The Best Books: Recommended Reading List

I’ve read at least one book per week for 7 years now, and I’ve never missed a week. I know that’s crazy, but I love books. This list is a snapshot of some of my favorite books in multiple categories. Some I have already read, some still to be read.

I didn’t try to list every book I’ve ever read, because frankly I’ve read some real duds. Instead, I’ve listed the ones that made the most difference to me at critical junctures in my life. I’ve actually ranked the books here, not based on how great they are necessarily in terms of writing, but in terms of their impact on me personally. I hope you enjoy the list and share your own list with me on Facebook or Google+. I love hearing about good reads.

Two closing thoughts:

1. Read.
2. Write things others want to read.

Thanks for reading,

Abhinav Gulyani

Personal Growth (Nonfiction)

The Charge by Brendon Burchard
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tsu
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins
Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
The 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Brandon
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
What Should I Do With My Life by Po Bronson
Self-Matters by Philip McGraw
Group by Paul Solotaroff
How Good People Make Tough Choices by Rushworth Kidder
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
Secrets for Success and Happiness by Og Mandino
Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman
The Art of Possibility by Ben Zander
The Worry Cure by Robert Leahy
The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
How to Practice by Dalai Lama
Drive by Dan Pink
Therapy for the Sane by Lou Marinoff
Switch by Dan/Chip Heath
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey
The Passion Test by Chris/Janet Attwood
What Does it Mean to Be Human by Franck/Roze/Connolly
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
Anyway by Kent Keith
Living a Life that Matters by Harold Kushner
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch / Jeffrey Zaslow
It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong / Sally Jenkins
The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Happy for No Reason by Marci Shimoff
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Willpower by Roy Baumeister / John Tierny
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Mastery by George Leonard

Personal Development (Parables/Fiction)

Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
The Celestine Prophesy by James Redfield
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino
Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus (a children’s book, but a must-read)
Tuesday’s with Morrie by Mitch Albom
The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
Return of the Ragpicker by Og Mandino
The Travelers Gift by Andy Andrews
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Aleph by Paulo Coelho
The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
For One More Day by Mitch Albom
The Holy Man by Susan Trott


Satisfaction by Gregory Burns
Mindsight by Dan Siegel
How We Decide by Johan Lehrer
Change Your Brain Change Your Life by Daniel Amen
Train Your Mind Change Your Brain by Sharon Begley
Buyology by Martin Lindstrom
The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
The Tell-Tale Brain by VS Ramachandran
The Ultramind Solution by Mark Hyman
A Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor


The Holy Bible
The Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tsu
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson
Your Sacred Self by Wayne Dyer
90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent
The Spiritual Life of Children by Robert Coles
Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
The Best Spiritual Writing (released each year, all amazing)

Psychology (A little heavier reading than Self-help)

The Evolving Self by by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Intelligence Reframed by Howard Gardner
Cognitive Psychology by Eysenck and Keane
Handbook of Social Psychology by Fiske/Gilbert/Lindzey
Leading Minds by Howard Gardner
The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology by Lopez/Snyder
Handbook of Personality
Abnormal Psychology by Thomas/Cindy Bradbury
Morality and Moral Controversies by John Arthur
The Psychology of Attitudes edited Alice Eagly and Shelly Chaiken
50 Psychology Classics by Tom Butler-Bowdon
50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology by Lilienfeld/Lynn/Ruscio/Beyerstein


Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
Collapse by Jared Diamond
Join the Club by Tina Rosenberg
Connected by Nicholas Christakis / James Fowler
The Moral Intelligence of Children by Robert Coles
The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness by Edward Hallowell Freakonomics by Steven Leviitt / Stephen Dubner
The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
1776 by David McCullough
An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore
Nutureshock by Po Bronson / Ashley Merryman


The China Study by Campbell/Lyman/Robbins
Thrive by Brendan Brazier
Change Your Brain Change Your Body by Daniel Amen Clean by Alejandro Junger
Staying Young by Mehmet Oz / Michael Roizen
You: The Owner’s Manual by Mehmet Oz / Michael Roizen The Best Life Diet by Bob Greene
The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss
Body for Life by Bill Phillips
The Omnivore’s Dillema by Michael Pollan
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan


Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman
Together by John Stewart / Carole Logan
Understanding Family Communication by Yerby/buerkel/Bochner
How Can I Get Through To You by Terrance Real
Relationship Rescue by Phillip McGraw
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman


How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence
Artful Mediation by Bill Wilmot
Beyond Reason by Roger Fisher / Daniel Shapiro
Crucial Conversations by Patterson/Grenny/McMillan/Switzler
That’s Not What I Meant by Deborah Tannen
The Argument Culture by Deborah Tannen


Writing to Learn by William Zinsser
The Substance of Style by Virginia Postrel
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss
Sin and Syntax by Constance Hale

Quote Books

(The best thing I’ve done in my life is learn to read quote books like most people read fiction. I immerse myself in the brilliance of those who have gone before us, all summed up nicely in just a few lines of their best quotes. My faves below.)

Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History edited by William Safire
The Book of Positive Quotations edited by John Cook
Great Secrets of the Universe: A Compendium of Caring Thought edited by Val J. Halamandaris
The Forbes Book of Business Quotations
Life 101 Quote Book edited by Peter McWilliams
The Meaning of Life edited by Kinnier/Kernes/Tribbensee/Puymbroeck

Business – General

Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel
Blue Ocean Strategy by W Chan Kim / Renee Mauborgne
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink
Be Excellent at Anything by Tony Schwarz
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Secrets of The Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
Overcoming Organizational Defenses: Facilitating Organizational Learning
The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz
The Innovators Dillema by Clayton Christiansen
The Rise of the Creative Class by Richard Florida
Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham / Daniel Clifton
Smart Choices by John Hammond / Ralph Keeney
Imagine by Johan Lehrer
The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley
The Inspired Executive by Granville Toogod
Great by Choice by Jim Collins
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Confidence by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Influence by Robert Cialdini
New Ideas from Dead CEOs by Todd Burchholz
Beyond Reengineering by Michael Hammer
Delivering Happiness by Tony Tsieh
Linchpin by Seth Godin
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
What Really Works by Nitin Nohria / William Joyce
In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker
Sway by Ori/Rom Brafman
5 Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner
Theory in Practice by Chris Argyris and Donald Schon
The Change Handbook edited by Holman/Devane/Cady
Judgement by Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis
Reasonate by Nancy Duarte
Execution by Charan/Bossidy/Burck
The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton
Know-how by Ram Charan
The Money Class by Suze Orman

Business – Marketing

The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard
Made to Stick by Dan/Chip Heath
Pyro Marketing by Greg Stielstra
The Influentials by Ed Keller / John Berry
My Life in Advertising by Claude Hopkins Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy


Leadership for the Twenty-First Century by Joseph Rost Leadership by James MacGregor Burns
On Leadership by John Gardner
Credibility by James Kouzes / Barry Posner
Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute Visionary Leadership by Burt Nanus
The Leader’s Companion by J. Thomas Wren Stewardship by Peter Block
Building Leaders by Jay Conger
Insights on Leadership edited by Larry Spears
Principle-Centered Leadership by Stephen Covey
Nothing to Fear by Alan Axelrod
When the Buck Stops with You by Alan Axelrod
Coaching for Leadership by Goldsmith/Lyons/Freas
Hesselbein on Leadership by Frances Hesselbein
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
The Leadership Engine by Noel Tichy
Practicing Servant Leadership edited by Larry Spears / Michele Lawrence
Learning to Lead by Jay Conger
Values at Work by George Cheney
The Organization of the Future edited by Hasselbein/Goldsmith/Beckhard
The Responsibility Virus by Roger Martin
The Power of Followership by Robert Kelley
Leadership by Rudy Giuliani / Ken Kurson
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

It All Starts with How You Think

Ideas have consequences.
If you don’t like the consequences you’re experiencing in life, examine the ideas in your head.
Anyone with minimal experience can point you in the general direction of success.
The world is full of people experiencing success on a respectable level.
But what makes up the difference between an average player and a Michael Jordan or a David Beckham?

Athletic ability alone?

What makes up the difference between Buffet, Branson, or Jobs and the average business owner?
The ability to read a spread sheet?
The differences are not found in the mechanical abilities but in the processes of thought.
Many people look at affiliate marketing and they see limitations. They don’t REALIZE that’s what they see, but it’s exactly what they see and how they proceed.
I want you to see affiliate marketing the way I see it – I don’t focus on the limitations because I see enormous potential, which seems obvious to me – NOW, which most people do not see.
So, you might be tempted to skip straight to the mechanical and if you did I’d understand . . . but I’d
also call you foolish because without the right paradigm – or with the WRONG paradigm, you will not succeed – not in the way you could.
Something to think upon…

Copywriting Secrets for Social Media Ninjas


When you are posting on Facebook with the intent of enticing people to become a customer or client, following these 8 principles will help you become WAY more effective:

1. Make sure your post is NOT all about you. You don’t want to talk AT them, you have to appeal TO them. Don’t forget the #1 most important thing in Influence and Persuasion – WIIFM. They want to know what’s in it for THEM. They most likely don’t care what’s going on with you as they are too worried about THEMSELVES!

You have to pull at their heartstrings! What is the PAIN and FRUSTRATION they are going through that you are going to solve for them? Work the emotional angle.

2. Copy that runs past the “See More” marker in your post runs the risk of not being seen. If you look at the posts that get the most engagement, they are all just long enough that you don’t have to click “See More” to access the rest of the post. Especially when you are trying to promote something.

That being said, you absolutely CAN run past the “See More” point but you have to REALLY grab their attention in the first couple of sentences to MAKE them want to read more.

3. Best not trying to actually SELL in the post. The biggest job your post has is to get them EMOTIONALLY charged up about their situation NOT being where they want it to be.

Then tell them you have the SOLUTION to their problem and pain – AKA your product/program. It should only be a short explanation at the end telling them what it is and then the link to your program. The copy on the webpage should do the ACTUAL selling as now you have their INTEREST and ATTENTION.

Remember the AIDA marketing formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Your post creates the Attention and Interest and the actual sales copy on your sales page causes the Desire and Action.

4. By putting the sales copy on a FB Fanpage instead of your website, you will most likely get more clickthroughs because they don’t have to actually leave Facebook to get there. Just something to think about.

5. You want to add something in there asking THEM a question that will prompt them to make a comment so you get more Edgerank traction which will have you showing up in more potential customers/clients Newsfeeds.

6. When your post is as emotionally compelling as it needs to be and they can relate, when you ask for them to share, they will of course be more naturally inclined to help you by sharing on their timeline.

7. Don’t let the website preview show up at the bottom of the post. You just want the hyperlink to be there at the end of the post. It becomes too distracting and the copy in the post won’t be able to do its job.

8. You can add a small, eye catching picture if you want. Just make sure it isn’t TOO big to overpower the message. And don’t make it a sad or depressing looking picture. That will turn people off from reading your post. Always make it one that invokes interest and positive feelings.

How To Extract Business Data & Leads from Google+ Local

Do you think you have a business which requires Business To Business Leads? Well, if the answer is Yes, then most probably these businesses are already listed on Google+ Local. And if they are then you should be heading over to Google+ Local and search for the keywords which surround your industry.

Being in SEO & online marketing industry since quite a long time now. I have been using several leads generating software which basically allows you to extract business information from Google+ Local (Previously, known as Google Places or Google Maps Listings).

I use to do this process each time to find out prospects & clients and then do even further research after finalizing which businesses to pitch my online marketing services. I had to go through their website, try finding out their contact email address, their operational phone number, whether they had Twitter, Google+, Youtube or Facebook account or not. And other such information which will allow me to research before hand about their presence online.

Now, imagine doing the same task. Again, and again for 50 leads that I just extracted from Google+ Local? Let me tell you one thing. It’s damn tedious job. Specially, when you are targeting 100s of leads from Google+ Local or Google Maps Listings. Being smart I use to delegate this task to my team and then get a report with research done by them every day.

Then, I thought of automation. How do I automate this tiring and tedious tasks so that my team can focus on important work rather then scraping database off the Google. I looked for several solutions, softwares & tools one by one. I bought and tested out almost all the available softwares which allowed me to automate the task of finding these businesses via Google+ Local.

But…there was a problem with every one of them!

Every piece of software that I used were either providing half results limiting to upto 60 results per search. Or else simply, given the listings which were based around a city level query on Google+ Local. For example, Chiropractor in New York. Or Real Estate Broker in Richmond VA, etc.

The problem was no piece of software was able to extract leads for me which were area specific. Area within a major city. Let’s say for example I want to find Real Estate Agents near Manhattan area of NYC. None of the software were competent enough to find out these leads.

After trying almost dozons of such software which talking on Skype with a friend he told me about this amazing piece of business intelligence software which takes the Google+ Local extraction process to the next level….Local Extractor.

The Most Advanced Piece of Software for Google+ Local Lead Extraction – HANDS DOWN!

I couldn’t believe how this software automated the task that I & my team have spent countless no. of hours doing! I was like how can someone imagine the exact problem and then create a solution! But, someone did!

Local Extractor Pro

This piece of software helps find UNLIMITED local businesses which are listed on Google+ Local, provides an inbuilt Free B2B Skype Dialer integrated into the software, and even has an inbuilt sophisticated Business Intelligence tool known as MoneyNode 2.0 based on Node JS which takes the data mining and research on Google+ Local to the next level!

I didn’t had to pay my team for their time anymore for spending countless hours into research! I didn’t had to pay list after list to data vendors to provide me with quality & informative data about the companies which we needed to target. I didn’t had to go through any hassle once and for all.

It was really a eureka moment for me. And what I am about to discuss in this post, specifically the implications of using this powerful piece of software. You will be surprised, for sure!


Step 1. Find Leads from Google+ Local. Specifically, Google Maps ADVANCED API

You have to point the software to the demography where you wish to extract leads from. You can either do that by searching the location anywhere on the planet earth. Select a custom box interface which specifies the area for extracting the Google+ Local leads from. Then, select Google+ Local category. Add custom keywords which are used in Google+ local listing. And voila!

The software starts its process. Starts extracting leads….BUT STOP. It now goes to the next level. It basically creates custom SMALL boxes of the same area that you selected. Processes a custom search on Google and then extract even further leads down that particular smaller area.

IN SHORT, You get MORE leads which never existed against your bare eyes through each unique searches that you could have possibly made!

Step 2. Collect Information on Leads – EVEN DEEPER THEN A HUMAN CAN POSSIBLE DO!

As I told you earlier. This software is a beast. It’s a data mining & automation tool which is specialized specifically on Google Maps and businesses which are listed on Google as Google+ Local businesses. It’s the MOST ADVANCED piece of software ever invented. Period. Which allows you to extract, supplements, and exports information from Google Maps.

Using the power of its inbuilt MoneyNode 2.0 Business Intelligence Module. The software basically goes out and researches for even more information about the business by visiting each individual listing, going on the website, finding email address & phone numbers, information like which CMS the website is using, is this listing their on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and if their then how many tweets, Facebook likes, FB Talking about, how many Google+ Circles, how many videos are uploaded on YouTube, how many subscribers the channel has, etc. etc.

Step 3. Build Custom Filters & Reports

What makes this software even more powerful is that it basically allows you to filter your leads which are extracted. Execute a criteria of the kind of leads that you are looking to use. And chuck of the leads which are not relevant.

In short, you can use collected intelligence information gathered by this software & then select only those businesses which are inside the criteria of your targeted leads and STOP wasting your time on ‘prospects’ that don’t even need your services.

Step 4. Export Leads to Sales CRM System – Voila!

It’s really that easy once you get a hang of this software.

You no more have to sit, and individually copy-paste any data, nor do you need to spent hours & hours of your time researching more about the leads which normal software extracts for you to research on. And makes you go far & far ahead in terms of giving you information about these particular businesses then even the Biz Owners themselves!

Here are some BASIC features of this software:

  1. This software allows you to automate searching for larger areas on Google Maps, and at the same time search for multiple areas!
  2. The software geometrically creates a drag-net which allows it to search smaller & even smaller areas until Google Maps runs out of leads. THATS WHY – When I say their are even more businesses on Google+ Local then we actually think their are!
  3. Goes out on all the web properties found in Google+ Local and then even deeper on each website & other web properties – Finding email addresses from all these sources!
  4. Basic Product & Sales Campaign Management Feature – Inbuilt into the software
  5. Find all web & social media properties – Like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, YouTube, Google+ pages, Yelp, Manta, etc. Even an option to add these properties manually if the software is not able to find itself.
  6. Amazing List Scrubbing Functionality – Different filters which can be set according to our own needs
  7. THE MOST POWERFUL – Business Intelligence collection & filtering capabilities
  8. View each lead’s web properties, mobile websites, etc. from within the software individually
  9. Option to auto-dial numbers from Skype – which acts as an automated dialer from within the software
  10. You can take call notes, and heck, even product orders if you have an order form URL set within the software for particular product campaigns.
  11. Qualify & extract your filtered leads. And then option to extract & export these leads in CSV file format. Allowing you to directly importing/synchronizing with your selected CRM of choice.
  12. Comes with 100+ pages of documentation plus video tutorials which explain each and every powerful feature the software allows you to use
  13. Free/Paid Proxy Server Support – Allowing you to scale and utilize this software 24 by 7. You don’t have to worry about your IP getting banned on Google for so many searches in short period of time.

Copywriting Tips That Can Help You Increase Your CTR in Google AdWords & Other Marketing Campaigns

1. Use the bid words in your headline or copy

Since Google bolds the keywords in AdWords headlines and copy, usage of bid terms make your ads stand out. They also tell the reader that your ad is relevant to them.

2. Test using the {KeyWord: Alt Headline Here} function to use the search phrase as your headline.

  • Must use curly brackets
  • KeyWord capitalizes each word in the headline
  • Keyword capitalizes only the first word of the headline
  • What you write after the colon and before the close bracket is the alternative headline that will be used if the search term is too long

We do not recommend using this for everything. Your top money ads should be custom developed. Recommended testing for this strategy: – Secondary keywords – the hundreds of additional keywords you don’t spend much time on

– Use this in combination with copy that immediately states what you sell, to prevent confusion.

– Low dollar bids – risky strategy

3. Lead with benefits

Copy that starts with the benefits and ends with the features will tend to outpull the exact same copy with the benefit at the end.

Headline – Keywords with action verb

Copy line 1: Benefit

Copy line 2: Feature

4. Test multiple display URLs

Buy dozens of different URLs with the keywords in the URL, point them to different landing pages either by placing the landing page(s) specifically on that domain or using a dns redirection service like to point them at an existing page on a site.

Then test different URLs on different ads

Also, test and

5. Compile a“Swipe file” of all the ads running in your markets,plus many of the other high-dollar areas

Can compile simply through copy/paste

Best if you watch over time – rankings, copy changes, continued success

Gather Google ads, Overture’s ads, Findwhat, etc.

6. Test Google image ads

Give you exclusivity – only ad shown on a page

Testing options:

– High graphic – illustrate your benefit and/or product
– Text based, trying to make it appear like copy typed by the webmaster on the page

Only runs on AdSense at this time

7. Capitalize first letter of each word in your display URL instead of

Can’t use two captials together: not

Can’t Emphasize whole words with caps: not

8. Get specific
”$35” outpulls “lowest price”, especially if it is obviously low priced.

9. Test hyper-specificity
Olympus C-8080 8 megapixel experts may outpull
Specialists in 8+ megapixel SLR cameras which may outpull
Thousands of models available

For certain keywords. For others, exactly the opposite will work.

10.Low price claims pull but are risky

Low price claims are difficult to maintain and are tough on profitability unless you’ve got a high-profit backend built in. It’s testable, they pull well, but I avoid it.

11.Test using anti-hype terms – terms that make it sound like you’re not trying to sell them anything
Compare, reviews, find the best deals

12.Watch for intra-ad integrity Actual ad running right now:

Shop for deals on Computers here! Simply Fast Savings
This becomes harder as you become bigger, so implementing a quality control audit is vital

13.Test exact same copy at different rankings

A low price claim usually performs better in 3-7th rank than first, presumably because people don’t believe you – so even if they buy, you’ve often paid twice for their click.

14.Differentiate yourself

Emphasize what you offer that nobody else does.

– Free 150 page How To Take Great Pictures with purchase – Impartial reviews of 150 top-selling cameras

– Free overnight shipping

– 30 minute consultation free

15.Test short sweet ads 3 words each line

16.Test Geographically specific ads (buying targeted ads)
”Milwaukee weight loss tips”

Then write a landing page specific to challenges of weight loss in Milwaukee – (cheese, beer, can’t walk out your door 6 months of the year) Use a special domain

This is also a great way to test in high-dollar, high traffic markets, enables you to test for limited dollars.

17.Model your ad on one that’s working Your category or another

18.Drop keyword from headline put on 1st line of copy Allows compelling headline, but still gets bold type attention

19.Zig while others zag

If everyone else is saying same thing, try something totally different

20.At least once a month, write a totally new ad from scratch and test it Throw away all the knowledge you’ve compiled so far and try something different

Then, if it does reasonably well, start inputting the learnings you’ve gained to bring it up

Can result in killer CTR’s

21.Buy Cosmopolitan, Readers Digest, National Enquirer and the other consumer magazines in your subject area and study their covers Tested copy, excellent copywriters

Sticking Points & 9 Specific Places You Might Be Stuck In Business

Most small businesses are stuck and they don’t even know how they got stuck or how to get unstuck.

Here are the top three reasons businesses get stuck . . .

#1. They don’t anticipate growth and then take growth oriented actions
#2. They don’t measure any of their important metrics and then make moves based on what the data is telling them
#3. They don’t have a growth based marketing plan

Here Are The 9 Specific Places You Might Be Stuck…

1. Stuck Getting Your Ass Kicked By Your Competition

Competition can be companies selling the same thing you do, any other way that people can use to solve their problem, people stuck and satisfied with doing nothing to solve their problem, and last of all the hardest competitor can be you and your limiting thinking.

The first thing you’ve got to do to overcome a challenge is know what it is.

Do you know what the companies competing for your business are doing?

Do you know the offers they’re making? Do you know what people think is their unique sales position is? Do you know how they go about generating leads and staying in touch with their customers? Do you know what their client intake process is?

How could you expect to outdo your direct competitors or the alternative methods if you don’t even know what they’re doing?

This is why you want to play prospect and customer in their business. You want the hands on experience of what happens in each of these instances.

Are they marketing better than you? Are they selling better than you? Is their entry level funnel built better?

2. Stuck With Not Enough Sales

“Enough” needs to be a specific number.

If you do have a set number of sales you know you need and want to be making, why are not selling enough?

Are you getting enough leads? Are you getting plenty of leads but not converting them?

3. Stuck With Roller Coaster Income

This is the phenomenon of having plenty of money one month and struggling to make the basic bill payments the next.

And the variables in results could be from a wild variance in how many leads you get one month vs. the next, how many sales you make one month vs. the next, etc.

Roller coaster income could be from not having a consistent advertising effort… and it could mean you don’t have a tested, optimized and proven funnel that all your leads go through.

4. Stuck With No Strategy

Most people have this sticking point.

If you are working from a strategy, is it the best possible one you could be working from? Does it help you address the right market, the forward trends, the looming drama about to drop?

The movie rental stores like Blockbuster video put themselves in a terrible position by not moving forward and addressing impending doom fast enough.

You are a leader if you’re a business owner. But how good of a leader are you being? You need to have a compelling vision of where you want the business to go, as well as an accurate view of where you are now.

And you can cultivate your ability to lead and you must do this. Also, you need to develop other leaders in your company through coaching.

Robert Hargrove is a person Jay respects in the realm of coaching and leadership.

One of the keys to becoming a successful leader in your business that blazes the way for your followers is to be a multiplier. You want to take the average resources and people you have and make them BETTER than anyone thought they could be.

When I think of this term of being a multiplier, I think of the New England Patriots coach, Bill Belichek. He has won multiple Super Bowls with what everyone knows to be teams with very average players on them. His strategies multiplied what was possible for these teams to accomplish and thus he maximized the hand he was dealt and made people even better than anyone else thought they could be.

You need to do this. If you can’t, it won’t matter if you get super-talented people and mega-funding. If you can’t multiply with little to nothing, it will be highly probable that you’ll squander talent or funding if it comes to you. It will serve you to become a multiplier.

A multiplier creates raving fans in two different groups:

Your Assumptions Need To Always Be Challenged By Your Market

Prices are prime place to test your assumptions.

Jay  Abraham talks about how in the newsletter business that $69 dollars out pulled $89, $109 and $59 by 300%.

That’s a major difference.

By testing their pricing assumption not only did they get more first time customers but since they also had a killer back end, they got more people going through their back end buying even more stuff from them.

One way of greeting people walking through the doors of a big chain furniture store, out of 33 tested, tripled the closing ratio. Tripled. What was said?

The normal way people are greeted when walking into a furniture store is, “Can I help you find anything?” and the normal kneejerk reaction is, “No. I’m okay” because either the person is just browsing or they know exactly what they want and where it is.

The winning furniture store greeting was . . .

“And what ad brought you into the store today?”

This worked so well because it implied the person came in for something specifically and in this context, the power shifts from the prospect to the salesperson. It implies the customer is there to buy.

When the prospect said what part of the advertisement brought them in, the salesperson could start asking probing and qualifying questions.

Headlines, or their equivalent – subject lines, banner ads, first thing said to someone when they walk into a store or talk to them on the phone, your descriptions on your catalogs, etc. – can be as much as 21 times different in their effectiveness.

This reminds you of the Jay Abraham headline that beat “2/3 Bank Financing On Silver And Gold” which had been working very well for the company using it. Jay told them this was a weak headline and got them to test a few that he spent 30 minutes putting together.

With only changing the headline, leaving all the body copy the same, to . . .

“If Gold Is Selling For $300 an Ounce, Send Us Just $100 and We’ll Buy You All The Gold You Want.”

And he did the same variation for silver. And they sold 5 times the silver and gold than any of the other previous ads did.

**You Need To Give Concise Reasons Why People Should or Shouldn’t Do Something**

When you’re asking people for money or to do anything at all, you’ll get them to comply at a vastly higher level when you lay out a solid reason why it’d be a benefit to them to do what you’re asking them to do.

A lack in response doesn’t always correlate to a lack of need in the prospect. It has to do with your lack of fulfilling the need with solid reason why they need this option NOW to service their need.

Using Celebrity Endorsements To Cash In

One company Jay worked with sold a cassette series called “Where There’s a Will, There’s an A” and it was dedicated to helping kids get better grades in school.

It wasn’t selling that well.

They brought John Ritter in to be spokesperson for the product and they tripled the number of cassettes sold with no other change to the marketing or the product.

Another client of Jay’s who did newsletters for entrepreneurs was getting his ass kicked. They tested out a letter coming from Tom Bosley – the dad from Happy Days – and just with his picture, name and signature on the letter they increased their yield by 40%.

There are tons of yester-year or C level celebrities that you can rent for pretty cheap. A lot of them will let you test their endorsement for a small mailing to see how lathered up people get about seeing their name on your piece before you full out rent them for your promotion.

Maximizing Entrepreneur Magazine

So when Entrepreneur Magazine started, it was more like a newsletter that cost a $100
dollars a year to get.

What the content of the magazine was in essence a start up manual for the best emerging small businesses of the time – salad bars, tune up shops, sandwich shops, etc.

So they had all these back issues that people subscribing today couldn’t benefit from. They took all their archives and added boiler plate material to them and classified them as Start Up Manuals and sold them for $39 dollars each.

They started looking at the business in a different way seeing the sales of memberships as being necessary to cover the overhead of producing the reports. This led to them having to market for new memberships AND having to market reports to the members.

And all the profit in their business was in the upsell.

Then Jay told them to start selling the reports beyond their customer list.

Next, Jay categorized all the reports by low-investment businesses, automotive related business opportunities, low risk businesses, high earning potential businesses, etc. and they sold those for a couple hundred dollars apiece.

Another interesting thing he was trade ad space in the magazine for all their inventory of the product they sold. At the time, Entrepreneur could claim to be the most expensive magazine because they had a $20 dollar per issue value.

This allowed Jay to price the advertising for magazine exorbitantly high and no one bought it. But he didn’t want anyone to buy it. Instead he wanted to trade ads in their magazine for the inventory they needed to make their tapes and books. This allowed for all their information products to be 100% profit for 5-6 pages of advertising in the magazine.

What you believe should work doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is what prospects respond favorably to.

The 3 Ways To Grow Your Business

1. Get more clients/customers

The easiest way to do this is with referrals.

If you’re not getting a lot of referrals, this could be a sign that you’re not giving all that much value.

Spending none of your money, time, or focus on getting referral customers or clients seems kinda crazy considering that referrals buy faster, they trust you almost immediately, they negotiate less, they’re more profitable, they buy more often, they more stuff when they buy, and they cost little to nothing to get.

Until you’ve fully exhausted your referral sources and methods, why the hell would you be spending tons of money on PPC or print ads or anything else that costs you money?

Being Smart About Buying Customers

When you know the lifetime value of a customer you know what you can invest to start a relationship with a customer. And you want to make the barrier to entry easy for the prospect to clear.

So one way to go about doing this is seeking to break even on the first transaction a customer has with you.

  • You can price an entry level product low and not make any profit on it.
  • You could pour any profit you make on a first transaction back into marketing or selling.
  • You could pour any profit on the first transaction into some bonus that makes your offer irresistible.

Think about how the CD and Book clubs used to give you ten CD’s or Books for ten cents.

They figured out the math in their business and knew they could easily afford to bite the bullet on the front end because the back end was so profitable. They were smart because they found a way to make it so easy to get the buying relationship started with them.

You have to be very wary of getting addicted to making money on your acquisition efforts.

If you do, you’re severely limiting what is possible for you. Making money on the front end is a poor tactic – breaking even or less on the front end is a strategy geared for the long haul.

You looking to get the perfect buyers in the door for the sequence of transactions you have down the line. If you don’t have a profitable sequence of products or services you’re offering after someone comes in the door, you need to change this because you’re completely missing the boat.

There are segments of your market that want, need, and deserve more from you.

If it is in the customer’s best interest, you should give them whatever they’ll buy. There are a lot of people in your market who aren’t just satisfied with a “basic” experience with you and would joyfully pay for a “deluxe” option.

One thing to keep in mind as well is that if you don’t have more to offer, look at how you can access more from others.

Almost no one considers the fact that if they don’t have everything the customer wants that this isn’t going to stop the customer from going out to get it from somewhere else.

Why wouldn’t you seek out the businesses they naturally should migrate to or do already migrate to and figure out a way to make money by sending people directly to those businesses?

If you only build pools but don’t sell pool equipment, why wouldn’t you figure out how to make money on selling pool equipment packages to the people you’re building pools for and get a commission on the sale from the pool company. The customer is going to have to buy that stuff anyways. Just because you don’t sell it doesn’t mean you can’t profit from it.

“Let me buy you your first consultation”

Jay Abraham had a psychologist that dealt with clinically depressed people put out the proposition that he would pay for a new client’s first $150 dollar session.

He positioned it as him paying to see how compatible they would be and if he thought he could help them and to make sure they felt comfortable with him. And if they didn’t or if he didn’t think he could help them, he didn’t want to add any more stress into their life.

This led to him getting flooded with business as a result of making the barrier to entry non-existent.

Another thing you do guarantee that a meeting with you will be profitable.

One of Jay Abraham’s clients put out the condition that if he couldn’t provide the person he was meeting with at least 10 times the value of the fee, then his services would be free and he would even absorb the client’s travel costs.

If you can lay out an awesome result that someone should expect to have happen upon meeting with you and you assessing their situation, you can do enormous business.

2. Get more money from the average transaction

3. Get people re-buying more often

The most difficult and most expensive activity you’ll ever do in your business is getting a customer.

If these customers see that you’re putting marketing and products that has their best interest in mind, they’ll gladly spend more with you more often.

A 10% increase in each of these areas equals 33% MORE revenue. So if you were making $200,000 dollar a year and you only improve each of these areas by 10%, you’re now making $266,200 dollars a year. Even if you’re lazy, you can accomplish 10% more in each area. If you’re ambitious, those percentage increases can be crazy high especially if you.

  • Enter new markets every year
  • Show up with new products/services every year
  • Buy a competitor’s business or assets every year

“The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer.” ~Peter Drucker

Cashing In and Cashing Out

Why would you only want only a decent living or worse . . . a shitty living from your business when so much more is possible?

Most small businesses never get sold. They either die or close. One of the primary reasons for this is that they don’t have systems, processes, or a list of raving fan customers who buy consistently.

When people try to sell their business and they have none of the above true assets, they base the value of their company on what they believe to be assets which in reality more often than not are liabilities.

Business wealth comes from liquid assets that originated from pre-liquid assets. But almost no one takes care and applies discipline to managing pre-liquid assets.

Why own a business if you’re not going to maximize the pay off it can bring to you now and in the future?

A business manager needs to think more along the lines of a wealth manager.

If you aren’t just ‘playing business’ or aren’t already independently wealthy, there’s only one reason to own and continue to invest your time in a business – the money you’re getting from it has to beat your next best alternative for where you could be investing that capital.

This means you need to give serious consideration to how your business is performing and you need to make yourself available and open to alternatives if your money and time would be better invested elsewhere.

You don’t have to be a prisoner to a business or to the way you’re doing business as of this moment. Hell, a job might even be better for you.

Having an awareness of more options you can deploy in order to grow your profit by bringing more value to the world is what will allow you to have a successful business. Being aware of more possibilities with your market, your distribution and your opportunities and taking action on them can be your competitive advantage.

If your business was a mutual fund, would you buy it?

Leveraging Geometry In Your Marketing

There’s two kinds of leverage you can acquire in business.

The first kind is where you go borrow money or finance something and hope that what you spend the money or the credit on can help you pay what you now owe. A lot of people abuse this kind of leverage and get themselves in big trouble with it.

The second kind is massive upside leverage.

Leverage marketing is comprised of looking at all the aspects of your business in terms of how many more ways can you leverage up while minimizing risks.

So you think about how you can get more out of . . .

  • The people you work with or who work for you . . .
  • Your processes . . .
  • Your marketing promotions . . .
  • Your products . . .
  • Everything you pour time or money into

There’s two ways of thinking: You optimize or you sub-optimize

You want to look to optimize according to impact. Focus on optimizing the aspects of your business that are going to make the biggest difference. This begins with identifying all of your impact points and each of their importance.

There is a band of variation throughout all performance-based processes.

You want to isolate these processes and then you analyze how people are performing each of them. You want to figure out who are the highest performers of each process and find what they do different and then you want to teach to everyone else.

If you raise everyone else’s performance with this process as a result of doing this and you do this over the span of multiple processes, you’ve impacted your results geometrically.

You’re ability to affect your processes is a form of leverage.

“A business not consistently examined is not worth owning.” – Socrates Abraham

Almost nobody is gifted enough to have reached an optimal performance on the very first thing they tried.

And yet almost nobody is willing to test and experiment beyond the 1 or 2 things they learned to do when they got into business that they’re comfortable with because they’d rather deal with the devil they know than the one they don’t.

Most people either fail or are mediocre because they are scared and lazy and they settle for staying that way.

Optimization relies on you having a clear understanding of all the strategies and tactics available for you to pursue.

Optimization isn’t possible if you aren’t aware of a broader sense of all the options that are open to you – for offers, markets, reducing risk to you and your customers, media, etc.