Shaz Nawaz is the Managing Director of a very successful accountancy firm called AA Accountants, based in Peterborough. He came to see me because he was launching a new information product into the day nursery market which he is passionate about. However he was unsure how to make this work.
He was looking for clarity and structure for his new business.
Before he came I did lots of background research about Shaz, his company and his business ventures. I also read all his ebooks and his published materials.
I got Shaz to list out 20-30 questions which I would answer on the day.
He kindly recorded a video testimonial in which he says:
“I was so impressed with Chris that I booked two further meetings. I now have a very clear action plan on what will go in the info product.
“We spoke about the up-sell, the down-sell, and how everything would work in specific detail. That was more than I was expecting from the meeting.
“I am now working on the info product and my next meeting with Chris will be to review the product, finalise it, and take it to market – including writing the sales copy, having the landing pages, and working on everything to get that product up and going.
“I would wholeheartedly recommend working with Chris because he is the ‘go to’ guy. “
You can watch his full 3-minute testimonial below…
I also got a testimonial from Aasiyah Joseph, one of his colleagues who joined us for the day.
She said, “Before we came to see Chris he wanted to know what we wanted and what we expected from our time together, so we had a really clear view of what we were going to get from the day.
“He has clearly got a lot of experience in the trade, knows his stuff, knows the people, the shakers and movers. He knows what works.”
You can watch her full 90-second testimonial below…
I recently attended a GKIC meeting in which Shaz was giving a 45 minutes speech. At one point in his speech he started talking about heuristics and mentioned me. He said “Chris is a very good friend of mine. And he is my coach/mentor and we work together.” He then asked me to explain heuristics.
Simon Chaplin is a very successful accountant based in Peterborough who helps small business owners take their companies to the next level through his advanced mentoring group which meets for a full day every month except August.
I have helped him with a number of projects.
One time he asked me to rewrite the online sales letter for a one-day Bravest Business event.
I started by interviewing him over the phone to get his ‘rags to riches’ story. This took nearly an hour. I recorded the call and took plenty of notes and created a structure I was happy with, pulling out the most dramatic and interesting elements which I elicited by asking pertinent questions.
I asked him for a list of happy clients and rang 5 of them. I interviewed each for up to an hour, and again recorded the calls and took copious notes. It wasn’t easy getting the stories I wanted, but his clients were very patient with me.
I then put the sales letter together using a WordPress theme called OptimizePress which I really like using.
Here’s the headline. You can see that the pre-headline in blue tells the reader who is the target audience so he/she can say “This is about me!”. The headline clearly explains a dilemma the reader is likely facing – so busy that they feel chained to their desks – and teases that there are 7 steps to turning their business around. That’s intriguing! It also promises a guarantee: Simon is willing to put his money where his mouth is.
After a brief “Hello” I ask two pertinent questions that the target audience is likely to reply ‘yes’ to. I tell them that they are not alone.
I chose a bright happy photo of Simon and added a friendly “This is me, Simon” as a caption: here is someone the reader can trust. I wrote about Simon’s initial cockiness…
I add some drama…
Notice below the way I write “88 hours.” and then repeat this for emphasis. I follow with a one-word paragraph and then a three-word paragraph to add further impact – and to break up the copy so it’s easy to read and digest…
Here’s a little later in the copy where I talk about the complete transformation, and some simple statistics. I also added his firm’s very attractive logo and a caption with simple words which convey a message which will be attractive to the reader…
Further into the letter I added in a number of testimonials with photos which I think make a big difference to prove that these words are from a real person that a reader can believe and even research online if they wish. I pulled out a dramatic headline. These three paragraphs are the core essence of the almost hour-long call I had with Julie…
The sales letter was a great success for Simon and helped him fill three one-day events. I went to one of them as I was interested to see Simon present. I sat down next to a really lovely guy called Mark Lee (pictured right) who turned out to be a consultant who works with accountants.
I asked him why he was attending. He replied, “One reason is that I wanted to come and find out who wrote the sales letter for this event because it’s excellent!” I told him that I had written the letter and his eyes nearly popped out of his head! We had a terrific conversation after that, and that eventually led to him coming in working with me. See here.
Four years ago he set up a subscription newsletter service called What’s Possible In Your Business.
Accountants pay a monthly fee to licence a pre-written 4-page summary of a brilliant business book. Paul’s team adds the accountant’s logo, and prints copies which accountants can give out to their clients and prospects. Paul’s team will even handle the emailing of the newsletter to the accountant’s email list and later report on who has opened the email so the accountant can follow those people up with a phone call.
Remarkable Practice sells the licence on a territory basis, so only one accountant in a large town can send out the newsletter.
It’s a great idea but, over the next 3 years, What’s Possible made a loss or broke even.
This is what it looked like, with the issue on the left referring to the book Built To Sell by John Warrillow, and the issue on the right referring to the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath…
Paul came to me to ask my advice. To cut a long story short, I said he needed to stop doing book summaries and focus instead on solving real problems that businesses experience on a day-to-day basis. I suggested a new name: Business Bites, and Paul refined this to Business Bitesize.
Together we wrote a long list of pressing problems that small businesses had, then ranked them in order of importance. Then we crafted a series of headlines which we believed would grab readers’ attention and compel them to read the entire issue. For example: “How to use the power of storytelling to increase sales revenue” and “Working hard? Feel like you’re getting nowhere? Here’s how to make the most of every day…”
I came up with a new graphical design with high quality strong, black images to feature on the cover. The ‘spot’ colour would match the main colour from each accountant’s logo.
I worked with my favourite designer, Wendy Barratt, to produce the final artwork.
It now looks like this…
Here’s how Paul and his team customise each issue for each accountant who has the licence. You can see that Andrew Price & Co’s issues (third from the right) use a blue which matches their logo, so the spot colour of the pull-out box on the front cover is a 15% tint of that blue…
Here’s the sales pack I wrote and designed for Paul…
I’ll now show you some of the sheets in detail. Business Bitesize is a complex sale, so I wrote short punchy copy with arrows pointing to the customised elements that Paul’s team added to make each issue look like it was created by that firm of accountants. This sheet shows the issue Paul’s team created for a firm of accountants called Pentlands in Warwick…
Here’s the other side of that sheet, which shows the customised online library page so clients of each accountancy firm can download back issues, and more…
I also created this next sheet where I added a stapled slip to explain the personalisation with words attributed to Paul’s wife, Kate, who sells Business Bitesize on a day-to-day basis…
Since working with me, Paul has quadrupled his number of subscribers, generating an additional £41,000 (US$63,000) a year of income, most of which is profit.
He believes he can generate a further £40,000 of new subscriptions by the end of his financial year.
Here is a photo of the two of us in my home on our most recent consulting day…
And here is a photo of a beautiful card Paul sent me a few days after our day together…
“To Chris, ‘My wise “old” owl’. Thank you for your guidance, passion and commitment to our cause… it’s truly fabulous having you on our side. Much love and respect, Paul & Kate”
I was very touched to read that message.
Paul recorded this video testimonial…
On the video Paul says the following:
“I have known Chris for a long time. If I’ve got a doubt or a question, he is the guy I turn to. If you are a business advisor or a consultant and you have a kernel of an idea, or you’ve been playing around with the idea for creating a product, you’d be a bit of a numpty not to go to Chris.”
It’s unlikely that you have a printed newsletter: you’re more likely to have a paid-for ebook or a set of audios/videos. But see what lessons you can glean from the work I did with Paul above.
For example, could you ‘polish’ up the presentation by using better graphics?
Could you contact buyers to get more testimonials, or more specific testimonials?
Whatever… see if you can come up with one action step you can implement as a result of reading this article.
I have loved watching ice bucket challenges on the web in support of ALS. My friend Darin Millar, a solicitor in Bolton, nominated me on my recent birthday. I went round to the home of Mike, my youngest brother, and his wife, Marie, to film my challenge.
I nominated my youngest son, Felix, 11; my dear friend Pete Bissonette, president of Learning Strategies in Minneapolis (publisher of PhotoReading, Paraliminal CDs, Genius Code, and many other programs my business LifeTools sold for years); and the wonderful Mark Anastasi, author of the best-selling book The Laptop Millionaire.
Go here to find out more about ALS, and consider making a donation, as I have done.
I’m giving a 15-minute talk at the YES Group this Wednesday, August 27, the day before my birthday. 🙂
Doors open at 6.30pm for a prompt 7pm start.
I would love to see you there.
DO click on the link below and get your ticket – and drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know you’ll be coming!
This is the text the YES Group have been sending out…
Twenty years ago Christopher John Payne set up a mail order business in the UK called LifeTools which became the second largest supplier of personal development products with 50,000 customers. His celebrity customers included Tony Robbins, who bought twice from him. At its height Chris was mailing nearly a million sales letters a year. He has created dozens of ebooks, videos, mp3-based programs, etc — and one of his programs, The Effort-Free Life System, achieved gross sales revenue of $3 million. He has run workshops in the UK, USA, Australia and Abu Dhabi, and spoken at 2 TEDx events, including co-organising one in Abu Dhabi with 850 attendees. He now helps coaches, trainers and consultants to make more money using online products.
In his presentation on Members Night, Chris will talk about a shocking discovery 2 years ago which changed the way he looked at his life.
Then he will share 3 lessons and show you how to…
1. Discover your uniqueness and see your life in a new empowering way.
2. Get immediate momentum on a project you’ve been putting off.
3. Move forward with a new sense of purpose, drive and inspiration.
Dion Johnson is an amazing coach, trainer and public speaker. She came to stay for the weekend recently to get my help to take her business to the next level…
As with all my clients who come to stay, Dion had her own room and bathroom in my home so she could relax, rejuvenate, and be able to fire on full cylinders as we worked together.