Are you an Expert that wants to boost your revenue?
Are you an Expert that wants to boost your revenue?
Table of Contents
The following is adapted from Adam’s forthcoming book in which he breaks down every step to build a business. Adam has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs either get their idea off the ground, or revamp their existing business to profitability. Below, you get a sneak peak into Adam’s process to build a business.
Do you know why zombie films are so popular now?
Zombie films are, arguably, more popular than any other type of horror genre. I’m not kidding. Zombie movies stand the test of time and almost always make more money in the box office than any other type of film.
And there is a reason for it… we relate with the survivors in the zombie plague scenario.
The zombie plague is one that resonates with every single human, because it’s really about living in the mundane during extraordinary times. We all understand that at some point in a zombie movie, there is this moment where the survivors, you know, survive – because zombies are slow or because they’re not really intelligent.
Zombies are not the worst threat.
We are literally better than them in every single way. We’re stronger, we’re faster, we’re way more intelligent. We have better weaponry and we can prepare all the things that zombies cannot do. But at some point there will be a moment where we will decide that we have to hold up.
Because you need the basics to survive, right? Food, shelter, water, these basic things. And humans like to have homes. We like our creature comforts.
There is a point in the middle of almost every single zombie movie where everything goes back to normal, except for the fact that there are zombies outside.
There are two types of people in these scenarios: Type one is the lazy person. They sit back, relax, and they’re living the good life. They’re drinking alcohol. And they’re using too many resources while giving sarcastic comments indicating that they shouldn’t have to lift a finger to help.
Type two: are the other characters who think life could be better and they are bored of the mundane. And this is the thing that us humans resonate with.
People resonate with these two types of characters. Maybe you’re somebody who is irritated by people who just sit back and live off of your efforts to make your community or world better.
Alternatively, maybe you feel this urge that everything is okay, but you really want to upset it, change it, and break the mundane because you’re bored of that same old routine.
But at some point, you know you need to change things up.
You decide as a leader that you’re going to go to a bigger, better place, or you’re going to try and find more suppliers, or you’re going to do something that’s a little bit too risky.
In doing so, the entire thing collapses and that which was once safe, and sacred, is now filled with zombies.
The haven that they once enjoyed has now been destroyed.
Many who own their own business are guilty of this.
You finally get your business idea to a point where everything is okay.
Then you have to change it up. You’re just going to break it down to start all over again.
And before you know it, you are in shambles, everything’s falling apart, and you don’t know what to do.
This is why zombie movies are so popular: because we resonate with them.
We understand them, because we create the same situation in our lives and businesses.
I know all about feeling like a survivor in a zombie movie. I found myself in this business owner turns his business into a zombie survival scenario situation years ago. I didn’t have any business systems and it almost ruined my business. And life.
Back in 2006, I was running a dating coach business. When I first launched this business I was passionate about it and I wanted it to succeed. I was really good at dating after learning a whole bunch of psychological techniques to improve my own dating life.
I wanted to be the best.
I worked hard.
I was featured in documentaries in England and throughout Europe. I was in the media all the time. Everyone was talking about me. I wanted to make it happen.
I was so thrilled with showing off how good I was at dating that I lived the wild life. I enjoyed my freedom. I was going to nightclubs every single night, partying with Pharrell, P. Diddy, and Beyonce and lots of celebrities that were enjoying the London nightlife.
Life was great and exciting, but I did not have any business systems.
Life had no regularity, and more importantly no guaranteed annual income.
One of the biggest problems of not having any business systems is that I didn’t have a regular income. It didn’t matter that there were newspapers writing about me and that I was on TV all the time. That doesn’t necessarily translate into actual money.
I was also spending all the money that I received. It’s expensive to go out and party every single night. I was living a wild lifestyle and wasting every single penny. I didn’t have any kind of structure or systems to hold it all together.
And to be honest with you, the idea of that certainty just sounded boring and I didn’t want to be bored. I just kept thinking, why can’t somebody else do this for me? Why can’t there be somebody else out there that can just handle the boring side of my company? I constantly would say: I just want someone to do it for me.
Then I found a competitor who had a different problem with his company. He was frustrated that I was getting all of the attention. Meanwhile, his company, which was built on very good business systems and business processes. It didn’t matter though. He wasn’t getting the attention that he felt the company deserved. And so we decided to strike up a business deal.
I would get all of my leads from his company. Now, I didn’t have to worry about any of the marketing end of the business systems. I would travel to America and live the high life. I would teach courses and talk about how amazing I am at dating. That was the plan.
There was only one problem. After a few years of this business agreement and making a lot of money, I got lazy. I had consistent successes: I had a fat paycheck coming in every single month to the tune of a very large five figures. And I only had to work two to three weekends out of the month.
The rest of the time, I was completely free to do whatever I wanted. It didn’t take very long to get bored of the wild and crazy life. I spent most of my time relaxing on a sofa. I watched zombie movies and The Walking Dead and reveled in my success.
This is when the zombie business scenario came to life. I was the person sitting back, being lazy, sitting in my chair, enjoying the leads that were coming in and living in constant monotony. It’s the same kind of monotony you might experience if you had a job and a salary. You’re comfortable in your position while you complete tasks at your predictable day job.
The business owner of the company I partnered with decided he didn’t want to run the business anymore. Rather than sell it, he broke it into tiny little pieces and sold off all the different parts. This meant I no longer had leads coming in. I was not ready to handle all of my lead generation, so my clients simply vanished overnight.
I didn’t know what to do. I found myself in a situation where I was down to my last $5,000. And while that may sound like a lot of money, my bills each month were $5,000. I had 30 days to come up with a very real solution, or I was going to be in serious trouble.
At this point, like many entrepreneurs, it crossed my mind: maybe I should just give up this life and get a normal job. Some job that will pay me enough to maintain my bills and be okay. But deep down, I knew what I really wanted. And if I was going to get what I wanted it was going to require a business system.
I had learned before that it wasn’t about being motivated. And it wasn’t about passion, because I had that before too. My career to that point never provided the guarantee and security that everything was going to be okay. The thing that I needed was the thing that I resisted so much: systems. I needed business systems.
Specifically, I needed my own business systems and process.
I couldn’t rely on anybody else because they might get bored or they might destroy the system. I needed business systems for absolutely everything that I did. We call one part of these business systems an SOP – a standard operating procedure.
An SOP is something that you can follow consistently, in order to get consistent results. Now, at the time, I had no idea how to develop standard operating procedures. I didn’t know what kind of business processes I needed. I did the one thing that anybody should do in that situation: I hired an expert. I found somebody that had already built a dating company and sold it.
I reached out to them and I asked this person if they’d be willing to help me develop great business processes that would include: consistent leads, consistent sales, and help me have the one thing that I’d resisted so long – the boring monotony. I knew I needed it and this mentor responded.
He said he was absolutely ready to help me. “It will cost $5,000 USD,” he said.
I was at the crossroads.
On one hand, I could get a regular day job and that $5,000 would cover my bills for another 30 days. Within that time, I would have just under 60 days to get a job and fix my life. On the other hand, I could take every penny I had and give it to somebody that I knew would help me set up the business system and standard operating procedures I needed.
I needed to take a leap.
The funny thing about a leap of faith is nobody can push you. Think about it like this: imagine someone who wants to jump into the ocean, but there are rocks in the way. If you push them, they’re not going to get the power they need behind the jump to clear those rocks. The chance of an accident is very high.
On the other hand if they jump as hard and far as they can on their own on volition they’re almost sure to succeed. The jump has to be made with the force of their body weight, and maybe with a bit of a running start to make sure they make it. They have to make that leap of faith themselves.
And so I decided to take that leap of faith.
I hired the expert. I gave him $5,000. I realized that giving him the money wasn’t the only thing I was going to be doing. I would have to do everything that man says – everything. I took every word he said as absolute gospel truth. I applied and implemented it all. Within two weeks, I made $38,000 USD in sales. I followed the business system that he’d given me.
I was hooked. I realized that the $38,000 I made within two weeks was far more than I was ever going to make at a day job. I decided I was going to take the drive and passion that I’d had before and combine it with developing my own business processes. I was going to find experts to teach me everything I could learn about systems. I would finally have the consistency I desired.
More importantly, I would be bored, but bored in the most amazing way possible. This time the boredom would come with consistent growth. Instead of building a business, getting bored and tearing it down again, I would only ever develop new a new business process to improve on old ones. The consistent success would continue.
I am not built to naturally desire systems. If you met me, you would think that I am somebody who is a little bit disorganized, a little bit creative, and a little rough around the edges. Despite that, I have managed to teach myself consistency. I use these systems because they lead to the thing that I truly love: freedom.
It is only with systems and a consistent business process that you can be efficient and get lasting results. All the time you have left over due to those efficiencies, will provide you the freedom that you really, really crave.
As a funny example, I would like you to just take a minute and pull out a pen and paper. Write down the step-by-step process to making a peanut butter sandwich.
Seriously, stop and do it.
This is the simplest way to help someone learn how to make a standard operating procedure (SOP).
Typically, someone would say, “Well, you grab some bread, uh, you put some, some peanut butter on it, and then you put some jam on it. And then you, uh, you know, you put another slice of bread on top, or you cut it in half and then you eat it.”
At that point, it’s fairly easy to start pulling apart the directions. Check out all that they missed:
An SOP is often far more detailed than you want it to be. And this is why people don’t do them. What you will find on this page are my standard operating procedures to save time, money, and countless frustrations and headaches.
Likely, you skipped over some of the details that I outlined in the sandwich exercise, which is why I’m bringing it up now for these standard operating procedures. They have to be fully effective. You need to go through them, you need to use them, and you need to tweak them on a regular basis.
This could work if you’re a freelancer looking to standardize instructions for subcontracting some of your work, expand to do more, or maybe just have consistent results for your clients. You may need standard operating procedures for finding freelance clients.
Perhaps you run a massive corporation and you are frustrated that your team doesn’t do what they’re supposed to be doing.
The solution is to create and implement standard operating procedures. It is absolutely possible to use these as a foundation to build upon, and to make sure that you have unique standard operating procedures that help you have the kind of success that I am able to enjoy today.
It is only through these standard operating procedures that I have been able to build the lifestyle that I enjoy with my family today, living on my 43-acre ranch just outside of Austin, Texas, with exotic cars, livestock, and all of the toys, gadgets, and hobbies that I could possibly imagine.
Most importantly, I have the freedom and free time to spend with my children, with my family, going on vacations, spending time in our swimming pool, hanging out, and doing all the wonderful things like teaching my children painting. Making your work standardized is boring, but it definitely buys you freedom.
If you succeed in making your work boring, you will have succeeded in taking all the steps necessary to build a solid foundation for growth that will get you where you want to be.
I used to run a small business out of Africa and I made a lot of business mistakes.
The small business was a factory that specialized in making movie props. I had a partner, and the way it worked was my business partner owned the factory and we ran the business 50-50. I designed the movie props and handled all of the sales. He provided the employees and the factory.
Most importantly, he had all of the money.
We specialized in making sword props for movies. These are the cool swords you see in most movies, similar to the background swords that the extras and stunt people use. One of the worst things that can happen is when an extra is handling a metal sword and accidentally cuts someone.
During big fight scenes in movies like the Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, or Troy, you want to make sure that the extras are using lookalike swords, but you want them to be safe – so we made them out of a type of rubber material. My company specialized in making those because I used to be a professional fencer.
When I was younger, I was ranked in the London youth games. At one point, I was one of the top fencers in England. When I moved to Africa, I ended up being the number one fencer in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Eventually, I was ranked number six in all of South Africa on the fencing team.
I was a prolific and competitive fencer, and I really enjoyed it. One of the things that I used to gloss over back then were the rules. One of the reasons business owners struggle in business is because they don’t actually know the rules of business.
Before I get into the story, I want to ask you: do you know the rules of your business?
If you do not know the rules, you’re going to have a bad day. One day I was sitting there testing the balance of one of the swords we had produced. I was swinging the sword, and one of my employees walked up to me and said, “How do you know how to do that?”
I replied, “What do you mean, how do I know how to do this?”
He said, “That thing you’re doing with a sword, how do you know how to do it?” I explained that I learned how to do it as a professional fencer.
He said he knew how to handle a sword that way, and I expressed that I was surprised he was a fencer – after all, I hadn’t seen him at the fencing club.
“No,” he said, “I’m a stick fighter.” We sized each other up. We were both champions.
“Do you want to stick fight?” he asked.
We agreed that we would fight with the inside rod of the swords that are made of carbon fiber. It is the same carbon fiber rod that you would use to make white water rafting oars. This is an incredibly durable, strong material, designed to take insane amounts of strength and pressure.
We went downstairs to sword fight and suddenly all of the factory workers were outside, surrounding us. This was a surreal moment but also one of my favorite moments in life. I was surrounded by these Africans who are essentially descendants from Zulu warriors.
These workers started to summon the spirits of African kings into my opponent. All I could think about is that this was a little bit unfair. It’s not like I had someone summoning the spirit of Queen Elizabeth in my corner.
I was just some random guy about to have a duel with a stick. I was just about to fight an African stick fighting champion. As my opponent moved towards me, I did what I normally did in fencing matches: strike as fast as possible.
I like to get the first hit.
Unfortunately for me, in fencing, we do something called the lightest touch. The goal isn’t to hurt the opponent. The goal is to just strike them. So as the African warrior moved towards me and I gently struck his shoulder, he pulled his stick back and landed it with full force into my thigh, causing my leg to collapse.
At this point, I realized my mistake.
I didn’t know the rules.
If you don’t know the rules for something, you’ve got no idea how to prepare yourself for victory. What I thought was going to be light touch following fencing rules turned out to be a full-on fight to the bloody submission of African stick fighting.
I lost the first round. He gave me a breather and then he moved back in.
At this point, I adjusted the game and realized that I had to fight for my life with the African warriors chanting him on in the background. I moved to swing and attempted to hit him in the shoulder where I had hit him before.
Instead, I dropped my weight, hit his leg and then hit him back exactly where he hurt me. I wanted to teach him a lesson. This time he collapsed and he realized he was dealing with somebody who now knew what they were doing.
Then he came at me one more time.
This time I raised my stick to aim at his leg again, to threaten to hit the same point. He reacted and went to defend. I changed the angle of my blow, striking his head, almost knocking him unconscious. He was angry at this point, charging towards me at full strength.
I aimed for his head.
He blocked my attack on the head. I hit his leg in the same spot, causing his leg to collapse. As his body collapsed, I struck him on the head. At this point, the battle was mine. He fell unconscious to the ground and the African warriors started cheering.
I was beaming; I was so happy. I could not believe that I defeated an African stick fighting champion and I went back upstairs to my office.
I was not only the number one fencer in KwaZulu-Natal, but I also beat the African stick fighting champion.
Then, I heard my business partner screaming, “Adam, what the fuck did you just do?”
Suddenly all of my happiness was destroyed. I looked to see him storming in, and this guy was huge. He was an Afrikaans man.
If you’ve never seen an Afrikaans man, they are a combination of Dutch, German, and native Africans. They are very large and can be very aggressive people. He screamed at me.
“Did you just have a stick fight with that guy?! The stick fighting champion?”
And I said, “Yeah, I did.”
“What did you do?”
“You never stick fight with the African champions. Did you know that you were fighting for ownership of the factory?”
Once again, I didn’t know the rules. If you don’t know the rules, you are likely to have a very bad day.
Eventually, we worked it out and continued on as normal.
Let me add some perspective about how my partner and I ran this small business… You see, on average, I knew how many sales we made because I was in charge of the sales and we were making $50,000 USD per month as a company.
I was paid $1000 each month, meaning my partner was paid $49,000 in our 50/50 relationship. Every time I expressed that I thought it was unfair that he made a lot more money than me, he would always say, “Well, I have so many more expenses than you after all the bills, trust me.”
This was exactly fair. I didn’t see any of the books because I didn’t set up any of the accounting. I didn’t have my own accountant and I didn’t have my own contracts. In essence, I didn’t know the rules.
After two years of working at that small business, and making just a thousand dollars per month, I decided to quit. I let the factory owner keep the entire business and I walked away with absolutely nothing.
I learned that you have to know the rules of the game you’re playing.
Do you know how many small businesses there are in the United States? If you don’t know the answer, then you don’t know how much competition you have.
While you may think that not every small business in America is your competition, you are all fighting for the same salaries. You are in fact competing with every other small business in America. Each individual American is choosing where to spend their money.
If you average it out, it’s the same $50,000 a year salary, with the same amount of disposable income, from the same people, deciding where to spend their money.
And the same is true for any country in the world.
There are 31.7 million small businesses in America at the time of writing this, but how many of them are likely to fail?
According to data from the US Bureau of Statistics, within 10 years, 66% of all small businesses will fail.
That means your chance of succeeding as a small business owner is roughly one in three.
Ask yourself, are you going to be the one small business owner that survives? Think of two other business owners. Of the three of you, which one of you is the most likely to succeed?
If I told you that you had to fight for your life for a chance to be the winner, would it be you that wins?
The key to victory in business and sword fighting is very rarely how strong you are or how fast you are. It’s almost always what system you’re using for fighting. Your success comes from learning from the most common small business mistakes and implementing a business plan that works.
When I broke down how I beat the African warrior, you’ll notice that most of the time I was making the choices on how to attack based on how I was attacked in the last round. Each time, my opponent was reacting to what he thought I was going to do based on what I had done previously. Then I altered my approach.
That is the standard operating procedure for defeating an opponent who has never seen you fight before. Humans have a habit remembering most clearly what they just witnessed. Therefore, he predicted I would do what I did last time, enabling me to stay one step ahead, once I made that adjustment.
Likewise, in a business, you need to have a business plan to keep you from failing. You have to trust the systems that are going to help you succeed.
If you don’t know why companies fail, how are you going to build the right systems to keep you alive?
A better question would be: do you know the rules of your business?
Do you know the rules that stop one in three companies from failing while the other two completely collapse?
According to data from CB Insights, there are three major reasons why companies fail.
Ultimately, if you do not have a system for every single process in your business, then you are highly likely to fail. Of all processes, though, you definitely need these three. Without them, like most new business owners, your business may collapse within 10 years of formation.
After living in Africa and running the factory and then walking away from it, I found myself at a loss. I didn’t know what to do. I dabbled with a few careers. I was a realtor for a while, then ended up working in public relations. After that, I finally ended up as a janitor.
I liked the janitor job because once again, I found myself sitting down with nothing to do. It wasn’t out of laziness this time. Instead, it was out of a desire to ponder. I wanted to find myself. I wanted to find a business idea that I was as passionate about as I used to be about fencing.
I had time to kill. I didn’t know how to do market research or even know how to start a new business. I literally spent hours waiting for someone to have a problem, take out the trash, or to collect the mail.
During all of this down time I realized that my dating life sucked. I was at the age where dating was extremely interesting for me. I spent hours thinking, learning and reading about dating. It didn’t take long before my dating life became very good.
In fact, I became so good at dating that when I would go out to bars and nightclubs, people would follow me around. This happened because they saw that what I was doing with dating was really working, and they wanted to learn more. It didn’t take long before word spread. One of these people eventually told For Him Magazine (FHM) that I was someone to watch. They said I could literally walk up to almost anyone in the world and have them go on a date with me.
While that’s not exactly true, it’s definitely said about me and the media loved it. FHM sent a journalist out to follow me around. Sure enough, in seven days of watching me go out for seven nights, I succeeded in getting dates with people on all seven days.
People were talking about me all over the internet. Journalists were featuring me, and others in the industry invited me to speak at different conventions around the world. Long story short, I realized I wanted to be a dating coach, but I was still nowhere near making any money from being a dating coach or owning my own business.
I really didn’t know how to build a business. Around that time I remembered a lesson from my step father, who raised me: you must have your bread and butter. When you first get an idea for a business, the desire to just quit the day job and throw everything into the business is incredibly tempting.
Forgetting this lesson is one of the most common small business mistakes. The idea of running a successful business is fun. It’s very exciting. However, you do not have any security. Whether you’re an employee today, or whether you’re just running a business that is taking all of your time, if you truly want to grow, you need to find more time than you currently have.
What’s your bread and butter?
Make sure you can pay your bills.
You should be able to make enough money during your nine-to-five, whether that’s working as an employee or running your business, so you can pay your bills.
My dad would call this your ‘bread and butter’. He’d remind me to “make sure there’s bread and butter on the table.” The goal is to find extra time around the nine-to-five you can use to create a successful business.
The problem is, whether you’re an employee or a business owner who is working full-time , the only way a business is truly going to succeed is if you can find a way to create the six big systems that help companies create true consistency and freedom.
Once I had business processes and SOPs, I was hooked. From then on, I didn’t want to focus just on my dating company. I started looking into other companies and helping out other businesses. I was traveling all over the world, bouncing from Vegas to New York City to London while running everything in Texas.
I even did a stint working at my local theme park as the lead role of Robin Hood.
I became so busy running my own company and helping others, that I didn’t notice that my health was starting to catch up to me. The moment it all came crashing down was when I was in a minor argument with a woman that I was dating at the time. She was telling me the things that I’d done that upset her.
Instead of responding like I normally do, I just stared at her. I stared at her for about 15 minutes. She said to me, “Aren’t you going to say something?” Let me set the scene: we were sitting dressed in costume. I was dressed as Robin Hood while she was dressed as Maid Marian at the theme park.
Maid Marian was screaming at Robin Hood. Robin Hood was just staring at her. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was in the middle of suffering a stroke – a minor stroke, but still a stroke. I had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and spent the next few days learning how to speak again.
My speech was so messed up that I got confused about what different words were. I didn’t know what a feather was. I called it a bird leaf.
I didn’t know what a hammer was. I called it a piano. Long short, my brain had to be re-wired again after the minor stroke. I had to learn to teach myself to speak again, and to get back up to full speed.
I’d made the mistake of enjoying success and enjoying the system so much that I was working too hard. I’d forgotten to give myself any kind of reward or relaxation.
You see, you have two sides to your brain, and they both need to be satisfied. If you pour all of your energy into just grinding hard you’re going to end up in a situation where you get burnt out or worse. You might have a stroke… You have to make sure you’re satisfying the parts of your brain that need to play and have fun.
You will end up like me and your body will rebel against you. As much as you may think that you can handle it, and you can push through and you don’t need days off. I’m telling you as somebody who survived a minor stroke, you need to take breaks.
You have to have time for yourself. The key is to make sure that you understand that procrastination actually happens from working too hard. Both sides of the brain are key for motivation and output. The creative part of your brain wants to be free and it wants to create, and it wants to do wild things.
On the other side, you have the more logical part of your brain that wants to make sure that everything is in order. If you focus on what most people do (satisfying the logical part of the brain), it’s stuff like making sure you have your basic needs taken care of, like food, water, shelter, finances, and more.
You’re growing your business; you’re doing everything you need to do with your business process, outsourcing, and sticking to your system. However, without satisfying the creative part, your brain will put a block on your ability to function anymore. It will slow you down.
It will make it difficult for you to stick to the business process you’ve outlined. In essence, your brain will make you procrastinate. One way to make sure you don’t procrastinate is to ensure that the creative side has the time for it to go wild.
By structuring creative times into your business operations and your life, you’re going to stay healthy and way more productive.
In many ways, we could consider this the first standard operating procedure. It’s important that you have a procedure, and that your calendar takes into account both sides of the brain to ensure optimum productivity. You can schedule set hours, where you know what tasks you’re going to achieve.
Ultimately, if you want to grow and get to where you want to be, you need to reduce the amount of hours that you’re working. Further down this path, you need to start your business process outsourcing: creating and assigning the tasks for the different elements of the C-suite to other people.
In a perfect world, you would start by making tons of money and hiring a C-suite. Then hiring all the people you would need to work under them. All of your business processes would then be in the hands of other people. Obviously, in that scenario, you would have all your time back right away.
You could just sit back as the founder of the company, watching the company grow. Of course, there’s a practical element to that: unless you have literally $10-$20 million coming in every single year, this isn’t going to happen.
A far more likely scenario is you start your business process outsourcing by assigning tasks at the lowest level. What I want you to do is ask yourself: what is my time worth?
Truly think about how much money your time is worth. Another way of looking at it: what is a moment worth with your child or a loved one like a significant other? At some point, we have to equate time and money. It’s almost impossible to put value on time with loved ones.
One easy way to work out this value is to understand what you currently charge for an hour of your time.
What do you currently charge for an hour of your time?
How much can you make with one hour of your time?
Imagine that your time is worth $100 per hour. In this scenario when you sit down for one hour of work you would generate $100 in new business. If any task that comes up that is worth less than $100 per hour you should assign it to someone else.
The ket to getting started in business process outsourcing is looking internally at your C Suite Assignments. You need to make a list of the six heads of the company. Underneath them, I will write the $15, $25, $50, $100, $250, and $500 tasks that fit within that department. Each one of those numbers represents an hourly salary.
For example, if we look at the chief operations officer who’s in charge of operations, the $15 tasks might include checking to make sure the emails have been answered. The $25 task could be making sure that people are following the standard operating procedures they’re supposed to be following. The $50 tasks might involve checking in with more important people to make sure that the project is moving along at a high level.
The hundred dollar tasks might look like outlining standard operating procedures for tasks that haven’t been done yet. The $250 task might be hiring and firing staff members. Your $500 task might be bringing in entire new infrastructure systems for everybody to use and follow. Either way, it’s worth creating a grid like this in your company, in your business, and in many time-consuming areas of your life.
Spend some time breaking down the tasks in this fashion. If you don’t currently have a business, that’s absolutely fine. You can leave this area completely blank. The idea is, as you look at your day in the future, as you build out the business, you can start looking at business process outsourcing for each of these tasks.
To begin the process of business process outsourcing assign tasks from the cheapest through to the most expensive. The idea is that you’re buying your time back incrementally. If a $15 task for the chief sales officer is sending out emails to all of your past clients, then that might be one of the first tasks that you outsource. You can hire a junior assistant to handle those basic emails, where they’re just sending out a message that has already been pre-written.
Instead of you sitting there clicking copy and paste and hitting send, someone else is doing that task for you. This gives you an extra hour to actually create the new templates or write the new script. More realistically it frees you up to implement the script that I have for you later in the book.
Obviously, we have standard operating procedures for absolutely all of that. When it comes to looking for the right person to hire, it’s also worth noting whether you yourself are a starter or a finisher.
Since then, I realized that one of the standard operating procedures we needed was around hiring a team member. Hiring your friends is never the right way to go. You have to make sure you bring in the right team member for the right job, and that you manage them correctly.
S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint Sam isn’t an advertising expert or an accountant. If Employee Eric does a bad job, it’s very important that S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint Sam gets it right. Which comes down to four things. You can think of these as PACK. Can you find your PACK? Let’s find out:
Pay all starts with making sure that if you want to get the right person for the role, you need to be competitive in the job market. You don’t want to think about the cheapest amount you can spend to hire somebody.
Instead, you want to think “for this particular role, I am going to be hiring somebody to replace myself.” If I know that I’m going to generate at least $5,000 an hour when I work, which is exactly how much I charge currently to work, then any job that I can outsource to a team member for less than $5,000 is going to be a profitable return for the company.
Therefore, I can probably afford to pay more than anybody else for that exact role in the market that I’m in. That doesn’t mean you always have to, but something to consider for sure. It’s very important that you are competitive in your compensation structure. If you can’t afford someone full-time, you can often be more competitive in hiring part-time. If the job is only taking three hours out of your day right now, then perhaps only hire somebody for four hours per day.
That way you can pay a little bit more than somebody else, and they’re working less hours. Now you’re paying less out of pocket as they expand in the role and the company continues to grow. Then of course, you can always hire them for more hours, or potentially up to full-time as they grow into a team leader. To them, that will feel more like a pay raise and everyone will be happy.
Next, you’ve got to think about minimum annual pay. A minimum annual pay increase that beats inflation, or is at least 5% every year. If you don’t have inflation, or if the inflation is very low, then you want your team members to feel a pay raise.
The easiest way to do that is to guarantee them a minimum of a 5% annual pay rise. This is about 2-3% more than most corporate companies. Once again, it is a competitive pay structure, and this is standard in my company.
However, in any year where inflation is higher than 5% such as 2021 (7.5%), we make sure that the annual pay raise matches or is a little bit higher than inflation. As a result, our employees never feel the pinch of inflation reducing their salary. The key component to this is to make sure that every single year your team members do get that pay raise.
I know what you’re thinking: but what if the team members aren’t performing. Maybe they’re not good enough or they don’t deserve the pay rise?
You have to realize that because of inflation, if you don’t give them a pay raise, you’re technically giving them a pay cut. That will result in less motivated and inspired employees that get very disgruntled and then leave. The reality is if you have a team member that isn’t performing, the correct thing to do is to fire them.
We’ll get to a hiring and firing system shortly, but the next thing you want to do is have a generous holiday or vacation policy. A lot of companies try to get away with as minimal time off as possible. This leads to bad team development. Remember earlier, when you learned about the importance of making sure that you have rest and relaxation to make yourself optimum? A successful team environment needs that too.
Team development requires you to make sure that your team members get the rest and relaxation they need. A team’s success depends on having the same opportunity to recharge as you. This is how you ensure optimal team performance.
Your entire team will actually be happier to work. Even if somebody else is offering to pay them a little bit more than you your existing team will leave if they are offered more holiday time elsewhere. Additionally a strong team will see that if they don’t have as much holiday vacation working for your company they will end up with less total compensation overall.
That is a very important factor to a really high performing team leader: personal time with their families and friends. If you are strict about having a generous holiday structure in your company (we give people five weeks, every single year), it makes it far more likely that employees stay with you and are happier.
The last part optimizing team development is medical. I’m a British guy currently living in America. The one thing that I really wish I could do is wave my magic wand and give America universal healthcare. I don’t want to do it by causing arguments about politics. I would love to just give it to everybody by waving a magical wand.
Unfortunately, that’s not something in my power. However, in a world where you can’t make that happen magically, you can alleviate that problem as an employer by making sure that your team members get medical coverage.
For all of our full-time employees, we make sure that we cover not only a basic medical package, but we give them the absolute best package that we can possibly get.
This was incredibly important when I was suffering from the stroke, because as an employee of my own company, I was covered by our own group medical insurance.
Because we have medical coverage the cost to handle my entire medical bills during that time was a fraction of what it would be. This was a reduction from hundreds of thousands of dollars, down to less than a couple of thousand simply because I had incredible medical coverage, and it’s something that covers all of my team members.
I have a great team and I’m happy to make sure they all get that wonderful benefit as well. This creates loyalty, and makes your team members feel secure. And it ensures that you’re going to get a good team leader wanting to come and work for you.
Next on your team development checklist you need a good hiring and firing system. One of the best ways to build a strong team for any company is to advertise on job sites.
At the time of writing this, sites like Indeed are incredibly popular – but you want to pay to promote the ad. There is a reason why those ads get more attention. It’s because the employees or you potential team leaders understand that you care about it: you put energy into spending money to get the best applicants.
They’re far more likely to respond to paid job postings, and it costs an extra $20 or so per day. You’re going to end up with so many more applicants, and faster, and there will be a much higher quality that it’s worth spending a little extra. This will also save yourself the headache of training up the wrong person, only to have them exit quickly.
You want to make sure that your application process has filters to weed out people that don’t pay attention. No matter what stage the role is in your team development you have to make sure that team members understand attention to detail is very important. Because, you’re going to have them follow standard operating procedures.
It makes all the difference when effective teams follow them. Team Leaders and other team members need to pay attention to detail: all the little nuances inside the standard operating procedures that you are learning about. The best way to do that (because you’re going to have so many applicants as you’re spending money to reach them) is to have very simple tweaks or requests that are very minor for people going through the recruitment process.
Bands are ideal examples of this. Bands will have weird requests, like “I want a bag of Skittles, but please remove all the green ones.” It’s not because they’re fussy about the green ones. It’s because they want to make sure that the venue has read the list of requirements.
Usually in the requirements for bands on the stage, there will be pyrotechnics and there can be some pretty strict rules about how the pyrotechnics need to be set up for the band’s safety. For example, a draft of air coming through at the wrong time while there are fireworks on stage could be disastrous.
If you have very specific requirements about safety measures around wind and draft, and you put them next to a request for no green Skittles in the bowl in the green room, one easy way to find out if the performance is going to be safe before you do it is to go in the green room and see if there are green Skittles in the bowl.
If you see green Skittles there, then the venue is not reading your safety procedures and standard operating procedures correctly. This lets the band know that they’re going to have to double-check those safety procedures to make sure they’re done correctly. You can do the same with a job advertisement.
You can tell people that when they send in their resume, it’s very important that they use at least three different colored fonts throughout the resume or cover letter in certain sections. This means they can’t just copy and paste the same resume to you that they’ve given to everybody else. And again, it demonstrates that they paid attention to the details.
Anyone that fails to alter their resume has basically decided they don’t need to read what you say. They don’t need to look at the details, or they’re not going to really care about the role. Then it becomes an easy decision not to advance them in the hiring process, because they didn’t follow directions. You might end up with seven to 800 applicants for a role, and something as simple as this can weed it down to a much narrower pool of candidates.
And now, you’ve found the people that actually pay attention to detail and read what you send to them.
Next, we always give someone a minor assignment that takes less than 10-15 minutes. With this assignment, it’s very important legally that it is directly related to their job, but cannot benefit your company and you are not going to use the work or product (other than evaluating their candidacy).
This isn’t an opportunity to get people to work for you for free. It’s an opportunity for you to see if they can work the way that the role requires. An example would be when we most recently hired a video editor, we asked them to re-edit their favorite movie trailer in 15 minutes or less.
The footage is something they can find online, but it lets us know that they are capable of downloading an online video to edit it. Believe it or not, this is not a skill set that everybody has. But it is pretty basic, and simple for someone that’s qualified to be a video editor.
Then they edit the content the way they want, with some minor parameters. They like it because it’s their favorite movie. And it’s clear that we’re not going to use it, because obviously we don’t have the rights to that movie. Lastly, it only takes 15 minutes and isn’t that much of an ask.
This one thing lets them create something cool and fun that they might want to share on social media. It lets us see that they’re capable of working on a timeline, and that they’re excited to do the task. Moreover, it lets us know what kind of work ethic they have.
If they cannot or will not do something this simple, we know instantly they aren’t right for the role. This isn’t a can-do kind of person that sees this as a fun activity. This is somebody that sees this as a chore and they really don’t want to do it. We want to hire people that are passionate about their work. Giving them an opportunity to be creative and do something fun, should be something they relish and jump all over.
It’s crucial that this task is very minor, and takes less than 15 minutes. You really want to time it. I’d normally let them know in advance of the interview. “Hey, we’re going to do this in the middle of the interview. You don’t have to finish it. I just want to see what you do and how you approach it. There’s no right or wrong output here.”
For this final rule, there are entire books: hire slow and fire fast. Take the time to get the correct candidate. If nobody comes through in the first round, keep searching to find the right person. When it comes to firing people, you want to have very strict rules about this.
For us, it’s pretty simple. Did the team member follow the standard operating procedure or not?
The first time somebody fails to follow a standard operating procedure, we make sure they’re okay, and have everything they need. This takes just a few minutes to actually take the time to care about your team members. There are plenty of legitimate reasons someone might have messed up. They’re given a verbal warning, and we will sit down with them and talk to them and debrief what happened, and how to correct it going forward.
If everything was okay and it was genuinely a mistake, then they’ll get a verbal warning. That will be it. This is one component to our leadership style for high performing teams.
The second time somebody breaks the same standard operating procedure, then they’re gonna get a written warning for failure to follow the SOP. At this point we start considering looking for a new hire as we’ve never hired someone that goes through the second failure, who doesn’t need replacing. They will almost always do it a third and fourth time.
The reason the standard operating procedures are created is to make it easy for people to do their jobs. It makes team building consistent. It makes team building reliable, and it makes team building easy. If somebody is consistently breaking the SOPs and they don’t have a good reason for it, then there is something wrong with the way they’re doing their work.
Ultimately, if left in the role, they’re just going to continue to drag down the rest of your team development and leave gaps. Having people continually allowed to not follow the standard operating procedures could spell disaster for your company. You just need to get rid of that employee. So have a firing process, and be very clear up front about how you’re going to do it.
The C part of PACK is a culture match. You need to know the qualities that make you excellent, not your company. You as a person that you want to display daily and that you want your company to embody.
One of the easiest ways to identify these qualities is to sit down with your team and have a dialogue about them. This is how we always do it. We get them to write down what qualities they like about me, that makes our company successful. We write those down and they become the core values of our company that we build a culture around.
We know that a successful team wants to live up to those qualities. We know that they believe in them because I already live them. And so it gives us all something to work towards. If you don’t have a team and a leadership style in mind, then you can do this with friends or professional peers. In a very honest environment, ask them to help you out.
Find six qualities to narrow on from those conversations – those are your culture and core values.
As long as the team members are sincere about those qualities, they’ll also want to see themselves live and work by the same standards. It’s very important that one of the qualities is not: I work for free because I’m passionate about the job.
None of your employees should ever be working for free just because they like to, or they like you personally. It’s your company, not theirs. If you want to work for free, you can. But even that is silly. I’ve already mapped out how your schedule should be, so you shouldn’t be overworking and you definitely shouldn’t have your team members overworking.
Your team members should never be working for free.
Look for passion about the niche or the subject.
Passion about the job is not really a good quality. Instead, look for passion about the niche or the subject. You can be passionate about movies, but not necessarily passionate about the company making them. If somebody is passionate about the company, that’s a bonus, but it shouldn’t be a core value.
That’s a key component to think about. I’m going to help you by sharing with you the core values of my company. This might help you start thinking about your core qualities and your core values might be, but remember, don’t write them down yourself, get somebody else to do it for you in a group dialogue setting.
I’m really proud of this, because it was my team that came up with our team values. This is something that our whole company lives by.
Here are our team values:
Do what you say you will do and always operate with integrity.
If somebody in my company says they’re going to do something, they do it. It’s something that I strongly live by. If I promise I’m going to do something, I’m going to do the thing. Whatever it is, whatever it takes, I’m going to make it happen.
If I even doubt I won’t be able to do it, I’ll be very real about it and say, look, I’m going to give it my best and try. I can’t guarantee it, but I’m going to try my best for sure. I try to make sure that if I say something, I stick by it and that’s one of the best ways to operate with integrity.
I’m a pretty empathic person. When one of my team members turns up late for work, I’m not pestering them about being late – instead I’m asking if they are okay.
Most of the time, somebody has a very valid reason for being late. It’s very rarely because it was traffic. It will often be, “Well, I just got into an argument with my mom this morning,” or, “I couldn’t find my cat.”
You get to hear the real reasons. And in our company, I’m going to give you a write up for breaking an SOP or breaking a core value. I’m not going to give you a write up because your cat got lost and you had to go and look for them. That’s the whole point about empathy. I’m a human being first and that’s the most important.
I have an incredibly poor background. I grew up living in projects in London. We had no money whatsoever. My parents had me working from the age of 11 to contribute, to make sure that I could get the things that I wanted because they couldn’t afford to give it to me. If I wanted to eat out at KFC, then I had to buy it myself because they didn’t have that kind of extra money.
I started working to make a little bit of cash at the age of 11, working for local friends and moving furniture. That’s what I used to do. Thus, I have zero entitlement. I have no problem packing up the trash, tidying an office, or helping somebody with a project. Likewise, I don’t want employees that have entitlement.
I don’t want people who think “I have 10 years of experience doing this job, so you should listen to me.” Instead, I’m going to look at the job based on the metrics of that exact job or how you’ve done it in the present. They’re not based on the qualifications you had before.
We focus on highlighting solutions, not problems.
Work can get incredibly depressing if everybody’s continually complaining and pointing out all the terrible things. When you go up to somebody and you give them a problem and you don’t give them a solution, now they have a new problem to deal with.
If you do that, you’re basically putting off solving the problem in your company. If someone brings you a problem, they should bring you a suggested solution.
“Hey, just so you know, this is a problem. I think this could be a good solution. What do you think about it?” It makes it really easy. As the decision maker, you can just approve good solutions on the spot.
By giving somebody the solution, along with the problem, it reduces cynicism and negativity and just makes the environment a much happier place. And most times, you actually solve the problem, which is the desired outcome in the first place.
If you don’t take the time to expand, to learn and to improve every single day, someone else is going to be doing that. And eventually, if everyone around you is continually improving and you don’t, you will become irrelevant. You have to continue learning. You have to continue growing. You have to continue expanding.
And in our company, we support all that. If a team member wants to learn a new course and wants to get some new qualifications or new training that will benefit the company, we have a budget available to pay for that. We continually and positively reinforce our team members to think that way. We want our team members to always grow and improve.
And whether that means they stay in the company or they grow, improve, and then leave the company, that’s absolutely fine. We like to know that our team members that come through our company are learning and growing while they’re here. And as people are moving on, it gives us peace of mind to have them leave us in such a good state, that we have an amazing SOP for the next person to onboard into that role.
And because we have a hiring system, replacing someone isn’t difficult. That doesn’t mean it isn’t an undesired experience. We would much rather keep the person if they’re performing well, but we also want them to be with us out of their own personal choice. People coming and going every now and then is part of any business. You just have to have the systems in place to be prepared for it, and make any new hire or replacement of that person as seamless as possible.
This is our final core value.
That means if something comes up, we’re going to address it straight away. That doesn’t always mean we’ll finish the task straight away.
Sometimes taking immediate action is simply enough in the moment. I’m going to look at my calendar. I can see that my next CMO slot is tomorrow morning. So I’m going to do it tomorrow morning.
The immediate action then is to make sure that I’ve made a note that the CMO slot happens tomorrow morning, and to have my prep done for it ahead of time. I will not necessarily stop everything I’m doing and complete the task right now. If you develop the attitude of stopping everything you’re doing to do this new task around, other people can control your day, and you’ll just end up chasing fires. Every entrepreneur has fallen into that trap before.
When somebody brings you a task, it needs to have a place to go where you won’t forget about it and where you won’t just ignore it. Take immediate action of scheduling it. When you hit that action, that’s when you take the time to get it done.
And the last part of PACK is killer referrals. If you want the best employees, you have to look for referrals. I have often found that anybody we hire nine times out of 10 will come from somebody I know, or another company I know that has already worked with this person and referred them.
When we put them in the application process with everyone else, they are the people that generally win. You need to continually develop your resources around killer referrals, and an easy way to do that is to make sure you’re networking with your competitors.
As you move through the standard operating procedures inside the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint, you’re going to see that networking and becoming friends with your competitors, instead of ignoring them, is a much better way to be and to get the success that you want.
Word was spreading fast. I applied everything I had learned about business systems and standard operating procedures to my business and others I was helping. It wasn’t long before people started contacting me that knew me from being a dating coach, that wanted me to help them in their established organizations.
There was a cold storage facility in Illinois that wanted me help them create an adaptable business system. They wanted me to help them restructure all of their staffing, all of their sales processes, and all of their systems. The cold storage facility needed help fixing their business practices to make sure that they could improve morale, productivity, and pivot from financial decline, to a place of growth and optimism.
Then there was a guy that was running a trading floor. He had a whole bunch of traders that were struggling with their mindset. Many things were shifting in the financial world at that time, they needed to modify their attitude and the way they interacted with people.
Next, was a famous YouTuber, literally one of the top 20 YouTube channels of all time – wanting advice on how to monetize their audience.
Helping the YouTube expert helped me learn to develop video content strategies for organic videos and their creation. In fact, I created one of my very first viral videos during this time. The video ended up getting millions and millions of views on YouTube. I made it in a single afternoon. There were a whole bunch of different companies that were coming to me and asking for help with developing an adaptable business plan for them.
Despite all this access at the time, I didn’t know what I was good at. Organic content creation? Is marketing my thing? Am I good at sales? Am I good at business administration? What is my actual skillset?
And this is when I realized the thing that I’m the best at is taking very complicated things, and creating simple, standard operating procedures that people can follow to get consistent results.
It’s why I’m incredibly good at fencing. It’s why I’m incredibly good at board games. It’s why I’m good at painting. I paint miniature figurines for fun, and I teach my kids how to paint them too.
I’m not an artist. I was never very good at art. What I’m good at is creating systems and best practices that make my art look good, even though I’m not a natural artist. When it comes to a business environment, if I’d have sat down and asked myself what I’m good at, I would probably have ended up with the wrong answer. I’d probably think I was good at selling or negotiating.
I would have developed programs based around that, but I would have missed out on my best business opportunities. This is because I’m good at selling, but the reason I’m good at selling isn’t because I’m inherently good at sales. It’s because I have sales structures, business practices, and scripts that I uses for a seamless integration into my business.
I don’t function by teaching my clients some magical insight in their brain. I literally just hand them the sales scripts (like the ones that you’re going to get later on) that help them get the results they want. You should never decide what to sell as a company based on your own idea.
Always allow the market to decide. You want other people to decide what you should sell just as you want your staff to determine your core values. It should be your audience that decides what they want and what they are willing to pay for it.
The fastest route to money is to focus on selling the solution. Adaptable businesses target the biggest problem or need that their audience has. The fastest route to a successful adaptable business is to bring in sales first and then let the business evolve and expand based on that initial money.
It’s often better to start with looking at what you already have, and then reinvesting the money you make from that into building the adaptable business that you really want. For example an adaptive business plan to build a big theme park might be to run a Halloween experience for a local community. You start doing that to build up the audience, and get people to love the fact that you run these cool Halloween experiences.
That builds an audience you can use to get the funding to build a theme park.
Or if you want to create a training program for Olympic athletes: if you don’t know any Olympic athletes, you might be better off helping the younger athletes at your local school first. As they win championships, people get to know the fact that you can take somebody from not winning to winning, and the word is going to get around. You’ll find those higher quality athletes will start reaching out to you.
If you want to have the best cake decorating company in the world, perhaps you start by doing cake decorating parties at local community events full of people who take pictures and post them on social media.
Everyone’s like, “Wow, you’ve never baked a cake before; why does it look so good?” “Well that’s because I use the processes by this person that runs the cake decorating party.”
If you have no idea what you want to do whatsoever, then it’s often better to begin with a business that is already needed.
I speak at events all over the world. I teach people the basics of how to develop standard operating procedures that create an adaptable business. By bringing in more cash, I then provide standard operating procedures for people to buy and acquire businesses, to help their existing business expand and grow.
I went to an event two weeks before writing this and everyone there was driving Lamborghinis and Ferraris. I drive a Maserati and everyone there had a car as nice as mine – and every single one of them fixed roofs for a living – not the most glamorous job in the world.
You wouldn’t think that people that fix roofs are driving exotic sports cars. However, roofers can have a lot of money, because everyone needs a new roof sooner or later. Roofs are very expensive and no one wants to fix them. Who wants to go and sit on a roof for hours, fixing it in the cold and the rain or in the heat?
Nobody wants to do it, but the roofs that are most likely to get damaged are the ones in the wildest weather conditions. Of course nobody ever wants to be up there. You can charge the most amount of money to do that. A very good way to make money is to focus on doing the job or building the business nobody else wants to.
It’s worth sitting down and writing down what audience or community you have access to. Even if you already have a business today, like you said, 42% of businesses have a product that nobody really wants. It’s probably worth looking at your customers and seeing if you could develop something better or reposition what you’re currently selling to make more money.
What audience or community do you have access to?
If you don’t currently have a business, maybe there’s a club that you’re a part of or, or a shop that you go to that has a big online community. Maybe you’re part of a big Discord app group? And everyone in the Discord group will know each other. Whatever it is, what audience or community do you have access to?
What problem does your audience most want solved?
In a moment, I’m going to give some standard operating procedures to help you identify that, but it’s still worth brainstorming out first. Before you look at the data, see how accurate you can be with hypothesizing what they might want, and the typical prices of such services or products.
There are only 10 business models that exist in the world. I’m going to outline each business model in a moment. It’s worth thinking about which one you want to use and what makes your business unique and valuable. An adaptable business still has to be unique and provide value.
What is your unique selling proposition (often known as a USP)?
If you don’t have anything different that separates you from everybody else, there’s no reason to do business with you. You’re not going to get many clients if your business doesn’t know what it’s UPS is.
A good way to think about a USP is how someone might want food that tastes amazing, but what they actually want is something hot and cheesy. You may note that if you make the hottest, cheesiest pizza in the world, it’s not going to taste very good. People will burn their mouth and remove their taste buds. It’s no good.
Cheap cheese doesn’t really have much of a flavor, right? What people really want is a hot and cheesy pizza, but what they really need is a good tasting pizza. So you put herbs inside the dough and you make sure that you season the cheese and you add other ingredients. When they bite into that pizza, it’s hot and cheesy.
It also has all these wonderful other flavors that make them say that it is the best pizza ever. It’s exactly what they needed. Something hot and cheesy.
But what they really meant is something tasty, right? We often have to think about what they actually need even if they’re saying they want something more general or slightly different.
Figure out what customers want – because that’s what you’re going to sell them. What they need is what you provide. That’s what an adaptable business does. That’s why we have to make sure we do market research, so we know what the customer needs.
Ask yourself the following questions:
I will also add in all the things they need as extras. When a client comes to me for the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint, for example, most companies don’t say “I want standard operating procedures,”. Clients come to me for “I want to grow my business” or “I want more sales.”
I promise to show them how to make more sales, or grow their business – but what I’m going to give them are systems they can follow to get more sales, and scale their company. Then I give them every single standard operating procedure that they need, because they will require cash flow, systems, and they need to know the correct way to hire, in order to grow.
They’re going to have all these other things from me, because simply having more sales alone will result in them receiving a big tax bill, and frequently they’ll lose the business anyway without the systems to sustain it.
The only way that I can ensure that each business actually gets the result they want is to sell them what they want. I deliver what they want. Then, I also over deliver what they really need.
That’s one of the best ways to make sure that you satisfy your customers.
Now that you know what you’re going to sell, you’re going to look at how you are going to package it. As I said, there are really only 10 different business models that exist in the current landscape. And any of these models can work with any product or any service in any industry. I know it sounds crazy, but these 10 can be applied to absolutely everything.
Business marketing is dependent on many things, but the most important thing is your business model. As I described previously there are only 10 different business models. You should be able to easily identify your business model from the list below.
The 10 business models are as follows:
As an example: let’s say there’s a fitness coach who wants to explore these various business marketing models. Here are some ideas that might work for them:
If you really want to succeed, you have to disrupt the industry and stand out. This is known as focusing on your unique selling proposition. This is decided from among one of the 10 business marketing models you decide on. Whichever business marketing model you choose isn’t that important – just pick the one you think will be the most successful. But – you have to find something that makes your offering stand out from the competition.
My son walked in the door and he was crying. I work from home and have a lot of impromptu time with my children. At the time, my oldest son was nine years old. To be real, he can be a bit emotional, but it was very rare to see him come back from his favorite place in the world crying. That current favorite place was the game store where he played Dungeons & Dragons with his friends.
I asked, “What’s up buddy? What happened?”
And he sniffled and said, “Dad, they’re closing the Dungeons & Dragons store.”
I said I was sorry and felt bad for him. After all, I was the one that taught him to start playing Dungeons & Dragons in the first place. Like I said before, I enjoy painting miniatures. I’m a bit of a nerd. And when I’m not running businesses, I am absolutely sitting around painting miniatures or playing these sorts of games.
Of course, I empathized with him. We have a painting station in almost every property we own. There’s a place we’ve played Dungeons & Dragons in every home that we’ve ever owned. We even play while we’re traveling. He was going to be fine.
But he looked at me and he said, “Dad, fix it.”
I asked him what he meant, and he said, “Don’t you fix companies for a living?”
I paused and thought for a moment. He asked me again. I looked at my son Oliver and I said, “Oliver, I fix big businesses, businesses that make millions of dollars. This is a tiny little game store in a tiny town, just outside of Austin, Texas.”
This did not dissuade him. He said, “Well, if it’s a little business, then it should be easy to fix.”
To see my son crying over the fact that he couldn’t play Dungeons & Dragons at his favorite place in the world hit my heart strings on a level that only a parent can understand.
I looked at him and I agreed to fix it.
I went down to the game store. I expected to give a ton of advice to the game store owner, hoping he’d fix it. Instead, he said, “I’m selling the game store. I don’t want to have it anymore.”
This was now a very different situation.
I can help almost anybody fix their company and make it grow and make it exciting, but I can’t help somebody that doesn’t want to do it. He wanted to sell it and he didn’t have a buyer. And ultimately, if he didn’t get one, he was going to let it fold. That would have meant no game store within 40 minutes of where we live.
I knew what my son wanted, so we began a negotiation about buying it and the price he wanted was a little bit more than what I wanted to spend. I knew that ultimately, if I wanted to be successful and make my son proud, I would have to buy it. So we went back and forth over a few months and eventually we landed on terms we agreed on.
He simply didn’t want to have it anymore.
I said to him, “Look, don’t let it collapse at the last minute. If it’s going to be between collapsing or selling, I’ll buy it.”
I acquired a game store that lost a thousand dollars every month.
It was a bit of a risk, but it came with some parking and office space. I figured if I could even out the loss with these other assets that the purchase would be okay long-term.
Unfortunately, just after acquiring the game store COVID and the lockdown happened. It became very clear, very quickly, that from losing a thousand a month, we were now losing $5,000 per month, and something drastic needed to be done.
I realized we needed to go back to the drawing board and do business marketing research. We had to identify our unique selling proposition. Rather than just being the only game store in town, we had stand for something more
To find a unique selling proposition, the first thing you need to do is to find information. You want your target market and your potential customers to help you develop this.
You want to find a target market audience you can use for market research. This could be a social media group. It could be a LinkedIn group, a Facebook group, a Discord group, or any other group.
It could also be an email list of potential customers or past customers. It could be a physical mailing list of addresses of people that have signed up previously, because they want information; or could even just be a group of attendees at an actual event.
The key is to do a sales technique or a sales standard operating procedure known as foot-in-the-door. With foot-in-the-door marketing, you ask someone for a little bit of information, and then once they give you a little bit of information, you ask them for more.
Because they’ve already given you a little bit of information, they’re far more likely to give you a lot more info. This is way more effective than asking them for absolutely everything at first. This is the same as the websites that ask for only your email address initially, so you can unlock content or information.
After they input an email address, ask them to fill in ten questions to receive the rest. While that does get frustrating for some people, it has a high completion rate compared to having all the information asked for upfront. The key is you have to find people that are willing to talk.
That’s the foot-in-the-door technique.
The business marketing strategy here is to get people to share what they know. There are a lot of directions that you can take this strategy: First you want to get them willing to share. Second, ask for permission to get even more feedback and then interview them. Third, my absolute favorite ways to do this is to use a Facebook group or any other kind of group.
Here’s an example of what I would do.
First, I’d share a very specific tip or strategy in the group that I use.
Then I’d follow it up with a question like, “Does anyone else have some cool tips about problems that they’re down to share? Let’s get a thread going.”
An example of this would be: “Intermittent fasting is my favorite way to help with burning fat. Does anyone else have some cool fat burning tips they’re down to share?”
People want to have an opportunity to showcase how smart they are. You should end up getting a lot of responses. What’s cool about this is if you do this in a Facebook group or somewhere similar, it’s very unlikely to get shut down by an admin. It’s going to be the most interactive piece of content they’ve had recently.
This isn’t a sales technique. You’re not necessarily selling anything. You’re providing an opportunity for people to share their knowledge. I have a company that makes paint brushes, and this is one of the things that I frequently do.
I shared my favorite tip for painting miniatures: “Don’t worry about painting cleanly as you go. What’s yours? Let’s get a thread going.” Within one hour of posting, I’ve received 60 comments. I have a ton of people responding to me within one hour, but after 10 hours, the comments keep coming in.
In that same thread there are now 142 people reaching out to me to talk. I’ve gained an entire audience for market research. This is a very simple standard operating procedure that anybody can follow.
The next step is to follow up. Go through the thread that you started and reach out to everybody that responded. In that Facebook situation, I just added everyone that replied as a friend, but then publicly I responded to their tip and I said, “Wow, I absolutely love that tip.” I then specify why it’s a good tip.
I’m talking to painters because I’m going to sell paint brushes. Potential customers typically won’t share what they know. The people I’m speaking to aren’t really potential customers.
But – they will watch. Sometimes they will click on my name and see who I am. If my Facebook profile is set up to sell paint brushes, I may get some sales. There’s a chance you’ll get some sales, but that’s not the main goal. The real goal here is market research.
The real goal here is market research.
If they’re happy with your response about liking their tip or the information they share, send them a friend request. They will often add you.
When they do, just send them a direct message that says something like, “Hey, it’s me from the painting group. I loved your tip in the thread. I’m actually collecting a bunch of these tips together for a really cool project I’m doing. Do you have any other cool ones to share?”
They’ll typically respond quite favorably. Not everyone will, but, but many of them will and the minute they do, express your enthusiasm and ask to run your project by them for their input.
Alternatively, you can send a text message or email to your past customers or your mailing list. You can say, “Do you have two minutes so we can run something by you?”
Do you have two minutes so we can run something by you?
We reached out to them by phone because they were already customers. They already spent money in the store. Once you reach them by phone, you casually interview them. You’re going to explain to them that you’re starting or are already running a business in a specific niche (e.g. the game store).
We said, “Hey, you know, we’ve taken over the game store and we want to know the following.” And this is where you get all the information to find your unique selling proposition. We asked each customer what their biggest problem was that companies hadn’t yet solved in this space.
These are the kinds of questions that you should be asking when doing surveys. These should be tailored with specifics for your target market of course:
What problem do you have that the existing companies have not solved or not solved well enough yet?
What issues currently exist with the way that people are trying to solve them?
What solution do you wish existed instead?
And realistically, what would you pay for that solution?
This is going to let you know their biggest problem that they wish someone would solve for them and the price they’re willing and able to pay for it.
Asking these kinds of questions gives you the following information:
If you follow the standard operating procedure outlined above you’re going to get a wealth of useful information that people will give you for free. The next step is to consolidate this information into what we call the Customer Avatar.
The Customer Avatar is a narrowed down set of facts about the people in your audience. This includes: profession, income, age, location, marital status, and more.
If they give you personal information about themselves, you’ll generally get the personal information, or common traits of a typical buyer. I want to know stuff like what they’d do for a living, their other interests, buyer behavior, and their personality type.
Somebody who works at a bank is likely to have a different personality type than someone who fixes motorcycles. That’s a big difference. Plus, from their job or professional role, it’s easy to infer their income level. I can go on the internet and search on Glassdoor and work out a range of how much money they earn annually.
I also want to get an approximate age. The way I get that is usually by asking how many years they’ve worked in their career.
If someone says, “I’m a software designer. I’ve been doing it for 10 years and it’s the first job I’ve had straight out of college.” That tells me that they probably graduated around 22 years old, and they’ve been working for 10 years. So they’re probably around 32 years old.
A few simple questions will let you work out roughly how old they are at least within a year or two. And that’s pretty powerful.
It’s important to know their geographic location. Where do they live in the world? I don’t even have to ask that while I’m talking to them. I can just click on their profile on Facebook and it’s usually there. If I’m doing it over the phone, then I might actually ask them to be sure.
Then you want to know their marital status. Ask them: “What does your partner think about this?” Then they’ll tell you or mention that they’re single. This obviously has implications for total household income, and if your customer is typically single (which can be important for your niche: e.g. my Dating coaching business).
Write down the responses in a spreadsheet.
You should prepare and organize the sheet before you make these calls. Do it with a minimum of 15-20 people, but try to get as many people as you can. The more people, the more market research you will have than almost any of your competitors. I guarantee you most market research companies charge tens of thousands of dollars to do this, and therefore many businesses never go through this process.
This is going to take a few hours of your time. Afterwards, you’re going to know more than most about how to solve your avatar’s problem and what unique selling proposition to create for the solution. At the end, you’re going to say to them, “Can I show you the solution once I’ve developed it?” You’re going to stay in touch with these people, and keep track of them in the spreadsheet.
They’re going to be your beta testers, or your initial audience. They’re going to give you your very first testimonials. This will help you validate what you have developed. After all, they were the ones that came up with the idea.
So you can say, “If I develop that thing you want, can I show it to you when it’s done?”
They’re going to say yes. Now you have cultivated an amazing loop where they’re going to be the biggest fans of your enterprise. They said what they wanted the product, you made it, and they’ll be grateful. But this isn’t the only step in the market research process.
Next, you want to educate yourself on feedback that already exists. What does your audience need and what is the solution they want? One way of doing this is to go to Amazon.com and read the three-star reviews of the products or books that cover your target market.
For example, if I wanted to learn about fitness, I could go to Amazon and type in fitness books and read all the three-star reviews of the top five books. This will help me understand how a particular product is currently underserving an audience or market.
Back to my paint brush business. In researching what kind of paint brushes to make, for example, I could just find the most sold paint brushes on Amazon. Then look at the three-star reviews.
The reason we want three-star reviews is that one-star reviews talk about how terrible a product is – like it’s the worst thing ever created. And usually those have more to do with the customer service or company backing the product, than the actual product itself. The five star reviews are glowing – everything about the product is amazing and perfect. But it’s the three-star reviews that tend to be the most useful.
They have some great detail. They’ll say that they wanted to like it, but describe the features or things it was missing. They might mention what prevented them from giving a four or five-star review.
After you’ve been through every single three-star review of the top five or ten products or books that represent the niche you’re in, you will know what is called unique selling propositions. You can add these to your solution as you will know in even more detail what your audience really wants.
You can then combine that with the personal data you gleaned from either talking to the past customers or the mailing list.
In our case study with the game store, the phone calls we had with people told us very clearly that they always wanted the newest product on the market – and they needed a larger inventory across all products, so they could always buy what they wanted.
Here’s what I said in response to that. “If we increase our inventory at the shop, would you be interested in us reaching out to you? And what product would you like us to sell in the shop?”
The customers were telling us over the phone exactly what they wanted us to sell – and they’d basically give us an order list, along with permission to notify them as products arrived.
All we would say at the end of the phone call is, “Would you like to put down a deposit and we’ll get it right now?”
We had 400 customers in the database that were previous customers, and of the 400 the majority of them purchased or pre-ordered on the spot. We let all of them know that we were still operating even during a lockdown, and we’d be happy to ship them their product, or they could come and collect it outside, in a no-contact zone that we created to ensure health and safety for them and our staff.
This immediately gave us sales rather than just waiting for people to walk in the door. We were making sales over the phone. We were making sales online. And we turned the business around quickly, despite the pandemic.
We turned it around so much that during that same year, we were able to take all the profit from the business, and reinvest it into buying a massive building. This new (to us) commercial building in a prime location.
We expanded the size of the store in order to house the products the people wanted us to stock. And after that, a few years later, the valuation of the store increased so much that that property is now worth about a million dollars today. And, best of all, the valuation just keeps going up.
The store itself has gone from losing a thousand dollars a month to making between $25,000 to $40,000 a month. A massive turnaround to say the least.
And thus, this became a timeless moment for me to turn to my son and say, “Thank you for pushing me into that deal.”
One of the mentors I had hired to help me learn how to buy and sell businesses is a man by the name of Roland Frasier. He has helped me in many facets of my life, including growing as a man, and has become a close personal friend. With the help of Roland my companies were growing and I was in love with my work. Hiring experts is very important and out of all the experts I’ve hired Roland, is by far the most influential.
During this period, Roland was teaching people how to buy and sell companies. He asked me if I’d be willing to come and interview him during one of the sessions at a huge conference he hosted. I was incredibly honored.
On this particular day, he’d been speaking for five hours straight. He was completely exhausted. He got through the interview like an absolute champ because Roland is amazing, and then he said to me, “There are 67 questions in the chat. Would you be willing to answer all of them so I can rest my voice? If you make any mistakes, I’ll speak up again and ridicule you.”
He was joking of course.
I agreed and answered every single question in the chat. I was blown away at the end, after over an hour and a half of answering questions, when Roland went live again and said, “Adam answered every single question correctly; there is nothing I would have said differently.”
I was blown away to receive that level of validation in such a public venue. Even more so from Roland, the man that I looked up to and that had taught me so much of what I was discussing. It was an incredible experience.
Later, Roland said to me: “It’s time. People know who you are now. Everybody knows how good you are and what you’re doing. You already have the Two Comma Club and ClickFunnels plaques.
You have all these other awards. Your businesses are consistent. They grow, and you have systems that are reliable. Your staff love you. You’re incredibly good at what you do.
Everything grows and scales around you in the right way. Not too fast, not too slow. People need to know you.
You need to focus on making sure you focus on increasing this awareness. I’d like to partner with you, to have you come and help me with some of my projects, and to make sure you succeed too.”
Roland further clarified his goals in helping me move forward.
“This is a key thing that you need to realize. You may have experience. You may have credentials, but it isn’t enough. No one is going to listen to you, no matter how good you are, what you do, unless you are a visible authority.
It’s no good for you to be the world’s best kept secret. It’s no good for you to be someone who’s really good, unless you’re visible. You need to do something to make sure that you are a recognized authority and that many people know it.”
One of the best standard operating procedures I have now is how to take someone from being an unknown with all of the credentials, to becoming a visible authority. It is the key difference to get people to chase you and to buy your products.
Next on the list of hiring experts: you should read the top three books in your niche. Even if you already have the credentials, even if you’re already an expert, you need to be familiar with the content that the majority of the world believes is relevant.
There are many times when I don’t agree with what’s in the top three books. Sometimes the most popular books are the ones that are the least informative. These books are just the easiest to read, but you have to have read them to understand them and be able to speak on them.
You need to be able to hold down a conversation with these authors. If you want any hope of being recognized as an authority, you need to spend some time hanging out with three to five of the top experts within the industry that you want to be recognized in. It’s well known that the best rub shoulders together, and you need to be next to them.
There’s a few different ways to do this, but I’ve found the easiest way is to hire them for their time. Sometimes that means you’re gonna pay a premium. If you wanted to hire me, that’s $5,000. It’s also going to cost you the cost of a flight to come and visit me to take me to coffee for an hour.
When I was fencing, I would have absolutely paid $5,000 to hang out with the best fencer. Many times I did just that to learn from past Olympians and Commonwealth Games fencers who taught me tactics and techniques.
For example, these experts taught me exactly how to read my opponent’s moves. I learned how to predict what they were going to do next. They gave me the standard operating procedure on exactly how to do it.
More importantly, when you’re with the experts, take a picture with them. If you pay someone what they’re worth it shouldn’t be a problem to get a photo together. Of course make sure you meet them in a non-work environment. This is for time you’ve paid them. Not just a meet and greet; you’re taking them for coffee.
Once you’ve taken a picture with them, you will be associated with them whenever someone sees that picture. If you have three to five experts hanging out with you in social settings anyone who views the pictures will believe that too are an expert in that field.
The thing that made the world realize that I was good at mergers and acquisitions was not the fact that I was buying game stores and turning them into big businesses. The thing that made people realize my expertise was standing shoulder to shoulder with experts who were already known for doing those things.
After you establish yourself with those experts, you should research relevant associations. If there’s an association that is known for being well respected in your industry, you should join it. Having that little badge on your website or email signature is a big deal.
When I first became a dating coach, I wanted to make sure that everyone knew I was an authority. I rubbed shoulders with all the top dating coaches. I spent time hanging out with all of them, and I even joined the American Psychological Association. I did this while I lived in England. I wanted the badge because I was constantly traveling to America and I wanted to be seen as an expert.
It only cost a hundred bucks a year to be a member of that association. Membership allowed me to put the badge on my website to say, “I’m a member of the American Psychological Association.” Many of my clients indicated that’s what made them trust me.
It’s just a badge, but it gives people that sense that you have credibility.
This is one of the most important ways to become recognized as an authority in your field. You must have testimonials. One of the easiest ways to acquire testimonials is to collect them from the beta testers we discussed earlier
And of course, there’s a standard operating procedure for that too.
You want to reach out to them, and get them to try your product or service for free. Then use their testimonials on your website, and in your marketing materials. This will prove that what you did and what you’ve created is high quality and actually works.
By being a frequent guest on podcasts, you’re rubbing shoulders and you’re being seen by all of the fans of that podcast. You can also do media appearances. There’s a very good website called Help a Reporter Out (HARO). They provide you with notifications when journalists are seeking expert opinions in your niche or industry.
If the journalist uses your answers, then you’ll get a credit in a publication. Once again, that’s another great way to increase your authority.
You could also create your own podcast, which is a great way to build your own following and appearances. You’ll get podcast guests, and that makes it easier to appear on, and be visible on others’ podcasts in return.
You can write a book on the subject. If you disagree with things you’ve read in the top three books, start there. If you have a book with better reviews than the top three, then people are going to be curious about you.
Doing all of these things will help you be seen as an authority. It is incredibly important to do this even if you are not trying to sell yourself as an expert or consultant. For the retail store, for example, how much cooler is it to go to a Dungeons & Dragons shop in a little town that the chamber of commerce has endorsed? One of our most recent endorsements was from the local medieval theme park.
I know the owner of the theme park, and he has now endorsed the game store. They have over 76,000 attendees go to their theme park. If you’re into medieval experiences, you’re probably into Dungeons & Dragons. With the theme park endorsement, we increased our authority and visibility to potential customers.
We make sure that we stay up to date by continually reading three books on the subject. Whenever we meet industry experts, we’ll take pictures with them. Most recently I was hanging out with the actor who played Scorpion from the original Mortal Kombat, which is part of the same geek culture as Dungeons & Dragons.
We shared the picture with the customers at the game store and they realized who I had been hanging out with. Then they thought: “I want to get to hang out with the game store guy, because he hangs out with all these cool geeky people that’d I’d love to meet too.” It improves the authority of the store and it makes people want to support our business.
They continually go into the store for the chance to bump into the owner. If you can become an authority, the customers will chase you, and this is a standard operating procedure everybody should follow.
As I walk you through the development of my companies, I reached the point where I had created a holding company. This was to manage all the different companies that I was buying and growing. My portfolio grew quite large, and I had different people helping me manage the companies.
When one particular company came along that I really wanted to work with, I let my body fall apart. Although I wasn’t overworking, I definitely wasn’t working out. You’ll notice that in the structure that I give for the daily schedule, the day starts at six o’clock in the morning, and it starts with tasks that push the company forward.
It does not start with the gym.
I’m a big fan of putting the gym at the end of the day, not at the beginning.
This is something I’ve been preaching for a very long time. The gym should be something you want to do, not something you have to do. The only problem is if you subscribe to that mentality and you do not want to go, then you can start to gain weight and start to get out of breath when you walk upstairs. This is exactly what happened to me.
I new I would need a set of Standard Operating Procedures for life, not just business.
After taking my lesson from the stroke, I realized I needed to do something. I was overdue to start working out. What I didn’t want to do was put too much time into it. I started looking up biohacking rather than just following standard exercise routines.
I wondered if there was a standard operating procedure for losing weight for entrepreneurs. I wanted to be able to be successful and not waste time in the gym. Biohacking seemed to be the solution. There were a lot of amazing authors that wrote a lot of books about business and entrepreneurship, and they all swore by this biohacking thing.
I found a guy who had invented a biohacking system, but he ran a physical gym out of Maine. We bumped into each other because he was looking at all my business advice to help him grow his gym. Rather than him becoming my client, I ended up becoming his.
I was blown away by the results. I got fit and developed a system where I could get into shape working out for just 15 minutes, twice a week. Rather than eating less or eating more spinach and broccoli, he actually had me eating more burgers and more cheese. I could eat more chocolate and I was losing body fat and gaining muscle.
It’s a little bit more complicated than that because the key component, the unique selling proposition, is what made this work. It sounds too good to be true until you realize what he does: he runs a lab test on the enzymes in your stomach and gets a blood test.
He identifies all the foods that you’re sensitive to. All the food that your body struggles to process properly. By removing all those foods from your diet and monitoring your macro nutritional values, and balancing them correctly through a system of analyzing the data and tweaking the diet, you can get to a point where you can eat to fullness.
I’m eating foods that I love and my body loves. I can do a minimal workout because my nutrition is so optimized. I’m getting all the results I want from not working out as much. Meanwhile, he was applying some of my business techniques and seeing growth. As it turns out, the physical location and the cost of location were really impacting his profit margin. He still had overhead: all these physical costs and equipment on lease.
I approached the business owner and expressed how pleased I was with the results he’d shown me. I offered to buy a percentage of his company. I was already a testimonial for his company. I had such amazing results – my body was the testimonial. I said that my investment came with a condition: he had to close down his physical location and sell the gym equipment.
This business needed to be purely virtual because the results I got for the fee that I paid was nothing short of disruptive. I knew it, and I told him: “This is going to change the world.” If we could put together standard operating procedures for biohacking it would change the game.
If everybody moves away from cookie cutter diets and instead moves into personalized diets that’s going to change the world. Individuals will see more success with diets based on their biochemistry and a fitness routine that matches their body type. They just need step by step procedures to follow.
He was enthusiastic about the proposal because he’d been following my stuff for a while and had seen results from it. We decided to partner up.
First, I explained to him that the customer journey he was taking people on was completely wrong. He was promising to get people ripped in his gym.
If people weren’t getting results in the gym, he would get them to biohack to help them get the results they wanted. I told him that the real value-add there was in the biohacking. Anyone can walk into a gym, but biohacking is the real magic.
I told him that we need to create a new customer journey with no physical gym. We need something better that would ensure that customers got the standard operating procedures of biohacking. The customer journey I outlined for him includes three distinct parts. If you get just one takeaway from reading this whole book, I hope you could grasp how important these three parts to the customer journey standard operating procedure. You can apply these same steps to the customer journey to your business with standard operating procedures.
The first standard operating procedure is education. The goal here is to identify the problems people are having, and provide some completely free solutions to them. The idea is to give them all the information they need so they realize that your solutions work. Solve their immediate problems. After that, it’s time to give them an opportunity to learn more about why your solutions work.
Once somebody makes the decision to commit to learning more about your solution, they move out of the education phase of the customer journey, and onto the indoctrination phase. In the indoctrination phase, we teach them what we know, and all the background behind why the product or service is valuable.
The idea of this final phase is to get them to align themselves with our vision of the best solution. If somebody likes the results they received from the free solution, by the end of this step, they should agree that our methodology is sound. They liked the background, because now they’re learning about us, and who we are, and that can take them into the next step.
What you want to do is set up a conversation where they say they want to speak with you further and get to know you. It’s very cause and effect, or problem-solution oriented. They will want to learn how you came to the solution. In this situation, for Occam’s Fitness, it was very simple:
Here are examples of past clients with unique diets. That’s enough for a lot of people to say, “I would like to learn more. Who are you? What do you do?”
For example, I can drink whole milk and have no problem with it, but my fiancée shouldn’t consume whole milk. Previously, we would just both drink whole milk. However, it’s clear from testing, that we need different diets.
Then we can explain the testing and how it works: when your body is optimized, your workouts can be minimum, providing they achieve the correct metrics they need to achieve your goals for your body.
You also need a custom workout. You can’t have a cookie cutter workout, either. Note: the explanation of this entire process is free.
Do you want us to test your blood, test your stomach, get the scientists to analyze it, and then work with you to develop the diet and tweak it?
This needs to be optimized based on food. You like food, don’t you? Then we can describe how we’ll help them create the custom workout – a routine for just 15 minutes, twice per week.
When you use this process, a lot of people will raise their hand and ask for more information, and they sign up. This was the journey that we created for Occam’s Fitness.
When I first came on at Occam’s Fitness, it had its best year ever. The founder was using the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint to develop and grow the company. He made the most money he’d ever made in a year.
With the physical location expenses and the cost of the gym equipment, everything was very difficult. He wasn’t making a profit even though he’d made $87,000. Once we rolled out the customer journey, we picked the very specific weekend in the beginning of December and we made $123,000 in a single weekend.
Yes, we generated more money in a single weekend than he’d made in an entire year.
Because there was no physical location and no gym equipment, it was mostly profit. It was a ridiculous amount of money that was sold to a select audience. It worked because it had a very specific, unique selling proposition that was mapped out and presented in the way I described above.
One of the first things you need to do is to make sure that you have a piece of information you can give people for free. This should be something they can easily learn about the solution to their problem. This will make them even more curious about what you do.
Then you want to choose the solution that you want to deliver. This is going to be based on the research that you’ve done and everyone you’ve spoken to regarding their biggest problem. Think about the problem that’s repeatedly come up – the one that’s the most painful for your audience.
Based on the phone calls and the interviews you conducted, you need to develop the best solution to that problem. Make sure it follows one of the 10 business plans that makes the most sense.
Next, outline what that solution would look like and how you want to create it. Then list the following bullet points:
The visible, describable pain: pinpoint exactly what types of pains this problem is causing. With fitness, the visible describable pain could sound like “Every day I avoid the mirror because I don’t like how I look. No matter what diet I try, it doesn’t work. I’m sad, I’m depressed, and I end up just eating more donuts to feel better, which I know only makes my problem worse.” Many people can relate to this.
Describe your unique mechanism: This is a combination of your unique selling proposition and timing: why choose this solution today?
With Occam’s Fitness, they should enroll to harness the unique new technology in the program. We call it Occam’s Fitness because it’s based on Occam’s Razor: the concept being the minimum amount of effort to get the maximum result.
It’s relevant now because in the past, the laboratory work required to execute this medical technology was far too expensive and out of reach for regular people. Now that it’s affordable, it’s also accessible. At Occam’s Fitness, our mission is to make sure that everyone knows that they should do this, whether they do it with us, or if they do it themselves. We would love to support them.
Describe the result: What would the future be like? With Occam’s Fitness, it was simple: “You want to like how you look in the mirror. While accepting yourself for the way you are is great, you’ll still be impressed by what your body can look like, and how fast it’s improved.”
I don’t have the best body in the world. I don’t compare myself to Calvin Klein models.
It’s just better than it was. I feel tighter. I feel stronger. My clothes fit better.
I’m happier with how I look, I accepted who I was before, and I am that much happier now.
That’s the outcome description.
We had three additional lessons we learned and tell everyone now:
You need a free piece of information – a free course, video training, or book – outlining the problem and your solution. Here’s how to create that:
Record a statistic that demonstrates how the world is today in relation to the problem you’re hoping to solve. Make sure that this statistic and the statement around it can encapsulate the visible, describable pain that your audience feels about this topic.
To find the right statistic, search Google: “What percentage of people are obese and don’t want to be?”
Whatever statistic you choose, it must be one that demonstrates the problem and how painful it is. If you take a bit of time to watch a few TED Talks, you’ll notice that the experts usually begin their talks this way.
Add a “what if?” statement – another thing most TED Talks include: “Statistics say that X% of people are unhappy with their bodies. What if the world was different and you loved your image every time you looked in the mirror?”
After that, launch into three short testimonials and list the results. Hopefully you’ve gathered those from your beta test, but if you haven’t done the beta test yet, you can just leave this blank and add it in later. We want at least three short testimonials. Later on in this book, we’ll examine the difference between short testimonials and longer testimonials, but just know that this is where the short testimonials go.
Next, demonstrate your authority. A few sections ago, we spoke about the importance of becoming an authority. This is where you list your credentials: books you’ve written, deals you’ve closed, publications or podcasts that have featured you, or seminars you’ve led. You can also mention your authoritative peers. In this segment, you want to build rapport.
From there, describe your journey. I’ve done this a lot in the book. I talk about how I had a problem, how I overcame it, what I learned from it, and how you can learn to solve this problem too. In your story, there has to be a problem – but it always has to get worse, before it gets better.
Here’s how I do this for Occam’s Fitness:
“I struggled with my weight throughout my life. I ignored it, but it would fluctuate between being overweight and ‘skinny fat,’ where my body would look thin but I had a big stomach – a “dad bod.” Then I went to the doctor and they told me it was bad: I was obese and had to change my diet or else bad things would happen. I was developing a worsening problem, because I had cholesterol building up in my veins. When the doctor said that, I realized that I had to take this seriously.”
Following the set up of your problem, you need to explain how and why your traditional solutions didn’t work.
Here’s what I say for my experience with: “I tried other diets, but every time I tried them, within a few weeks, I would get sick. I would sometimes have allergic reactions to certain foods and I didn’t know why. I would lose weight, but my stomach would inevitably get bigger because it was getting inflamed.”
Next, it’s time to elaborate on the breakthrough that led to discovering the solution.
This is where you input your three lessons: “I discovered Occam’s Fitness, and I learned these three things.”
After you finish explaining your own experience, you make the offer.
Here, you describe what it is you’re offering and what they will get. You outline the cost, and very briefly, educate them about the program. This should take no more than a single paragraph:
“At Occam’s Fitness, we’ll test a gut sample and a blood sample. You take these from the comfort of your own home. Using that data, we’ll identify a custom diet for you. Our experts will call you on the phone and consult with you about that diet. Based on the results, at the same time, we will also create a custom workout for you to do in 15 minutes, twice per week. This costs $2,000 – no subscription fee, just a one-time payment of $2,000. We even provide you with support afterwards to ensure your success.”
This offer is extremely disruptive to the industry. I used to pay a thousand dollars a month for a personal fitness trainer, and this is a single payment of $2,000 and it includes the lab test, fitness program, and some coaching. Everything I’d ever need over the long term.
Very few people are going to make a purchase based on what you have just outlined. They’ve learned about it, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to buy it. People tend to have natural objections to any purchase decision. The way you help them move past those objections is to get them off the fence.
That’s how we describe it. The fence is the five big objections people have, summarized by the acronym FENCE: Feel, Ease, Neighbors, Cash, Effort. Successful salespeople help people get off the fence by overcoming these big objections.
How would they feel about themselves making this purchase? “Will I look weird? How will I feel about my body? Will I be too muscular?” That’s feel. To overcome feeling-oriented objections, successful salespeople mention that others have those concerns, too, and address them proactively.
“I’ll get too muscular” is a common concern, for example. That’s not true. Great Salespeople then explain all the reasons why a muscle only expands to a certain size. If you don’t take certain supplements, then you won’t get that big. The sales process has to include overcoming the objection of feel.
How hard will this be to accomplish?
In our sales process at Occam’s Fitness a sales rep would explain that the blood test is simple. It’s a tiny pinprick of blood. A great salesperson would break it down and explain that it’s very easy to begin this journey from the comfort of your own home. Everything’s sterilized and then you mail it off. You don’t have to go and see any doctors.
Does your sales process explain how easy it is to use your product or service?
N is for neighbors. How will other people view me if I do this?
This is the part of the sales pitch often overlooked. Using Occam’s Fitness again a good sales person would address it something like, “You know if you do some weird fad diet, people might judge you. With Occam’s Fitness, others won’t even know you’re doing it if you don’t reveal it. All they’re going to notice is that you’ve got more free time because you’re rarely at the gym.”
At this point, most successful salespeople handle every single issue surrounding the product or service. Make sure you describe in full why your product is not going to be a problem. If there could be a problem, be very real about it. Talk about how they’ll receive support in dealing with any problems that arise. Good salespeople are real with their clients.
At Occam’s Fitness I would train our sales reps to add this line into our repeatable sales process, “Some of your neighbors might think you’re weird for trying a new diet. Are they really your friend, if they’re not supporting your commitment to your health?”
Cash is one of the most frequent concerns that a good salesperson will run into. How can you ease that worry? If you break it down. At Occam’s Fitness a good salesperson would break down the cost something like, “$2,000 is a lot cheaper than paying a thousand dollars a month for personal training. It’s also a lot less than $5,000 for a custom nutritionist to come and help you.”
On a sales call I would explain to customers, “It is $2,000, but this is a one-time payment. If you did this elsewhere, it’s a lot more expensive to do these other things. This is a much better deal.”
If there are any alternate ways to pay, such as a payment plan, you can mention that here. A good salesperson will exhaust every way possible for a customer to overcome the objection that they just don’t have enough cash.
People are concerned with how much effort they will need to expend.
For Occam’s Fitness, a good salesperson would remind them that it’s only 15 minutes, twice a week. It’s really not a lot. Here, sales reps explain why that works: “In this system, it works because the goal is just to create tension in the muscle until the point of failure. You don’t actually have to work that hard to make the muscles fail.”
Following FENCE, a good salesperson moves on to the next step. Let them know how to contact you and promise to return their inquiry in a timely fashion. Here, good salespeople should also describe the guarantee. For example, a 30-day money back guarantee.
Next, in your sales conversation you should provide three detailed case studies; these are longer case study testimonials. We explain how to get the case study testimonials later in this article with a detailed example. For now, all a good salesperson needs to know is that when describing your product, that’s where they add these types of case studies.
At this point, good salespeople should handle some frequently asked questions (FAQs). “Will Occam’s Fitness work if I live in another country? What about if I have a specific medical condition? What if I’m inexperienced or new to working out?” These are the type of FAQs we address in a sales conversation with Occam’s Fitness.
You should then add value and sincerity by providing a personal message from the founder of the company. Describe why you developed it, why you are passionate about it, and why you care about the results, more than any money from it. If you’re running a business and it is about money, you’re doing the wrong thing, as no one ever got rich by just trying to get rich. Or if they did, they frequently end up losing all the money later on.
I can think of countless examples where somebody tried to screw people over and then everything just collapsed and they lost. Don’t be that person!
Anyone I’ve ever met who has a mission to really help people are the ones that tend to be successful. That is providing they follow standard operating procedures designed for success. If you only have the intention to do good, but you don’t follow processes that work, then you’re not going to succeed either.
As long as you have good intentions to get people results, and you follow standard operating procedures that work, then everything tends to be great. Lastly, what is a time-sensitive reason to act now? Why should somebody do this deal, right now, at this very moment? You could offer them a bonus to enhance the deal.
I find that bonuses are better than discounts. Discounts can work, but bonuses tend to work much better.
Now that you have your outline, it’s time to create the free item.
One way to create your freebie is to write it out. If you like writing, you can write it, but I’ve found one of the best ways to do it is simply recording myself describing the bullet points in full. Rather than reading what I wrote verbatim, I create bullet points, talk around them, and record. Fun fact: this entire book was written using this exact method, and then edited by my team.
I outlined a different set of bullet points that I have when creating a much larger book. Then I delivered all of these bullet points by reading them aloud, and expanding upon them. I tend to do the same when I speak with a live audience.
Then those words will be transcribed, and we will take that transcription and send it to an editor who will turn it into an actual book. This enables you to write a full book or in this case, a guidebook, in less than a day. It’s a great way to create a really cool piece of marketing material.. Afterwards, you have a written PDF, along with the audio and video to repurpose.
When you do the video, aim for high production value. It should look as good as possible. Use good lighting, get great audio, have high energy, and make sure your passion for the content comes through. Obviously, care about what you’re saying, and try to make sure there are no “ums” or filler verbals. Be aware of good pacing.
When you’re recording it live, don’t get too tired. Keep the energy up throughout the entire recording. I have standard operating procedures for all these things, but that would be far too much to include in this book. Most of these things you can learn by Googling. If you want more tailored standard operating procedures, consider reaching out and talking to us about that.
You can use Google docs as they have book templates. We have text editors – and you can find a decent editor affordably on sites like Fiverr.
Once it’s edited, you can find a book template and cut and paste it in – or you could do this yourself from scratch. Once it’s in the book template, hire a designer to do a book cover. You can find one of those on Fiverr, too.
Canva is a free piece of cloud-based software, with very inexpensive premium features – it’s a great way to create book cover layouts, and it has tons of examples.
Now you have created a free, downloadable piece of content. You have it in video form and in digital book form, for all the necessary authority. You have testimonials, and a great personal story to go with them.
You have a unique solution that people want to solve one of their pain points. There are three amazing lessons. You have created an amazing piece of content because you followed the SOPs for doing so. People want it, you give it to them, and then you can move on to the next phase.
Once you’ve created this document, you’re going to be eager to get it into people’s hands, but you’re going to need to use technology – the bane of my life; not because I don’t know how to use it, but because whenever I touch it, it breaks.
I built all of our original websites from scratch. I know how HTML works. I know how to build WordPress websites. I know how to use FTP servers. I’m very technologically literate. I worked at and owned a film company for awhile. I know how camera equipment works. I’m a very technologically savvy person, but the minute I touch technology, it often breaks.
Every chief technical officer I’ve ever had in my company is always blown away by how much computing stuff breaks around me. I’m banned from going into the server. I cannot walk in the server room and touch things because they’re worried I will take down all the servers.
One of the companies I own is a hosting company, and you can imagine what would happen if I went through it, top to bottom, touched a whole bunch of servers and all of our clients lost their video hosting or their websites went down. That would be pretty bad.
One of my clients was a dog supplement brand and they loved the idea of creating this PDF to give people advice.
The whole concept was simple. We explained how we take supplements as adults, but when we don’t give supplements to our dogs, we’re harming their nutrition. It’s similar to how a fitness brand might be all about keeping your health and fitness optimized — your pets need that too. As a result, you can keep your pet healthy and living for as long as possible.
The problem is that the client didn’t like technology. He had somebody else build out his website and the idea of adding a new element to it caused alarm for him.
He didn’t know where this downloadable content would fit in the customer journey, and so he freaked out. He wanted to do it, but didn’t want to do it. I explained that the key here is just delivering education. They have a problem. We want to make sure that we give them a solution. They can get it for free.
Your customer avatar, the person that we identified earlier on, or the potential avatar based on the research you’ve done – they’re going to want to exchange their personal information for access to either the video training or for the PDF. At the time of writing this, there is a very easy way of doing this with low technical expertise.
Let’s talk about two different SOP examples for this. One of them is very low technology and one of them uses more sophisticated technology. If you’re like me, you might want to do the low technology route. If you’re like my team, you want to go the high technology route. Our company switches between both depending on what will work best, in any given scenario.
For the lowest possible technological solution, you can use a Facebook group.
Create a Facebook group and make it very clear that if somebody goes to your Facebook group, the guide will be available the minute they join the group. As a benefit of joining the group, they will be given the video, which you can upload into the Facebook group and pin to the top. They see it and they can click on the link to the Google doc easy enough.
Say to them: “Once you’ve joined the group, you will be given an incredible video training, and downloadable PDF. That explains the how, and then you put in your time relevant mechanism.
Put your call to action at the end of the video, and at the end of the PDF, which prompts them to reach out to you for further information or training. You could also tweak the Facebook posts and offer a free consultation or trial for those who aren’t ready — then give them a bonus for attending.
People are cheap and yet they do want to talk to you more. As you’re going to learn, as we move forward through the SOPs, it sometimes takes multiple communications to make a sale.
Provide bonus training if they attend and don’t flake.
Every single day, that is more indoctrination. If you remember earlier on, we spoke about the customer journey as a three-part process. The first is education. That is the book that we’re going to give them. The second is indoctrination. We want to have communication with them, so they can learn about who we are.
By communicating with them, you’re getting them to trust you and build that better connection that moves people towards the sale. That’s the indoctrination process. You don’t need to make a sale on day one, but you should be making a sale by day 90.
The more technical solution is more evergreen as well, and it involves building an automated website.
The site should have a landing page advertising the results. The prospective customer gives you their email address via a form, and then they get the PDF. After that, you can redirect them to the video, which then gives them the unique time-relevant mechanism that helps them get the visible, describable result they’re looking for.
The end of the video offers a free conversation and a bonus, to tackle the fourth problem or the fourth lesson.
Now you can give them regular content via email, which begins the indoctrination process — and you’ll want to bring them into your Facebook group too. Currently, Facebook controls what you see on newsfeeds, and tends to give a preference to Facebook groups. This means that a group member is more likely to see your content. It lowers the risk of them missing all your messages in spam.
Email that gets through spam filters and into their inbox is effective. How do you make sure that happens? I have an SOP for that too.
In 2022, my small business generated half a million dollars in just seven days to help orphans, during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Here’s how my small business made it work.
Every morning, I have a very similar routine. I get up and I do all my creative work. I try my best not to look at what’s going on in the world until after I’ve completed all my writing for the day.
I’ll start writing at my desk around 5AM. I use this time to get my creative work out and get a head start on the rest of the day. For some reason on this particular day, I deviated from my regular plan and I looked up one of my favorite news sites and saw the shocking news:
My mind was instantly filled with thoughts similar to what you might have experienced. Is this the start of World War III? How will this immediately impact the people of Ukraine, and Europe generally? What about other countries around the world? Is the economy going to collapse?
I took a deep breath and remembered that I actually have a small business client in Ukraine. I typically advise him, but on this day, the right thing to do was to pick up the phone immediately and make sure he was okay.
My client’s name is Mark Davis and he is the founder of a charity that generates money to help orphans in Ukraine. He had used the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint to grow his own business, and his charity. When I called him, he was still in shock. The Russian forces hadn’t arrived yet in Mariupol, which is where he was based at that time.
There were reports coming through that the Russian forces were on their way. Mark had to turn the lights off and hide in a closet in the center of his house. He had to do this in order to access his computer so the light from his screen wouldn’t be visible.
As we talked, I realized that there was a chance to do something really good. While the civilians of Ukraine could escape, become refugees, and move to neighboring Poland. There was one demographic that couldn’t help themselves: orphans.
While Mark’s small business helped fund orphanages, it also relied on government funding. With a war, government funding would have to be rerouted to defense. The other big question was: what would happen to the orphanages if Russia took over. Would they fund the orphanages? Would they shut the facilities down, or worse yet, destroy them?
As we spoke, I thought of the children in one particular orphanage he looks after. Most of them are between one and four years old. We had to do something immediately to ensure support for these kids. They would need food, medicine, and other essentials.
That’s when I said to Mark: “Would you be okay with me becoming a little bit more hands-on, and implement the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint on your behalf, to help Abundance International generate funds for the orphans?” Naturally, he said yes.
I was going to use all of my knowledge of the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint, and growing businesses and implementing systems. I knew I’d also have to tap into some old skill sets as a former crisis P.R. manager. I really needed to think about how we rolled this out, and the impact it would have.
It wasn’t going to be the same as what we normally do things. We had to be very careful with our wording. If anyone suspected that there was some hidden agenda, that we were generating money on behalf of the war effort on either side, we would get shut down instantly. The funds could be frozen and we wouldn’t be able to help the children at all.
We became hyper-focused on the messaging and we decided that the focus wouldn’t specify whose children we wanted to help. We used terms and phrases such as “orphans in a crisis.” That’s how we began to craft our marketing. We wanted to make sure people understood that we would absolutely be comfortable helping orphans anywhere.
Mark paused me at one point and asked why I was doing this. I explained that there was very little I could do 7,000 miles away, and that he was already one of my clients. What I could do was increase the amount of effort I put in, so we could galvanize our resources for children in real need. As a small business owner I believe it’s not enough to just help your own business, you’ve got to help others.
A key component of marketing, especially when small businesses are trying to build authority is: riding the waves of breaking news. As much as my intentions were altruistic because I knew I had to help, I had to think about the side benefit too. My small business was going to get associated with helping in this particular situation.
Many successful business owners think they have a fear of failure, but what they likely have is a fear of success. True fear of success comes from others judging you for the success you’re having. In this case, I chose to be bold.
My small business generated half a million dollars for orphans in Ukraine during an incredibly urgent time. Everything was already expensive and difficult to acquire. The orphans urgently needed these supplies and the orphanages couldn’t get those supplies on their own.
My small business could be bold because my name was attached to it. That ran the risk of negative blowback: people accusing us of just doing it to elevate ourselves. But it wasn’t about that. The only way we could justify $60,000 of our own resources in terms of staffing and other costs was sustainability.
The only way to make it sustainable was by making it a public relations exercise. We didn’t take any of the money that we generated. And we truly did donate $60,000 in actual hard salaried costs, but we justified it internally by being able to demonstrate the growth and knowledge that the S.M.A.R.T Blueprint was capable of: generating half a million dollars in one week.
We had to be sensitive about the situation. We couldn’t come up with a clever way to make a whole bunch of sales. In fact, we had to be very specific. There was no sales messaging anywhere on any of the pages that we built for the donations.
The strategy was making sure the logo of my small business was there and we were recognized for functioning like a sponsor in this situation. We needed to add value and relevant commentary. That didn’t mean injecting stories or messaging about how amazing we were. What it did mean was focusing on the orphans in serious need.
We also had to be accountable and demonstrate follow-up. There’s a really fine line here. It would be very easy for somebody to misconstrue this and make the mistake of turning this into the me show.
During most of the media interviews, my face wasn’t on TV. It was Mark and the charity he represents. What we did make sure of was that we’d be mentioned where we could. Many of the journalists were very happy to talk about what we were doing. One of the stories that they loved was that a consultant based in Texas was doing all he could to help an orphanage in Ukraine.
That ended up solving a frequent problem: when you’re trying to get the media to cover your small business, they don’t really want to write about your company. The want to write things that people care about, especially current events, and as they can relate locally.
If the story was just about an orphanage in Ukraine attempting to get some more funding, that wouldn’t have been a good story. It wouldn’t have picked up the media coverage the story did. There really is a symbiotic relationship here, when you have an opportunity with the technique that I call riding the wave of breaking news.
This occurs when something significant happens in the world and you realize that you have the ability to add value to the situation, genuinely help, and provide relevant and meaningful commentary.
The media wanted to share the story because it was about the most important story of the day. Additionally, it was for a good cause. The only benefit was our name being associated with the actual help we were providing, and that helped us build some authority.
Before we were associated with this event, only a handful of websites had ever mentioned news stories about the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint. Now we have 30-50 pieces of incredible media coverage that directly links to thesmartblueprint.com/orphans.
We did much more than generate money for a particular orphanage. As I mentioned previously, we did promote Abundance International directly, and they had a private donation link on their website where we generated an extra hundred thousand dollars. It was half a million dollars between the two campaigns (websites) in a single week.
It’s not an opportunity to throw up a discount and try and make some quick money. That’s not what this is about. It really is a branding exercise, and you are doing it ethically and altruistically, without being completely anonymous. You are making sure that your small businesses’ brand is going to be associated with this incredible, powerful movement.
How did we logistically make this happen? We created an i-frame on our website where we could present another website within our website. We chose GoFundMe as the platform that we wanted to receive the primary donations. GoFundMe is trusted to verify what people do with the funds and to make sure that it’s legitimate.
From a business standpoint, that also meant that our website gained some powerful ranking benefits because a lot of high-authority websites linked directly to ours. When that happens, it does wonders for your page rank and your authority on search engine results pages (SERPs) such as Google. It really helps search engine optimization (SEO).
To get it rolling, we did a promotion to our mailing list. We reached out via our social media and we shared the page as often as we could. We brought our own clients, contacts, and friends – and they started donating. That got the ball rolling. Then we had a GoFundMe page with a large number of donations on it before the media picked it up. It’s a part of the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint we already discussed – the acquisition of beta testers.
This is crucial for a small business and it was crucial for fundraising: building momentum.
Once we had some momentum, we reached out to the mainstream media to continue building up the authority. Typically, building authority in the media can take a while. It can be a very difficult process. The media can tell it’s self-promotion.
This was a time-sensitive piece of breaking news, and this is where you can ride the wave of the breaking news. The media is hungry for stories that are relevant to what’s happening.
As a small business we were already helping the orphans, and we wanted to help more. While we already supported a certain amount of orphanages, we related that we wanted to have a broader reach. To do that, we needed to raise more money. This reached the average American who wanted to do more, but didn’t know where to start – and journalists loved that angle and ran with the story.
As I said before, journalists need new stories. After a while, we needed to continue building interest – that momentum – to keep it new. We had to start thinking of other relevant stories. That’s where we added detail about me being the consultant from Texas with an English accent.
I live in Texas and I have a Texas ID. I’m totally a legitimate Texan – one who was doing consulting work to help orphanages in Ukraine. Once again, we had another story. We were then able to shift the story to show us actually delivering food. For each orphanage, we had footage of a unique delivery.
For the media, these pieces were:
We have done this process multiple times ourselves, our business partners, and our clients using the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint, and the overnight success comes when you’ve found a way to tap into breaking news.
The S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint itself was built on that concept. We launched it at the very beginning of COVID, during the quarantine in early 2020. At the time, I recognized it as a unique opportunity, because it could help small businesses struggling during COVID.
Our system could fit any type of small businesses: brick-and-mortar businesses, e-commerce businesses, or businesses that quickly needed to transition to online or non-contact commerce. It works for individual experts, it’s worked for Occam’s Fitness, and it saved some businesses during this time of struggle.
To ride the wave of newsworthiness, like we did when we developed the SMART Blueprint, you need to check the news every day and find a current angle. Is there anything going on that your small business could directly help with? How can you contribute?
You could create a new PDF, seminar, or product. You could also add modules to an existing program. If you really want to contribute to solving a current social problem, you can donate a portion of sales from your website to a charity – and let the media know about it.
If you do this right, you will find journalists knocking on your door, and before you know it, you’ll increase your reach and ride the wave of breaking news.
Smart businesses know what’s going on in the news and the media. When the opportunity arises, if done correctly, they can ride that wave. To avoid crashing in that wave, smart businesses will add value and help in a situation or crisis. It just happens to have their logo, a link, or their name attached to it.
Today, I am known as an expert at mastering sales and marketing. I create reliable standard operating procedures that actually work. More importantly, because I was an unknown for so many years, most of the sales tools systems I use are systems and procedures that nobody else has.
I developed them the hard way. I made the procedures by testing and creating them. I kept the good ones, tossed out the bad ones. I’m always tweaking and continually optimizing our existing SOPs.
Many business people are massively interested in the standard operating procedures I use inside my company. Not to mention the ones that we use at the other companies that we own. You can’t find it for free on the internet, or in anyone else’s programs.
Joining The War Room
Eventually, I became a member of one of the most prestigious mastermind groups in the world, called The War Room. The War Room has some of the greatest marketing minds that have ever existed. I regularly rub shoulders there with people like Chris Voss, the famous former FBI negotiator.
Through the War Room community, I have met a lot of exceptional people. I became acquainted with Ron Lynch, the genius behind the marketing for the George Foreman Grille and GoPro video cameras. Steve Sims the guy who managed to arrange for the Pope to officiate the marriage of two of his friends. Tucker Max, a famous author with a blockbuster Hollywood movie made about him. He owns a company that helps people become self-published authors. The list goes on.
One day at a War Room mastermind, one of the organizers notified me of a competition he thought I should enter. I never really want to be the center of attention, despite how I may come across as Type-A. I like keeping to myself. I declined, but my friend Deanna Rogers threatened to enter me in the contest anyway, which would have really put me on the spot.
If I didn’t put myself forward for this award, I’d be forced to. With existing businesses, you can get various types of awards for making a lot of money, having a great working environment, and more. The War Room has something special called the Wicked Smaht Award.
Here’s how it works:
In the War Room community, there are about 300 successful business owners. Each has anywhere from seven to nine-figure companies. Every single person there is extremely successful.
To compete for the award, you present your business idea – and it has to be something that you’ve actually done before that has generated money. You also have to prove how much money you’ve made with your idea.
Once that phase is complete, the business owners vote on which idea is best or that they’d be most interested in doing themselves. Of course, they want something groundbreaking.
For my idea, I shared a process that enables people to take a prospect in the customer journey from the education phase, right through to the conversation phase. The whole process cuts out wasting hours creating content to make the sale.
On average, it takes 18 to 21 touch points to convert a sale. Sometimes it takes even more than that. You have to take somebody from downloading your free piece of information to actually buying. This means there may be upwards of 21 communications between your salesperson and the customer – that’s a lot. Therefore, to make a sale, you should automate and systematize your process as much as possible.
I developed a system that took just a couple of hours a month.
In that time, I could complete 20 touch points with every single customer or potential customer that has opted in for my education process as part of my product’s customer journey. Not only was everyone blown away in the War Room, but over 50 percent of the audience voted for me as number one. Out of six contestants, I received the most votes with 54 percent of the vote.
They awarded me the Wicked Smaht Award for 2021. This is my favorite award because I didn’t want to do it, and some exceptional experts and peers awarded it to me. These were the same people I was too shy to advertise my success to. The same crowd I was a bit quiet around.
Once somebody downloads the guide or PDF you’re offering them, you need to initiate regular touch points. Ideally, you want 18 to 21 touch points minimum in order to make a sale. The easiest way to do that is to help people consume regular material. That means we want to be giving people regular content on a regular basis.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to use the SOP in the previous section. You have two different methods to choose from: either a Facebook group or an email list.
Depending on your existing resources and how you follow the SOP, you might have both. All you have to do is make sure that every single weekday you provide a new way to solve one of their problems.
You don’t always have to solve the same problems. You can solve different problems. You can come up with different solutions to the ones they have. Realistically, an easier way to think of this is playing the answer 20 questions game. There are many websites where people post questions, and random people (hopefully experts) answer them.
Mastering Sales by Following Repeatable Processes
You can turn your Facebook group and your mailing list into a similar kind of thing. You can look at the Amazon three-star reviews. You can go back to the surveys you did earlier. You can look at the questions that people had that were not the most popular. You have already solved the most popular ones with your book, right?
Now there are other questions that need answering and all you have to do is answer one of them every single day. You could write one of those questions. You could create a video every single day. However, there is a better method, which is what I’m about to share here.
The key is having a cluster of questions to answer at the same time.
Find your initial 20 questions – pull from problems people have raised in Amazon three-star reviews, or from the research you did when you communicated with your beta testers.
Keyword research is also useful, and it’s something you can do with the right software. You can search for the most commonly asked questions on Google relating to the subject. Tools like SEMRush are some of my favorites.
Type a common question in the YouTube search bar to find a load of related content – then reap the rewards of seeing all of the solutions offered.
There are many different ways to build. You can also post inside your Facebook group, even if there’s only 15 or 20 people in it. Ask if there are any questions you haven’t answered. You’ll get many ideas out of that.
Once you have the 20 questions, you should organize a monthly seminar that you will conduct on Zoom or on Facebook. During that time, you will answer every single question and provide multiple ways to tackle each problem.
We did this with our own website: CopyThisTemplate.com. We even have a templated website that we use.
You can get a copy of the site and you watch a short seminar that we created about it at the link above. It will give you a template you can use to develop one of these seminars. If you don’t want to deal with the technology, you can just do monthly Facebook video events with your audience.
It’s not that complicated. You want to make sure to remind people in advance when it’s happening. Ideally, you want three reminders throughout the week. Try one every other day, and then a final one just before you go live.
Your final reminder should go out one hour before you go live – just in case people forgot or didn’t add it to their calendar.
The format of the event itself is simple, and this is the part that I received an award for.
To begin, once you’re live, explain that today you’re going to answer these 20 questions. At the very beginning, people will stick around to get the answer to their most burning questions. If there’s one that’s really gold, consider putting that one at the end, because you want them to tune in for the entire event.
You can then describe a reward they will receive at the end of the seminar for staying on the whole time.
Then, ask them for more questions. Encourage attendees to put more questions in the comments. If you’re using Zoom, you can use the Q&A feature in webinar mode.
As part of the SOP, remember that you’ll want to say “I would love permission to share with you a very short promotion for my latest product or program.”
This is one of our standard operating procedures known as permission-based selling. We don’t do pushy selling or higher pressure selling.
One of my favorite sales tools to use is permission selling. We ask permission before we sell them something. We find that it’s a much better and a much easier to use sales tool. You don’t feel icky afterwards, but more importantly, we know it’s going to take approximately 18 to 21 touch points. Someone may not be ready to buy yet, and we just wait until they are.
When they are they’ll buy
Next, you want to ask them to focus and specifically shut down any distractions. Ask them to treat this seminar like they paid for it. Normally, of course, if they came to ask you questions in person, they’d be paying for your time. This is a necessary ask for your own self respect and to ensure you have an attentive audience.
Set expectations that you will cover their questions at the end. Let them ask questions at any time in the comments. That sets the precedent that you will address them at the end after you’ve gone over the rest of your material.
After that, launch into your 20 questions. Pretend that the audience isn’t even there; just talk to the camera. This help you deliver the content more clearly. Additionally, it will produce video content that you can cut and use in mini-advertisements, course content, and more.
The audience won’t feel pressured. They will be more open to a discussion in the future when they are ready to buy. Since you’ll answer 20 questions, you’ll have 20 pieces of content. You can chop that presentation up and post 1 question per day. That gives you a month of daily content if you post once per weekday.
You can transcribe that content and post it as a blog. You can upload a video post onto Facebook with the transcription as the written post beneath it. If you want to send an email, you can take the transcription and use that as another content piece to reach out to your audience and provide them with meaningful value.
You can also post that content to YouTube and embed it wherever you like. Additionally, you’ll get more content by sticking around at the end of your webinar, and answering any other questions they may have.
Before you start answering those questions, ask for permission to pitch your product. Take a very brief moment to reiterate the clear offer that you created in that free downloadable PDF.
As you share this content, people will want to come and participate in the Facebook group and the group will get bigger. People will tune in to see the live content and your growth will continue.
You can incorporate SMS messaging and invite your audience to learn more by sending a text message to the given number. You can ask them to text you so you can follow up with them and have a phone call. After every five questions, do the same thing.
When we get into the offer SOP, you’ll see that there are other elements beyond this information that people want and will pay for.
As we get into that content in the later sections, you’ll see that if you just share free information, that’s still going to build value. You’re going to have a lot of touch points. If you’re not giving away the other elements of an offer, they’ll be willing to buy it.
Every time you host a seminar announce the next training. Let them know that next month you’re going to do another training and you’ll answer more questions. Post it publicly on your page and invite more people to join the group.
Get testimonials at the end of each training. Those testimonials will bring people into your group too. If you’re posting on your personal page, post a testimonial from one person that attended the group every single day for 20 days. Include a link to the group, and people will start joining the group, because they’ll be curious about the content.
Your audience will grow. This is an excellent organic method of growing while also fulfilling the indoctrination process. You’ll be continually giving people content and value. You’re reinforcing your authority and creating reciprocity. Helping people without pitching will draw them in. Then they’ll want extra attention, and opt-in for the offer.
In an earlier section, we discussed scheduling. You know that optimizing your schedule can help – and that means creating content, like your monthly seminars, in chunks that you later split up.
You can create a schedule and preload some of this content. You can do that with Facebook or one of the many other systems, but Facebook has the easiest way besides email automation.
Once you get those 20 pieces of content, your iPhone can even transcribe it for you. I recommend Temi.com for transcription services.
One of the things I love about business is that you can always take a guess at how well another business is doing. It’s only when they let you look under the hood, however, that you really know what’s happening. One of my really good friends, who also teaches business, announced that they’d made $233,000 from writing emails in one month.
I was taken aback because we have previously accomplished that in one week. I remember thinking about how you always assume everyone else is doing better than you – they’re bigger, they’re making more, and they have their stuff together. In reality, most people don’t have their shit together and everyone’s still trying to work out what’s going on.
I was trying to work out why we were so good at making money from email marketing, when a lot of our competitors do not.
One of my friends owns a data analytics company specifically for online marketing. He said only 8 percent of companies at the time of writing this are effectively sending a marketing email every single day. While a lot of companies send out automated receipts or handle customer service by email, only 8 percent of companies have an active email marketing strategy.
Only 8 percent of companies at the time of writing this are effectively sending a marketing email every single day.
I think I excel at this aspect of marketing because the dating industry is very competitive. A lot of the most successful marketing campaigns concerning dating topics were adult sites or dating websites. These types of websites are ultra competitive and you have to be on your game if you want to succeed.
The dating industry was so competitive that you couldn’t survive unless you were really good at email marketing. At one point I was ranked the number one dating coach in the world three years in a row. To do that I had to be amazing at email marketing.
How do I make it happen? This is the perfect opportunity for a standard operating procedure. I knew this would help my business clients because most people don’t realize what they need to do with email. The whole point of email marketing is to move someone through the customer journey – to take them from the indoctrination process to the conversation process.
Move them from simply receiving useful content every day, to responding and asking for a conversation. That only happens with good email deliverability – which is something that has become more challenging over the years.
In our company, the open rate generally stays the same. The deliverability rate stays about the same. The reason for that is because we have only use one metric to tell whether an email is successful or not. That metric is: did we get a reply?
It’s not about the open rate. It’s not about the click-through rate. It’s about whether the person replied to the content.
One reason it works is due to artificial intelligence on email platforms. Companies such as Google (Gmail), identify whether you’re sending spam or promotional material based on replies. If people don’t reply, it’s more likely to be an advert.
When a customer doesn’t reply, that means the algorithm is more likely to flag it as spam or an ad. When that happens it doesn’t get delivered at all. Almost worse: it gets shoved in the Gmail promotions tab away from the primary inbox.
The algorithm believes promotions and receipts don’t need to be in the inbox. Additionally, if someone replies to you and you don’t continue the conversation, that’s also going to hurt your chances with the algorithm. That’s exactly what automated emails do – they are often “do not reply” addresses.
You need to reply to indicate to the AI that you are a real human that’s monitoring your emails.
You should do your best to make sure your emails go through. If you’re on my mailing list, that doesn’t mean that every single one of my emails will end up in your inbox. If you do not respond to my emails, the server will assume that I’m sending you spam and it will still go there.
My customers, the ones that respond to me – they see my emails. The best way to manage your email deliverables is to make sure that you are receiving emails and responding to the responses.
Our emails have a very specific structure, all designed around getting a reply from the recipient
We continually alternate headlines because we always create two different emails. We send the same email content, except for the headline, to see which headline performs better with our audience. We’re always testing new marketing headlines, and the subtext, which is the little teaser text that pops up in your inbox.
This is to capture someone’s attention, and get them to open it. But that’s not enough. You need them to read the whole email.
There is always a call to action, which encourages them to reply to the email.
Then we have the sign-off, something like, “thanks ever so much and have a great day.”
Lastly, we include a postscript (P.S.), to get them looking for tomorrow’s email, because we want to get them excited about the next one too.
When it comes to headlines you have to remember that there are two key components to a successful email headline.
Your subject lines should indicate to the reader that they will benefit from opening your emails. The subject line needs to be a benefit, not a feature. For example, if I sent somebody an email about a car, and I told them in the subject line that the car had 200 horsepower, people might not open it.
That’s just one of the features of the car. A benefit in the subject line would be: “this car makes people pay attention.” They don’t care that it has horsepower. They do care that they get attention. It’s the same car. I’ve just focused on describing a benefit of the car, versus a feature.
If your subject lines focus on benefits, your email marketing campaigns are far more likely to be opened.
The other factor that gets people to open is whether curiosity inherently is built into the subject lines. One way to guarantee curiosity is to use the word “this.” If the email subject line says “Blue cars grab attention,” they’re not incentivized to open the email. If the subject line says “This car color makes people pay attention,” they have to open it to find out the color. This leads to the simple SOPs I have for subject lines and headline structure.
I use simple structure for my subject lines. There are eight different email subject line templates that we use. That doesn’t mean that we don’t ever deviate from these. However, nine times out of 10, we’re going to use these templates.
Whenever I have a new staff member, they are only allowed to use the templates during their first year. The only way we allow them to modify those templates, is if they prove that every single email has a subject line that they send out that does better than mine, and they get more replies.
Subject Line Template 1: Triple Benefit Without Pain. List two or three key benefits, then indicate “without the pain of” the major pain point. Example: Go on an incredible first date and live happily ever after without getting ghosted.
Subject Line Template 2: The Benefit Headline. You’re just telling them what they get. Example: Feel less stressed in three days.
Subject Line Template 3: Guaranteed Benefit Headline. Tell them they’ll get something or their money back. Example: Feel less stress in three days or get your money back.
Subject Line Template 4: Secret Fears Headline. People have anxiety about a situation, and you use that to get them to open an email. Example: Do you ever worry that people don’t like the real you?
Subject Line Template 5: The Pizza Email. This one is all about getting a benefit within a certain amount of time. Example: Get a fresh pizza in 30 minutes or less or your money back.
Subject Line Template 6: The Exclusive Access Headline. This is when you let them know it’s that something was closed for a certain time but is now available for a limited time. Example: Closed for the last 12 months, now open again: the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint program that turns struggling business owners into happy six and seven-figure entrepreneurs.
Subject Line Template 7: The Bold Statement Headline. Make a very bold statement about how you won’t find something anywhere else. Example: You won’t find this marketing technique anywhere else.
Subject Line Template 8: The Story Headline. Use this one if you like telling stories in your emails. Example: How I made $36,000 in a single afternoon. (Yes, that’s something I’ve done.)
The key to successful email marketing is to tell them what they’re going to get before you ask them to do something. All customers are selfish and self-centered, so you have to think: what is the thing they’re going to get out of replying to this email?
They might want cash, faster results, instant access, insider access, results acceleration. You want them to clearly understand what they will get out of your email campaign. Your email headline is, in effect, an extended call to action.
Here’s an example I might use for Occam’s Fitness: Get faster results with Occam’s Fitness.
It’s the result you get followed by the mechanism. “Fitness gets you faster results.” It’s not as eye-catching because of the word it starts with, but you could talk about outcomes instead.
Whenever you write your email marketing campaigns, if there’s an opportunity to write the thing they get first, you must do it. This is what will be the biggest feature of any successful email marketing strategy.
You don’t want a long headline at the very top. That’s why you can use your subtext: this is where you can get into the details.
Let’s do an example:
How to meet your ideal partner, go on an incredible first date, and live happily ever after without the fear of rejection or being ghosted.
That’s a really long headline.
Instead, I’d do it like this:
How to meet your ideal partner.
Subtext: Go on an incredible date, live happily ever after, and never be rejected or ghosted again.
Think about the subtext as where you complete the headline. The revelation is what they’ll see when they actually open the email. We want this to be an attention grabbing statement.
I like to achieve this with a statistic or a fact that makes people think. Here’s an example: The best companies in the world understand the importance of working with their competitors. Apple’s iPad retina display is actually manufactured by Samsung.
Here’s another example: If you’re not using social media, you’re missing out. 64 percent of all consumers make purchases based on social media content.
Straight after the revelation should come the call to action. You have grabbed their attention with something, and now you want to get to an answer or solution. If you put your call to action at the bottom of the email your readers will miss it. Remember that people don’t read the whole email – they read the beginning, then they move on.
You want to seed the call to action nice and early in your email. The whole point is to get people to reply and trigger the conversation. Here you could say something like: “I want to get a few people together to learn about how to work with their competitors and grow their company. If you’re interested in being in that group, just reply to the email with the words ‘I’m interested’ and I’ll tell you more.”
Right away, I gave a revelation and then I asked them to reply to the email. This gets replies right away. I’m not selling anything. I’m not asking for money. I’m simply asking for a reply to the email, so we can talk about something they want to know more about.
Every day they open an email, see a revelation, and I request a reply. I sell them after the reply. I tell them the truth: I’m working with competitors. After the call to action, we go into the lesson.
I like themes. And there’s three different themes that I’ll work into my email marketing as lessons.
The first is what I call five lessons. Five lessons is simply five answers. You already have this content – it’s the Q and A that you did from your master class. You have the testimonials, then you get them transcribed. Then you post one per day for five days. If you like writing stories, you could even write up a five-part story.
The key to a five-part story is what I call the Batman ending. If you’ve ever seen the old Adam West Batman, you might wonder: will this duo survive the struggle? Find out after the break. That leaves the audience wanting to know more – and paying attention, to see how the story continues or ends.
You build up to a point and then you create a big open loop. They want to know what’s going to happen next, so they’ll want to check their email tomorrow. There’s a whole art to writing story emails, and I have standard operating procedures for that. That said, you could write an entire book just on that topic alone, so we aren’t going to deep dive on it now.
You could do a tip, a testimonial; then another tip, then a testimonial, and then a small pitch. You have this already because you can do one of the tips (which is a transcription of one of the Q and As) from your monthly seminar. Then add a second tip, a second testimonial, and finish it with a pitch.
Then we have a call to action. It’s the same as before. No change there.
Then, you sign off – most people sign off with their full name.
Always add a postscript (P.S.). A good standard operating procedure for that is to use tomorrow’s headline. Write it today as the P.S. I do this by writing out all five of my emails on a Monday.
When somebody replies to your email, you have an opportunity to sell them. We will cover this in the section on revenue. There is a whole SOP for what to do there. If somebody replies, we’ll deal with that a bit later on, but it can take a while for that to happen. People will often read your emails for a while, long before they actually reply.
While you wait for those replies, you need to grow the number of people who are actually downloading your guide or PDF book, tuning into your free masterclass, joining your Facebook group, and opting in to your mailing list.
Before we get into revenue we need to talk about how to build an audience.
This is a lesson on how to grow your audience. But first let me tell you a story…
One of my favorite things to do first thing in the morning is to jump in my Maserati, and speed down (within the speed limit, of course) towards Starbucks. I have a Starbucks addiction… There’s something beautiful about driving down Texas roads when the sun is rising, and you’re in a really nice car listening to your favorite music.
Then my phone rang.
If I’m awake and my phone rings, I’ll always pick it up. I did so, and it was one of my friends and he wanted to buy a software company. He had a plan for this company. It’s a dating company and he wants to grow the business and he thinks he can systemize it.
We started looking into buying this software company. Halfway through, he changed his mind. He didn’t want to be involved. He had some other deal he wanted to work on. He backed out of the software company deal, and left me with half the company, and I didn’t really want to buy the whole thing.
I reached out to my friends and asked around: who might want to go in on this company with me? A few people were interested, so I bought the software company. The minute I bought it, my head of technology looked at me and said, “I could have built this.” That’s the benefit of having a CTO: they can build software.
He informed me that with the money we’d all collectively paid to purchase the company, he could have built that in a week and it wouldn’t have cost us anywhere near that amount.
I let him know that we didn’t buy it for the software acquisition: we bought it for the target audience. Or in other words: the leads.
The software company had 120,000 people that were interested in improving their dating lives. We already had standard operating procedures for dating. It was a no-brainer to buy the company, take our standard operating procedures, and apply them to the company to see what we could do with it.
This is one way to instantly grow your audience or the leads that you have. Does that mean that it will translate into sales? Not always. Sometimes it’s just a few more eyeballs looking at your content. Every now and then that target audience ends up buying absolutely everything and you make a lot of money.
Realistically, there are only three ways to grow your audience that is interested in learning your education, downloading your content, joining your indoctrination, and eventually having a conversation with you.
You can buy the audience, borrow the audience, or build the audience.
In the case of the software company, I bought my target audience. I used money and partnerships to acquire a software company specifically so that I would have legal access to the leads. From there, I could potentially sell them more dating content, via the dating standard operating procedures that I already had.
I could have done it another way. I could have found somebody who has a large audience and instead of buying it, I could have asked if we could trade it: they could borrow my audience and I’d borrow theirs. In this type of arrangement, we would exchange for a short period of time.
The last way to grow your audience is to build it and do it organically.
That’s what you’re doing every time you create new content, post it online, and hope for shares and increased interest.
Each one of these models has different strengths and weaknesses. If you buy an audience, you’ll encounter more upfront costs, but there are less complications after you buy it, providing what you buy actually works.
If you borrow the audience, you have the danger if the audience the other person gives you isn’t their real audience – or if it’s not a very good audience.
If you build your audience, everything’s slow and it takes a long time to get any traction. It can take over a year before you get an audience sizable enough for sales.
Let’s tackle each of these methods to grow your audience.
About a week ago, I was talking to one of my friends who owns one of the largest teeth whitening companies in the world. It’s a famous e-commerce brand that specializes in helping people get perfectly white teeth, with all the different products they have.
This guy’s products have been featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show. Kim Kardashian has been seen using these products, and he has endorsements from all these major celebrities. While we were catching up, I asked if it ever returned value – was it worth spending money to hire these big influencers to promote products?
He told me that the big influencers very rarely return the budget hiring celebrities. He said that any big media publications rarely generate a direct return. What he did say works, and generates a return, is hiring micro-influencers.
He said, “I would rather hire 100 influencers with an audience of 1000, than one influencer with 100,000 people in their audience.”
You can find influencers on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, or even Discord. It doesn’t matter. Anyone who has an audience is somebody that you can potentially pay money to reach their target audience or get those eyeballs.
I asked him for a simple strategy to accomplish this, and here’s what he shared with me:
He finds small niche influencers who really don’t have a large following. He locates them by going into the various social media apps and typing in the keyword that he’s looking for.
So for example, if he wants influencers that do makeup tutorials, he’ll just type in makeup and see what influencers come up and he’ll scroll down until he gets to the people that have really tiny audiences. These people have a lot of heart because they really care about what they’re doing, and they have a rabid audience that can’t get enough of them.
If someone has a thousand fans, those fans look at every single piece of content they have. This is why they are better than someone with a hundred thousand fans, who can’t possibly communicate with all of them, and doesn’t really care about them, at least individually.
He’ll send the micro-influencer a message like this:
Dear [name of the influencer], Is there any chance that you could approve a budget today? I know I haven’t been able to reach you this week, but if there’s any way that you could spend just five minutes of time while I have the budget available, I would love to work out what the price is, and get this sponsored content up on your platform as soon as possible.
Thanks, [Name], [phone number]
What’s great about this is you’re basically saying you have a budget and you are ready to spend. You just need someone to get back to you. These influencers are competing with other influencers at this level (2000-5000 followers).
Those followers are going to be ravenous. These micro-influencers will often jump at the opportunity and put a lot of more care into it, because sometimes it’ll be their first sponsored piece of content.
The good news for you: a sponsored piece of content can cost anywhere from $30 to a hundred dollars. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You will have to give them some kind of trial of whatever it is that you’re doing, whether it’s a piece of content or whether it’s a physical product.
They have to have it, but they don’t always have to keep it. I’ve definitely seen some of those type of sponsorships with companies that I’ve worked with. They will send the product to them for a period of a few days, and then they’ll give them a return address to the next location. They’ll send it between 10 different influencers so that everybody can have a look.
This micro-influencer strategy is a great way to build an audience when you get going. It’s a lot more reliable than using traditional paid advertising or anything else. On a low budget like $50 per week, you can reach out to 10 influencers, then hire whoever seems qualified and gets back to you first.
Then, move down the list. For a budget of $50 per week, you can probably get exposure to up to 5,000 new people every single week, or 20,000 a month. Before you know it, your audience will grow exponentially, and it won’t cost a lot of money to do it.
As long as you’ve done all the other work that we’ve spoken about within this book, you have your market research, your solutions, your testimonials, and everything dialed in. You should find that this is a very easy way to build an audience rapidly, especially if you have micro-influencers who know what they’re doing.
The next way that you can build an audience is to borrow or trade with somebody else. I noticed that as my consulting business was growing, and as more people were coming to me for help with either buying, growing, or otherwise consulting for their business, my dating company was growing too.
I wasn’t really doing much in the way of promoting the dating company, yet more people were going to my company website, ACEformula.com. They were going there and signing up to learn dating.
At the time, I was trying to work out what the connection or correlation was.
Then I realized it’s because my ideal target audience for the dating company are business owners. It’s business owners that are often incredibly successful. They don’t have much time for dating, and don’t want to waste their time on dating apps.
My A.C.E. Formula program is all about learning a simple system. This system is going out, meeting people, having a great social life packed with the kind of people you want to date. Then, understanding how to get the conversation going the right way, without weirding anyone out or creating awkward situations. That’s exactly what my dating company is designed to do.
I also realized something that I’ve known for a long time: your audience is very rarely the same as your competitors’ audiences. What I mean by that is a lot of fitness companies, for example, will make the mistake of thinking that they want to be seen by other fitness companies, so they need to reach out to their competitors as the only source of potential clients.
However, if a customer is already getting amazing fitness training from one of your competitors, they’re very unlikely to switch to you. Hiring their audience or trading with their audience is probably not the best thing to do. A much better idea is to pick an audience that is packed with your avatar.
For example, if you’re in fitness, the people you serve aren’t really fitness people. They might be entrepreneurs, moms just after having their baby, dads that are looking to get rid of their dad bod, or career professionals that don’t have time to go to the gym. Your audience could be real estate agents that are constantly on the go, and don’t have a fixed location gym they can consistently be at.
They need another solution, whatever it is, and a better place to trade audiences would be with one of these experts. You could find a business or an influencer. For example, let’s say you’re a fitness person and your audience includes entrepreneurs. You’re going to reach out to somebody who trains entrepreneurs, and ask them if you can share your amazing fitness tips for entrepreneurs.
In return, ask if they might be open to sharing some of their entrepreneurial advice to your current fitness clients, as most of them are also entrepreneurs. See how this works? You’re not trading audiences with a competitor, but with someone else who has my actual avatar. In doing this, there’s no danger of me stealing their clients, because I’m not going to teach business advice and they’re not teaching fitness training.
This is a much better place to network. The idea is to network with the niche and not the competition. Network with people that have your avatar, not your competitors, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t network with your competitors either, because they can also be a source.
You want to trade an audience of a shared avatar. Look for people that have a similar size audience to you. If you have a mailing list with 30,000 people, you’re going to look for a company that also has about the same.
They don’t have to have a mailing list. It could be a social media account with 30,000 people, and you’re going to send an email for them. Maybe in exchange, they’ll make and share a video for you. That’s an ideal exchange, but you want the audience to be about the same size – keep the size within 25 percent difference.
The way to meet these people is to go to conventions where you can network with them. So for example, if I knew that all of my clients were moms who were post-baby, I would probably go to postnatal or new baby meetups. I would try and think of finding any conventions that are catering towards the new mom or mom life.
I would look for influencers that specialize in helping new moms get acclimated to raising young children. I would be able to sell my fitness training there.
You can also look for industry events. If I did want to network with my competitors, in my paintbrush company for example, I could attend painting events where there are competitions and awards in that space. It’s always packed with all of my other paintbrush competitors. That’s a great way to network with people within the industry. Plus, my paintbrush company is not directly competing with the painters themselves.
Once again, the painters use my brushes. I can go to the industry event, hand out free brushes to all the painters, and if they like those brushes, they will often share and promote my company. That’s one way that my company actually succeeds at borrowing audiences. Many of them will do it for free because they’re all passionate about brushes. If I keep supplying them with brushes, they’re even more happy to talk about it.
Big brands do this all the time. Brands like Nike. They give out free products to the micro-influencers.
Masterminds are ideal ways of networking with people at a similar level to you, and trading resources and knowledge. We have a mastermind that we call the S.M.A.R.T. CEO Mastermind. The whole concept of this mastermind is that all participants have learned the SOPs, and we’re like-minded people working together towards similar goals.
Participants are almost always from the same avatar, which is likely you too, as the person reading the book. I’m guessing that you’re someone who is smart, creative, and driven. You want more success. You want to build a business. Maybe you already have one, but it’s not as big as you want.
You want to take it further. You’ve realized that one of the easiest ways of doing this is with better systems, and you’re open to working with other people to help make that happen. If I just described you, then you are perfect for the S.M.A.R.T. CEO Mastermind because everybody else in there is exactly the same.
It’s not unusual or uncommon for my S.M.A.R.T. CEO Mastermind participants to work together, trade audiences, and share standard operating procedures. That’s a very good way to meet people in a similar kind of environment. If you don’t have an audience at all, or you only have about 20 people, you might feel like you’re very behind in audience growth.
Maybe you’re spending some money and you’re buying micro-influencer promotions, but you’re growing at a rate of 20 or 30 followers a week, and you’re not getting to the 50,000, 60,000, or 100,000 followers like you want. There’s a solution: you can go to a website that sells social media accounts that people no longer want.
One of the easiest ones is called FameSwap.com. There, you can view various social media accounts, such as YouTube accounts and Instagram accounts.
Simply put, it’s people that built an audience that don’t want to do it anymore. These are people who are great at building audiences, but they don’t care anymore and they’d rather sell the accounts.
Some of these accounts have millions of followers. Some of them have 50,000. Some of them have 20,000 – it just depends. They’re all different values based upon audience size, but what you’re looking for is a matching customer avatar.
You have to upgrade to a paid account to get permission to view them. When you do that, you can look at the account and the comments, and make sure that the viewers are real. In the case of some of the ones that I’ve purchased, you’ll have people comment – they’re asking the account owner to make more content. They’re hungry for it.
Make sure the people in the account you buy are real. Just go through, look at them, and ensure they’re actually responding. Always check, because there are fake ones out there.
If you’ve chosen an audience that matches your avatar, they’re your potential clients. You can buy that audience. It is affordable, but costs a bit.
If you don’t have that kind of cash available, you might need to put it on a credit card, but it’s affordable. Buy the audience size you’re comfortable with.
One time, I acquired an 8,000-person audience for $200. Once you have that core audience, nurture them by delivering content. As long as they’re engaging with it, you can now trade that audience. As you make more money, purchase a bigger audience and you can combine them or have two audiences and trade between both of them.
There are many people that have five or six different accounts, and they will trade within that whole network. They will trade their combined audiences for another person’s single audience of about the same size.
Remember when we went over building authority? If you do this with influencers of authority, and you’re willing to put in the time and cost to fly to them, film the content in person, you’re going to get to rub shoulders with those people and build more authority. Naturally, this makes it even easier for you to sell.
Once you’ve established yourself through any method on a social media platform, don’t forget to trade your audiences cross-platform. If you have a Facebook account that shares an avatar with your Instagram account, cross-pollinate those audiences.
I love living on my Texas ranch. Whenever my family wants to visit or needs my help, they’ll fly out here and we get to spend time together. I have one friend who needed my help with his YouTube channel years ago, but recently he needed help with one of his clients, the up-and-coming Black Rifle Coffee Company.
I was already acquainted with one of the coffee company’s founders because I helped him with some other businesses years ago. Long story short, they came to me for some advice on some equipment they needed for an advertising shoot that they were going to do.
In exchange, I said I didn’t need any money, but asked them to break down their content strategy for me. His YouTube channel was one of the top 50 of all time. He agreed, and here’s what he taught me.
You want at least three pieces of content going up each week, and you want to choose one platform. Pick one and get really good at that one.
Create and post different types of content – if you’re sticking to a video channel like YouTube, for example, have different types of videos, even though all of your content will be the same type of media (video).
You want something that he calls consistent, regular daily content. You’re already doing that with our 20 questions strategy and in your monthly masterclass. It’s just good, generic stuff that you can post on a daily basis or a few times a week.
Collaborative content is a form of audience trading. On YouTube, you might be in each other’s videos. You’re building and growing together, which is how a lot of top YouTube and TikTok stars became successful quickly. They leaned heavily into cross-promotions and cross-pollination.
In an ideal world. If you’re posting three times a week with consistent content, once every two weeks, one of those pieces of content should shift and be a collaborative piece of content instead.
If you can create viral content, it should go out every two weeks, on the opposite week from when you had collaborative content. Viral content is very easily described as high-production, trend-based content. One easy question to identify viral content: what memes are everyone talking about currently, and passing around online?
Memes are a massive part of the internet, and there are certain memes that are shared more than others, at any given time. Memes almost always reflect what’s going on in the news at the same time. That means it is usually a topic that people are very interested in. If you can create a high quality piece of content, that either reflects or exhibits some elements from what’s going on in the news, and you can get it out within 24 hours of being relevant, it will almost always go viral.
Even if it doesn’t go crazy viral, it will go micro-viral, meaning within your audience and within your niche, people will spread it. The more micro-viral content you have, the more likely you are for one of those pieces to end up becoming fully viral soon enough.
“Virality” is a massive key component for me. I’ve definitely had a number of viral successes. I’ve been involved in videos that went viral – in an epic mealtime video, which is called “The American Meat Pie Video.” Another one was where my hands were featured in a video called “Skyrim bad-ass.”
I’ve also been featured in Healthy Mealtime, which is another popular YouTube video. I’ve been featured many times – and my own romantic relationship even went viral.
The key is to make sure that viral content comes out consistently every two weeks and taps into whatever it is that people are currently talking about. For that piece of content, you don’t want to film it on your phone. This content should have a higher production value.
He explained that for many companies, you’ll be better off just doing daily content and collaborative content for about three to four months until you get into the rhythm. Then, make sure that you’re ready for trend-based content. Few people should ramp up to that in just a few weeks or less.
The minute people are talking about it, you need to get on it. You need to make this happen immediately so that it can have an opportunity to go viral. As long as you stick to this schedule and do this for about a year, you’re going to end up having a very popular channel in whatever social media platform you choose.
These are the three different ways to build your audience, but that’s meaningless if you don’t know how to monetize it. If you put all of these keys together, you should be in a good place to start generating a massive amount of revenue. But you still don’t know what you’re selling, because we haven’t covered the offer creation SOP.
Creating an irresistible offer is very easy for me at this point. My friends know that if they need to create a compelling offer where they want to make a lot of money, they can call me. I will help them make an irresistible offer that crushes.
One time I was at home around 6am, and a friend texted me and asked to meet him for breakfast. He told me he had a major problem.
I went to see him immediately – this is a good friend, someone I’d move mountains to help if I needed to. He was running an event and it was the final day, and he hadn’t made enough sales. In fact, if he didn’t make any more sales, he would lose $500,000.
He was in a serious pickle. His company has good products. They just didn’t know what to sell at the event. I had a way to help. All he needed to do was to use a specific marketing strategy to send out a specific message to all attendees.
Fortunately, they had the ability to communicate with the attendees via an app. The message we generated was from one of my SOPs, and the message went like this:
What is the one thing that you wish we could help you with before the end of the event, that we have not solved for you yet?
That text message is worth its weight in gold.
I have made millions from this one text message.
Now, any one problem can be solved in four different ways. These make up the core elements of an offer or the product or service that you’re actually selling. You want to make sure that for any given problem that somebody has, you must have all four of these different components.
It became very clear, based on the answers that people replied with, that the issue was the company was continually creating one of the four offers, and not creating the others. The offer needed to create more value. This company was trying to sell the same type of solution over and over again. This is almost always going to fail because they already have that solution.
They wanted something different.
Free community with highly desirable, free content, that has the education component that we’ve already been building throughout this book.
A core offer, and it is a do-it-yourself service. This could be a book or sequence of videos, but whatever it is, they don’t need anyone else’s help to complete it. We call this DIY content and it should typically be priced between $7 to $500. I have seen people sell this type of offer for a lot more money than that, but it’s typically $7-500.
The next solution we call “Done With You” or DWY. The price should range from $2,000 to $10,000. Again, it can be significantly more and there are solutions that are less, but typically this is the price we would expect to convert.
Lastly, we have Done For You (DFY) offers. This solution is actually doing all the heavy lifting for the customer, and implementing it for them. The price can vary wildly. Prices can be above $10,000 depending on how much value and heavy lifting that you’re doing for them.
Back to my friends’ event the one thing the attendees really wanted was more help with one very obvious solution. They did not want it in a do it yourself offer. They wanted somebody to do it with them. From these discussions and replying to the text messages, we were able to craft a brand new offer.The next step was to get people in one-on-one conversations using one of my favorite sales techniques.
If we are able to give you [the solution you said you wanted], then would you be willing to sign up for it today?
Finish that with: We’re trying to find a small group of people, and if enough of them say, yes, we’re going to develop this.
We used this technique and we ended up with a lot of people signing up for the product we were going to develop. In fact, he made $810,000 in a day. Not only did we cover the $500,000 deficit, but we created $310,000 in profit. This completely turned around the event from what was otherwise going to be a massive loss. This wasn’t a giant event – there were only about 600 attendees.
We only sent the text message to about 200. To convert $810,000 from 200 people using this kind of messaging, and our offer development system, was absolutely killer. It was all because we built it around what they wanted, and gave them a different kind of solution than what was currently offered.
The previous offer was trying to succeed by doing what they’d already done, and wasn’t guaranteed to succeed. If you want to succeed in sales and marketing, you have to change things up periodically.
Once someone reaches out in any way, whether it’s email, text, web form, or phone, your job is to have that conversation. The problem is that sometimes you end up in a situation where the conversation isn’t really going the way you want it to. Nothing illustrates this more than when the head of sales of my company stormed into my office in the middle of the day and said, “I’m tired of talking to people that don’t have money.”
And this is something I think every single sales team has had to deal with. At some point, as your company grows, you end up being exposed to more and more people. That means meeting more people who aren’t great with money, or who don’t have the tools to make a lot of it.
As you get bigger, you’re exposed to less and less people that have money or know how to use it. At this point, it’s very important to add a filtering system. In fact, at our company, all sales are done by a very simple filtering system that we call a two-part sales close. We do this with permission-based selling, and then two-part sales close, which has two components.
The first component is understanding who the client is and how close they match the avatar of our typical buyer.
The second part is the close – we try to close the deal, but only to people who qualify as being part of our buyer avatar.
Here’s how it works: When someone initially reaches out and says they’re interested, we do a short discovery call. This should be no longer than 30 minutes, and a junior salesperson should handle it. If you don’t have a junior salesperson, then you can assign this step to your regular salesperson.
Your goal is to identify their needs. “What are your biggest problems? If we could wave a magic wand and solve them, what would they be?” Listen to their story. I have never seen a sale happen over the phone where the customer doesn’t want to share their story. Everyone wants to tell their story.
They want everyone to understand where they’re coming from before they buy, which is one of the most frustrating things for high performance salespeople. The people on my team who are doing millions of dollars in sales get very frustrated listening to people’s stories, but that is what makes people feel heard and comfortable to buy.
Once you do that, then they are much more able to listen to you, when you tell them they should buy. The key is to make sure that during the first call, whether it’s you doing both calls or a junior salesperson doing it, the customer is answering questions to let you know whether they match the criteria of the avatar of a good buyer.
We have a sequence of questions and they’re scored based on how well they answered. I have a template for this, but you really want to create a unique one for you and your buyers. The following is an example, and you have to tailor it to you.
When people work with us, we help them develop this.
In an ideal world, when you’ve done your market research I’ve provided at the beginning of this book, you will have written down your respondents’ demographic and other information about them.
If you know that information, you will be able to understand from talking to people who are the most qualified ones, and those that are more eager. They will have similarity in their background and ideal solution – we call this an exact match or a top match. Anything else that came up as similar criteria to our ideal avatar, we would call a match.
Anything that’s close to a match is pretty close, and anything else is just anything else. We award more points for an exact match, and likewise with a match, than we do for any of the others. For example, for a career, will get five points. If it’s a match, three points. If it’s for one of the other things that came from people that filled in the form, that’s kind of close, but not exact, one point. And zero for anything else.
We know that in dating, the perfect career in our avatar is a software developer. If they say software developer, they’re going to get five points. If it’s somebody who works in technology, but not software developer, then they’ll get three points because it’s definitely a match, but it’s not the perfect one.
And if it’s someone who works with computers generally, they might get one point. It’s not really what we’re after, but they’ve identified that they work with computers. If they say that they’re the coach of a high school baseball team, they’re going to get zero. We know that’s not a good match for us.
Then we’ll give three points for age. If it’s within 10 percent of our ideal age, two points. If it’s within 20 percent of our ideal age, one point; anything else gets a zero.
For location, once again, if it’s a top match, it will be three points. For a fitness business, we may know that Austin, Texas is three points, or two points for any other city where somebody has signed up in the past. One point if it’s nearby. So for example, if Austin is a top match, and no one else has ever come from College Station, a town nearby. Then if someone’s from College Station, we’ll give them a single point, and zero for anything else.
Marital status is easy. If it is a perfect marriage status match, two points, if not, zero. This one is binary.
Lastly, one of the best ways to assess a good match is to ask how motivated they are to fix their stated problem, on a scale of one to five. That is to say, “How motivated are you on a scale of one to five to fix this?” This is where they’re self-identifying as being motivated, or not to fix it. If they say they’re very motivated, then they’ll get five points.
When you tailor this for your sales process, you’re going to have to work out where your own scores are. Take what I’ve done and tweak it. The idea is if somebody has scored 12 points or higher, you or your salesperson will finish the phone call with a qualifying question.
This is a question to identify whether you have permission to sell – part of the permission-based selling method. “If I could get you some time to talk with one of our advisors right now, for free, to help you find a solution, would you want to do it?” If they’re high priority and they say, yes, do it straight away. If the person isn’t available, you do it yourself.
If they’re medium priority, schedule them. You don’t want to just send them a link to schedule. You want to actually schedule a specific date and time with them, right then and there.
If they’re low priority, then don’t bother to sell them anything or advance them through your process. Instead, you offer them some free training that theycan consume. If you want to send them to a product, you can send them to a very cheap product. Consider something under a hundred dollars. If it’s not a fit and if it’s not going to be right, don’t try to sell something to somebody that isn’t right for you. This is also one of the best ways to make sure that you don’t get burned out on sales. At this point, you should filter out all the people that don’t have money or aren’t qualified otherwise, and you can focus on people that are actually likely to buy.
Nowadays, I am flown all over the world to help people grow their businesses. And I get invited to speak at masterminds. It’s one of my favorite things to do, because you’ll get between 20 to 200 people in a room, all experts at their very specific niche. And they are interested in growing their companies. I love speaking at masterminds because it’s always an audience that will fully understand what I say.
More importantly, they appreciate the depth and detail I’ve gone into in all of my offerings. I was at a hotel in London, speaking to a mastermind in front of 20 people where one of my idols was in the room. This is somebody that I have admired for years, and I was invited to speak on the standard operating procedures we have for our sales scripts.
We have something that we call the 18 questions of a great sales call. It’s an internal document, and it’s something we teach all of our clients. I have never seen anybody write it down so fast, anything I’ve ever done in my entire life. This person wrote by hand every single one of these points to either take back to his sales team or to dissect.
I was blown away. That’s when I realized that our sales scripts were so powerful. We already knew they were powerful because our conversion rates are some of the highest out of any that I’ve seen. But to have somebody pay that much attention to it, who I had respected for many years, made me realize how special this is.
I knew that if I was going to make this book a real success, then I’d have to put the secret sauce in it, something really killer. And the whole goal of a good sales call is to take people on a very special journey.
What are the top sales call questions that take a lead to a sale? It’s an emotional journey that leads from the prospect identifying that they have a problem, to recognizing how bad the problem is, to imagining how wonderful life could be. From there, they want to see if you’re the person to get them to the promised land, and then deal with any objections they may have. That’s the journey that we’re going to take them on.
These questions are designed to do that.
These discovery questions are a sequence of things to guide people through. They don’t absolutely have to be hit in this order. It shouldn’t be read as a script. It’s more like a guideline, but you do want to make sure that you hit most of the points if you can.
Use this question at the beginning of the sales process to manage your own expectations. If they only have a few minutes, you’re not going to sell them. If they are really enthusiastic about you helping them solve their problem, then they might buy. If they’re really not interested or they can’t afford it, this is where you can say goodbye and still leave a good impression in case things change in the future.
This point is specifically designed around identifying whether you have a time-waster. If this person talks about how they’re going on vacation or something soon, you know it might not be a good fit. If they’re talking about possibly moving forward with solving their stated problem, that’s a good thing.
Here, you can identify their needs. You want to learn the deepest pain point that you need to hit to solve their problems.
This numerical value is going to be really important later. Write it down and circle it.
This is actually going to help you work out the financial cost based on time to solve the issue. We’re going to use this later in something we call a ‘value build’.
Here’s where we take people on that emotional journey. We want them to describe how bad it is. People can get so caught up in a sales process because it’s very logistical, but they forget the pain and we want to make sure they do remember the pain during this phone call.
This is where we start showing them the positive world.
Once again, we can acquire another reference for the potential growth using the previous numerical pain.
Now, you can compare their previous number to this one. Typically, that’s a massive change. That’s worth money. This leads us to what life might look like if they committed.
We call this the benefit of the benefit. We want them to admit that their life is going to completely change. They might want to get in shape, get married, or have kids.
Ask them about this on a one to five scale, just like you did before you started the questions.
This lets you know if it’s even worth selling someone.
We can do any initial objections intervention here. We’re going to find out how much of our content they’ve consumed.
If they’ve downloaded the guide book, read the guide book, watched a whole bunch of videos, and have consumed your content – or they may not have started.
You may want to send them away to look at the content, before they come back again. At this point, we haven’t pitched anything yet on purpose.
If they haven’t learned much yet, you can ask them the next question:
Some people don’t want to learn more. They already know. If they already know though, they might be ready to commit.
If that happens, you have permission to sell. You can tell them about the program. You’re not going to give them the price. Outline the whole program, tell them what they get, what the results are, and how amazing it is. Gloss over the price at the very end.
We’re going to find out if there are any other objections that are not about money. Don’t focus on the price here – first figure out if it would work if money wasn’t an obstacle. If they’re directly interested, sign them up.
This is a lot better than saying “do you want to buy this?” If there are monetary objections, deal with all non-monetary objections first.
What you don’t want to do is solve all the money problems only for them to have other objections. If that happens, you have just wasted all your energy.
When this happens, we solve everything else.
You seek, and ask them to pick a number.
Often that number will be big. If the number is near your program, ask them to sign up. If the number is small, you can work with them – maybe they pay a hundred dollars to go out to eat, but your program costs more. Make the cost comparative.
That’s very important. You want to put the time into getting that. You can calculate how much time they’ve spent trying to fix this.
If they tell you that they have spent three years trying to fix it, how many hours per week is that? How many weeks in a year? Give them the actual total and they’ll see how much money they have wasted. Then, compare your program’s cost to that one.
Point out that if they had to find $5,000 because the roof of their house had to be replaced, how much would they spend to fix it? Don’t get them to find the money for your program per se, get them to find money for something that’s crucial.
This is only in case you get objections. If you’ve done everything right, there shouldn’t be objections because they should know the program, know who you are, and know the price. They should agree then and there, and that’s the power of permission-based selling. We don’t want to pressure too much, because we want them to be enthusiastic about their commitment.
Things are going well for my businesses, but I still have people to guide me through what I’m doing. One of my favorite mentors is actually a guy who is retired. He used to be the CEO of one of the biggest telecommunication companies in America.
I don’t want to give away who he is because he likes his privacy and he doesn’t take private clients. He works with me because we’re close friends, and he allows me to pay him for a consultation every month. He gives me yearly targets for things that I have to hit. At the time of writing this, we’re in February of 2022.
We did our January meeting at the beginning of this year. He asked me for my targets and I wanted to know why he asked – after all, I don’t like doing revenue targets. He told me that I didn’t have to do revenue targets – but that I could do something better. I was blown away by what he gave me. This is one of the reasons I love working with people that are smarter than me.
I don’t have a revenue target, which is actually a good thing, because I get too caught up in money and I want to be more focused on the results of my clients.
Instead we focused on other metrics such as numbers of conversations. If you know that one in every five conversations leads to $10,000 in sales, then you know five conversations is 10 grand, 50 conversations is a $100,000, and 500 conversations is a million dollars.
There are 52 weeks in a year. You can divide it up and aim for 10 conversations a week to be able to get to a million dollars. That’s pretty easy. Two conversations a day, right? That makes it a lot easier and I love it when I can break down sales goals.
One of the things that we always do in sales is track our data. We do keep track of the money, but we just don’t have it as a specific target. We also monitor what’s called the customer lifetime value, and we care about two numbers within it: the customer lifetime value after 90 days and the customer lifetime value after a year. That means from the minute someone downloads a guidebook, joins our email list, or joins our Facebook group.
The second number is how much money they have spent within a year of working with them. This information lets us know the value of somebody joining our mailing list or our Facebook group. That leads to a calculation: if we have a thousand people joining the group today, within 90 days, we can predict our revenue within the next year.
Once again, this is another standard operating procedure for reliable prediction of future revenue. This allows you to work out what you want to spend today and how much risk you can take, because with some degree of accuracy, you have a good idea of what’s going to happen next.
Making money is all about analyzing the data and taking the people that join your email list or your Facebook group on a journey to go from leads to buyers. There are a number of metrics you can track, and you might want to monitor all of them.
How long on average until they make their first purchase? Is it 30 days, 60 days, 90 days? When do they typically make their first purchase?
The second number we track is how many people in total are in the group, or on the main email list. That’s a total lead number.
We also track daily open rate – how many people are actually interacting? If it’s a Facebook group, how many people are interacting with the content on average per day, or per piece of content, or average per email?
What does it cost us to get a new person to join the mailing list? If we’re paying influencers to send people to our Facebook group, how much does it cost us per person that joins the group?
You can use a simple division formula to calculate your cost per lead.
We want to keep track of how many conversations we have had before with each customer. That’s the metric that I report to my mentor, because that indicates how many conversations will get you a specific amount of money.
The next metric to track is sales per day. How many sales each day? Do six conversations come out to two sales? Even if they’re small sales, it doesn’t matter, because tomorrow (and over the customer lifetime) they might be big sales.
The next two metrics are a bit more complicated.
You’ll want the number of open sales per day. That is the total amount of money owed to us or receivable, whether we’ve received the cash or not.
There’s also the closed sales per day, or how much we actually received in a given day. Sometimes when you sell something, if you’ve given them a payment plan, if the program is $10,000 and they pay a thousand dollars a month, it’ll be $10,000 in open sales, but only a thousand in closed sales.
You need to keep track of both metrics, because the closed sales is how much actual money you have to work with (cash flow). But the open sales indicate how much future money you have coming in. If you want to have a successful company, these are the numbers you need to track, and you don’t need any complicated software.
You can just do it with a pen and paper, and manually keep track of them. This is a great task for the COO that we spoke about towards the beginning of this book. This is the first thing he does when he wakes up each day: he looks at all the data from the previous day.
He should be looking at how many phone calls were done, how many people joined the group, etc. It’s fine to keep track of it manually when you’re still small. It doesn’t need to have a technology solution. In fact, when you start your company, the numbers are going to be so small that I highly recommend you do not use a software solution, so you can stay hands-on with the data.
Once again, the more you can predict these future metrics (not just revenue), the more reliable your cashflow is going to be.
I recently launched my very first podcast called S.M.A.R.T. Businesses Do This – the same name as this book. It inspired me to write this book. I knew that if I was going to have this podcast, I was going to be interviewing all of my friends that have done incredible lives.
There was no way I was going to do this podcast without Ron Lynch, one of the smartest advertisers I have ever met. He is the mastermind I referred to earlier, who worked on the George Foreman grill ads, GoPro, famous infomercials, direct marketing ads, and regular TV ads.
I had the pleasure of working with him on set, and I helped him create some of those ads. He always blew me away with incredibly smart words. One of my favorite quotes from him is: “If I could only use one sales technique in all of my ads, it would be testimonials.”
There are three types of testimonials you may need.
We have short, medium, and long (case study style) testimonials.
The goal is that each of the testimonials is designed to tell a different story.
The short testimonial is a snapshot of a single result that came from your product, service, system, or program.
The medium testimonial tells a short version of the story with this formula: once upon a time I was there, and now I’m here, and it’s all because of this product, program, or service.
The long testimonial, or case study, is similar to a micro-documentary that tells the story of the customer, and how there was a complete transformation based on using your product or program. When we begin, it’s important that we don’t focus on which testimonial we’re going to use.
Instead, we focus on simply getting the best testimonials possible from each client. We will decide later on which ones we’re going to use.
When I first launched the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint, the goal was to give people the business systems that we were using, that were making us so successful. I was so happy about it. I spent an entire year doing it, and I was very proud of all the work that happened. Many of our clients were incredibly successful, but not necessarily all of them.
I was really frustrated because I put my heart and soul into this. People had paid $7,000 to have us help them implement these systems and to have us guide them. Not everyone got the same results, and I was really sad about it. The very first thing I said after this is, “We’re revamping the program.”
My team asked what we would do, as these customers already had deliverables. We had no complaints. Everyone was happy. “It doesn’t matter if they’re happy,” I said. I was not happy.
I gave every single person that did the first version of the program the revamped version. An updated version completely for free. I knew I could deliver a better program that improved the results, and gave them a lot more standard operating procedures, and scripts, that they could follow.
Naturally, everyone that went back through the program, which was even better than the first one. We still didn’t get any complaints. We just got more sales, but that’s irrelevant. The point is, I was unhappy. When we really drilled down to it, the biggest missing piece were testimonials. So many of our clients had these great sales messages, and they were building up their authority, and they were making sales, but they didn’t have testimonials.
Despite that level of success, they were still lacking something. They just didn’t have the oomph that comes from having a lot of very good testimonials. The short testimonials were actually the most common thing that they were missing. You want as many short testimonials as possible. Those are a crucial snapshot of the best part of your customers’ stories.
It’s similar to a movie trailer. When you just focus on the action, you don’t focus on telling the background. You just want to see the really cool part. Some stories are high-impact and attention-grabbing, but they’re not always believable. This is why you have to have longer form testimonials too. If you just have the short ones, you could have just made up a whole bunch of fake quotes, and cut them together.
In an ideal world, someone will see the short quotes and that will draw them in. As they read the book or engage with the rest of your website, they’ll see the longer testimonials from the same people. When they see the video of the person speaking, it validates the reality – and the success – from your program. That is often the point that makes them buy: the shocking testimonial.They see the deeper case study, and then they believe and buy right then.
That’s why in the free PDF you create, or in the free masterclass or the free training, you have the deeper testimonial much further in. You also want to present your testimonials in a graphically pleasing way. That makes it easy for someone to observe the results clearly. And you want to focus on the largest data-driven results possible.
You want to put numbers in your testimonials. How much did someone actually improve their happiness? What percentage? Create an image that combines the testimonial with evidence of how we received it.
Once again, this can have the viewer understand that it’s real very quickly.
This is the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint website. If you look down the page, you can see the entire testimonial. We made $123,000 from one launch to put that in perspective, I made $87,000 off that.
We went from $1,000 a month when I started this to $123,000 in one day. The testimonials support it as the potential customer starts scrolling through the website.
As you populate the website with these, and as the prospect goes through all the content and the masterclasses, they will see more and more testimonials, proving that this is the real deal.
Every year, I invite all the people in my CEO mastermind to join me on a very special vacation. We all get on a cruise ship and spend a whole week deep diving into people’s businesses, and helping them implement standard operating procedures. One of the things we focus on is how to get testimonials.
We call this the Working Vacation. I decided to invite the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint people along (for a fee of course), to take part as a one-off in the CEO Mastermind at sea, the ‘CEO at Sea’. As part of it, I reached out to a friend of mine who was a secret millionaire living in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The reason he’s a secret millionaire is he doesn’t really want anyone to know who he is or what he does, but he generates about $45 million a year in gross revenue and lives in Puerto Rico, so that he can minimize his taxes. He is phenomenal at the sales process. I wanted him to talk to my mastermind, to show them what’s possible when it comes to online marketing and systems.
This is someone that I’ve known since my early dating coaching days. He started out as a dating coach and has moved into doing very different things from that now, but all of it is based around his ability to create sales material. Most of that sales material is based on medium length testimonials that have a simple format: this is where I was, and this is where I am now.
He is phenomenal at structuring these and piecing these together. He sat with us over a meal, and looked at every single person’s business and helped them identify a better way to connect with their avatar. He came up with the testimonials that they should be looking for, and helped them tweak the way they pitch their program, and the way they do their offers.
It was a once in a lifetime thing, and that’s that type of thing we do for people in the CEO Mastermind. He validated my medium length testimonial structure in a private meeting that we did afterwards. It validated all of my standard operating procedures regarding customer testimonials.
I am always trying to improve my SOPs anyway. For medium length customer testimonials, and in a perfect world, I want to get a short video of a client sharing their customer journey. The customer journey should be as follows:
Snapshot struggle, using the program or product, a clear recommendation
It’s a before snapshot; articulating the struggle; and then what it’s like using the program or product, the results, and a clear recommendation.
There is a very simple script for this. Once again, because everything has an SOP, we can make it happen quickly and easily.
Use the script if you want or tweak it. It gives you really good testimonials. I will often ask people in advance to list three detailed numerical results they’ve obtained from using the program. This way, they kind of already know what they’re going to talk about, before they do the actual testimonial take.
You will never know which of your clients are going to give the best testimonials, so you want to get them from everyone. There are three different touch points where you want to reach out to somebody to get these testimonials.
You can edit these together. The videos will show your customer in completely different outfits. It looks believable because it’s real.
The key to getting the testimonials consistently is to automate each step. An SOP would include a testimonial request during the onboarding process, for example. It’s very simple to answer some questions after they buy the product and do a Zoom call as part of the onboarding. Here are some prompts:
That last question is just one to get them to actually commit to putting in the work, and if someone does this, they are more likely to complete the work involved in the program.
To collect the second testimonial, you want to have a place in your Facebook group or elsewhere where you encourage people to share a win, no matter how small it is, every single day. This is part of the process of them using the product or program.
When they are in the habit of sharing something every day, the minute they get a big one, they will never forget to share it. If you don’t get them to share something every day, then when they get a big result, they’re not going to share it. Get them in the habit on the front-end, and it will also help them participate regularly, and get more out of the program.
Anytime you see a testimonial come in, contact them directly and ask for them to chat about it on a Zoom call. Let them know you’re excited and get permission to record it. Capture their moment of excitement. These calls will be the most genuine testimonials you will ever get. You’ll get the best energy from them the sooner you get them on a call.
The third touch point is at the very end of the program and this is where you’re ready to collect a full review of the program. It’s similar to the onboarding part: but this is the outboarding part. During the outboarding, and you’ll get them to answer the following questions. It’s another SOP in their own words:
Once again, the goal is to edit the three videos together. If you get the three, you’re going to have the best testimonial. You’re going to have a very nervous, not very certain, kind of cynical person; then a very excited high-results person; and then a very enthusiastic supportive person at the end. That’s the most effect, testimonial that we want.
Finally, ask them for a written testimonial summarizing everything they just said, as that will also be motivating for any other person that’s considering your program.
How well do you know your business? One of the businesses that I just acquired a percentage of is a high-performance coach. He’s an incredible military veteran. He made it through hell week to become a Navy SEAL, an incredible story that I won’t spoil right now. He helps people who are professionals kill imposter syndrome and reach their full potential.
That’s what he does. And he’s very good at it.
But he came to me with a problem. His client doesn’t want to re-sign up. He charges $10,000 to help people. This person went through his training, hit their goal, and didn’t want to sign up again. He was sad and expressed that he felt he did something wrong.
I reassured him: he’d done something right. When you’re good at your job, and if you’ve succeeded in giving somebody what they want, they don’t need you anymore.
That’s the journey as a dating coach too. We knew we had success when someone found the love of their life, and they didn’t need help anymore. Don’t get me wrong. Some people will still pay us money, because they want to be able to pick up the phone and ask us questions. By and large, success is what you’re asked to deliver, and then it’s done. The sooner they get that success, the sooner they are gone.
It was a great revelation for him to realize that he had won after all. He still had to make an income though, so I reminded him that if you’ve done it right, every success should actually generate more testimonials, customers, and new business.
Anyone who’s had an exceptional result is a classic candidate for a case study or a mini-documentary of their journey. This is a much more involved process, but the testimonials are killer. You take a film crew to the client or fly the client to you, and the latter can be cheaper because moving an entire film crew is more expensive in terms of seats on a plane than flying the client and giving them an amazing journey. Then get them to retell their story.
Start with the snapshot of what they looked like in the past with them in this beautiful set, telling the story; cut to them sharing their wins or any relevant pictures or screenshots, using what’s called a ‘Ken Burns effect’.
In the deeper case studies, use music and dynamic lighting. Perhaps the person is helping to reenact it, to create a very impactful and emotional journey that shares the depths of their experience. These case studies are going to be your best tools to create sales, because they involve more production.
You may need to hire a film crew to make them look good, but they’re so appealing and eye-catching, and yet still so raw. The evidence inspires people. They want to be part of it. They want to be that next video. They want you to give them that treatment and, you know, fly them out to create that cool video.
If you can get even three of these each year like this, they will make the best ads you’ve ever run. They make amazing website content to put up for that masterclass. If you can have those three very polished case studies, the rest of those SOPs come together nicely.
If your company is already making money, it’s a no brainer to get these in-depth case studies. They make for great website content, and especially on a sales page, someone can watch this mini documentary with ease.
It’s also worth mentioning that all of these testimonials should be all over your website. They should be in every piece of marketing material, and you should regularly be sharing them on social media at least once a week.
You should share one testimonial every week because this is the evidence that you have the authority, the experience, and the content. Everything you’re saying and sharing works, and your program is the real deal that gets people exactly what they need.
Recently, I just closed on my latest business acquisition, a software company that is a customer relationship management tool (CRM). As you know, the thing that’s been the key to my success has been incredibly effective standard operating procedures and systems.
What if I could automate that? What if I can take that customer journey, and the reminders for the testimonials – the important parts – and get it all automated with a piece of software? I’ve acquired a company and my goal will be to make all of these systems and all these SOPs even easier – something that we can automate as much as possible for clients and customize them.
The standard operating procedures that I’ve shared with you here in this book are ours. These are the ones that we really use, and we’ve templated them as much as possible, so that they can be customized to your business.
A lot of the work actually involved is simply sitting down, and helping you alter what we’ve created here to fit with your company, and your niche. We need to tailor the standard operating procedures for what you need. There’s also only so much you can fit in an article. We have so many more SOPs that we use than what’s mentioned here.
We have more about some of the sub-parts of offer creation, product creation, the customer journey, how to reach out to customers that have ignored you, and how to deal with refunds. For all of these elements, we have standard operating procedures, and that’s all included and inside the full S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint.
If that’s something you’re interested in, go to TheSMARTBlueprint.com and you can see all of that. You already know more than almost any other small business owner in the world, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. No one can take the S.M.A.R.T. Blueprint from you.
You know how to identify a good opportunity for a business and present it in a way that customers want and need. You know how to manage your time and the time of any staff that you hire. You know how to hire new people and help them achieve their goals in life. You know how to find leads, and an effective method to communicate with them throughout the customer journey.
You know how to build an audience of prospective clients and how to stay in touch with them. You know how to use permission-based selling to optimize sales without alienating or upsetting your audience. You now know how to share wins to prove how effective your program, your product, and your services are, and how to use those wins to generate more sales.
The difference between the winners and the losers in business can be summed up in a single word: application. This the moment here where you decide to apply what you’ve learned, and apply yourself to your work to ensure that you win and build out the standard operating procedures for your company.
Only you can answer that question.
Hi, I’m Adam Lyons. I’ve helped over 1,900+ experts find more profit in their companies since 2020. Would you like me to help you too?
Beyond his own portfolio of growing companies, Lyons is an advisor for over 500 brands across the US and Canada. Lyons has been featured on the Today Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Forbes, Bloomberg Business and the NY Post. He has been awarded three different ‘Wicked Smaht’ awards due to his innovative business strategies and multiple 2-comma club awards. Companies he has worked with include PepsiCo, Nike, Nescafé, Discovery Digital Networks and many smaller brands.
Hi, I’m Adam Lyons. I’ve helped over 1,900+ experts find more profit in their companies since 2020. Would you like me to help you too?