Monday, April 17, 2006

What a 2-year-old Can Teach You About Marketing

I have gotten some good responses the readers of my newsletter today about the latest issue.  So, I thought I’d re-print it here for those who don’t subscribe to it (I wouldn’t want anyone left out).

But I want to add something to this based on feedback I’ve gotten.

The magic word you will learn here especially applies to taking on more work than you can handle.  No matter how much you think you need the money, say the magic word and everything will be all right.

Here’s the issue:


Some of the most important marketing lessons I’ve ever learned have been from my 2 year old.  And one of these lessons is so simple, yet so powerful that I want to share it with all of my readers.

Before I get into it, let me say one thing:  my daughter is a marketing prodigy.  No joke.  

The reason I say this with so much confidence is that I believe most children are brilliant salespeople.  Anyone with a child knows that a child can get a parent to do just about whatever the kid wants.  

The learn-and-adapt mindset for successful marketing comes quite naturally to children.  And I believe that all of us were once brilliant marketers, but we unlearned it through conditioning.  

But enough of my theories already…

…you want to know the powerful marketing lesson--the one word that can get you whatever you want.  

You ready for it?  

That word is...


That’s right...NO.  

I’ve seen too many independent professionals working for bad clients, taking far less than they should all because they can’t say one simple word…NO.  

But there’s good news.  If you have trouble, you can start saying NO right now.  Next time the client from hell calls offering you a new job, just say NO.  

When a prospect asks you to be "competitive" and lower your price, dig in and just say NO.  

The truth is that no one respects a pushover.  And pushovers can’t tell anyone NO.  

Honestly, a lot of people think they are being “nice” by not saying NO.  Or think they’re being nice by giving someone a break on the price when really they just can’t say NO.

If you think you are one of those people who just can't say NO, then I suggest doing an exercise my daughter does (you'll need a partner):

Have someone feed you questions, and say NO to every single one.  Have them change the questions around a bit, and always say NO.  

“Will you write this 2,000 word article for $25?" NO.

“Can you cut your commission down just a bit?” NO.  

“Can you give me a break on the price?” NO.

Once you get really good at saying NO, you’ll find it quite liberating.    My daughter says it quite easily and can pretty much get what she wants because her audience (i.e. parents) know she means business. 

Just to give you an example of the power of NO, I thought I’d share a story.

A music teacher had 2 students she really hated.  They were difficult, lazy, and their parents were even worse.  The students stressed her out considerably.  But she needed the money.

Finally…when they went to continue their lessons, she told their parents NO more.  Damn the peanuts they were paying.  

The result?  

Her teaching improved, stress was gone, and she got four new students the next month.

The story is 100% true, and it illustrates how saying NO can have a profound effect on your business.  

So, channel your inner NO, and you will tap into the secret of getting the best clients and getting the money you deserve.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. If you liked this article, and haven’t done so already, please sign up for this complimentary newsletter at:

Friday, April 14, 2006

If You're Not interested In Music, Don't Read THis!

OK.  This has nothing to do with marketing, but I just can’t help myself.  

I watched American Idol on Tuesday (big mistake), but the truth is I was taken in by the fact that the contestants were singing songs by Queen.  I’m a big Queen fan.  And the show reaffirmed what I already know--Freddie Mercury was one hell of a vocalist!  

After listening to the “singers” trying to deal with Queen’s outrageous chord progressions, I gained a newfound respect for Mercury’s vocals.  When I heard Brian May basically telling that guy Ace to kiss off because Ace wanted him to make “We Will Rock You” easier for him to sing, I couldn’t stop laughing.

Seriously…the American idol producers should be ashamed of themselves for making the "singers" deal with true rock greatness.  

But I digress…

But what really  got me up in arms was the final singer Paris Bennett when she sang, “The Show Must Go On.”

When she got to the chorus, she was trying to get the audience involved with a “come on, come on”.  

Excuse me?  

Did she or did she not bother to take a look at the lyrics?  

A song about inner heartbreak while keeping a smile on.  And the audience is supposed to be whooping and cheering?  

Give me a break!  

Unfortunately, Paris is not alone.  I am disturbed by what I see as a “disconnect” with music.  

Have you noticed it?

I see so many people clueless when they sing songs—oblivious to the lyrics and cut off from its meaning.  

I still remember reading an article about a high school graduation where they played Everclear’s “Everything” and the article described it as beautiful and moving.  

Did anyone bother to listen to the whole song?  I guess parental fighting is a nice theme for a graduation.  

And classical music (one of my great passions) is not immune to this.

I’ve noticed a trend in classical performance where the tempos get sped up a lot.  It may not seem like a big deal, but there are many dark and somber pieces that were written to be played s-l-o-w-l-y.  

I'm not sure why this is happening, and I'm sure there are a ton of people with theories.  But I won’t be putting forth any of them in this blog space.

But I will say this…

If you think you might be one of these people who is out of touch with the meaning of music, I urge you to listen to your favorite song or piece of music and listen to it--really listen to it, and connect with it.  

You’ve got the weekend.  Take your time and enjoy it.  

I’ll be listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and Beethoven's 3rd Symphony--one of my musician friends claimed it was the best of the 9, so I'll listen to it more carefully than I usually do.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, April 10, 2006

The No Excuses Quit Smoking Program (No, I'm not selling anything)

A subscriber to my newsletter sent me an e-mail questioning me about how I quit smoking.  I mentioned that I quit "for real" 9 times before quitting for good years ago.  The reader wanted to know what I meant by "for real".  

I wanted to bring it up in my blog because the truth is that quitting smoking was one thing that actually spawned my “no excuses” mentality.  

Here’s the crux of it:

I had tried to quit smoking almost from the day I started.  I started when I was in Korea (where it seemed like everyone smoked), and I quit for good when I found out my wife was pregnant.  So, I smoked for about 6-7 years.  

All that time when I tried to quit, I never quit “for real”.  The reason is that I always had an excuse for “needing” to smoke.  

I had a bad day.
I had a happy day.
The cravings are killing me.  

When it comes to addiction, any excuse will do.

But one day I looked into the mirror and really told myself that I am addicted to nicotine, and I will not make excuses for it.  

From then on when I tried to quit, when I started smoking again I didn’t make up an excuse.  I told myself honestly that I couldn’t beat the addiction.

  And this pattern repeated itself 9 times till finally my pregnant wife was the final thing that pushed me over the top.  I don't consider any of the other times I tried to quit smoking to be real attempts because I was always looking for an excuse--any excuse--to start smoking again.  

But by admitting the addiction…by not allowing myself to make excuses for why I couldn’t quit…I did in fact quit.

Now, I won’t lie.  I went on the patch, stopped doing things I associated with smoking, and used all sorts of other “aids” to help me quit.  

But I believe, all success begins with our mental attitude.  It’s that way for quitting smoking (ask any ex-smoker) and it’s that way for business success.  

When you have the right attitude, you really can do anything.  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas

Friday, April 07, 2006

An Excuse For Not Blogging? Perish The Thought!

The No Excuses Blog has fallen silent…

…readers are in full revolt mode—demanding to know why they’re no longer getting blog updates.  

Would you like to hear an excuse?  

Of course you didn’t.  And I have none to give.  Nada.  Zip.

But I will bring you a lesson from the silent blog.  

Time management.  

I am perhaps the most disorganized person in the world.  Without a routine, I cannot get anything accomplished.  And that really is an understatement.  

Over the last 2 weeks, my marketing efforts have been so successful that my workload has turned upside down…

….and because of that I broke my routine.

BIG mistake.  

Some people will tell you that you have to stay “flexible” in your time.  And that’s true to some extent.  You have to be able to keep a certain amount of flexibility in your schedule.  

But that doesn’t mean putting things off.  And it certainly doesn’t mean changing your schedule on a daily basis.  

In my routine, I devote certain blocks of time to my daily tasks (some of which are not work-related).  I take 30 minutes a day to blog, 30 minutes to practice the violin, and 30 minutes to exercise, and 30 minutes to study Korean.  

Have I done any of it the last 2 weeks?  

That’s a BIG FAT NO.  

The results?  

No blog entries, I’ve made no progress on my violin, I gained 2 pounds, and my Korean is stagnating.  

So, listen up: learn from this mistake.  

Keep your routines.  A routine will save you and serve you when you are overwhelmed.  Routines also pack in the most productivity in the shortest amount of time, so you can spend that extra time doing the things you REALLY want to be doing.  

If you have a routine that works for you, I'd like to hear it.   Feel free to e-mail it, and I will post some of them here on this blog or in my No Excuses Marketing Newsletter (which was delayed this week due to breaking my routine).  

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas