Right now, our prospective customers are experiencing some of the most intense and contradictory emotions they’ve had in their entire lives.
The saner ones blame their financial problems on decisions made by the White House, Congress, the Treasury, and the Fed for the last couple of decades. Others – those with a more tenuous grip on reality – blame “those greedy bankers” for having the unmitigated gall to actually approve every loan and credit card application they ever submitted.
But regardless of who our prospects may blame in broad daylight, it’s not so easy to escape the real villain as they seek the sweet release of sleep at night. In the privacy of their own bedrooms, they’re confronted with the humiliating truth that they and they alone created their own, personal financial crises…
By spending more than they should have.
By saving less than they should have.
And by accumulating far more debt than they should have.
They regret scoffing at old-fashioned admonitions to be prudent with money. To live sensibly, modestly, and within their means. To accept debt sparingly or not at all. And to save extravagantly.
They marvel at how much money they’ve earned over the last decade or two… how fast it vanished… how pathetically little they have to show for it. And they torture themselves, thinking how much better life would be if they had that money now.
They excoriate themselves for plunging into debt to buy more house than they needed, and then borrowing even more to create the illusion of success: the fancy furnishings, the expensive cars, the designer fashions, the lavish dinners, the trophy vacations, and all the crap they bought to impress others.
So every night, in bedrooms around the world, billions are teaching themselves timeless lessons…
They’re learning that the law of personal responsibility is as intractable as the law of gravity. And that when entire societies consisting of billions of individuals lose their way, no government can save them from the inevitable consequences of their actions.
We – all of us – sowed the seeds of this financial whirlwind with profligate spending, with excessive debt, and with a dearth of savings. And now it’s time for us, our children, and our children’s children to reap the inevitable hurricane.
This, too, haunts many of our prospects each night as they think about the pile of bills awaiting them on the kitchen table. They wonder and worry about what will become of their families in the weeks and months ahead. Some are even doing the math, calculating and recalculating how long they could survive if their income suddenly stopped.
How can I know our prospects are feeling all this guilt, regret, and fear? Simple: I’m feeling it myself!
No, I’m not pleading poverty. By working backbreaking hours all my life… enduring the hard times without giving up… and trying to make prudent decisions with my money… I’ve become one of the “lucky” ones.
Plus, I’ve taken my own advice. I’ve focused my business on niches that tend to do well in tough times. So not only is my income still in the top fraction of the top 1 percent of all Americans, I’m actually earning more than I did this time last year.
Better yet, I saw this crisis coming two years ago and began curtailing my spending, paying down my debt, and building up my savings as if my life depended on it.
But now, I can’t help but worry anyway.
Frankly, I often kick myself for self-indulgent purchases I’ve made over the years and for failing to sock away millions more in the salad days of the 1990s and early 2000s. Because at a time like this, there’s no such thing as having “too much” money saved for the rainy days ahead.
And I know in my heart that if I’m having wim-wams – forgoing all but the most essential purchases and saving every dime I can lay my hands on – millions of our prospects are, too.
What we are now seeing take place in the hearts and minds of ourselves, our customers, and our prospects is nothing less than a massive, global reversal of attitudes- a change in the way our customers view reality that will have an enormous impact on the kinds of products we develop and the way we market them.
We are witnessing the rapid demise of the spendthrift mindset that has grown so many companies for so many decades – and the birth of a new generation of far more rational, cautious, thinking consumers…
These consumers have suddenly realized that the “old fashioned” virtues of common sense, prudence, and thrift are time-honored for a reason: They have been proven to be lifesavers over many millennia.
This is the financial Judgment Day my mom and dad so often warned me about – the day of paying the price for scoffing at their stingy ways. When Mom saved every scrap of string and every rubber band in big tangles under the kitchen sink. And when Dad went ballistic when I left the lights on in an unoccupied room or blew my allowance on some useless doo-dad.
The new generation of consumers has learned the hard lesson their parents and grandparents learned during the Great Depression: The only thing that’s more important than saving money for a rainy day is to use money to make more money that will see you through tough times.
Somewhere, Mom and Dad are nodding their heads in grim agreement.
And somewhere, my dad’s gloating: “So what are you going to do if this crisis outlives your money? Huh, smart boy?”
Cool your jets, Dad. I get it!
It’s not going to do me one damn bit of good to cry over spilt milk. What I can do, though, is expend every ounce of energy at my command to make as much money as is legally and ethically possible, every hour, day, and working week. Because only more money can get my family safely through this global financial crisis… no matter how long it lasts.
That means recognizing that every promotion I write must work even harder to prove the value my product brings to prospects’ lives… to demonstrate as graphically as possible that the offer is the bargain of a lifetime… and to create guarantees that make buying that product… from me… NOW… an absolute no-brainer.
I also need to vastly improve how I spend my workdays – to find new ways to get more work done… better work done… more profitable work done every hour I spend at my desk.
And it goes without saying that I need to review my client list – make absolutely sure I’m working ONLY with clients whose products and services are likely to do well if this crisis intensifies.
Most important, I need to find ways to structure more productive working relationships with those clients – relationships that will make them more money so they can pay me more money.
How about you?
I’m willing to bet that if you give the above “financial-survival checklist,” a few hours of thought, you, too, will have taken a big step toward coming through this thing smelling like a rose.[Ed. Note: What are YOU doing to prove your value to your prospective customers? Let us know right here.
Master copywriter Clayton Makepeace publishes the highly acclaimed e-zine The Total Package to help business owners and copywriters accelerate their sales and profits. Claim your 4 free moneymaking e-books – bursting with tips, tricks, and tactics that’ll skyrocket your response at MakepeaceTotalPackage.com.]