By Guest Blogger, Dan S. Kennedy

The Untold Stories

Behind every great entrepreneurial success story that everybody knows, there is an untold story – and it’s usually more interesting and a lot more instructive. They all tend to have a few common elements, though. One of which is ugly grunt work.

Years back, I spent some time with Bob Stupak, a true Renegade marketer. He took a one floor, slots only dump at the downtown end of the Strip and built it into the big, tall, flashy Vegas World Hotel & Casino, now The Stratosphere – without taking on debt, building it one floor at a time as he had the cash to do it; generating the cash by mail-order selling of pre-paid $399 vacation packages. His full-page ads for his Vegas World package featuring 2 nights’ lodging, meals, drinks, shows and $1,000 of ‘house money’ to gamble with for $399 were seen everywhere: Parade Magazine in Sunday newspapers, Playboy, TV Guide. People on certain lists received elaborate direct-mail pieces selling the package, and over several years, millions of those sales letters were sent. His was and remains the only Las Vegas Strip hotel literally built by direct-response advertising. Now, the untold story: where Bob got the two most valuable prospect lists he mailed most aggressively to…

Every guest got a fancy welcome package, which included four full-color postcards with a photo of Vegas World and a display of One Million Dollars In Cash on one side. They were wrapped with a note telling guests to address them with notes to friends back home and drop them in the specially marked mail slot in the lobby, and Bob’d buy the stamps. He did not mention he would copy down the names and addresses before mailing out the postcards. He did not mention that he would soon afterward mail a letter telling these folks that they were invited to get the same great vacation their friends had recently enjoyed for just $399, plus get a free spin of the Million Dollar Slot Machine and be guaranteed to at least win a diamond-like ring or a little color TV or some other nifty prize. He mailed these prospects repetitively and persistently, and told me that he converted upwards from 20%. So, if 300 guests turned in 4 postcards, that’s 1,200 fresh prospects every couple of days, about 15,000 fresh prospects a month for which no cost was incurred in acquiring them but a postcard and a stamp, and how could you get better prospects? His other method of list-building was nearly as ingenious, and just as troublesome. Its details don’t matter, to make the point: Renegade Millionaires go to trouble to accomplish their goals that most people won’t. That’s the untold story of extraordinary achievement. Nothing elegant, nothing efficient about Bob’s system. Just effective.

I am 56 years old and I imagine my perception is skewed by age, but I still don’t think I’ve ever seen as many people in search of the mythical Easy Button at any other time of my life. The explosive proliferation of accessible technology has acted as gasoline on this fire. But it doesn’t change the fact of society’s money pyramid: 1% rich at the top, 4% doing well, 15% doing okay, 80% doing poorly – principally because the 1% are willing to do a lot more, and a lot more troublesome stuff than the 80% are. While the 80% are hunting for Easy Buttons, the 1% are working.

DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up. His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.