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118 - The "Offer" That Helped End World War 1 (Hint: It Included Toilet Paper)

The "Offer" That Helped End World War 1 (Hint: It Included Toilet Paper)

Listen To Today's Episode: 

Episode Recap:

Creating an offer is the secret behind getting anything you want… including prisoners of war. On today’s episode, Russell talks about how Harry Reichenbach helped end World War I with an offer that German soldiers couldn’t refuse. Here are some of the awesome and surprising things to look for in this episode:

-- What was in Reichenbach’s offer that gave him the ability to convince German soldiers that it would be better to be prisoners of war than to continue fighting.

-- How everything in life is pretty much about selling someone an irresistible offer.

-- And how Russell could easily convince you to purchase an iPhone from him for double the cost of every other iPhone being sold.

So listen here to find out how hook, story and offer can convince someone to marry you, go to the movies with you, or even end a war.

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Best Quote:

The better you become at offer creation, the better you do at everything. You’re going to find a better spouse, you’re going to be able to get your kids what they need to do, you’ll be able to motivate and entice your employees, you’re going to be able to sell your customers better price. You’re going to be able to end a war and get people to become prisoners of war for you. Whatever it is you need done, it all stems down to this one amazing thing, which is how do we create a really, really good, irresistible offer.


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What’s up everybody? This is Russell Brunson and I want to welcome you to the Marketing Secrets Podcast. Today I am going to show you how a simple stack slide was the key, one of the keys to helping end World War I. Alright, I’m so excited today. I am with my wife, we are celebrating our second anniversary, we decided to rent an Air B&B in San Diego and just ditch everyone, our kids and our family and we’re just sitting here, literally doing nothing. We’re reading, watching tv, eating junk food, getting massages and rinse and repeat. It’s been really fun.

So I bought one book with me, this is a book I’m actually really excited to, I’ve been really excited to read. One of my friends, Joe Vitale, AKA Mr. Fire, he wrote this book when he was, I don’t know about 15 years or so ago, right at the time I was getting into internet marketing. I remember seeing it and I think, I can’t remember if I read it or I read part of it, whatever, but I know I bought it and I had it and it was all about PT Barnum’s secrets to business success. It’s called, There’s a Customer Born Every Minute.

Some of you guys, if you know about PT Barnum, there’s a quote that he said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Which apparently is not true. But Joe Vitale’s book is called, There’s a Customer Born Every Minute. This book is super rare now, in fact, I tried to buy another copy of it on Amazon, it’s hard to get. And then I called the publisher, and actually ordered 650 copies that we are sending out to all of my Two Comma Club X members.

So those of you guys who are in Two Comma Club X, and my Inner Circle, you should be getting this book in the mail, which you’re going to love. Anyway, I might do a podcast on just all the amazing marketing stuff I’m learning from this book, because there’s so many, so many good things here from PT Barnum and from everything. But there’s one lesson I just read that was so good I literally dropped my book and I was like, “Okay, I have to go do a podcast on this, because this is insane and amazing and hopefully will prove a point I’ve been trying to make over and over and over again. That everything good in life comes by making really, really good offers.

So here we go. So in this book, this is actually not something PT Barnum did, this is one of PT Barnum’s, one of his students? Someone who studied Barnum. His name was Harry Reichenbach, they said he was basically the single greatest force in the American advertizing since PT Barnum. Anyway, there’s a whole bunch of stories about him, but one that was insanely cool. Basically he created an offer, he created a stack slide, to try to stop the war.

He printed out 45 million of these things, and flew over enemy lines, and dropped these things for the German soldiers to get, and he was hoping they would read this offer and become a prisoner of war. So literally he created an offer to get somebody to become a prisoner of war. So I’m going to read this from the book, because it’s so insanely cool. You’re going to hear exactly what the offer was and how it worked, and how effective it was. It said, “During World War I, Reichenbach created a diploma that the allies dropped by plane over German Lines.”

So every time I say “diploma” think stack slide or think offer. So he created an offer that the allies dropped by plane over the German lines. “The Diploma (the offer, the stack slide) gave any German soldier, upon surrender, status as a “prisoner with officer rank.” The back of the diploma listed the benefits:” Okay, so the first thing, if you decide to take this offer, when you go all in today, I’m going to make you a prisoner with officer rank.

So that’s not just a regular prisoner, it’s like a higher ranking prisoner. And on the back of the diploma, the back of the offer, stack slide, listed the benefits. Number one, bread and meat to every single day. So when you become a prisoner of war, I’m going to give you bread and meat to eat every single day. Number two, you’re going to get cigarettes to smoke. Number three you’re going to get a delicing comb, I’m guessing that’s some type of comb you can comb your hair with. And number four, twenty-four sheets of toilet paper a day.

Apparently that was the one that pushed people over the edge, because apparently they didn’t have toilet paper, which if you’re a German soldier out there trying to kill people, I don’t know about you, but I would like some toilet paper. So they got twenty-four sheets of toilet paper a day, if they go with this offer. I apologize if you hear planes flying by. We’re in San Diego on the beach and there’s planes everywhere. Anyway, it says, “About 45 million diplomas (offer slides, stack slide, whatever you want to call it) 45 million were dropped over enemy lines during the war. Thousands of Germans grabbed the offer and put down their weapons.

The German Army became so concerned that it passed a law making it a capital offense to pick up any paper on the battlefield. In short, bend over and get shot. The brilliant scheme worked because the German soldiers wanted – more than anything – toilet paper.” Are you guys getting this? He wanted to end the war, he wanted more prisoners of war. So instead of just trying to capture people and pull them by their will he said, what if we made an irresistible offer, an offer so good that they would just come and give themselves to us.

That way we didn’t have to go and beg and fight and scheme and do all this, they’d actually come to us. They said okay, first thing, we need to give them status. Hopefully if you’ve read the Expert Secrets book, the light bulb went off in your head. They gave them status, number one is that when you do this, you’re not just becoming a prisoner of war, you’re becoming a prison with officer rank. You will have status. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is great. I want status.”

Then he said, okay, what other things do you need? If you look at the internal struggle. I’m going to be hungry. I’m going to give you bread and meat to eat every single day. “Wow, that’s better than I’m getting right now.” You’re going to get cigarettes to smoke, number three you’re going to get a comb apparently, to comb your hair. And then 24 sheets of toilet paper. That was the thing that pushed them over the edge. “When you act now, I’m going to give you 24 sheets of toilet paper.” Anyway, I just thought it was so cool to see how this dude basically just created an offer to end the war.

And if you think about it, everything we do in life all comes down to being able to create amazing offers. Think about if you want your friends to go to a movie with you, the better you can make the offer, the more likely they are to go with you. If you’re like, “Hey I want to go to this movie, it’s going to be really good.” They’re like, “I don’t want to see this movie.” You’re like, ugh. But if you’re like, “If you come to the movie with me, I’ll buy your tickets, number two I will buy you a treat. Number three I’ll get us front row seats, number four, I’ll get blah, blah.” If you create an offer they’re like, “Sweet, I’m in.” Think about this when you met your wife. You’re like, “Hey, do you want to go on a date?” She’s like, “uh, you’re okay looking.” You’re like, “How about this, we’re going to go get sushi, after sushi I’m going to take you to a movie, then after the movie we’re going to do….” You create an actual offer. And they’re like, “Yeah, I’m in. I want to do that.”

The better you become at offer creation, the better you do at everything. You’re going to find a better spouse, you’re going to be able to get your kids what they need to do, you’ll be able to motivate and entice your employees, you’re going to be able to sell your customers better price. You’re going to be able to end a war and get people to become prisoners of war for you. Whatever it is you need done, it all stems down to this one amazing thing, which is how do we create a really, really good, irresistible offer. It’s just so cool to see in this context, because it could work in any of them.

It’s funny, I was doing a presentation for the Two Comma Club X people the other day, and I was trying to explain offer creation and it was funny because a lot of them are in ecommerce too, so every time I get ecommerce people they’re like, “Well, I sell physical products, I can’t do offers.” I’m like, ugh, I want to stab you in the eye. It is so easy with physical products. And then all the sudden an example popped in my head that I shared, that I want to share with you guys because I think it’s so good. So I said, okay let’s say you wanted to, you were going to go buy an iPhone right. And let’s say you already even had an iPhone. I was like, “Hey, I’m going to sell you my iPhone.”

And you’re like, “I already have one.” Or “Why would I buy yours?” and hold on, one more caveat for this, I’m going to sell my iPhone for twice as much as you can buy it retail. “So you can buy this iPhone I’m holding in my hands for $500, if you go anywhere online, or you can buy mine for a thousand bucks.” I guarantee you, in about 5 seconds from now, I’m going to get everyone of you guys to wire a me a thousand bucks for my iPhone.” Alright, this is the deal, “When you decide to buy my iphone right now, the first thing you’re going to get is an iphone, which the retail price is $500, you can get those anywhere, so that’s not that special.

Therefore, it is not an offer, we are selling a commodity, and when you have a commodity, it is a race to the bottom.” So a commodity is the worst thing you could possibly sell. That’s what most people do. So I’m taking this commodity, this iphone and now I’m going to turn it into an offer. “When you buy this iphone, a couple of things. Number one, recently I went through my entire library. I have purchase conservatively between $450- 500,000 in marketing courses over the last 15 years of my life.

I used to have them on six bookshelves that wrapped two rooms in my old office, but I recently sent them to my brother, who took all, I’ll say 300+ marketing courses, average cost per course were a thousand dollars, some were 4 or 5 thousand dollars apiece, he took all of those and burned all the audio’s onto audiobook format. And those are all on my phone. I’d say conservatively you’re looking at, at least $450 – 500,000 in marketing and sales and personal development courses. All on this phone. “So when you get this phone right now, I’m also going to give you access to all those courses because they are already on my phone.

Number three thing I’m going to give you. I’m also going to give you an app called voxer that gives you a secret portal into a voxer app on my own personal phone. So anytime you want to vox me, you can click on a button and ask me any question you want, as often as you want. “Number four, on my phone in my address book are the phone numbers of many really amazing people. Tony Robbins’ cell phone number is in there, Brendon Burchard, Frank Kern, Dan Kennedy, actually that’s not true. He doesn’t have a cell phone. It’s his fax number, so I can fax him. He’s in there.

Pretty much all the top marketing, sales and personal development guru’s on planet earth, their personal contact information is in my phone here. “And number five, you have access to…” what else could I put in here.? You see, now I took this phone that normally sells for $500 for everyone, now I made an offer. How many of you guys would pay me a thousand bucks for this phone. Everyone on planet earth would. I had a friend who, I didn’t know this at the time, was about to go through some really bad times. He messaged me and he’s like, he basically did that, he said, “Hey man, I got this old cheap laptop here, it’s like a $500 laptop.

But it has all my entire marketing library for the last 20 years on it. If you want, I’m getting a new laptop, I’m just going to throw this one away. If you want, I’ll ship it to you for like $5 grand.” And he told me all the courses that were on there, and I was like, “Done.” Wired him $5 grand and he shipped me out this laptop with all these courses on it, and it was the coolest thing in the world.

A couple of things, number one, it’s probably not legal to do what he did, because he doesn’t have the right to transfer those things, but I was like, but I thought it was he was just offering it to me as “this is my old laptop, you could just have it.” Little did I know, he made that same offer to a lot of other people, I think he ended up selling 20 or 30 of them at $5 grand a pop. He made himself quite a bit of money, really, really quick. All under the table. He was racing from a law thing, I found out later.

Anyway, that’s a story for another podcast episode. But the concept is true. If that makes sense. So it all comes down to offer creation. I don’t care if you want to get prisoners of war, if you want to find a beautiful wife, if you want to get your kids to do the right things, if you want people to go to the movies, you want people to read a book, if you want people to do whatever it is, that is the key. Stephen Larsen in our Two Comma Club X event, he got on stage, I don’t know if I told you this already or not, and he got a book that he had never heard of, never read before, stood up and made an offer, saying “If you get this book I’m going to give you this and this, told a story about the book and made an amazing offer.”

He had ten or twelve people buy the book, while they were sitting in the room, he had two people run on stage and fight for the book, and after he got done he said, “I’ve never read that book. I have no idea what it’s about. But I wanted to prove two things. Number one, I told a really good story and number two, I made a really good offer. And if you have a really good story and a really good offer, you can sell literally anything, even if you don’t know what it is. That’s all it takes.”

So that’s the magic of this, you guys. The art of, the whole art of hook, story, offer. I’ve just been geeking out on that so much recently. If you look at, I’ve talked about it a lot in recent podcasts. Go back to the episode called hook, story, offer. The more you master that piece of it, the better you can be at selling anything. I look at when I was an affiliate, I used to promote a lot of people’s products, and I would always be number one, number two.

We always got in these big competitions. I look at, why did I always sell so much? And the reason was because I look at whatever the person was selling, and I’d create an offer around it. “Okay cool, when you buy so and so’s course, I’m going to give you this, this…” and I’d create an offer of my own things, that they would get for free when they bought this thing from somebody else.

That’s the magic of this whole game. If you want to be the top affiliate in the world, if you want to be the top network marketer in the world, you want to be at the top of selling your product or service, it all comes down to hook, story, offer. Having a good hook, telling a good story, and then making the irresistible offer. So if it works to get prisoners of war in World War I, I promise you guys, it’ll work for whatever it is you’re selling as well. I hope that helps, appreciate you all. Have an amazing day, and we’ll talk soon.


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