How to be an Information Multi-Millionaire
by Robert G. Allen
Welcome to the business of selling information. I call it info-preneuring. (An info-preneur is an entrepreneur who sells information.) It is the most exciting business in the world. If you do this business right, within a few months, total strangers will be sending you money for your ideas…. even if you think your ideas are worthless!
First of all, who am I and why do I think I can teach you all of these things? My name is Robert G. Allen. In the 80′s I wrote 3 best-selling books….two of which made it to the number one spot on the New York Times best sellers list. My first book, Nothing Down: How to buy real estate with little or no money down, became the largest selling, longest running financial hard cover book in history. It has been revised twice with the current edition entitled, Nothing Down for the 90′s. Nothing Down still sells well nearly 20 years after I wrote it. My second book, Creating Wealth, was also a number one NY Times bestseller with over a million sold. I am currently writing a new book, Multiple Streams of Income, scheduled for release in 2000. It, too, will be a major best seller.
In conjunction with my best-selling books, I also taught seminars nationwide on the subject of real estate and creating wealth. Over one million people have been to my free preview lectures nationwide. Of these, 103,000 people paid me up to $500 to attend my weekend Nothing Down Seminar and 20,000 people paid me up to $6,950 to attend my 5 day in-depth WealthTraining. This is in addition to the millions in tape, video and newsletter sales.
I think I can safely say, that no one in the world knows more than I do about creating an information empire from scratch.
I have hoarded these secrets for years, never revealing how I accomplished so much in so little time. I didn’t do it all alone of course. Nobody makes it to the top without mentors and a powerful Master Mind team. What I learned from my mentors and from the School of Hard Knocks cost me millions but it was worth every penny. It has only been recently that I have decided to share this powerful body of knowledge with a few highly motivated individuals. What you are now reading is the preliminary draft of some of the ideas which have made me and my partners literally tens of millions of dollars.
It’s a tough business if you don’t know what you’re doing. But it can be extremely lucrative and very rewarding when you’ve learned the ropes.
Good luck, my friend. May you sell a million!
Get in the fast lane on the Information Super Highway.
In case you haven’t noticed, the world is experiencing an information explosion. Before the turn of the century, the majority of the households in North American will have access to hundreds of channels of interactive television giving every customer instant unlimited access to information, communications and entertainment.
In addition, there are tens of millions of computer screens hooked up to the net….yours included. The Internet is exploding. People are communicating and sharing information like never before.
Staking your claim in the great info-rush of the new millennium.
Who is going to provide all of the programming for the 500 channels, the on-line data bases, the hungry airwaves? You are! You are the source of the ideas, information, data and entertainment to fill the voracious appetite of millions of info-maniacs.
Profits in the shift from the information age to the communication age.
The serious money in the future, however, is not just in providing information or raw data. We are already drowning in information. We are on information overload. We are data drunk. The problem is not a lack of information or ideas but a lack of information that is packaged properly. Your job in the future is to convert the mountains of raw data into specialized knowledge presented in a way the consumer can assimilate and use quickly:
Specialized knowledge packaged properly
delivered to your house
ready to use
Time is the currency of the new millennium. Time is our most valuable asset. Since all of us are already on information overload, with too much information to absorb and too little time to absorb it, we all will be looking for information that is “time friendly.” We won’t want to waste time ready, studying, reorganizing general data to fit our unique circumstances and problems. We’ll want information we can USE NOW, FAST AND EASY.
The best way to distinguish your information from the hundreds of competitors is to emphasize the most important competitive advantage: YOUR INFORMATION MUST BE SIMPLE, EASY TO USE AND PROVIDE FAST RESULTS.
Your advertising should emphasize this.
Being well-informed in the age of information “haves and have nots.”
The future is being fired at us at point blank range and we will need to react in lightning quick time. Those who react slowly will find themselves amongst the “information have-nots.”
In order to be prepared to understand how to deliver your information in the fastest, easiest way, you must be technologically up to speed or you will be left in the dust. The information business is moving at Mach 2. You must be computer literate and you must teach your children and employees to be computer literate. Your customers will demand it and your competitors will force it. You can’t hide your head in the sand and hope the storm blows over. It ain’t gonna blow over. It’s only gonna blow harder.
How to turn you expertise/passion/hobby into lifetime streams of cash flow.
Now, with all of this talk of the billions being spent on the super information highway, you might be a bit intimidated. You might wonder how “little old you” can compete with the big boys. How can you sell your ideas, you life’s expertise in the face of the media moguls? Fact is, anyone with a good idea, persistence and some savvy can make a million dollars selling information. You don’t need a huge advertising budget and a staff to spend it. All you really need is
An interesting story
An expertise that people want
A powerful marketing plan
The Book Within: Everyone has at least one good book in them
It is my firm belief that everyone…including you….has a least one good book in them. When you’ve finished reading this special report, you’ll realize that you have enough information and experience in your head right now to turn into a lifetime stream of income. You have a book in you that is just waiting to be unleashed.
With some proper positioning, your book can become the cornerstone of an information empire. An information empire? Yes. And I’m going to prove it to you.
The next time you wonder whether “there’s gold in them thar hills,” remember the example of 75 year old Walter Swann from Arizona. A few years ago he wrote a book about growing up in Arizona with his brother, Henry. He called his book “Me and Henry.” Sounds like a money making title, doesn’t it? But no publisher would publish it. So he published it himself. But no book store would buy it. So opened his own book store. But his book store is unique. It only carries one title…..that’s right, “Me and Henry.” He calls it the One Book, Book Store. The only book you can buy in his book store is “Me and Henry.” Dumb idea, right? Wrong. He sells thousands of books world wide. And makes thousands of dollars a month from this one simple idea. In fact, business has been so good that he has written another book. This one is called, “Me and Mama.” It’s also for sale in a special room in the One Book Book Store. It’s called the Other Book Book Store.
What I want you to realize is that you, your life story or your life’s expertise have market value. It may have enough market value to support you for life.
Turn your life story into money….even if you’ve been a miserable failure.
Almost all success books start off with a miserable failure. The author tells how he or she used to be fat, poor, ugly, unhappy, lonely, addicted and through some miracle, will power or new found knowledge was able to overcome failure and rise to the heights of success. Let me give you some pretty impressive examples,
Author Title Subject
Tony Robbins Unlimited Power Success
Susan Powter Stop the Insanity Diet
John Bradshaw Homeward Bound Self Esteem
And the list goes on and on. Each of these info-preneurs used the story of their rise from the ashes of failure to create an information empire. Each of them now produces books, seminars, newsletters, tape programs, video courses, speeches, consulting relationships and infomercials. They turned their failure to success story into millions of dollars.
Everything that has happened to you, good or bad, has cash value.
Do you ever wonder how those famous stars on those diet commercials are able to take the weight off and keep it off? How do they do it? Where do they get the will power to lose all that weight and keep it off? Think! If someone offered your a half a million dollars to do a diet commercial, wouldn’t you be able to find the motivation somehow?
Now take this to the next logical conclusion. What if someone offered you ten million dollars to turn your life around right now. How much would it take for you to be motivated to perfect your relationships, to get in shape, to get your financial act together, to be a top salesperson, etc. What if you decided that YOU ARE THE BEFORE AND AFTER STORY? Fix yourself then you, too, can market your new-found “know how.”
You don’t even need a unique, new system. It can be old knowledge, repackaged and remarketed in new ways. Look at all the diets out there. There are only 3 variables in the diet game: food, exercise and mental attitude. Susan Powter, in her hugely successful diet infomercial and book, “Stop the Insanity!” doesn’t teach anything new. She teaches old stuff in a unique way. And MAKES TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS DOING IT!
The formula is pretty simple:
Identify a Core Human Desire/Need
Find new technology for solving this Core Desire/Need
Find a new way to market to this Core Desire/Need
Let’s look at Tony Robbins. Why is he so successful? He has identified a core desire/need (The need to achieve success. ) He applied a new technology (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). He used himself as the BEFORE and AFTER story. He used a new way to market (Infomercials). And the rest is history.
You don’t have to do it on such a grand scale. You can be like Walter Swann and his tiny One Book Book Store. The point I’m trying to make is that one mediocre idea with some good marketing power can generate a lifetime stream of cash flow. And with some luck can turn into millions of dollars. Everything in your life has value. The failures. The successes. It’s all part of the equation.
And if you want to get paid millions of dollars….start trying out how to turn your life around now and then tell the rest of us how you did it.
My story: How one simple idea grew into a billion dollar business.
The above formula is exactly the same one I used to take in over a hundred million dollars over the past 20 years. I wanted to become successful…to be wealthy. So I applied myself to real estate in the late seventies after I got out of college with only a few hundred dollars in my pocket and no job. In a few short years I had make a lot of money in real estate. I started sharing some of my ideas with friends and they were very interested. They started using my ideas and began making a lot of money. I wondered if anyone else might be interested and ran a small classified ad in my local newspaper. It offered to teach them
How to Buy Real Estate with Little or No Money Down.
The phone rang off the hook. I taught small classes at first, then graduated to large weekend seminars, then, wrote a book, which helped to promote the seminars….then, on to newsletters, tapes, videos, newsletters, etc.
The concept of real estate investing was as old as the hills. What I added to the equation was to take old techniques and to repackage them under the banner of a single, sexy concept, Nothing Down. Here is the result,
2.5 million books at $20 = $50,000,000
100,000 seminars at $500= $50,000,000
20,000 trainings at $5,000= $100,000,000
Other misc. stuff= $20,000,000
That’s over two hundred million and counting, just through my businesses alone.
Then, with all of the knock-offs of Nothing Down from Dave Del Dotto, Tommy Vu, Carlton Sheets and dozens of other copy cats, the tally goes into the hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. During my lifetime over a billion dollars is going to be dug out of the mine shaft called Nothing Down real estate. It was A BILLION DOLLAR IDEA!
Billion dollar ideas are floating around in the air right now. You have one or two every day. The key is to learn how to crack the code, to discover the combination to the vault. Using new technology or a new marketing angle, you can tap into your own billion dollar idea.
How to make at least $1,000 a day selling “how-to” information to eager info-maniacs.
Once you “crack the code” and find that your idea or product has uncovered a hungry market, the next step is to roll out your marketing to different marketing media. I first started in the classifieds. Then, I graduate (fearfully) into display ads in the newspapers. My first ad was $300. I thought I was betting the farm! This brought even more business. Then, I graduated to full page ads in the newspaper. (Which really scared the heck out of me. Imagine dropping $10,000 on a single, one time only full page ad. If it works, you make good money. If it doesn’t work, you just burned up ten grand or more. An associate of mine dropped $60,000 in media for a large seminar on the day before of a major Los Angeles earthquake. $60,000 down the drain! Ouch!)
From full page ads, my highly skilled marketing team moved into television advertising. The infomercial for the Nothing Seminar in the early 80′s was the very first successful infomercial ever produced. It was created by Roger Larsen who is the pioneer of seminar marketing and one of the geniuses of the business. I was so lucky to have found him and to have been able to work with him for so many years. I have since created and starred in 9 different infomercials. Some with great success and others total failures. Ironically, the cheapest ones seemed to make the most money.
With a winning idea, and many different media to market it, we then branched into the many related support products….bringing in millions of more dollars. Once you uncover a mother lode of ore, you can spend the rest of your lifetime digging it out….as I have done.
With a few minor adjustments, this is going to be your same trajectory of success. But before you launch this new business, I just want to educate you to the fabulous benefits of being in the information business as compared to any other business that you might be tempted to get into.
“The Best Business in the World: Benefits of selling Information”
Unlimited world wide market
Easy to research
Easy to create
Easy and cheap to test
Easy and cheap to produce, inventory and correct.
Low cost start-up
High perceived value
High mark up
Mobility: Operate from any mailbox in the world.
Copyright protection from competitors
Prestigious, impressive career. “I’m an author.”
Satisfying: A permanent record for future generations.
I can’t think of a more satisfying career than producing information products. They are easy and cheap to create and produce, fun to sell, and do so much good for the consumer. I get success letters from hundreds of happy, satisfied customers each year who share their great gratitude for what using my ideas has done to improve their lives. I keep pinching myself.
“You mean, I can get paid for this?!”
There are 3 Essential Skills that you need as an info-preneur.
Skill #1. Research and creation expertise : How to research, discover, acquire, organize your ideas.
It all starts with a core expertise. What do you know that we don’t? Or who do you know that knows something that the rest of us need or want to know? You don’t have to spend years learning a core expertise. You can find some expert who is under-marketed and take his or her idea to the marketplace. Just remember to organize this information in the communication age style….easy to learn, simple to use, fast results.
Skill #2. Packaging expertise: How to express, display, package, communicate yourself
Sometimes the line between success and failure is razor thin. I know of an info-preneur who spent years and tens of thousands of dollars creating a product called Compact Classics. He had taken and condensed all of the great classic books in fiction and non-fiction into a two page format. Instead of taking weeks to read the original, you get the meat of the book in only two pages. Only one problem. No one would buy it. And thousands of dollars went down the drain. Until it got repackaged and retitled. The new title?
The Great American Bathroom Book.
The idea caught on and a millions dollars later, the idea is still pumping out cash. By the way, you can buy the same book with either title. If you are the high brow type, you order the Compact Classics title. If you are the Larry Lunch Bucket type, it’s the Bathroom book. But neither market would have enjoyed the book if some savvy packager hadn’t “cracked the code.”
Here are some core packaging skills you will need to develop, rent or acquire:
Find the best prices for materials
Designing useful, interesting packaging.
Creating low cost ways to organize your materials
Skill #3. Marketing expertise: How to sell, distribute, disseminate, promote yourself and your product.
Marketing is the essential skill. You can market junk with right marketing campaign. Quality work is doomed to remain stuck in your computer data banks unless you learn how to market it. Here are some core marketing skills which you will have to buy, rent or acquire:
Writing compelling copy
Understanding psychology and human nature
Learning the secrets of direct mail advertising
Buying the best and cheapest advertising.
Tracking your results.
Managing a database.
Tapping into the Internet
How to find the millions in profits overlooked by most info-preneurs.
You don’t need to be an expert in the above skills, but you do need to align yourself with the leading experts. For instance, suppose you go to a local church meeting on parenting because you are having trouble with your teenagers. You find the room is filled to overflowing. You realize that you are not alone…there are hundreds of other parents in your same predicament. A light bulb comes on in your head. AHA! Here is a hungry market place. You listen to the speaker and see that his material is perfectly organized for the communication age….it appears to be fun, fast, simple. It promises swift results and is easy to learn. You go home and try a few of the techniques on your own teenagers and Voila!, you have them eating out of your hand in no time. Hmmmm! There might be something here. You call the parenting seminar leader and find he is just a mom and pop operator. He doesn’t have a clue about marketing, packaging or promoting. You ask him if he would be willing to let you market him…on a non-exclusive basis. It could mean a few extra thousand in his pocket. He agrees and you draw up an agreement. Then, you assemble your copywriting experts to create an preliminary ad campaign…. first testing in direct mail and limited classified ads. The ads start to pull. You branch out onto the Internet and your web page is deluged with “hits.” You realize that you’ve got a tiger by the tail. You create your product…..tapes, books, seminars….and roll out your marketing blitz. You make money, your expert makes money and your information empire is launched.
What made all of this possible? You recognized a great idea. You got the rights to market it. You brought in your team to help you capitalize on it and all of you took wheelbarrows full of money to the bank. Most experts out there have no idea how to create, package and market their expertise. There are literally thousands them out there waiting to be “discovered.” You might be one of them.
5 Rings of Riches: The vast opportunities that await all info-preneurs.
One of the least understood concepts, even by successful info-preneurs, is how vast are the opportunities for making money from just one good idea. I’ll explain this to you by teaching you what I call the 5 rings of information riches.
Think of your info-business as a series of 5 concentric circles. At the center is the bulls-eye….or the first ring.
Ring one. Succeeding in your core expertise.
You must have a core expertise that is either a revolutionary new technology or is an old expertise that has a new marketing strategy. My core expertise was real estate investing. I became very good at it. Therefore, I could teach it to others. As I said earlier, you don’t have to be the expert yourself. But you do need to borrow, license, acquire the expertise from someone. You are looking for an expertise that has a market that meets the following characteristics:
Finding a hungry marketplace
A large and growing body of interested people
Who can be easily identified
Who have an immediate need/want/problem
That they are highly motivated to solve
Who have the money to spend
And are willing to spend it
In an economic climate that encourages spending.
Think of your market as a school of fish. Does your market contain enough fish? Is it a growing or declining school of fish? Is it easy to find where they are and what their feeding pattern is? Are they really hungry? Is the weather cooperating for the ideal fishing conditions? Is there a certain bait that makes them “bite like crazy?” Are they willing to come out of the safe, dark depths of the bottom to fight for this new bait?
Cracking the Code!
Once you have identified your market and your expertise then, the process of “cracking the code” begins. What I mean by cracking the code, is to find a way to offer your expertise in such a way that the fish “rise to bite.”
Real estate investing was not new. But offering to show people how to buy it with little or no money down was just the right bait at the right time. There was a large and growing school of baby boomers who were moving into their prime home buying age in the late seventies. Inflation forced house prices upward and created increased incentive to buy now. The climate was right, the school of fish was hungry and they needed to buy. My information was perfect. Now, later in the eighties, the climate changed, inflation died, government tax laws discouraged investment and the baby boomers moved on to other interests. This doesn’t mean there aren’t still millions to be made in real estate or in real estate information. But the “feeding frenzy” is over, at least for now. You are looking for a situation where feeding frenzy is about to begin.
Basically, there are no real new or totally unique human needs or wants. They have been the same for millennia. Sex, money, self esteem, health, relationships, beauty, greed. Your information should tap into one of these universal wants/needs and whip up a large and growing school of fish into a feeding frenzy.
The title you select, the words you use to market your information, the benefits your information offers, the way it is packaged will cause this to happen. Once you have discovered the right combination of message and media, you have cracked the code. Then, you are ready to move to the next ring.
Ring Two: Teaching others specific know-how to succeed in your core expertise.
First, I made money by investing in real estate (Ring One) Then, I taught others how to succeed in real estate just like me(Ring Two). There are about twenty ways to sell this Ring Two information. In other words, there are twenty separate $100,000 Plus a year businesses that result from having cracked the code. Here is an incomplete list:
Ring Two businesses growing from your core expertise.
1. Author: Selling information to other publishers.
2. Desktop publisher: Self publishing for yourself or others.
3. Seminar promoter: Selling information in seminars.
4. Public speaker: Selling information from platform.
5. Telecommunicator: Selling info via 900 #s, teleconferences.
6. Newsletter editor: Selling info in monthly format.
7. Computer programmer: Selling info via discs and CD’s.
8. TV producer: selling info via TV infomercials/shows.
9. Personal consulting: Selling personalized, one/one info.
10. Professor/teacher/trainer: Education, corporate, public.
11. Freelance writer: Selling info in magazine articles.
12. Syndicated columnist: Selling info in newspaper.
13. Media expert: Informing those who inform others.
14. Talk Show/Info host– radio or TV.
15. Magazine publisher: Packaging info in magazine form.
16. Game designer: Selling info packaged as a game.
17. Calendar creator: Selling info packaged as a calendar.
18. Product designer: Selling info on T-Shirts, mugs, posters.
19. Licenser: Licensing expertise/name/ideas to promoters.
20. On line expert: Producing on line services and products.
21. Audio Cassette Marketer: Creating audio programs
22. Internet expert: Show people how to market on the net
Most successful info-preneurs have only tapped into half a dozen of the above businesses. They are leaving millions of dollars on the table. Once they see the big picture, they are more able to capitalize on the opportunities around them. Then, they are ready to expand into the third concentric circle or what I call, the Third Ring.
Ring Three. Using your specific experience to teach general success skills to your market place.
For example, one of the greatest salesmen in the world, Zig Ziglar, honed his sales skills selling pots and pans. But there wasn’t a large and growing market of hungry pots and pans salespeople to which to market his expertise. Therefore, he became a general expert in the broad field of sales training. He went from specific expertise to general expertise and made millions of dollars. Mary Lou Retton won gold medals in the 1984 Olympics for gymnastics. There wasn’t a big market for her information to other gymnasts. She now delivers general success and motivation speeches to corporate audiences worldwide – on the subject of how to be a gold medal performer. She makes huge speaking fees and enjoys a nice info-preneuring income from her Third Ring. Other Third Ring opportunities are listed below:
Success trainer on the subjects of:
Success and Motivation
Business consultant on the subjects of:
How to run a successful business
Marketing your services on the internet
There are literally thousands of successful Third Ring info-preneurs nationwide. Harvey MacKay with his best-selling book How to Swim with the Sharks and a host of other books is one example. He made his fortune in the envelope business in Minnesota. What do envelopes have to do with you? Nothing. But he claims that his great success in the envelope business has given him the right to teach us all kinds of general success principles in the areas of sales, management and positive attitude. And he makes millions turning his specific know how into general how to information.
Ring Four: Marketing other products to your database.
Once you have attracted a growing satisfied customer data base, you may approach your data base with other products and services. For example, my original data base is comprised of people who have attended my real estate seminars. But in reality these people are entrepreneurs who like to explore other money making opportunities. I can mine more money from my data base by pursuing 4 separate routes:
1. Mailing list rental agency.
I could rent my list out to other similar, but non-competing businesses to try to sell their products. Some lists generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in list rental fees to the primary info-preneur. There’s a gold mine in those names! That’s why it’s so important to gather and take care of every name you do business with.
2. Lead generator for other businesses:
I could identify all non competitive ancillary businesses that serve my database and use my influence to convince my clients to buy other products. For example, someone comes to me with a seminar on Discounted Mortgages. They tell me that they will pay me $1 per name for every name on my database for the privilege to use my data base for marketing their products. This is without my endorsement. My customers do not know that I am involved. They just receive a mailing piece for the product and choose to buy or not buy.
This could be even more lucrative if I choose to write an endorsement letter encouraging my customer to use the product. This is called an “endorsed mailing.” Of course, the seller of the product is much more acceptable to my database if I give a hearty endorsement so the fee for this privilege is higher.
3. Joint venture partner:
In some instances, you may even choose to split profits on the sale of a product to your data base. In one seminar arrangement, I split profits 50/50 with a seminar promoter who sold a seminar to my database. I appeared at the seminar and gave a hearty endorsement for all of my graduates to come. In this case, the profit generated was much higher.
4. Direct marketer
If you have built up a great relationship with your data base you may even influence them to buy other products that the ones you are known for…..even totally unrelated products. I have sold cruises, other seminars and various financial products. If they trust you, they will buy.
Ring Five: Support Services to Info-preneurs in other 4 rings
At the outer edge of the 5 concentric circles is Ring Five. Some info-preneurs don’t service the general market. They focus on other info-preneurs. Once you get good at marketing information, building data bases, taking care of your customers, etc. you may also wish to share your new expertise with other info-preneurs. If you were an especially gifted copy writer, you may want to hire out your copywriting services to other info-preneurs. You see, whatever your experience in life, there is always a market for it. So keep all of your ads, your tracking procedures, keep everything that relates to creating your successful business. Eventually, you may want to use it again in teaching others how to do what you did. The following is a listing of at least 20 support businesses for info-preneurs:
Copywriter: selling specific advertising concepts
Mailing list broker
Examine these ideas often when you’re doing about strategic thinking about the direction of your new company. For instance, as you look down the list of Ring Two opportunities, which one strikes you as your lead businesses and which ones will you follow with? You may be interested in teaching seminars and using that as a base to establish a consulting business and from there into a newsletter business. Or will you write and market your own book, and then follow with seminars and newsletters. Or will you write a newspaper column which gives you leads to sell a home study course? You choose the info path that fits your personality…but eventually you will expand out to all layers of depth in each of the 5 rings.
The Info-funnel: Attracting lifelong customers into your inner circle
Now that brings us to probably the most important concept in all of information marketing. I sure I didn’t originate this concept but I have certainly developed it to meet my own understanding of the business.
Let me explain by describing how we found customers for our real estate seminars. First, we would place a newspaper ad to invite people to come to a free 90 minute seminar or lecture. Out of all of the universe of people who might be interested in real estate investing, let’s assume that 200 people showed up. These people became part of my funnel. Those that didn’t show up were outside my funnel. By come to the free seminar, the 200 people demonstrated that they were “warmer.” They were willing to expend effort to learn more. In sales terms these were “prospects or leads.” They were warm leads but had not yet spent money. We knew that a certain percentage of the audience would always buy a seminar right there on the spot. For a $500-1,000 seminar it could be as high as 20%. Generally, it was 10-15%. Just looking out at the audience we knew that at least 10% had come there that night ready to do something. Those who bought and came to the weekend seminar became highly qualified leads…… they had tasted more of the product, had liked it and now were likely to buy other products or seminars.
Visualize the free people at the wide, open part of the funnel and those who attend the two day seminar further into your funnel and finally the few who get everything you have to offer…..passing through the narrow part of the funnel …..into your inner circle. These are your lifetime customers….your groupies. They like what you do and they’ll be lifelong fans. These are your most valuable customers.
Determining the LTV of a customer in your funnel.
Just what is the value of a customer who enters your funnel and stays in there for a long time? Tom Peters says that every time a Federal Express courier comes into his office, the driver should see $180,000 stamped on the head of the secretary. His small firm of 30 people has a $1,500 a month courier bill. That’s $18,000 a year times ten years for a total Long Term Value (LTV) of $180,000. And if the secretary convinces just one other customer to start using the service, the value doubles. But most mail couriers think that the value of the customer is just the $13.95 they spend today. Each of your customers is worth thousands of dollars if you’ll take care of them….much more than the initial $20 book or $500 seminar. The ultimate goal is to keep that customer loyal to you and your products for ten years or more so that, by offering great service and value, that customer can be enticed to remain forever. The longer they stay, the deeper they go, the more money you make.
Sometimes you can afford to lose money on the front end in a free seminar or a free report in order to entice a customer into your funnel where you can offer more profitable services. So, the funnel starts out with your least expensive items at the open end of the funnel and ends with your most expensive item at the other end. Frankly, this is one of the reasons that you are reading this free report. I realize that many who read these very words will file this report in some forgotten folder and forget about it. But a few, sharp readers will want to know more. I’ve designed a power way to work with a few of you…to help you get started on your road to information fortunes. Just by requesting this free report, you will receive more information on how you and I can work together to launch your information empire.
How to Find Customers and Keep them.
Remember what my friend, Mark Victor Hansen, taught me:
“The sole purpose for your business is to Find Customers and Keep them.”
The key to keeping customers in your funnel is to develop a long term relationship with them. A customer on your database is not just a name on a computer. It’s a real person with changing and evolving needs and wants. They don’t exist in a static world where nothing changes. They are being constantly bombarded with a hundred other options. You need to do whatever it takes to keep them loyal to you….and keep them out of your competitors funnel because the long term payout is so great.
Any marketer will tell you that the hardest and most expensive sale is to a new, cold customer who has never heard of you before and has never tried your product. The cheapest, easiest sale is from a satisfied customer. If you want to have a real tough time in business…..if you want each sale to be hard and expensive…then play the old game of “find the new customer.” You cannot survive in the competitive in the new millennium by constantly being forced to find new customers. You must make it easy by taking care of the ones you find….and making it easy for them to tell their friends.
Building a million dollar database relationship with your valued clients.
Here is a specific example on how building a long term relationships with your most valued customers can pay off big. It comes from a great book on marketing, The Great Marketing Turnaround: The Age of the Individual and How to Profit From it. By Stan Rapp and Tom Collins published by Prentice-Hall. I quote from page 62.
“The mid-sized Ukrop’s (supermarket) chain, with 18 stores and a 25% market share in the Richmond area, was facing increasingly tough competition. The area had experienced a 25% increase in the total number of grocery stores and supermarkets in just 5 years. Looking for a competitive advantage, brothers James and Robert Ukrops……set up a test program. A mailing was sent to households near the test store, inviting them to become a Ukrop’s “Valued Customer” and enjoy “Automatic Savings Without Clipping Coupons.” Members would receive a bar-coded plastic card to be presented and scanned each time they made purchases. And they would get a monthly statement listing the “electronic coupons” and rebates automatically credited to their account based on their purchases of brands offering special deals at the time -and telling them which product purchases would qualify them for additional credits. Every three months, members would then receive a voucher for credits earned, and it could be used like cash at Ukrop’s. They sent out 5,000 test mailings and signed up 7,500 customers- a 150% response and direct marketer would envy! Within three months, overall sales volume in the test store had risen 10%, and two-thirds of the sales were coming from Valued Customers. Within two years Ukrop’s had expanded the systems to all of its(now 20) stores, and was mailing out to 196,000 members each month its newsletter, Ukrop’s Valued Customer News.”
Did you notice what made the new program so successful? They made shopping easier, simpler and more profitable. Automatic savings without clipping coupons saved their customers time and money. Brilliant! No wonder they had a 150% response.
It has been said, “Sell the sizzle and not the steak.” I say, Sell the sizzle BUT DELIVER THE STEAK! AND the salad AND the hors d’oeuvres AND the dessert AND the after dinner drink, AND the limo ride to and from the restaurant.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR CUSTOMERS. THERE’S A HUGE BOUNTY ON THEIR HEAD!
Whether your selling widgets or information, you must create a relationship with your clients whereby they feel that you are their ultimate source for everything they want in life.
If you are in the information business, proclaim yourself as their information source…as their data detective. You can follow them for life and refine and adapt your database to their changing lifestyle needs. In the early eighties the baby boomers on my data base wanted nothing down real estate. But as they moved through the decade they became consumers for dozens of other information products such as:
How to invest/make money
How to find bargains
Mid life crisis counseling
How to make 200% per year in the stock market
Making a fortune on the Internet
By tracking their needs, as their information detective, I am able to supply to them what they need at all the various stages of their life. Once they are in my funnel, I try to keep them there forever.
Just how quickly can you turn an idea into cash?
Well, having established this foundation, let’s explore a 12 step Getting Started Action Plan so you can get some cash flowing into your life. Do you remember the definition of a straight line from you days in math class? It is the shortest distance between two points. So what is the definition of a money line? It is the shortest distance between an idea in your head and a check in your mailbox. Suppose you wanted to see how fast you could turn an idea in your head into cash. What would the actions steps be? There are at least 12 of them:
12 Step Surefire Getting Started Action Plan
Step One. Identify/create a database that matches your P/E ratio.
If you want to prosper in the information business for a long time, you should be marketing information that matches your passion and your expertise. I call this the P/E ratio. It is possible to market information that you are not passionate about. But at the very least you should be an expert in that subject. Conversely, it is possible to market information that you are not an expert in….but at the very least you should be passionate about it. Better, of course, to be a passionate expert.
Let’s suppose your subject is making money fast….. a subject that you are passionate about and have some expertise in. You would like to share this information with the world and make millions doing it. The first step would be to find a data base of people who have shown an interest in money. By exploring the Standard Rate and Data Survey publication at your local library you can see lists and lists of publications, newsletters, magazines, etc. that cater to people who are interested in making, saving and investing money.
By consulting with one of the many list brokers advertised in Direct Marketing magazine or from a referral source, you try to identify a current mailing list of potential customers for your information. The characteristics of this mailing list should match what we discussed earlier: your audience should be a large and growing school of fish that is hungry and ready to be whipped into a feeding frenzy.
If you have an existing data base of your previous customers, you should probably test your new idea on them first. But if you are starting from scratch, then you’ll have to build a new database from the names of your closest friends, family members, the groups or associations you belong to, your co-workers and anyone else you meet for the rest of your life. ( Other than finding and keeping customers, the most important function you must perform as an info-preneur is to constantly build your database.)
Using your current customer data base or a cold list, as selected by your list broker, you need to determine the profile of your ideal customer. Who is your target audience? How old are they? Where do they live? What are their interests? What magazines do they read?
Of course, the Internet is the hottest place to build your own database rather than rent one. Notice how we acquired your name. You must have visited my site and requested to receive my netletter along with 3 special reports. I hope you’re enjoying the free information. I’ve tried to give great value for you click. Every time people request the free information, I acquire their e-mail address. And periodically, I send out a special netletter packed with more money making ideas. This builds a loyal customer base that has specifically requested information about my subject….how to make money.
I’ll never forget when the power of an internet database was demonstrated to me for the first time. A colleague came to my house to show me how to make money from the Internet. I was expecting it to take days….but I was astounded with what happened. He typed in a short message to his growing e-mail subscriber list offering to sell them one of my tape packages….normally priced at $60….for only $30…half price. I agreed to the low price as a test….realizing that at this price my costs would be covered and I could still earn a modest profit. He sent the e-mail to a small list of his Internet newsletter subscribers and within seconds, the orders started pouring in……people giving their credit card numbers in their e-mails wanting the special offer. I was amazed….it was so easy.
The power of building an internet data base is that most people will NOT be interested in your offer at any given time….but that a tiny percentage will be VERY interested. Suppose you have a list of only 1,000 people. What kind of response would you need to make $1000 a day. Only one person in a thousand to buy your $1,000 hands-on training, two people for your $500 home study course. 4 people for you $250 special package deal, 10 people for your $100 kit. You only need a 1% response rate!!!!!! And the larger your list, the more money you make……or the lower response you need in order to make at least $1,000 a day!
The key is the list. Now, you are on my list. Eventually, I’ll offer something that is so enticing, so valuable, so interesting to you, so rare that you, too, will want to be one of the few who take advantage of that week’s special offer. And we’ll both win.
So, how do you create such a list?
Step Two. Discover what information is vital to your chosen database.
This is called market research. Just what do your customers want? Have you ever asked them….called them up on the phone? Are you trying to sell them what they want or what you think they need? Ask. Ask. Ask. Find out what information is vital to them and how they want that information.
There are many levels of information. At which level do your customers want to be informed?
Do they want raw data? (i.e. the number of foreclosures in Los Angeles County or the number of cars on the freeway at rush hour.)
Do they want preliminary information? (i.e. A special report on the main causes of cancer in females over 50 and how to prevent it.)
Do they want in-depth know-how? (A complete home study system on how to raise happy and healthy children.)
Do they want skills training? (A hands-on experiential 5 day training on how to be a successful public speaker.)
Do they want personal consulting? (Toll free or face to face coaching on how to invest your personal money in stocks.)
The deeper the level of information, the more expensive the product. How much information do the want? How much are they willing to pay? These are all important questions and you would do well to ask these questions to a hundred people before you ever put your fingers to the typewriter keyboard.
Step Three. Discover who is already providing information to your database.
Ask your target database where they are currently obtaining their information. Your objective is to discover who are the top information providers in your subject. Who are the best? They must be doing something right. Make a list of the top 5 information providers.
Step Four. Discover how the 5 best communicate/sell to your target database.
Call up each of your top 5 information competitors. Pretend to be a customer ask each of them to send you their sales literature. Ask where they are advertising. Find out, if possible, how they get their leads. Solicit their mailing pieces. Visit with their top salespeople. Let their telemarketers try to sell you. What benefits do they emphasize? What features do they brag about? Gather information. Let your subconscious simmer about it.
Step Five. Discover what info/service/feature is missing from above.
Let their salespeople sell you. Become a customer. Get their product. Rip it apart. What makes it so special? Is it a matter of design? Is it a matter of marketing? Find out their strengths. Probe for weaknesses. Notice how other upstart competitors are making inroads into the market share of the top 5 companies. How are these smaller companies surviving? What do they say to draw away customers from the big boys. What niche are they exploiting?
Ask your target database what they don’t like about your competitor’s product. Ask them what they would add to your competitor’s product to make it perfect. Ask them what they would delete from your competitor’s product that is not necessary. Ask them to design it exactly the way they want it.
And remember, at the top of the list of competitive advantages is ease of use and quick results.
Step Six. Create a competitive advantage. Position your product better.
Remember, people are lazy. If they have a choice between easy and hard they’ll take easy EVERY SINGLE TIME! If they have a choice between fast and slow, they’ll take fast EVERY SINGLE TIME. If they have a choice between simple and complicated, they’ll take simple EVERY SINGLE TIME. If you can provide these things at a price that is a bit lower than your competitor, odds are that you’ll steal a bunch of business.
Now, a word about competition. Sometimes a beginner starts with what he or she feels is a unique idea and naively rushes off to start a business. Soon they discover that someone else is already marketing this idea…sometimes with a very similar title…and they get discouraged.
First, understand that there is an enormous number of people in the world. If you can just entice 1/1000 of 1% of the population in North America (that’s 2,500 clients!) into your funnel and take care of them…..you’ll probably be set for life. (Remember the LTV of a customer. If each of your customers spends just a $1,000 with you over the next ten years, that’s TWENTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS!)
Second, remember that big companies can get knocked off by smart competitors who start from scratch with long, long odds of success. MCI is doing extremely well against ATT. Federal Express is doing extremely well against the US Postal Service. Compaq computer company is doing extremely well against IBM. The Discover Card is doing extremely well against MasterCard and Visa. Even Robert Allen did extremely well against all the other real estate books and seminar operators that I leap frogged over in the 70′s and early 80′s. New technology and super charged marketing can deal a mortal wound to your competitor. Just because they’ve been around for 100 years doesn’t mean you should go back to your day job.
You should read the book “Positioning: The battle for your mind.” by Trout and Ries. Great book. It will teach you how to position your “David” product against a “Goliath” competitor.
When you are done positioning, your product must be better. Emphasize your competitive advantage in such a way that makes your competitor’s product appear obsolete. MasterCard did this with American Express. “It’s everywhere you want to be.” Their ads showed how American Express is not accepted everywhere.
“When you absolutely, positively have to have it overnight.” Just saying that emphasized the fact that the US Mail was a dinosaur and that Federal Express was the new pony express. People were willing to pay 50 TIMES the price of a first class stamp just to get their information 3 times faster.
To gain a competitive advantage, your information must be,
more secure (guaranteed)
better value (combining features)
Step Seven. Create your ad.
As I said before, marketing is the key. Having determined your competitive advantage, you have to create advertising that causes people to ACT! I go into great detail on this subject in my advanced course on Info-Preneuring (Call 1-801-852-8700 for information.) We cover the following information:
Advanced Impact Marketing: One Powerful ad can make you a fortune.
How to get your message across in the overcrowded airwaves.
How to get your customers to beg to do business with you.
Ethical strategies for persuading anyone to buy from you-NOW!
Breakthrough results: 10 ways to double your ads response rate.
You ad should emphasize the Ultimate benefit your product promises. What is the amazing miracle cure your information can provide? Dr. Jeffrey Lant, one of the leading experts in selling Information Products says that some of the major Ultimate Benefits are:
Community and peer recognition
Beauty/desirability/ personal attractiveness
The headline of your ad should promise an Ultimate Benefit as well as your competitive advantage. The copy of your ad should describe as many other benefits as you have space to describe. Of secondary importance in your ad are the features of your product.
What is the difference between benefits and features?
Features describe your product. Benefits are what your customer gets when they use your product. When you talk about your product, you are doing “feature” selling. When you talk about results, you are “benefits” selling.
For example, when airlines want to sell you airline tickets to Hawaii, how do they do it? Do they describe the kind of aircraft you’ll be flying in? Do they brag about the airline meals? Do they describe the leg room? Or do they show you pictures of palm trees, sand and sun? Palm trees are benefits. Leg room is a feature. You’ll get more people to Hawaii with palm trees.
Features are for the head. Benefits are for the heart. Features are about logic. Benefits are about emotion. Emotion will outsell logic ten to one. Logic may be an important part of the sale….but only after you have engaged their emotion.
There is a lot more about marketing than I can cover here. It is, in fact, a lifelong study. There are shortcuts, however. Tricks that we pros have learned. Words that can double sales. Phrases that can cause your phone to ring off the hook. Strategies that can cause people to beg to do business with you…..as impossible as that might sound to you now.
When you see me speak to an audience, you will see people literally leap out of their seats to do business with me. After speaking for many years, I have discovered and perfected a scientific set of principles that cause people to take action immediately. These principles work EVERY TIME! I hope I can have a chance to share this information with you personally.
Step Eight. Rent your target data base for a limited test.
When your ad is done, you are ready for the test. Start cheap. Try regular newspaper classifieds or on-line data base classifieds. Cross your fingers. Let’s hope your phone never stops ringing.
Step Nine. Test until you find a message that pulls at least a 1% response.
What makes the Internet so perfect for information marketing is the free classifieds. There are thousands of places where you can place your free classified and test the response your ads at ZERO cost. It’s incredible. But even classifieds in normal daily papers are relatively inexpensive. And once you discover an ad that pulls, you can run it in one of 7,000 different newspapers.
Step Ten. Test many different media to see which is most productive
Try newspapers, try magazines, try periodicals, try newsletters, try the Internet. Some will produce gushers of cash flow. Others will be dry holes. It may take months of testing to discover which is which.
Step Eleven. Roll out your marketing campaign in a major way.
Step Twelve. Test other Ring 2 versions of your winning info-product (ie. CD-ROM, newsletter, seminar, etc.
Once you have a winning ad for a winning product and you have rolled out your marketing campaign, it is time to start strategizing the next versions of your information. If you’ll look back to the 5 Rings of Riches, you will see that there are 22 ways to sell your information in Ring 2. Ironically, each different version of your product will have a different price range and will reach totally different audiences. Just like hard cover book buyers are totally different from paperback book buyers, so are CD-ROM buyers different from audio cassette buyers. And happily, some of your regular customers may want to have your information in several different formats….one for the car, one for their CD player, one for their computer, one for their night stand, one for library, one for their telephone, etc. If they love you and your information, they’re going to want all of you they can.
Well, that about covers the broad subject of Info-Preneuring. I’ve tried to touch all of the bases and give you the big picture. There’s much more to learn but this should give you enough information to convince you that you should jump into this with both feet.
One last word of advice. On my office wall I have a sign. It says,
I make money by writing words. The more I write, the more I make. Therefore,
Write 1000 words today!
I have calculated that whenever I write a word on a page….like this one….and get it out to a customer….like you……. I eventually make $20 per word. If I want to eventually bring in a hundred dollars, I write five words. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. There, that was $100. If I want to make $1,000, I just write 50 words. 500 words equals $10,000 and so on.
Why do I make so much money for every word I write? Because every time I write a best-selling book, it is placed into tens of thousands of bookstores. Every time a book sells, I not only make the 15% royalty of the cover price of the book (usually about $3 per book) but I have secret ways of capturing the name of the book buyer…..who now becomes part of my Info-Funnel….who now is offered more of the products I have lovingly created for him or her….who then tells three or four friends about me….who then go out and buy my book….who then get enticed into my info-funnel…..who then, go tell their friends….and so on, and so forth. So that every word I write eventually results in somebody sending me money…..at least $20 for every, single word.
So, you see, I don’t get writers block. Ever! Whenever I have to make a decision about whether to watch some worthless T.V. show or to sit down at my computer and write my 1000 words today……my computer always wins the battle.
If you knew that you could make $20 a word, wouldn’t you be more motivated to write your 1,000 words right now.
Why are you still reading?
(P.S. My computer just did a word count in this special report. There are 10,189 words. This is good. Very good.)