Frameworks specialist, Mel Abraham is our guest for the 89th episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Mel’s got an interesting background that launched him as an expert is building expertise (kind of meta, right?), which means he is the perfect person to talk about client relationships and how to establish your expertise before you work with a client. We talked about:
• how he learned to leverage his experience to build a real business
• how to stop exchanging hours for dollars and sell your true value
• the risks and rewards of project pricing
• what you have to do to get clients past the “yellow light”
• how you can help clients see the value of what you do before they hire you
• what to cover in your first call with a potential client
• how to know if you’re an expert or a thought leader
• the “prolific power of positioning” and how to use it for your business
• all about frameworks and why you need one
• the steps to follow for creating a framework for your business
• how copywriters can build their own credibility
As usual, there’s a lot of good stuff in this episode. To hear it, visit iTunes, Stitcher or open up your favorite podcast app and search for The Copywriter Club. Or just scroll down and click the play button below. Keep scrolling for a full transcript.
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The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Thoughtpreneur Academy
The Entrepreneur’s Solution by Mel Abraham
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
Intro: Content (for now)
The Copywriter Club Podcast is sponsored by Airstory, the writing platform for professional writers who want to get more done in half the time. Learn more at Airstory.co/club.
Rob: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Kira and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Kira: You’re invited to join the club for episode 89, as we talk with entrepreneur and business advisor Mel Abraham about building a successful business from nothing, what you need to do to become an influencer and make a real impact, the importance of frameworks, and how to write a national bestseller.
Kira: Welcome, Mel.
Mel: How are you doing?
Rob: Mel, it’s great to have you here. We’re thrilled to be talking to you.
Mel: Yeah, it’s fun.
Kira: All right Mel, so let’s just start with your story; how did you end up building your online building empire?
Mel: Wow. I guess, you know, it’s a non-traditional thing. It wasn’t like I grew up with the internet; I grew up well before the internet, and I was the traditional CPA. I’m a CPA by education, but I was building an expert business before I knew what an expert business was. And it was pre-internet; I needed to build a practice. I needed to get clients; I needed to get known; I needed to get myself out there, and the only way to do it back then was direct mail, you know; networking; speaking; and writing articles. And that’s what I did to do this.
And as time went on, I started to realize that the game that I was sold—swapping hours for dollars—is the absolute worst business model I that could ever be sold to someone, and should be burned at the stake! And I tried to figure out, how do I leverage my expertise, and how do I leverage that stuff? And you know, we may get more into it, but what I was building at the time was as an expert witness, strategic consultant, or businesses. I was helping them build businesses, but I was doing a lot of testimony at trial in litigation, which was such a negative environment, that I got tired of it. And I said, well, where can my skills work and where can I leverage those skills better, and that’s when I started to look at the online space. I was already speaking; I said, so how do I capitalize that? How do I record it? How do I put it out there? And that’s how I really got into this game of the online space, and have been in it now for, well gosh, at least a decade.
Rob: When you talk about trading hours for dollars, it’s got to resonate with almost every one of our listeners, because that’s what copywriters do. I want to know more. What’s the secret; what’s the solution to that problem?
Mel: The solution is simple. It may not be easy, though. And first is a mindset shift; an attitude shift. What I realized is that when we talk about selling hours, we’re putting ourselves in the commodity space, and selling in commodity’s the worst thing we can do because the only differentiating point at that point in the consumer’s mind is pricing. But that’s not what we do, and when you talk about copywriters, it’s not what you do. You create value, and what we truly live in today, and I think that anything from employee on up, we need to understand this, is that we live in a value-exchange economy. And so we need to forget price; we need to forget costs, and we need to focus on the value exchange.
What value do I provide? The transformation, if you will. The solution and what value are they going to give up in return? And when we do that, that changes the dynamics of the relationship greatly. So, let me give you a “for instance”: I get brought into cases that the reality is that, there’s a lot on the line: their businesses are on the line, they’re being sued, and I’m going in to testify. I’m the hired expert to testify. Now they may be sitting at a $20,000,000 lawsuit—let’s reduce the numbers, maybe it’s a $1,000,000 lawsuit—and I go in, I testify and win the case. Now I could quantify my hours and say it, well it took me twenty hours, and at $1,000 an hour, that’s $20,000. And I could say, you know what? I did all right. A thousand bucks an hour is not so bad. The client won a million dollar case. Do you think my client would be upset if I send my bill—and I did it upfront—and I said the cost for me to do this is $50,000? And the answer is “no”. They still got the million out of it, they paid fifty more than my hourly rate, but I’m looking at it through value-exchange. But I’m also looking at it as how much of my life am I giving up: how much aggravation, how much of all of that that I’m giving up, and how much value do they get. We need to think about things from a value standpoint, not a cost and price standpoint, which is a shift in mindset.
Kira: Okay, so just to get in the weeds, for people who aren’t familiar with you, why were you the expert witness? What is your expertise and specialty?
Mel: So, like I said, I’m educated as a CPA, and I got tired of the traditional stuff: doing the tax returns, and the ticking and tying and bookkeeping, and that kind of stuff. And I realized that, in order for me to get paid well, I needed to do something was that of a higher valued service. And at that time, that industry of being an expert witness—someone that testifies in financial matters—I’d be the type of guy that would get hired to put a Bernie Madoff in jail.
Mel: And so that’s where I took my skills, focusing in on how do you value businesses; how do you testify in businesses; how do you build businesses; how do you buy and sell businesses. So that’s the background that I have, and that’s the choice I made, was to focus in that litigation evaluation realm.
Kira: Okay, cool. And so, for a lot of copywriters, this value-exchange economy concept might be new, or at least, they might be like, yeah—that makes sense. But, it’s so hard for me to do it, especially for new copywriters. Is there a really good first step for someone who’s trading their time for dollars, and wants to make this transition, but is still working on the mindset piece?
Mel: This is where I said that it’s simple but not easy.
Mel: And I think that it becomes a choice, and we end up project-pricing something, and here’s the risk: I could project-price something that when you do the math behind it for the hourly rate, you kind of go, I only got a buck and a half an hour!
Mel: Or, when you do the math behind it you look at it and say, I made $3,000 an hour. And, I think with experience, we start to understand that we can get an idea of the breadth of a project, and say, here’s the value it can provide. I’m going to be writing the sales pages. I know what my conversion rates are. I know what my copy is. I’m going to be writing a sequence of emails. I’m going to be writing a sequence of articles. I’m going to be doing all these things that are going to be leading to this. And you simply price it on a project basis, you start to understand what it’s going to take to do it, the kind of revisions. You’re being real careful in your terms and conditions about the fact that you’re not going to have 3,200 available to them. So you corral your exposure, and you bid at a price, and that’s going to take a little while. I think that, until you get to know how to manage the projects to make sure that you hit it on the mark…
But after a while, I can look at a project now and say, here’s what it’s going to cost. And I know what’s it going to take me to get done, and I’m goodwith it. Now very few will go south on me, but they still do, and that’s just the cost of doing business, and I think we just need to jump in and say, one—the stuff I do is valuable, and makes a difference, and step in and own that. I talk about the difference between “convincing selling” it, and “conviction selling” it. The worst place we can be is coming from a convincing selling standpoint, and this is an important aspect for copywriters to think about is that we’ve got the red light, we’ve got the green light, and we got the yellow light, like we’re driving. And the most dangerous light is the yellow light, because it’s the light of indecision.
Mel: I want everyone that I speak to either know they want to work with me, or don’t know they want to work with me. That’s it. I want them at the red light, or the green light. I don’t want to spend all the energy and time in indecision and trying to convince them. And so I would just put it out there: you start project pricing things, and own it.
Rob: I want to go deeper on this “red light, green light, yellow light” idea. What do you do to make sure that people get past that yellow light, so that when they do approach you, are there steps that I can take so that they definitely want to show up, or are there things that I can do, so that when they’re there, they want to work with me?
Mel: I think there are. The first thing to do is how you approach the interaction. I approach it whether I’m speaking from stage, or I’m doing a webinar, or a one-on-one, is I kind of approach it with indifference. I look at it and say: I actually don’t care whether I work with you or not.
Mel: What I careabout, and this sounds at the very beginning, but let me finish, is that what I care about is that you have enough information to make a valid and an informed decision. Because you may choose to work with me without enough information, and in the end you come back and say, this wasn’t the right thing. So you may choose notto work with me, because you don’t have enough information, and they should’veworked with me. So our job, in the context of sales, is to first look at it and say, what questions do they need answered to be fully informed to make a decision—one. Two, how do I explain and articulate the value I bring with a sense of believe and ownership that’s unquestioned and stand in that. And three, just give the space. They say “the power’s in the pause” when we talk about negotiation tactics. It’s in the pause! You put it out there: this is what it is; here’s what it does for you; here’s how it can change you; here’s what the price is! And just let them make the decision. The choice isn’t yours. The next person that speaks is going to blow the deal.
Kira: Okay. So, I love all of this and I want to continue to get into it. So, for a lot of copywriters, the sales call is scary, and you know, confidence is still struggle, and you’re just figuring it out. So, it feels like from what you’re saying, you really need to explain the value on a sales call, potentially. What would you say to a copywriter who’s like, Okay, but I suck at sales; like I don’t feel confident yet in my sales call; how am I supposed to go on there and explain the value? Is that maybe something they should do prior to even jumping on the call through some other marketing asset?
Mel: Yeah, I think there’s a couple of ways to handle this. One is, the pre-sales call: how do they come into your journey in this context? So, is there enough information out there already that they know the work you do, they know the quality of work you do, and they know what the results are that you’ve done. That then means that when they get on the call, that they’re not an absolute cold lead. There is some warmth there; there is some understanding there. The reason we put out—I put out—regulate content, is that I don’t ever want to be talking to cold leads. I want everyone—by the time we have a conversation, or by the time they go into something, they know me. They trustme; they like me; they see the value in me, and they’re warm leads.
That’s one of the things that we want to look at, is, what does the runway look like before the sales call? And if that runway isn’t creating a warm lead, then I think we need to look at that and adjust. The second thing that can happen is this: is, I like sometimes breaking the sales call up into two aspects—two different calls. And the first call, you can call it a “copy assessment,” a “copy audit,.” that kind of thing where you explain to the individual, whoever you’re talking, you say, I want to just have an initial call just to understand what your needs are, better understand what your needs are, and to determine ifor howI might be able to help. Which, in that process, we’re presuming uncertainty. We’re presuming, that, listen—I don’t know if I can help you; I know don’t know how I can help you. But, let’s just have a conversation around this so I can look at it, and, in the end, if I can’t help you, I’ll politely let you know that I can’t, and I’ll give you some guidance on what you need to do next and where to go. Because this call is really about you, and getting you straightened out and pointed in the right direction is just there for you.
So I take the selling off the table, and I have a real conversation, a short conversation, around what their needs are, what their wants are, what their problems are, what their gaps are… And if I can truly help them, then great. If I can’t, then I point them in the right direction. But the other part of that call, is I say, if I can’t help you, I’ll politely point you in the right direction. If I think that I can help you, then we’ll set up another call to have a conversation about how, and what that might look like. Is that okay with you? So what I’ve done now is I’ve taken the selling off the table. I have a conversation around it: can I help? Can I not help? If I can help, we’ll set up another call; we’ve already got permission for that second call up front.
Now when we get on that second call, it’s about the plan and the strategy, and they already know that that’s a sales call. They’re coming to it with that purpose. And I think one of the discomforts with some folks is they get on a call, and one side of the conversation thinks it’s an informational call; the other side is looking at it as a sales call, and there’s this awkward shift from information to selling that, I think we just need to be open about and just say: listen, I just want to have a conversation to see if or how I can help. If I can, we’ll set up another time to have that conversation. If not, we’ll move on and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Rob: Mel, would you charge for either of those two calls?
Mel: I’ve known some people to charge for it….I don’t. I’m kind of one of those that says stuff will come back to me. There’s been plenty of times… Like I had a conversation literally with a guy yesterday as I was driving, and I said listen—I said, I think you’re not at the space where I can support you. Here’s what I think you need to do. I want you to go get this book; I want you to go watch this video; and I want you to do this work. When you’re done with all of that, reach out to me, and we’ll see where we’re at.
Mel: And I think that builds the trust, and I’ve probably spent twenty minutes, twenty-five minutes on the phone with him, and I’m okay with that. I was sitting in traffic anyways.
Mel: Laughs. But, I think that we’re going to invest time and as we get better at it, that initial call’s going to be a ten or fifteen minute call. You can frame it; you can get on the call and say: listen, I got us booked into the calendar. I know that we have a call; are you still okay with a call? Yeah? Great. So, you know, I have a call right after this in about ten minutes, so let’s get started; let’s just get right to it. I’m going to ask you a couple of questions, and that’s it. So, I’ve already set the expectation up front: it’s a ten-minute call, or it’s a fifteen minute call. We nail it in ten or fifteen minutes. But, at the end of that ten or fifteen minutes, I know if there’s a fit; I know whether we’re going to move forward and go into the next call. So for me, it’s a really quick and easy way to filter something. Now I’m not doing these calls for $500 online programs. These are calls for, you know, 10K, 2K, 3K kinds of projects.
Rob: Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. So, I want to jump back to the before-the-call. It sounds like what you’re talking about it building a thought leadership practice, and I think this is one of the things that you teach. Are there specific things that we should be doing in order to be perceived as that thought leader before, you know, the client arrives at our website or before they hear about us, so that when we get on that call, they’re already in the mindset that we’re the expert that they want to talk to?
Mel: Absolutely. And it is what I teach, and the whole idea of being a thought leader, or an influencer, is important. There’s a lot of people out there that are what I call experts. Now experts are people who know stuff. And we all know stuff. So pretty much, everyone’s an expert! And the difference between an expert and a thought leader—and expert and an influencer, as I call them, or “thoughtpreneur”—is that those influencers are known for what they know, and what they know makes a difference. And it’s a huge distinction.
When the idea of copy or copy comes up in a specific arena, does your name come up? When I was building my practice back in the nineties with no internet, I realized that the only way I was going to get hired is if people knew who the heck I was. And so I had to be prolific out in the world. Back then, it was networking, speaking and writing. Today, with a smartphone—an iPhone or whatever—you actually have a publishing platform, a radio station, and a TV station all-in-one that can be done very, very cost-effectively, if not free. And I think what we need to start doing is pounding that steak in the ground of who we are, what we stand for, who we serve, and how we make a difference. And being really clear and prolific around it, and not in the shadows.
A thought leader is just that—they’re a leader; they’re out front; they’re setting a tone. And realize that it’s easy to shrink up and say, well, look—I have my book, The Entrepreneur’s Solution. It was realized in 2015. We hit number one on Barnes and Noble; we hit USA Today Bestseller list; we moved 16,000 in two-and-a-half weeks, but that book was realized in 2015. I sat on itfor four years. I didn’t let it get realized and the reason I didn’t let it get realized is because I kept looking in the bookstores and saying, there’s a whole bunch of books on entrepreneurship. There’s whole bunch of stuff out there. Why do they need another one? And, I sat on it until I had a friend who basically twisted my arm and said, I’m not going to support you in anything else you do until you’ve put this book out there. And, the reality is that there’s 16,000 souls that had got it in their hand that would not have been served if I didn’t do it. And we need to get out of our own way, and realize there is an audience for every perspective.
You know what? People that are going to be listening to this—there’s a bunch of different copywriters and they say we got to differentiate ourselves somehow. But some of it is personality; some of it is style. Some of it is content, and know that there’s an audience for each and every one of us, and not be concerned with, oh there’s so much competition. And in this space, there’s experts in leadership, in corporate culture, in fitness and wellness, and if we use that as the mechanism to judge whether we go out there or not, we would never make the decision to go out and do it. And, the bottom line is, is there’s space for all of us. We just come at it from a different perspective. So we need to position ourselves out there—it’s what I call a prolific pattern of positioning—that we need to be consistently putting ourselves out there so people understand what we stand for, how we’re going to show up for the world; what’s the value we bring; what’s the solutions we have.
Kira: All right. So, I love this idea of a prolific pattern of positioning. And putting out content, I think you mentioned it’s the runway before the sales call so people know about you and know what you’re about, and know what you’re capable of before even speaking to you. So if I’m thinking about this and I feel overwhelmed because there are so many different forms on content, and there’s somuch we can do now with our smartphones I don’t even know where to do start, what advice would you give to copywriters who want to be prolific and feel a bit overwhelmed?
Mel: First thing is to figure out where your market’s hanging out, I think. If my market’s not on Pinterest—which they’re not—there’s no reason for me to try and build anything on Pinterest. So we start to carve these things out and say, look, I’m not going to do Pinterest. I don’t even know how to log in to Pinterest; I don’t use Snapchat. You know, so, where are they hanging out is the first place, because I got to access them. So, I figure out where they’re going to hang out, I decide on one social media platform that I’m going to concentrate on, and I’m going to make myself known there. For me, I’m primarily focused right now on Facebook, and then it’ll be Youtube. I am doing some Instagram, but primarily Facebook, and I’m going to continue just keep going there. Everyday there’s a post on Facebook, I’m doing Lives. So we got to figure out where is your customer first. And let’s go to them. It might be LinkedIn!
So that’s the first thing because you’re right, we can get overwhelmed and say, I got to do all these social media things, and I think we got to stop and say wait a second; if my objective is to get into conversations with my qualified customers, then let me figure out what party they’re at, and let me go to that party. And so that’s the first thing.
The second is, you know, we have all this talk about avatar, and it’s interesting. I don’t know if we can figure out completely what that avatar is, or that person, but we certainly can understand what we call the Four Courses—their fears and frustrations; their wants and their aspirations. To understand what is going on so we can speak to them. When our customers hear us either in a live video or in an article, or a post, or something, well we speak to them—in fact, I sent out an email to my list last week and it’s really interesting the responses you get. So I get this response from someone who says: I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know how I got on your list, but you’re speaking to exactly where I am in my life right now. Now, I’m curious about how he got on my list, and why he doesn’t know who I am, but by the same token, the email accomplished what it needed to accomplish. I’m speaking to where they are in that moment. That allows them to say, one, they get me. Two, they might be able to help me. Three, maybe I better listen some more. And so, find out where they’re out, understand what their problems that have that they need solved—that they wantsolved—is, and now let’s start dropping the seeds of wisdom that show that you’re the person that can solve them.
Rob: Yeah I love that. Really familiar I think, so what a lot of copywriters try to do in their businesses. So Mel, you talk a lot about frameworks. Could you take some time and just explain what a framework is, and why we need them, and maybe how we develop our own?
Mel: Yeah! Absolutely; I love frameworks. I mean anyone that knows me, any length of time, knows that I’m constantly doodling on my iPad or on flip charts and everything, and here’s why. To me, a framework—what I’m talking about when I’m talking about a framework is a diagram or some sort of graphic depiction of a process, a point, something you’re trying to make up. It’s not a bullet point list. Yeah, some people will call it a framework; I call it a to-do list, or a recipe. It’s not the framework that I want, and here’s why the framework is so important: let’s go back to my days as an expert witness. Most of my stuff that I would do is financial. Every other expert I would go against, they would go and get on the flip chart and they would put all their numbers on the flip chart in columns and rows. They’d explain how they got to their calculations. In front a jury, that isn’t necessarily at the same level of education on that topic; they may have higher level of education of the topics, but they’re not on that topic. So we got to educate them.
And as a copywriter, as an entrepreneur, as a thought leader, our job is going to be education. So they would go and put their numbers on the flip chart, and then it would be my turn, and I would look at the jury and I’d say, is it okay if I drew a picture for you? And I would create this graphic, this picture, of what I did for them. Now that just goes into the deliberation room to try and figure out how they’re going to rule in the case. Do you think that they remember the numbers from the other expert, or the picture that I drew?
Rob: Yeah, it’s going to be the picture every time. Yeah.
Mel: Every. Single. Time. The reason I like frameworks is double-fold: one, a framework allows you to take complex ideas and communicate it simply. That’s the one big thing: Second, a framework, because it’s a visual model, is the one tool that transcends and connects the logical side of the brain with the emotional side of the brain. When we take things in visually, it’s an emotional intake. So for instance, we see a little puppy or a baby? There’s an emotional stirring inside of us that happens, some sort of emotion. It’s the same thing with a framework. When the framework is built correctly, ‘cause there’s a formula to a framework, what happens it, the person that is seeing it inserts themselves into it, and it becomes an emotional connect to it. The second part of it is that because there’s structure—there’s boxes, there’s circles, there’s triangles, there’s lines, and there’s dataattached to it—it appeals to the logical side. So it’s the one tool that we can use when done correctly, that connects emotional side which is really what gets their attention, and then gets the logical side engages, which is what supports their decision.
Kira: Mel, can you simplify this for us? What type of frameworks do we need as copywriters, and how can we use them most effectively?
Mel: It can be simply, but we can overcomplicate it. So first thing’s first: realize that frameworks are used for different things. There’s six types of frameworks that can be built for different purposes. There’s two primary frameworks that you’re probably talking about: one is what I call a process framework. Here’s the process we use. The second is what I call a value framework, a value visual, which explains the reason why. And so those are two frameworks that every thought leader should have in place that are signature to them—that aren’t generic—that become there’s, that become associated… If I turned around, I put four boxes up on a flip chart and I put urgent,versus importantup there, who do you think of? Stephen Covey. Because he’s indelibly attached to that framework as a signature framework.
That’s what you want, is that someone that says—well, you know what, why I like Kira? She does this copywriting thing, and you know what? And they sit down and they draw up a framework. She does this; I don’t know how it completely works, but this is what she does, and it goes over here… That’s what we want, because that becomes memorable, replicable, but is attached to you.
So, back to your question, there’s four elements to every framework, and this is what I called framework formula that need to be considered. First is the formation: the shapes that you use. You don’t just slap shapes together, ‘cause every shape has a different emotional response or psychological impact. A triangle can give direction, elevation…it can give a sense of movement. A rectangle or a square can give boundaries, or a circle could be inclusion or exclusion, as an example. So the first thing we need to understand is, am I creating a framework that includes? Excludes? Gives boundaries in place? Gives direction? ‘Cause that’s going to make a difference, in the shapes that I use. So the formation’s the first thing.
The second is the information: what information do I want to get across to them? And I’m going to say three to five bits of information. If we start to go beyond that, we’re going to confuse them. So when I start my presentation on thought leadership, I say: listen, there’s two things that you need to be able to master. The first is what you know, the knowledge, okay? The second is your notoriety—howyou’re known. So it’s what you know, and how you known that we got to master. Now the reason I did that is because everyone will go, well Ican do that, there’s only two things! But below those two things, there’s more layers and levels, but if I went to them with the whole thing at once, I didn’t get their buyoff on the premise and the simplicity of it all at the get-go, and I’m going to lose them. So our frameworks need to be simple enough that we get our customers to go, I can do that. That means that we have three to five bits of information, and that’s it. So the second piece is the information.
The third and fourth piece is what people miss when they create their frameworks. The third piece is what’s the emotionthat you want? So, formation; information; emotion. What do I want them to feel? Do I want them to feel aspiration? Do I want them to feel desire? Do I want them to feel hope? Do I want them to feel frustration? Do I want them to feel angst? Because we can build it in that way. For instance, I have a framework that says, that basically is an assessment that says, are you a dabbler? Well people don’t want to be a dabbler! I was working with a guy who works with people in the health and wellness, and we created a framework, and at the lowest rung on his framework, it said derelict.
Rob: Yeah, laughs.
Mel: How did people want to be a derelict, you know? But we use it to create a psychological impact, an emotion, to drive them to a place where they want to be. Not to manipulate them, but to get them to see clearly where they are and where they want to be. So that’s the emotion side. And then, the fourth thing is the orchestration. So we have formation, information, emotion, and orchestration. When we create frameworks, when we just slap them up there as a graphic… Now sometimes we don’t have a choice, when you turn around and put it on a website or something, it’s just there. But the more powerful way to do it is to co-create it with the person.
So when I’m doing my webinars, or I’m speaking on stage, it’s me with a blank chart, and we’re drawing it together, which allows us to have this orchestration—this dance—around co-creating something, that allows them to invest their energy, their time, and their tension into it so they have a much more vested interest in what’s going on. I mean, if you think about Wheel of Fortune, the cool thing was like, here’s Vanna White turning the letters around and you’re going, I think I know what it is! And it’s the same thing—if I draw three circles up on a flip chart, and I put a word in one of the circles, they’re going, I wonder what the other two circles are! And I got them invested in the outcome. And so, when we do this, if I have a chance, or if I have a choice, i want to build the orchestration of the framework in a way that drives their emotions, drives their understanding, and drives the psychology of what I want them to think in the process. So that was a long way to kind of answer your question.
Rob: I love this though, because I’m thinking through how I can use this on my own page as well how to use it for clients. This is something that, especially when I look at copy, sales pages, even blog posts or ebooks or whatever it is, we get into explaining things with words, and we forget that illustrating something with a framework visually can be so powerful. So I’m wondering, in addition to the process and the value frameworks that you talked about what are some of the other areas that we can build frameworks for ourselves or for our clients?
Mel: Let me see if I can land this, and then I’ll come back to your question. Is that okay?
Rob: Oh, absolutely.
Mel: So let me just give you a framework that I use for building a lead magnet. And, if you think about three circles that are intertwined, that are interlaced, so like Venn Diagram…
Mel: …so, what does a lead magnet—and this is the way to explain it—I said, what does a lead magnet need to do? It needs to do three things. I need it to engage, I need it to inspire, and I need it to educate. ‘Cause that’s what’s going to cause a conversion. So, and I can easily talk about a lead magnet, but when I draw those things out, and I say, so the first thing we got to do is we got to get lead magnet that engages, and I draw one circle and I say, engage them and let’s talk about the keys to creating that engagement. The other thing that the lead magnet needs to do is inspire them to do something more! And so I draw this other circle and I write in inspire, and I said, and the cool thing is that when you engage and when you inspire them, in-between the two where they intersect, it creates loyalty. Because it builds trust. And then I draw the edge again—that’s how this starts to play out, is that we can take what we could easily do in a to-do list, but create a graphic depiction of it that brings it to life.
Rob: Yeah I love it.
Mel: So, going back to your question, so I said that there’s a value visual—a value framework—there’s a process framework, there’s a principle framework: basically this is the stuff you need to know a “what” framework. Typically those are 4×4, 3×3 matrices of what do you need to do type of things. There’s an evolution framework—this is an “if” framework: ifI do this, thishappens. There’s an urgency framework: this is something where I’m trying to get them to make their decisions immediately. What’s the cost of inaction, basically. And then there’s a—what I call the genius framework, which is basically my overarching business model framework. And so those are the six types of frameworks. The ones that are most important at the offset for anyone is the process framework, then the value visual. Because the process framework will explain what you do and how it gets done; the value visual will explain whyit’s a value, and what it’s going to give them.
Rob: Where can we learn more about how to actually build these frameworks for, not only our own business, so that we can market ourselves, but also for our clients, to help our clients communicate more effectively?
Mel: And so….chuckles… So I don’t want to be self-promotion, but I’m going to say this, laughs…
Rob: Yeah, go ahead!
Mel: All right. Because my whole training in Thoughtpreneur Academy, it’s all about how do we extractyour knowledge, your wisdom, your way of doing things and package it in signature frameworks and proprietary processes that bring it to life and create distinction in the marketplace. That’s part of it, literally going in, because there’s a process to creating a Venn Diagram; there’s a process to creating all of that, which obviously takes time to go through. And I go through that in the training.
The other thing that we can do is, you got to get exposed to it; be aware of it. I look at things, it drives my wife crazy, because I see people doing things, and I’ll go, there’s framework for that! You know our friend James Wedmore, he was speaking at one of his live events, and I was sitting in the front row with my iPad, and he could see me doodling, and at the break, he goes, what were you doing? And I showed him just the one thing that I drew, and I said, this is your whole business! He’s like, you’re like the cartoonist at Disneyland that just draws the picture of a someone. But it’s a way of thinking that allows you to say, how do I simplify it?
So, in that perspective, we want you to hang out with people who are trying to think that way, because I think that that helps. Just like me—I’m not a copywriter. I want to get better at writing, so I read a lot of copy and I do that. That’s not where my focus is, so I’m never going to be the best copywriter, but at least I have some discerning of, and I think that we need to do that. So the other thing they could do is… I have a private, free Facebook group call The Influencer’s Dojo, that we got 4,000 people in it, but I post in there regularly, and there’s some free videos and stuff in there that go through it. But by and large, here’s the key: you got to start doing it. The only way you know whether it’s going to have the impact and the effect it’s going to have is to put it out into the world.
You can’t sharpen the axe until you put it against the stone, and the way to do it is to get in front of people one-on-one…that’s the safest way. You can do it one-on-a-thousand, but if you screw it up, then a thousand people know you screwed it up. But one-on-one, and you orchestrate, you walk through the framework, and see their response! If it didn’t get the emotional response, if it didn’t get the psychological response, if you got questions and you know that I got to go back to the drawing board—not scrap it, but tweakit, because changing a name, changing a word, can have an impact.
I was speaking to an audience; everything that I’m talking about is really what copywriters do. It’s about communication, it’s about psychology, it’s about influence…it’s about all of that! Here I was going to speak at a Keynote Conference, and I’d done work with this conference before, and I presented one of my models to them, and I used the term influencer, because that resonates with me. With them, it didn’t resonate, and I was having a conversation with them, and one of the people said, what do you mean by influencer? And I described it and he says, oh, you mean an authority!So when I went there to do the keynote for the conference this past December, in that model that I create for him when I presented it, I changed the word influencer to authority. But that one word change just allowed them—because if they didn’t understand it, they put a mental block up, they don’t listen to the rest of I—but I got that authority, so now I turned around, I used the word authority; I use their language all of a sudden. But I wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t put it out into the world and have the conversation with them; now I turn around and I bridge it to influencer.
So, to me, here’s what an authority is: they become an influencer in an industry because they lead the thinkingin the industry. Now, I can use the terms authorityandinfluencerinterchangeably. But had I never put it out there, and never had the conversation with them, I wouldn’t have known to, in that industry, start with the word authority before I move to the word influencer. Does that make sense?
Rob: Total sense, yeah. I mean it comes down to knowing your audience, right?
Kira: How can copywriters use these frameworks to really stand out and attract more attention and build more credibility and value in their own services?
Mel: I think the first thing before I did that is, do an internal search of what is my unique DNA. What my core genius is. And it’s not the generic term of copywriting. It’s something beyond that; it’s something different. It’s a slant, it’s a perspective; it’s a uniqueness that I bring to that page, that allows me to then position myself with that. So the first thing is to understand what my core genius is. Then once I understand what my core genius us, ask myself, what problems does that core genius solve? And look for the markets that have those problems. And I would then build my offerings towards that. So, once I know that, I am a big proponent of live video—if you can, then I’m going to say that you start blog, and you start putting content out there that gets your unique perspective, your core genius out in the marketplace in a branded way that sets you apart.
Rob: I love that.
Mel: Yeah. I don’t know if you need to do a course offering, per se, but I think we need to do programs in the sense of content, and getting out there. Maybe it’s guest spots like this; it’s live videos; it’s interactions in a Facebook group, or a LinkedIn group, and it’s giving guidance like that.
Rob: Yeah, really good stuff. Mel, oftentimes we have guests come on and they’re talking, and I’m thinking along the lines of, yeah, I kind of know this stuff, this is a really good reminder, but you’ve got me thinking about things that I’ve not ever thought about in my business before that I probably should have, and so I really appreciate what you’ve shared with us and with our audience. I’m learning here, and I love that, and hopefully everybody else who’s listening is finding value in that. So thank you so much for coming in.
Mel: This is awesome; I mean, if you can’t tell, I can talk about this for days. It’s huge; thought leadership is huge. I think it’s a new economy in the sense that if we do it right—huge opportunity in the sense that our society, and I think our global world, is starved for a new way of thinking, and a new leader, and it’s not coming from the media, it’s not coming from the politicians. It’s going to come from the individuals with their boots on the ground, saying follow me, I think I have a new way, and that’s what copywriters can do.
Rob: So if somebody wants to connect with you, or learn more about you, or dive more into your book, or to frameworks, where can they find out and know more about you?
Mel: There’s a couple of places. My main website is melabraham.com, and so they can find out a lot about me there. The Influencer’s Dojo, which is the Facebook place, is a great place, and then they can go to thoughtpreneuracademy.com to find out more about some of the training and deeper-dive into the influencer model, and thought leadership, and frameworks, and proprietary processes, and creating intellectual property. I have a free…it’s a roll-up-your-sleeves 90-minute training that you can get access to also through that, that you can watch, that walks through, and you’ll see frameworks in action.
Kira: Thank you Mel!
Rob: Yeah, thanks.
Mel: Thanks, Rob! Thanks Kira! This was awesome. Thanks for asking me.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcastwith Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes, and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.