Brian Kurtz is a legend in the world of direct response marketing, and the author of Overdeliver. He revolutionized direct mail marketing alongside Eugene Schwartz, Jay Abraham, and many other legends, and then he rode the wave to digital marketing with a few select peers (like Perry Marshall).

In this interview, he shares his response to COVID-19 and the related economic lockdown, diving into the importance of direct response email marketing with a clear sales offer and a consistent approach to overdeliver with your customers and make more sales, all to grow your business.

John Meese 0:02
Brian, thank you so much for joining me. How are you doing today?

Brian Kurtz 0:04
I'm doing well, you know, um, you know, we're on the one hand, we're kind of locked up and locked in still on the one hand, but, and I know that, you know, everything's not about COVID. But today still about right. But the world is way more than COVID. And yeah, so I think that that's what this interview is gonna be about, like, pre COVID COVID, post COVID. And it's basically our lives and how we deal with it, right?

John Meese 0:30
Yes, well, I turn so I turned 30 this year. I know you thought I looked 16

Brian Kurtz 0:33
Yeah, you didn't mind? Wow, you look way younger.

John Meese 0:38
It's fine. It's fine. I haven't aged since I was 17. Actually, but I look the same, but I don't. But this is like my third once in a lifetime crisis, you know, like I've gone through. So that's kind of, I think, an interesting way to start off the new millennia, but here we are. So, Brian, I'm familiar with your work and I've been subscribed to a newsletter for While and I've read some of your stuff. And actually, I think originally came across you because I bought I wanted to get a copy of breakthrough advertising. And you were the only reliable source. And so that's actually how you first came across my radar. But for the listener who's listening to this podcast, who had doesn't have the pleasure of knowing you already, could you do me a favor and just summarize what gets you out of bed in the morning and what you do professionally?

Brian Kurtz 1:20
Yeah. So I mean, what gets me out of the bed out of bed is has been the same for 40 years. And it's, it's that I, I love I love direct marketing. I love people I love I mean, you know, most people, they tell you that they're an introvert, but they don't tell you they're an extrovert. I'm an extrovert. I love people that I love sharing. I think I think there's some stats that like 70% of the world are introverts or something like that. I don't know. It's, or at least a bit self defined introverts, but there we know that a lot of them aren't really, but I just love people. I love love teaching and learning. I mean, that's what gets me out of bed. Like I know, every day, I'll be, I'll be doing some teaching, like I had a consulting call this morning, I'm teaching, but then while I'm teaching, you know, we're exploring together and I learn a new thing. And then it's something I can write about or something I can, you know, putting the computer in the back of my head. And as long as my brain is still functioning, I can still store stuff in there that can be brought out and used. The the my career is like two careers it was, you know, I spent 34 years running boardroom Inc, which is an iconic publisher, mostly direct mail, but all direct marketing and then when the internet came along, I figured that would catch on. And so we got into that too. But it was it was all it was all you know, all direct response. So everything that we did have to have a return on investment had to be measurable and whether it was You know, yogurt lids and ATM receipts, or it was direct mail or was email, everything just has to be measurable. At some point you got to make your money back. And so that was my first 34 years. And then I left there and I started. It's I don't like to say I'm a consultant because you say you're a consultant, people assume you're unemployed. So, you know, I've heard

John Meese 3:23
I've heard it described that a consultant is an entrepreneur without a business.

Brian Kurtz 3:28
Yeah, that's about right and yeah, no, I'm and then it's like consultants and are what was what was it the, you know, there's more money to be made and perpetuating the problem and solving it. So I'm not that, but I developed a an educational business, direct marketing education. So what I did for my first 34 years, is I mailed you know, a couple of billion pieces of direct mail 39 and I sold product $39 at a time, which is a big business, but it You know, it's a bit of a struggle sometimes. And now I'm in a b2b environment where I'm helping, in my masterminds, I'm helping, you know, 30, high level direct response marketers go out and do their thing to the millions of people that they go out to eat. But then I also have another group, which I call Titans Accelerator, which are, I have over 200, copywriters, entrepreneurs, business people, marketers, who are just, you know, trying everything to get their brand out to get their products out, to get their copy out. And, you know, I found that, you know, 40 years a long time, it's not one years, it's like, it's not one years experience for 40 years. It's 40 years cumulative experience, so I have a lot to offer them. And again, what gets me out of bed is that whatever I teach, I'm going to get something back. And, you know, another thing that gets me out of bed is that, um, I not only have my own mastermind groups is that I spend a lot of money on the mastermind groups that I'm a member of. And that's where I get a lot of my ideas that you know, people who are state of the art in online launches and marketing and all of that. I'm still learning a lot of that. So it's it's a wonderful life in terms of that.

John Meese 5:17
That's good. That's beautiful. Well, thank you for sharing that Brian. I appreciate that. And you'rse, you're you are somewhat of a legend yourself and you've walked among legends for I mean, for those of us who are you know, the millennial marketers, you know, we're kind of like coming in this wave and then setting the greats and then being like, oh, wow, like you know, quite a few are still around which is pretty cool. So

Brian Kurtz 5:35
yeah, I mean, you know, you talked about breakthrough advertising, you know, Gene Schwartz, like there are people that and I don't I don't talk about it like bragging about it. I say you know, Gene was my friend and mentor and you know, I have the rights to his book because I'm, I was I was a really close associate of his and then his wife and I put the deal together for Breakthrough Advertising and the Brilliance Breakthrough which is other his other classes and You know, there are people that write to me and go you new Gene Schwartz, like you touched in Gene Schwartz. And it's like, yeah, I mean, he was an amazing guy. And I guess the fact that I've survived this long, and I'm still focused on, you know, both online and offline marketing has been to my advantage, because a lot of the people I grew up with in offline marketing, they either stayed in offline marketing and kept their business very small as a trump. Or they just gave up you know, they were, you know, I'm 62 years old. So a lot of people my age are retired, whatever retirement is. Yeah, I don't understand that. Yeah, I'm not. I mean, I have the definition of retirement. I got it from Dan Sullivan, of Strategic Coach and it's, I'm retired from things I don't do well, I'm retired from things I don't like to do. And I'm retired from people I don't want to hang around with anymore. That definition I'm like, I'm pretty close to retired but I'm not stopping working.

John Meese 7:00
That's great. Well, I love that so well, I'd love to know, you know, you kind of mentioned the beginning, we're like, you know, there's more to life than COVID-19. But here's where we are right now. So I would, what I would love to do is if you would go with me back in time, I would love to know, when did you first realize that COVID-19 was a real threat. Do you remember where you were? What happened? If there was a conversation you had or a news item that made you go Wait a second. This is unusual.

Brian Kurtz 7:24
Yeah, I'll tell you. I can go back. I'll go back before just before COVID-19 and I don't know what I was thinking at the time except that I wanted to reach more entrepreneurs and copywriters and all that. So I launched Titans accelerator, which is my virtual mastermind, which has monthly calls it has, you know, a monthly USB we send out to members. I launched that last December. I didn't even I probably heard a little bit about WuHan, but I wasn't paying attention and yet most of us weren't know. And so I developed this master Mine virtual mastermind that had no live events to it. It was all virtual on zoom. It was all a private Facebook group of people sharing and all this other stuff. And I had 150 members in early January, just by coincidence. So what I really want to tell people and I can't get away with it is that I predicted COVID in February and therefore I needed this group I did. I just happen to be focused on this launch of this program, because I really did feel that there was a great need for virtual masterminds because people didn't want to travel I saw I saw the need for it because travel, even though we weren't restricted from traveling, travel was always a big burden for people. You know, zoom gave us an opportunity I probably what I should have done when I when I launched accelerator in January, I probably should have invested in zoom as well. I should have done

John Meese 9:01
what everyone says. I know everyone's all about Yeah, shoulda woulda coulda,

Brian Kurtz 9:05
So, but I had the group and then what I realized So then, where I realized where I was, as far as where I was, I was actually in Italy. I left early in middle of February. I went to, and I started in Milan, no COVID in Milan in mid February. I left Milan and went to, I went to, I went to Bolonia. And then I went to Riccione, which is on the, on the east coast where I spoke at a conference. And at that conference, the third day of that conference, I guess it's around February 20. Something I find I heard that Milan was closed like they had. That was where it started in Italy, where they had the COVID in, but they didn't close the rest of the country it was just that Milan area

John Meese 10:01
you had just been there.

Brian Kurtz 10:02
I had just been there. I didn't think that I'd be infected or whatever. I mean, I know more now and I probably should have been a lot scared, a lot more scared when I was in Riccione. And then it hit me that the third day of our conference and Riccione, which is like February 25. There was another conference in the area that had a third day as well and they canceled it. They canceled the third day. And I'm like, why would they cancel it? It looks pretty tame here. Everybody. Nobody's wearing masks. Nobody is is scared of this. And then I left Riccione, we finished the conference. I went Oh, actually, I went to I went to Florence after Riccione spent a few days there. And then I went to Rome. And I was flying home from Rome. And on the way from Florence to Rome. My wife looks at me and she goes you know, it sounds really bad up in Milan and it's scary. Be here too, because we had lunch with somebody in Florence, who said, it's definitely here, no one's paying attention to it. So at that point, we were thinking of going home, like we were going to forget Rome, and just go to Rome and get another an earlier flight. But we ended up staying for the four days in Rome. And when we got home on like, March 1 or second, basically all of Italy closed a week later. Well, that's what I knew. You know. I mean, I knew it when I was in Rome, even though there was no sign of it. Everybody was walking around, like nothing's happening. But I think when we were in Rome, we felt that there's something going on here. Yeah, we didn't, we didn't know how it's gonna affect the United States. And then we got home. And I think that the thing that I noticed the most is that the people that came out of the woodwork to kind of talk about not not in a, in a way that would be that takes advantage of the of COVID. But the people, the entrepreneurs are the ones that are always going to be ahead of the curve. The entrepreneurs are always going to be the ones that come out of a crisis faster, because they're going to take a little risk, but they're also going to look at innovation. And I was on a series a podcast interviews, this is all like the beginning of March. And every one of them I was just like brainstorming with the best people in marketing, talking about how we're going to deal with this, because, you know, the first live events in the US got cancelled. I cancelled my mastermind life live event in May, in late March. So, and we came up with all these neat ideas for restaurants and for, you know, to really take it not take advantage. I never want to say take advantage,

John Meese 12:50
but but to pivot, you know, to pursue opportunity.

Brian Kurtz 12:52
Exactly. And there were tons of opportunities. I mean, I had people in my masterminds that you know, had physical, you know, brick and mortar, whether it's a chiropractor or it's a, you know, a store or a restaurant or something like that, as someone who does home repair that wanted to pivot to hygiene services, and, you know, the idea and when we started brainstorming, and it was, I hate to say this because so many people were out of work and and struggling, but there's a lot of opportunity in that time. So you can't be tone deaf to it. You can't be tone deaf. But that was the case. So my reaction was, I always went out with my blog and I said every week and I said, I'm not tone deaf. I just want to give you challenges that the challenge is the opportunity. I talked about in one blog series of things that restaurants can do that a chiropractor could do in terms of I can see patients but can I you know get a third party, laser company and ship lasers and figure that out, you know, pain lasers that they come So they can see me or supplements, you know, pain, joint relief supplements that you can drop ship from somewhere else and share the profit. So at least you can get some income. And I'm not I'm not a marketing core either. I'm not saying, you know, let's make more money at the expense of others. But you got to stay in business, you know, you're not gonna... And so there were like different different groups that you were talking to. You had a groups that say up COVID, I'm out of business, and they just put their hands up. Then you had the group that said, Wow, I don't know what to do, you know, and they're asking opinions. And then there was some that was totally inaction at the earliest stages of this, and I'm talking about early March. And that was kind of the period to get on it. And I've just seen, I've seen over the last few months, like for instance, live events, going to all virtual events, and I'm not talking about live events, with it with a live stream. That that's that's been around for a while. I'm talking about to give people the experience. Have 1000 person live event online with everything that you would get and more. And I've seen I've seen one after another, actually. Because you have you have less expense with the hotels and you have less expense with food and beverage that you can spend it on, you know, extravagant swag bags that people are not used to in a digital world who gives away, you know, tons of shit that you shipped to people, right? And that it's happening. And well wait a minute, you know, you can. And then people say, Well, you spent 1000 spent $100,000 sending those swag bags. Yeah, but you would have spent 300,000 on the hotel, food and beverage, all that. So you know, you had to get people out of their mindset that that it's online, but you still have to work the offline aspect. So you have to do what you can do. So it In my book, and I talk about O-to-O-to-O, and this is way before COVID. You know, it's like you want to have an online offline online because they coincide. And the idea that, you know, these people that these these event planners, were state of the art with these with these events, and it's still going on. I know somebody right now doing a live event for I think 20,000 people for Tony Robbins 22,000 people, and they're going to make the experience online as close to the, to the, to the live experience I saw happening.

John Meese 16:37
Yeah, I saw pictures of Tony Robbins on stage with all the, I mean, they're the way they're doing it. Yes. Where all the screens where he can see, I mean, hundreds of attendees on the screen as little you know, just little videos, like kind of like zoom windows for each person. But

Brian Kurtz 16:50
Exactly, and you know, then you can use the chat and, you know, so people who normally would be sitting there at a live event like this are actually you know, in the chat, and you can go to breakout rooms of course too. Okay, you know, so there's so much opportunity, it's not the same as being live, but that's okay. It's not an OR it's an AND, I think after COVID over, you're going to have both in a in a bigger way, you're still gonna have live events. And you're still going to have these huge virtual events that are exactly like the live events that will be an AND, as opposed to an OR. Now, don't confuse again, I want to say it again, don't confuse the live stream of a live event as what I'm talking about. These are really live events online. That gives you the full experience of that I'm speaking at one at the end of August, where I'm going to go to a studio that's set up for this either in Los Angeles or, or Arizona or North Carolina or somewhere, but I'm gonna go there with a few speakers that they have, and I'm gonna be there with that. You know, the the multiple screens of everybody who's at the event, speaking, interacting, and it's going to be an amazing experience. And then with my groups like my, my groups, my virtual going back full circle, my virtual group, which has 200 people in it. That's not they don't have a live event, so I'm doing more with them. That's another thing. I used to have one call a month. That was what the offer was. I was doing weekly calls what the hell I'm home anyway. Right. Right in between March and April, and I'm still doing it mostly. I've skipped a couple of weeks, but I'm doing like weekly calls. So I'm over delivering, yeah, on the on that. And then my other group, which is my mastermind, which has 30 companies and like 50 people, those guys, if they can't do a live event in, I have a live event scheduled for September, I'm going to I'm going to do a virtual event, and it'll be shorter days, but I'll have my speakers and, and that'll be just easy on zoom with 50 people But I've seen like 1000 person events getting 2200 people now virtually, and 1500 of them are staying on for the whole thing to give me a we didn't stay on and everything like them.

John Meese 19:13
Yeah. So I mean, you're reminding me I hadn't hadn't drawn the parallel between them. But I guess it was probably a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago with Michael Hyatt, we had one of his events, the focus leader, and we decided to do a live event. And similarly we did, we said, like, No, no, let's not just like stick a phone, you know, or even a camera up there was just a live feed of the conference. Now, this was different. So I don't know this might be actually a path forward in the future. We'll see. But we actually had an, you know, we had a full stage and if we had a stage with an audience there in the room, and I was one of the like MCs me and Neil Samudra, one of the guys in the team. We were co MCs on the stage, but then we had two other MCs up in the there was like a loft area. And they had a whole separate set up. And so we had like the core speaker talking everything would be on them, you know, the camera wise like both whether you're in the room or whether you're watching the livestream, it's all like, center stage speaker, but it was all the little in between things that really made the biggest difference, where all of a sudden it would, you know, like the speaker would, and it would go up to the commentary from the CO MCs who were kind of up in the rafters rafts that could be they could ask people questions and how people, you know is much more common response. Whereas on the stage, it was more, you know, typical kind of crowd engagement type stuff, and it made a huge difference. I mean, we I mean, if you, you know, we essentially double the attendance, and we've charged, you know, significant money. I don't know what the exact price is, but we but I mean, it was $1,000 a ticket to be in the room. And I think the livestream may have been 500 or something like that. But, you know, we've essentially doubled the audience that way.

Brian Kurtz 20:43
Yeah. I think the difference there is that you were super intentional about the livestream first portion. Right? Well, that are the people I know that are doing the best virtual events that used to be live. They're not doing a hybrid, like you did there, they're about I think, but you can do it. I think that they felt that they wanted to just be focused on one audience, because then everybody's getting the same experience. And the, you know, the live people would maybe resent what the, what the virtual people are getting and vice versa. But yeah, I think that, you know, the fact that everything is possible, everything is possible that you were able to do it, you had good good results, tells me that a hybrid can work. And that's just, but that's always what was going on during COVID, you know, restaurants, I had a call with Frank Kern, who's a, an amazing marketer. And we were just like, I don't do a podcast, but we did an interview and I sent it to my list. And Frank was saying, you know, I'm gonna I'm gonna just keep going out with the same stuff. He he wasn't being tone deaf, but he felt that his audience, his core audience, you know, they're just looking for opportunity and so, you know, he's not going to sit there and dwell on COVID he might say, but you know, people are home, you need to engage them maybe a little differently, but he was going out with the same stuff. But what he did say, which was what you know, talk about restaurants, that most of the restaurants in my neighborhood, were not they still could be more proactive. If you if you can't dine in and you only have curbside pickup you know and take out then you have to focus on that part of the business. And so and it's not just sending a menu to everybody's mailbox, which I didn't get any during COVID I never got a menu from any restaurant.

John Meese 22:34
Netiher did I. I live I live walking distance to downtown Columbia we're at Tennessee where I live there are at least a dozen restaurants within walking distance my house I did not get a menu or a call from any of them

Brian Kurtz 22:42
Right and I and then you go proactive on it. You know, Frank said, You know, I be I would have called up every college student who's home anyway, or high school student and make them my Pony Express, you know, make them like let them go door to door. Don't let them Don't have the person open the door because then they will have COVID ramping for the door with a mask, and you put something in the mailbox, but not just your normal menu, that would be the normal way. The proactive you know, basically make up a menu of COVID special menu that says, I want to cook dinner for you tonight. Our kitchens are open, here are our specials, call make a reservation for any night this week, I'll give you a 20% discount, etc, etc. I mean, there's so many things you can do from a marketing prespective. And then, but I didn't see any I saw some people do it in other places. But I said wow, you know, just try some stuff. It's a lot of extra work. But, you know, you've got the delivery service you've got right, you know, so things like that. And Frank and I were just brainstorming on that, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. You know that yes. And so now you know everybody's complaining we had to open up early and then this and that and, you know, now we're going to have to close and Well, if you were proactive from the start, maybe you could have saved your business. I'm not saying that everybody could do that. There are, you know, towns and cities. And I'm not. I'm not like, you know, giving people a hard time for not doing more during this period. But the point is there are so many opportunities when crisis hit. Yeah.

John Meese 24:21
And well, yeah, I'd love to dive deeper to that have some questions about that, but first, I'll just share one example because you just reminded me of it. There's a there's a restaurant near my office in downtown Columbia called Puckets and they own you know, several restaurants and kind of the Middle Tennessee area. And they also partner with a food truck company sometimes. And so they called them up and they modified some of these food trucks, and they filled them with family meal kits, and they sent them into downtown Nashville into neighborhoods where they would basically have a food truck, just kind of like, like an ice cream truck, you know, coming down the street with the meal kit, but it'd be a food truck would pull up and be like, hey, we've got these meal kits family of four. Great We've got a we got a ready, we got a kit ready for you. And they would just pull up these neighborhoods and sell food. I mean, because they had the kitchens and restaurants nearby. And so they just they were able that's usually the biggest limitation but two trucks is they can't produce fast food fast enough to go into residential areas. Right, but they did it.

Brian Kurtz 25:15
Yeah, I mean, the thing. The thing is, I think some people resist it, stuff like that, because it's like, they say, well won't make up for my, my regular business. Well, we're not saying that, but do something we can go

John Meese 25:27
You don't have regular business. Right. So like, you know, that's kind of a moot point. So, you know, one of the things we've talked about a couple times is like not being tone deaf, but still in the midst of crisis, being able to kind of acknowledge it. I think I'm pretty sure that I first heard the term 'moose on the table' from you. You know what I'm talking about? Which you kind of expound upon that idea. Because I think that really, that really helped me I know, early in this crisis when I was trying to figure out like, okay, I don't want to just talk about COVID-19 all day. Some people are tired of hearing about this, but we do need to talk about it. Right. So what is moose on the table?

Brian Kurtz 25:57
Yeah, I never I never put COVID in a subject line. I you know, I sometimes my first paragraph I say in these turbulent times the usual Yeah, chaos and all that. But I think the moose on the table, it's, it's another version of the elephant in the room. But the moose on the table was a better image for me because basically, we had it at my company boardroom where we're sitting in a boardroom, at boardroom but we're sitting in a boardroom with a long table, and there's like something that's going on, that no one wants to talk about. And that's the moose on the table. So you have this dead carcass of a moose, sitting, this is the visual I always get when I think about this, it's a visual of a carcass of a moose with like, the legs up in the air, like like in, in Animal House when the horse dies in the office and you know that there's like a hole, he sees the legs of the horse, right because he had a heart attack and in the dean's office or whatever. So the mooseis on the table, and everybody's having a meeting and they're looking around the moose and not saying anything and you know, kind of like not acknowledging And I got this from also from my mentor Marty, who was the founder of boardroom. And he used to say the only things worth talking about are the things you can't talk about. That was his expression. And so, basically what you want to do is, you know, you want to you have to, you can't again, being tone deaf is the worst thing. You know, being like, you know, it's not happening. It's not happening. But you know what, I didn't do it every week, either. I have a weekly blog. So I have one blog that would say, you know, I've been I've been traveling around the industry hearing opportunities from people during, you know, during these crazy times. And I want to share some with you and I would share some ideas. Then the next week, I have a blog, Clayton Makepeace, the great copywriter passed away, and I just wanted to write about him. And I didn't talk about COVID at all, you know, because people are and he didn't die of COVID but, you know, people are still dying. People are still you want to do tributes to people you want to do some things haven't changed. In the world, even with all the changes, so I think it's, it's, you know, you have to do what's right for your audience. Now, the other side of this is, you know, the total shams of, you know, people selling supplements that are going to cure COVID. And those guys are getting getting their ass kicked by the by the FTC and all of that, you can't do that either. And I don't think you can do, you know, COVID COVID COVID, you know, alert, alert, alert, because then you know, we get numb to that. So I guess, you know, I know when I say it, like what what it is, but there is a moose on the table. You have to know that it's it has to be acknowledged, but it doesn't take over everything. And then your responses to it are responses given that, you know, a crisis like this creates all of these. It creates an opportunity ever you have a workforce in college students who are home, that's a workforce, it's Not just people home because of COVID. So, you know, that's the way you have to look at it. And I guess, you know, I'm really, really careful to not make anything I write and even if I do, you're going to always get haters, you know, you're going to get people who will say, how can you ignore this or that, you know, it's gonna happen, but I'm very careful about I always say something like, I am not, I am empathetic to what's going on. I you know, I know that everybody's business is going to be affected by this, but I just want to give you the pot, not the positive side, but the opportunities that could be available. But you you have to somehow acknowledge it in a way that is, is shows empathy, shows concern, and because of the concern, I want to give you some possible remedies.

John Meese 29:54
Well, I love that and I think that that moose in the table is just a very, very gruesome but very vivid metaphor for just understanding. You know, we're going to talk about it. Like you said, it's got to be the focus of everything, but we can't just ignore it. I, I saw one email from a friend that I follow online and actually like all of our stuff, and whatever email she was like, she was like, I'm not talking about what you think I'm talking about. I'm talking about something else, you know, just kind of like she just had her email. We kind of open with a, I don't know about you, but I'm tired of hearing about it. So let's

Brian Kurtz 30:24
Oh, yeah. And then on that, you have to just make sure that you're not just dismissing it either. So right.

John Meese 30:29
Well, I think in this case, she was actually it's what I'm saying. So,

Brian Kurtz 30:32
you know, I wouldn't necessarily do that. But because I would always have like the caveat of, I'm not going to talk about this today. You've got enough information on that. Let me give you this today, or something like that.

John Meese 30:45
So you've talked a couple times, Brian, about how you and other industry leaders kind of started talking right away about how do you pursue opportunity, not just for yourself, but what are these How do these industries respond? So how are you pivoting to pursue opportunity and right now, I mean, how have you adopted your own services are what you create Are you mentioned some of the blog posts you created that were just about ideas of how to adapt business? How do you have a specific I guess what I'm looking for here is like, do you have a specific lens through which you look at crises and how to identify opportunity?

Brian Kurtz 31:13
I guess it's interesting. It's a good question, because I think I look at it as I always try to forward pace, my business or the businesses that I'm coaching. So when I say forward pace, it's like, I want you to deal with the present. But I also want you to think about a time where this is basically gone, or it's just not a factor anymore. That's as much or as much a factor anymore. And by that, I mean, like, using that chiropractor as an example. So he can't see patients in the midst of COVID. So he's, he's selling some supplements, he's doing some video appointments. It's nothing compared to what he was doing when he was seeing patients. So then what I told them thing to do is forward pace to a time when he'll see patients. And you basically say, you know, when, when I can, When, when, when we're able to get together again, I want to make sure you know, I want to give you, you know, a free back crack to come into my office. So we can do a full assessment of, you know, how bad it's been for you not to be able to see me. And so and you give them a free, whatever you give them, you know, and then you talk about what life is like, in the future as well then in the future, you know, you'll come in, I'll probably have a controlled environment or have a controlled environment, I won't see I won't have more than one person in the office waiting. And so you kind of give them a view of the future that is closer to normal. I mean, normal is, you know, it's going to be a new normal, but you try to give that while you're still in the present. It also is that you know, you don't wanna start being gloomy and say it's not going to be the same for two years or three years or four years? What you want to do, and I get this from Dan Sullivan again, who's from Strategic Coach, he coaches entrepreneurs, and I'm in his program. And he looks at at instead of like, looking at a one year plan, a two year plan, a three year plan. He says your business should be in 90 day increments. So I still run my business and ask the people that I coach to look at their business in 90 day increments, and not to look so far ahead, because the the thing that Dan teaches is he calls the entrepreneurs get in the gap a lot. And what the gap is, is that you're in the present now. And the gap would be I'm looking to the horizon for my future. But if you look to the horizon and walk towards it, by the way, you're never going to get there. You never get to the horizon. What you get to are our goals within a three month and as he has it narrowed down to That's why he has quarterly workshops. So you go to a quarterly workshop, you plan out your next quarter, you don't plan out more than five projects or things that you want to get done in that quarter, or mostly done in that quarter. And then at the end of the quarter you assess, and anything you completed, you turn around back where you are, and you celebrate at the end of the quarter, as opposed to keep looking ahead and looking ahead and looking ahead, because the gap is where you are and the horizon and you're not achieving anything, you have to celebrate it, then you turn back around and you plan the next quarter. I'm not saying you don't have to look ahead a year or two years. So I thought it was incredibly useful, particularly during the COVID period, because I was still looking quarter to quarter. So my my, my goals changed in the quarter. So I couldn't do a live event for the mastermind. But I could do regular calls. I could do one on one calls. I could do a lot of things with them. I can Send them a book in the mail or whatever I could do to make contact and that was my in the quarter because I didn't think I'd have a live event in the next quarter in the, in the accelerator group. They don't have live events. But instead of doing instead of doing a monthly call, I started doing weekly calls and giving them a lot more information. I started you know, I got an offer, I got an available I have a book that I wanted to send them so instead of with their with their monthly USP that has everything from the month that they get physically in their mailbox. I sent them another book, so they got more from me, they're hearing from me, I'm there for them. It's how I do my blog. My blog is basically fishing without bait. For the most part. I mean, I sell stuff, I sell my own stuff I don't do affiliates. That's my choice. I give up a lot of money but that's okay. But I I go out with my blog and I sell my stuff my breakthrough ever tising brilliance breakthrough, I sell some swipe files, I sell my mastermind, my Titans Accelerator mastermind, but my blog in the in the bulk of it, it's all story. It's all lesson all that. And so I'm just going to do more of that during this period because I don't have to sell, sell, sell. And if I if I give if I give up an offer for something, basically I'm saying if you can't afford it now, that's fine. You know, I don't do a hard sell, except when I do a launch and that that has a time limit on it. But I don't do it. I do I do a very soft sell. Because basically I'm saying I'm here when you need me. I'm available with this, this and this. If you're not ready now that's fine. Here's some more content for you. Here's some more stuff for you. And so that hasn't changed. But I kind of up up the ante a little bit on all of that material during this period. So I'm preparing for the future, but I'm in the present. I'm working on I'm working, I'm working here, you know, I work in, you know, on what I can deliver now. And forward pacing. I mean, that's basically it. And then while I'm doing this stuff now, I'm even, you know, kind of hinting that, you know, maybe I'll do a launch for this, or maybe I'll do that. No skin off my nose, if you can even unsubscribe if you want. You don't even have to read this anymore. But it's all it's all I try to make it as much content as I can, with very little selling or hard said.

John Meese 37:35
Well, Brian, thank you. It's been super helpful. I really appreciate all of this. And I'd love to know, really, just to capture some of your advice. I'm thinking about the business owner, the small business owner that's listening to this right now and they're trying to figure out okay, this is all great, but what do I do next? So I'd love to know what advice do you have for business owners who are right now trying to figure out how do I build or rebuild a profitable business in any economy one that is good now but one that will also last

Brian Kurtz 38:00
Well, you know, in in direct marketing, it's a three legged stool. It's lists, it's your list, its offer, and it's, it's creative. And I talked about this in my book, you know, and I have three chapters, chapter four is lists, chapter five is offers, and chapter six is creative. It's not a hands on situation. And, and specific templates to do each of those. But you know, the first step is you've got to have a list. And so when I, when I start coaching a client or consulting with a client, or working with my groups, I basically say, you know, I assess their assets I go, what do you have? What do you have now, if you haven't done anything, you still have some stuff. And what I mean by that is you have a list, whether it's in an email distribution system, or it's a Facebook list, or it's just your email contacts, or you may have a bunch of postal addresses somewhere and the key is To get that list cleaned up, and be able to assess that list in some way, with an offer, and the offer can be content, it can be, you know, if you haven't done anything with the list, you have to kind of regenerate them in some way, you have to say, I've been out of touch with you. I mean, this works for brick and mortar too. You know, if you're not, if you if you have a restaurant or a store, or whatever, you should have always have a list you should always have, I mean, and more than just have people sign up on a sheet when they're checking out, you know, you know, you have to really make it worth their while. You know, would you like to be on our list? I have a free, you know, special report and the 20% discount, if you sign up. So you have to make it really, and you know what, when I go on a podcast, that's my whole I just want to get names from my list. Whether they ever buy from me you relevant. There'll be enough of them that want to follow me. They'll tell somebody about me. They'll buy Breakthrough Advertising maybe and it doesn't matter, emails cheap, but you can't be abusive with it. But you want to develop an email list. And the thing is most digital marketers who sell digital products, they have a postal list, because the people are paying with a credit card. And that postal list is gold and they don't use it. So that would be my one of my first things is like, and if they only have a Facebook community, try to get the Facebook people onto an email list. Facebook will be you know, look, email their hands on the mouse, and they're gone. And, you know, point six seconds in Facebook, they're in a feed, they're gone and point three seconds, you know, so you have double the amount of time here. So why not get them somehow, you know, from a Facebook to a PDF of something that's really valuable to them. And to get the PDF, they have to opt in. You have an opt in page. I don't do this stuff. I'm not a tech guy. But there's a lot of people that can do that for you for all You know, $200 and get you an opt in page and get the list. And then once you have a list that you can communicate with, and like someone, I went, I went on a live cast recently. And it was all about social media and how I use social media to and that was the one question for you, though, like 30 speakers. And the first question was, how do you use social media to build your business? I said, social media, to me, is a way to get people on my email list. And once they're on my email list, I romance them. And I can't believe that that is not a prescription for almost any small business, in America or around the world. Now, it's not as simple sometimes to build that list. And but you know what? People say I don't have that many names. They only have like 150 names. Well, what do they do? What are the 150 names do? Do the 150 names might be two or three lists. It might be 50 people who bought something from you 50 people who thought about bye something from you, but they're on your list and 50 people who are suspects that need to learn about you. That's three different messaging. So now you can do three, three emails. So, I mean, that's just a simple example. But once you start building the list, I mean, I started from scratch. And the first thing I did is I went on a few podcasts, I started building the list, you know, one name at a time, six names at a time. 20 at a time, when I left boardroom, I had, I don't know, 800 names, thousand names. And I kept on building it. I kept on, you know, whenever I can get names, I do email swaps. I go to a friend of mine who's got an email list. And I say, can you just promote people to go on my list, and I'll do the same. And I don't care about whether I get 100 names and he gets 30. It's not a it's not a matching situation. It's, get some names on more lists. But again, don't abuse them once they're on your list, give them something good welcome them and then once you have that You know, you start working on your offers and creative and I mean, it's it, there's a lot more, but you said first thing, and we say it's build a list.

John Meese 43:11
I love that well, and I echo that advice. So that's great. So well Brian, where can we find you and learn more about you online.

Brian Kurtz 43:18
So you know, basically, and it's not I don't make any money on this, but you have to spend $17 to buy my book, Over Deliver. And but if you go on the site, you go to a site and there's like thousands of dollars worth of free bonuses and downloads of priceless books that aren't on the market anymore. Just amazing stuff. Without going into all of it. Just go to, you go there and you then buy the book wherever you want online. You can buy it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble. I don't care where you buy it, you come back to the site. Again, you opt in you put in your your your email address. With the order number, and you get access to all of this stuff and the books on Amazon, it's like, $17 I don't make any money on that. But that's the best way to get my stuff and get lots of stuff right away. If you can't spend $17 I understand. So just go to That's my site. The first page on the site is an opt in to an interview that I did with Perry Marshall, who's an online genius. And it talks about the three biggest successes of my career like case histories, and you get that interview you're on my list. You get my blog every Sunday, a lot of free content on my site. I've got blogs going back five years I've got you know, ways to work with me and and products but you don't have to buy anything. So If you don't want to spend $17 for thousands of dollars worth of products, or, if you want to get the whole Nine Yards and everything that I have to offer.

John Meese 45:03
Well, thank you, Brian. I've got a copy of the book right here. I've been reading it myself and really enjoyed it and find a lot of value in it. So I know it's Thank you. So thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate your time. Keep up the good work.

Brian Kurtz 45:13
Okay. Thanks, John. You too.

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John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork.Inc, co-founder of Notable, and host of the Thrive School podcast.

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