You have no idea how often I hear, “I have just …written a book on public speaking …created a DVD on public speaking …added a video to YouTube on public speaking… and will send it to you. Tell me what you think!” Simply reading emails like this requires time and energy and distracts me from my actual work with paying clients.
My friend, genius copywriter Bob Bly shares his perspective on the value of expertise. Bob is truly funny along with giving great advice. You can tell that just by the title of his book, Don’t Wear a Cowboy Hat Unless You are a Cowboy — and Other Grumblings from a Cranky Curmudgeon. Yes, you can buy his services just as you can mine… or those of any professional who has invested 30 years, time, money, and made sacrifices to know what they know. If you invest in an expert’s opinion you can expect to pay. After all, you save YEARS of your time. Enjoy Bob’s comments:
by Bob Bly
Dear Direct Response Letter Subscriber:
One of the drawbacks to being an info marketer is being subjected to the occasional uninformed, just plain ignorant opinion of that rarest of beings: a stupid subscriber.
LB is that rarity. In a recent email, here’s her response to me using the term “expensive experience” to describe the hard-won knowledge I share with my subscribers:
“You used the word ‘expensive’ to describe your experience. That tells me that your primary motive is not to ‘share’ your experience; it is to ‘sell’ your experience. You see it as a commodity.
“If sharing were your primary purpose then you would not be concerned with people asking for refunds because at least you would have shared your experience with them.
“This is not a personal attack; I am trying to ascertain whether you truly understand what’s going on in your mind, because perhaps you don’t honestly know. You may think your primary motive is to share your experience, when actually it is not.”
I immediately replied:
“You have made a judgment on my motivation that is totally wrong. Sharing IS my primary motivation for being a writer.
“The two reasons I charge for my information are (1) I think, like any professional (e.g., doctor, lawyer), I deserve to be compensated for what I know, but more important (2) people do not value what they get for free.
“‘Expensive experience’ is a Dan Kennedy term. It means our practical knowledge is gained at a great cost in time and money. It does not mean what you say above. I don’t just THINK my motivation is sharing. I know it is.”
I was tempted to ask LB which school she received her degree in psychology from, and I should have. The point: Consider your qualifications to render the opinions, especially the unsolicited opinions, you deliver to others. If you don’t have any, perhaps you are better off remaining silent – or at least raising a question rather than stating your subjective judgment as if it were fact.
Then I noticed her email had no signature file, which meant she was not revealing to me her mailing address or phone number. And so I continued:
“Notice one other difference between our emails. Mine has a sig file with my phone number. Yours does not. That means any reader can pick up the phone, call me, and tell me what they think.
“Without a sig file and phone number, you hide behind the safe barrier of email from having to answer me face to face. How brave you are!”
Okay. I guess I lost it. But I don’t regret it. At my advanced age, I do not suffer fools gladly, and when someone gives insult, I have great difficulty letting it pass – and increasingly, I do not.
If there’s a lesson here, it’s a simple one: when you communicate, be willing to take as good as you get. Hiding behind your email – which you do whenever you send one without a sig file – is, as Sylvester Stallone tells his son in Rocky Balboa, what cowards do. And as Rocky says in the movie, “That ain’t you.”
P.S. After I wrote this, I was working at my PC at 5am during one of my frequent bouts with insomnia, and I got this follow-up email from LB:
“I stated quite clearly it was not a personal attack, I was trying to help you understand what your primary motive is and thus get to grips with the issue you have with refunds. The fact you have taken so much offense tells me I struck a nerve. Truth hurts!”
My blood pressure skyrocketing, I instantly replied:
“Wrong yet again. I take offense, and you struck a nerve, not because what you say is correct, but precisely because it is NOT: ignorance irks me to an admittedly irrational degree. I cannot abide people who render inaccurate opinions as if they were true.
“I do not need nor did I ask for your help understanding my motive, because I DO understand it. As stated, it is the compulsion to share with others what I learn — a common impulse shared by billions.
“And I stand by my statement saying you are cowardly for not having a sig file with a phone number in your email: it allows you to pompously render pronouncements without having to face me
Perhaps I need a sedative. Or therapy.
Copywriter / Consultant
If you liked this essay, and want to read 75 more just like it, get my new book, Don’t Wear a Cowboy Hat Unless You are a Cowboy — and Other Grumblings from a Cranky Curmudgeon, which you can order here: www.bly.com/KindleCowboy
Thank you Bob!
As an in-demand executive speech coach, although I do not have the time to accept lunch invitations from people who would like to “pick my brain,” I gladly share many complimentary resources to help anyone with their public speaking and presentation skills. Many are available here: https://fripp.com/public-speaking-resources/ and on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/PatriciaFripp Also, a free three-day trial of Fripp Virtual Training is now available: http://www.frippvt.com
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Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp is hired by individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.