This week’s idea: Want a formula for success? Just study everything John Charbonneau does – and then copy it.

with Neil Godin

How did you like that subject line? You know, “How to avoid getting trapped in voice mail.” (Hey. It intrigued you enough to open it, or you wouldn’t be here.) But I have a confession. I stole that subject line. I pinched it from John Charbonneau, a mortgage broker with The Mortgage Group. And why would I do that? Well. Because it’s a great subject line. Because, it clearly isn’t trying to sell us anything. And because, instead of selling us something, it promises to give us something of real value – if we open the email. And that’s what a subject line is supposed to do – get us to open the email. Here’s a picture of John’s email. It’s so good, in so many ways, that it may bring tears to your eyes. Here. Take a tissue…   And go have a look.

John Charbonneau’s Newsletter

Because we’re all bombarded with email, we’re grateful when we encounter messages, like this, that deliver actual value – and are mercifully brief. Because we’re visual animals, we also appreciate video – and that’s another reason why many recipients click through to John’s blog, to watch his (mercifully) brief videos (each is 2 to 2.5 minutes short).

Okay. Now take another few moments to click through to his blog. (Click here). And, if you want to know how you could avoid “voice mail hell” and get to talk to an actual human being – if you have a Facebook problem, for example – go ahead and play his current video. Yes, he closes the video with an offer to assist you with any mortgage or real estate questions you may have – but his content is so rich that he literally earns the right to do so. While you’re at it, why not also click through to his website. (Click here). I did, and I was delighted to see his headline, ‘A “By Referral Only” Mortgage Practice.’ To see what he means by “By Referral Only,” click on the button at left that reads, “My Purpose.” It is brilliant in its clarity, simplicity and brevity. (No, I’m not going to tell you what it says…like a good subject line, I’m promising you something of value, but you have to make the next move. (Go on. Click here.)

 John pulls it all together – and you can too!

 If you clicked through to John’s video about his purpose, you’ll know that it relates to his home page headline, ‘A “By Referral Only” Mortgage Practice.’ Everything he does is designed to keep himself and everyone in his network, focused on his purpose – to deliver such exceptional service that he earns introductions (not just referrals) from every new client – before their deal even closes.  (Oops. I guess I’ve revealed his purpose). I called John to ask him what his email/blog/website marketing is doing for his business. He had several answers:

  • His business is booming while the mortgage market remains soft.
  • He remains ‘top of mind’ among all those who follow his newsletter and blog – present clients, prospects, realtors, lawyers and other professionals in the field.
  • He receives a steady flow of new prospective clients who say, “Person X recommended that I call you…”
  • Most of the people who call him are referred by his past and present clients – while realtors and others in his network also refer in significant numbers.
  • Unlike the vast majority of people in the mortgage business, he spends no time (zero) trying to find clients – no time on sales networking; no time asking realtors and others to refer.
  • Instead, he said, “I can devote all of my time to my clients – doing the education, research, shopping and comparing, and problem solving, that my clients need.”
  • In other words…   He has time to fulfill his purpose and earn those introductions to a constant (and growing) flow of new clients. Brilliant.

Your call to action: 

I just noticed that this piece is not (mercifully) short – in fact it’s fairly long – but if you’re still reading then hopefully you’ve found enough value to take it further.  I invite you to study everything that John is doing, and develop a plan to replicate, tweak, and apply elements of his work to your own business.

He gives us a lot to work with. And so can you.

Have an awesome week!


Ps – “The Social Media Challenge” returns this Thursday!  Watch your inbox  this Thursday for the return of our social media challenge, with my colleague Jonathan Christian sharing what you need to know (and do) to use social media to build your business – with my commentary added. Don’t miss it!

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