How to sell $1.2 billion: My night with Garth Brooks
By Brett K
If we all can’t learn a little something from Garth Brooks about making more money, we’re a lost cause. The lessons I learned from a night with Garth.
A while ago Tiffani and I left the kids with grandma and grandpa and jetted down to Las Vegas for a quick getaway. We stayed at the new wing of the Wynn, called Encore. It was a great trip. We left the cold here in Salt Lake City and enjoyed the warmer weather in Vegas.
I’m not a gambler — I don’t like the odds. There’s a reason why owners can afford to build casinos that cost billions of dollars. It’s not because they are paying out the cash to their clients. So we went and checked out Lake Las Vegas, went shopping at the Ferrari dealership and the Fashion Show Mall across the street.
But the highlight was Garth.
We didn’t know it when headed down, but when I pulled into the valet, I saw the Garth advertisement on the digital billboard outside the Wynn. We then came to find out this was Garth Brook’s opening night. Steve Wynn was able to talk Garth into coming back to performing after a five year retirement.
He didn’t say how much the deal had cost him, but he did mention that he had to buy him a new jet.
When we got to the room I called down to the ticket office and was told that all the Garth tickets were sold out. We were disappointed but not surprised. The next morning we were exploring the place and walked right by the ticket office. We stopped in just in case they had any left.
Lo and behold there were two that were available on the 7th row and we snatched them up. It wasn’t cheap, but we figured it was a once in a lifetime experience so we grabbed them.
As we took our seats, Steve Wynn came out on the stage. He introduced Garth, and told the story of how much convincing it took to get Garth to come out of retirement. It was cool. Steve Wynn has an instructional history himself worth researching and learning from.
But here I want to share with you what has made Garth Brooks worth about $150 million bucks and helped him sell over 68 million albums or approximately $1,298,897,000. That’s approximately 1.2 billion dollars in album sales — not counting concert tickets and merchandise.
If we all can’t learn a little something from Garth about making more money, we’re a lost cause.
So here goes the first thing I learned during my experience.
Garth's unknown secret #1: People crave a personal emotional connection
The first thing I noticed about these loyal Garth Brooks fans is that they felt like they were his best buddy — and he treated them like it.
He talked to them, not like a massive herd of screaming people (which they were), but as individuals with names, faces, and lives. He was personal. He shared intimate details of his life. This allowed us to get to know him better, and develop a stronger personal relationship with him. He was kind, friendly and genuinely happy to be there. At one point he started playing one of his first huge hit songs, and after he played a couple chords, the crowd just went crazy. Everyone on their feet clapping and screaming … it was crazy.
Garth got so caught up in the emotion of the moment that he had to stop playing and wipe a few tears from his eyes. Then he started playing again, and everyone again went nuts.
What does that do to all of us in attendance? It was a special moment. I was there when the best selling artist of all time (passed the Beatles by seven million copies) cried on the stage because of his love for his craft and his fans. That’s pretty cool.
A bit later in the evening he said, “I told Steve that if this didn’t work out for him or for me we both could walk away at any point. But if these next five years are anything like tonight I think I’m going to be here for a long time.”
Okay, okay. Garth Brooks is an entertainer, a performer; people don’t crowd into auditoriums to hear us pitch life insurance or anything else for that matter.
Does that mean we can’t develop a personal connection that binds people to us so they are loyal for life? Not on your life.
In fact, Ethan and I have been running a marketing company for seven years now, and we still have people from the very first sales we made paying us every month to get our newsletters and stay plugged in with us. Why?
Because we’ve developed a relationship with these clients. They like and trust us.
In my study of developing long lasting relationships with clients, I’ve seen that regular, valuable, entertaining, interesting, two-way communication is the key to making this happen.
Why should you want a long lasting relationship with your clients? Most agents and advisers are woefully inadequate here. They see a new client as a one time buyer, not a lifetime asset. They think just because they may not get residual income from the products they sell, the client is only valuable for the first sale.
With new client acquisition becoming more and more difficult and expensive in today’s economy, ignoring past clients is an unforgiveable error.
That client is much more valuable than the first life policy you sell. The main difference between the really wealthy entrepreneurs and those who just get by is the way they see their relationship with their clients. Most business owners think of making a sale to make a sale. The truth is, you make a sale to get a client — not just make a sale.
In fact, the biggest and best marketers often lose money on the first sale (we lose money on the front end to gain new clients) because it’s worth it to get a client for life rather than just a one hit wonder.
So, like Garth Brooks, you can and should work hard to develop a meaningful long term relationship with clients and prospects. The best way to nurture relationship and nurture future income from past clients is using a hard copy newsletter every single month to send to your clients.
One of the keys to this communication is value. Don’t be pitching insurance products, or doing techno-speak in your newsletter. It must be interesting, fun and helpful to the reader.
People love human interest stories, they love personality. And personality is woefully lacking in our industry. Most advisers think a custom suit and shiny shoes are what people want to see. Wrong. They want to get to know you, see you on vacation, in shorts and flip flops, on the golf course, or skydiving.
They want to see you have a real personality (if you have one). They want to know what you love and what you hate.
Once you integrate this with your monthly newsletters, you will see more referrals and more clients coming back buying more products.
Garth's unknown secret #2: The study of successful industry ancestors
The concert we went to was unlike Garth’s usual concerts because he didn’t have a band, backup singers or even a cowboy hat.
He walked on the stage with a baseball hat, Levis and dirty work boots. He had a sweatshirt and acoustic guitar in his hand, and that was it. The concept was for him to walk the audience through his musical blood line. He started with the musicians that his father loved, and therefore the ones that he grew up listening to and loving. Then he moved on to his favorites as a young boy, young man and teenager. I found it fascinating how he could start playing in the middle of a song from James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James,” Jim Croce’s “I Got A Name,” or Chris Ledoux and George Jones.
Dan Kennedy, possibly the most famous direct marketer of our day, always harps on business owners who ignore their roots, and always chase the new and shiny object or unproven guru. His point is that the old school guys often have a lot to teach us about success during good times and bad, and about longevity, not just one hit wonders.
Again, Garth has longevity: If you took five years off, would you have people ready to buy from you the day you came back to the office? He’s achieved longevity by building his business and career on a solid foundation — by studying those successful long before he came around.
One of my favorite books of all time is, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling,” by Frank Bettger. He was a successful life insurance salesperson during the depression and beyond. Anyone who is serious about their career will get this book, read it and apply it. But alas, I know most people reading may not take action.
Who else should you be studying? Is the name Joe Girard familiar? It should be since he’s the most successful salesman in history (So says the Guinness Book Of Records). I just read his book, “How to Sell Anything to Anyone.” Another classic with loads of great education on becoming wealthy through selling and marketing.
How about the name Gerry Spence? Gerry is an incredibly successful trial attorney. So successful in fact, that he has never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney. He has not lost a civil case since 1969. 1969! His book is called, “How To Argue and Win Every Time.” It’s a great book that gives great detail on how he’s been so incredibly successful over the long haul — and some great how to for anyone in the selling and persuasion arena.
Of course these are all guys who have been successful — some inside and some out of the insurance industry, but we can learn from all of them.
Garth Brooks became a multimillionaire studying those who’ve gone before. So who are you studying?
Since this is my official Garth Brooks article I figured I’d end with one of my favorite songs called, “When You Come Back To Me Again.”
There's a ship out,
On the ocean,
At the mercy of the sea.
It's been tossed about,
Lost and broken,
And, God, somehow you know,
That ship is me.
'Cause there's a lighthouse,
In a harbor,
Pouring its light out,
Across the water,
For this sinking soul to see,
That someone out there,
Still believes in me.
If not us directly, there’s a good chance we know someone who is struggling right now. But luckily there is a lighthouse, there is a clear direction and through hard work, focused implementation and investing in your education a person can overcome anything.
A friend of mine started a joint venture with Ethan and I. With any new venture things take a while to really get ramped up, and he was getting impatient because of some financial difficulties in his life. He told me he thought the market was too tough for our company to be successful. My reply was:
“What is going to make this a success or failure isn’t the market, or the product or even the economy. It is us.”
As is always the case in hard times, there are people who are huge successes and there are those who roll over like a cowardly chicken and die. The difference is just a little faith and the decision to be successful come hell or high water. That simple decision makes all the difference in the world.