MF 172 : Moving Forward and Away From the “Freebie” Sales Model, with Doberman Dan
Doberman Dan is a serial entrepreneur, 3x best-selling author and renowned copywriter. Today, Dan will share how to move forward with a sales model that focuses on actual sales!
Successes at a glance:
Entrepreneur and copywriter
Featured in Investor’s Business Daily, Entrepreneur Magazine, Success, Muscle & Fitness, and The National Enquirer!
3x best-selling author of Just Sell the Damn Thing
The first thing you’ll notice about Dan is his unique and memorable handle, “Doberman Dan.” This started as a joke when Dan signed off on his first article as “Doberman Dan.” Dan’s dog, a Doberman, had just gotten into a scuffle with a Rottweiler. At the time, Dan was writing for bodybuilding magazines and he realized he had become too much of a “Rottweiler” himself, meaning he was living a life of a “bulky looking powerlifter” with “too much beer, too much pizza.” Dan decided to prioritize getting back into shape and becoming the lean “Doberman.” The handle stuck and today it’s his calling card. Similarly, Dan describes his entrepreneurial journey as “pure dumb luck.” Dan grew up in a very blue-collar town, Barberton, OH, with no career planning. As Dan describes, in that town, you either went to college or you worked at a rubber company. Dan hopped around, taking odd jobs, eventually landing in loss prevention at a department store. This led to Dan becoming a police officer in Dayton. However, Dan was restless. He didn’t want to stay in Dayton for the rest of his life but didn’t know what else to do. Dan loved music and wanted to be a musician but that wasn’t a viable or stable career path for him. Randomly, a friend introduced him to the Amway business. Dan failed at it but it sparked some ideas for him. He got his first taste of sales and entrepreneurship. So Dan stayed on the police force for 12 years while starting side gigs. Dan shares he failed repeatedly at all of them: none of them made any money or got traction. Dan was depressed and miserable, losing time and money. However, Dan kept at it and by the end of his tenure on the police force, Dan discovered direct response marketing and launched a mail order business in the body-building niche. Dan had his first successful venture which allowed him to leave the police department. Over the next 23 years, Dan has become an expert in direct response marketing and copywriting. In 2012, Dan started providing consulting services to other businesses for copywriting and ad copy.
What is direct response marketing?:
If you’ve ever been on a website that talks about a product or service and asks you to click or subscribe to get more information or purchase that product, you’ve experienced direct response marketing.
Dan’s big why:
Dan’s motivation is to encourage people who want to become entrepreneurs or pursue any endeavor to do so and gain more autonomy in their lives. Dan’s motivation that kept him going for 9 years+ was to find a way to make the same money he did as a police officer but with a lot fewer hours. His end goal is to have greater freedom to pursue his loves like music, without having to rely on it to pay the bills.
Biggest challenge today:
“Myself.” Entrepreneurs see opportunity everywhere and sometimes fail to focus on one thing. Dan gets excited about taking on working on other projects and opportunities which can sometimes take away from building his membership program and his business. In other words, Dan’s challenge is to focus his efforts on what can make the biggest difference which is growing entrepreneurs thru his program.
Moving forward past that challenge:
Dan never claimed to be the most ambitious nor the most disciplined guy in the world. To move past this challenge, it’s simply about doing the work. And the way he makes sure to do the work is to make appointments with himself on his calendar. When it’s concrete, he is more likely to stick with it. A great tip for setting priorities and sticking with them.
The philosophy of ‘Just Sell the Damn Thing:’
Marketing online: for the longest time the model was getting people into your world by giving away something on your website: an opt-in (free report, free pdf, ebook, audio, video, etc.), in exchange for their email address to add to your subscriber list. From there, you would continue sending messages and content in the hopes that this will lead to a sale. This was a solid model to follow for a long time but …
Today, Dan shares this isn’t as effective as it used to be. The cost per acquisition for a new lead is higher than before to the point where it is a losing proposition for some businesses.
As an alternative, Dan suggests that businesses go for a more direct approach. Example, if you have a newsletter that is $49 per year, make that your ask rather than a freebie opt-in. To make this work, focus on building a list of buyers rather than a list of freebie opt-in seekers. It’s more work but it translates into more realized revenue gains.
Learn more about this model in ‘Just Sell the Damn Thing.’
Favorite tool or productivity practice:
A variation on the Pomodoro method: use a timer, set it for a period (eg 33 min, 33 secs) and focus for that period on the task at hand. After the timer goes off, take a break.
How Dan is moving forward today:
Plan out his calendar for the next month.
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Who is Dan in five years?:
Dan loves music and it’s a dream that won’t die. Dan released his first CD and is working on his second album. In the next 5 years, Dan sees himself putting more time and effort into his music. This goes back to his big why. Dan invests in building his business so he doesn’t have to rely on music for a living. However, Dan would love to see music become a part-time business itself.
“Don’t give up. It’s just a process and getting from A to B is never a straight line. You’re gonna make mistakes. So just start making them right now and don’t give up because you will get to B if you follow that advice.”