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201 - A Consulting Call With My Mentor - Part 1 of 2

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Episode Recap:

I had a really rare opportunity to give some feedback to my initial mentor who got me started on this crazy journey. Listen in for thoughts and insights that should help you as well. On this special 2 episode series Russell talks about a recent social media post by Mark Joyner, and then he goes on to give him some awesome advice. Here are some things that Russell tells Mark Joyner, that could be helpful to anyone running a business.

-- Why having too many upsells/downsells will make your customers turn on you.

-- How removing complexity from software will make customers enjoy it more.

-- And why the more significance you seek, the less you will actually get.

So listen to Russell offer sound advice to his own mentor, Mark Joyner, about how he can improve his business.

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Best Quote:

I mean, it was as poor as you could get. But at the same time, my wife and I talk about this, the best time of our life. It was just so much fun. Sometimes we miss that part of it. But I still remember I’m in this house and I’m reading the farewell package and I want to buy it but I can’t afford it and I don’t know what to do. I don’t have a credit card at the time. My wife had one but she had, you know, before we got married she had a credit card. So we had someone help us pay it off, and we were paying that person back. So we were trying not to get into debt and all sorts of stuff.


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Alright everyone, so let me give you some context. When I first got in this game almost 15 years ago, when I jumped in it was kind of the wild, wild west. There was a whole bunch of stuff happening with no one really, it was just kind of crazy out there. It was Google was kind of there. There was a bunch of other search engines though, no one knew who was going to win you know before then. Before there was Myspace, there was a social network coming out called Friendster, some of you guys may remember that. There was a couple of people talking about marketing and stuff, but there wasn’t a lot out there.

And when I got on it was kind of like the wild, wild west and I was looking for stuff and I found a couple of people talking about things. But there wasn’t a lot that I could really find. Today I feel like so much of what we do online has been very defined and there’s clear lines of this is what we do and how we do it. A lot of the foundational frameworks and things have been figured out and mastered over the last 15 years.

And a lot of you guys who are jumping in the game now, it’s lucky you can just jump in and here’s the framework of what to do. But before that, even before I got on, there were people out there trying to figure this stuff out and one of the early, early, early pioneers was a guy named Mark Joyner. And Mark is, I mean, he’s got a military background, he’s written a bunch of books, he’s just an amazing person for so many reasons.

And I remember as I was starting my search online and trying to figure things out, I kept hearing his name pop up. And I didn’t know who was who, I didn’t understand the whole, any of the landscape of who was important and not. But I remember I heard his name a couple of times and all the sudden Is aw this campaign come out and it seemed like everybody’s emails who I had joined at that point, were all sending emails out saying “Mark Joyner, the godfather of internet marketing is retiring and he’s leaving behind everything. And he wants to shift what he’s doing in life and he’s selling off all the source code to all his sites and projects.”

And I remember it’s probably one of the best hooks I’ve ever heard. I was like, “What?” I remember going to the sales page and reading this thing called the Mark Joyner Farewell Package. I remember reading the sales page and I was like, “I have to have this. If I had this my life would change. I have to have it, I have to have it.” And I was going crazy because I wanted, I needed to buy it. But the problem was it was a thousand bucks. I had just married my beautiful wife, we were more than broke. I was a wrestler who was making zero dollars an hour. She was a secretary making 9.50 an hour. And we had a little house we were, I had just read Rich Dad Poor Dad so we bought this duplex and I was renting out half of it.

I mean, it was as poor as you could get. But at the same time, my wife and I talk about this, the best time of our life. It was just so much fun. Sometimes we miss that part of it. But I still remember I’m in this house and I’m reading the farewell package and I want to buy it but I can’t afford it and I don’t know what to do. I don’t have a credit card at the time. My wife had one but she had, you know, before we got married she had a credit card. So we had someone help us pay it off, and we were paying that person back. So we were trying not to get into debt and all sorts of stuff.

I remember reading the sales pitch and then all these people promoting it. And this guy named Mike Chen kept promoting it like crazy and I remember I listened to this interview with Mike Chen and Mark Joyner talking about how to have success in business and basically they’re like, “You need $2000 at least to get started. And part of that’s going to go to buying the farewell package for a thousand bucks, but you need some startup capital to actually be able to do something.”

And I listened to this thing all night in my bed, over and over and over again. And Finally I was like, “I have to invest in this thing.” And it’s funny now, looking back at how scared I was, but how grateful I am that Mark was willing to be a marketer and to sell a product that he believed in, that he had created, and that he had given me urgency and scarcity and desires for this thing. Because that next morning I woke up and I told Collette, “I think this is the thing.” And she’s like, “You’ve tried a ton of stuff. You really think this is it?” and I’m like, “I feel like this is the thing I need.” And she said, “Okay, I trust you.”

So we called the bank, we upped the credit card limit a little bit and I went and bought the farewell package. And I remember a week or two later it showed up, right when my wife and I were leaving, it was our one year anniversary and my parents were flying to Hawaii and they were taking us with them. So I had my little

So I had my little CD walkman player and on the flight I’m listening to the CD’s in the air from this farewell package and it’s Mark telling the war stories. How they built his companies back then. Again, pre-everything, he was building search engines and getting them indexed and building huge email lists with that. He was doing…I would love to actually go back, maybe I’ll do that. I should go back and re-listen to that whole course because he had so many of these brilliant ideas. Like when you can’t run FAcebook ads, how do you build a list? When there are no pay-per-click search engines besides the one you built, by the way. He was one of the first pay-per-click search engines. You’re like, how do you do it?

So he ahd to be super creative and he had all these amazing ideas and ways and he had some websites that blew up to be in the top 30 or 40 websites in the world, highest traffic websites, just all these amazing things that he developed.

So I remember listening to these CDs and just getting so many ideas about what to do and how to do it. It was really foundational from me. And I think of all the lessons I learned from Mark, and I learned a ton of them, but the one that was the most impactful was the focus point of building an email list. You have to build a list, you have to build a list.

And that season of the internet marketing game is when adsense sites became this thing and everyone is cranking out these ads and sites and making insane amounts of money and I kept wanting to shift my focus to that. I just kept hearing his voice in my head. I didn’t know him yet personally but from listening to his course so many times, “Focus on building a list, focus on building a list. That’s what you gotta do.” So I went back to those fundamentals and I was annoyed as everyone else was making millions of dollars around me doing nothing, building garbage sites. And then when that dried up and disappeared overnight I was so grateful for him as a mentor who stuck me to the fundamentals.

And you know, after Mark did his farewell package, he sold off all his source code stuff, he disappeared for like a year, I have no idea where he went, and then a year later he came back and was just kind of helping some people. And I jumped in and was like, “Dude, you have no idea how much you’ve helped me.” And we had a chance to connect a little bit there and talk a few times and I had a chance to interview him. And it was such a cool, it was cool of him to do that. It meant the world to someone like me, who he was everything to me. And it was so cool he was willing to come back and to share.

And then about a year later or so he launched a new company and it was in more of the personal development space, it was called Simplology. And I remember when he came back there was all the, you know, all the naysayers have to come in like, “Oh, I thought you were retiring from the internet, Mark.” And he’s like, “I was retiring from teaching internet marketing, I wasn’t retiring from using the internet. I’m not an idiot. I’ve heard this internet thing is probably going to last a little while.”

And he created this site called Simplology and he launched it, it grew really big really fast, and then you know, honestly I don’t know what happened. I have my assumptions, I think he had had so much success in earlier things, then when this started happening, I don’t know. Maybe it was a relationship thing, maybe it was family things, I don’t know. But I don’t feel like he was really engaged in the game for a long time. I think that Simpleology was working, he made a bunch of money, built a big list, but he didn’t really tend after if for, who knows, a decade or so. It’s there, it’s been doing it’s thing it just hasn’t you know, I don’t know. It hasn’t had his attention, his focus.

And you know, I was lucky enough 2 or 3 years ago he came out and we spent a day or two together and I helped him build a funnel, which was really fun and just super cool to go back and do that with my original mentor. In fact, we launched that funnel, and it’s funny, we filmed the whole Funnel Hacker TV episode, but we haven’t got that live yet. I’m going to have to go back and yell at Brandon on my team to see if we can get that thing live, because it was really cool that whole thing. I had so much fun having him hear in Boise.

In fact, one of the things I remember, one of his original books was called Mind Control Marketing, which was the book we actually did the funnel for. And I remember he opened it up and he signed his name in it and I looked at it that night, and it said something like, “To my number one student.” And I was like, “Oh my gosh, that is so cool.”

Anyway, so there’s enough of me fanboying. So let me talk about what the point of this podcast is. So it’s been interesting, I feel like when Mark came out to Boise and we spent the day or two together, I feel like we you know, kind of caught him on fire, got him re-excited about stuff. I think he saw how much excitement we were having with Clickfunnels and like the team and everything. And I think he was kind of getting excited to get back into it. And I’ve seen him do more and more stuff over the last year or two since he came out here. And I can feel like, I don’t know, it’s like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, this rebirth of excitement from him. And I feel like right now he’s in this momentum where he’s like, “Okay,  I want to do this thing.”

So the other night, he posted something on Facebook. It was, what was that about? Almost a month ago right now. So he posted this thing and I’m going to read you what he posted. He posted:

“Marketing guru’s, this is your chance to humiliate me. Number one, I’ve been stepping up my game lately. Number two, this is just the beginning. Number three, I want your advice on how to step it up even more. Better PR, better offers, better social, broader reach, better copywriting, better public speaking, better whatever the ‘eff’. Number four, be brutally honest. Skin is thick AF, ego in check, mind wide open, and then just be a….just don’t be a jerk about it. Bonus, I think this post will get some wide attention, see this as a free advertising opportunity for yourself and also as a deposit into Mark Joyner Favor Bank. I’m not a lannister, but I always pay my debts.”

So that’s kind of what he posted. I remember reading that and I was like, “Oh man.” It’s so interesting. And then I kind of sat back and I watched and I saw as comments started flooding in. And as of today there’s 167 comments and tons of people gave him good advice, tons of people gave him some bad advice. But of all the advice that was in there, there was one from actually my first, one of the first people I mentored. It was Justin Brooke, and I think his was the closest to what I would say, in short form, and then if I had more time with Mark, I would sit back and have a long form of bigger strategy things that I would talk about with him.

So what I want to do, I’m actually going to read Justin’s, I’m going to share a couple of quick thoughts I had, based on that. And then I want to sit, I basically want to record this as if I was sitting down with Mark. I told him ahead of time that I was going to record this. I said, “Look, I would love to do some more long form, where I act like this is a consultation. I’m going to go through 6 or 7 things I would really look at if I was you, and I would love if I could record this and I’ll send you the audio, and then you can basically have it. But I want to publish it as a podcast too, because I think this is going to help so many people who are kind of in a similar situation.”

And he said, “Yes.” And then he came back and said, “What if we do that, and then I go and implement a bunch of stuff you said, then we do an update podcast later, kind of showing the results.” And I was like, “Dude, that’d be awesome.” So I’m totally into that.

So this is the first podcast of a two part series probably, which would be cool. Alright, so let me read you what Justin Brooke said, Justin said:

“Said with the utmost respect and love, I am your raving fan, but I do see some things that could be improved. Number one, you seem to be falling into the trap for all great marketers of doing too much high level advance stuff, and not enough of the basics. Maybe your goals are different, maybe you don’t want the attention, but your profiles, sales pages, even the UI of simpleology is very dated. It’s not keeping up with what’s currently popular or best practices. Number two, it’s confusing who you are today. Are you in the fitness niche? Are you marketing? Are you personal development? I know you as the godfather of internet marketing, what happened to that messaging? Where’s that story on your profile pictures, bio, cover photo, website, youtube channel? If it’s not that anymore, then what? How do you want me to brag about you to my friends? (which is a cool line). And then number three, Simpleology is the great productivity software on the market, but it looks like the oldest productivity software on the market. It should be an app on my phone, it should look like Trello, it should be easy and intuitive like workflow, and it should have comparison pages to Asana to To-do list, Trello, workflow. I love you dude. You can do no wrong in my mind, but since you asked.”

So three really, really good things. Number one is he launched into what Mark does, and Mark is brilliant, which is the curse of most geniuses. He speaks at a very high level, and for people who are seeking improvement, we love that. We plug into it. The problem is that most people don’t seek for improvement, people are looking for new opportunities, as I’m going to talk about here in a minute, and the new opportunists need things at a more basic level.

Number two, I think there’s confusion of where he fits in the market. And number three is that Simpleology, like he said, it looks very outdated. So it’s come to those three things.

Now, a couple of things. I had some fast things that I wanted to just throw out there. Like if I was to write a post to follow up Justin’s, I’d have like a quick thing, before I’d dive into the longer, more fun, detailed geeking out on strategy and principle stuff. So I’m going to go through some of the core things really, really quickly.

To Justin’s three, the things I would probably add, the first one I’m going to go with Simpleology, kind of what he talked about with the, he said, “Simpleology is the great productivity software on the market, but it looks like the oldest productivity software on the market.” And I would say something similar. Mark, after you came out, (I’m going to speak to Mark, just directly for the rest of this probably. I hope that’s okay.)

So Mark, when you came to Boise and we were geeking out showing you all the Clickfunnels stuff, and you kind of did the same thing with Simpleology, you logged us in and created accounts for me and my team and we were all excited to kind of use it because we started doing it. And the word, the root word is simple, Simpleology, and it by default isn’t very simple. It was by far one of the most complex project management, task management things that I had used.  And because of that, we didn’t get traction.

Me and Stephen Larsen, as you know, we were geeking out like, “We’re going to do this.” And we tried it for a week, two weeks, I was going through all the black belt, white belt, all the training stuff. And by the time, 2 or 3 weeks in, literally the phrase we said was, “This is not simple at all, this is very complex. We’re going to go back to Trello because it’s simple.” So that’s what we did, we shifted back to the system that was actually very simple.

So that was one big piece of feedback, why we didn’t get traction, why we didn’t stick, is because the simplicity wasn’t actually there. Especially for a product that has simplicity, the word simple in the name. It’s like, we had to make it more simple. And you know, I say that looking at Clickfunnels, which once again, is very similar. It’s like the most complex software on the planet. And my biggest hurdle that I have in Clickfunnels is getting people to consume the software to the point where they can actually use it.

So I totally understand that. And it’s funny, we’re trying to do more of this now, but it’s hard this deep in the game for us, is instead of giving people all the complexity, if I could build Clickfunnels from the ground up again…Like let’s say I sold it for a billion dollars, I had a 5 year non-compete or whatever, I was starting over in 5 years from now. I would make Clickfunnels so simple and I would force people to opt into complexity.

So I would basically make Clickfunnels look like LeadPages, where it’s like, you can create a page and that’s it. And they would go int here and drag and drop and move things around, like, “Oh this is easy.” And I’m like, “Oh, you have a page, would you like to do a funnel?” And they’re like, “yeah, that’d be awesome.” And they’d click a button and then it’s like, “Okay, let me coach you on what a funnel is first.” So we explain the concept behind it, and then they click a button to unlock that complexity, to add it to it.

So that way we have a basic software, that way all we have to do for my onboarding, to get people to stick with the software is get them to come  into the very simplest, easiest thing, just convince them of that. And they use that and get a quick way and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, that’s easy.” And then for them to add the next thing, it’s not just like, click the button and go into it. They have to watch a video and get trained on it. And then when they opt into that complexity, it’s not complex because they just went through a training cycle to understand that.

And I’d totally, again if I was to do Clickfunnels from scratch today, that’s what I would do, I would make it simple. And then every time they want to add complexity, they have to opt into it, they watch the training and then it unlocks. And I wouldn’t sell them for each upsell, I would just opt them in at complexity. And they keep getting those things as they do it.

So for you, I know you said you have a new version coming out. So I would just look at that. Right now it’s just super complex for something that’s called simple. And I would at that and be like, “Let’s actually make it simple.” And then unlock the complexity as they go deeper. That’s number one.

Number two, I logged in tonight to Simpleology because I haven’t used it for a while. So I logged in and it put me immediately into an upsell flow, which as I respect as a marketer, but as a consumer it drove me crazy. It went to three upsells and with the third upsell was a sales video with comments down below and I couldn’t even get into the software.

So then I logged out, and I re-logged in and then it took me to the software. I’m like, I can’t even log into the software because it’s putting me through upsells. And as someone who loves upsells and downsells more than anyone on human earth, on planet earth, I also know that my lifetime value of my customers, if I’m not careful, upsells and downsells will destroy the lifetime value.

Back in a pre-clickfunnels life, when we were, before I really understood….in fact, I can tell you the story behind this. Every one of my funnels back in the day would always havce 3 upsells and 3 downsells. So if you said no to everything you went through 6 things every single time. And we were pulling out tons of money, so I thought it was right. And what’s interesting, one of my friends came out with this new software, it was Garrett Peirson and Scott Brandley, they came out with this new software called Shopware Proved, and they were like, “Hey, put this on your thank you page. This is when people are most happy. They just bought something, they’re so excited. And then they review you and you get really good reviews.”

I was like, “Cool.” So I put this thing on my thank you page for one of our funnels during a launch. And then all the sudden the reviews start coming in and I was like, “This is awesome.” So I let it run for you know, 4 or 5 hours in the middle of the launch, then I logged in to see what my stars looked like. I think my overall rating was like 2 ½ stars. I was like, “What? These are my best buyers, these guys should love me right now.”

And I started reading the comments and people were like, “If I see one more upsell I’m going to kill you. I don’t even want your product anymore.” All these things. I was like, “Oh my gosh, my customers hate me.” It’s because we took them through a so complex upsell process.

So for me, I always look at, how do I…I want as many upsells as possible without making the person angry. So if you look at like evolution of funnels for me, especially funnels that have upsells and downsells, I’m very, very careful. That’s why we kind of pioneered the whole order form bump thing, because someone would buy a product, you know in the 2 step order form, they’d put in their shipping address and then right before the submit button we’d have an order form bump and we start putting those things in because it would increase our cart value, but people didn’t look at it as an upsell. So it didn’t decrease customer happiness. So we had those bumps that we plugged in there.

And then I used to go all the way from having 6 upsell/downsells to the max, I have an internal rule, the most we can have is 2. And if it’s upsell/downsell, that’s it. If it’s an upsell/upsell, that’s it. For me, we never go more than 2. That’s like an internal rule, everyone in my company knows. We do 2 and that’s it. And from that point, our happiness level and our lifetime value of our customers have dramatically gone up because they’re not sick of us by the time it’s over. So that’s kind of a thing to look at.

For me to login, I went through three upsells and I then I couldn’t even get to the software. And this is me logging in, I’m sure it’s similar after signing up for the first time. I would just look at when someone’s creating an account on my software, it’s more important for me to get them using the software than for me to make revenue immediately. That’s not always true. In the 6th thing I have here for you, there are frontend funnels with a goal and a focus of upsell/downselling, but then from there I push them into my software. And Clickfunnels is very light on any kind of upselling through the signup process, because I just want them to have a good experience and get them to stick.

And then the third thing would say, and again this is my quick feedback, my facebook post that I would have made, is the concept of significance. And I share this, this is one I’ve been kind of nervous to share, but I think it’s really, really important. I don’t want to name names because these podcasts are public and things like that, but it’s been interesting in my journey. I’ve had a lot of chance to work with people who, in fact, the first time I ever heard about this I was in a car ride with Tony Robbins and Tony was talking about doing a partnership with somebody asking my opinions on it. I was like, “I like that person, I think they’re pretty good.” He said, “yeah, the problem is that person is significance driven, therefore I’m not going to do the deal with them.”

I was like, “Oh my gosh. Am I significance driven?” and I was freaking out. And I’m having Tony Robbins look at my soul and I’m like, “am I significance driven?” and it made me really, really nervous. And I’ve always been cautious of that since. I don’t want to be significance driven. I want to be driven by other needs, other things.

All of us have significance, it’s part of what we do. It’s what drives us, especially entrepreneurs, it’s significance. But what I’ve found is a lot of people, especially from the older time, the foundational time, and these are offline guru’s who I respect and I love, and some of the early online guys, is that they got a lot of significance when they did, and I know that you specifically kind of told me this before when I think I had an event that I wanted you to speak at. And this is before Clickfunnels came out, but you said, “You know, I can only do it if I’m the keynote speaker, because I need to maintain my branding, and my positioning.”

And I was like, “I understand that, but the problem is if you’re not careful with that it ruins opportunities.” It’s funny I was talking to Dave Woodward on my team about this, pretty in depth. I said, “It’s interesting how much significance I have right now in my life. More than I could ever even hope for and the less I try to be significant, the more significance I get. The more I push it away the more I get.” And it’s funny because I see a lot of people who hold onto significance, and they want to be significant, feel significant, and because of that, they disappear from the public face.

So for me, the biggest thing I would say is, and I feel like you’re doing it now, in fact, this post is a great example of it, is being willing to be vulnerable and coming off of that, breaking posture is what draws people toward you. And in the early days of the internet it was different because it wasn’t social media right, it was ads and it was emails and it was clicks, so it didn’t matter as much. But in today’s world where everything is social, significance actually repels people, it’s like a magnet that pushes people away. Whereas vulnerability is what draws people in. And you can see that from this post right here alone.

So for me it’s like, when I talk about my significance and my achievements and my accomplishments, stuff like that, it never draws people towards me. When I talk about my failures, and the things I struggle with, things like that, it draws people towards me.

So there’s a point in your stories to have that significance, where it’s like, ‘hey, I did blah, blah, blah.” But if you look at any of my webinars or my stories or my videos, I touch upon significance, I say things so that people know that I’m significant, but I jump off that as fast as I possibly can. Like it may something like, ‘Here’s, I had a chance to build a funnel for Tony Robbins when he launched his new book.” Boom, there’s a huge significance hit, but then I jump back and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, it was the most stressful thing in the world so I was scared.” And I go into that and then all the sudden they’re like, “Oh my gosh, he’s human. He was scared just like I would have been scared.” And that’s what draws them in.

Me doing something with Tony does not, it gives me the credibility but the significance actually pushes things away. So for you it’s like the more vulnerable you get, the more your audience is going to connect with you and they’re going to build with you, and the more you kind of put significance away. And again, I feel like you’re doing that now anyway, which is awesome. But it’s something that when you were in Boise I wanted to say to you, but I didn’t know how to say it to you.

Because I look at you and I’m like, ‘Man, I have so much respect for you. Why do most people in our world not know who Mark Joyner is right now?” it’s because, partially its obviously by design. That wasn’t your goal, that wasn’t your mission at the time. But part of it is you were trying to maintain a certain positioning, which made you lose your positioning.

I always tell people now, by trying to be significant, you’ll lose your significance. By giving it away, is when you become significant. It’s kind of a hard thing to explain but I hope that kind of makes sense


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