Changing how you thinkPlay an imagination game with me.

One day, you buy a product that teaches you how to do some sexy thing.

(Our sexy thing is about launches, by the way, so if you’re into that, you might want to throw us some of your money later this month.)

So you now have this product.

It teaches you all these new things which sounded really good when you’re reading the sales page, but when it comes time to actually do them, you get indecisive and you think it’s going to be hard and your daily routines get in the way and you resist change.

Then you’re sitting around on your thumbs until the next big sexy product comes out. And the cycle continues. Because that’s your habit.

You think to yourself, “I’d sure like to change that habit, but I don’t know how.” (Or, if we’re honest, you think “What the hell is wrong with me?”) The habit seems to have a hold on you, and doesn’t seem particularly interested in letting you transform it into something better.

If this feels less like an imagination game at this point and more like your real life, perhaps this might help you make the new year a bit of a fresh start.

One way I’ve found that makes habit transformation a little easier is transforming yourself first.

If you change the way you think – and I’m firmly in the camp of believing that change does not have to take a long time, which is an existing belief I have that is supplemented by seeing it in students every week – changing what you do is actually a bit of a cakewalk.

You don’t simply get stuck in a pattern because it’s habitual. You get stuck for a large part because on a level your beliefs make that habit inevitable.

Simple example that we see a lot in clients. If you believe that people unsubscribing from your list is a threat to your business, the inevitable habit is going to be to not mail so much. You tell yourself you should mail more, but you’re afraid. You resist.

Once you learn that unsubscribes are actually okay – because they’re people who weren’t going to buy from you / want to hear from you anyway – and that means your list will cull itself down to fans and buyers – the belief changes. Unsubscribes aren’t threatening anymore. And it’s amazing how much easier it is to getting around to mailing your list.  You may even find the idea motivating.

The same thing applies to learning.

If you believe that finding the time to go through class material is too hard, or that it’s going to be too much work, or that it won’t make a difference anyway because you suck, well … those beliefs lead to their own inevitable habits.

But think about the things you do make time for, or put work into, or that do make you feel like you’re making a difference … taking action on those isn’t nearly as hard.  Probably because your beliefs about the things you are doing are different than the beliefs you have about the things you aren’t doing.

So if you could change some of your beliefs about learning and applying what you learned, your habits might change all by themselves.

If you become the kind of person who honestly loves learning new things, learning how to launch something properly just isn’t that daunting anymore. It’s actually kind of fun. It’s energizing. And in this climate, energizing is a feeling most people could use a lot more of.

So the reason none of those books and blog posts and webinars never changed anything is because you didn’t change.

The same old you walked into the webinar, and the same old you walked out.

Transform yourself, and you’ll transform the experience.

I see it every day. Several people who took our most recent class have been IttyBiz students since 2008. For a long time, they came to the classes and really wanted transformed businesses and really wanted more money and really wanted more success. But nothing was really happening.

But somewhere along the line – probably around the Let’s Fix Your Business class in the spring, maybe because it was so intensive or because the homework was so grueling – they changed. They transformed.

And because of that, they started getting the results they’d been searching for. And the reason the search never worked was because they were searching outside for something that had to happen inside.

Maybe they did the homework and there was just so much they had to do that they were able to finally relieve themselves of the notion that they had to search. Maybe the process was so exhausting that they simply didn’t have the energy to search anymore and they just got over themselves and changed. I don’t know.

What I do know is that you can’t change how you think until you decide you want to change how you think.

Until you ask yourself, “Could I change how I think about this? Can I imagine ways that other people change how they think about this?  Could it be easier than I currently believe it is?”

So today, consider how you might like to transform yourself in the year ahead. It’s possible. And it’s easier than searching.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

What business activities are you resisting?Last week we talked about habits, and the habit of thinking things had to be hard.

One of the biggest mistakes we see are clients resisting or avoiding certain business tasks because of an unconscious – or sometimes very conscious – belief that the task will be unpleasant. (Remember the mirror and the overwhelm fairy?)

A lot of people will advise you to just do it anyway, to hunker down and do the hard stuff. There are metaphors about big rocks in jars and eating elephants and frogs. You’ll be so proud of yourself later and all that.

I’m not really into that, myself. It’s not that I’m lazy, per se. But when I was thinking of starting IttyBiz, it was this or creating a book empire about comfort and pleasure. I’m a comfort and pleasure girl. I don’t like doing things that are uncomfortable or unpleasant. I could get hit by a bus at any time. I don’t like the idea of spending my last day on earth doing something that doesn’t feel good.

However, the sad fact remains that some things aren’t that pleasant. Learning curves are often unpleasant. Creating new routines often doesn’t feel very good. The dirty work is often… dirty.

So what can you do?

You’ve accepted that it doesn’t have to be hard, but the prospect still doesn’t exactly fill your heart with thoughts of cherry blossoms and bunnies.

Here’s a thought.

Could you make it suck less?

The fact that you’re here and reading this makes me think you’re probably pretty creative. You’re probably a bit of an outside-the-box thinker. You’re probably a fan of innovation.

Let’s face the facts – if you wanted to do things the ordinary way, you would have taken a job at the post office.

So is it possible that you could take that creative, outside-the-box innovation and apply it to what you’re resisting?

You could approach the thing you’re resisting by gaming yourself with rewards or pulling out your best motivation tricks or prepping yourself by doing a bunch of other things that leave you feeling good and productive and successful and strong. But what about making the process itself more enjoyable? (Or hell, even simply less unenjoyable?)

A couple of examples.

I’m typing this blog post on Dave’s iPhone. He has the iPhone 5, and I’m not used to it. It feels wrong in my hand, and I keep making typos because my thumbs don’t know where the keys are on such a narrow screen. Finally tired of my incessant grumbling – and possibly equally tired of me monopolizing his phone – he suggested I turn the phone around and type horizontally.

Ahhhh. Not all better, no. But better. Better enough.

Now, it would be nice if all the things that sucked about the things you choose to do could be solved so simplistically. But they can’t.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t still have options.

I had to get my passport renewed, and I’d been putting it off because it was a world of suck for me. Finding the passport, getting photos, going down to the sterile passport office, filling out the paperwork, sitting around for a few hours waiting for my number to be called … It felt daunting and draining and the last thing I wanted to do at the time.

I had put it off so long, it expired. That was a bit demoralizing in itself, and the resistance set in even deeper.

So one morning while I was whining to myself about how thoroughly it was going to suck to get my expired passport renewed, it occurred to me that the part that was really daunting was finding my passport in the first place. That was what was really bothering me. That part was what really qualified as sucking.

Going to the passport office wouldn’t actually suck. It was just mind-numbing. But I could bring a book, at least, and finally get some reading done. Filling out the paperwork wouldn’t actually suck. It was just paperwork. Getting passport photos wouldn’t actually suck. (That was actually exciting, considering how bad my previous pictures had been.)

And once I could get through one unpleasant part, the rest weren’t as bad as I’d made them out to be.

This is what tends to trip us up.

Far more often than we realize – not all the time, but often enough – we resist doing something because we think the process as a whole weighs us down.

But the whole doesn’t generally weigh you down. Usually it’s just one or two parts of the process. The rest of the parts are neutral at worst and potentially positive at best.

So when you’re resisting doing something, you’re probably not resisting the “something.” It’s likely that it’s just one part of it that truly sucks for you, but because you’re not noticing it the feeling infects the whole thing.

Sometimes just accepting that one part will suck gives you the energy to handle moving forward. Other times finding a way to make that one sucky part suck less will do the same. But the problem probably isn’t as systemic as you think it is, and generally you have a lot of power over your experience.

Some unpleasant situations don’t have an easy fix, but many do. And if you go into your unpleasant situations considering that there might be a way to take some of the resistance and grumbling out of it, you might just find that way.

Find the way, and you just might get more done.

So today, think of what you’re resisting, and consider what simple things might make the process a little nicer for you.  (You might also want to read The River while you’re at it.)

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.

infoproducts

Freebie Friday continues!

If you missed the last few weeks’ editions, then check them out here:

(We’ll wait.)

This week’s release is “Advanced Tips for Getting Endorsements”.

For those new to Freebie Friday, we are sending out samples from our BIG LAUNCH class (opening up in late December) so you can get a feel for what’s inside.

These freebies are what we call the “Launch Multipliers”, which are 108 tactical training modules that come with the class and are designed to boost your conversion during a launch.

So! Without further ado, let’s get to today’s lesson.

(We have links for you to download the audio or written version below, followed by the full text of the lesson.)

 

Hand Upsells That Can Boost Your Numbers

… or, read it below!


Advanced Tips for Getting Endorsements

Hello, and welcome. I’m Naomi from IttyBiz and you are listening to the BIG LAUNCH launch multipliers. This track is called Advanced Tips For Getting Endorsements.

So far in this class, we’ve been working hard to make sure you have as much personal power when it comes to running your launch as you can possibly have. Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of people stall in their business, never really building it up with their bare hands, because they’ve been trying to get anyone and everyone to use their own names, lists and influence to help them grow.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with leveraging the power of someone else’s stature or reach to help grow your business and boost the power of your launch. But that is not a first resort. That comes second, after you’ve been hustling quite a bit on your own.

(That said, it doesn’t mean your second resort has to come after years of paying your dues. It means that people who are already successful are going to look to you to see indicators of hustle and success before they lend their resources your way. It could take years, or it could take weeks, depending on how you do it.)

So, now we’re in what, month nine of BIG LAUNCH? We figure now is a great time to start talking about some of the more effective ways of getting endorsements for this thing you’re launching. You’ve learned a lot so far about how to succeed under your own steam, so we figure you’re in a position to really use this stuff now.

Let’s talk about endorsements.

There are basically two kinds of endorsements – the kind you pay for and the kind you don’t. We’re talking about the second kind in this module, so you don’t have to worry about finding fifty grand to get a D-list celebrity to hold your product and say “I love this thing!” There’s no payments involved today.

Instead, we’re going to talk about the regular, mainstream endorsements that you see every day – from the blurbs on a cover of a book to the blurbs on a sales page. We’re going to talk about how to get someone of importance to publically say nice things about this wonderful offer you’re about to launch to the world.

The first thing we’re going to say as we talk about this is that getting endorsements from people is not rocket science, though you can apply a little bit of basic science to it. There’s a lot you can do to increase the odds. But ultimately, when it comes down to it, succeeding in the endorsement world requires one thing above all else – the courage to ask the first time, and the courage to ask again and again until you get a “hard no.”

This is the biggest hurdle, but once you get past it your job at getting endorsements – and succeeding in general – gets a lot easier.

You’ve got to be willing to ask the first time, and follow up over and over again until you are told “no” outright. If they haven’t said no yet, it’s still okay to ask. You may have to put a little more finesse into each additional approach, but you have to keep asking. We’ll tell you why.

If someone is worth getting an endorsement from, then they are busy. Really, really busy. That means that on your average weekday, anything that’s not extremely important to them is going to get pushed off until later. Even if they’ve already said yes to endorsing your thing, life is going to get in the way. They tell themselves they’re going to get to it this week, but then things come up. So you have to keep following up.

If someone is worth getting an endorsement from, they are also likely to be receiving similar requests all the time. Unless you happen to also be a name they recognize, you are going to get lumped in with all those other people who asked for a blurb once, and then never followed up. You need to be the one to follow up.

This is a fact of life. You may not like it, you may think it’s unfair, but it’s how the game works. The people who get what they want are the people who keep asking until they get it. Now, we’re not talking about when you get a hard “no.” If you email me today and say “Can you endorse my thing?” and I respond with “I don’t think this is a good fit for my brand” or “Actually, I have a policy of not endorsing things but thanks for asking”, you don’t keep asking me after I’ve said no.

But if you have asked me for an endorsement and I haven’t replied at all, or I’ve replied and said let me think about it, or I’ve replied and said I’d get back to you on Monday, then it is your job to follow up. I may not be ignoring you. My water pipes may have burst, my kid may have the flu, all hell may have broken loose at the office. Or I could just be really busy, and have to make the choice between finishing my own work for the day and getting back to my overflowing inbox.

A lack of response isn’t personal.

It’s the same thing that happens when you don’t get around to responding to an email or returning a phone call. So you have to follow up, and you have to get over any weirdness about it.

So, we’ve hammered you over the head with that one, quite on purpose. You know how the people are always asking in interviews “If you only had one piece of advice, what would it be?” This one is it. Keep following up until you get a yes or a no.

That said, you want to be careful not to be too much of a nag about it. The person you’re trying to get an endorsement from may also not be responding because they don’t want to have to say “no” to you because they can’t figure out a polite way to do it, or they may not know you from a hole in the ground and therefore cannot trust you. So we’re going to talk about a number of things you can do to reduce the chance of that happening, so they can either like you enough to give you that endorsement, or realize you’ve given them a gracious out.

So let’s talk about what people who succeed at getting endorsements tend to do, apart from following up like a champ.

1. Start with a list of people about ten times longer than you need. Preferably even more than that.

This is pretty critical to your ability to get the number of endorsements you need for a number of reasons.

The first reason is because you are going to get a percentage of people who say no to you. You don’t want a list of six people and then have to cross three of them off, leaving you running to the nearest dark corner to hide in the fetal position and weep your way through the night. Get yourself a nice long list of people so you don’t feel like you lost half your potential people on the first day of contacting them.

The second reason is that the more names you have on that list, the less attached you’ll be to any one of them. That will help you keep going when you’re not getting callbacks or a whole lot of positive response. There are plenty of fish in the endorsement sea. The more names you have on that list, the less power a “no” has over you.

The third reason is that it will simply keep you busy. If you’ve contacted five people and haven’t heard back, you can move to the next five. You’ll worry yourself sick wondering why those first five haven’t gotten back to you and you’ll take it personally, and all the while the real reason they haven’t responded is that their wi-fi is on the blink. Keep yourself busy contacting new people.

2. Start early, when you are small and don’t need the big endorsements yet.

The best time to plant a tree was forty years ago, the second best time is now. If you practice soliciting endorsements for little things now, when it doesn’t matter, you’ll start building that habit.

Start asking people to say something nice on social media about your blog posts. Start sending samples to people to get their feedback. Ask them their honest opinion, no strings attached, just to get that relationship of communication going. You’ll get good at it fast.

The added bonus of this is if you target people who are up and comers now, by the time you’re ready for an endorsement they will have grown in the time that passes. So now you have a bigger name who knows you personally, and your chances of a yes go way up. This is a long game.

Side note? If you take your first stabs by asking for feedback or mini-endorsement from people who are known social climbers, your odds go way up. It’s a way to score some quick wins to make yourself feel confident.

3. Connect with the people who are important to the person you want the endorsement from.

Busy / important people often do not have the time or energy to establish new relationships with people they’ve never heard of. They mainly make new connections through people they trust – their peers, their employees, their friends.

These people are often easier to connect with than the main person you’re trying to get a hold of. Get in with them and you can use them as a gateway to the person you want to get an endorsement from. You can also ask these people to make an endorsement request on your behalf, or you can ask them for advice on how to approach the person in question. Nothing gets attention like an email that says “I was talking to this person you like, and they said to get in touch with you.”

4. Be prepared to explain why you are a good match.

I don’t know why more people don’t do this. Basically, give some context on why they might be a good person to endorse your thing other than the fact you want their name and fame attached to it.

If you’re writing a cookbook and you’re trying to get Jamie Oliver to write a blurb for your front cover, in your initial contact say why you think he’d be a good fit, and make that a valid, real connection. Not “well, you’re a cook.”

Tell Jamie Oliver how he inspired a certain recipe or that his baked salmon video helped you make a dish that’s become a family favorite. Tell him that you also went to Westminster Kingsway College or that you’ve been watching him since 1999 or that he’s directly influenced your approach to cooking Italian. Anything here has to be true, of course. What you’re going for is either establishing massive rapport, or showing that the thing you’re selling is very on-brand for them.

5. Consider authority and not just celebrity.

It’s great to get famous names to endorse your stuff, but in lieu of that you can also approach authorities in the field. If you can’t get Dr. Oz to endorse your book on going gluten-free, you may able to get someone who heads up a hospital, or someone with many impressive letters after their first name.

Remember those commercials that said a certain brand of aspirin was recommended by 4 out of 5 doctors? Yes, “4 out of 5″ certainly helps conversion, but so does “doctors.” Endorsements from authorities still count. If you’re struggling for traction, look for the highest ranking people you can find at places no one ever heard of. The president of a small college will likely be a lot easier to get than the president at Harvard, but 90% of people will only notice the words “President” and “University”. Work it.

6.  Do the heavy lifting work for them.

Have you ever seen endorsements from someone famous that look like someone else wrote them? That’s usually because they did, and no one bothered to check to see if they looked generic and useless.

The idea here is if you send over a list of things that the person could say, it’s great starter material. A lot of people don’t know how to write endorsements, so they get nervous and don’t want to do it. If someone says yes or even maybe to your request, you can send them a list of pre-written endorsement blurbs that they can use as a base. You can just say “A lot of people don’t like having to start with a blank page so here’s a list of ideas you can use as templates.” Give good templates, though, because half the time it will come back verbatim.

7. Stack your way up and use existing endorsers as gateways.

This one is very effective if used with a little bit of finesse. If Big Shot “A” knows Medium Shot “B”, and you can score B’s endorsement, then you can contact A and tell them that. Just tell them you’re looking for endorsements and since you have B’s, you figured you’d ask them as well. The fact that Medium Shot over there has essentially pre-vetted you makes their decision easier.

Bonus points if you ask person B to recommend a few people for you to contact. Then you can honestly say “Joe recommended I get in touch with you” and it’s organic – you’re completely on the up-and-up.

8. Details about your size and status can help.

If you contact someone and tell them that you have book that’s going to be published by a real publisher, that gives you more credibility. If you tell them that you’re expecting great reception for your launch and it’s going out to a list of 5,000 people, that helps. If you tell them you’ve successfully released three things in the past, that helps. If you have picture of the thing you’re selling, or a book cover, or whatever, show it to them.

What you’re going for here is anything that’s impressive if you’ve got it, and anything that’s real if you don’t. If you’ve sold 10,000 of your things in the past, great, that tells them you’re not just some person off the street. If you tell them that a real publisher is publishing your book, if that’s what you’re launching, then that tells them someone else has vetted your work. If you’ve won awards or recognition from any source, that helps. It’s basically social proof.

9. Dangle a carrot.

What authors often do when they’re trying to get a bigger name is to offer them a chance to write the foreword to their book. That gives prominent placement to that person on your cover. If you’re selling something else you may have other options. A video interview to stick in the introduction to your course is another example. Get creative. Find a way to offer something enticing to their ego.

10. Ask again when you launch your next thing.

Do you want to know how many people snag the biggest names in their industry? They keep making new stuff. Do what authors do. They go for a big name and he says no, so they get someone else to endorse them for their book. They write a second book again, and get another “no”, so they find someone else.

By the time they come out with the third book, they contact the big name and he thinks “Wow, this person won’t quit, and they’re getting more successful every year. Ok, they’ve proven themselves. I’m in.” Remember, this is just one launch of many. If you don’t get them this time, you can always get them later. Just don’t stop asking.

Ok, that’s it! Ten’s the magic number. If that doesn’t help you get more endorsements, we don’t know what will. For those just starting out, we’re going to remind you that you don’t need endorsements to make your launch a success, but they can sure be helpful for pushing a lot of those “almost buyers” over the edge. Remember this is a long game, and it’s going to take as long as it takes.

Thank you so much for being here with us today. You’ve been listening to the BIG LAUNCH launch multipliers, Advanced Tips for Getting Endorsements. I’m Naomi from IttyBiz, and I’ll talk to you very soon.

 

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About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.