After lots of years of failure, in 1993 I hit on a classified ad and offer that actually began to build me an
One day I got a call from Mike Longshore, one of my product buyers. He told me I should run a full-page national ad. I laughed. He said he’d pay for it. That was a jolt. I was too scared to say “yes” immediately.
A couple weeks later, another phone call.
This time it was Dr. Joel Wallach, President of the
So I told him to send me some of his audiotapes. He did – a box of them. Doc was a dynamo, very knowledgeable, outrageous, totally sure of himself, funny, bombastic, great in front of any audience. If you’ve ever seen him walk, it’s like watching the oldest, biggest, baddest rooster strutting around the barnyard. It all came across in his tapes.
Unfortunately, those tapes had titles like “Des Moines Seminar,” “Kansas City Seminar,” “Coral Gables Seminar,” “Pittsburgh Seminar” … well, you get the idea. Nobody in their right mind would ever stick one of those audiotapes into a cassette player, for fear of being bored stiff.
What I wanted to do was pick one of Doc’s tapes, give it a snappy title, and use it as a free give-away with my own tape. Then Doc & I would split the profits and – more important – the leads.
But There Was A Problem: Doc Was a Wild Man!
Doc was a veterinarian. He despised medical doctors, and he wasn’t shy about it. His presentations were full of medical doctor put-downs. He raved on and on about how these idiots love to play God and tell YOU what to do … while they actually often suffer very bad health themselves, and many die very young.
To emphasize this point, Doc would read from his collection of “doctor obituaries” at every presentation. He’d read aloud about the heart surgeon who died of a heart attack at age 47, and then he’d ridicule the guy. Etc., etc., etc.
Doc’s 100% confrontational style was pretty entertaining, so long as I was just listening to his presentation. But as I thought about promoting one of his tapes with my own, it began to scare the snot out of me. I didn’t want people mad at me. I didn’t want people hating me.
I blush now when I tell you this …
… but I did not want controversy. I just wanted to sell more product, make more money, mind my own business, not offend anybody.
I was an incredible wuss!
Anyway, of the dozen seminar tapes Doc sent me, I chose the least offensive one. Doc must’ve had a cold that day. Don’t get me wrong – the tape was still VERY offensive to medical doctors. But the others were worse.
Next item: “Wichita Seminar” needed a new title. So I spent a couple hours in the headline swipe file I had created 4 years earlier. My process was to think about Doc and his presentation, and then read some headlines. Think some more, read some more. Think and read, think and read.
I wrote down maybe 30 or 40 possible titles as I went through the process.
Then, all of a sudden, I wrote down The Perfect Title. I knew it was perfect immediately. I loved it. I hated it. It was in-your-face controversial, and I was a wuss. It was all wrong … but it was all right.
“Dead Doctors Don’t Lie!”
That title said it all. I knew it was perfect for the audiotape. But it scared me so much that I spent a good part of the next 3 days in the bathroom, puking. My guts were in turmoil, both ecstatic and terribly afraid. I was sick, sick, sick.
My conclusions? It pays off big-time to be controversial. And my best