Currently Browsing: reputation and influence

Can Amazon shut down your selling account on a whim?

One of the unfortunate risks associated with depending on any of the “big boy” websites like google, youtube, eBay, paypal, and yes our much beloved Amazon is the fact that they hold all the cards.

Seemingly on a whim they’ve been known to press the delete button and flush away a sellers account in a moment. Usually a severe rule infraction has occurred, but not always. Usually justice is done in the end (accounts restored), but not always. In spite of the seeming injustice of it all, we are forced to conclude that it’s just part of the game right?

Not necessarily.

Sure, playing by the rules doesn’t hurt, but the rules are always shifting about and Amazon (and all the other big boys) are fickle partners at best. It’s a cat and mouse game that many old school eBay sellers from the early 2000’s can easily related to. I know of exactly zero big time eBay sellers from the early 2000’s who slept soundly each night with the secure thought in mind “eBay has my back – it’s all good.”

Our solutions to these issues:

1. The best solution to such risks is to establish multiple streams of income. That’s why our community is built on the “C.E.S.” model (each letter in CES is a different biz model I’ve built, and my team and I teach those models to others.) The three models work great together and compliment each other while operating independent of each other. My $5 “Silent Sales Machine” book has details (sold on Amazon)

2. We have content coming out soon that will show you how to have multiple Amazon selling accounts and ELIMINATE the risk of being “shut down.” I can’t say more about it just yet, but it’s 100% legit. A note about this never before revealed training: No Amazon trickery or policy violations are occurring with this strategy. You’ll have a “why didn’t I think of that” reaction initially, and then the success story of our case study students will blow your mind.

While you may not get the feeling that Amazon, eBay, Google or Youtube have “got your back”, our community, my team, and I sure do. We aren’t a herd to be toyed with – we are tight nit community of creative entrepreneurs who simply roll on when circumstances shift.

Stay tuned for the release of these great training courses and much more  of what we have in store for our ProvenAmazonCourse.com community – we are here for YOU.

Comment on this blog post using the above links, or join the conversation on Facebook

UPDATE ONE DAY LATER: In a crazy twist of irony, the same day I published this article my own youtube account was suspended! Get the detail – click here to see how we are managing the youtube suspension.

Stop the flood of ideas in order to build profitable systems online

Good ideas are the enemy of the RIGHT ideas.  I’m a big fan of focusing only on RIGHT ideas while aggressively protecting myself from the constant flood of bad, average, and yes, even the “good” ideas that bombard us all.

Have you noticed how few products we promote to my audience?  I’ve actively removed myself from so many “guru” mailing lists because it seems like they have one big $4,000 launch after another with the latest “must have” product/course/concept etc. Listening to all of that “noise” is a recipe for disaster.

Around here, my team and I have committed to doing things differently. We’ve been teaching the same three biz models for years and we keep on learning, growing and improving those three and those three only.

On top of that, we ONLY share the stuff that my team and I are actively USING and SUCCEEDING with. We don’t toss out ideas just to see what will stick -we share what we KNOW works because we are using itThere’s a science behind the system we’ve built and over 50 people are involved in filtering out all the “junk ideas”, “hyped up courses” and even all the “good ideas” that just don’t meet our standards. We do this to better serve you, and to ensure our top notch reputation stays right where it is.

If you are interested in the details of the system we use I’ll spell it out here.No one else in the industry takes the concept of “filtering” ideas as seriously as we do (just ask anyone who has tried to get our attention with a new idea!) and some will find this process interesting.Before I reveal the process we use, please know that the one reason we do this is simple – I’m looking out for YOUR best interest as a serious online business builder. I’m protecting the trust you’ve put in me.  In every possible way my team and I protect your time and attention, while strengthening our reputation in an otherwise unstable industry.

You could probably guess that, because of our large and loyal audience (that’s you), my team and I are literally bombarded with offers, tools, courses, books and ideas from great people with great intentions in most cases, but you’ll never see or hear about even 5% of what comes our way from these “attention seekers”.  The number of “big launches” and “shiny objects” in this industry can make you dizzy just to consider – so we have a strategy to EARN and KEEP your trust.  I suggest you apply our “filtering” process to your own life to help weed out some of the noise.

Before an idea gets to my desk it must pass an initial “sniff” test.

The “sniff” test includes questions like this:
  • Is this one of the typical scams we’ve seen a thousand times?
  • Is the author/creator an established expert with a traceable credible reputation?
  • Is this a distraction or a true long term opportunity for my audience and for my business?
  • Does the business/tool/concept fit our CES model?
If it passes the “sniff” test, then the challenge goes to another level.
I request full access for my team and I (over 50 people are on this team) and several of us do a full review of the product/course/tool.
  • Does it perform as promised?
  • Are there any red flags?
  • Any legal, ethical, practical reasons not to proceed?
  • Are there fans/testimonials and proof that this idea works?
  • Can the strategy or tool be used by many and maintain its effectiveness?
  • NOTE: At this stage everyone on my team has a veto flag if they want to throw it
Next, the idea hits my desk for serious consideration.
  • I personally try it, use it, test it and talk to the person behind the tool/idea/course.
  • Is this something I know can grow my business? If so, I use it! If it doesn’t work incredibly well for me or one of my closest partners, you’ll never hear about it.
I know for a fact that there are many experts and “gurus” in this business that have a far simpler system they use for determining what they will promote. A simple system might look something like this:
  • Does the course/tool/product have a high affiliate payout?
  • Will my audience “buy” it? (aka is the marketing “slick”)
  • If the answer is “yes” to either of those two questions, they jump in every time.
I refuse to treat my audience like fools. I want an audience of leaders and business builders…and that’s exactly what we have!I’d love your feedback here or on Facebook using this link

Giving away free product in exchange for reviews on Amazon

Here’s a creative idea for launching a new or little known product on Amazon. Simply give your product away, or discount it, and then request reviews from those who benefited from your temporary promotion! Sounds simple right?

Not so fast.

Before I give you my words of caution, first I have some very good news. Clearly, according to Amazon’s own rules you ARE allowed to give away free or reduced price products and then request an amazon review in return. When done correctly, this is a brilliant strategy that can turn a relatively unknown product on Amazon.com into one that has the appearance of being “popular”.  That can be good for future sales, and this strategy is being used successfully by many Amazon sellers right now, but…

…most Amazon selling experts would urge caution (including me) when using this strategy. For those considering attempting this strategy, I’ve compiled the good, the bad and some resources for you to hep make a good decision and navigate the process without getting burned.

SOME REASONS IT’S A GOOD IDEA:

  • A bunch of reviews gets your product a lot of attention and better ranking
  • It also helps the product have more credibility
  • future shoppers are far more likely to purchase a highly reviewed product at full price

SOME REASONS IT MIGHT BE A BAD IDEA:

  • If you tell your “freebie seeking” promotion participants that they can only give you a “good review”, or if you refund them after their discounted purchase, or if you manipulate the system in any way that Amazon doesn’t like, you could put your account at risk.
  • If you use a third party service to help you do the promotion it could mean that a lot of other sellers will see what you are selling – and could potentially copy your efforts if they so choose (this is always a risk selling ANYTHING online though)
  • Other sellers have their doubts about using services like this, and we’ve got a great discussion going on this topic on Facebook (link below)

SOME CHALLENGES YOU’LL ENCOUNTER:

  • Where will your freebie seekers come from? Do you have a list? If not, we’ve partnered with a reputable service that can help. GreatDealsForHonestReviews.com is our domain name that redirects to the service we currently endorse. If that endorsement ever changes, we’ll point our domain name somewhere else.
  • How can you limit “freebie seekers” from wiping out your inventory?
  • You’ll want to limit the number of “freebies” your customers can get. Use a “promotion code” to control this. Log in to Seller Central and use this link to get all the details on promotions: Amazon Seller Central. Visit “Great Deals For Honest Reviews” to get details on our partner service that can help you navigate these details.
  • HERE ARE OTHER RESOURCES TO USE BEFORE MAKING THE LEAP:

    A good open discussion on this topic is happening in our Facebook group. Come see what other sellers and experts are saying. Facebook discussion

    Amazon’s guidelines in their own words (read all of this before attempting to pursue reviews for free or discounted product): Amazon Guidelines

    When you are ready to do a promotion, our currently endorsed provider of such services for sellers is here: GreatDealsForHonestReviews.com

    Did I leave anything out? Have questions? Feel free to leave a comment, or join the Facebook discussion using the link above.

One secret to growing an audience that loves and trusts you

Our total online audience is in the hundreds of thousands and growing rapidly.  I’ve had several high profile industry colleagues make the observation that they’ve never seen such fierce long term loyalty in any online business audience like we have in ours.

Our Facebook group launched and quickly passed the 10,000 member mark while still adding dozens of new members daily.  Clearly we are on to something.

We get daily email and emotional posts in our forums and on Facebook from people thanking us and our community for helping them out in some way with their online business.  We have stacks and stacks of such letters and we dearly value each one of them.  When we held our last live event, tickets went up for sale and sold out the same day because the people in our community can’t wait to hang out together again.

How did we get here?

There are several common sense answers to that question – things like working hard, serving your audience, earning trust every day, only promoting stuff that really works, being generous to a fault, over delivering, acting with integrity, being in it for the long haul, slow and steady growth etc.  Those concepts should all make sense instinctively to all of us with ANY ambitions in business.

But here’s a “not so obvious” detail that has played a huge role in our success.

I’ve observed that very few online leaders pay proper attention to this “secret” factor – but it’s been key in my growth and success. It comes from a Biblical lesson found in Proverbs 15:22.  That passage says, “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.”

You may not realize it, but for the last few years I’ve had an “advisory board” that I’ve granted virtual “veto power” over all of my projects, promotions, content and biz decisions.   The people on this “board” also come up with great ideas and partner with me on numerous projects.

In other words, my business never has been, nor will it ever become “The ‘Jim’ Show”.

You may have noticed that I only occasionally endorse any third party services or tools in my newsletter.  There’s  good reason for this.  It certainly ISN’T because there’s a lack of people TRYING to get the attention of our audience. We are bombarded daily with new books, courses, tools etc. – dozens weekly try to “get on our stage” and they are willing to pay us a lot of money for the privilege!  Before I’ll even consider endorsing a new course or tool to my audience though I insist that my review team go through it, review it, try to break it, test it out etc.

Most of what we test out and review just isn’t good enough and it gets VETOED by my team before I even see it.

That’s just one example of how I take a team approach to leadership. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on me to make great decisions on behalf of our audience, but I have plenty of sharp advisors who help me make solid choices.

In case you are wondering where these great advisors come from – they are the handpicked “best of the best” students who took our courses, read my books, and then did great things online with what they had learned. That’s the “litmus” test for access into leadership around here.  If you succeed using one or more of our courses AND you also have a caring attitude toward helping others succeed, then you are a good potential candidate for leadership around here.  Right now we have about 70 people total supporting or leading in some way in our community to varying degrees.

To wrap things up – the “big hidden secret” to leading well online is to NOT put your own opinions and ideas ahead of the best interests of your audience ever. The best way I’ve found to make sure I avoid that mistake is to give several trusted leaders in my audience VETO power over new ideas, projects, products or partnership I’m considering. I also encourage them to float me great ideas (and reward them handsomely for the winning ideas).

“Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.”

what’s the big deal with live events for Internet business builders?

It was November 2013…a large Orlando hotel conference room was packed with friendly faces. My best customers, students and partners had come from around the world at my invitation for a jam packed weekend of learning and growing together. There was no denying I was visibly nervous and you could tell I had barely slept the night before. In fact, I had never done anything like what I was about to do. Over 350 friendly faces were watching me step into a role I wasn’t yet convinced I was ready for.

Surely there must have been some doubt in the room as we started the event. Would it all be worth it?

I can count on one hand the times I’ve been more nervous in my life. I’ve been on stage in front of audiences before, but never anything quite like my first CES event where every person in the crowd was there because I had asked them to come see what my team and I had planned. Each attendee had decided to spend their money, get on an airplane or drive long distances, leave their families and routines in order to be there.

No pressure, right?

Let’s skip to the end of the story:

You can ask literally ANYONE who was there. It was powerful.

In order to get the true sentiments of those who attended we anonymously asked (via poll) all who attended a couple simple questions.

We asked “Should we do this again?” and, “Would you come back?”

The responses poured in – virtually 100% “YES”.

We listened -and we got a bigger room for our September 2014 CES event. Tickets sold out in under a day months in advance of the event. I didn’t even send the invite to my full mailing list before it was sold out. I’m still in shock.

None of us should be surprised at the power of face to face gatherings though – it’s actually a biblical concept.

I’ve learned recently that ancient Jewish wisdom has a concept that explains the value of live (face to face) interaction as opposed to the alternatives of written, phone calls or even live video chat. I learned of this concept from my favorite Jewish author Rabbi Daniel Lapin. In the Hebrew language, the word for “face” and the word for “inside” are the same word. The significance of these overlapping words is simply this:

You can’t tell what’s really going on inside someone until you see them in person – or face to face. With over 50 facial muscles, we communicate incredible amounts of information very quickly when meeting others. This helps us truly decide who we can and can’t trust, who we want to get to know better and who to avoid.

You can’t duplicate this with a phone call, an email or even an online chat.

Here are just some of the things I saw happen in front of my eyes at CES 2013 that NEVER would have happened otherwise:

  • the start of lifelong friendships between people who would have never met otherwise
  • the launch of biz concepts that would have never come about otherwise
  • new partners for my biz and for the businesses of many others in attendance
  • a literal LEAP in confidence for many who came and had their spirits lifted in a way no online experience can duplicate
  • the confidence of my team and I grew. We knew that we had something truly worth sharing. I became SURE of my mission.
  • my circle of leaders, coaches, moderators and advisors grew in numbers as some incredible leaders “bought in” to my shared vision for entrepreneurs
  • both my business and the businesses of so many who attended are reporting that their businesses are growing in every measurable way as a result of CES 2013
  • my kids got to see proof that their dad really is dealing with real people when he’s sitting in his office looking into the glowing screen. I’m raising entrepreneurs!
  • I got to shake hands and hug the necks of hundreds of people who I knew only as a customer, a reader or a Facebook picture previously
  • And that’s not even listing the incredible content, ideas and strategies that were shared openly by all the entire time – with NO big pitches for products to purchase.

    The September 2014 event is sold out, so this isn’t a ploy to sell you a ticket (although you can get the next best thing which is full access to all of CES via online live stream. It’s on sale until Aug 1st here):

    http://jimcockrumevents.com/ces-ii-dallas-tx-2014-live-stream/

    Instead, I want to reinforce the fact that there’s no replacing face to face – even in our age of virtual meetings, email and live streaming. If you aren’t “getting out” and physically surrounding yourself with real people who encourage and inspire you, then you are missing out on some of the greatest energy boosting opportunities you’ll ever experience. Come see the faces of my partners, students and readers if you get a chance. You’ll see we are on a mission and we want you to join us.

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