One of the things on my business bucket list has been to see Tony Robbins speak live.

So, when I heard he was coming to Toronto, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Last week, I headed off to a cavernous convention center in suburban Toronto, along with 6,000 other people.

Tony RobbinsSeveral speakers – some good, some so-so – hit the stage before Robbins appeared at 3 p.m.

To be honest with you, I thought Robbins would speak for an hour. He would offer a small taste of the Robbins experience. Then, he would head off and we would dutifully buy his books and sign up for his courses.

But that’s not what happened. Robbins jumped on stage and proclaimed, “Are you ready for four hours of work together?”

The crowd went crazy. Imagine having Tony Robbins for four hours when you thought he was only going to be there for one hour. Right away, Robbins had the audience in the palm of his hand. People were energized. It was an amazing experience but hard to describe it unless you’ve been there.

There were six things that Tony Robbins talked about that resonated with me.

Number one was the idea of focusing on your ideal customer.

We’re talking about customers who are very loyal to your brand or product. They are big-time purchasers. They drive referrals. These are people who matter so you need to know these customers inside out.

You need to know more about them than they know about themselves so you can serve them properly and continue to make them the customer who really matters and who moves your business.

The second point that Robbins highlighted was having an irresistible offer; something that is so compelling that customers can’t resist.

It could be a 90-day guarantee. It could be a month-long free trial. It could be free shipping. Whatever it takes to get that prospect to be a customer, you got to do that.

He gave an example of Zappos.

At one time, Zappos was struggling. The company was trying to convince people, particularly women, to buy shoes online and it wasn’t going very well.

Tony Hsieh came in and said, “Listen, we have to do something different. We have to create an irresistible offer and here’s what it is: we will allow women to ship back the shoes they don’t like for free.

The board said, “Tony, this is crazy because we’re going to lose an arm and a leg if we do this.”

And Hsieh said, “Listen, we’re already losing money. Our prospects are already evaporating. If we don’t do something amazing, we’re not going to stand a chance. His irresistible offer worked and the rest, as they say, is history.

The third thing that Robbins talked about is energy and how you have to be highly energetic at all times. Now, I thought I was a high-energy person until I saw Robbins hit the stage!

Tony talked about the idea that energy is infectious. We like being around high-energy people. We feed off their energy. They get us excited. They get us engaged and interested. So when you show up for work every day, you got to be high energy.

On some days, you’re not going to feel it. You haven’t slept well or you’re stressed but that doesn’t matter because if you enter into the situation with a low energy, that’s when you get into trouble.

People will read you and say, “This person isn’t excited. I don’t know why I would want to do business with this person because they’re just not into it. They’re just not into me and they’re just not into being here”. So whatever it takes, be energetic.

The fourth thing is about emotion.

As marketers, we often talk about the power of emotion and how emotions drive many decisions. You may believe a lot of decisions are based on logic but doesn’t work that way. Our initial reactions are emotional and then we think it through. Robbins talked about the importance of triggering people’s emotions to get them to do something.

If you want to get someone to buy your product, sign up for your service or take a course,  you have to trigger something that makes them happy or excited or fearful or make someone healthier or more efficient or productive. Whatever it is, trigger that core motion.

One of the things that Robbins talked about is motion through emotion; if you’re energetic, if you are out there and talking to people, you can get them excited to you can trigger emotions in lots of people if you bring energy all the time.

The fifth thing that Tony talked about was the idea of accountability. This was something that I’ve been thinking about a lot because earlier this year I had three big customers and lost all of them.

In one case, I said, “Well, they had a junior marketer and I couldn’t work with that person because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do and that’s why the project failed”.

In another case, a company raised a lot of money from a venture capital firm and I said, “Well, their focus shifted from marketing to sales and they didn’t need marking anymore, and that’s why they let me go”.

But when I think about it, what happened was that I was making excuses. I was coming up with reasons why things didn’t work out and I was blaming other people and other factors when in fact it was really on me and I had to hold myself accountable.

In the case of the junior marketer who wasn’t getting stuff done, that didn’t matter. My job was to make things happen so it didn’t matter what the junior marketing did, the marketing should have happened and the customer would have been happy.

In the case of the fast-growing startup that raised a lot of money. Yes, maybe the focus did shift to sales but it still had to do marketing. If I was doing my job, if I was being proactive, then it wouldn’t have mattered if the focus was on sales because their marketing would have been effective and they would have been happy.

So, it’s a matter of recognizing that you need to be accountable for your actions. You can blame other people and have lots of excuses and different reasons why things didn’t work out. But at the end of the day, it’s on you.

The sixth thing that Tony talked about was the idea of resourcefulness.

Not all of us have resources. We don’t have the capital to accelerate our businesses. We may not have the ability to hire lots of people but what we do is we have the ability to be resourceful. You can be creative, energetic, and think out-of-the-box. You can do things that may not involve a lot of money but can be very effective.

In1974, Walmart had 75 stores, Kmart had 1400. People said, “Listen Walmart, you’re not going to survive. You’re too small. You’re regionally based and you’re going to get your lunch eaten”. Sam Walton said, “Well, that’s not going to happen because I’m resourceful.”

Walton motivated his team and had them do extraordinary things so  Walmart could compete. If it meant picking up products at 3 a.m. in another state and driving back to a store so Wal-Mart could offer products to customers at lower prices, Walmart did it. Seventh-five stores became 100 stores became 1,000 and 11,000 stores. It is the epitome of resourcefulness.

I hope this doesn’t come across as an ad for Tony Robbins, although it probably does. Seeing Robbins speak was an amazing experience. The thing to remember about Tony Robbins is that he’s not reinventing the wheel. He’s not coming up with anything extraordinary or revolutionary.

What he’s saying is you can make small changes that generate a big impact. If you’re more energetic, tap into people’s emotions, be resourceful and accountable and remember that you need to be moving forward and thinking about how you can do things better,  you can be successful.

This approach resonates because they understand they can do it. That’s why people buy Robbins’ books and pay thousands of dollars to attend his workshops.

Tony Robbins has the cult of personality. People believe Robbins because he excites them about what’s possible and  the leap from where they’re at now to where they want to be is not that far away if you have the right attitude approach.

If you get a chance to see Robbins live, do it. If he comes back to talk to Toronto, I’m definitely going to see him again.


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