Tuesday, May 10, 2022
One of the great strengths of entrepreneurs is arrogance - an incredible optimism that says, “We can turn mud into buildings,” and “We can mold the world to behave as we want it to behave.”
It's a great strength, but it has within it a great weakness.
It causes us often to be in the “Ready, Fire, Aim” mode - running headlong toward the brick wall, without having bothered to root-up some explosives or put on a helmet.
To express this, we cannot forget Roy Disney, because there might not have been all of Walt Disney's success without Roy Disney.
Roy was the negative guy in the corner constantly saying, “Wait a minute, how the hell are we going to pay for this?” And, “What happens when everybody on that ride gets sick?”
And so when you're by yourself, you kind of need to temper optimism so that it doesn't turn into blind optimism or stupid optimism or arrogance.
There's a very good book that's out of print and hard to find, written by Dr. Edward Kramer: “The Positive Power Of Negative Thinking.”
In short, you need to plan for the worst instead of planning for the best.
I like to call it ‘The Fallacy of Militant Positive Thinking”, all those who wave the flag of positive thinking as how you’ll overcome something in the future.
I advise making a list of all the obstacles that you can think of that might be faced when you're trying to reach a goal.
Now, the worst thing that happens with a plan B is the best thing that happens with a plan B - you don't need it (but better to have it).
Kinda like I don't like small planes. I think I've been in a private plane three or four times in my entire life. But each time, I inquired as to whether we had parachutes. Now, it was not my intent to use it, but it seemed better to ask the question while we were still on the ground than when the engines quit at 20,000 feet.
And so, I'm really a very big parachute guy. I mean, I act under the assumption that what I put down on paper probably ain't gonna happen exactly the way I planned it. And where is it gonna derail? And if it does, how we gonna respond to that?
There’s a whole lesson in time management for that, but let me take this in another direction as well.
As a salesman, it's very, very rare to confront a prospect in any medium, face-to-face, via a sales letter or television infomercial or any media, that has no objections to the proposition put in front of them.
Lots of salespeople hope they never hear an objection and they'll just leave them as an elephant in the room, unspoken, resisting any discussion of it out of fear about the whole thing. Whereas in direct response copywriting where we're selling through media, there is no interaction.
And so if you're smart about it, one of the things that you always do is create a list of every possible reason somebody might have for not buying.
Start with the obvious and the logical, and then the rational and the reasonable reasons, until you reach the goofy and far-out idiotic reasons. And then you make sure you answer them all somewhere in the copy that you write.
The reality, and the accurate view of selling, is that the prospect has objections.
So whether it’s about your sales pitch or about getting anything done on your schedule and timeline, the truth remains that there are obstacles.
And it's very, very rare that you or I just sail from Point A to its completion without somebody throwing a monkey wrench in the works.
My point is, make a list of the worst, craft your plan b’s, and build your parachute so you not only get to your destination, but you get there in one piece.
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