Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Fatal Flaw Most People Make When Networking!

Tomorrow, I will attend my favorite networking event, the 8 Minute Ripple (Actually, it’s probably the only networking event I go to with any regularity). It’s always a lot of fun.

But it got me to thinking about networking.

I notice one fatal flaw most people make at events. It’s not the 30-second elevator speeches or bad impressions. Nope. The fatal flaw most people make is...

…lack of follow-up.

I employ a sound follow up strategy. I send out e-mail to the people I meet. But typically, I try to make connections with people at the events, so that when I do e-mail them it's not something like:


“Hi X,

This is Carlon Haas, marketing consultant. I would be interested in helping your company get better results from its advertising…blah, blah, blah,”


Can you say “delete me” any faster?

Instead on the initial follow-up, I try to make it more personal--focused around a point of interest we both shared. For example,


“Hi X,

This is Carlon Haas from X event last night. I really enjoyed talking with you about the meaning of life and about your work as an acupuncturist. As I told you, I lived in South Korea for 6 years, so I am interested in Eastern medicine because of the results it got for me when I hurt my back in Korea…."


See the difference? Following up is crucial to networking…without it, you’re just wasting your money to attend the event. And by trying to make interesting connections while you’re at the event, it makes the follow up process a whole lot easier.

Try this method at your next networking event.

To Your Success,

Carlon Hass


P.S. #1 The lines are filling up fast for my FREE teleseminar on February 6th at 1:00 CST with Steve Harper “How to Rapidly Grow Your Business & Make 2007 Your Best Year Ever!” Please don’t wait to register. Seating is limited. We would like to take all-comers, but unfortunately 250 lines were the maximum we could take out.

Just go here and answer the question. Then, you’ll get the call details delivered to your inbox. I look forward to "hearing” you on the call.


P.S. #2 If you want to meet me at the 8 Minute Ripple tomorrow at 5:30, sign up here. It’s being held at the Small Business Development Program's work center. I hope to see some of you there.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Carlon is Humiliated! You Benefit!

A few weeks ago I pulled a lat muscle. Now, if you’ve never pulled a lat muscle, let me tell you something:

…you are lucky!

It hurts like heck, and you use it to lift, while you're sitting, and it hurts every time you twist your body.

Well, after taking it easy for the past few weeks (treadmills are boring) and with the break that the big bad ice storm of 2007 gave us, I was ready to get back to some weight training.

But not wanting to take any chances, I was pretty much on light weight training (and for full disclosure, my gym activities do NOT include lifting heavy weights...I have no intention to be the next wannabe Schwarzenegger.)

Anyway, so I was hitting the weights. Pumping the 8-pound dumbbells. All the while, I had a small Asian woman half my size pumping 12-pound dumbbells on one side of me with these two extremely ripped guys curling 65-pound dumbbells in their hands on the other side.

Both small Asian woman and extremely ripped guys were doing quite well while I was grimacing in pain from the 8-pounders. All the while, they would glance at me with a "what-the-heck-is-your-problem-8-pound-lifitng-boy" face. I’m not sure how other people saw this when viewing this scene, but let's just say that my "coolness" factor at the gym probably took a hit.

But guess what? It’s better to work your way up slowly than to re-injure yourself. And I know that the ripped guys and the short Asian woman probably won't even remember who I am next time I hit the gym.

Why am I telling you about my humiliating experience at the gym?

It’s to teach you a very valuable marketing lesson. Here it is:

It’s OK to embarrass yourself.

What I mean is that most people are so afraid that their marketing will fail, they either do nothing or wait so long until it’s “perfect” that they miss out on an opportunity.

I know it’s hard for some of you to think like this, but marketing is not a reflection upon you as a person. If your marketing fails, it's not because you failed. You just have to pick yourself up and try again (all the while learning why you failed...which is why it is important for you to be testing while you market so you can measure results). The best marketing lessons I learned was from campaigns that failed. It’s all part of the process.

And just like the short Asian woman and the ripped guys at the gym will forget about me…

…if you fail, no one will remember your failed campaign, except you.

But trust me they will remember the ones that succeed.

So, if you get anything from this, remember this:

It’s better to put out something good today than to put something “perfect” out tomorrow.

So, get out there and get marketing...start a Google AdWords campaign, work on a direct mail piece, go network…do anything; do something…just don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid of being embarrassed. It'll pass. It always does.

Get out there and get marketing,

Carlon Haas

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Real Reason You Should Hate SPAM!

Let's talk about SPAM, shall we?

I read a very interesting article about new tactics by spammers. If you’d like the details, you can read it here:


As some of you know, I HATE SPAM! As a marketer, I understand why people use it.

  1. It’s free.
  2. It’s a numbers game.
  3. Sooner or later, someone will buy.

And the reason it’s so prevalent is #1. You can get access to tens of thousands of people for peanuts. And more than likely you will make money (think #3). Because it’s a numbers game (#2).

But I don’t hate SPAM for the reason most people hate it (and, yes, I delete hundreds of SPAM e-mails and have had to close several e-mail accounts because of them). I hate SPAM because it’s very short-sighted and in the end bad for business.

Every good marketer knows that good marketing is about building a relationship with your customer. SPAM will get you a transaction, but it will most likely not get you a client.

Let me re-phrase this:

You make a sale to get the customer. You don’t get the customer to make a sale.

When you create strong relationships between you and your clients, you are not only giving your clients the best value but you are also making more money.

When you consider what one good client will spend with you over the lifetime of your relationship, it starts to ad up. But don’t just stop there. A happy client refers you to other people. Then think about how much that referral will spend with you.

That’s called lifetime value of a customer.

Spammers don’t get it.

But I think you do.

The best way is to build a list of people who are interested in what you have to offer. They best way is to put an opt-in on your web page or blog (like the one I have in the top right corner). Then, get their permission to send them e-mails (I recommend using a double opt-in method where they confirm their interest). And also give them a way out if they no longer want what you have to offer.

It’s easy and it will build you a qualified list of prospects. And then all you have to do is keep in contact on a regular basis, give them content (not a sales pitch in every e-mail) and let them know when you have something of value to offer them. They may not always buy, but at least they will be interested, unlike…

…this piece of SPAM poetry I received today:

of something else or related to something else, are explained by place in themselves, these cannot be said to be capable of admitting thing takes place. It is by themselves changing that substances at another black, at one time warm, at another cold, at one time good,”

You just can’t make this stuff up…

Get out there & get marketing,

Carlon Haas


P.S. Paris responds! Check out "Paris Hilton's" response to my blog entry about her.

Monday, January 15, 2007

What Paris Hilton Can Teach You About Marketing!

I stumbled across a brilliant post here about Paris Hilton.

You can read it here.

Or I’ll just sum it up for you. The real reason Paris Hilton is so famous is because of the attention she gives other people. We tend to think of Paris Hilton promoting herself, but listen to Paris sometime (…I know it’s hard but just try it).

Whenever she goes out, she mentions other people—clubs, restaurants, her clothing labels. She’s like a walking product placement. In fact, she’s gotten so good at getting other people attention that she’s even been paid just to attend a club.

Can’t beat that gig.

It seems the more attention she gives other people, the more attention they give her. And this is brilliant marketing. It’s also an idea that my good friend Steve Harper advocates in his book. It’s the idea that the more you do for others, the more will come to you. Harper calls it the ROI of selflessness.

Well…Paris Hilton is living proof that is does work.

Usually business owners think of marketing as promoting their product or service. But marketing is so much more. It’s about being a resource. Paris Hilton is a resource for her “fans”.

She’ll tell you what clothes are hot. The “in” drinks. What car is cool. Say what you want about her, but for the people that love her, she gives and gives and gives (and, no, I am not referring in any way to her infamous video…and I will reject any comment made about it…I came here not to bury Paris but to praise her).

You can do the same thing. For your clients. For the people that buy form you. Don't just be a person who tries to sell something. Be a resource.

And in that vein…you are going to be seeing some MAJOR changes to the carlonhaas.com web site. I am still using the one page sales letter format, which has worked well for me. But it seems that the more I try to get out of the copywriting and marketing business, the more my ex-clients keep pulling me back in (like the aforementioned leader of the Ripple mafia).

So, I am moving to make my web site a valuable resource for those who need marketing advice or tips on copywriting.

I’ll also be doing some exciting FREE tele-seminars within this month (again, because of the that darned Ripple mafia). All subscribers to blog updates will get the details in the next couple of days. If you don’t subscribe to updates, just fill out the box on the right-hand side and then confirm when you get the e-mail confirmation.

Stay tuned…and Paris

…could you mention the “No Excuses Marketing & Business Building Blog” next time you’re asked about anything? Or just mention how much you respect the work of Carlon Haas. That’s Carlon with an “O” and Haas with 2 a’s.

Thanks Paris…I’ll owe you one.

Get out there & get marketing,

Carlon Haas

Friday, January 12, 2007

What Borat Can Teach You About Marketing!

Although the Borat phenom has died down, at least until the DVD comes out, I have found the movie to be an interesting conversation starter. Over the Christmas holidays, I had the pleasure of talking with a marketing person whose blog I’d love to link to but can’t because it’s private.

She had seen Borat. But unlike most people she hated it. Like me, she spent a long time overseas and saw it differently than most people.

And that got me thinking. I put on my marketing hat, and despite all the social commentary (AKA crap) I’ve heard about Borat, I gleaned a couple of good marketing lessons from the movie. And it has a lot to do with “American” attitudes the movie exposed.

#1: Americans are way too nice.

Let me put it more bluntly—we’re so damned afraid to offend anybody that we’ll agree with almost anything--even a bunch of racist garbage spouted by a fictional Kazak reporter.

What does this have to do with marketing?

I’m afraid it has everything to do with marketing. How many ads do you see there that are so bland because they don’t want to offend someone. And the result is no one buys.

Look, if you are marketing, you are only marketing to a certain group of people. You should be offending someone. for example, when I market, I seek to create ads that gets a response. In other words, it gets people emotional.

And emotion=sales. Who gives a damn if someone who will never buy your product anyway was offended? Do not be afraid to offend people.

I think the people in the movie were just too damned afraid of offending Borat that they just nodded their heads and agreed with him. Too bad. That’s why they looked like idiot in a lot of the scenes.

#2 Americans would rather make money suing people than marketing

The aftermath of the movie had the laughing more than the movie itself. What the hell is that etiquette lady doing suing Borat? Here’s some advice for her. WAKE UP!!!! You just got yourself a WHOLE bunch of publicity!!!

In your marketing materials, you put a big ol’ sticker on it that says, “As featured in American’s #1 Movie Borat”. Hell, you even put brand yourself as “Borat’s personal etiquette coach". Then tell a story on how "Borat" is still a work in progress.

But I guess losing a lawsuit looks like a more wining proposition to her.

Oh well…as an aside Sacha Baron Cohen (who played Borat) is a friggin’ genius. Sacha, if you’re listening, count me in for Borat 2…oh, and my 3-year-old daughter loved you in Madagascar!

To your Continuing Success,

Carlon Haas

P.S. Look for some big changes to my web site in the coming weeks. And I’ll have some FREE stuff for my blog readers. So, stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Want More Money? Wear a Suit!

For independent professionals, YOU are the product. When people buy your services, they are in effect buying you. And the way you are perceived by prospects starts with one thing...

…your appearance.

Some time ago, I went to hear a speaker at a group for people looking for jobs. Here I was in a roomful of people looking for ways to improve their chances of getting a job and possibly network with people looking to hire.

Guess who was the only male in the room with a tie on?

You guessed it…me.

And the best-dressed female?

The speaker at the event.

When I brought this up to someone, they looked at me like I was nuts. And I am shocked at how many people I meet who show up in jeans and T-shirts. (I've heard the refrain over and over...but this is Austin, man...so fellow Austinites, don't deluge me with "this-is-Austin-everyone-wears-jeans-justification e-mails)

I'll be honest about this. I hate wearing suits. And I’m not the biggest fan of ties. I wish I could go around wearing whatever I wanted and that people would understand that I am expressing my individuality and appreciate me for it. But unfortunately...

…I live in the real world—not the world of “how-it-should-be”.

You are judged by your appearance. I'm not saying it’s right. I’m not saying it’s fair.

It’s not right and it’s not fair.

But I don’t make the rules.

I’ll give you one example.

I once worked with a speaker who was looking to improve his sales from the back of the room. I told him that if he wanted to increase sales after a speech, he may want to consider wearing a suit when he gave his talk.

“But Carlon,” he exclaimed. “I want people to see me as one of them. I don't want to come off as being ‘corporate’. That's not who I am."

To this I simply replied, “No. You want people to see you as someone worth listening to. And frankly, if you don’t look valuable, then they will treat you as someone with nothing of value to offer."

I challenged him to speak to 2 similar groups. During one speech he could wear what he usually wears, and at the second group, wear a suit.

Want to guess which set of clothes increased his sales?

Needless to say, he wears a suit whenever he gives a talk and wears one at all the networking events he attends.

And that same advice goes for anyone. If you want people to value you…If you want people to take you as a serious professional, then you have to dress like one.

Your bottom line will thank you many times over.

To Your Continued Success,

Carlon Haas


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Throw Out Your Business Books!

What I’m about to say may seem slightly controversial. It might even sound sacrilegious.

But here goes:

Some time back, I was at a networking function. During the course of a conversation I was having with a very nice woman, she told me how she only reads business books.

“I don’t even bother with fiction," she informed me. She told me how inspired they made her. How much she learned.

Strange, I thought. I did like business books. And for the past few months I had done nothing but read business books too. But, that got me thinking.

I began reflecting on my reading habits. Business books were good, but they lacked something. And I felt that I was lacking something by just reading them. So, decided something right then and there.

So, what did I do? I’ll tell you, and I’m going to advise you to do them same.

Call me crazy, but…

…I threw out the business books! Every single one of them. Well, I didn’t literally throw them out, but I stopped reading them. And I advise you too to stop reading them this minute.

Instead, read FICTION. It can be literature, Stephen King, or whatever.

This is what I’ve done. I went back to read my anthology Best American Short Stories 2004

I'm a couple of years behind, but no matter. I should finish 2004 and 2005 by the end of the month.

The truth is I love literature. And I read A LOT of fiction.

But I’m a marketer and copywriter, right? What good does fiction do me? Well, I’ll tell you. Fiction is all about stories, and STORIES SELL.

Business books are great, and I can almost guarantee you that the most successful ones are filled with stories. And stories do a good job of selling products. Look no further than Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods. If you go through the food isles, every product has a story behind it. And people love stories.

And they will love the stories you tell about you, your product, or your business. And the more they love your story, the more willing they will be to buy from you.

So, get up and start reading some stories. Then, incorporate stories into your marketing. The results will speak for themselves.

To Your Continuing Success,

Carlon Haas


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Want to Sell More? Tell the Truth

I came across an interesting article which should be a cautionary tale for marketers.  

It seems that makers of some popular diet pills were hit with $25 million dollars in fines for false advertising.  If you’d like to read the whole thing, you can go here.

I have said this before and I’ll say it again, when you put out an ad, any ad, you need to be able to back up your facts.  

Diet pills aside (I don’t have a very high opinion on the diet pill industry and do not write copy for this industry),the marketers in this case got hit for making false claims.  

But I have a more radical idea…

…and this is a good lesson for all business owners and marketers…

…know what it is…

…tell the TRUTH!  

That's it.  Just tell the truth.  Adn you know what?  When you do tell the truth, people do respond.  

If the diet pill companies wanted me to write their copy, I might consider it if I could write something like this:

“Our pills will NOT “magically” suck the excess fat from your body while you eat junk food every night and the only form of exercise you engage in is walking to and from the refrigerator.  

If and, only if, you change your diet and exercise regularly will you lose weight.  Our pills are not a substitute for diet and exercise but are an aid to help you along the way and help you get there faster.”

OK.  Now, I am positive this would not work.  Most of these types of ads are sure to make the claim that someone can lose weight without diet and exercise.  But I think my version is honest.  

And honest has been known to sell. A famous story about advertising legend James Webb Young is how his crop of apples was hit by a hailstorm one year causing the apples to be scarred.

These apples were only damaged cosmetically.  So, what does he do?  He tells the truth.  He put a note in all the crates of apples shipped saying that the fact that these apples are scarred proves that they were grown in high mountains in a cold climate that produces hail storms.  In fact, he added, these imperfections only made the apples firmer and sweeter.  

The result?  

Not one order was returned.  

So, there you have it--truth in advertising.  It’s powerful.  It works.  And it’s the law.  

To your continued success,

Carlon Haas

Monday, January 01, 2007

No Excuses for 2007

Dear Marketing Pros,

2006 is over.

Done with.


How was your 2006?   Did you do the things you wanted to do?  Achieve the things you wanted to achieve? And last night, amid a vast array of booze and indecent party snacks, did you make your New Year’s resolution?

Well, if you did, my advice is to…

…NOT make any resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions hardly ever work.  And I think it’s because most people don’t know that resolution, at its root, contains the word resolve.  When you resolve to do something, you are determined to do it.  Nothing should stand in your way.

But how long does it take after New Year’s for your resolve to fail?   And let's not just stop at New Year's.  In 2006, I saw the beginnings of many good marketing campaigns fail because the business owner lacked the resolve, determination, and perseverance to make it work.  

And that’s the point, my friends.  Marketing takes a firm resolve to see it through.  It’s about taking the time to build relationships with your clients.  Without resolve to see it through, even the best-laid marketing plans are a waste of time and money.  I’ve worked with plenty of entrepreneurs who swear to me that direct marketing doesn’t work because, “I sent out one letter and didn’t get much of a response, therefore it doesn’t work.”  

Phooey…if “instant” results is what they wanted, then they should not be in business.  It’s like the guy who asks a woman to marry him on the first date and when she refuses says, “Well, she must not like me because she doesn’t want to marry me.”  Sounds silly, but this is exactly how many people try to market—marriage on the first date.  

But in business and in life, it’s not always about marketing.  Success itself depends on your mindset.  

And this is why I’m telling you now…

…throw out those New Year’s resolutions.  

You can make those resolutions ANY TIME YOU WANT but make them only when you have the resolve to see them through!  Because without that resolve, you will fall victim to excuse after excuse and then wonder why you are failing.  

I’m not just telling you this because I read some stupid self-help book or watched some movie that changed my life.  It’s all from my own experience.  This year I stopped biting my nails.  And almost 4 years ago I stopped smoking (January 7th, 2003).  You see, movies and books don’t change lives…

…people do.  

And the person change starts with is you.  No movie or book worth its salt has ever told me anything different.  

2006 was a good year for me.  It was the beginning of my No Excuses mentality that has changed the way I approach business and marketing.  It was the beginning of new business ventures.  

And 2007 promises to be a great year for me, and I’m hoping to share that with all of you.  

So, let’s throw out those resolutions, and with those resolutions let’s throw out our book of excuses and get to work in 2007.  

Don’t let anything hold you back…

...especially yourself.  

To Your Success,

Carlon Haas