselves but, in reality, it’s hard to do it alone.

This is where I hit people a bit harder. More directly. I’m driving the point home and framing the foundational assumption and premise upon which this retreat is built. In Russell’s first letter, this premise is implicit. But sometimes you need to make these things explicit. Often times, we don’t even realize what the premises are; we don’t understand the point of view upon which our work is based. But a clear point of view is one of the key elements of people figuring out if we’re a fit for them or not. 

In my experience, we all have this internal compass, this part of us that knows the truth (and even more so, is the truth). And what’s causing so much of our suffering in our lives is the inconsistency between the will of our soul and the will of our personality. We need to bring the former out. As it says in the Gospel of Matthew, ‘That which you bring forth will save you. That which you do not bring forth will destroy you.’ And for many people, that experience of destruction is all too real. 

Awakening

But here’s my best take at explaining it: This phenomenon of ‘coming home’ in the west has been called, by Abraham Maslow, “Unitive consciousness” or “Self-transcendence”. In eastern traditions it is labelled as awakening, enlightenment, illumination, self-realization, cosmic consciousness or satori. Just as technology has advanced in modern times, so too have spiritual and transformation techniques. When safe communication structure is added to the eastern method of contemplation, the results are remarkable. That moment of ‘coming home’ usually occurs to 30-90% of participants. Many of them are caught off guard and amazed at no longer having to spend months, years or even a lifetime to have that moment of ‘awakening’.

Here I make sure to frame it as a ‘moment’ of awakening so it doesn’t seem like a bait and switch later. 

Eckhart Tolle says this about awakening; “When you know who you truly are there is an abiding alive sense of peace. You could call it joy because that’s what joy is: vibrantly alive peace. It is the joy of knowing yourself as the very life essence before life takes on form. That is the joy of Being, of being who you truly are.”

Is this just another “You’ll be happy for the rest of your life” thing?

To be realistic, awakening does not mean that you will no longer have any problems or you will be in a state of bliss or happiness for the rest of your life. What it does mean is that you will be living the rest of your life more from the inner strength of your real self and less from the insecurity of a social personality. You will be more able face and transform the obstacles of your life into valuable growth experiences and achieve the kind of success in life defined by who you really are, not others. 

For me it’s this: Coming home to my true self (the real experience of it in my body not the theory of it) is the most precious gift I have ever given to myself. And because we all want to relate to others who are real, you are the best gift you can give to the world. 

After a Coming Home retreat participants commonly report feeling:

  • More authentic
  • Peace, contentment and lightness permeating their body
  • Totally embodied as if they have finally come home to themselves
  • Loving-kindness towards themselves and others
  • Greater self-acceptance
  • Psychologically whole
  • More inner strength and inner resolve
  • Freer to express themselves around others
  • Improved intuitive ability
  • Enhanced and balanced energy levels

“Within one year of the retreat I left my business and took a chance on a new career…money is not important, nor is status. What is important is the feeling that I am now doing what I was originally meant to do with my life!” Mel Steiner -Toronto

Participants also commonly report having greater capacity to:

  • Be open and authentic in relationships
  • Persist and accomplish personal goals
  • Face and overcome problems and difficulties
  • Fully experience love, joy and happiness
  • Understand the deeper truths in traditional philosophy and religion
  • Achieve greater mutual understanding with others 
  • Be assertive and communicate their needs
  • Find meaning, inspiration and insight in daily living
  • Make rapid progress in their personal and spiritual growth

“I discovered a bond linking myself with others, that we are all beings trapped within our minds trying to communicate our fears and need for love. I am becoming more loving, more real, more open, truthful and trustworthy” Doug Tyler -Toronto

Why can’t I just do this on my own?

This question can be answered with another question. If you were able to do this alone how come you are still searching? 

And we’re back to the paradox: You have to do this by yourself but you don’t do it alone. 

Aaaaannd we’ve brought it back. Remember that piece I teased earlier?

There is a great power in coming to together as a group. The energy of the group is more than the sum of everyone’s individual energy. That energy propels you to make much greater progress than doing this on your own within the ongoing distractions in life. 

But more importantly I’ve been guiding people for over 30 years on this journey to self. I’ve been up every blind alley there is and helped thousands of people in a very short time get through barriers they have struggled with by themselves for years. 

You’ve got to be kidding…enlightenment in 3 ½ days?

I would define awakening is the “direct experience of the way you actually are”. This is my belief (as well as the experience of myself and many others): You can come to the same awareness that many of the great spiritual teachers have had. After all they were ordinary folks just like you. The difference is that people like Buddha spent many years in meditation deepening and ripening their awakening to total enlightenment.  

So once you experience your true self, that’s it. The search is over. Then the next project is to start living from the real you. That will continue to deepen what you have come to know. You will be given instructions on how to do this on the last day of the retreat.

But the first step is to find it. And, for most of us, that’s been a very hard first step. After all, many of us have spent a lifetime losing ourselves and being misled.

Step One: come home. This doesn’t need to take as long as many think.

Step Two: live in that home. This is a lifetime practice. This is where your life becomes a work of art, an ongoing practice of deepening and expressing who we are in the world.

Again, I didn’t want it to get lost that there were two steps here. 

As the old African proverb goes: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it.”

Is there any support for me after the retreat when I meet the challenges of my life?

It’s quite common after any spiritual or personal development program for the retreat “high” to fade, after a few days or weeks. People are in a more open space and see life more clearly They can have difficulty bringing their new breakthroughs into their lives where their family, friends and work are still the same. All too often people are sent home after other retreats with little guidance and support. 

This is not the case with Coming Home.

The main self inquiry practice in the retreat ends usually on a Sunday evening. In the next half day you are re-introduced to your normal way of relating to others. You are made aware of the challenges you may face and given strategies to deal with them. You then “graduate” into the Enlifenment Program that is designed to help you live in a deeper connection to your true self. (as in step 2 above).

This program includes a guided meditation CD, two follow-up mentorship from me calls a month apart, a six week program of self-inquiry exercises paired with a fellow participant and 2 one or two day re-connection seminars through-out the next year. I am also available for one-to-one sessions (at an addition cost) for anyone that needs this. 

You can choose to become part of a non-dogmatic community of true spiritual friends who have shared deeply in your profound transformation journey. Once again, you have to do this by yourself but now you don’t have to do this alone.

Who the retreat is for?

  • You are looking back on your life and wondering what it is all about?
  • You are feeling empty and you are asking “who am I really?”
  • There’s a sense of meaningless about life.
  • You’ve been on a spiritual path for a long time and never had the big“AHA”
  • You are a seeker and not interested in following a religion or taking on more beliefs
  • You are able to take 4 days away from your job and family
  • You resonate with what you’ve read here so far and feel open to exploring the process for yourself. 
  • You resonate with the idea that, deep down, we know (or are) the truth. We just often need support in finding it.

Are there any pre-requisites to take the retreat?

If you have not done the retreat before I ask that people set-up a 10-15 minutes orientation interview with me. Together we will explore where you are at in your life and what you want from the retreat.

I’ll explain the schedule, the guidelines and the self-inquiry technique used. I’ll go over any concerns you have about diet, accommodation and health challenges you may have and then you can decide if the retreat is a fit for you. There are no subtle sales techniques. I only want people on Coming Home who are right for it. It makes for a better retreat for everyone.  

 

– END OF SALES LETTER #2 – 

 

So, that’s it. That’s my quick ‘redo’ of a sales letter to make it less salesy and more reflective of the wonderful man Russell Scott is. He’s one of the kindest, most unassuming, gentle and clear fellows I’ve ever met. You’d be hard pressed to find better as a mentor and support in your inner growth. You can learn more about him and his wonderful work (which I have directly experienced and can attest to) here: www.truesourceseminars.com 

Guest Post: Eco-Friendly Advertising: Good for Business, Good for the Planet

by Darren Leach

In the nature of the beast, the advertising industry is about as trendy as high school. With larger corporations leading the way, executing these “hip” marketing campaigns leads to infectious awareness, leaving everyone talking.

As the popular proverb goes, actions speak louder than words. Same goes the world of advertising as of late. No longer can companies get away with simply plastering a message on a wall and expect it to resonate with the audience. Over the past decade consumers have begun holding brands accountable for their strategies and tactics, essentially forcing these companies to “practice what they preach.” 

This can prominently be found in a company’s stance on the state of our planet’s well-being. Brands big and small from across the globe have vowed to become more environmentally conscious and the idea of “green” advertising is becoming more popular in order to target a new wave of ecologically savvy consumers. 

Seeing as billboards provide businesses with an optimal combination of size and visibility, brands from around the world are approaching outdoor advertising services with creative, eco-friendly advertising campaigns. What is it about this “greenvertising” movement that has eco-friendly ads sweeping the globe? Most likely its versatility and cost-efficiency. Take a look around you – when it comes to leveraging the environment to sell a product/share a message, Earth is your canvas and nature is your palette.

As I mentioned earlier, the advertising industry is a very trendy niche. Staying up to date on what’s working and what’s not is essential when it comes to managing a successful ad campaign. Within the realm of eco-friendly advertising there are some significant trends that companies have been capitalizing over the past couple years.

Trend #1: Consumers like shiny things: If there is one thing that is sure to capture the attention of your audience it is cool gadgets. As I mentioned previously, advertising is a trendy industry controlled by fads and the latest crazes – and sustainability is “in” right now. In all reality the functionality of a product could mean very little to the consumer as long as they get to jump aboard the eco-train. By taking advantage of a trend driven society, companies are able to appeal to the masses by marketing their products under the guise of sustainability.

Trend #2: Imagination: For the most part, the direction that the green movement is headed is largely unprecedented. Because of this, companies are able to take advantage of the unknown and use it to excite their audience. Whereas things such as electric vehicles and solar power are far from being new technology, we are still yet to see them as an accepted norm in society. Although this green movement has been years in the making, it is the unknown factor that opens the door for limitless innovation – like a block of marble waiting to be turned into a masterpiece, all it takes is a little imagination.

Trend #3: Facts Facts Facts: You can’t cheat science. When it comes to making claims about how environmentally conscious your company is, it’s pretty easy to slap on a tag word such as “green” or “sustainable”, a practice commonly referred to as ‘greenwashing’. This worked for a while, however consumers are beginning to challenge said claims and question the validity behind these so-called green standards. In fact the FTC has actually begun producing “green guides” that serves as a guide for what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to environmental claims. 

Trend #4: Green = Green: At the beginning of the green movement consumers were willing to pay steep prices as long as it meant saving the planet. As the eco-friendly ideology became more popular, less people were willing to pay top price for achieving the same endgame when they could just opt for the cheaper product.  In response to this change in dynamic, environmentally friendly products have not only seen a decrease in pricing but changes in advertising strategy as well. By lowering prices and marketing with a message, these companies aim to get their customers to stick by their cause for the long run.

Trend #5: Take Action: As Gandhi famously said, “be the change you want to see in the world.” Like I mentioned earlier, no longer can companies get away with petty claims of making a difference and saving the Earth. That’s because the consumer is standing on the other end of that message saying “prove it!” By taking part in service projects and designing campaigns around environmental causes, brands can show the public that not only do they stand by their claims, but that they are actively working towards making a difference. 

Here are a couple examples of some recent green advertising campaigns that really worked:

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.41.10 PMUrban Air

“UrbanAir transforms existing urban billboards to living, suspended bamboo gardens. Embedded with intelligent technology, UrbanAir becomes a global node – an open space in the urban skyline… An artwork, symbol, and instrument for a green future.”

Complete with Wi-Fi and climate transmitters, Stephen Glassman’s UrbanAir project is designed to provide a fresh reprieve from the noxious environment of Los Angeles. By converting old billboard space into hanging bamboo gardens, Glassman says his intentions are to “put a crack in the urban skyline so that when people are compressed, squeezed, stuck in traffic and they look up, they see an open space of fresh air.”

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.41.28 PM

Patagonia – The Footprint Chronicles

As a company that relies heavily on environmental changes, Patagonia prides itself on its sustainability and its identity as a “responsible company.” 

In an effort to be as transparent as possible, Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles outlines the details of the company’s supply chain, as well it’s social, environmental, and industrial impacts. Leading by example, the company hopes to see other brands catch on and actively work towards reducing their impact on the environment. 

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.41.40 PM

Cotton – Blue Jeans go Green Denim Drive

There are many people out there that are unaware of the sustainable properties of cotton. Even more so, many people out there are unaware that denim is in fact cotton. By utilizing college campuses, the Cotton Blue Jeans go Green campaign aims to educate the public on the recyclable properties of cotton, specifically denim, all the while making a difference in their community.

Each Fall Cotton selects a handful of college campuses from across the nation to represent this campaign. The students then design a full scale sustainability focused PR campaign in order to educate their community while collecting old denim. Once the denim drive is over, the material is sent back to Cotton where it is broken down to its original fiber state and used to create UltraTouch Denim Insulation for low-income housing.

Screen Shot 2013-10-17 at 12.50.21 PMAbout The Author:

As a veteran media planner, Darren Leach has spent many years specializing in outdoor marketing strategies. He currently writes on behalf of Billboard Source and in his spare time Darren enjoys exploring the colorful neighborhoods of NYC. Darren is also into HR and is currently writing about business feedback for company staff and their clients.

 

 

cartoon bears educate you about sugar

Such a great example of using social media, animation and video to market for social change.  Wow. That song is really catchy.

 

caged hens in your bus stop

The Coop grocery chain put out a great ad at bus stops that educated it’s customers (and prospective customers) that it was doing a good thing. And it did it in a funny (but poignant) way that helped people relate to why they were doing it.

I think a great indirect consequence of this kind of ad is that it’s not only the kind of thing people will share on social media because it’s so simple and clever but it also raises the bar for what people expect from any grocery store.

After seeing this ad a few times, people might be a bit more likely to ask their own grocer if their eggs are from caged hens.

follow the frog (and save the rainforest)

A three minute video that does an awesome job of empathizing with people’s experience (guilt for not doing enough) and then giving them something simple they can do to help them get the results they’re after (making a difference and saving the rainforest). Also a great example of offering up a new alternative solution to a problem (their certification process). It also communicates a clear point of view about how to solve the problem (don’t ditch your whole life) and does that in a funny way.

So, in that regards, it’s brilliant marketing.

But not everyone is convinced that it delivers on its promises. On Wikipedia it’s noted that “Rainforest Alliance agricultural certification has been criticized by a range of academics and media sources. The Manchester Evening News notes that critics have dubbed the Rainforest Alliance “Fairtrade lite”therefore offering companies such as Chiquita and Kraft a cheap way to tap into the ethical consumer market.” In other words, greenwashing.

The program has almost come under attack for not offering their farmers a minimum or guaranteed price, not prefinancing the crops and for allowing the use of the seal on coffee containing a minimum of 30% of certified coffee beans and for targeting large and medium coffee plantations, unlike Fairtrade‘s focus on independent coffee farmer cooperatives.

If they really delivered on their promises – this would be a fully brilliant piece of honest marketing.

 

poster review: taming the lioness

I saw this poster the other day at one of my favourite cafe’s in Edmonton – Noorish (where I bring my lap top and sit and do work for hours and hours).

There are a few things I really like about this poster below, but the main thing is the title.

Taming the Lioness.

What a name!

Here’s why: Sabrina uses a powerful, evocative metaphor to sum up a woman’s experience with her hormones. The feeling out of control and wanting to ‘tame’ it. Feeling unreasonably fierce at times and not knowing why. At least that’s what I get from it.

What’s not clear to me is who this workshop is for. Is it for younger or older women? What are the precise problems it addresses? What’s the result it offers? The rest of the poster talks more about the boat than I wish it did. But if you can pick a strong image and metaphor like this to speak to the experience of your clients you’ll have their interest and draw them in. Pick the metaphor and then tie it directly back to their lived experience. This poster could get her so many more clients if she would do that.

It’s also not immediately clear if this is one workshop or a series of workshops.

The core of marketing is about clarity. The confused mind says no.

 

obama’s ad makes his case

President Obama recently released an ad (you can watch it at the bottom) I thought was worth commenting on – all politics aside. First of all, it reminds me how far the world has come that now video marketing and social media has become so ubiquitous in both politics and business.

Here’s where I think it’s strong.

During the last weeks of this campaign there will be debates, speeches and more ads. But if I could sit down with you in your living room or around the kitchen table here’s what I’d say:

First off he acknowledges the oncoming onslaught of debates, speeches and ‘more ads’. He let’s you know, without collapsing, ‘I get it. It’s ridiculous. I’m with you, I don’t want these either.‘ He’s positioning himself, subtly, as being on ‘our side.’

Then he expresses the desire to connect more personally with people. Where President Obama excels (and Romney struggles) is connecting with people. When Obama says, ‘but if I could sit down with you in your living room or around your kitchen table – here’s what I’d say.’ it immediately evokes warm feelings.

Clearly, sitting down with every American isn’t something he can do, but sometimes just expressing our desire can build a connection itself because it tells the other, ‘I value you.’ You don’t have to be perfect to be in business.

Seventh Generation (the eco cleaning company) has won a lot of credibility points over the years by not pretending to be 100% sustainable. And they’re honest about that. But they let you know they’re still trying.

If you were at a seminar and they said, ‘We would honestly love to give this away for free but we have so many staff with families to support and we charge this much because we need to. If we charge less it’s not sustainable for us’ it can still feel good to have them acknowledge the desire to do more rather than to hear them brag about how much money they’re making on you.

Romney has struggled, especially early in his campaign, to not come across as wooden and stuff. It’s the same challenge that Al Gore had in the 2004 elections. We want to feel some warmth and connection with our politicians, to believe they care. This is where President Clinton excelled. He demonstrated a profound amount of presence and empathy that was palpable.

And specifically, sharing the desire to connect in their home evokes very warm feelings. It conjures up images that are comforting.

When I took office we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month and were mired in Iraq. Today I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again. But we have much more to do to get folks back to work and make the middle class secure again.

He then acknowledges the struggles the country was in and that there’s more hard work to do. Where politicians can lose all credibility is when people get that they have no firm grasp on the reality of the situation. If President Obama were to say, ‘Hey, when I got in office things were hard but thanks to me we’re 100% back on track.’ and then didn’t acknowledge that there was more to do – he would lose all credibility.

Billy Blanks of Tae Bo fame gained so much credibility in his infomercials for leveling with people, ‘it’s going to be hard. it’s going to take a lot of work. this won’t be easy.’

The famous Shackleton voyage posted an ad (read it to the right) which said a similar thing. It’s okay to admit it’s going to be hard as long as you make sure they understand it’s doable and that there’s a plan. Which President Obama now begins to do . . .

Now, Governor Romney believes that with that even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall Street all of us will prosper. In other words he’d double down on the same trickle down policies that led to the crisis in the first place. So what’s my plan?

Then contrasts his point of view with Governor Romney’s. Remember people vote for you (with votes or with dollars) because of your point of view. What does any American want from any President? Largely the same things – security, health & prosperity. So, if both candidates are promising the same result, how do you choose? What if you have 100 people in your city saying they can help you get rid of your migraines? Who do you choose? And how?

We choose – in large part – based on whose point of view we resonate with most and trust the most to get us where we want to go. But for most businesses their point of view is unclear. More to the point, it’s unclear how it’s different from their competitors. And since your point of view is so central to your platform (which is ‘what you’re known for’) it leaves people confused – and a confused mind says ‘no’.

First, we create a million new manufacturing jobs and help businesses double their exports. Give tax breaks to companies that invest in America, not that ship jobs overseas.

Second, we cut our oil imports in half and produce more American-made energy, oil, clean-coal, natural gas, and new resources like wind, solar and bio-fuels—all while doubling the fuel efficiencies of cars and trucks.

Third, we insure that we maintain the best workforce in the world by preparing 100,000 additional math and science teachers. Training 2 million Americans with the job skills they need at our community colleges. Cutting the growth of tuition in half and expanding student aid so more Americans can afford it.

Fourth, a balanced plan to reduce our deficit by four trillion dollars over the next decade on top of the trillion in spending we’ve already cut, I’d ask the wealthy to pay a little more. And as we end the war in Afghanistan let’s apply half the savings to pay down our debt and use the rest for some nation building right here at home.

I think his ‘four point plan’ bit is brilliant.

He’s drawing his map for people.

He’s saying, ‘look. here’s how we’re going to get from Island A to Island B‘. Your customers want this too. They’re desperate for it. They’re tired of people claiming they can get them the result and not backing that up with a plan that makes sense.

And most people like numbered lists: four point plans, the seven habits of highly effective people, the five stages of grieving, the three stages of the heroes journey. It helps give people context for where they are in their journey. It gives a reality check and hope that the journey is possible. And a goal with a plan to back it up is so much more believable than one without it – this is true if you’re trying to win votes, customers, volunteers, donors, financing etc.

In my mind, this is where Romney is failing. He’s saying, ‘which tax loopholes will I close down? See me after the election.’ But the whole, ‘trust me’ argument is what people hate about politicians. We don’t want to just trust an offer we want to see the plan that backs it up.

It’s time for a new economic patriotism. Rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class. Read my plan. Compare it to Governor Romney’s and decide for yourself. Thanks for listening. Read the President’s plan: http://OFA.BO/SAzDgd

And lastly, he makes a call for action. He invites you to do something. Most ads don’t do this! Most ads might feel good but then there’s nothing for you to do. If you have a welcome video on your homepage I think it should invite visitors to do something (e.g. sign up for my email list). If you send an email out about a workshop, it’s ‘click on this link to read more’. That seems so basic but I can’t tell you how many ads I see that have no call to action. Or have too big a call to action – they ask for too much.

Like, if you saw a poster for a meditation workshop at the organic grocery store and it was a $5000 retreat and the poster was asking you to sign up. No way that will ever work. But, if it offered something ‘free’ you could check out – some kind of ‘pink spoon‘ sample of the ice cream they’re selling, you might just try. No yoga studio will ever sell you on signing up for their teacher training without you first coming to the studio first – so offering free passes is smart marketing. It’s helps people to feel safe in trying you out.

President Obama isn’t asking for you to vote for him – he’s asking for you to just click on the link to read his plan. Smart.

case study: 10 lessons on making a no hype compelling sales video

My dear friend and colleague Ryan Eliason has put together a video presentation about his upcoming business training for social entrepreneurs. I just finished watching it. And it. is. good.

I want to encourage you to watch this (whether or not you decide to participate in his training). I think this video is a great example of a few key marketing lessons. Ten of them in fact.

I’ve laid out the ten lessons below that I’d love for you to take from this and, as per usual, I’ve loaded this blog with a tonne of links to posts I’ve written on key topics and useful resources to help you get the most out of this as possible.

Context is important here. If Ryan were simply to make this video, put it on his website and hope that people signed up, he’d get very little response. This video is a part of a campaign with a start date and an end date. It is being introduced to people (like you) through people they trust (like me). It’s also being shown to people who have taken part of five very content rich teleseminars that have been leading up to Ryan’s 21 week program. That’s important. People aren’t seeing this video with no context. And they’re only watching it because they’re a socially conscious solopreneur who wants more money and more free time and they are curious about what Ryan has to offer at this point.

There are lots of kinds of videos you can make. You can make a video for your homepage, a bio video, a blog video of just you sharing to the webcam some new thing you’ve learned. But you can also use a video as a direct ‘here’s what I’ve got and here’s how much it is’ offer.

In marketing baseball terms, most people are already on second or third base by the time they watch this video. There’s already at least curiousity but likely some trust and excitment by the time they hit it.

Here’s the video  . . .

 

LESSON #1: Tone.

Ryan demonstrates how to be respectful, direct, understated, down to earth, grounded and matter of fact in your presentation (vs. over the top, too enthusiastic, pushy, aggressive and hyped up). This is something my colleague Lynn Serafinn wrote about in her book, ‘The Seven Graces of Marketing‘. And I’ve written about it in some blog posts about this idea of resonance and also in a recent blog post ‘Nine Thoughts of Copywriting for Hippies‘. He does this by acknowledging that not everyone will be able to get the same results. He acknowledges the limitations of his own program based on where people are at. To me that is so incredibly credibility building.

 

LESSON #2: Fit.

What if we used marketing as a filtering process of attracting only who’s a perfect fit (vs. trying to sell everyone into your programs). If you’re just in it for money? It’s not a fit. It’s powerful to not only say, ‘Here’s who my program is a fit for,’ but also ‘Here’s who my program is not a fit for.’ People feel immensely respected when you let go of your attachment to making the sale just lay out clearly who your program is a good match for.

 

LESSON #3: Stories.

This video powerfully uses the power of case studies and success stories of your clients (e.g. in his case a naturopath, fair trade tea company CEO and a relationship coach). These establish credibility but also give clarity about who his program might be a fit for. Stories are so powerful in marketing. My colleague Casey Hibbard wrote a brilliant ebook on this at www.storiesthatsellguide.com. And you can also check out the excellent work of Michael Margolis at www.getstoried.com or read my blog posts about using stories effectively in marketing.

 

LESSON #4: Point of View.

Here’s where I think this video really excels. It demonstrates the power of sharing your clear point of view about the best system to get from Island A to Island B.

Ryan does a solid job of laying out his take on why most socially conscious entrepreneurs don’t get the results they are craving. He breaks down the elements (in his case eight of them) and makes the case that if you’re missing even one of these it’s like a leak in your boat (which is a great example of effectively using a metaphor to sum up your business).

And so, if you are missing multiple elements then you have multiple holes in your boat. In my workshops, I will talk about the three foundations of your marketing or the six elements of a successful platform. These types of maps and systems are extremely useful in helping people self diagnose themselves and see if what you’re offering can be a fit. Think also of: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the seven chakras, the five elements of chinese medicine, the four directions etc. Maps.

After all, someone might watch this video and think, ‘You know what? I’m really solid in all eight of these.’ and, wonderfully, realize that Ryan’s program isn’t a fit for them (thus saving dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars that would have been wasted if they’d been hyped or pressured into it.

But, if they are lacking in some of these areas then it’s likely they’ll lean into wanting to work with him. Ryan doesn’t just list the outline of his course and hope that people ‘get it’. He makes his case. He says, ‘Here’s what I think you need to make this journey and here’s why I think you need it.’ Again, he’s very direct. And direct is respectful.

 

LESSON #5: Sharing your Why.

Ryan does a great job hear of repeatedly coming back to his ‘why’ of making the world a better place through seeing socially conscious businesses succeed. His why comes through in a number of ways. Many programs wax on and on about ‘don’t you yearn to make a difference? have a bigger impact?’ and it honestly makes me gag sometimes because it seems soooooo overly, earnestly sincere and like it’s trying so hard not to be marketing.

I’d rather someone just made their case directly. And, frankly, I don’t think trying to sell someone on your services based on altruism and ‘doing the right thing’ ever works. People do things because there’s something in it for them. Find that. Speak to that. But, if people get that you can help them get a result they’re craving and relevance has been established then your ‘why’ (the deeper cause of your business) becomes incredibly compelling. How does Ryan communicate his why?

It comes through in his voice.

His program is targeted towards socially conscious entrepreneurs.

His case studies of socially conscious entrepreneurs.

It’s not enough to just mention your ‘why’ once. If you really want it to land for people then you need to come back to that again and again and again.

 

LESSON #6: Speak to the Impact.

Ryan doesn’t just give his map – he reemphasizes the impact of what happens if people follow his kind of advice (whether from him or someone else) and when they don’t. The basic formula is, “If you don’t implement these these then ______ is likely to happen but if you do implement these things then _______ is likely to happen.”

You need to speak to the impact. You need to speak directly to ‘here’s what’s in it for you.’ If all Ryan did was speak to how cool he thought his program was he’d lose people. And that’s a huge mistake that so many people make. Instead of talking about the journey they take people on from Island A to Island B – they talk about the boat. And, as I wrote about in a recent blog post, no one cares about your boat initially.

Even the title of Ryan’s program, “Double Your Income and Your Time Off” speaks directly to this. People don’t want to sign up for a business coaching program. But people do want more money and more free time. They want to feel more confident. They want to make a bigger different. Speak directly to what people are craving.

 

LESSON #7: Anticipate Concerns.

Ryan anticipates a very likely concern that will come up for most people who’d be drawn to his course, ‘But my business is different.’ And then he addresses it directly. If there are common questions and concerns that come up from people, risks they’re afraid they’ll have to take in if they work with you, address those head on. It will have your sales letters feel like much more of a conversation because you’re acknowledging what’s happening for them on their side.

 

LESSON #8: Know Your Niche.

Okay. This should be #1 really. This program is focused on a particular niche. It’s a bit broad but it seems to work for him. It’s for socially conscious solopreneurs. It’s what I’d call a big circle (and in the video he lists lots of the little circles that fit inside of it). You can read my thoughts on Big & Little Circles in niching here. But Ryan is not niching by industry or age or geography (demographics) he’s niching by type of business (socially conscious solopreneurs), a core problem (not enough clients, time or money) and focuses heavily on psychographics (the internal values, worldview and communities they’re a part of).

 

LESSON #9: Establish the Value. 

Ryan takes the time to go through his program and make sure that people get the impact each piece could have. He makes sure that people know how much each piece is worth on its own so that, when you get to the final price, it’s clear that you’re getting good value for your money. If I had to sum up marketing in a single sentence, I’d borrow Mac Ross’s words, ‘Marketing is about establishing the value beyond the immediately apparent.’ Don’t assume that people ‘get’ how valuable your stuff is. If they don’t appreciate it, that’s your fault, not theirs.

Ryan also does something compelling in the powerful reframing of the cost of his course as an investment. And he doesn’t do this in an offhanded way. He makes the case systematically. Communicate the value of what you do.

 

LESSON #10: Video Sales Letters.

This lesson is sort of implicit in the presentation itself but I want to flag it.

Your programs that you offer likely have a lot of of aspects to them. They’re not so simple. And, sometimes, it just takes a while to really communicate everything you’ve put together to help people. But many people are sick of the long scrolling sales letters. So, Ryan lays out another option in dealing with this – put it into a video. If you were to take the transcript of this video and put it into a long copy sales letter – it would be pretty long. But, for some reason, video is often easier to digest for people. It’s something to consider as an option. You can read my posts about writing sales letters here.

If you’d like to see other posts of mine on the power of video marketing just click here.

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Want Help? If you’d like some more direct guidance and hand holding on figuring out your niche then go and check out my Niching for Hippies coaching program http://marketingforhippies.com/niching-for-hippies/

 

What if we advertised buses like we do cars?

Just saw this short commercial that applies the tools used to sell cars . . . applied to buses. Very cool results. I think it’s always great to learn from ads you see that inspire you or produce real world results. You can check out more of the ones I’ve collected here.