The Only 2 Things That Really Matter
There are only 2 things that really matter in this business.
If you get good at these 2 things, you’ll make a great living.
If you get GREAT at them, you’ll hardly work most days.
If you’re mediocre at them, you can still make 6 figures.
If you’re not that great at them, you can still make 5 figures.
If you suck at them, well, you better keep your day job.
If you reach down deep within yourself and FIND THE FOCUS to spend 10 minutes reading this newsletter, you’ll gain insights you didn’t have before. And you might find you’re spending 90% of your time on crap that doesn’t matter.
Here are the two things:
Thing #1: Front end
Thing #2: Back end
Now, today a lot of people call the back end, the funnel. Whatever. It’s what you sell after the initial sale.
The front end is finding new customers and making the first sale. Or it can be just sticking them into the sales machine that is going to suck out the money, I mean create an exchange of value where the customer comes out on top.
Again, choose whatever words you like. Personally, I prefer suck up cash with a vengeance to an equitable exchange of value in which the customer gets the better deal but the seller still makes a profit.
Understand it’s NOT about TRAFFIC.
I said, “It’s NOT about traffic.” You could have 1/2 million visitors and not one person with the interest and money to buy. However, often quantity does lead to quality. But not always.
It’s about front-ends that FEED the back end. Fancy software programs call it a pipeline. Whatever. You could call it a broomstick for all I really care.
Labels are NOT reality! People talk about lead magnets like the word is carved in stone and the concept is real. Before that they were squeeze pages and before that they were just called leads or prospects. And before that, I think they were called marks. lol. Cause carnies would put chalk on someone’s back at a fair who was a spender. Thus they were “marked.” It’s NOT a politically correct term and a really bad idea to use it in a sales analogy like I just did.
Examples of front-end machines:
Just yesterday a friend told me about his buddy who is selling a $10 ebook (or whatever). Those people go into a 30-day email sequence.
At the end of the 30 days of automated emails, videos and webbys, CASH COMES OUT.
Not a little cash. $10,000. And NO phone selling. Usually, phone contact is required.
Now, how many $10 dealios does the dude get a month to run the machine? I don’t know yet. What I DO know is he spends $30 to get a $10 sale that ends up bringing in $10,000.
And I know that 1% to 2% of $10 buyers fork over 10 G’s.
But those numbers are irrelevant. We all eat them up like eggs and bacon for breakfast because somehow it feels more real.
Law #1: Others numbers aren’t your numbers.
Law #2: Only your numbers matter
Law #3: What Joe Blow fancy pants marketer does with a team of elite writers and media buyers doesn’t matter to you personally.
Law #4: Your numbers are your numbers
That means you need to focus on improving your numbers, not envying someone else’s numbers.
But anyway, there’s a front end for you.
Another friend of mine had a book he sold for $200. He mailed flyers to libraries (and I believe had telemarketers also). He became a millionaire by age 21 off that one book and one selling method.
One $200 sales which was the front AND the back end. Period.
Later he sold it by getting on Oprah 120 times. Yes, he really was on Oprah 120 times. And yes, he sold an insane amount from that. But everyone focuses on Oprah and no one wants to hear about the boring flyers to libraries method.
Bob Leduc went from selling insurance to owning the agency by mailing 3 x 5 personalized postcards from hand-collected addresses at the local army base. The little postcard offered a free booklet on army insurance benefits.
He built a whole entire insurance agency off those stupid little postcards BECAUSE ain’t no one knows how to generate insurance leads. If’n you get a job at an insurance agency, their big prospecting idea is for you to sell all your friends before they fire you and bring on someone ELSE to sell all THEIR friends.
I heard an audio by a guy in Dallas who is in the insurance business. But he has a radio show and funnels people from it to free seminars. It’s a cash machine. Just nothing but cash.
Wade Cook pioneered a way to sell a little $30 kit via radio infommercials. And he supported something like 100 seminar presenters on the road doing shows via that method. He created a way when there was no way before.
Joe Polish created this gigantic 11′ x 17″ pink flyer carpet cleaners could distribute door-to-door offering a free room of cleaning. GREAT application of direct response marketing. All the untrained, uneducated people about direct response would swear that flyer would never work because who in their right mind would read it?
And they’re right. The ONLY people who read all of it were the ones who called. And the results trounced other types of flyers.
In contrast there’s my local sushi restaurant. I love this place. I eat sushi there whenever I can. Really fresh. GREAT place. But it always disturbs me to go in there. Because the ONLY marketing she has is word of mouth. And I’ve tried to tell everyone I know.
But man, there IS no predictable method to get new customers. NOT that it’s easy for businesses like hers. It’s hard to afford ads when it probably costs $10 or $100 to get a new person through the door and the unit of sale on the first purchase is $30 or $40.
But there ARE ways. Hamburgers became the meal of choice because way back before I was born this lady spent her days taking Whitecastle burgers to socially elite women’s groups for free to sample them. That whole fascinating story is in the book Anatomy of Buzz by Rosen. The point is, someone MARKETED them.
We get so busy running our businesses that we forget we ain’t GOT a business if we don’t do the things TODAY that result in new customers TOMORROW.
Law #5: It don’t MATTER what your front end is as long as it does 1 thing
One of my friends sold a distributorship for kiosks you put in the local mall. His lead generation method for the carts was they’d get dry ice and put it in a barrel and it’d cause all this smoke that attracted shoppers! I kid you not. Unconventional. But for him and his distributorships, it worked!
Some people like writing. Some like doin’ books. Some like ppc spreadsheets. Some like pouring over Facebook ad numbers. Some promote heavy duty on video or social media or Meerkat and Periscope. Or they crank out Youtube videos.
Some people find some stupid quirky method you never heard of that somehow works for them because they put energy and focus into it.
Like the cab driver I met whose big secret was delivering donuts. I tell that story and others in Book of Secrets. I also tell the story of the insurance agent who is a prospecting machine doing what hardly any insurance agents do.
When Walter Hailey was alive, his whole business was built on speaking at seminars, collecting business cards then having his phone room call ’em up and sell another seminar.
Well, he added a lot of other methods into it but that was the core of it. Very simple.
There’s the dude selling vacuum cleaners who figured out a way to get the people who bought to call and set an appointment for him with their friends. He’d sell 7 out of 8 of those appointments.
One time at the massive flea market in San Antonio, I saw a lady with a very nice final expenses booth. And she got 5 or so appointments from a day’s work there.
One guy I read about was an expert in setting up “bird dogs” who’d funnel him deals for a commission.
Joe Girard, the world’s greatest car salesman, would do that.
I admire the chiropractors who set up a little booth at the local mall and offer free screenings. They do it every weekend. And I bet pretty predictably every weekend they get X people come in.
Law #6: The theme is that there IS no theme
There is no right or wrong “front end.” The one rule is that successful sales people AND businesses have a way or ways. One way or the other by digging, scratching, clawing, luck or trying a crapload of things that didn’t work to find a few that did, they pieced together a front end that worked.
They may have just copied competitors. That works. But tends to disintegrate into dog-eat-dog real fast. That would be all the people selling on JV Zoo, clawing and climbing over each other to promote a launch. It works. I have one or two coming up I’ll do.
It’s not a great front end. It’s very work intensive. And today it’s mostly software products that sell well, not ebooks.
But there IS no theme. Barb Ling has built a nice business off of little $1 cheat sheets on the front-end. I gotta hand it to Barb. She just figured out her own way. It’s not conventional. I don’t think I wanna do it. But Barb is MAKING IT WORK FOR HER.
Did you hear that? She’s MAKING IT WORK. She’s tested, mucked around with and experimented until she got her formula down that works FOR HER.
What I find is this: MOST OF US have horribly low self confidence and give up at the first sign of not getting results fast. It’s NOT just you or me or anyone else. It’s almost ALL of us. We’re all hardwired that way.
I have no explanation for it. But it’s very hard in today’s world to stick with someone if you don’t get an immediate payoff. And guess what? You usually don’t get an immediate payoff.
Joe Girard’s original “big idea” was to hand every buyer a stack of business cards. And if they sent a friend over with their name on the back of the card, he sent ’em 50 bucks or something like that. And every month he sent his whole list a card.
Some people do phone calls or run phone rooms. NOT a great way to generate leads because your closing ratio on “cold” appointments sucks. It’s like 1 out of 10. BUT if you can get a LOT of those appointments and do it predictably vs. a small trickle of referrals or warm appointments, you tell me which is better.
It’s a no-brainer. Predictable beats feast or famine.
TJ Rohleder’s method is to send 30,000 pieces of direct mail a week. It’s not perfect. There are flaws in it. It’s as expensive as all get out. And you better be able to sell your back end product or you’re gonna be in a world of hurt fast.
But it works for TJ.
Another of my friends had a sales machine going sending a tearsheet Gary Halbert wrote for him. But for whatever reason he doesn’t mail it anymore. Sometimes your cash cow lays an egg and you move on. But other times, we make a big mistake because we stop doing what’s tested and proven to work only because we’re bored with it.
There’s a business in Malaysia that is called MindValley. They have incredible marketing. And thing that impresses me is their paid media. I don’t know how many staff they have doing their paid media marketing. But it’s definitely a machine. And THAT is why they’re successful.
Yes, they have innovative employee methods, great graphic design, innovative products. BUT make no mistake. Without their ENGINE they don’t exist. They are a little blip in the middle of outer space. That engine is the one that brings in new customers.
I’ll say the same thing about Grant Cardone. Like him or hate him. He is a lead generation machine. I’ve never in my life seen someone work social media like he does. Nor work as tirelessly as he does putting out books, articles, Youtube shows, media interviews and all the rest. He is a one man machine fueling a whole phone room that sells big tickets on the back end.
The bad news is that if something happens to him, as it stands now, the lead flow stops. It’s all manual labor. He needs a marketing department to fuel his sales machine without him.
YOU MUST HAVE A PREDICTABLE FRONT END or a predictable, growable way to put new prospects into your sales funnel.
Product launches work. They aren’t ideal. You have to hustle up a new product. Then you have to hustle the launch. And unless you’re using Rising Tide, you’re freaking out and going onto your next launch.
But even if you ARE using Rising Tide methods, you STILL have to move on to your next launch because that IS your new blood. Your lifeblood. Your engine. Your everything.
Without it, you die. A slow, painful, long, detracted death. Some of you have parents who went through that. And it’s the least desirable thing in the world. Fortunately, in business unlike life, we control our lead generation.
And we have the choice to scratch, claw, crawl, climb, experiment, and do whatever else it takes to find, create, morph or spin a way to stuff a predictable number of new potential back end buyers into our sales funnel, our machine, our pipeline — or whatever label, buzzword, acronym or terminology you wanna tack onto it.
People get all enamored with words and labels. Your funnel is your back end. Ain’t changed since the 1930’s when Charles Atlas was sending out direct mail sequences every bit as sophisticated as the sequences you see today.
You got a buyer and you sell ’em more stuff as soon as you can. Why? Because…
Law # 7: RECENCY IS KING. That’s why. The formula is RFM.
First recency. Then frequency. Then monetary value. You sell more FAST because the person most likely to buy is the person who just bought.
I didn’t think that up or say that. It’s a law of the universe. Our minds work based on RECENCY. That’s how they are. That’s how they’re constructed.
Now, there are levels of front ends.
Skinny rabbit front ends — This is where you barely have a trickle. If you have a rabbit, he’s skinny. This is NOT recommended.
Anemic front ends are hit and miss, sporadic and unpredictable
This is very undesirable.
Manual labor front ends like public speaking are highly efficient and predictable. They just suck up your time and energy. But very nice businesses are built off of them. My friend Joe Vitale does quite a bit of this with great results.
Consistent, predictable front ends — These are what healthy businesses are built off of.
But you always have to be testing others. And the reason is that what works today may peter out tomorrow. The truth is, more than a front-end peters out, the owner gets bored of it and moves onto something else.
Entrepreneurs do business for adrenaline. Once it’s too boring and repetitious, they tend to move on.
My friend Peter Visser is a Facebook king. He just took some dude’s trading business and within a few months basically has assembled a million-dollar machine off the back of a Facebook lead generation machine.
But Peter is more meticulous and detailed than I am EVEN IN my dreams. I doubt if you paid me a million dollars I still couldn’t be as meticulous and detailed as Peter is. That’s his unique ability.
Last week Alvin Huang posted that he spent $100,000 on solo email ads last month. HOW he did that is beyond me. I have no idea. But Facebook ads weren’t working for him. So he FOUND another way.
One of my friends sometimes runs radio ads giving away his ebook! It blows my mind but it works for him because he has a big ticket back end.
Law #8: You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself
My friend Joe Lavery yesterday told me he had a good discussion with ppc expert Jason Hornung who right now is spending $500,000 on ads a month for clients.
What I understand is a lot of people in our business are using him to generate leads or webinar attendees. If you have the “back end” you can afford to hire someone else to put new people into your funnel for you. You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself.
I’ve talked a lot about step one — the front end.
There is also the back end. And the big pitch today is you need to learn how to create this elaborate funnel so you can have the money to buy all the traffic you need on the front end. And really, there IS truth to that.
You certainly don’t score points for having an anemic back end.
But there are no rules.
Jermaine Griggs built hearandplay.com off of SMALL TICKET sales and continuity or his monthly membership.
His back end is a whole truckload of lower-priced products. And, I believe, he does have one, $1,000 widget, whatever it is.
You’ve got the big ticket coaching thing going on now that’s working great guns for some people. But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
I’ll probably write about it on another day.
It’s INTOXICATING when you have a SALES MACHINE that is churning out sales at a dizzying rate.
But that machine is dependent on the new customers coming it so they can be transformed by the sales machine into repeat and big ticket buyers.
I guess I’ll talk about the second another time. It’s a whole topic by itself.
Your take aways today are that there are no take aways other than you focus, you try things, you scratch, you claw and find a way to feed new life into your sales machine.
With it, life can be a grand endeavor.
Without it, pretty much business sucks.
The good news this is ONE scenario where at least WE have CONTROL over what we do, what type of machine we assemble, what the activities are and ultimately the results we get or don’t get.
There is a thing I call the song of the sirens. And it means a lot of things. But one thing is, we all want someone else to figure out everything for us. I know I do. It’s hard freaking work figuring out Facebook ads and other stuff.
And oftentimes, it DOES pay off to buy the knowledge of other people.
And sometimes, you find out people aren’t really selling what you need or works for you. So you just gotta dig in and find a way to MAKE IT WORK for you, one way or the other.
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The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.