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I Spent 3 Days with Dan Kennedy. Here Are My Notes...

By Frank Klesitz on Jun 19, 2019


It was his Mailbox Millions & Ultimate Sales Letter 2.0

Dear clients and friends,

I just got back from Cleveland spending 3 days with Dan Kennedy for his "Dan-Only" annual training.

I took copious notes. I figure you'd like a copy.

If that's the case, they are below.

On a personal note, Dan Kennedy is someone I've followed and modeled our entire Vyral Marketing plan from. I mix his strategies with influences from Jay Abraham and Gary Keller.

I owe a lot of my - and our - "success" to him.

This training was why you still need a direct mail strategy with your database. In short, there's no spam filter.

(We do direct mail for you at Vyral Marketing in our core service with a monthly postcard with one of your videos to your list).

These notes are very advanced...it was an expensive training, to say the least. It was with a handful of people on very detailed concepts. I got 43 years of marketing insight from him. 

I'll be at his "Dan Only" training next year (the final one of his career) in Cleveland in June 2020.

I'm taking my wife, and I think it would be fun if you joined us. We could make our own mastermind out of it, too.

His topic is "Retrospective and Magnum Opus on Money, Business & Success, Wealth & Fortune Building."

I have the sales letter for it - if you're interested. I'll scan it and send it to you.

Anyway, here are the notes. I wanted to share them with you if this type of material is of interest to you. Enjoy.

But first a few photos...












My notes from my time with Dan Kennedy

1. Listen to earnings calls companies who do direct marketing. They give away why sales are up/down with marketing insights to consumer behavior. Nordstrom, for example, cut their direct mail for digital - sales dropped, said it was a big mistake and why. Who does what you do and is publicly traded? Be on those calls.

2. The best direct mail pros in the world work for political campaigns. Give $1 to every candidate and PAC to get on their lists. Study everything. That's what's working.

3. You can put whatever you want in the return address. It does not need to be an address. You can put a picture of an influencer or celebrity with a description about who they are (permission needed!) - mail their letter of recommendation about you to a list who knows them, or their very list! This was my #1 take away and jaw dropped at this.

4. Co-marketing partners in direct mail are necessary for most to get your lead costs down. Include secondary offers to contact you for a personal referral to your general contractor, lender, and investor partnerships if they are not interested in selling or buying a home now, for example. Every mailing should include a secondary offer that appeals to non-buyers now.

5. You can mail whatever you want without anyone "approving" your ad like digital. Social media platforms are moving away from allowing direct response ads and list selects are tightening up due to privacy issues where list selects in direct mail are just down-right scary with regard to what is for sale. You can buy a list of whoever you want in America. Your privacy is for sale.

6. You either need to go 100% personal like "sneak up" mail not revealing who the sender is, or 100% sales. There's no in-between. Fill the envelope with sales copy or don't do any. No grey area on that. Ink is cheap, postage isn't. Use the space if you're going to give away you're a business, rather than maybe a personal letter, when you mail.

7. Commercial email and text messages will likely be taxed to subsidize the post office that politicians need to raise money and businesses need to sell things who give money to them too. Any email advertisement will likely need "Paid Advertisement" in the subject line to help consumers organize junk vs. personal. They require it for lawyers. Regulation is likely coming...

8. Sports betting is becoming legal. There will be “gurus” who tell you how to bet. Early in the season, they offer free picks. They give half the list one team and the other half the other team. 50% wins. 50% loses. The people who lost are sold to another company the guru owns saying “That original guru guy stinks, let me give you a free pick to make back your losses!”. The winners from the first pick are given another free pick. Again, that list is split 50/50. The losers are sold off. The winners are super stoked. Now 1/4 of the original people who requested a free pick will have won 2 games in a row. You sell that winner list to buy a pick package for the season now that you have shown you have the “secret sauce” for future picks. Just keep spitting the picks 50/50 and sell off the losers until there is like 1 guy who was lucky enough to be on the right side of all the picks from the original list. You charge them a fortune for their next pick. Yay sports betting. The lesson here is list segmentation. Interesting.

9. The most common and scaled monthly print newsletter format is a (1) page 11x17 sheet (4 pages) printed on nice paper as a self-mailer. Folded in half, twice. Put an insert in asking for referrals and/or an upsell to customers. Send the same newsletter to prospects with an insert that includes a call to action for your primary and secondary offer. In B2B, send standard rate since there are few forwarding addresses. Send first class to mailing consumers and you need it forwarded if they don’t live there anymore. A monthly newsletter is where you start. Sell advertising if want you a free ride - make it more than the ad itself (access to your leads, on your website, be in your team meetings, etc).

10. The direct mail that has a 100% open rate by the intended recipient is certified mail. You can send one for about $5. Start prospecting and communicating with it to higher value contacts. Perfect for collecting overdue billing from customers. Tell them why you sent it this way in the headline/lift note and why your message is so urgent and important. It will get everyone’s attention right away. Send urgent messages via certified mail to appointments/no sale list for another chance at conversion.

11. No one apparently is making any money in the guru space except on high ticket coaching. Seminars and materials break-even on the front end at best or lose money. It’s all made on the back-end. If you want to scale big, you have to get comfortable losing money on the front and making it on the back. One must be well capitalized to make this happen. Create product ascension and extensions, too. Get sponsors and trade/barter to get access to super hot, but free lists. Getting customers is expensive at scale. If you buy all the media at retail with only your core service/product you’re toast if you try to scale. You're fine if you want to stay where you're at.

12. The best way to get past a gatekeeper in B2B is to mail them at home. There are companies (MacroMark?) who specialize in doing the manual labor trolling public records to research CEO’s and professionals for their current home address and will sell it to you. This is called a compiled list. Magazines will sell you access to their subscriber lists, too. Use the SRDS service.

13. Nielsen apparently says the affluent are the highest percentage of people who opt-out from email communications. If you market to an affluent customer, chances are higher than in other demographics they will immediately opt out even after opting in to get something from you.

14. You can never be emotional with marketing and advertising. If you’re losing 7% of your customers a year and at best you can get that down to 5%, is that worth all your energy and focus? Spend your time selling to your best ones. Always, always focus on the money - never how you feel.

15. The best price for a monthly continuity program in the self-help space is $39 a month. Don’t ask him why, but that’s what everyone in the industry agrees is the top of the market before you spike cancellations.

16. Typewriter fonts out pull all other fonts in printed sales letters (Courier, American Typewriter, etc)

17. Be more offensive…offend someone. For the customers you lose, you’ll gain far more. Push it just hard enough until you lose a customer because you’re speaking philosophically and ideologically to your target “slam dunk” customer. Dan’s goal is a handful of complaints from his newsletter, that means he got it right.

18. Make the lead generation about the person, not the offer. Study Gary Halbert’s personal ad. Generated 1000s of women to mail him - with photos. It was more about the woman of who he wants and didn’t want. It wasn’t all about Gary. "It was his best ad ever.”

19. Got a winning message from email, online, etc? Put it in print! Send it by email and put it in magazines, etc.

20. Test price elasticity - go create a “Deluxe” version of what you do. At least 5% of people will buy it because they just buy the expensive thing by default. If anything, just add a zero to it and see what happens. Price is always elastic because of the person - if it wasn’t there wouldn’t be any upgrades when someone buys a car. The more affluent your market, the more likely they will take the deluxe package.

21. Sell recordings of your event to people to attend your event!

22. Two ways to test ideas. 1.) What is the best and most complete way to do this? 2.) What is the fastest and easiest way to do this? Test both ways at the same time. You may find the later is just as powerful.

23. Send a Box of Stuff, don’t cheap out. “No one goes to their office to admire their thumb drive.” Netflix is still sending out DVDs - not all digital. Fisher Investments still sends DVDs while Disney is still selling audio CDs to millennial moms. People still have these things, this shows higher value with physical goods. Bottom line use multimedia. Send transcripts with videos, put the video on DVD, an audio CD of the DVD, etc.

24. “Marketing is about understanding behavioral science and math to make money.”

25. You must have an “appointment, no sale” campaign. Send the prospect who didn’t buy a letter throwing your salesperson under the bus and get them on a call with a senior person. “I know you met with so and so, but I really want you to meet with me or a senior person here since you may not have gotten all the right answers. I reviewed the transcript of your meeting…I know how to help you, let me make you my best offer, I am concerned, etc” Include transcript? If they still don’t buy - make them a new offer, refer it, sell the lead. Monetize in some way.

26. Loved his “Neglected Wife” letter. Wives would kill deals, so his client would mail a letter from his wife saying “I’m a neglected wife” talking about how hard he works and his character to the prospect and their wife. The lesson here is to make a list of all the deal killers (business partners, employees, spouse, etc) in advance and you need to sell them too, not just the prospect. Pre-empt the deal-killing conversation. Amway example - “it’s a pyramid scheme” objection handler.

27. A sales letter is like a door to door selling in print. “Show up with guns a-blazing.” A newsletter, rather, is like a friend you trust showing up and talking about things that interest you both.

28. The last place of marketing liberty is inside an envelope. No spam filter in the mail. No review process. No one is going to check what you’re saying. No one will throttle your campaign. You can run any ad you like. Good luck with that in other media. No one will outbid you on the price of a stamp.

29. You need to record your best sales person’s presentation. Record it, transcribe it (Otter.ai), write it down so it’s perfect. Send it to the prospect before and or after as a written sales letter because you know the message will be delivered 100% correct, every time. It won’t be when you rely on humans.

30. “Too many people do lead generation on the cheap, and do all the work on the selling.”

31. Use the Halbert test. Pick your favorite child. Imagine they are kidnapped. You have to get them back with media. How much space would you use? What would you use to deliver the message? How would you craft the message?

32. “Tolerance for length is elastic”. You have a few seconds on Facebook, but much longer in books, magazines, and sales letters. “My all-time best sales letter started at 12 pages and ended up at 84 pages.”

33. The Secret of Time Invested. The more time they spend with you the more likely they will buy. Story of how he just made people wait in the doctor’s office longer and hearing aid sales went up. Dan’s top customers have spent hundreds of hours with him through video, audio, and print.

34. There are two purposes of a headline. Target the person you want attention from…and sell them on reading the rest of the message. The purpose of a sub-headline is to tease them, create a double readership path, “bridge” one idea to the rest. The top 1/3 of the page is the most critical area to hook them.

35. TEST: Can the headline and the call to action stand alone in a classified ad and would the prospect “get it” and respond? The headline should stand by itself without anything else.

36. The best direct mail has a distinct voice and persona. The worst is corporate speak. You want to have a one-sided conversation with the reader, not a monologue. Watch out for when people clean or sanitize your copy - they are wrong. That’s not how people speak.

37. There is a race to the bottom going on now especially with platforms and tech. Dan gave the example of any broker will take any agent, and there’s always an agent who will sell the home for less. Platforms hire those agents. “Do not be in the middle”. The money is in selling to the affluent for most of us. You don’t want to sell in a competitive environment, you want to sell in a vacuum.

38. You don’t see infomercials anymore selling information products because with the internet there is too much bleed to Amazon and other products online. Be careful your advertising is not driving sales to competitors from people with smartphones who see your ad.

39. When you go into a B2B selling environment, you need to go after at least 3 people at the same time. You want to spark the “I’ve been talking to those guys too” conversations internally. Hit them all at the same time with different messages. Remember all business is personal, B2B decisions are made on how it affects them personally.

40. Appeal to existing beliefs and biases. Most successful marketing is not about changing minds, it’s about getting people who already agree with you to buy. Dan says Trump won because he got the Amish in Ohio that no one paid attention to, for example, by holding a rally in Akron, Ohio that was full of horse carriages…he targeted the niches of American voters who show up at the polls with conviction. Great politics appeal to the minorities who vote, not the “big tent” theory.

41. All B2B sales happen on the 5/6/7th try. This is timeless. Same today as it was 40 years ago. You need external repetition (sequences) and internal repetition (making the same key points over and over in your messages). Work a key point into a headline, into a story, into a testimonial, into a graphic, etc.

42. Dan shared he needed surgery and FedEx’d a letter about him and why his surgery was important to the doctor. He got special treatment. He sends sales letters before he takes vacations, restaurants, and more letting management know who he is and why he’s coming. He gets special treatment every time. This was so powerful. “Any problem can be solved with a great sales letter.” Sell yourself to the provider, with tact. “Oh Mr. Kennedy, right this way…”

43. Go find someone who will buy all your leads who didn’t buy - they have the need, it’s just they don’t want your offer. They will likely take someone else’s.

44. When it comes to your monthly newsletter, it’s the foundation everything rests on. They are meant to be a personal conversation with a friend to keep a relationship alive. “Your newsletter should not justify existence by ROI.” It lays the foundation for a sale to take place. Most important is frequency, consistency, and being constant. Show up at least monthly, don’t waste your time if a few times a year. With regard to format, ask yourself will it get to the intended target that way? If it will, that format is fine. People want to know what you are up to, what did you see, what are you up to next, what’s going on in your life, where will you be?. Your newsletter is a conversation with a friend. Be funny, tell personal stories. Only a fraction of your newsletter should be core content. The rest is relationship building with humans.

45. Stop looking at online ads, they are sloppy. Look at what the pros are putting out on radio, TV, and print. They AGONIZE over every word. These guys know what they are doing.

46. All human populations organize themselves into pyramids. You have 1%, 4%, 15%, and 80%. Create an offer for all of them. 80/20 your list until you have 1 person at the top who is essentially crazy and buys everything at the highest prices.

47. Most marketing questions are framed a “either/or”. Do both. No one knows, you only know by split-testing. That’s the sign of a true professional when they are running two of something at the same time.

48. There are three types of marketing. 1. Branded (full logo, colors, etc) 2. Disclosed (smaller text that it’s you, hidden). 3. Blind (no idea who sent it). “Familiarity breeds disinterest in some people”. Send a blind mailing to your own database that does not mention at all who you are and to respond. “Do you need to sell your home? Get the highest offer fast. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx now.” You’ll get responses because you left your logo off! Send blind marketing to any list who many know who you are already. Blind mailing is good to house lists since it won’t be seen that you’re being abusive.

49. For multi-step campaigns, you can put doodles and “junk up” letter #1, rewrite the open/close, rewrite the letter to come from someone else (Neglected Wife example), or record and send audio.

How about all that for marketing insight?


P.S. Have a marketing question? I would love to answer it. Ask me. I will answer it, and if I publish it on the blog, you'll get a free book. Just reply back to this email, it goes right to me.

Frank Klesitz

Written by Frank Klesitz

Frank Klesitz is the CEO and co-founder of Vyral Marketing

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