One of my favorite marketing books, actually just one of my favorite books, is a book called “Appreciation Marketing” by Tommy Wyatt and Curtis Lewsey. The subtitle to their book is how to achieve greatness through gratitude. Basically what they outlined throughout the book are different ways to make people feel like a million bucks.
My favorite chapter in the book, chapter 5, is entitled “Chocolate Frosted Dog Crap”. If that's not a title that grabs your attention I don't know what will. I teach workshops many times throughout the year and I reference this book and this particular chapter as often as I can. It’s so catchy and I wish I could take credit for it. (When you’re done reading this chapter go to appreciationmarketing.com and buy the book).
So just imagine this, it's your birthday and your friends and family have made you a beautiful chocolate cake. Or so you thought it was chocolate cake. They set it down in front of you and you take your fork to have your first bite of this delicious chocolate yumminess and then it hits you…
You just received, chocolate frosted dog crap!
Sure it looked like cake on the outside but once you bit into it you realized it was just dog crap with chocolate frosting on it. I know it's gross just thinking about it and it really pushes the envelope but the authors of appreciation marketing really hit this one on the head. So let's check out exactly how chocolate frosted dog crap might look in our world today.
Remember the example above… it's your birthday. You go to the mailbox and find a birthday card from a a friend of yours who also happens to be a real estate agent. Everyone loves to get personal mail in the mailbox because nowadays it's all just junk mail right? And most people don't even send birthday cards anymore so you're extremely excited that you've got a birthday card in the mail. You open the envelope and pull out the card and read the birthday wishes. You're thinking to yourself… "This is awesome that I got a birthday card from my buddy when I never even got one from my brother:"… And as you get to the end of the card you smell something odd. Could it be? Oh no! You just received chocolate frosted dog crap!
Want to know what exactly was in this card that made it smell and taste so bad? Well here it is…the real estate agent wrote an awesome message on the card for your birthday. And you made it all the way to the end of the card where finally it said… “By the way, I'm never too busy for your referrals!” And just like that...BAM. Chocolate frosted dog crap!
What you just realized is that your friend took your special day and made it a marketing piece. Rather than make it about you, your day, your feelings…he turned the tables and made it about him. He had a wonderful opportunity to make you feel like a million bucks on your special day. The funny thing is he was actually there. You were so impressed that you got a card from your friend and perhaps it was the ONLY birthday card you received this year. And all he had to do was simply sign his own name at the end and leave it at that. The guy would be your hero for life would’t he?
Here's the lesson; your friends and relatives know what you do for living. They don't need you marketing to them every chance you get. If you want to send them a marketing piece then by all means send them a marketing piece. If you want to say thank you, happy birthday, get well soon or any other number of those things…then do just that without mixing your marketing message in with everything else.
I'll share another example with you that isn't quite as stinky but it's a complete waste of money in my opinion. Each year my insurance agent sends our family a Christmas card or Thanksgiving card. There is absolutely nothing genuine or authentic about these cards. They are 100% a marketing piece. The only difference between that card and the one you received from your friend is that the card you received from your friend was disguised as chocolate cake. The card you received from your insurance agent didn't have the chocolate frosting on it. It was just dog crap.
I firmly believe if all the insurance companies stopped sending useless Christmas and Thanksgiving cards and instead donated that money to the government to reduce our national debt they’d be responsible for making a huge difference in our economy. How’s that for a Christmas present?
Now let me give you an example of a card that had exactly the opposite effect. Three years ago on our anniversary my wife and I were traveling from Seattle to San Francisco where we would be attending a week long seminar that we were really looking forward to. When we booked our airline tickets we decided to fly on an airline that we had never been on before. When we were waiting for our plane to take off in Seattle the airline employees behind the gate counter were more than engaging with all the passengers and when they came across the public address system and announced that our flight was delayed 30 minutes there was no grumbling anywhere in the area. We took notice that the passengers seemed more relaxed than other airlines we had flown on. They were happy and smiling and looked like they were all friends and were all going on vacation together. At the ramp next to us another airline was getting ready to board their flight and everyone looked miserable. I’m not kidding. Two airlines side by side at exactly the same time in the morning and the experience of the passengers could not be more opposite.
After our airline announced a flight delay the employees behind the counter called for any passengers who want to compete in a paper airplane contest to come to the counter. Contestants were to make their own paper airplane and then all stood together waiting for “flight instructions”. The employees had each person, one by one, “launch” their airplane and the winner would be determined by whose plane flew the farthest.
I had to glance at the airline next to us again. While our passengers cheered on their “paper pilots” the other airline may as well have had someone sticking their passengers with a cattle prod to keep them moving towards the aircraft.
I was just simply amazed watching the employees and how they were able to make the passengers laugh and smile even amid a 30 minute delay. I think the passengers would have been okay with a 60 minute delay just so we could all see what the next game would have been.
Before we boarded we had taken a long shot to see if there were any available first class upgrades since it was our anniversary that day. We were not able to get first-class seating but felt even more than special when, at 32,000 feet, the pilot of the aircraft came over the intercom and announced that the Murry's sitting in seats 12 A and 12 B were having a special day and asked the flight crew and passengers to join him in wishing us a happy anniversary. I have to admit, I felt like a rock star when everyone on an airplane was shouting and clapping just for us! When we landed in San Francisco and were exiting the aircraft we approached the cockpit. The pilot and copilot reached out to shake our hands and invited us into the cockpit to take pictures with them. As the other passengers simply walked off the aircraft we sat in the cockpit, in the seats where the pilot and co-pilot fly the aircraft, and took pictures as we laughed and shared stories with one another. It was by far the most incredible flight we had taken together in our lives. There isn't even a close second.
A week later we returned home to Seattle after our seminar had ended. When we got to our mailbox and pulled out a weeks worth of mail we found one envelope that stood out from the rest. It stood out because it was just a plain white envelope. Everything else was an advertisement of some sort or had business logos that let you know exactly who was sending you mail. We opened the envelope and retrieved the hand written card that was inside. The sender thanked us for choosing to fly on their airline. She wished us a happy anniversary… again. And she made mention that the pilots enjoyed our cockpit conversation. Nowhere on the card or the envelope was the logo of the airline. in fact, nowhere on the card or envelope was the name of the airline except where the sender chose to thank us for flying with them. The entire card was handwritten in blue ink. And the sender? We assumed it must have been from a corporate muckety muck. It had to be from the vice president of customer service or something similar right? Wrong. The sender of the card was the woman behind the counter…the same woman who initiated the paper airplane flying contest!
I know you're wondering which airline it was. And I can tell you whenever we travel we always look to see if Virgin Airlines can get us there! We promote them on social media. We tell our friends to fly Virgin Airlines every chance we get. I share this story when I speak in front of groups and encourage everyone in attendance to fly Virgin Airlines. When we fly we don't look at price first we simply go to their website and see if they service the city we’re going to. The only time we fly on any other airline is if Virgin Airlines doesn't go where we're going. We are stark raving maniacal fans.
Now back to my insurance agent. I don't think that I've ever sent him one referral. His phony Christmas cards we get each year do nothing to make me feel special. I'm not saying he's a bad guy because he's actually a great guy. But he's just like the other 500 people within 30 miles of our house that just sell insurance. He’s not, nor are most other agents I know, the Virgin Airlines of their industry.
I wonder what might happen for his business if he sent out 10 handwritten cards to different clients each month? What if he received just one good referral from each one that actually became a client...in just one year. But he sent out 120 cards over the year right? With just one referral each over the course of a year he could have 120 new clients paying him residually each and every month! Wow!
Unfortunately, I think I can look forward to another crappy card at Christmas time. I can’t imagine how much money they spend each year just sending all their clients nationwide a crappy Christmas card (you know every agent does it!).
Chocolate frosted dog crap also runs rampant in the network marketing industry. If you haven't had some sort of experience with this one you've probably lived under a rock your entire life. Let me give you a prime example…
A business acquaintance sent me an email and asked if we could get together for coffee soon to catch up. I agreed to the meeting and asked him what we would be discussing. He said he just wanted to learn more about what my wife and I were up to and learn more about our business. I specifically asked him if he was going to try and recruit me into something which he had done in the past. He assured me that he just wanted to “catch up”.
We set a date and time for a few days later and I waited for the day to arrive. We agreed to meet at a coffee shop that was fairly close to my house. That particular day I found myself at home without a car since my wife was using it for her own appointments and hadn’t returned home yet. She had texted me that she was running late and I was afraid I was going to be late for my appointment. So I locked the house and headed for the coffee shop...on foot...as in walking.
This particular coffee shop is between four and five miles from my house. Walking was not going to get me there in time. So I combined walking with running hoping that I would make it on time. Fortunately about halfway to the coffee shop my wife drove by, picked me up, and drove me the rest of the way. As I sat down I looked at the time on my iPhone… 1:55 PM. I had five minutes to spare for our 2 o'clock meeting.
2:10 PM came and went. I hadn't heard from him but figured maybe he was just running late. 2:20 PM came and went. Again… I didn't hear from them. At 2:30 PM I decided I'd waited long enough, sent him a text, and headed home. At 2:45 PM I saw his name come up on my caller ID on my iPhone but honestly I was just too pissed off to even answer it and instead let it go to voicemail. He left me a message that said he wasn't going to be able to make it and asked if we could reschedule.
I could not believe what I was listening to! Are you freaking kidding me??? Here's a guy who asked me for an appointment and then 45 minutes after the scheduled appointment calls me to say he wouldn't be able to make it.
Later that evening we traded Facebook IM’s back and forth and he was very apologetic. He asked if we could please reschedule our appointment as he was very interested in learning more about what we were doing for our business. Although my gut said no way my brain said yes and I rescheduled the appointment. Fortunately, he showed early the second time around. He asked me a few questions about our business and it was easy to tell that my answers were falling on deaf ears. He had a “deer in the headlights” look about him and it felt beyond awkward. In his mind I am sure he felt like he was genuine since he did in fact ask me about my business.
And then it happened…
Chocolate frosted dog crap!
He went into full-blown network marketing recruiting mode! He started by telling me about all the services his company provided and soon grabbed a notebook to diagram the compensation plan for me. Never once did he ask me if I was interested in learning more about his company. And if you remember I specifically asked if he was trying to recruit me into something, to which he answered no.
He just grabbed a chocolate frosted dog crap firehose, pointed directly at me, and opened up full blast! After 45 minutes of him vomiting all over me I couldn't take anymore and made up an excuse to leave. He had absolutely no interest in me other than recruiting me into his business.
I would bet that you have had someone do this to you or even worse yet...you've done it to someone else. If this is you, stop it immediately! Not only are you making it more difficult for you but also for every other network marketer on the planet that is trying to build their dreams. There is absolutely nothing wrong with network marketing. There is however something very wrong with chocolate frosted dog crap!
In everything we do it’s all about the presentation. How do we present ourselves to clients or potential clients? How do we present ourselves to friends and family or members of the opposite sex? How do we present ourselves to our community?
Let me paint a picture that will explain “presentation” even better.
Imagine going to your favorite restaurant. They have the 20 ounce rib eye steak as their daily special and your mouth starts salivating just thinking about it. You order the steak along with a fully loaded baked potato. Thinking about all that melting butter combined with the sour cream, chives and bacon makes you even hungrier. Since it is a special night you also order the onion ring “tower” with that tangy special sauce you love so much.
From your table you actually have a clear view into the kitchen and watching the other meals being delivered to tables near you makes your stomach growl. You glance back into the kitchen just waiting to see them plate your dinner and deliver it as soon as possible. But what you see next startles you. The chef has completed someone’s meal but rather than reach for a clean plate he reaches for the garbage can near him. He grabs the lid and turns it over and places the food on top. You are in complete shock to see the chef put someones meal on a garbage can lid but that still doesn’t compare to the feelings you experience next. You see YOUR server in the kitchen pick up the garbage can lid full of food and walk towards you. It can’t be. She’s actually delivering YOUR MEAL!
Think about it. The same food that was so appetizing on a clean plate isn’t so appetizing on a garbage can lid is it? All that changed was the presentation. The question to ask yourself is....
Where in my life do I present MYSELF on a garbage can lid? Where in my life do I present myself as chocolate frosted dog crap?
Now go over to AppreciationMarketing.com and buy the book!
Ignite-U - (scroll down for more info)
***About the authors of Appreciation Marketing***
Tommy Wyatt was born in upstate New York the oldest of three boys. At 23, he took an hourly-wage job as a sports writer at a small weekly newspaper called The Newtown Bee. During a ten-year career at The Bee, he followed a passion for people and for sports, coaching Little League Baseball and starring in men’s league softball. Midway through his journalism career, Tommy became sports editor and his received honors from The New England Press Association in each of the five years he ran the sports section.
In 1998, Tommy was introduced to network marketing and subsequently walked away from a job he loved. It would be his last. Through network marketing and direct sales, Tommy grew an organization of tens of thousands of distributors which spanned seven countries. During that time, he traveled the world speaking in front of large audiences and training on the principles of relationships, networking and team building.
Throughout his tenure in the industry, which saw him reach the top 1% globally, Tommy lectured at many prestigious universities including Harvard, Yale, and the University of Connecticut on the topic of entrepreneurship.
Before co-authoring this book, he wrote (but never published) “We Were All Sports Heroes,” and contributed a chapter in Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen’s “Chicken Soup for the Network Marketer’s Soul” as well as being featured in many other industry publications.
Tommy lives in Connecticut with his wife of 19 years and two young daughters.
Curtis Lewsey grew up in upstate New York as well. He was a middle child growing up with an older brother and two younger sisters.
At the age of 15 Curtis was asked to play for an elite summer baseball league that traveled North America. He was later recruited to play Division I college baseball for Sacred Heart University. His strong work ethic and persistence helped him work his way from the jayvee squad his freshman year to varsity team captain by his senior year.
In his junior year at SHU, Curtis was informed that he’d have to find a way to pay for his own tuition. But baseball, schoolwork, and other school responsibilities prevented him from getting a job. So Curtis started up his own business and earned enough income around his hectic schedule to pay for his final two years.
A week after graduating SHU in 2005, Curtis lost his brother Silas (23), to a freak dirt bike accident. This tragic event made him realize that life can be cut short at anytime.
He took a sales position with Cintas Corporation out of college and rose to op 5% of the company in each of his first two years. Though a great financial success, earning six-figures right out of college, Curtis just never felt right working for someone else. He quit his job, joined forces with Tommy, and started a network marketing distributorship in April 2007 where the two rose to the top position in the company and were named Master Trainers.
In 2012, Curtis split his time living between Melbourne, Australia and Connecticut.