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Peter: Hi, Mike. I was on the phone with a client when you called me before.
Michael: I figured you were. No problem at all.
Peter: Are you ready to do this now?
Michael: I’m ready to do it.
Peter: I have a question. Have you done any work with Carl Galetti?
Michael: No, I’ve never done any work with any of these guys personally. I’ve studied his material.
Peter: He has some good stuff.
Michael: He’s a great writer.
Peter: I have one of his programs, “The Greatest Copy Writing Secrets of all Times.” Have you seen that one?
Michael: I believe I have. I can’t say that I’ve sat there and studied the whole thing, but I have listened to an entire copy-writing seminar of his, which is great.
Peter: I’ve actually thought about putting together my own marketing seminar just because I can’t work with all of these people.
Michael: There are a lot of marketing seminars out there that a lot of this stuff is so old; I’m saying a lot of Gary Halbert’s stuff, a lot of Jay Abraham’s better stuff is from 1989 and early 1990.
Peter: I think Jay stole a lot of his stuff from other guys like Rosser Reeves and Claude Hopkins.
Michael: Exactly, and that’s okay because I just broke open Rosser Reeves’ book “Unique Selling Proposition” for the first time a couple of months ago, and I thought, “Hey, this sounds like Jay Abraham, Unique Selling Proposition.”
Peter: Right, Jay usually centers around all of that stuff.
Michael: That’s fine because it’s all about marketing and getting the message to people who never would have known about it. I never would have known about Rosser Reeves if I didn’t listen to Jay Abraham.
Peter: I think Jay Abraham was the reason for Nightingale-Conant’s problems. They got into this whole thing with strategic alliances and Nightingale went crazy and went into strategic alliances with a bunch of goofballs.
Michael: Really? Just for the record, I mentioned that I’m going to be recording this. I am recording it now, and like I said, nothing will happen to this recording without your one hundred percent permission.
Peter: What do you do, listen to it?
Michael: What I can do is put it up on a hidden place on my site and you can listen to it in an MP-3 file or a .wav file, or I can email it to you and you can check it out.
Peter: That’s fine. Are we on now?
Michael: We’re on right now.
Peter: I don’t know how you want to start it.
Michael: What I do is very informal. I’m expecting to learn something from you. You probably have a lot more knowledge than I have. I’m a guy who just fell in love with this marketing stuff about eight years ago, and I ended up starting a business on eBay. I learned how to buy, sell, and put pictures up on eBay. I don’t know if you read through the whole story but I had gotten hold of a set of Jay Abraham’s $20,000 Protégé seminars, the one from 1989 where he taught people to be marketing consultants.
Peter: I know the one you’re talking about.
Michael: It cost $15,000 or $20,000 for people to go to this seminar, and I wanted it. I found a guy who went to it here in San Diego and I bought it from him for $50 and ended up selling it on eBay for $1,700.
Peter: It’s too bad that you didn’t know me years ago. I threw out at Nightingale probably 1,000 of those things. I had all his programs at one time, but I had multiple copies in the warehouse. I didn’t know if there would be any market, if anybody would want them.
Michael: It was by accident that I found that there is a market for his stuff. For about 3-1/2 years, I’ve been buying and reselling it. I get people who come across my site, just like you did, and who call me about stuff. If I have it, I’ll sell it to them and make a little something, but that’s not the main thrust of what I’m doing. I think it’s evolving into something a little bit more. I’m passionate about this marketing stuff. I think I’m a pretty good teacher and pretty good with people, and I want to do something a little bit bigger. I want to bring some of this information to people, whoever wants it. Do you have kids yourself?
Peter: No. Go ahead and ask anything you want.
Michael: You said you are the former Senior Marketing Manager for Nightingale-Conant. How did you get involved with them, and what were you doing before you were with them?
Peter: It’s kind of a funny story. I ended up getting involved in the self-help industry totally by accident. I was a manger/supervisor with UPS and I was kind of down on my career, and I was getting tired of it, and I was looking for some answers. I wanted to get into a more professional environment. I happened to be in the boss’s office and he had a book lying on the desk that caught my eye. It was “The Magic of Thinking Big” by Schwartz. It’s one of my favorite marketing books. He had on the wall, and it was funny because I had never noticed it before, a picture of a bunch of dogs, and the caption on it said, “If you’re not the lead dog, your view never changes.” I thought, “If this guy has this kind of picture and he’s reading these kinds of books and he’s very successful, I’d better read this book.” I did, and I loved it.
Michael: How old were you at the time?
Peter: I was about twenty-three or twenty-four.
Michael: Are you from Chicago?
Michael: So this was in Chicago.
Peter: Yes. It was funny; I ended up going to Successories from there. They are a company that makes all of those motivational pictures and plaques.
Michael: I know exactly who you’re talking about.
Peter: I ended up becoming a manager for them. They had tapes, books, and everything you can imagine available to me. I devoured this stuff for about a year. Finally, it
dawned on me to look at the back of one of the tape sets, and I
noticed Nightingale-Conant and I noticed they were in Niles, Illinois so I figured this was a company I needed to work with. So I decided to do anything I could to get into the company and prove myself and that’s what I did. I ended up coming into Nightingale-Conant; I interviewed with them and told the HR Manager, “If you put me in sales, I’ll be your number one sales person within a month.” I did that and ended up getting promoted into all different areas within the company. I was Manager of Outbound Telemarketing. I was Manager of Interactive Media. I did product development. I was one of the only people, maybe the only person within the company ever who conceptualized a program, did the deal with the author for the program, helped write and produce the program, marketed the program, not only to Nightingale customers successfully but sold it to a major publisher. That particular product that I’m referring to was a CD-ROM “How to Become a Self-Made Millionaire” with Brian Tracy. I’ve done it all there for the most part. I then became a Senior Marketing Manager in charge of direct mail, kids’ products, strategies, working with the authors, negotiating deals. Before I left the company I did my own program finally with Bob Proctor called “Negotiate Your Way to Riches.” I ended up achieving my goal of doing my own program, and then I looked into other avenues. That’s when I left the company and went into direct marketing for authors and other companies.
Michael: What do you do now?
Peter: I do direct marketing strategy for various companies. I’ve done work with The Church of Scientology, PSI Seminars, and I’ve worked very closely with Joe Sugarman of Blueblocker Corporation. We did promotions with the Cubs, all sorts of things.
Michael: You’ll go after a company and tell them who you are and what you’ve done, your experience and you’ll come in as a marketing consultant?
Peter: Marketing consultant, strategy consultant, I’m working in both areas. As of late, I’ve started an entertainment company where I’m taking local talent and doing local promotions. I want to get eventually into entertainment promotions and stay with that. I’ve been using my direct marketing strategies and skills, what I’ve done throughout my career.
Michael: How many years ago was it when you first went with Nightingale-Conant? How were they doing that time as a company?
Peter: I believe that was in 1992. They were doing really well. They were selling very well, and that was a peak time for them.
Michael: Do you know the story behind how exactly that company evolved?
Was it with Earl Nightingale?
Peter: There are different scenarios. At a Christmas party, Hazel Conant who is Dick’s mother told me that she was listening to the radio one day, and she heard Earl Nightingale doing his radio show on Sky King. She called Lloyd’s attention to it, and Lloyd started listening to it and fell in love with his motivational moments, so to speak, and he called Earl and they formed a partnership. Lloyd owned a company called Specialty Printing.
Michael: How old were these guys at that time?
Peter: I couldn’t tell you that. They had to be somewhere in their 30’s or 40’s.
Michael: Is Earl Nightingale dead?
Peter: They both passed away in the 1980’s.
Michael: Is it a private company?
Peter: Yes, it’s owned now by Dick Conant.
Michael: They were basically the only major player in town, weren’t they?
Peter: Yes, Fred Prior was in there, there were a couple of players but nobody really focused on what Nightingale did in the motivational materials. I think Fred Prior focused more in the area of technical training for secretaries, accountants and finance people. More in that vein where it was really the Brian Tracys, the Tony Robbins that all went to Nightingale. A lot of these authors have their own organizations.
Michael: Is Nightingale-Conant responsible for putting these guys on the map?
Peter: I guess that depends on who you ask, whether you ask them or us. Most of the authors had something going prior to Nightingale, but it was nowhere the magnitude of what they ended up with as a result of Nightingale. Brian Tracy is an example. He had a business doing sales consulting prior to Nightingale but then he got heavy into the tape business because of that. Of course, his seminar business flourished. He had the talent to do it, so we tapped into that.
Michael: When you came in with Nightingale-Conant and became their number one salesman, in what aspect were you doing sales? Were you generating sales through telemarketing or direct sales or pounding the streets?
Peter: Telemarketing at the time.
Michael: Was Nightingale mainly an outbound telemarketing operation?
Peter: No, I was doing inbound.
Michael: So it was inbound.
Peter: We did some of both. We did mainly inbound with some outbound. It didn’t matter; I could sell Nightingale-Conant programs all day long.
Michael: What do you think the percentage is of people who get these programs actually listening to this stuff?
Peter: You have to be a little clearer when you say, “listen.” Do you mean pop the package open and listen to one tape?
Michael: You know human nature, most people who buy a book never even crack it, much less get to the last page. From your experience, I don’t know if that reflected in product returns, but knowing what you know about people, do you have any insight into how many people studied the material they bought?
Peter: We would get back maybe fifteen percent of all the packages unopened. Let me further explain that. Your return rate total would be between fifteen percent and twenty-five percent. Twenty-five percent would be on the high end, and out of those, fifteen percent would come in unopened. I could tell you a lot of the reasons people did not open them. Nightingale-Conant used to have a thirty-day guarantee, and a lot of people just couldn’t get them.
Michael: They couldn’t get to them and they would return them?
Peter: They couldn’t get them and figured they had to return them as opposed to calling us and extending the thirty-day trial, which we would have done for another thirty days.
Michael: Do they still have the thirty-day trial?
Michael: If they increased the guarantee, they’d probably get fewer returns.
Peter: Maybe, but you have to be careful with that because if you’re starting to do sixty-day trials then your cash flow would be terrible.
Michael: Who is Nightingale’s customer, if you were to profile their customer?
Peter: It’s divided; it’s actually a trifecta so to speak. There are business customers, motivational customers, and there are spiritual customers. Add to that the learning customers who are into mind development and speed-reading and that type of thing.
Michael: How do you break those up as far as the biggest markets and the most money as far as selling to these markets?
Peter: They are pretty equal, but I would say your spiritual content, your Wayne Dyer programs, your Deepak Chopra, that type of thing is the highest growth area.
Michael: In the last ten years?
Peter: Oh, yes. It’s been crazy. When I was at Nightingale, I focused a lot of effort on bringing in spiritual products.
Michael: What kind of trends have you seen as far as motivational stuff?
Peter: I would say the motivation is dropping off, and I think you’re seeing that reflected in the industry where speaking engagements are falling down. Again, there are only a few real players in it, whereas the spiritual tends to have more players.
Michael: Tell me some of the most exciting things as far as working with people; you said you’ve worked with a lot of these guys. Who are some of the people you’ve worked with that are some of the bigger names?
Peter: If I had to go back through the history, that’s a hard question because there have been so many. I’d say that some of my best experiences were going to work on seminar promotions with Tony Robbins in his “Firewalk,” getting to do that and meeting Tony was exciting. I’ve done promotions with Brian Tracy where I’ve gotten to go to live events. Deepak Chopra, there was a lot of good interaction. On the other side of the coin, I enjoyed working with Dan Kennedy and Joe Vitale and Jay Abraham and Joe Sugarman. I got to meet a lot of great people through Nightingale, and I learned a lot on the business side taking those tapes and not just marketing them, but prior to that learning them. I think that’s the key to being a successful marketer, take something that you’re passionate about and be able to bring that out. That’s always been my secret to success in marketing.
Michael: Learning it?
Peter: Learning the product and getting enthusiastic about it. There have been products that have come into Nightingale, more than I’ve taken of course, but said, “This is junk.”
Michael: In what aspect did you work with Dan Kennedy? How did it work? What was your job?
Peter: For instance, with Dan Kennedy, the product I was closest to, and we had several, was Magnetic Marketing. My responsibility was I actually found the product because I had scouted Dan for a long time on what he was doing, contacted him, got the product in, and went through the whole product to make sure I didn’t want it to offer it to the customers. It was a great product.
Michael: I’ve heard Dan talk about how Magnetic Marketing out of all of his products has been his number one selling product. Is that because of you guys?
Peter: It’s a hot product, but Dan markets on his own very successfully because he used to do the Peter Lowe tour, his seminars and super seminars that he does. He sells a lot through that. What I did next was talk to Dan and we worked out a deal for the product, and of course, I got to learn the product, which was phenomenal in itself. It talked about how to use direct marketing for your prospects. I said, “Of course, we have to offer this,” and we struck a deal and I rewrote some of the existing copy to the Nightingale-Conant customers. It was very successful for us.
Michael: Did it go in a catalog? Did you market it through direct mail?
Peter: We sold that product to mostly Jay Abraham buyers, and then of course, we scattered over the rest of our business. There is a certain profile that will buy his products, and it’s very small.
Michael: Does Nightingale rent out their list?
Michael: Could I go on the SRDS and look at Nightingale’s list and buy it segmented by author?
Peter: There is a list manager who takes care of all of that and you would call her.
Michael: That’s interesting, I didn’t know that.
Peter: If you call the company and ask to speak with the list manager, she can point you in the direction of who the broker is. They can break it down however you want. Generally, from what I’ve heard is they wanted to exchange names more than rent them.
Michael: I get a lot of people who are good at something, and they’ll call me and ask for advice, I always go back and ask them what they are good at and what do they enjoy. Everyone is sitting on a product right within their experience.
Michael: That’s what I tell people. From your experience, you review a lot of products. Are you at the point where you can identify what’s going to be a hot product or does it all go back to testing? What criteria do you look for in identifying a good information product?
Peter: First of all, it has to be content packed. If there are sixty minutes of tape on a tape, I want to hear sixty minutes worth of different things, not a bunch of BS. A lot of people put fluff on their tapes. I want to look at their background. Can I promote this author’s background? What other business are they involved in other than selling tapes? That is crucial. For instance, a great example is Joe Sugarman. I knew right away when I saw his book on marketing that we had to have those books. Joe Sugarman had the background with JS&A Marketing where he walked his talk. He direct marketed hundreds of different products successfully, as well as the Blueblocker brand, was able to successfully sell on television, and does so to this day. That’s the type of guy I can easily promote to a Nightingale-Conant customer because not only is he credible in what he’s accomplished, he’s easy to work with and he’s very easy to relate to. His story is magnificent, and it’s entertaining at the same time. You can’t just give people content-rich information without some fun to it.
Michael: I remember reading his book “Success Forces.”
Peter: That was a great one. You’re going back a long way on that one. You are the guru of hard to find books.
Michael: It’s one I got probably eight years ago through some direct marketing guy. He had about twenty or thirty copies, and I got one of them.
Peter: Let me know if you come across any more because I think Joe would be interested in buying some.
Michael: Joe Sugarman? He’s looking for his own original books?
Peter: He only has a few of his own.
Michael: Isn’t that funny? I get a lot of people who call me who see my stuff, some of the authors of the material, and they don’t have it, or they’ve lost it and they look for it also.
Peter: Oh, absolutely. Your website is great.
Michael: Thanks. I’m just thinking who comes to my site. Obviously the people looking for marketing information. Buy I get a lot of neophytes who don’t know anything about marketing. Like I was saying, I just want to pick people’s brains and offer any kind of nuggets of inside information in different stuff. Anyone can go buy tapes, listen to them, and learn how to write copy. I’m looking for more inside stuff. If you had a son and you wanted to leave with him all the secrets of business, or secrets that you’ve learned throughout your life, what would you tell him? If you had a kid and you weren’t going to be around, and you could leave some audio tapes for him with some direction or some advice in business, in marketing, in advertising what kind of advice would you leave for him?
Peter: I think there are a few different things. One thing comes to mind right away when you talk about copy writing. Copy writing is a brilliant talent to have. I got copy writing experience not from even reading the books first. Where I got it from is that I’m a songwriter, and I’ve written a lot of poetry. I’ve learned it from people who were teachers who were very good at it. That taught me how to take the most interesting parts and put them in a condensed format, which very easily translates into writing copy. On the business side, I think it’s very important to do a couple of things. Be a very good scout for partners, and always try to find ways to spend the least money, or to use other people’s money, which of course, encompasses finding strategic partners. For instance, the CD-ROM program that I was telling you about that I produced with Nightingale-Conant, I found a strategic partner to come in for a very low fee and do the production of it from the technical side, which was the video side in actually putting the piece together. It cost us very little money, and it was a multi-million dollar product. That was because I brought in a partner.
Michael: Was this the product you developed?
Peter: This was the product I did with Brian Tracy. That was the self-help product that we put together called “How to Become a Self-Made Millionaire.” The partnership was because I needed somebody who could put that into CD-ROM multi-media format. That would have been $500,000 to develop with all the hours we put into it.
Michael: Who did you go to, if you can say? What was your thinking? What kind of deal did you approach him with? How did you make it a win/win for him?
Peter: I approached probably 45 or 50 companies with the same deal, and what I offered was a royalty, and we would offer to pay a few thousand dollars down plus the royalty. They would get an ongoing royalty plus the prestige of saying that they did a product developed for Brian Tracy, which was very attractive to them. They needed a celebrity type program, and it worked out really well. It also got Atomic Imaging’s name on all the computer stores shelves. I did the program with them and Simon and Schuster.
Michael: Tell me about that Brian Tracy product. Has it been a blockbuster seller?
Peter: It’s been a multi-million dollar seller.
Michael: How many CD’s are in there, about eight or nine?
Peter: Actually, we got it all on one CD. When you’re on the subject of that, one of the things I tell people is to try to keep down the amount of CD’s and cassettes that are in a program, because the more you put in there, the less likely someone is to go through it.
Michael: That’s probably pretty consistent with Nightingale-Conant’s programs; there are mainly six to eight cassettes, right?
Peter: Right, I don’t feel good about putting out a product just to sell it. I want somebody to go through it and use it, and I know that you have a very similar philosophy in your business where you want to sell hard to find seminars and books but you like the fact that people go through them and learn something. I found in my experience, and I’ve worked with other companies than Nightingale, it always comes back to people will listen to a single cassette or two cassettes. When you start putting in six or twelve cassettes, and some of these people with twenty-four cassettes like Jay Abraham with volumes of cassettes, the chances of the people going through all of them are slim to none. Your die-hard fans, of course, will always do that, but my suspicion is, and I’ve talked with several people who have bought these marketing programs by these gurus with twenty-four cassettes, and people don’t listen to them. They’re really actually looking for a book. We used to have people call us and say they wanted the transcript.
Michael: That makes sense. The bottom line is who the hell, unless you’re driving in you car for a long time, like you’re in LA traffic or something, when the hell is a guy who is married and has kids going to have time to listen to this stuff? There are not enough hours in the day.
Peter: Right, that’s one reason that at Nightingale we started taking the workbooks out and sticking them on the CD’s. Now you can do that. You couldn’t do that with the cassettes. You just take a .pdf file, put it on a CD, and if people want to download it and read it, fine. But it was a waste of money to put those in packages.
Michael: Tell me about the marketplace in relation to set tapes and CD’s. Is the public buying more CD’s now rather than cassette, or is it half-and-half?
Peter: The market is growing for CD’s; I remember just a few years ago it was twenty-five/seventy-five percent, with twenty-five percent listening on CD. Now the tables have turned and maybe twenty percent is your cassette audience. If you didn’t offer cassette at all, you’d see that number actually shoot up on the CD side. I don’t know many people who have a cassette player in their car any more.
Michael: Really? I still have one in my car, so I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.
Peter: I don’t think they sell them with cars any more for the most part. Some have dual decks where you have both, but I don’t see the option any more for cassette, and CD is pretty standard.
Michael: So cassettes are a dying breed.
Peter: Definitely. I wouldn’t produce them myself, I have my own program, and I never did it on cassette. I recorded a cassette version just in case we ever had to produce them, but I actually produced my program on CD’s with no cassette option.
Michael: If anyone were going to produce his own information product, you would recommend maybe if you want to put it on cassette have it available for those people who absolutely want it, but for the most part most of your sales are going to come through CD’s.
Peter: Let’s backtrack a second. What I meant to say, and maybe it didn’t come across correctly, was I had a cassette version ready to go but I also did the program a couple of years ago when they were still selling. I wanted to see if people were buying CD’s and if there was a demand for cassettes. The demand for cassette was so little that I didn’t even bother producing them. I would tell people now, and I have told authors already to go on CD only and don’t offer cassette. It’s double inventory for nothing.
Michael: What do you see in the future? Do you see all digital, MP-3, downloadable from the Internet five years from now? What do you see ten years from now with Nightingale-Conant and these type products made available to the public?
Peter: It’s funny, you say MP-3, and I’m sure that in ten years it will be something else. MP-3 is really here now for the most part, and I think that for the next couple of years you’ll be seeing more and more of that where you can download MP-3 into almost like a Walkman type device.
Michael: You can already!
Peter: I think that will become the norm. At the same time, I think DVD is also going to get more popular where people will be watching seminars at home at their leisure. I personally like that idea a lot, and I think Dianetics is going to a DVD and there are other companies that are looking at that. I know Jim Rohn has recently come out with a DVD set and that’s exciting. You get the full experience, it’s like you’re sitting at the seminar.
Michael: Let me ask you this about a Nightingale customer. When I buy this material, there are people out there who are fanatics and they will buy anything and everything. Sometimes I’ll find somebody who has some stuff to sell, and they have tons of stuff because they’ve all been cross-marketed to. If I find a Jay Abraham student, he’ll have Gary Halbert stuff and Bill Myers stuff. He’ll have all these guys because all of these guys are doing joint ventures with each other. From your experience with Nightingale-Conant, would you identify a certain customer like that, someone who buys a boatload of stuff and who is just a fanatic on motivational or educational materials?
Peter: That’s your profile of someone who generally doesn’t listen to them. They but a lot of stuff and it sits on their shelf and look pretty. There are some people who go crazy with the stuff and buy anything Brian Tracy comes out with or anything Jay Abraham does. I think Drew Carey, the comedian, if I remember correctly, buys everything we come out with that’s new. We have an account with him, and I think we just send things to him automatically. I’ve been told that.
Michael: What percentages of your customers are like that who just devour this stuff?
Peter: Less than three percent.
Michael: Are most of your customers just one-hit wonders?
Peter: Oh, of course, and that’s the same way with most direct marketing businesses. The whole business is structured on selling them a second product. If we could sell the majority of our customers a second product, we’d be much bigger. That’s how Victoria’s Secret gets as big as it does because they always manage to convince women to keep buying over and over again. I know because my wife gets a Victoria’s Secret catalog it seems like almost every day, and she buys. It’s incredible!
Michael: Have you every heard Gary Halbert talk about how you’re one letter away from your next million dollars?
Peter: Yes, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about that.
Michael: Do you believe it?
Peter: Well, if it has worked once, of course it can work. Can it happen for a lot of people? It’s hard to say, because again there’s product, there are lists, there’s copy itself that are all variables and very important to the mix. Probably the bottom line answer to that is yes, I’m sure it can work. It won’t work for everybody; if it did, more people would be doing it.
Michael: Did you have a lot of experience with buying lists, looking for lists to market Nightingale-Conant’s products?
Peter: I was not in charge of list brokering. Could I do it? Yes, I knew a little bit about it. I didn’t personally want to get into it.
Michael: Who is your favorite all time educator? Who would you say influenced you the most? What was the very first book you saw on your UPS manager’s desk?
Peter: “The Magic of Thinking Big.”
Michael: Who wrote that?
Peter: David Schwartz.
Michael: When was that written?
Peter: I think that was written in the 1950’s.
Michael: I’ve never read it. Was it incredible?
Peter: It’s a phenomenal book. Would I say it’s my favorite book? No, if I have to pick motivational speakers that I listen to more than others, I would say Mark Victor Hansen, who is a good friend of mine. I’ve developed a good relationship with him. He has a set of tapes “How to Think Bigger Than You Ever Thought You Could Think” which is phenomenal. Jim Rohn’s “The Art of Exceptional Living,” that is a classic product. Of course, Earl Nightingale I think is phenomenal. If you want to get more into the business stuff, which is more what I like to listen to, I devour usually any tapes by any CEO’s.
Michael: Do y’all have a lot of those products?
Peter: I do personally. They have some.
Michael: Anywhere where you can get leverage, if you can listen to advice from a CEO, what’s better?
Peter: Exactly, and that’s why I devour their books too. I want to know what they know. There’s a lot of great marketing and management information you can get out of those. I love anything by P. T. Barnum; Walt Disney and the Disney Corporation, things like that. Again, other educators I think you can learn something from just about everybody. You don’t want to become a junkie and just listen to people; you should take a little of a lot of different people and make that work for you. Be careful because I’ve seen a lot of people fall in the trap where they’ll start listening to a Brian Tracy and everything he says, and then they start living Brian’s life. You have to be careful with some of the things these people say because they might not be good for you. Quite honestly, in a lot of cases, they don’t walk their talk anyway. I’m not saying anyone in particular, but I know from being in the business.
Michael: A lot of these guys don’t walk their talk. Deepak Chopra has that whole thing on health, and that guy is a chain smoker!
Peter: Yep, that’s one I didn’t know, but it doesn’t surprise me. That’s like the mechanic whose bumper is falling off his own car. You hear those stories all the time in the self-help industry. Anybody who has followed this industry any longer than a few months has heard them all. I’ve seen spiritual authors who have problems with hookers, things of that nature. I’ve seen financial authors who declare bankruptcy after they’re preaching the gospel about finances. Those types of things are disheartening, and one of the reasons that I got a little sick of the industry. It goes back to what I told you about credibility. I want to work with the most credible people, and quite honestly, I’ve taken those relationships to the next step outside of Nightingale because I wanted to stay in touch and offer something of value to them and keep learning from them.
Michael: It’s almost like the motivational has a negative rap.
Peter: Everybody has to be human, and anybody who claims they’re not really bothers me. In the self-help industry I don’t ever want to hear someone on a tape say, “You don’t have to go to college. You don’t need that.” There are people who will buy into that nonsense. College is not about getting rich; college is about learning, it’s about diversifying yourself. There is nothing wrong with that, and to discourage people saying, “You don’t need it to get rich,” there are a lot of people, and it’s kind of sad, that judge you on the fact that if you’ve been to school at least it looks like you’ve accomplished something in your life. I know that when I used to date, one of the first questions that the girl’s parents would always ask was, “What school did you graduate from? Did you go to college?” Not that they’re worried about you getting rich or not, but it says something about you.
Michael: Did you go to college?
Peter: Yes, it would be kind of hypocritical if I didn’t. I graduated from Western Illinois.
Michael: I went to the University of Alabama and graduated there, and college was about the first time being away from home and having a great time. It’s more of a social thing even more than the learning.
Peter: Right, and there are a lot of aspects to college. I just don’t think it’s right to ever tell somebody that they don’t need it. Maybe you don’t need it to live, and maybe you can make a living without it, but that’s not the purpose of college. Nobody, and correct me if I’m wrong, told either one of us that we were going to get rich because we went to college. We went to college probably because we wanted to learn something and have that degree and at least open a door that may not be open to you otherwise, and it puts you in a different social circle whether people want to believe it or not.
Michael: How much Gary Halbert stuff have you listened to or been exposed to?
Peter: I’ve listened to a lot of his stuff within other people’s seminars, Dan Kennedy seminars, and Paul Hartunian. I have “How to Make Maximum Money in Minimum Time” and find it to be phenomenal information. Gary is one of my favorites.
Michael: Mine too; he has a great way of teaching. He’s down to earth, no bullshit; he tells it like it is.
Peter: He reminds me a lot of Dan Kennedy. Maybe he’s a little more fun.
Michael: Gary is a little more fun. I have a hard time listening to some of Dan Kennedy’s stuff.
Peter: Dan is one of those authors who people love him or hate him. I love him.
Michael: I like him.
Peter: He’s a tough guy, but at least you know where you stand with him.
Michael: That reminds me of a question I wanted to ask you. In the format of Nightingale-Conant’s stuff, is it the preference of the customers listening to a live formatted seminar or one that is done in a studio?
Peter: I have an answer for that. I think the best way to do that is to do a comparison. There are some people who like going to concerts and there are some people who like listening to the record. A great example is that program I recommended to you, “The Art of Exceptional Living.” It’s nice to have both. It only works, though, if the author has a really interesting personality and it comes across as fun. In the studio, they don’t tend to have as much fun, and I’ve worked with a lot of people in the studio. When you get them live, I think Brian Tracy may be my favorite example of that. I like Brian’s tapes in the studio, I love his tapes live. I can listen, and I have his Mastery Academy series, and I’ve listened to it over and over, yet I also have his Personal Achievement program, “Action Strategies for Personal Achievement.” I listen to the Mastery Academy over and over and it’s because Brian’s personality is so phenomenal. When he’s in front of an audience, he’s like Tony Robbins, look out!
These guys are dynamic; Jim Rohn is another example. To answer your question, I would say people would tend to like the live tapes more since you have the personality because there’s an audience interaction that comes across and you feel like you’re in the middle of it. You don’t get that in a studio. You get an author who can’t read well in the studio, you have another problem altogether because it sounds like they’re reading from pages opposed to being conversational.
Michael: For instance, Brian Tracy’s live event, were you guys involved? Did Nightingale-Conant set up that live event for recording, or did he have it already going and it was professionally recorded in conjunction with you guys and that was the program you decided to use?
Peter: The set that I just described to you was one he did on his own. We had nothing to do with it. It was just a phenomenal recording.
Michael: What are these guys lifestyles like, like Brian Tracy and Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins? Do you know?
Peter: That’s a loaded question; they’re all different.
Michael: Who would you know the most about?
Peter: Brian Tracy is a very business-oriented type of guy where he’s on the road a lot. You have Mark Victor Hansen who speaks a considerable amount but he does a lot of charity work and he’s a very good family man. You have Tony Robbins who is kind of the young renegade who has a lot of seminars, and he does a lot of networking, which a lot of the people I know, some of the authors like to run around with women.
Michael: I guess everyone is different.
Peter: Yes, and there’s nothing wrong with it. As long as they’re not preaching one thing and doing another, that’s when I have a problem with it.
Michael: Are these guys all millionaires do you think?
Peter: No, some are.
Michael: Very few of them are multi-millionaires.
Peter: Most of them are just out there speaking, so whatever they can conjure up speaking, that’s their income. Some have investments. Some, like Joe Sugarman, he’s the big time. He’s an author; he owns a huge company and he would be an example of someone who would be up in the financial stratosphere.
Michael: I would think Brian Tracy, it’s just my impression, which doesn’t mean shit, is a multi-millionaire.
Peter: He would fall more into the financially secure category than a lot of the other guys. Your perception is correct on Brian. I’m not his banker, but he doesn’t appear to be hurting, and I’ve never seen any evidence of it.
Michael: What are you working on right now that’s really exciting?
Peter: Personally I’m working on a marketing and PR campaign for a retailer that’s real exciting for me. I’m working with another seminar company in California. I have several projects going at one time, as well as working on my entertainment company. Those are the things I want to focus on. I really want to keep my own business going and meet as many people as I can.
Michael: Do you work out of your house?
Peter: Yes. To me that’s the way to go. It has its pros and cons but I tend to find leverage more on the pro side. I would recommend it to anyone who has discipline.
Michael: I agree. How old are you?
Peter: I’m thirty-six.
Michael: Wow, I’m thirty-seven! I thought you were older than I am.
Peter: I’ve had a pretty packed life since I was a teenager when I started my first sales job at thirteen.
Michael: What was it?
Peter: Selling meat to poor people! That was my first experience as almost like a carnival barker. We used to have these stores called Zayre in Chicago, they were discount stores. We used to set up a meat counter and sell to people with food stamps, and if you want to talk about hard selling. You had to be good to pull that off, and I learned right then and there just how to treat people and how to treat a sales situation. Those experiences still last with me today. I still see myself and how I had to sell and up sell people back then, and those people had no money.
Michael: So you were thirteen then?
Michael: What did your parents do?
Peter: At that time, I believe my father was a pipe fitter and my mother was an executive assistant, which she always has been.
Michael: What was your next business experience you can remember after selling meat? How long did you sell the meat, do you remember?
Peter: Off and on for a year, then I got into high school and took a little while off typical working in my early days of high school. When I was fifteen, I became an usher. That’s when I fell in love with the entertainment business.
Michael: Were you an usher in a movie theater?
Peter: No, I was an usher at rock concerts. I had a lot of fun doing that. My first break into business was when I got into UPS; I think I was eighteen when I started there. I was already a manger by twenty, which at the time was unheard of.
Michael: Did you start as a driver?
Peter: No, I started at UPS as an unloader. I went into sorting, and from sorting, I went right into management. I had a very quick career path with UPS. I didn’t want to drive. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that. Those union jobs and stuff; that just wasn’t my career path.
Michael: Are you still writing music?
Peter: I write lyrics.
Michael: When you write lyrics, what’s your goal? Is it to get a recording artist to sing them?
Peter: It’s funny you ask that question at this time. I’ve just compiled them and I’m working with a recording artist now who is going through them. It looks pretty promising that we’re going to get some of these songs out. Whether they do well or not is another issue in itself.
Michael: It’s more of a passion.
Peter: Yes, just to get them out there and hear them come to life. I’m not much of a music writer per se, and I have a background in singing and playing the drums since high school days, but it’s not something I chose to pursue as a career. I like to be on the other side of the entertainment.
Michael: Peter, I’m sure I’ve got more stuff to ask you but I can’t think of it right now.
Peter: If you have any other questions, we can do another session.
Michael: I really appreciate it. Anyone listening to this, I’m going to listen again to our talk because sometimes I’m focusing so much on the questions, I don’t really get to hear everything. I get a lot out of it by listening to it over and over again. Sometimes I’m sitting here in front of my computer and I’ll go check out one of the conversations I did. Go back to my audio clip page. There are some pretty interesting audio clip interviews I’ve done with people.
Peter: I’m looking forward to listening to those.
Michael: There are about fifty of them. Do you have a cable modem or a high-speed connection?
Michael: If you don’t, I do and I’m probably a little insensitive to some people because some of these recordings are more than an hour, and people have dial-up the sound sometimes doesn’t come out real well and it’s hard for these people to download. You should have no problem.
Peter: Cable modem will come out nice.
Michael: What I’ll do for you, like I said, is save this in an MP-3 file and stick it somewhere where only you can see it. I’ll send you an email and tell you where it is and you can check it out. We’ll talk a little bit more later.
Peter: Okay, that sounds good. Did you have any closing question or something you wanted me to answer?
Michael: Nothing I can think of. I just wanted to shoot the shit with you. You’ve given me a lot of information, and anyone listening I’m sure they’ve learned something from it. All I want to do is pick people’s brains and try to extract some of your life experiences and hopefully you giving back in the conversation can benefit others in some way, and I’m sure it will.
Peter: Did you want to talk a minute about your stuff, your book?
Michael: We can talk about my stuff. As far as Gary Halbert’s stuff, I may be able to break open a huge compilation of twenty-three reports from Jay Abraham. He used to sell it for $3,000. In that are two sets of Gary Halbert’s newsletters. The Gary Halbert book “Maximum Money in Minimum Time” is a series of twelve of his newsletters. I’m going to look through this and I’ll see if they are the exact newsletters. You also have that website.
Peter: I don’t need the newsletters. I figure I can get those from the website.
Michael: Also in there is the transcript of a seminar, it’s about 300 pages of the transcript of some seminar, and I’m not exactly sure which one it is. The 300 pages are part of one of twenty-two reports within some of Jay Abraham’s material.
Peter: You should probably keep that together for someone to buy.
Michael: I may have one that’s already broken up.
Peter: Oh, that would be cool.
Michael: Sometimes I find this stuff and it’s not all together, and I can’t sell it whole so I’ll break it apart.
Peter: What kind of Nightingale stuff would you be interested in?
Michael: I’ll go to their website, because I haven’t been there, and I’ll look around.
Peter: Look around, see if there’s anything there and write it down, and I’ll see if I have it.
Michael: Okay, that’s great.
Peter: What other marketing stuff do you have that you recommend?
Michael: You know who’s really good is a guy named Peter Sun. He’s from Australia. What he’s done is gone through all kinds of shit. I can tell because I see examples within his products that came out of Gary Halbert’s stuff, Jay Abraham’s stuff, came out of the Grand Compendium. The Grand Compendium was seven years of newsletters called The Results Reports from this guy Peter Dunn. Have you heard of him? He’s also from Australia.
Michael: That’s a great product. I only have one in the binder. It’s a huge binder of all his newsletters.
Peter: What else do you recommend? Do you have any of Hartunian’s products?
Michael: Yeah, his are great. He gives a lot of free stuff away on his website. Does he have anything with Nightingale-Conant?
Peter: No, he never did anything with Nightingale. We just sold his product.
Michael: It’s a great product on PR.
Peter: Something else I wanted to talk to you about, I have a company that’s dying to get my e-book tested. I wanted to see if it was something you wanted to house on your site and you and I can do some sort of split with the money. There are a couple of direct marketing companies that want to test this thing. They have massive amounts of customers, good websites. My e-book is “Negotiate Your Way to Riches.” It’s a great book, but I’m looking for somebody to handle that side of it, to take in the orders. It’s a great book, in fact, this one company wants to offer it to all of their customers, and they have hundreds of thousands of people that approach their website for products.
Michael: Is it only on negotiating?
Peter: Yes, but you want to talk about learning what I know about Nightingale, I’ve put a lot of stuff in that book.
Michael: Absolutely, why don’t you email me a copy of the e-book, let me go through it and let’s do an interview on it and go through the outline and talk about it.
Peter: Is this something that maybe you’d want to house so we could do some sort of a partnership?
Michael: Oh, yes.
Peter: I’ll send you the e-book and we’ll talk from there.
Michael: I’ll put it on my list of stuff for sale, and if someone wants it, I’ll sell it to them.
Peter: What I want to do, if we’re going to do it for this company, I want to set it up so it looks like its own page where it would be off the beaten path of your normal site, but it would be under Hardtofindseminars/Wink or something like that.
Michael: Do you have a big sales letter for it?
Peter: Oh, yeah, I have copy done and ready to go.
Michael: What do you expect to get for it?
Peter: They want to test at $29.95. We would probably get a commission, you and I, of thirty-five percent or something, and we could just divide it however we want.
Michael: When you think of information products, and I’ve heard Dan Kennedy talk about this, he talks about Nightingale-Conant, the six audio tapes in a binder, a set of tapes, what’s that worth to the average guy. You think it would be $50 or $60. He says to take those same cassettes, and I know some of this stuff you don’t agree with, if you can fill up a three-ring binder with the transcripts of the cassettes, maybe include a video in there, have the cassettes, let’s say for your e-book. Create more than an e-book that goes for $29, and create a course for it. Create transcripts, so you have a three-ring binder with the transcripts, actually you have these. Take it off the Internet, create a course, and increase the value.
Peter: There’s actually a set that’s done, I’ve just never produced it. I have it sitting in a master file. I want to do the e-book as a quick and easy just to get it out there. It’s worked really well on Aesop’s website, but I want to start expanding into other areas.
Michael: Have the sales letters worked well?
Peter: Yeah. I’ve sold about 1,500 of them, and I’ve done nothing. I sold them at $39. There’s definitely life to this product, and I could do the cassettes and turn the book into the transcripts. It’s just something I haven’t thought about doing. Take a look and tell me what you think. Look at my testimonials.
Michael: I’d love to see it. People like us have stuff sitting in our file drawers not being used. You just said you have some master sitting there. What kind of stuff do you have sitting there that you’ve never done anything with?
Peter: What kind of product are you talking about?
Michael: Any kind of products.
Peter: My own?
Michael: Yes, your own that you would have the rights to and control of.
Peter: Most of the negotiating stuff.
Michael: You mentioned you have masters of what?
Peter: Of that program, I have eight CD’s ready to go, but I haven’t even marketed it yet.
Michael: Is it a more intense thing?
Peter: It’s the book, but done in the studio with different examples and stuff. It’s really a fun product. I should come out with it, I just haven’t yet. I also have a workbook for it. I decided to make a transcript guide of the whole program.
Michael: What’s the difference between the e-book and the CD’s?
Peter: There’s not a ton of difference.
Michael: It’s the book basically on CD.
Peter: Yeah, but I did add a lot of stuff.
Michael: Eight CD’s is a lot of content.
Peter: We cut it down, if we recorded everything I did, I was in the studio for nineteen hours.
Michael: We’re talking eight CD’s of audio on the e-book, so you have an audio of it.
Peter: The CD’s are ready. There is a CD master for each one of them.
Michael: Your e-book for $29.95 is just the written form.
Michael: You have it on audio, you have it written, and you have a workbook.
Peter: And I have a master if I want to do cassettes. It’s all done in five-color gold covers and everything, so all the covers are ready to go, the CD labels and everything.
Michael: How long did you work on this project?
Peter: It took me about six months. It took about a year to write the book.
Michael: That sounds like a great product.
Peter: The engineer has a small royalty on it. That’s how I got him to do it for nothing. I had Nightingale’s best engineer put it together. That product would have cost probably $30,000 in recording costs alone.
Michael: It’s all yours and you have all the control on it.
Michael: Send me the e-book; I’d love to look at it.
Peter: All right.
Michael: If you have copy already producing results for the e-book, add to the value of the product with the CD’s and audio tapes and the workbook, increase the price, and instead of selling one for $29 maybe you can sell it for $399.
Peter: Check it out. I agree with your philosophy, and I’ve heard Dan say that. I totally agree. Nightingale has made that mistake. See what you think. This product will probably be the most content-rich negotiating guide you’ll ever look at. I don’t just say that because I wrote it. You’ll see what I mean when you read it.
Michael: Who were some other big negotiating guys with Nightingale-Conant that you hear about?
Peter: Roger Dawson.
Michael: Who would be your idol in negotiating?
Peter: None of them. All of them to me are dry. This program is not dry at all. I give examples of everything I talk about. There’s no bullshit in my program. You’ll hear how to use it.
Michael: Great, maybe we should talk more about negotiating. Maybe on the next talk.
Michael: Okay, Peter, thank you very much. I will be in touch.
Peter: Okay, check your email.