I spent a day in Tampa recently, auditing Matt Furey’s private seminar on Internet Marketing. It was a good program, with a wide range of information – from the very technical (tricks on improving search engine optimization) to the philosophical (how to persist in the face of defeat).
I’ve told you about Matt Furey before. He’s a world-class martial artist who has developed a very profitable, fast-growing business selling fitness, marketing, Internet, and other consumer information products. His business provides all sorts of advice, including books, reports, e-zines, seminars, and coaching.
Matt is a relatively (especially to me) young guy, but he has an old-school approach to marketing. His full-page ads for exercise programs that are featured in martial arts magazines (I read Grappling) are mostly black and white and read like vintage Charles Atlas copy.
For instance, a promotion for his Furey Fight Back Pack begins: “Today I’ve come up with a package of fighting’ information that is going to send shockwaves of thunder and lightning through anyone who is nutty enough to try and mess with you. And everything in this package is major-league effective, yet, at the same time, easy-as-pie to learn.
“Students of martial arts from all over the world have been using my fighting products for years … and so has the average man who is concerned about protecting himself and his ‘loved ones.’
“Yet, never before have I put together a complete package of the ass-kicking essentials you need in today’s world – much less offered them at a fraction of the price they would normally cost.”
As a speaker, Matt is relaxed almost to the point of nonchalance. He tells stories, most from personal experience. And he provides insights – usually one-liners that he emphasizes with the rejoinder, “Get that? Good.”
I attended Matt’s seminar as a sort of courtesy, in appreciation of his attending one of our Wealth-Building/Copywriting Bootcamps – but also because I knew he could teach me a thing or two about selling from the platform.
One of our deficiencies at ETR is that, although we are pretty good at selling on the page, we’ve had very little experience selling person-to-person. I knew that Matt was good at this valuable skill, so I thought I’d watch him do his thing.
Matt’s presentation was an eye opener for me. He’s not a high-pressure guy – at least not in the conventional sense. But when he makes a recommendation – and it could be to rub your ears a certain way to stimulate circulation or to understand an important secret about marketing or to buy a particular copywriting program – his audience listens.
I listened to Matt speak for several hours and made notes. Flying home after the seminar, I reviewed those notes and decided that I had learned (relearned?) two valuable lessons about marketing.
Lesson One: You must have conviction that what you are selling is good for the buyer.
Matt’s effectiveness is strengthened by the complete confidence he has in his ideas and recommendations. When he makes a point or suggests a course of action, he is generally speaking from years of experience. He understands that the people listening to him have spent thousands of dollars to hear what he has to say.
He also recognizes that many of them, being novices at business, will miss some of his most important advice … and he doesn’t like that. So he makes it a point to emphasize, and re-empathize, and then emphasize once again whatever he thinks is important. He won’t allow his audience to leave the conference with less than they came for. And he lets them know that in many not-too-subtle ways. “Listen up!” he’ll say before he makes a point. After he’s said it: “Did you get that? Are you sure?”
When you hear Matt for the first time, you might think he is treating his audience a little roughly. But after a few minutes of studying him, you realize that he’s giving them exactly what they paid for: his best stuff, straightforward and without apologies.
“Some people don’t want to hear the truth about what it takes to be successful,” he said at one point during his presentation. “That’s like an athlete who doesn’t want to accept the fact that he has to train hard to win.”
Confidence and conviction are essential components of any good selling strategy: If you truly believe that the product or service you are promoting will make a valuable difference in the life of your prospect, you have an obligation to do everything you can to persuade him to buy it.
Lesson Two: Stick with your own particular beliefs and your own particular way of expressing yourself.
As a world champion submission wrestler and martial artist, Matt spent a good deal of time talking about his experiences as a fighter. He related those experiences to what he had accomplished in the business world, first by selling martial arts programs in fitness magazines and then by teaching other martial artists (and eventually a much wider audience) everything he’d learned about selling.
His ideas about business – about growth and competition and success – are colored by his personal experience. And his delivery of those ideas – confident, frank, almost caustic at times – comes from his personality as a world-class fighter.
When Matt spoke at ETR’s conference in Florida years back, some of the attendees were a little spooked by him. They weren’t accustomed to such a straightforward approach and they found it disturbing. Most of them, however, “got” him after a few minutes of listening and were thrilled with the ideas, advice, and recommendations he gave them.
I went to Matt’s seminar as an auditor, but he invited me to get up and give a short presentation. I agreed to do so, but I was concerned about how I would “go over” with his people since my way of thinking about things and explaining them is somewhat different from Matt’s. I worried that I’d appear too slick and commercial. Some of the audience probably felt that way at first since I decided not to modify either my approach or my ideas.
The initial reticence that I felt coming from the audience at the beginning of my presentation gradually disappeared as I plowed on. It was soon replaced by an open acceptance – even an enthusiastic appreciation – of what I was trying to tell them.
My speech – which I was pretty much improvising on the spot – was titled “Everything I Have Learned About Business.” In what was intended to be 15 minutes, I explained the five or six most important secrets I know about getting a new business to work. And by the time I was done, 45 minutes later, I got a very enthusiastic round of applause.
I was glad I hadn’t tried to alter my presentation to try to “fit” Matt’s audience. By sticking to what I knew and to my particular method of expression, I think I was able to convey my sincerity and conviction in a way that eventually worked with his audience. Matt did the same thing when he spoke at the ETR seminar. And it worked for him too.
Bottom line: We all have our own individual experiences and our own individual ways of expressing ourselves.
Although you may feel that your own interests and orientations are a little off the wall in terms of finding a market, you’d be making a mistake to abandon them and imitate the ideas or expression of somebody else.
This is a very big world that is now very well-connected by the Internet. Billions of people are out there every day searching for ideas, advice, and recommendations. You don’t need to model yourself after mainstream success stories to be successful yourself.
Whoever you are, whatever you think, whatever you want to do – there is an audience out there waiting to hear from you. And the more rarefied that audience is, the more they will pay you for your honesty, your integrity, and your insight. You’ll do much better in business by being who you are than by imitating the ideas and/or passions of someone else. Stick to what you know and express yourself with sincerity and confidence.[Ed. Note: Matt Furey, an occasional contributor to ETR, is a best-selling health and fitness author, as well as a world-class marketer. His daily e-mails at www.mattfurey.com are must-reads.]
[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]