The Power of Going ALL In

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The phrase “I’ll meet you halfway” hasn’t existed for me for most of my adult life… and I can thank the lameness of some people I love as much as anyone in the world for that…

I have a group of ten buddies from high school who are like
brothers to me.

However, we all know that no matter how close you are to certain
people, it’s easy to fall out of touch… and if some of those people
are particularly “complacent” (euphemism for “lame” since some of
my buddies subscribe to my newsletter and I really don’t want additional
unsubscribes), it’s even more challenging…

But come to think of it, they probably don’t open my e-mails anyway so yes, some of them are quite lame…but they still love me…

So for the most part, if I didn’t reach out to them, the odds of them reaching out to me were slim…although the joke was that they were “always sitting by the phone waiting for my call…”

Now…that could have made me angry…

I could have asked: Why did I always have to make the extra effort to keep in touch? Why did I always have to organize any events where we could all have some kind of reunion or get together?

Well…because they didn’t have it in them to work that hard but of course when we did connect, it was always a blast, a true love-fest and we actually joked about the lameness and how we overcame the odds to getting together.

If I waited to be met halfway, I would not have some of the most important people in my life being a bigger part of my life and I could have easily made that choice.

But knowing that if I brought 100% to the relationship, the payoff to having those brothers in my life was worth the extra effort.

This is also a premise I follow in business…and while everyone I’ve ever worked with at Boardroom considers me a wimp for not holding out for every dollar on a contract or not walking away when demands from the other side of a negotiation became unreasonable, all I know is that I sleep well at night…every night.

This “100-Zero” concept is something I learned at Landmark Forum and I’ve put my own spin on it…and I have to tell you, it takes away so much stress…the stress of “keeping score” and seeing how much they gave you vs. what you gave them is just wasted energy as far as I can tell.

As the great Dan Sullivan would say, that is a “scarcity mindset not an abundance mindset.”

This mindset has led to two concepts that I would like to leave with you today that may be a shift for you as you negotiate deals in the future…and I know you can’t do this all the time…but it might get you thinking differently about true fairness—and it could lead to some more peaceful nights of sleep…

1. Don’t sweat the deal numbers for the test…share all results with total transparency…then adjust the deal accordingly for maximum win-win on rollout: So many of the deals/agreements I’ve made over the last 30 years were so unpredictable how they would work out (the beauty of testing in direct marketing!) But knowing that I would be a slave to the numbers on that test figuring out the “profit pie” based on REAL results and then adjusting to the fairest deal possible for both sides always led to the biggest long term wins…and the longevity of the product/project.

2. Windfalls are good for today but if unfair, you’ve got a one-hit wonder: To continue from #1, you may not have been able to negotiate a “flexible deal” on the test…and then one side makes a mint while the other side doesn’t do so well…and if you are on the windfall side, don’t assume it was a “fair deal.” It might have been…but since we are hopefully not about revenue events and all about business building for the long haul, be the first to fess up if it’s not a fair deal…

I’m reminded of a mailing list salesperson early in my career who went to a company that had never previously rented their lists…and the lists were comprised of affluent professionals who responded well to all kinds of business and consumer offers…a very responsive list that was a previously untapped gold mine.

So this salesperson negotiates a commission deal the first year that unexpectedly has her making more money in commissions than the CEO of the company was making in total …and it was a pretty large company with an overpaid CEO to boot…

After the first year, the CEO asked the salesperson to adjust her commission based on the unexpected windfall and she refused…

Her position: ”Why should I have to take a pay cut when I did such a good job?”

She stuck to her guns that a deal is a deal…

But “the deal” was not an “employment contract” and she was let go from the company a year later and frankly, if she cut her commission in half in year two with the company, she would have made more money than she ever made in any single year for the rest of her career.

I know this is extreme…but it makes my point…

Be in the game for the long run…play fair…and I guarantee you will
be richer for it in the long run.

[Ed Note: Brian Kurtz is a direct marketing legend. He’s overseen the mailing of approximately 1.3 billion pieces of third class mail over the past 20 years. He’s marketed newsletters, books via direct response television and e-mail. At the height of his infomercial success, Brian was responsible for buying media in excess of $80 million and sold over 3 million books via direct response television over a three year period. If you liked today’s essay you can follow Brian’s blog where he shares similar advice here.]

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