As I’ve been planning my epic event for September (yes, that is an open loop/tease), I keep thinking about the most monumental, life-changing events I’ve attended…and the one at the top of that list is the “Bencivenga 100.”
Those of you who never heard about it, it was the “farewell tour” (over two days) from the world’s top copywriter, and a personal mentor and friend, Gary Bencivenga.
The DVD’s are available, I am not an affiliate, I strongly suggest you spend your last $5,000 to buy them if you are interested in direct response copywriting in any way…or if you are just interested in direct response marketing.
It was one of those events that years later, “everyone says they were there.”
Kind of like Game 6 of the 1986 World Series..Shea Stadium only had a capacity of 56,000 seats but somehow, with all of the people who said they were there, Shea must have had 600,000 seats…
Well, I know everyone who was at the Bencivenga 100 so no one can lie to me about their attendance…well, maybe one guy…and here’s the story and the lesson I want to share for this week…
As luck would have it, it begins with Shea Stadium…
The first day of the Bencivenga event was on May 20th which I remember because it was my birthday…and since I really hate my birthday but I love baseball, I planed to go to the “Subway Series” game that night at Shea Stadium…Mets vs. Yankees.
A pretty big deal in this part of the country (and world)…
I was sitting in the upper deck directly behind home plate and for the first time in my life, after attending hundreds of baseball games live, I caught a foul ball (hit by the Mets best player at the time, Mike Piazza).
I was thrilled…but at the same time, categorize things like souvenir baseballs the same way I categorize mugs and cute little boxes from far away lands. Put simply, they are just dust catchers…
So…what to do with the baseball?
I came up with a killer idea…
The next day, Day Two of “Bencivenga 100,” I took the baseball through the crowd during breaks and got every copywriter I knew to sign it…and it was an “all star team” of copywriters including Gary Halbert, John Carlton, Parris Lampropoulos, David Deutsch, Jim Punkre…and I know if I keep going all I will do is insult everyone I don’t name.
Suffice it to say that anyone who is anyone is direct response copywriting was at the event and I got all of them to sign the baseball.
I was then privileged to have the opportunity to present the baseball to Gary after the afternoon break in front of the entire crowd…so yes, I was one of the 600,000 people who was really there and it’s on the DVD’s! 🙂
I know you loved that story…but here’s a lesson from it that arose just a few weeks ago…
A copywriter I had never heard of sent me a LinkedIn request…and I have a “procedure” to deal with all of my LinkedIn requests…that is, I send a personal email to every person, after I look at their profile, and reference things and people we might have in common…to create potential synergies right at the beginning of our relationship.
(There’s a good tip for you in itself).
Of course I also encourage them to opt in to this list too so they get to hear all of my wonderful stories…:-)
Remember, the game is not to have the “most contacts”…the key is having the most meaningful people in your life and to make sure that if you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room…
So, after introducing myself to this copywriter via LinkedIn, he sent me a beautiful response…telling me how much he admired Boardroom, Marty and that he had followed my career for many years,
He said he was actually at the “Bencivenga 100” event and recalled that when I was walking around the room collecting those autographs for Gary’s baseball on Day Two:
“You made eye contact with me, sized me up, and then just kept on walking.”
He wasn’t bitter or angry…he admitted that he was a “rookie” in the business at the time…and getting to that event was actually a launching pad for his career…and he is quite successful today.
But it made me think about all of the people we meet every day…some “more useful to us” than others…or so we think…but it’s really important for all of us to realize that everyone we come in contact with has a story, a contribution and the ability to add value to our life and others.
And this is even more true as we attain more fame and fortune ourselves…and I loved getting this reminder from someone who will now be a friend for life…like so many others who I may have “looked past” when I could have had them earlier as part of my universe.
Better late than never.
I’m reminded of the words of Eleanor Roosevelt:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”
I thought about that copywriter at the Bencivenga 100…surrounded by “hall of famers”
everywhere…yet he wasn’t intimidated and didn’t see the opportunity as one where he should think about how far he had to go…but rather how far he had come already just to be there.
From Nelson Mandela’s 1994 Inaugural Speech, which I heard originally came from Marianne Williamson:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”
I say…have no fear…you are not inferior.
And I really hope you all get to catch a foul ball at a baseball game someday too!
Until next week.
P.S. Back to my tease…if you stay on this list, you will be among the first to hear about that epic event I mentioned which is entitled “The Titans of Direct Response.”
I’m working on finalizing the speakers as I write this…and I hope to meet many of you there. I’ll send a dedicated e-mail about it in the next few weeks.
Save the date: September 11-13; and it will be in the direct marketing capital of the world, Stamford, Connecticut…:-)