Copywriting Tip – John Carlton – Get Out Of Your Own Way


Copywriting tips: In this copywriting hotseat John explains how to get the most out of a hot seat…listen and apply. Get out of your own way.

It takes a lot of courage to get up here and lay out your life and your business all naked an squirming in front of everybody and have a lot of experts jump on it like a pack of starving hyenas. And that takes courage to do. It takes character to be able to sit there and listen and sift through the input that’s coming in. That’s why we do the “no ego” thing. It’s because if you don’t get out of the way of the information coming in you will argue with it. This is human nature. Humans are the most stubborn lot there is on the planet. Much more stubborn than any of the animals with no cerebral cortex.

That is a problem that salesmen learn early on that you’re going to confront. There is a natural reluctance to be told to do anything, or even to be suggested to do anything. One of the simple exercises I get people to do is to get a friend of yours to go see a movie that you like. Just try to talk him into going. And, you would think that that would be easy to do. In practice, a natural reluctance to do anything you are told to do will come up, and if you don’t do it correctly, they will not go see a movie they wanted to see, just because you told them to go see it. Even though they’re your friend. This won’t happen across the board, but you will encounter it. Has anyone had this experience?

Ben: It’s the “you’re not the boss of me” syndrome.

John: It is. It is why teenagers get pierced and tattooed. When you get down to it. That’s the extent of my bachelor in psychology. The extent of my knowledge of it. Real life, adult life is like the third grade playground. It’s gossip, it’s status, it’s hierarchy and it’s plays for control. And even the lowest person on the totem pole. If you watch monkeys in the wild…I don’t know if anyone has…you will see reflections of people that you know. And they’ve studied this, and it’s no fun being on the lower part of the food chain in a tribe of chimps, but they still exert power in some ways. And they will mate with the queen and all kinds of things will happen. So, there’s constant play going on, and you realize it’s all soap opera. Soap opera of the jungle. It’s Days of Our Lives with a little more hair.

So, this reluctance is very natural. It is why part of the process of making these hot seats work is to beat down the natural reluctance to have incoming input affect you. You are going to want to deflect it. You are going to want to stand up for your ideas and stuff. So, it takes real courage to come up here and lay the stuff bare…it takes character to understand what is going on and why this is happening. Remember, if you were to hire the experts in this room separately for yourself it would be 20, 30 40 grand.

Harlan: Just for me.

John: Yeah, but you’ll cook

Harlan: Whatever it takes.

David: A friend and I were talking about what you’re talking about and one thing she came up with that I thought was just great, was “kid learning”. Kids just listen, and they are open to all possibilities because they don’t think they know anything.

Harlan: One thing that impressed me the most when I first met David. David agreed to look at some of my copy and the first thing that David said, before he looked at my copy, was “I’m going to ask if you can do something that’s very hard for most people to do. And that is to turn off your automatic defense mechanism. Can you just listen and take it in and not argue with it?” And I thought about it and said OK. And he went through about 12 to 15 pages of copy. I didn’t do anything. I rewrote the copy based on what he said and it was a home run. But, if you can turn that piece off and just don’t do anything and just take the information here and apply it, you’re going to make buckets of money.
Just get out of your own way.

John: The analogies are easier to understand in things like music. If you want to get better in music, you have to learn from someone who knows more than you do. And you aren’t going to do well playing with people who aren’t as good as you. You are going to need to consistently challenge yourself. And, in music, if you go out in the community, you are going to get feedback. Like I said yesterday, money is applause. You know, selling stuff. In business it isn’t always that way. Sometimes the lag time of when you’re selling something and when the actual numbers come in and you’re able to look at it, it’s kind of hard to see what’s going on.

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