"Gotta baste him with a sweepin broom"

Happy Sunday, people! I neglected to send an email last week, and in a classic economics externalities case, the cost (or, who knows, maybe the benefit) of my neglect – in the form of a long wandering music-reference-filled, barely-on-topic email today – will be borne by… you. 😃

A few days ago the nextdoor neighbor Jordan let us know he's roasting a whole hog for his 40th birthday. Of course, my mind – almost without me noticing it and definitely without me trying – instantly translated that to: "We'll be cookin up a Filipino Box Spring Hog on Saturday; stinks like hell; don't complain." So it's Saturday now, I'm sitting at the outdoor writing studio desk underneath the fully-in-bloom lilac tree, pecking out this email on the ole HHKBD + e-ink tablet + Termux + neovim writing rig, and the madrone and bay firesmoke is wafting over here, and it's all kind of glorious. Spring is nice in Montana! I hope those of you in Tornado Alley are not getting blown away, though. Where I-90 passes through the not-that-super-high-elevation mountain pass between Bozeman and Livingston got shut down for a few days this past week due to snow!

So, "nice" is relative and variable. A client recently reminded me that no matter how bad things are for most of the folks reading this letter, there are almost certainly a few BILLION people who would gladly trade places with the having-a-terrible-day-you or me. And my old photography teacher would quote a Chinese proverb and say "If things are bad, be happy because that means they're going to change and get better soon."

Of course, as soon as the idea of an entire hog entered my mind, I knew I had to read "Grapes of Wrath". I've never read it before, but an old friend, Lincoln, loved talking about the bit where Uncle Tom tried to eat an entire hog by himself. This part:

Jim Casy waited impatiently. The story did not continue. Casy gave it a good long time to come out. "Well, what'd he do with that shoat?" he demanded at last, with some irritation.

"Huh? Oh! Well, he killed that shoat right there, an' he got Ma to light up the stove. He cut out pork chops an' put 'em in the pan, an' he put ribs an' a leg in the oven. He et chops till the ribs was done, an' he et ribs till the leg was done. An' then he tore into that leg. Cut off big hunks of her an' shoved 'em in his mouth. Us kids hung around slaverin', an' he give us some, but he wouldn't give Pa none. By an' by he et so much he throwed up an' went to sleep. While he's asleep us kids an' Pa finished off the leg. Well, when Uncle John woke up in the mornin' he slaps another leg in the oven. Pa says, 'John, you gonna eat that whole damn pig?' An' he says, 'I aim to, Tom, but I'm scairt some of her'll spoil 'fore I get her et, hungry as I am for pork. Maybe you better get a plate an' gimme back a couple rolls of wire.' Well, sir, Pa wasn't no fool. He jus' let Uncle John go on an' eat himself sick of pig, an' when he drove off he hadn't et much more'n half. Pa says, 'Whyn't you salt her down?' But not Uncle John; when he wants pig he wants a whole pig, an' when he's through, he don't want no pig hangin' around. So off he goes, and Pa salts down what's left."

Casy said, "While I was still in the preachin' sperit I'd a made a lesson of that an' spoke it to you, but I don't do that no more. What you s'pose he done a thing like that for?"

"I dunno," said Joad. "He jus' got hungry for pork. Makes me hungry jus' to think of it. I had jus' four slices of roastin' pork in four years- one slice ever' Christmus."

Like I said, I'd never read "Grapes of Wrath" before, despite its significant cultural footprint. I started it a few days ago and haven't finished it yet, but the first few sentences convinced me I'd love it. And now a few chapters in, I am loving it. The prose construction and the characters have these echos of other art I've loved. There's the loud echo of Bruce Spingsteen's album "The Ghost of Tom Joad", of course. There's a softer echo – at least to my ear – in the character of the ex-priest Tobin in "Blood Meridian". And whiule Cormac's prose is incredibly distinctive, it does bear a family resemblance to Steinbeck's and Flannery O'Conner's.

I recently realized there is a small cohort of musicians who wear extremely large hats. I like to imagine they've formed some sort of club and they rent out the Bohemian Grove for a week each year and have a gathering there just for themselves. There are differences, though, within this group.

Erykah Badu and Linda Perry have large and glorious amounts of hair, and often the hair is styled such that it can only be be-hatted with an extremely large hat. Billy Gibbons, however, is a hat-on-top-of-a-hat situation, with the nudu hat underneath the large felt prospector-looking hat.

Slash might be a member of this club too, but he's probably not in the inner circle; he probably doesn't get invited to the Bohemian Grove thing. His dedication to the large leathery tophat is impressive, but not quite enough to say loud and proud to the world: "I have forsaken all for the path of the extremely-large-har." But he got kicked out of Guns 'n Roses, I think? And despite publications like Time magazine ranking him among the best guitarists in the world, deep down he knows Roy Buchanan was a better electric guitarist, and this hurts, and so even a provisional membership in the extremely large hats club is some sort of solace – some place an aging rocker can call home. (Buckethead never got invited to this club; his in-costume appearance is too freaky.)

Anyway, this is the rabbithole that coming across My Morning Jacket's cover of Call Tyrone will get you pulled into. The previous link is to the studio version of their cover of Erykah Badu's equally-awesome-in-every-way original, but I have to link you to this live version which is a thing that makes me realize I see the world very differently than a lot of other humans – humans who I'm sure are just the lovliest people.

If you read the Youtube comments on that live performance of Tyrone – with both Jim James and Erykah Badu on stage, BTW – you'll get the overwhelming sense from the tone of those comments that God created the universe for one singular purpose: to be a place where primordial slime can inevitably evolve into an advanced technological society solely so Jim James and Erykah Badu can perform this song on stage in exactly the way they did.

But to me, that vid hits different. To me, it’s courtroom-grade evidence that the quaaludes both musicians ingested before the show fully came on right before the totally unhinged guitar solo part of the song. But that's just me. I'm glad all those "God created the entire universe so that musicians can do this kind of stuff that Philip thinks is bizarre during live performances" folks have something that speaks to them too.

That said I very recently got a phone alert that Lucinda Williams will be performing in Missoula this summer. I'm pretty sure I'll be there because that woman a) always has the best musicians on the face of the planet backing her up no matter whether she's live or in the studio and b) she knows how to perform live.

But lastly, if anybody from the Badu or James management teams is reading this – perhaps your brandwatching software has pinged you? – you can make this whole problem for your clients go away I bet with a single DMCA takedown request. Nobody would have to know it's you – I'm pretty sure you can file those things anonymously, and that courtroom-grade evidence could be gone. Poof. Think about it – you'd be doing your clients a favor.

Lead Generation Learnings

For about 2 months I've been running an automated outbound "introduction campaign" for my business. Thus far it's generated 3 leads, and 2 of them are good leads that are >50% likely to become clients. These are, in my view, solid numbers!

Every time I interact with an independent licensed professional who is new to the area, I try to ask them how they got their practice up and running (if they didn't take over an existing practice). I don't have a ton of data points yet, but the few that I have involve the professional introducing themself as a professional to their peers. Meaning: they roll into town, call up the other chiropractors or whatever, introduce themselves, and if they don't get a frosty reception, they invite a next-level social interaction like "want to grab lunch some time?"

They do other stuff too, but if they don't do this part, their peers think it's weird. I've told this story before: when we lived in Taos, we used a mobile vet. She was great, but one day she disappeared. When we asked the traditional vet that we switched to if they knew anything about the now-ghosted mobile vet, the tradvet was like "oh, we knew of her, but she never came in and introduced herself to us <unspoken-subtext>AND THAT WAS VERY WEIRD AND UNCOOL</unspoken-subtext>".

Introducing yourself is not the lowest hanging fruit of lead generation for us unlicensed professionals, but it is the next-to-lowest hanging fruit. The lowest-hanging fruit is account expansion. But still it's so easy to introduce yourself using digital tools! Even if you're weird like me (the opening to this email has provided ample evidence of this fact)!

Except… if it's not. Here's what will make it NOT EASY to introduce yourself (by which I usually mean: your business):

  • It's hard to explain or for others to understand what you do

  • You don't know who is in-market for your services (meaning even if they don't need your services now, they could need them at some point)

  • Very few people want your offer, or the packaging of your services reduces the value of what you could be offering

On that last point, I've got a fun new catchphrase that I probably unconsciously borrowed/stole from somebody smarter than myself:

Your marketing cannot outperform your offer.

Pretty catchy, eh? I'll probably drive you people nuts with it.

Well well, lookey here, I have some services that can help with what makes it hard for you to introduce your business to in-market prospects:

  • Hard to explain or for others to understand what you do: People pay $500/session to get my help with this and are happy with the results. This is my coaching option.

  • You don't know who is in-market for your services: Also can be addressed with my coaching.

  • Very few people want your offer, or the packaging of your services reduces the value of what you could be offering: I need to get better at this before I charge a lot to help with it, but if you have this problem ping me, maybe I can help at a reduced rate or in some other way. I’d like to have the skills to pay the bills WRT this problem, just haven’t put in enough reps on it yet.

To learn more hit REPLY and we’ll take things from there, likely starting with a consultative, not-salesey conversation.

Last Issue’s For-Fun Poll

The question was: Have you ever used what you would consider pressure while selling your services?

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Yes, in the past, but would never do that now (1)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Yes, in the past, and often do so now (1)

🟨🟨🟨⬜️⬜️⬜️ Yes, in the past, and occasionally do so now when the situation calls for it (5)

🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 Never have because it's not my style (11)

⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️⬜️ Never have because of ethical reasons (0)

18 Votes

A few elaborating comments:

  • “If you have to push you're selling and it feels like you're selling, you're doing it wrong.”

  • “I haven’t done much sales calls at all”

  • “Every situation presents it's own challenges and sometimes a little bit of pressure is called for.”

  • “I wouldn’t know how to pressure sell, without looking ridiculous. Since I laugh most of others attempts on me”

Thanks to all who responded! The few times I’ve attempted using anything that feels like pressure during a sale, I’ve either embarrassed myself or it’s “worked” and come back to haunt me. But I do think there’s a difference between pressure and structure, and I bet those of us who are pressure-averse might need to invest more in structuring things.

I got the opportunity to see some cover concepts very recently for Blair Enns’ upcoming book, and those of us who are structure-light during the sales process should probably grab that book when it comes out (I’m not sure when that’ll be but the cover Blair chose does look very nice).

This Issue’s For-Fun Poll

Brian Eno has this clever definition of art: “art is everything you don’t have to do.” So, to this week’s for-fun poll:

Surpassing The Source: Cover Songs That Are (Almost Certainly) Better Than The Original

The original:

The cover:

Action shot, courtesy of my wife, from the outdoor writing studio:

I hope something nice happens to you this week,