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475 - Geeking Out on Story with Josh Forti, Part 2

Geeking Out on Story with Josh Forti, Part 2

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In this second installment of this special interview, Russell and Josh go super deep on ‘the master story’ and the attractive character…and what happens when you have tons of followers and NO ONE buys!

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Not so much controversy, but creating content specifically around storytelling, because I think this is probably one of the biggest... Let me give backstory, a little context around this. I came into the world completely backwards of what most people do, right? So I was the guy that came into the world, and most people have no following and no followers, and they can't get leads to happen. Right? And they don't get anybody to show up to their webinar. And then they're super depressed because nobody showed up and nobody bought. I had the exact opposite problem. I had everybody show up and nobody bought. And let me tell you, that's way more depressing. You know why? Because when everybody shows up and nobody buys, you're like, "Crap. Now I really am screwed because I have no idea what's going on." Right?


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What's up, everybody? This is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Marketing Secrets Podcast. So, today's episode is probably from most of my conversations with Josh, might have been one of my favorites. It was really, really fun. We started talking about expert secrets and storytelling and how they work, and attractive character profiles, which one you should be using, and how they work, and can you change them? And then also he started going into his concept of the master story, which is something I talk about in Perfect Webinar, but he goes really, really deep in it. And anyway, we geeked out. This was a really fun episode. I hope you enjoy it. With that said, let me cue up the theme song. When we get back, you'll have a chance to listen to this exciting conversation with me and Josh talking about story and attractive character, and a bunch of other really cool things.

Josh Forti: I got to ask this. Are you not on Twitter? Like I see you on Twitter a lot, and I see you posting stuff on Twitter. But is it not you that's engaging on Twitter?

Russell: No, I don't know how to tweet.

Josh: You don't know how to tweet? Russell, I tweeted you a lot. Or not a lot, but I tweeted you quite a bit.

Russell: Oh, hey.

Josh: And then sometimes you like my tweets. Dang it.

Russell: I do like all your tweets. They're awesome.

Josh: Yeah. Oh, man.

Russell: I personally, I enjoy Instagram, probably my favorite. And then Facebook's probably number two. But that's the two social platforms I spend my personal time on the most. So, if it's from either of those two platforms, it's usually me. If it's other places...

Josh: Do you have it like broken up? Like are you like, "Instagram, I do this type of content and stuff on. And Facebook, I do this type of content on." Or is it kind of like a mixture of both? Or...

Russell: Um.

Josh: For you personally. I know your team posts stuff, but...

Russell: The only place I really post/do stuff typically is Instagram, like stories. That's where I kind of, like me personally, do stuff. And then Facebook and my personal page, probably once, every once in a while, I drop stuff there. And everything else, that's my team.

Josh: Yeah, that's rare though, not often.

Russell: Yeah.

Josh: You're not like me who's like, "What? It's been 48 hours without some form of controversy? What can I say? Oh my God."

All right. Well, actually, I kind of want to talk about that though. Not so much controversy, but creating content specifically around storytelling, because I think this is probably one of the biggest... Let me give backstory, a little context around this. I came into the world completely backwards of what most people do, right? So I was the guy that came into the world, and most people have no following and no followers, and they can't get leads to happen. Right? And they don't get anybody to show up to their webinar. And then they're super depressed because nobody showed up and nobody bought. I had the exact opposite problem. I had everybody show up and nobody bought. And let me tell you, that's way more depressing. You know why? Because when everybody shows up and nobody buys, you're like, "Crap. Now I really am screwed because I have no idea what's going on." Right?

Russell: It was me, and not the… whatever, yeah.

Josh: Right. It's not because nobody's hearing it. It's because I actually suck. And I remember the first time I ever did a webinar, we actually... I don't know if you remember this or not. I actually sent you a Snapchat. This is right when you first got Snapchat. This is way, way back in the day. I've told this story before. And I went and I was like, "Russell, what's up, man? I'm trying to build this webinar. How much would you charge me to build out a webinar for me or whatever?" Right? And you sent me a little video, a Snapchat video back. You're in the Jeep, and you were like, "Man, I don't really do that. I don't really do that anymore." So I like snapped you back, and then you snapped me back, and you're like, "It'd probably be like $250,000 or something like that. But I don't really do that." I'm like, "Man, I really wish I would've hired you for 250 grand."

But anyway, so I go and we do this huge webinar, and everyone told us... We were like, "We're going to have all these people sign up." And everyone's like, "No. No, you're not. Nobody gets people to their webinar that easy. You maybe have a hundred registrants." We had 2000 people register, and we had a thousand people... We maxed out the room with a thousand people on live. At the pitch, there was like 982 people in the room. I go through, I do my pitch. No one buys, not a single person. And then we hung up, and like an hour goes by, and one person had bought. And most miserable, depressing...

Russell: That's the worst because then you're like, "Crap. I thought there was no sound or something. Maybe they didn't hear me."

Josh: Right, right, right. But I sat there and it was a bad webinar. We had like dozens, probably hundreds of emails and comments of like, "Can I have my money back for a free webinar? This totally sucks. Worst experience ever." It was awful, right? And what was interesting is that really scarred me for a while, from doing presentations and from doing anything where I pitched live. And so I basically went and I just did sales from that point on. I did lots of presentations. I did lots of content. But I did not actually go and pitch because really, it was like PTSD almost. Right? It was like, "I don't want to go back there."

And what was interesting is I went and I would do sales, and I got good at sales, but sales is hard, man. Sales is just a different game. It's just like pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing. Right? And then my brother died, and out of just sheer not knowing what to do, I just started sharing my story because at that point you're like, "What do you do? My whole life is messed up at this point. I'm so confused." And so I just start sharing what I was going through, and I start sharing things of like the emotions and what I'm learning and what I'm going through. And I remember people just started buying, and it was like the weirdest thing, because I wasn't selling anything. Right? But I would go through and I'd be like, "I'm super grateful and thankful to have an audience right now because I'm able to go through and have a business that allows me to go and like be mobile and go to my brother's funeral or whatever." And then people started buying my programs. And I was like, "What in the world?" And then I would share other things, and then people would start buying. And I'm like, "I'm not actually selling these things. I'm just talking about my life."

And what was interesting is I went back eventually later that year, and I went back to all these different people, and I was like, "Why did you buy this product?" And they're like, "Well, because you told such and such a story." Oh, that's interesting. So then I went over here and I was like, "Why did you buy that product?" And they're like, "Well, you guys told such and such story." And it was a completely different story. And it was like they were buying because they would hear a story, and they would associate that story with a product that I was selling, and they would go buy it. And so I had all these different products and all these different stories, and I was like, "Okay, well, I got to figure out what's the one story that I want people to figure out?" Right? So I could sell the one product.

And so that's what I've really been focused on recently. But that lesson taught me that storytelling was everything, because I had heard that from you a million times. Right?

Russell: Yeah. You didn't believe it.

Josh: Story, story, story, story. Right? And I'm like, "I'm telling stories, Russell. What more do you want me to do?" But I wasn't. I was telling facts and I was going out there and trying to sound smart. And when I just let go of it all and was like, "This is the story, like the real, the raw, the genuine. I'm not trying to sell you anything. This is legitimately what's going on in my life." I made more money and more sales than I had before.

And so I would love for you to talk about... Like I know in Expert Seekers you go through like storytelling and all the different, the core four stories, and the change of false beliefs. But what's the key? And maybe that's it, like going back through that. And that's fine. But like what's the key to telling a good story? Because I think not only do people... And there's a follow-up question to this, which I'm not going to tell you what it is yet. But what are the elements that make a good story? What actually makes a story work? And how do you tell one effectively?

Russell: Yeah. First off, it's fascinating because I went through a very similar journey when I got in this world too. I remember going to my very first event. I saw people selling from stage, and seeing the numbers and doing the math, I was just like, "This is crazy. There's no way this actually works." And then I remember getting invited to speak at a seminar, and it was different because webinars are painful, but man, standing on stage and doing a pitch, and then it bombing was even worse. Because it's just like all these people, nobody moved, and it was just like... In fact, I remember I was like, "I'll never, after the first one, I'll never do this again." That was the worst experience ever.

And that's when I joined the Dan Kennedy world, and they had this public speaking course. It was like 40 CDs. I remember the pack was like this thick of CDs. And I bought it because I was like, "I want to figure this thing out." I started listening to him. And I don't remember the course at all, other than this feeling of just like it's not teaching. Teaching is not what gets people to buy when you're on stage. It's telling these stories that connect with people. And it shifted my mindset, and so it shifted to the point where I went and tried again. And the next time I tried, I tried to weed these things in, and I got like six sales, a thousand bucks apiece. And I was like, "Oh, okay." Like I got the reward of like this actually worked. And then I was like, "Okay, do it again and do it again." And then you start getting obsessed with it.

And then for me, most of my education for the next five years... Because there wasn't a lot of people that had courses on public speaking or things like that. There were a couple, but there wasn't a lot. I just went... And from a timeline, it was before the big 2000 whatever, the big crash in 2008 or whatever. And so there were events happening every single weekend. So I'd go to an event every weekend, and I would sit there and I would just watch the people speak. And I would watch what they were doing and then see how people would buy at the end. And people, the ones that had the big table rushes and stuff, I was like, "Okay, what did they just do? What'd they do to me? How did they do it? What did they say?" And I was like trying to dissect what they were doing.

And then I would model that for my presentations. I'd be like, "Oh, I like how they did that part, how they told the story or how they got emotional." Sort of like just studying. McCall Jones calls it charisma hacking. I didn't know that's what it was at the time. But I was just watching how they did stuff and how it made me feel. And it wasn't just like selling from stage. I started watching religion people as well. Like some of the best presenters in the world are preachers and pastors and things like that. And I was watching just people speak and how they got me to feel and move, and how they told stories in a way that was exciting.

And then so that's like this study I started going on. Then I met Michael Hague. I started learning about story structure. I was like, "This isn't just made up. There's actual structures and there's things in place. And this guy's way easier," because now I'm not just guessing. There's actually a pathway.

Anyway, so that's kind of my history with it too, but it's fascinating. But I think that if I was to break it down into something for people to understand that's not complex but simple... Because you can go to the Expert Secrets book and it can get really complex. But the simplest form is that if somebody's coming to you, it's because they're looking for something different, right? They want change. They want more. There's some result. And I always think about this like on a mountain because Dan Kennedy used to talk about this. He's like, "You need to become the guru on the mountain. And people are going to come to the base of the mountain, and the closer they get to you up the mountain, the more they're going to pay." Right? So, the base of the mountain, they're paying a hundred bucks a month for a newsletter. And then they want to get closer, they pay 500 bucks a month, then a thousand bucks a month. And for whatever, for 50 grand, they can sit at your feet and talk to you." And he used to always talk about that guru on the mountain thing.

And back when I was first studying this, the way people sold was different. It was much more like that. It was more of a status play like, "This is how successful and why you should come up here. And if you want to be like me, you got to come to me, pay me more money." And I never really resonated with that, partially because I'm awkward and I always felt awkward like positioning myself. So I never liked that, and so I started learning about story structure. It was cool because I realized that the positioning of you on the mountain, it's essential, right? But it's not like you sell from the top of the mountain, yelling down to the people. It's like people see you on the top of the mountain, and they're down here like, "I want to be up there." You're like, "Cool." And then it's you coming down off the mountain, running down to where they're at, and being like, "Okay, I know exactly where you're at. Let me tell you my story, because I was in your same spot at one time." Right? And that's the power.

So, if you look at the way I do my presentations, I usually drop like one slide or one thing like, "Hey, this is the thing you want." Right? Like, "Cool, I've made whatever." Like I'll do my quick posturing just so they know that I've been to the top of the mountain they're trying to get to. But then I don't stay there. But again, if you watch the old-time speakers from the nineties and early 2000s, they would spend the 90-minute presentation talking about them on top of the mountain the whole time. And I just hate it. So I drop real quick, so you know that I know I've been where we're trying to get to, but I got to come back very, very quickly.

And the story I'm telling you is the story, my story, of them. Right? I have to put myself in their spot. Like where was I when I went through the same thing? Because all of us, if you got to the top of the mountain, somewhere you had to start hiking. And you went through that journey to be the guru on the top. Right? And so it's like coming back and remembering where are they at or where were you at, telling your story. And if you tell it the way that they connect, they're like, "Oh my gosh, they are me. I was Russell. Russell went through this. He understands." And there's empathy. Then they trust you. Then they want to go on that journey with you.

That's like when you came out and you started telling your story, it wasn't you posturing a position of how great you were. But it's like, "Hey, I've done this thing you're trying to figure out. But let me tell you my story and how I'm struggling, how I'm still struggling, the struggles I went through, and the pain and the fear." And all of sudden they're like, "Oh, I feel that too. I feel the pain. I feel the fear. I understand those things. This person understands me. I can trust them to take me on this journey because he's not going to be the person who's just positioning how great they are. It's someone who I have empathy with. They understand me." And that's the key. Because if they feel like you understand them, then they're going to go on that journey with you. And you do that by telling the story, like your version of their story. Because they're living it right now, and you've lived it the past. You've got to tell that in a way where they connect and now they're going to want to go on that journey with you. And that's kind of the key to it all.

Josh: That's super, super interesting. Yeah. Because when I think about story structure, because I've like tried to simplify things down in my own head... Because it's always interesting, because I'll watch everything that you do, and so it's funny whenever I do presentations, people are like, "You're a mini Russell." I'm like, "Well, that makes sense actually. Right?" Like I've watched all this stuff, right?

So, but for me, man, going through Expert Secrets, I don't know, it was probably the third or fourth or maybe even fifth time through before I finally actually was like, "Oh yeah, you actually do know what you're talking about." Because every step of the way I'd be like, "But my story doesn't fit in. That doesn't work." Or like, "Mine doesn't have that." Or like, "It's not that systematic." Or, "Russell, it's too much of a science. There's more of an art to it." And then I'd read about it and I'd be like, "This is so scientific." And then I'd watch you do it and I'm like, "That's so artistic." And I'm like, "But they're the same." Right?

And so I would try to figure out ways to simplify it down to a way I can understand it. And then once I would understand it, I would plug it into yours, and then it would work. Right? And so for me, it was always like, okay, there's four parts. It's, "How did I get here?" Right? That's backstory. Like, "How did I get to right here right now?" That's like that. And then it's, "Where am I going?" Right? So, the goal, the desire. And then it's, "How am I going to get there?" New vehicle, new opportunity, right? And then it's, "What's it going to look like?" The vision, like what's it going to look like in the process of all that, so we can paint this thing and we get people emotionally attached?

And so for me, in my brain... And they don't always happen in that sequential order. Like sometimes you start with the desire, and then you go back, but it has to have all four of those parts. And then I would take that and I would go, and then I would apply it to the Expert Secrets, and then it would start working. Right? I was like, "Oh my gosh, that's what Russell's doing here and here and here." And then you actually have this whole framework out about it, right?

And I think one of the things for me is I always go... Because we've done book clubs on Expert Secrets. I teach stories in marketing. I teach stories in personal development. Like stories and storytelling is a big part of what I do now, especially over the last six months and moving forward. One of the questions that continues to come up is... Well, there's two parts. Let me start with the first one. "Hey, Russell, that's all great, but I'm not a leader. I'm not the attractive character that's the leader." Right? "I'm not the person that figured it out and am living my customer's journey." And there's actually a lot more of those people than I thought. I thought most people were leaders because that's what I was when I first got started. So my question is, do you tell this story a different way? Or how is the story different, how is it positioned differently, if you are not the leader? Because I know you're not in your story. You're the reluctant hero, right?

And so I tell people, I'm like, "Before you start figuring out your story, you got to figure out what attractive character you're going to be." Right? And we go through the four inside of Expert Secrets. It's like there's the leader, there's the adventurer, there's the reporter, and then there's the reluctant hero. And what's interesting is early on in my journey, I was the hero. Right? I was the one, I was like, "Guys..." I was literally this broke kid, freaking living in a $500-a-month apartment with duct tape windows. And now I'm not, right? And Instagram was the thing, and social media, and here we go. Right? But as I evolved, then the podcast came. And without even realizing it, I became the reporter. Right? And so how does, based on your attractive character, how does that change the story or how you tell it?

Russell: Yeah. And it's funny because mine's transformed, not only just throughout time, but in different situations as well. Right? Like sometimes I'm the attractive... You know, when I got started, say when I was an interviewer, so I interviewed people. So I was a reporter for a long time. But then I transitioned to like a reluctant hero. But there's other times, like if I'm on Hockey Live, I'm not the reluctant hero, right? At that time I've got to be the hero. Like I'm coming in and I'm setting authority because I've got a whole group of alphas in the room. And if I don't come there as like the head alpha, they will run me over. If you're like in a situation with Tony Adib, like if I'm that situation, I'm transitioning more back to reporter because I'm leveraging Tony's expertise and things like that. And so I'm going back as a reporter.

Same thing with Dan Kennedy right now. You look at... It's fascinating. Like we just bought Dan Kennedy's company, right? We just launched the first Dan Kennedy new offer. By the way, if you're listening, go to and go sign up. But yeah, like...

Josh: By the way, make sure you go through my link.

Russell: Yeah. But look at like how I've... It's /JoshForti, yeah.

Josh: Yeah.

Russell: But if you look at like how I'm positioning this offer, it's not me coming as like Russell's the alpha. Right? I'm coming back here as like, "This is my mentor. Boom. And I had this chance to acquire, but I'm going to go through 40 years of his stuff, and I'm bringing it back to you." And I'm pulling these things out, and this is what I learned from Dan and what I learned from Dan here." Right? And it's me coming back in a reporter role with my mentor, and that's how I'm introducing the world to him.

So, it shifts, right? It shifts based on the story and the situation. Like what are you using it for? Right? Like I could've come in and be like... Because there's different posturing. Like I could've come in and been the hero and like, "I bought Dan's company. We bringing it back from the dead. Da, da, da." Like put it on me. But that story, first off, didn't feel good. But second off, it's not the story that needs to get people to move. The stories to get people to move is me giving homage to this guy who's changed my life, and now I'm going to be having the chance to bring these things back to you. Like me becoming the reporter back in that phase, in that business and that side, is a more powerful story to use. Right? And so it's all coming down to figuring out what's going to be the best story, right, in this situation and where you're at, and thinking through that. Because right now you're in a reporter role, but other times I still see you, you shift back over where you're running different things. So it's just trying to figure out what's...

Again, these are all tools. I was talking to the Two Comma Club X members this week. And part of the group's doing challenges, part are doing webinars, part are doing different things. And they're like, "Which one should I do? Which one's the best?" I'm like, "No, it's not which one's best. These are tools. Like this is a hammer, this is a saw, and different jobs and different tools." And so it's like if I'm coming in here, I want a hammer, but over here I want a saw, and here I want a hammer and a saw, because I'm going to do this thing. Right? And same thing with stories, understanding that. Like your attractive character can shift. Mine's shifted more throughout time, but also situationally it shifts where it's like, okay, this is the role I need to be here, and it's okay to shift back to reporter.

I've seen people, in fact... Well, can I drop names? Yeah. Who cares? So like Grant Cardone's a good example. I love Grant. Grant is like the leader, right? And at 10X, after we set all these sales records, Grant was going to shift to the interviewer and he was going to interview me. And it would've been a really fascinating thing for him to pick my brain and ask. And we sat down and we got in the thing, and he sat there for a second, and all of a sudden he was like, he didn't want to. He thought like shifting to the interviewer was a decrease in status. And he literally stopped before he started and said, "Actually I don't want to interview you. I'm going to have somebody else do it." And he got off the little thing, had somebody else come in, and that person interviewed me. And I was like, "Ah, dang it." It would've been so powerful for him.

Josh: Come on, Grant.

Russell: It would been so powerful for him, for his positioning, for people to connect with him better, if he would've come off like, "I'm Grant Cardone." You know, trade, come down for a second, and done the reporter, and been excited. Because he genuinely was excited. He, backstage, was freaking out. He was like, "I've never seen what you just did. That was amazing." Like it was this cool thing. And it humanized him for a minute. And he could have had that moment where he did it, and he didn't. Whereas me right now with Kennedy, I'm paying all homage to Dan. He's amazing. And it, first off, makes the offer better, makes the story better, but it also makes me more... People connect because now it's like they're the same thing. Like, "Oh my gosh. I have mentors. I can be excited about what they're learning." I don't have to posture all the time where I'm the only person. You know what I mean?

Josh: Yeah. Well, it's super interesting that you say that because studying influencers has been something that I've kind of geeked out about. And one of the things you talk about in there, in Expert Secrets or whatever, is the attractive character has flaws. Right? And when the attractive character owns those flaws, it actually makes their supporters love them more. And what's interesting is that I've looked at people like Trump, and we're not trying to get political here in any way, shape or form, but one of the big criticisms of Trump, even from his own people, and I being one of those, is he never admits when he's wrong. He never will step down and even give the idea that somebody else could be right. And because of that, that actually hurts him a lot more in the long run than in the short, than it gains him in the short term. Right? And so it's that same concept.

And then I look at someone like a Dave Portnoy, right? And do you follow Dave at all? Dave Portnoy? Okay. So he's the founder of Barstool Sports, and he's the one that did the Barstool Fund and everything like that or whatever. Here's a dude who, I mean, his fan base is not as large as Trump's, but as far as like fans and fans, people love Portnoy. Right? Like, I mean, there's his fans. But he makes fun of himself constantly, right? And he's constantly coming back and being like, "Yeah, I messed up." All of his bets are public because he owns like a gambling or a sports betting company. So you go to his Twitter and it's nothing but all of his wins and then all of his losses. Right? And so you can see both, and people just love it. And anytime people are trying to bash up on him, all of his supporters come and they're like, "Yeah, we know he's an idiot. Right? But he's an amazing idiot. Yeah." Right? And so it's like when you show that other side, people connect to you even better. And it's such a fascinating concept because it's opposite of what our brains think. You know what I mean?

Russell: A hundred percent. It's counterintuitive. Like we want to always posture position, thinking that's the... It's just like the guru on the mountain we talked about, right? Like in the eighties, nineties, every expert wanted to be the person, the infallible expert up here at the top. But man, that's not what gets people to connect. It's the coming down and like, "Dude, I struggle too. I remember the pain. I remember the pressure, the fear, the scare, like all those things." And that's what connects people. People crave connection now. Maybe there was a time in history where people just wanted the other thing. But nowadays it's not that way. People connect with vulnerability. But it's hard, it's scary, because it's like... In fact, Natalie Hodson, I think she quoted Brene Brown, but she's the one that told me this. She's like, "When you're vulnerable, you feel small, but people looking at it, it feels makes you feel big to them." So it's a weird thing where you're like, "I feel horrible," but it makes them look at you and like, "Oh my gosh, this person's willing to say things I'm thinking in my head and I don't dare to talk about because of my own fear and anxiety and status, and all those kind of things." And it gives them that thing, and that's what gets people to connect with you. It's really fascinating.

Josh: Yeah, for sure. For sure. Okay. Last piece on this, which will take up the rest of the time for sure, is the number one question that I get hands down when it comes to stories... I'm sure you've heard this a million times, but in the odd case that you haven't, Russell, your people want to know this. Okay? The number one question is: How do I know which story to tell?

Russell: Ooh, that's good.

Josh: Right? It's the hardest thing because people are like... And it's always hilarious because I'll sit down and I'll be like, "Well, what story are you trying to tell?" And they're like, "I don't know." And I'm like, "Well, here's your life story." And I will tell them because I'm like their coach and I've been around them for six weeks or whatever it is. And I'll go, "Here's your story. Boom, boom, boom." And I'll summarize their entire life in 30 seconds. And they're like, "How did you do that?" And I'm like, "Because it..." Well, anyway, I want to know the answer to their question. How do you know what story to tell? Because everybody has these. We're so close, right? And for me, I'm about to turn 28, right? My 28th birthday, we'll do a big birthday bash. Russ is coming on. It's going to be great. We're going to want to do podcasts. It's going to be so cool. Right? But it's like I've got 28 years worth of experiences. How do I know what to tell?

Russell: Yeah. It's fascinating. When I wrote the first version of the Expert Secrets, I didn't know that was the question people had. I didn't even know how to answer. It never crossed my mind. And anyway, I wrote the second version of the Expert Secrets and I'd seen it, so I'd updated it. But no one ever commented. And it wasn't until... Actually, you came to it. You came to the most recent FHAT event I did, right? The expert one? Yes, okay.

Josh: Yeah, not the e-com one, but yeah.

Russell: Yeah. So the first time I shared that publicly was at that event, and I remember it was fascinating because Steven Larson is probably one of the people that have studied me the most. And he raised his hand like, "Oh my gosh." He's like, "I finally understand what story I'm supposed to tell." And that was coming from Steven who like... And I was like, "Interesting."

So, this is the problem I think that... And I always tell people, "Tell your backstory. Tell the origin story." So they're like, "Okay. I was born in Provo, Utah, March 8th, 1980. It was a cold night." And they, they go back to there, right? Because they think that's the story, because I tell them, "Tell your origin story." And it wasn't until at that event... Again, I think, I'm pretty sure in the second version, the hardbound version of DotCom Secrets, it's in there. But it was that event where I really said, "The story you're telling is not like your origin story. It's your origin story of how you came upon or created or figured out your framework. It's your interaction with the framework you're sharing." That's the key, right?

So, when I'm talking about the perfect webinar, for example, the origin story I'm telling is not my origin story. It's my origin story discovering this framework. So, for example, I went to Armand Morin’s event and I saw people speaking on stage. I did the math, and then I spoke on stage, and I looked like an idiot. And I went back home, and then I bought Dan Kennedy's course. I realized it was wrong, and then I went through the thing. And so it's that story, it's how I learned or I earned this framework. Like how did I come up with... What was the things I went through to discover this gem that I'm bringing now from the top of the mountain down to them, saying like, "This is the thing I found out, and this is the story about how I found it. Let me share it with you." And be like, "Ooh, I want that gem. I want that gold nugget." And then they come with you on the journey to go and get that with you. So, that's the most simple way I've figured out how to explain it.

I'm curious on your side, because you've explained versions of this as well, would you add to that or change it? Or what are kind of your thoughts on it?

Josh: Well, so let me start by telling you the biggest struggle that I had. Like I'm talking for over a year of reading Expert Secrets, I struggled with one specific thing that I could not figure out, and it was the question that I wanted to ask you for the longest time. And then like right before we got an interview, I figured it out. I was like, "Oh my gosh." But it was I didn't understand the difference between the backstory and secret number one. And what I meant mean by that is like, to me, I'm like, "First you discover funnels, and then you teach them the framework for funnels. It's the same thing." But then you would say they're different. And I'm like, "How?" Right? Like I don't understand the difference between those two things.

Now, at first I didn't understand it at all. And then kind of my first epiphany or my first breakthrough was, "Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait. First the backstory introduces the thing. And then secret number one has the framework for the thing." Right? And so then that was kind of my first realization of like, "Okay, these are separate. It's one, it's the thing. And then the framework for the thing." But then I would look at your webinar and I would go, "Russell, Russell, what's your framework? Like what's the framework to build a funnel?" I'm like, "It's hook, story, offer." That's what I thought, right? I'm like, "In order to build a good funnel, it's hook, story, offer." And then I was like, "Well, maybe that's not the framework. Maybe it's add all the upsells and break the beliefs, and then go through." And I was like... But no matter what it was, it was never... Like the framework for building a successful funnel was never to go and model somebody else's funnel, and then build all the up. I'm like, that's a thing, but that's not the parts of a funnel. Right?

And so I got confused because I thought the framework that I was supposed to teach in secret number one was the parts of the thing, not the framework for how to build the thing. Right? And so I think one of the biggest 'aha' moments for me is like each part of the webinar that you're doing is its own separate section, and they build off of one another, but they're also each standalone. Right? And so I thought that the backstory or that the story that I told in the backstory was the story through the entire webinar, and it's not. Right? And so whenever I would hear you say, "Well, tell the backstory about how you learned it and how you earned it," I thought it was like that was the story for the webinar, and then I had to go through and tell each thing. And then I realized that there's a separate story for each thing. Right? There was a separate story for the backstory. And by the time you're done with the backstory... And I think it was you that said it. I go back and forth. I really like how Dan Henry explained some of the things specifically when selling courses, because that was the other problem, was you were selling a software and I was like, "Well, what happens if I'm not selling a software? Oh, crap. Where does it fit in?" Right? But I think it was you that said by the time you're done with the backstory, there's a percentage of your people that are ready to buy.

And I'm like, "Whoa. That's the story that I've got to figure out." And so for me, I was like, "What is the story that I have to tell, that if I were not allowed to tell secret one, secret two or secret three, people just took me at my word that what I said was the solution to their problem? What's that story that I have to tell that people would go and buy?" And I became obsessed with that, and that's what I call a master story. Because I'm like, to me... And that's why I was telling you where I was geeking out about it. I'm like, to me, once I figure out that, and I've gone through and taught all these students how to teach stories, if I focus all of my time on the three secrets, we never get anywhere. Like literally. It's ridiculous. We'll spend so much time, and then they'll do the presentation and it won't work. But if I spend 80% of my time on just the backstory and we get that right, they basically figure out the other three secrets like that. And I spend 20% of my time in the other three secrets.

Russell: That's fascinating.

Josh: Yeah.

Russell: Because I spend both of my time doing the three secrets, because that's where people get stuck on my side. But man, the way you frame that's really cool, because I always think about... There's different markets I go after, right? So if I'm going after like a beginner market, my first thing is telling the potato gun story, because it's like, "I had a potato gun, we had an upsell, da, da, da." And for beginner, like...

Josh: Which 100%, by the way, 100% of what I've done... The last like six, three months I've been doing sales calls like crazy. Whenever I mention the master story, I go, "Hey guys, do you know Russell?" They're like, "What's the master story?" I'm like, "Do you know who Russell Brunson is?" They're like, "Yeah." I'm like, "Do you know the potato gun story?" 100% of the people say yes, every single time. There's not been a single person... I'm like, "That's his master story when it comes to funnels." Anyway.

Russell: That's always interests me because I have a different master story if I'm going over like a more advanced audience, which is the master story of no VCs. Right? So it's like, "We're competing against InfusionSoft and all these things. They had a hundred million dollars in funding. We didn't have any money. We were broke. And so we put this thing together. Da, da, da." And they're like, "Now we get customers for free, and then they buy software." And that master story is what sells it to more of like the corporate, like the business owners who think through the world of like investing. So, that's story that I lead... If I talk about potato guns with them, they're lost, right?

So again, it's like, people are like, "But I only have a story." It's like, "No, you have different stories. What are the stories that fit the audience?" Dan Kennedy 101, message to market match. Like how do you connect these things? Right? It's like here's the market I'm talking to. In fact, I think you know this. We bought and we bought like Brad Callen’s whole company. And these people, I didn't realize at the time, I thought they were internet marketers using software to make sales videos. But no, they were actually course creators who don't know anything about marketing. And so I went and did my webinar pitch to these people and it bombed, and it was like the worst thing ever. And I was like, "What?" And it was like, "Oh my gosh. I didn't understand the market." And so I had to change. So we rewrote it, changed the story, changed the thing to match the market we're going after. And now it's converted really well.

But it was like, it's just understanding that in every situation, like figuring out, "Okay, who am I actually speaking to? So there's the market. And what's the message, the story I think I have that's going to match that to then bring them into our world?" Because I'm selling the same product, no matter what, but there's different stories that's going to hit different markets as you go through. You'll probably hear me quote a lot more Dan Kennedy in your future, as I'm going through all his courses again right now, and having the time of my life with it. So...

Josh: Yeah. Well, it's just interesting, just going back to that one concept of like the first core story, the master story, the backstory of it all. I think one of the big problems that I know I ran into this is, once again, I thought the whole webinar was designed to teach and educate. Like that's when I would introduce and teach it, the whole entire process. But it's not. Like secret one, secret two, secret three are designed to educate on the thing that you introduce in the backstory. Right? And for me, with the people I work with on a pretty consistent basis, it's like they don't understand that either. And so when I go in and I'm like, "No, no, no, no, no. Forget about teaching them about it. You have to teach them what it is, why it's so important."

And I always go back to that story when you were like no one was buying it and then you're like, "Do you understand what I went through then?" I'm like, "That! That's what you're trying to create." It's like forget the framework for it. Forget how it works. Forget why it worked for them. Forget the external objections for a second or whatever. Like what do you have to do that, if you didn't get to do anything like that, how would you convince somebody that this is the most greatest, amazing thing, and then be like, "And just take my word for it that it's going to work for you." Like, what's that story that you would tell?

And for me, once I identified that was what it was, and I started working on my students with that, all the rest of the webinars and find new challenges and everything became easy. Whether it was Catherine Jones when we worked with her, whether it was Brad Gibbon, casual tactics, like all of them, it was like, once we figured out that, then all the rest of the things fell into place.

Russell: Yeah. It's fascinating because the reason why I bombed when I first started versus why I started studying dance stuff, is that realization of just like, "They haven't bought into the fact that they want to funnel yet or that they want weight loss or whatever the thing is." Like your only goal during the webinar or the challenge or whatever is to convince them that this is the vehicle that's going to be the most likely successful to get up on that mountain and get the result that they've been looking for. Because they've been looking for the result for a long time, right? I think Katlyn said the average woman goes on eight diets a year. Right? So it's like, now that they're like, "Oh my gosh, I'm going to lose weight." It's not like this, "Oh my gosh, I'm going to make money. Oh my gosh, I'm going to..." Like, they already want the result. They tried three or four other things. You're trying to convince them that your presentation or your challenge or whatever is to convince them that of all the different potential opportunities, that your new opportunity is the one that's most likely to get them success. And if they buy into that, then you can take them on the journey.

But you start teaching around the gate. You're trying to take them on this journey, and they're like, "Wait, but there's like 10 other options. I don't think you're the right... I don't even know if you're the right option. I have no idea." So your job and your role is 100% only there to convince them that this is the most likely thing that's going to give them the success they're looking for. And yeah, then you won. Then you can bring them into world. Now you can serve them. Now you can change their life. But until you've sold them on the fact that your vehicle is the one that is most likely to give success, you can't serve them. You can't change their life. You can't do anything. And so that's what we got to become really good at is that transition. So, anyway, so fun.

Josh: All right. Well, that'll wrap up the story episode there. I think that was really, really good. I think we got a lot accomplished.

Russell: We should go, another time, or next time you're a voice, we should do like a half-day live with everybody on like the master story. That'd be fascinating to go deeper just on that, without the context of having to have all the rest of the webinar things. I'd love to geek out with you deeper on that. So, there's the thought. If you guys want more of that, you got to let me and Josh know, and maybe next time we're around some UFC fight or some fake YouTube boxing fight, we'll plan something fun like that. Because that’d be really cool to go deep on that.

Josh: That fake YouTube boxer fight, that's 5 and 0, right? Oh, man. All right.

Russell: All right. Thanks, you guys, for listening. If you enjoyed this, please let us know. Tag us on social. Tweet us out. Instagram us. YouTube... I don't know. All the different places.

Josh: Don't tweet us. Russell won't tweet at you. He'll just fake like your tweets. Instagram? Instagram.

Russell: Tweet at Josh, and then I'll share it.

Josh: Yeah.

Russell: My team will share it. Anyhow, let us know. We're enjoying doing these, and hopefully you guys love them as well. And the last way, if you want to help grow this podcast, please just tell other people about it. And yeah, that's all I got. Thanks, everyone. Thanks, Josh.


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