Cooperate or Die

No other industry has rewarded talent and tenacity as much as Internet Marketing. The financial bars to entry are practically nonexistent. Brendon Burchard claims that all you need is a telephone and a laptop computer. Reaching over $4 million in less than two years from bankruptcy, he should know. Brendon is certainly not the only bankrupt to millionaire story.

Of those I know and have learned from, all have four common traits. They are talented, tenacious, adaptable, and trusting. It is this trusting bit that seems to surprise. Each has a top-level support team that they trust—that’s not the surprising part.

Here’s the bit that shocks and amazes the uninitiated. They cooperate with and trust their ‘competitors.’ Before they offer a book, online course, or something else for sale, they commonly ask other entrepreneurs in the field for feedback. They share winning strategies. They critique each other’s marketing material….

You may be thinking, “Isn’t cooperating with the competition a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act?” So far, the answer appears to be ‘No.’ Perhaps that’s because there’s no victim. Be assured that the Feds have slapped down those who made unsubstantiated claims. That could be why we all cooperate very carefully.

I go so far as to say that in this industry cooperation is key. The reasons are simple. Let’s take four of the top online marketers for a hypothetical case study: Jeff Walker, Eben Pagan, Brendan Burchard, and Jeff Johnson.

All have picked different sub-niches within the how-to-succeed-online niche. Some operate in several niches or sub-niches. Jeff Walker invented Product Launch Formula. Eben Pagan gives away tons of material about marketing and selling online. Brendan Burchard founded the Expert’s Academy and teaches entrepreneurs to share their life experiences and get paid handsomely for it. Jeff Johnson is the world’s leading expert in search engine optimization without trying to ‘trick’ the search engines.

This is marketing 101: picking different sub-niches. Just as Volkswagen and Porsche occupy different sub-niches within the automobile market niche, information product entrepreneurs pick different sub-niches. That is where the analogy ends.

If Jeff Johnson produces a great product on list building using YouTube (he has; it’s great) he asks the other three to email their lists recommending the product. The others gladly do so for five reasons.

First, they have done their lists a service. The higher the quality of email received by a list, the more likely the list members are to open, click, and buy.

Second, they make money. Jeff Johnson most likely reasoned that any sale made to someone not on his list is a sale he would not have made, so he is happy to pay a commission—in our industry, often 50%.

Third, he builds his lists by capturing the email addresses of the customers that the other three sent to him. Since the best possible list is one of past customers, he is very happy.

Fourth, Jeff Johnson is now morally obligated to support the other three.

Fifth, the others want to help Jeff Johnson succeed because his success is their success.

The lesson here is that those who cannot trust, who feel that they must cling to all their business insider information and can not bring themselves to help the ‘competition’—I’ve consulted for several—truly struggle: none have made it even to six figures.

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