You don’t always need to do the new thing to make more sales…

written by john c ashworth

Most small business owners do not need new invention or new opportunity for the making of new fortunes. That’s because most business owners are still not very good at capitalizing on the opportunities that are right in front of them. They are often distracted, over-worked, and much more excited about chasing the new shiny thing then in digging into the dirt of developing the opportunities that are very often right in front of them.

Take your house list as one simple example.

Are you sending a regular email and print newsletter?

It’s possible you’re doing the former and very likely not the latter. The two combined and done in the right way and committed to over time can exponentially increase your sales.

Expert copywriting is the key.

Think it’s not possible?

Try it.

Or give me a chance, and I’ll show you how. I’m so confident I can make it happen for you, that I’ll do it for free in exchange for royalties on the sales I produce for you.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t always be looking for the slight edge in the form of new things you can leverage for better results. But I encourage you to start with the fundamentals of great copywriting and cultivation of your house list and then expand outward from there.


Promise, LARGE promise is the SOUL of any advertisement

Two hundred fifty years ago, essayist, poet and author Dr. Samuel Johnson said, “Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement.” And Ogilvy agreed.

When you get the promise right…by identifying, reinforcing, and emphasizing the strongest benefit… your product will practically sell itself.

It ain’t matter if you express yourself in perfect English.

The ONLY thing that will matter is that YOUR ideas are clear and easy to understand.


The Rewards of Being a Salesman

expert car buyer john c ashworth

Here’s what being a salesman means to me – Part 2

Click here for part 1 of this series

written by john c ashworth

One of the things I really love about being a salesperson is all the people time. All the connection. All of the potential that each new contact holds. For sales. For learning. For inspiration. For Friendship. And for that special blend of human connection that comes when two people meet, discuss their goals, their businesses, and the potential to help each other, and then decide to make a deal that is serendipitous for both.

This potential for connection and friendship is one of the things I miss most about my personal training and coaching business. Traveling to people’s homes for an intimate hour of focus on self-improvement is a terrific way to spend your days. A terrific way to build a really good life.

Of course, I approach all of my work as a salesman in this manner. It is just that some situations lend themselves a little more seductively to those deeper and more meaningful relationships. In addition, you can do things your own way when you’re running your own business. I’ve since moved on from my own business and if there’s one thing I really miss about it’s the ability to do exactly what needs to be done right now in order to build these kind of powerful, meaningful, and hyper-connected relationships with people.

This morning, I was up reading early as I almost always am and I came across something that touched this topic and this idea in a way that both inspired me, and reinforced this idea. I wanted to make sure and share it with you.

When you don’t invest in your prospect and customer relationships in this manner, over time, you become commoditized. You become the same as every other salesman and business out there. You are boring. You are uninteresting. You are lame. You are not interesting enough for anyone to really want to know more about you, why you do what you do, and how that can help and serve both your potential and current customers.

When you choose not to invest in these relationships in this way, you will find that over time, especially when it comes to your customers, positive feelings begin to erode, and they begin to look elsewhere for other solutions to their problems. In addition, even if they are not looking yet, they absolutely will and you will begin to find them poached by other, cheaper, and more interesting (primarily as a funciton of being newer to them) options. You will lose them. And if you let this go on too long, you will suddenly find yourself in a dire predicament and wondering what in the heck is happening to your business.

Eventually you will discover that you either stopped connecting or you never really connected in the first place. Either way, It won’t matter. You’ll be running in the thick sand down the beach toward that last jetty. Hoping to get around it and back to safety before the tide comes in.

Most businesses and business owners are much more willing to invest much more in their new customers than they are in the cultivation and strength of existing ones. This is a big mistake. This is silly math. Ignorant. Foolish. Lazy. Bad business.

Direct-response marketing, a system of sales and marketing that I’ve studied for more than two decades and which I continue to work toward mastery, lends itself perfectly to building this kind of relationship with your customers and prospects. The problem is that most don’t understand it at all. Most only see it only as a graceless, unfeeling, annoying and efficient way to make a sale. Worse, they might not even know what it is.

The truth is that it is in fact a very efficient way to make a sale; and to build incredibly strong bonds with your customers and prospects. Dig down just a little deeper and you’ll discover that it’s a whole lot more than that, and that it holds far more potential for your career, your business and your life than almost any other strategy you have the opportunity to implement in your small business.

Need an example or an idea that will help you understand this idea?

Dig down a even deeper into your products and services and reveal to me what business are you really in? What emotional triggers create your sales? What important problems are you solving with your products and services and how does your passion for this feed your desire to find potential customers, make a sale, and build a powerful relationship that can last a lifetime?

When you begin to think about your business in this way, you should also begin to see how many real opportunities you have each and every day to cultivate these connections and sales through your on-going and prolific communication with prospects and customers. And once you begin to make this connection, and you have happy customers with whom to build those relationships, you will also begin to see how powerful a regular printed newsletter could be, for example. Delivered personally to your customers’ mailbox and full of stories, expertise, and life-altering information that builds a stronger and stronger affinity to you, your products and services, and your brand.

The printed newsletter is just one of so many examples. I use it here because so few are committed to producing one. Or at the very least, producing a regular blog or email newsletter that will begin to help you accomplish the same things.

So why do so few understand this? Why are so few unaware of this method? Why do so few implement such a powerful business changing philosophy?

Direct-response marketing is the gritty blue collar factory worker with dirt under his finger nails, a little grease on his collar, and a lunch pale that looks like an old mailbox that he carries with him every day religiously because he’s devoted not only to his work, no matter how brutal, physical and demanding, but also to the nourishment he needs to feed himself so that he can feed his employer, his family, his loyal co-workers, and the American Dream.

Direct-response is NOT Madison Avenue. It is Main Street downtown. Where you eat breakfast at the same place every morning, not because the food is spectacular. You can get scrambeled eggs, toast, and a mediocre cup of coffee anywhere. What you can’t get anywhere is the true and lasting connections you build with the waitress, the cook and the owner who is committed to taking care of you because he loves you and makes you feel loved and earnestly does everything he can to ensure that he never loses touch with you.

I don’t go looking for customers to make sales. I work to make sales to get a customer, because once I make that sale, I’m fully aware and extremely grateful for how powerful and important that relationship, that friendship and that connection can become for both of us over time.

I look forward to our next conversation. Who knows what amazing places it might lead us 🙂


email is NOT DEAD. College is NOT required…and everyone is lying to YOU about success.

Email is NOT Dead. College is NOT required. And EVERYONE is lying to you about success.

written by john c ashworth

My son Carl was bemoaning his boredom at work this week during dinner last night. A common complaint when summer starts, his hours increase, and the realities that come with the working life begin to show themselves a little more clearly.

I shared with him something I heard from one of my old sales managers in the car business. He had been having a similar conversation with his daughter. Unlike Carl who is just beginning his career, she was already working as a physician, and already complaining of boredom.

“All jobs get boring eventually.” That’s what Lance had said and I’ll never forget it.

Stick around long enough. Work hard enough. Jump from one line of work to another. Soon, you’ll discover that it’s true. Work can get boring. Heck, life can get boring. It reminds me of a bit Jerry Seinfeld did when I went to see him at the overture center here in Madison.

“Life’s not too short. It’s far too long.” And then in his unique and genius way went on to make a pretty strong argument about it while detailing all of the mundane things we must do in order to get to the good stuff. The moments that make it all worth it.

As one example, I try not to think about how much of my life I spend preparing for my swim workouts at the gym. Preparing or being prepared in advance with swim bag loaded in the car. Driving there. Scanning my membership card. Making my way to the locker room. Undressing. Showering. Swimming. And then ultimately returning to take part in the exact reverse of the same ritual. I swim 4-5 days per week. That’s a lot of the same boring routine over and over again to make that happen.

Yes! Work and life get boring. That’s why mindfullness and meditation are so important.

But there is something else that’s very important about this story and it has to do specifically with your ability to do boring things consistently so that you can be successful in whatever it is that you do. Because inevitably, your work and your life will get boring at times and your ability to overcome the lethargy that can so quickly fill this void will be your decision to simply keep going. Keep fighting. Keep moving. Keep exercising. Keep calling. Keep marketing. Keep selling. And keep preventing yourself from being numbed into a sense of complacency that can leave you feeling bored, lost, and groping for something new when what you really need to do is stay focused on the job right in front of you.

No. College is NOT required and won’t prepare you for this.

Here’s what I like to do to fight this sometimes daily battle.

First, every year I choose three words to guide me. No. There is no substitute for writing goals, but I have found this particular habit extremely helpful over the years for many reasons. I won’t go into all of them right now. What I want you to understand about this habit I’ve formed is that while it might not seem like a lot to just come up with three words, if you’re really choosing wisely, you might be surprised how long it takes you to decide on them. It’s hard to choose only three. Which teaches you something all on its own. And I guarantee you will be even more surprised at how much three little words can help keep you on track when you get bored, lost, scared, or distracted from what it is you really want to accomplish. Your mission.

Second, I write. I produce content. I communicate with my followers, subscribers, colleagues and customers. And I exercise every single day without fail. I also get up very early in the morning and read, write, ice my back, stretch and take some very quite personal time to reflect on what is needed that day.

Yes! More meditation and yoga are currently missing from this list, but I have not been that good about either of them lately so I left them off and then shared that with you as a means of reminding my innner conscious mind of their importance to me. Now that I’ve done that it’s very likely I will be led back to them more frequently in the coming months. Almost certain, in fact.

It is this second thing I just mentioned that I want to elaborate on before I go today. That I write and I communicate with you through my blog, facebook, instagram and weekly email broadcasts to subscribers because it helps me just as much as I hope it helps you from time to time.

Doing this does force a different kind of meditation that is grounded in my own personal connection with my mission here on The Ash Flash and how it is driven by the stories, insights and inspirations that pass through me and onto this page.

I’m NEVER bored when I write. I’m NEVER scared when I write. I’m NEVER more engaged with my own mind and everything that passes through than when I write, communicate, and share with you here. That’s why I appreciate you being here so much.

Should you be interested, I want you to know that I can help you build this same kind of communication engine in your own business and I can teach you how to use it to sell more stuff. I’ve been doing it for years now, and I continue to do it in my current line of work as a salesman. The process is powerful in many ways. Both personally and professionally. This body of work and expertise is a sales process that just keeps getting better all the time.

The larger point I want to make before this post gets too long, though, is this…

Everyone is lying to you about success, because no one is sharing with you all of the boring details about what it took to get them where they are today. Just remember that every time you see, read or hear something that seems a little too good to be true. It probably is. In fact, this guy who crushed it on Jeopardy this year is a great example of what I’m talking about. I plan to write more about that another time. He topped the $2-Million Mark during 27 consecutive appearances on the show, but he spent a lifetime developing and honing the skills and expertise that allowed him to succeed. That allowed him the courage to play the game the way he did.

He practiced answering questions in his own living room while wearing dress shoes to get in the right mindset.

I love that story.

…and likely, until I shared it with you, you probably were not aware. You probably have not had the time to read, like I have, all about how he made himself into a success on Jeopardy.

Work gets boring. Life gets boring.

The key is to keep going. Keep studying. Keep practicing. Keep living. Keep fighting.

Keep putting your dress shoes on and going to work.


PS In my current role as a salesman for a fast-growing technology company, I don’t have to wear dress shoes most days. I do, however, still wear the same McDonald’s visor every single day (pictured below). I do this for three important reasons.

First, it does help keep the bright light out of my eyes at the computer. We work in a beautiful space with a lot of natural lighting.

Second, it’s a cool visor.

Third, wearing it has become a ritual and helps me achieve the mindset I need to cultivate to be successful in my job. Could I still cultivate that mindset without the hat? Of course, but why not find the things and the ways you need that will inspire you and help make your work and your days more fun, more engaging and more productive?

Go get em’!

Don’t EVER stop Scoring

soccer ball photo john ashworth

written by john c ashworth

Want to sell more? Remove obstacles.

Sounds simple, right? Actually, it is. The hard part is not letting distractions pull you away from this beacon of truth. Especially as your sales and company grow, your focus on eliminating the things that detract and distract from the sales process become more prominent and require your constant diligence.

Think about it honestly…

How much time do you actually spend selling each day?

Very often, it’s not nearly as much as you think and not nearly as much as I’m sure you would prefer.

You must contactly guard against the three hundred pound gorilla that is standing outside your cubicle. Fist pounding. Belly growling, feet stomping. He stinks and he’s clammoring for your attention. Ignore him. He will move on to feed elsewhere, but only if you can stop him from stealing your attention. Stealing your mojo.

That gorilla can come in many forms and they are all easily justifiable until you take a closer look at what you were put on this earth to do. Sell things. Make your business grow. Make more money so you can do more great things. Serve more people with our gifts and expertise.

You can’t do that if you’re constantly trying to tame that beast who is powerful and convincing in his giant hairy armor. Constantly trying to convince you that this other thing needs to be done first or that you should be satisfied with your current progress.

I learned a long time ago from a great soccer coach that as a center forward you should always be hungry for more. Always hungry for another chance at glory. No matter how many golden nuggets you’ve got in your pocket, there is always room for another one.

This might sound greedy to you and if it does? Well, the gorilla’s got your mojo and is coaxing you into complacency. The ultimate monster in disguise.

Don’t ever let up. Don’t ever stop scoring.