Andrew: Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. And I talk super fast as I do it. Today’s guest is someone that I actually turned down for an interview. He sent me an email, he said, “Andrew, I’ve got this thing. I think it’s interesting. I think you should interview me.” And I said, “Thanks. No.”
And then he shot me another email and he said, “Andrew, I think this makes sense.” And he told me a little bit about it. It’s something about respect-based funnels, and I thought, “You know what? I like respect. Maybe there’s something here. I’m kind of interested in funnels. Maybe out of personal curiosity, tell me more.” So he didn’t just tell me more, he shot a screen sharing video for me where he walked me through step by step how he does his email funnels. And I thought, “That’s kind of interesting.”
What he does is he asks people a question and then he stores their answer and then when he sends them what they asked for when they subscribe to his email newsletter, he tells them in the email, “This product that you asked for is especially good for . . . ” And then he inserts what they said they were trying to do in the question that he asked on his website. And then when they hit the link to come to the website, even though everyone comes into the same website, he switches out the benefit based on what people said they wanted when they filled out the initial survey question on a site.
And he showed me like a bunch of stuff like that. It was all pretty interesting and clever, but also kept simple. And I thought, “You know, I’m going to indulge myself. Out of curiosity, I’m really fascinated by this guy. Let’s have him on here to do an interview.” Apparently, I’m not the only one who he’s worn down this way. He’s done this a lot. He’s persistent, he is determined, and it’s got him a lot of friends in the tech space.
All right. So his name is Bastian. Actually, his name is Bastian, but you want to sound American for some reason. I think you should sound a little foreign. You got that whole fun look to you.
Bastian: It should sound French, no? Bastian.
Andrew: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Bastian.
Bastian: Why not? Why not? Yeah.
Andrew: All right. But you prefer the American pronunciation you told me, so I’ll respect that. It’s Bastian.
Bastian: It’s just easier. Yeah. It’s just easier.
Andrew: His name is Bastian Ernst. He is the founder of Wild Audience. It offers respect-based funnels that get people to feel, act, and convert. Let me put some flesh on that. Basically, if you like what he’s doing, he teaches a course that does it, but more and more what he does is about half of his business he says comes from doing it. So it’s a service-based business where he will put this type of marketing into his clients’ businesses and set them up right.
All right. This interview is sponsored by two great companies. One I have to admit to you guys, I intentionally moved into this interview because I know that Bastian uses them. It’s called ActiveCampaign. It’s great for sending out email. He uses it. And the second is a company that will help you hire phenomenal developers and finance people. It’s called Toptal. I’ll tell you about both of those later. But first, Bastian, come on. Where are you from that you’ve got such an interesting name that you want to Americanize it?
Bastian: Yeah. So I was actually born in Austria, man, in Vienna. That’s where everything started. And then I left that place to go to Silicon Valley. And actually, the [inaudible 00:02:59] got there was similar approach than what I did with you, right?
Andrew: Yeah, you were at a conference. It’s a conference in Vienna. What was the conference in Vienna?
Bastian: It’s called Pioneers. It’s like a yearly thing. And there was this one guy and I saw him and I was like, “Well, he’s cool.”
Andrew: The guy.
Bastian: This little kid. Steli Efti. Steli Efti . . .
Andrew: What do you think about . . . Give me a sense of when this was.
Bastian: Like last year of university. So that was like a couple of years ago. Like what? Three years ago? Four years ago?
Andrew: Okay. So 2015?
Bastian: Yeah, maybe. Yeah.
Andrew: So did he have swagger at the time? Because I’ve known Steli for a long time. He was super smart, but I’ve said this to him, once he hit it, once his business Close.io, this CRM software went well and he got good at content marketing, he developed this swagger. Before then, I believe he was like this nerdy little kid almost all the time who was eager and determined, but he had no swagger.
Bastian: He was the gangster, man, when I met him.
Andrew: He had that.
Bastian: He was the gangster, yeah.
Andrew: Tell me what it was about him that attracted you that we’re talking about him all these years later?
Bastian: Like, he had this black leather jacket and he was like on stage on fire like everyone in that room was like, “Man, this guy,” and like all the kids in my age were like, “Oh, I want to work with this guy.” Right?
Andrew: And by the way, the thing that he sells is software for managing their sales. This is not like the cool thing at all, right? This is Glengarry Glen Ross type tools, but what is it about him that made you like him so much?
Bastian: Stories. Stories.
Bastian: One story . . . When I was there he didn’t know me nothing, like he was telling stories about people, and then a year later after I worked for him I was at a different conference with him there and then he told a story about me, right? So that was really cool. So he’s just telling stories . . .
Andrew: He is really good at telling stories. Okay. And so you saw him there. He didn’t know you from anyone else in the audience.
Andrew: But you just said, I’m determined to do what?
Bastian: Like, my goal was that he remembers my name. Like, two-day conference I want . . .
Bastian: Well, I wanted to work for him. I was like, “All right. If I get . . . ” Because he had the book. He wanted to sell book, right? Like, give away the book. There was a line of hundreds of people my age, right? And I was like, “Okay. How can I . . . ” All my friends were like, “I want to work with this guy. I want to work for this guy.” Right? So I was like, “Okay. The most important thing is that he remembers my name out of all these people.” And then in the end, basically, what he said was, I remember it was on second day . . .
Andrew: Wait. Before you say what he says, what did you do to see that goal through?
Bastian: All right. That’s a good one.
Andrew: Tell me what you did.
Bastian: So, basically, the first thing I did, like, I went home after the first day I was like in love. I stalked him everywhere. I liked him, I tweeted him, I messaged him, like everything. He saw me online, right? Then I looked up all our friends in common on Facebook. I got them to message Steli like, “Hey, I have this friend. You don’t know me, but hey, you got to check out Bastian.” So, like, three, four people did that, right? And then the second day I was in the first . . . at the queue when he gives away the books, and he was like, literally like, “Dude, don’t stalk me. You’re such a stalker.”
Andrew: Because he was genuinely upset or was he being cute?
Bastian: He was upset, yes.
Bastian: He was upset, right? But then he said, “Don’t stalk me, Bastian.” He said my name and I was like . . . So that was pretty cool. And like a couple of emails later, a week . . . Like literally two weeks later I was flying over to Silicon Valley.
Andrew: He flew you there?
Bastian: No, I flew over.
Andrew: To do what?
Bastian: To start my internship.
Andrew: Oh, not to keep stalking him. He gave you an internship at that point?
Andrew: To do what?
Bastian: So, basically after that “Don’t stalk me” conversation, I read all of his books and then we had a call. I managed to get a call and then I basically used his sales tactics in the call and there was this moment he’s talking about the virtual close, basically, putting the person into the situation of being closed, right? I did the same thing with him and he noticed that and he was like, “All right, come over.” And then that’s what I did.
Andrew: And he recognized that you were doing this, he was proud of it, and he said, “Okay, come on over.” What did you do for him?
Bastian: Sales. I was . . .
Andrew: What kind of sales did you do for him?
Bastian: My title was . . . I was a hustler and I was being an SDR. So I was qualifying people, right? [inaudible 00:07:09]
Andrew: SDR, this is Sales Development Rep. These are the people who takes the random email addresses that we get online and convert them into sales calls for real salespeople who are going to really close them.
Andrew: What did you do for him? How did you get those random email addresses of people and what did you do to convert them into calls? You got to tell me Steli’s system.
Bastian: Yeah. So that’s how it works. So they do awesome content, right? So Steli is all over in YouTube and everywhere, blog posts and stuff, right? So you get lots of inbound. Everything is inbound. And then there are people like me who qualify these people. So the goal is within 5 to 15 minutes pick up the phone, call them.
Andrew: Oh. As soon as they put their contact information in, you call them.
Bastian: For the trial. For the trial.
Andrew: For the trial of the Close.io software, you call them?
Bastian: “Hey, what’s up, John? I just saw you sign up for a trial. I just want to give you a, ‘Hi, what’s up?'” And then we just start a conversation and you go through the qualifying questions and so on. Yeah.
Andrew: And then if they qualify then you say, “You know, we have somebody here not who can sell you on this,” but who could do what?
Bastian: Give you a demo. Show you how to use Close.io.
Andrew: Give you a demo.
Bastian: Yeah, exactly. And then they use Close.io, the demo Close.io and then use Close.io to close the person.
Andrew: I can’t get people on the phone who are in my family because nobody picks up the freaking phone. I have to text message them. How do you get people to pick up the phone?
Bastian: Well, so it depends. Like, at the stage where you can actually . . . We call it the conversion event. So, for us at Wild Audience, we do that when someone buys the front-end product or joins the webinar. So, if someone joins the webinar, for example, and then sees the offer, we tag them in ActiveCampaign and only if they see the offer and join the workshop, the webinar, boom, we call them because we have the phone number because they sign up with their phone number.
Andrew: But then, are they going to pick up the phone from a random stranger? They’re not worried that it’s spam?
Bastian: It depends. It really depends. Yes. So, often, you just keep on calling people, but then you have like really handy features like it’s called Smart Dialing, so basically it dials a lot of people at the same time and you just keep on ringing phones. You know what I mean?
Andrew: This is in Close.io?
Bastian: For example, yeah.
Andrew: Got it. And so you can only you . . . You’re not sitting there dialing your phone, they get through. You know what? I know that . . . I think I’m okay saying this. I know I learned from Anton from Sumo. I think he’s at AppSumo or Sumo.com. I don’t remember which of those two sister products he’s with. But he’s the one who said, “I never knew about SDRs. Now we have SDRs and I didn’t know how to work with them.” And he said that one of the things they do is they do text message people. I said, “Look, my wife and I she’s not going to pick up the phone unless I text her.” So, I text her before and say, “Hey, are you around for a call?” And then she says, “Yes.” She gets to a place where she can make a call, she can pick up the phone. Did you guys do that at Close? Do you do that now at Wild Audience?
Bastian: No, no. We haven’t tried that. We should. I like it.
Andrew: You should. All right. Was it useful to work for Steli, and if it was, tell me what you learned from him? What else?
Bastian: Yeah, man. That’s like if someone is in the stage of before starting a company or just being young, the best thing you can do is pick out your mentor, like pick him, right? So I was like, “Okay. This is my guy.” And basically what . . . I wasn’t in for the money. I wasn’t in for . . . The only thing what I wanted is have a weekly coffee on Wednesday where he walks to the coffee shop and I can walk with him and ask him all of my questions out like . . .
Andrew: So would work for him for free if you could do all that?
Bastian: Like my costs were covered, but I didn’t make any money. You know what I mean?
Bastian: And my money was the life advice, experience, everything.
Andrew: And what were you hoping to do with this?
Bastian: Like what I do right now, it comes all from that experience, right? This Silicon Valley experience is couple of months almost a year.
Andrew: What do you mean? The product that you turned into a service? Is that it?
Bastian: No. For me, it was like the conversations I had on the phone. The people I talked to because of Steli, the conversation I had with Steli and his team, right? So like this whole experience is the foundation of what I do right now. You know what I mean?
Andrew: Okay. It’s not that he taught you how to customize landing pages and so on.
Bastian: No. That I started myself.
Andrew: That’s you. But I do believe that he did teach you how to bring in salespeople for online courses and more importantly for your services. A lot of service business are not good at that. I’m not good at having salespeople. That’s what you got from him.
Bastian: That, but more . . . I think the big picture of, “What is SaaS? What is software? How does business work?” So, the big picture stuff.
Andrew: Oh, even basics like that. Okay.
Andrew: I’m going to say this. Anyone who is listening to this who is interested in sales, Steli is highly underrated because he is a software guy. He’s not a guy who really spent a lot of time on his own personal brand, even though you said he does YouTube videos, he speaks at events, but really, you know the guys who are authors who do nothing but promote themselves. He’s not that guy. He actually is running a sales organization. So, people underestimate him.
That freaking guy is so damn good. He is so good and keeps getting better and I believe, we’re now doing this in 2018, someone’s going to listen to this in 2023, you’re not going to be able to talk to him by then. He’s just going to hit that level where he’s unattainable and rightfully so.
Okay. So that’s what got you into Silicon Valley, you started working for him here. I actually don’t believe he needs to be in Silicon Valley, and one of the reasons that I don’t think he needs to be is, he’s running a sales organization. He’s not so much SaaS-related anymore because look at how much . . . How much did it cost you to live? At what environment did live in when you lived here?
Bastian: Well, in Silicon Valley I was living in the garage.
Andrew: Literally, in the garage.
Bastian: In the garage. There was no windows, it was just huge badass garage door. And I paid at that time, a couple of years ago, now it’s probably more expensive, at that time it was $800 U.S. And I shared the garage with five dudes.
Andrew: With five other dudes sleeping in the garage?
Bastian: Yeah, exactly. In the morning since there was no light, we open the door, the air comes in and light comes in, but I loved it. It was great.
Andrew: And then whose garage was it in? Steli’s?
Bastian: No, that will be cool. That’d be really cool. No. It was a huge house. It was basically some student rent the whole house and sub-rented it to a lot of people. We were 15 people in the house.
Andrew: Like a hacker house type of thing as they call it.
Bastian: Yeah. It was a hacker house, exactly.
Andrew: And it was like everyone all in there. I feel like there’s a real estate play in that. Now, I just buy one of these houses in South Bay and cram a bunch of people in there. And you said to yourself, “Listen, if I’m going to do anything for myself, I can’t live like this.” Right?
Bastian: Pretty much. So, for me, it was like I had to like think about . . . Okay. I always knew I wanted to do my own company, but do I want to double down, commit, and work for someone, or is it time to burn the bridges and do my own thing? That’s kind of a situation I was in.
Andrew: And burning the bridge and then leave the people who you met here in the San Francisco Bay Area and go somewhere where it’s cheaper where you could start your own business.
Bastian: That’s the idea, right. I went down south to Costa Rica and Colombia because I wanted to save some money. Silicon Valley is amazing to meet people, brainstorm, get inspired and work, but if you don’t have revenue or high salary, it’s not a place to be. But, of course, South America is close. So that’s cool.
Andrew: Yeah. South America is a really good place to go. I would even suggest . . . I’ve been thinking about it. Middle America is great also. The nice thing about Middle America is you could still buy Apple products if you need them, if you need a laptop without dealing with insane taxes down in South America. You could get Amazon delivered in two days. I think that we’re underestimating parts of the U.S. partially because we’re not interested in them and they don’t seem exotic enough and partially because we just don’t have like a Tim Ferriss who went to Iowa and decided that that’s where he was going to write about. But okay. You decided, “I’m going to go and find someplace cheap to live.” Did you have a business in mind at that point?
Bastian: No. At that time, I was just like, “All right. I got to figure out what to do.” And what I did was I just worked for other people, freelancing. So I worked for a bunch of people. I pivoted a few times. I was like, “I can’t get up.” Like, Videofruit, Bryan Harris, you probably know as well.
Andrew: Yeah. You worked for him?
Bastian: No, it didn’t work for him. I learned a lot from him. Bought one of his courses on the [inaudible 00:15:00] right. So I started to study all these people and then work for other people, and at one point I just started my own thing.
Andrew: What are the freelancing type gigs that you had?
Bastian: There was one company I was doing email marketing for them. The other company I was doing SEO. My first idea when I started in Silicon Valley was, “All right. I like tech because I studied Computer Science. I like marketing, so how can I combine?” So I was like, “Okay. I want to be the technical marketing guy.” So I started to write blog. So that would . . .
Andrew: And you say technical marketing, you don’t mean you’re going to code things up from scratch. You just mean, “Hey, look. There are tools out there that people don’t know about like RightMessage. I’ll know it. I’ll figure it out really well and I’ll implement it and I’ll be that guy.”
Bastian: Exactly. I mean, at the beginning I was still like scripting and doing Python stuff and so on, but now there’s no need. There’s like all these tools. It’s awesome.
Andrew: Okay. Got it. All right. So you’re starting to do all this work and then you’re . . . To get people to know that you exist, you start blogging.
Andrew: And your blogging was, can we say not very good?
Bastian: It was actually when you put something out and . . . But for me . . . So, for me, this stage was all about finding my voice, “Who am I? How do I communicate? How do people perceive me? And what am I good at?” And that’s . . . Defining my voice stage is all about just picking one voice either audio, video or written form. I picked the writing stuff and I started to write.
And I put something out on Inbound, which is kind of like a forum for marketers like the Facebook in the past. And I got lots of traction, and actually it was the top talked about thing for a week, but it was 50/50, 50% negative, 50% positive. And I was just like, “How can people be so negative? How can people be so nice?” The first time I was like exposed to internet hate. You know what I mean? But then this one guy he said . . . Nathan, he said like, “Hey, dude. Just think about it. Just imagine like if no one gave a damn, no one would come and no one would . . . ”
Andrew: Just appreciate that people hate it.
Bastian: Exactly. People . . . They appreciate you enough that they actually put a negative comment. And I was like, “That’s actually cool.” It would have sucked if no one commented at all. So I took that, I learned from it, and that’s when I learn . . .
Andrew: What did you say that got so many people heated up one way or the other?
Bastian: Just people were like, “This is bullshit. This sucks, man.”
Andrew: Yeah, but what did you say? Make America great again? What was it?
Bastian: No, I was just like, the way I write, the way it’s written, there were grammar mistakes because English is not my first language.
Bastian: There are like all these things. So I was like . . .
Andrew: And what was the main message that you were putting out there?
Bastian: The main message was a thing about . . . It was about funnels, yeah. It was about funnels. Oh, no. The first thing was audience first, startup second. All right. So I was like, okay, I don’t want to just start an MVP, build an MVP, Minimum Viable Product. I first want to grow an audience. So I said, “Okay. I’m first going to grow an audience. I’m going to ask them, ‘Hey, what do you guys want?’ and then I’m going to build that and then I’m going to launch the MVP to the audience.” That was the idea. And that was what the article was about.
Andrew: Okay. That was it. And people didn’t disagree with you so much with that, is they just didn’t like the way that you were writing it.
Bastian: Both ways. Both ways. They didn’t like, “Why would you grow an audience? It’s so much work.” And I’m sure you know like building an audience is a lot of work.
Andrew: That’s so strange that they would do that. Here’s the message actually now that you’ve mentioned it, I was able to go back and find it. Oh, you actually put it right on their site too two years ago. Wow, a lot of views. Okay. “I’m Building an Engaged Audience First Before Starting My Company and Why You Should Too.” Oh, and I see. Already I’m bothered by the headline. And I have no . . . Like, it’s not the message. “Company” is capitalized, “audience” and “first” are capitalized, but “engaged” is not. The word “and” is capitalized, but strangely the word “you” is not capitalized. There’s two. It’s just like random. And then Seth Godin says, “Marketing is the first thing we do, not the last. If everyone zigs, you have to zag, remember? Many of my friends start companies but fail. The CEO of Dropbox, Drew Houston once said, “You need to build 10 companies to get one big hit.” I see what it is. It is . . .
Bastian: And now you can go to Wild Audience articles and then scroll to the first article, and that’s the iterative version of that.
Bastian: And that’s what I learned from this.
Andrew: It takes me right in there. And this was updated just about two months ago. Yeah. Now it looks really nice. The capitalization makes sense. Almost. Almost. Still . . . Almost. The word “use” is either supposed to be capitalized or everything else maybe shouldn’t be, but I get it. Okay. All right. Okay. This makes a lot of sense. This looks a lot better. I don’t even think I could describe it. All right. So I see it. You’re trying to make a name for yourself, trying to think through ideas, trying to be big and bold the way that Steli was on stage, and some people like it, some people don’t.
Bastian: Finding my voice. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. Then at that point, you still have no product. You know what? Before we get into that, let me talk about Toptal. Listen, you paid $800 bucks for a garage. You should see there are a lot of . . . This is going to connect to the Toptal commercial. There are people who here in San Francisco make $400,000 a year being developers for major companies still cannot freaking buy a house without borrowing from their family. We’re talking about a real issue in San Francisco. So, how does this relate to Toptal?
Phenomenal developers are so smart that they think, “Why do I need to put up with this? Why do I need to be a great developer, work for a top company, have everyone praise me for being so good and admire that I have free lunch, and then go home to a place that I can’t barely afford, that I have to go to my parents and ask them for a handout? It’s got to be a better way.” And so a lot of them will say, “You know what? I know what my better way is. I’m actually going to go live in a different country. I’m actually going to go live in the part of the country that I like. I’m actually going to not sit in traffic going from San Francisco to Mountain View just because I’m a great developer and Google gave me a job.”
But these people are smart, they want big problems to solve to think through. And so what they do is they go to Toptal. And often Toptal will say, “Sorry. You’ve gone through our process. We’re not going to let you in the Toptal network.” But sometimes person makes it through the Toptal network through their series of rigorous test and they’re in the network. And now when a business like yours or mine needs killer developers, we just go to Toptal and say, “Here’s what we use. We use this language. We use this style. We communicate this way. We need someone who can communicate in this attitude, in this way, and work with us and join in on calls at this.” And they get it to you.
That’s the beauty of Toptal. If you’re looking for a developer and really you want someone who can outthink the solution to a problem, it’s . . . Many entrepreneurs think, “I got a problem and I know the answer, I need somebody who’ll go code it.” If that’s you, you’re making a mistake. What you’re better off doing is saying, “I have a problem. I need someone who can come up with a better solution than me because they know the software better than me because they know how to code better than me.”
If that’s what you’re looking for, I want you to go to a special URL where as Mixergy listeners, you’re going to get 80 hours of Toptal developer credit when you pay for your first 80 hours, and that’s in addition to a no-risk trial period of up to two weeks. And if at the end of the period you are not 100% satisfied, you will not be billed. Listen to that. In fact, forget listen to that. Go read it on the site. It’s Top as in top of your head, tal as in talent, Toptal.com/mixergy.
In the past, I’ve told you guys to go and share it with your friends. It looks like they’re asking me on this website to not share with our friends. This is private just for Mixergy people. I was doing that because I wanted to juice my results. I thought, “Look. Everyone in my audience has somebody who they know who needs a developer. What if I could get them to spread the word and then this ad is going to look killer successful?” Apparently, Toptal does not want this spreading.
Okay. All right. I was trying to growth hack it. Let’s talk about the first product. Now you’re starting to develop an audience, some people hate you, some people like you, many are intrigued and you decide I’m going to start offering something. What was it that you were going to offer? What’s that first thing?
Bastian: So here’s how I did it. So I remember I had my first customer when I was in Panama, and this guy paid me $97. He was from Brazil, Mario. And at that time I had no product, no nothing. The only thing I had was a sales pitch and four emails and like a homepage. And my goal was, “I want to sell one course before I’m going to start building this thing.”
The way I did was I wrote a blog post similar to the one which you just read. I put it into GrowthHackers, Inbound, and Facebook groups, especially Facebook groups. Facebook groups are a killer. I remember posting to one group, I got like 220 signups for that. They went through my funnel, which is basically a couple of emails. It was very simple at that time, a sales page and then a $97 checkout page. And that’s how I validated the whole thing. And then together with a bunch of people actually over 25 people in the beta group we built the whole product together. That’s kind of like how I built the product.
Andrew: Wait. You got 25 people to pay you when you had nothing to sell them and then in . . .
Andrew: For $97. You put them in a Facebook group and you all created the solution together?
Bastian: Yeah, exactly. I put them into Facebook group. I was like, “Hey, guys. All right. So I’m thinking about these three lessons. What do you guys think?” And the best part was the course was delivered by email via ActiveCampaign again. So every . . .
Andrew: Bastian, what was the offer that got them to give you $97?
Bastian: How to build a funnel.
Andrew: It was just how to build a funnel.
Bastian: You got it.
Andrew: Okay. And so you put them in a group and you said, “Here’s how I think I’m going to teach you.” They saw that and then they helped shape it. Why did they trust you enough to give you $97 for “How to build a funnel”?
Bastian: Because I wrote that second blog post which was a very . . .
Andrew: What was the second blog post? Give me a keyword I can search for.
Bastian: “Eight Steps in Evergreen Sales Funnel.” I wrote that in June and July had my first customer and basically the blog post is a very light version of the product I wanted to build. So I knew someone who reads it and signs up for this is a high potential.
Bastian: All right. And this blog post was killer.
Andrew: So you said, “Here’s what I envision,” and some people took you up on that. They get in there. Tell me how they changed your product because of the feedback they gave you?
Bastian: Basically, I didn’t really know what to put there. Do the people want automation templates or was it more in a strategic kind of like writing type of things? So, everything, like they gave me direction. And then the best part is these people became my friends. And the reason they did it, the reason why they join for $97 and why they pay someone they didn’t know was because what I told them is, “Hey guys, this is a new product. This is not available yet. It’s a beta thing. And what you get is, you get the polished product in the end. You will be part of the whole process building it and you get unlimited coaching over a lifespan.” And that’s what I promised them. And unlimited refund. So it was an easy decision for them.
Andrew: Okay. Got it. I see what you’re doing. I see why they signed up. Give me one more thing that changed because of them and then we’ll go into what you did next.
Bastian: Yeah, for sure. I think one thing because these people had so many conversations and I just started to understand my market. I started to understand the way to think. And as we always say, like, if you start a company, the customer avatar, and that’s what we do now, with our clients from customer avatar to positioning to business model, the messaging, the belief system, the belief mapping. All these things they’re based on who you serve. And if you have a small group of people you can actually talk to on a regular basis and they actually like talking to you, that’s a goldmine.
Andrew: So you had your avatar and you have them to go back to and anytime you had an idea, you could go back and run your idea by them.
Bastian: Yeah, exactly, because every time you sell something it’s always based on the belief system, and the belief system is how people believe, and these people were my source like figured out what people believe. So the question I ask myself, “Okay. What do people need to be looking for that can buy my stuff?” And instead of just assuming it or like thinking about it, I just asked these people and have conversations.
Andrew: Okay. All right. And then he said, “I got them from blogging. Let’s try some ads.” Ads, SEO, partnerships. You wanted to have something new of all of those that I just talked about. What did you try that sucked and what did you try that finally worked?
Bastian: I had this 25 people and for many months I made a little bit of money but nothing really increased and growth or whatsoever. I was stuck.
Andrew: It’s just $2,500 bucks or did you sell more of those?
Bastian: Say again.
Andrew: How did you make more money after the first 25 people?
Bastian: So, basically, every time I got a new customer, I increased the price from 97 to 100 and 125 and so on until I reached 600. And then basically, at that point, I was doing all kinds of different things. I was blogging. I was trying to optimize for SEO which is . . . Anyways, and I was doing Facebook groups, I was trying YouTube, all these things and then I was like, “All right.” There’s a story, I’m sure you know it from Warren Buffett and Bill Gates of like, so they sit down for dinner at Bill Gates mom’s house and then Bill’s mom ask the both of them, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, “Hey, what’s the single most biggest reason why you guys are so successful?” And both looked at each other and said like, “Focus.” And when I first read that story and the thing . . . I’m not sure where I read. I was like, “Oh gosh, that’s not what I’m doing.” And that’s when I removed all of my traffic and traction channels and just focused on one thing and that was Facebook ads.
Bastian: And at that time I worked really well for us and that’s when everything kicked off. Focusing on one thing.
Andrew: What was it about the ads that worked? What did you do different from other people?
Bastian: The ads . . . There wasn’t the technicality of the ads. It was for me putting my energy and my focus on one thing, and that was the ad. That’s . . . It could have been anything, I think. It could have been YouTube, it could have been whatever.
Andrew: It was just that you picked one and kept tweaking it, but after you tweaked it you found something that worked. What worked about your ads?
Bastian: What worked about them was the congruency. Okay. And you mentioned that before is as you have the ads and someone who sees ad and sees exactly on the page what he or she expects. And then we collect some data. We use the data to exact . . . Again, showed them content they expect. So we built the trust relationship by being relevant, being personal but customizing everything and then optimizing everything for engagement that actually, once they check out the webinar, check out the sales call, whatever, they have all these beliefs which I mentioned before to have them installed so that the sales conversation, the yes conversation is then way easier. That makes sense. So the whole funnel is kind of optimized for that, and that’s a cool thing. That’s why it worked so well.
Andrew: Okay. Well, tell me more. Tell me more because I’m intrigued by this, and I know we can’t get into the whole description of it here on the call, but I want to be able to visualize it.
Bastian: Yeah. Okay. The first thing is you pick one traffic channel. Okay? One. Whatever you want to choose. You send them to a thing where you can capture or start controlling the conversation. Usually, we control our conversation via email. It could also be bot. Let’s say it’s email. So we get something in return which is the lead magnet.
The lead magnet is basically a PDF. It could be a blog post turned into a PDF. You give that away and put a cover. That’s it, right? So you’re on the ad to the lead magnet. And then instead of just sending them automated emails what everyone does, instead of doing this, you get them to raise their hand. You want to ask them for permission. “Hey, I just saw you sign up for this lead magnet. You know what? And you told me you have this problem. You know what? I have these six lesson course. It’s for free and it helps you solve the problem which you just told me you have. You want to sign up?”
And then when they say yes and raise their hand, “I want to sign up,” we asked them four more questions to collect some data. We store the data in ActiveCampaign or any other ESP you have or CRM and then we play out the funnel which is usually seven emails. It could be seven bot message that work together.
Andrew: The same seven email, same seven bot messages, but now they in . . . Oh, different ones depending on what they answer?
Bastian: Of course, yes.
Andrew: I think it’s the same but their pieces are changed based on the answers that they gave you.
Bastian: Exactly. [inaudible 00:30:57]
Andrew: So let me put it this way. So it might be a . . . It might be a landing page for you that says, “I can help you create a funnel.” In that case, it seems too generic. No one’s going to feel like it’s exactly for me. But if you say, “I can help you create a funnel? Why do you want a funnel?” And one option is, “I need more consulting clients.” Then when the email comes to me it’s, “I’m going to teach you how to create a funnel so that you can get more email clients.” And then you do the same thing with the next four questions that you asked me. You just take the answers and you plug them in.
The difference between this versus like Ryan Levesque, Ryan Levesque would I think have you create different funnels for each one of those people and that’s a lot of work, and many people can’t even get 10, 20, 50 people to come into their funnel. And now I think, and Ryan could correct me if I’m wrong, I think his ask method says, “Now create five different sequences based on which bucket they fall into.” And what you’re saying is, “Don’t create five different sequences. Have one email sequence. It’s much easier to manage. Have one landing page. Have one sales page, but find some spots that are blank that you fill in the blanks based on what they told you.” Am I summing up your process right?
Bastian: That’s right. Exactly. Like, per email way we change two sentences. So, instead of writing the whole thing, we just change the most important parts to talk directly to them and their problem. The thing what you want is you want to figure out the problem and the goal, so you then can create a funnel that bridges the problem to the goal. Right? So you have [inaudible 00:32:15] to the goal.
Andrew: And the two tools that you showed me in the video that you created for me that enable it is ActiveCampaign. And you’re right. You can use any other email service provider but the thing about ActiveCampaign that makes them special is they have these fill-in-the-blanks, right? A lot of stuff that you could do in other places they keep simple they say, “You need to fill in the blanks? We’ll make it dead simple for you to do this fill-in-the-blank.”
And then RightMessage is the other software, Brennan Dunn’s software. And the thing that you like about that is it makes it easy for you to take the same landing page and plug in different words based on what you know about them in your database or as Brennan demonstrated when he was on Mixergy when people clicked from my site to his site, his site said, “Welcome, Mixergy readers.” And so there’s that kind of stuff.
So that’s the heart of this. This is what you were starting to get into even back then and why your Facebook ads worked well. You were starting to grow your business. I’m looking at my notes from our producer. You turned that investment of $7,000, which is what you put into Facebook ads into $27,000 in sales within 30 days and at that point you felt, “All right. I’ve got my business.” Right?
Bastian: At that point, I was like, “All right, cool.” I was just by myself and at that point I was like, “Wow.” I was flying to be honest until like reality hit me again. I was like, “Okay. A couple of months from now I’m going to make 100k a month. Easy.”
Andrew: There are a bunch of different things that hit you. One issue is, you told our producer, “Look, my backend at the time was a mess.” I want to know what that means when you say your backend was a mess.
Bastian: Yeah. So we made some money. I took the money to bring in some people and then we just spent literally a couple of months building the foundation of the business. And that’s what the backend is about.
Andrew: What does that mean?
Bastian: It basically means just having everything tidy and clean, right? Having a database that works, having the tools being . . . Having the tools working together, having a business model that works. You know what I mean?
Andrew: Do you remember one tool that you’re especially proud of or one system that you’re especially proud of that you added?
Bastian: For example, one thing with it was starting simple. It’s called the daily delegation. It’s a meeting which I do every day myself.
Andrew: The daily what?
Bastian: Daily delegation meeting with yourself.
Andrew: Oh, right. Daily delegation meeting. Okay.
Bastian: Yeah. Right. So you just go through the things which you do every day and you should delegate. So I started to do these things and then I figured out certain things which I do but shouldn’t do.
Andrew: So daily delegation meeting is you and who talking this through?
Andrew: Oh, it’s a meeting just for yourself?
Bastian: Yeah. Daily delegation with yourself.
Andrew: It’s on your calendar and you say, “What did I do today that I could have delegated?”
Bastian: Exactly. At the end of the day . . .
Andrew: Okay. And what are some of the things that you came up with?
Bastian: Like, you find yourself doing all these things you shouldn’t do. Like, it depends on where you are in your stage. For me, it was [inaudible 00:35:10]
Andrew: For you at the time was it customer service?
Bastian: It was customer service, yes. It was setting up webinars. It was working around with Zapier. It was finding a buck in ActiveCampaign. Talking to the . . . You know, all these things.
Andrew: And you started looking around, “Who can I get to do this?” Who’s the first hire that you brought on?
Bastian: Success. It’s Customer Success. So that was the first hire.
Andrew: Customer success. So Customer Success is the person who says, “This guy bought from me. He expected a result. I’m going to be with them to make sure they get that result.” Right?
Andrew: Talk to me specifically within the context of this course that you were creating. And I know that now you’re doing consulting and it’s the done with you service that you’re selling.
Andrew: But back then it was just a course. It was the beginning of an idea. What does the Customer Success person do?
Bastian: The Customer Success person create a five-step milestone program. Okay. And basically, the goal was, okay, someone buys our product, great, spends a lot of money with us, great, but that’s not great for this person. What does success look like for this person? Right? So the way it starts is once someone buys, they arrive on a thank you page. We asked them a survey again, “Why did you buy? What are you hoping to expect? What’s going to be the biggest roadblock?” Three questions, right?
With that information in hand, we give them a call and say, “Hey, welcome. Welcome to relationship funnel. Welcome to Wild Audience. I’m James. I’m your Customer Success Manager. I’m going to make sure that your problem which you just told me your roadblock that we’re going to tackle it. Here’s how we’re going to do it and we’re going to help you achieve this goal.” That is what success looks like, right? And then basically, it’s an email sequence which is also dynamically generated based on what they tell us to move them along step by step. Okay? The reason for buy . . .
Andrew: Okay. You know what? So we’ve been thinking about that for us. I want to give them one metric for the Customer Success person to focus on so that we can look at that. What’s the one metric that you would suggest we use?
Bastian: I mean, one huge one is the two ones for me. The first one is of course upsells, right?
Bastian: So a success guy is a salesperson. If you have a backend, that’s what a success person does. It helps. It makes the customer happy, moves the customer forward so then the next product is ready to be sold to that person.
Andrew: Oh. So, if . . . But do they sell the next product too?
Bastian: It depends. It depends.
Andrew: Did you have them sell the next product? Do you recommend that?
Bastian: They qualify. They qualify. And then, for example, we have noticed the consulting services and we have the courses. So Success make sure they’re successful with the course and then figure out certain roadblocks. “You have roadblock X, you should . . . Let’s jump on a call and maybe talk about it, and if . . . ”
Andrew: And the consult. Got it. Jump on a call and if consulting seems to make sense, did they close them or do they pass them to a salesperson?
Bastian: Sends to the closer, right? The closer then jumps in a call and get them to know about the next product.
Andrew: And you’re the closer.
Bastian: I’m the closer right now. Exactly.
Andrew: Okay. And the language is, it’s SDR is the person who is qualifying and the closer is the person who is actually selling and they’re both considered salespeople. Is that right?
Bastian: Yeah, for sure. The SDR is super important. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. All right. So, how did you find this . . . What was the other metric? Sorry. That’s the first metric. What’s the other one?
Bastian: Happiness. So, for us NPS and . . . Yeah, NPS.
Andrew: At what point do they do the NPS survey, Net Promoter Score?
Bastian: After they complete the first module. We have one.
Andrew: After the first module, you have to do the Net Promoter Score. Okay.
Bastian: Yes. And then the second one is we also ask them a question, “How likely is it that you would buy one of our products on 1 to 10?” And that helps us also understand how happy they are, but [inaudible 00:38:43] if they buy something.
Andrew: You know what? I’ve been doing it as how much of the course that they complete and for some people completing the full course is not the answer. That’s not a success. For some people it’s, “I’ve kind of gone through enough of this. I got it. Or I talked to someone in the community. I got it. And now I’m super happy.”
Andrew: Okay. All right. I see what you’re saying. Boy, there was a question that I just asked that I forgot. Let me take a moment to actually talk about my sponsor and see if we can come back and see . . . Oh. Where did you find this person, this success person?
Bastian: Friends. Friends. All the people we work with are customers or friends of customers. Every single person.
Andrew: Okay. But because you’re selling to other salespeople, they’re all doing the same kind of thing as you. Okay. You know what? My second sponsor is a company called ActiveCampaign. I’ve talked about why ActiveCampaign is better than other email marketing software. They hate that I call it email marketing software because they do so much more. They complain to me but they still don’t cancel my sponsorship which I’m happy with.
But you use them.
Bastian: Yeah, I do.
Andrew: I know you have experience with lots of different software. You tell me. What do you like about ActiveCampaign? Why should somebody use them?
Bastian: What you get for the price. Okay. When I first started . . . I’m not sure if it’s still it’s $9. It was $9 a month. I think it’s still. And what you get for that is like awesome. It’s so awesome.
Andrew: Like what? What are some of the features because I don’t want to say it’s just the cheapest?
Bastian: Yes. Yes. No. It’s actually not . . . I’m sure there are cheaper ones out there. But the value you get is extremely amazing as you get . . . Okay. Lead scoring is a little bit . . . it’s the next package, but you have to lead scoring. You have all the automation. So you can hook it up with every single system. We have our ActiveCampaign hooked up with Close.io, with our customer support tools, success tool, all these things. ActiveCampaign acts as our hub, our heart of our business. If ActiveCampaign goes down . . .
Andrew: That’s what manages everything. Even if somebody clicks something within ManyChat’s chatbot software, you send that data into ActiveCampaign. That’s where it all get stored. I also like that what you do is, it has the nice fill-in-the-blank, so if you know something about someone you could change the email by just saying here’s . . . by just inserting the thing that you know about them. What other one feature do you use that maybe most people don’t know about?
Bastian: One thing we use at ActiveCampaign is . . . I’m not sure. It’s just like, for me, it’s just the main thing what I like about it is that you can actually have everything in one place. And even if you have a membership area or you have, I don’t know, like a sales CRM, you can trigger certain things through webhooks, right? For example, if we send out an email and we don’t want to have the unsubscribe link because we want this email to look like, I personally wrote the email and there’s no [inaudible 00:41:25] and want to get them on a call, right? What we do is we send a webhook from ActiveCampaign to Gmail over Zapier and then trigger the email. And that’s something no one does, but it’s really, really cool and ActiveCampaign allows you to do that.
Andrew: Okay. Guys, if you’re listening to me and you’re using a different piece of software, they’ll migrate you for free. So, if you have another email provider that made sense when you were getting started or happened to be free for a long time, and you said, “Okay, this is great,” but now you’re hooked on it, you don’t have to be. They will migrate you for free.
Also, frankly, if you use the link I’m about to give you, they’re going to let you try it for free. So experiment with it, see what you could do with it. And if you sign up, they’ll even give you a second month free and they’ll do two free one-on-one sessions with you with their consultants. That means somebody will get on a call and strategize and say, “Why did you sign up? Here are the features you should be using, here’s how you should use it, go do it.” And then you come back for a second call and they say, “Did you do it? All right. Where did you got stuck? We’ll fix it.” If you didn’t get stuck we’ll move you to the next level by telling you something else you could do but they will guide you.
Real humans, real consultants who do this. Many people who I’ve interviewed here who are in marketing automation many, many, many of them are using ActiveCampaign. Go check them out at activecampaign.com/mixergy, activecampaign.com/mixergy. And you guys if you’re interested in what the pricing is, there’s a link right there for pricing. But also check out the feature section because I think their gifts are so good. They will start to show you what you could do with marketing automation. Go do it. Activecampaign.com/mixergy.
By the way, you’re doing well at this point in the story. You’re a guy who goes to extremes. Are you partying at extremes too at this point? Like, you finally figured it out? You figured out what your business is?
Bastian: I dance. I dance.
Andrew: Tell me. What do you mean by dance? Where?
Bastian: So, Bachata. That’s my thing. Salsa is my thing. You remember?
Andrew: What is that?
Bastian: So remember like from Silicon Valley I went down south, right. I went to Colombia [Medellin 00:43:12]. It was just kind of like the Silicon Valley vacation like place. And there are lots of people who do tech, lots of people who start up and lots of people who dance. So, basically, your day looks like this. You go work, you go hard and you go ham, and then at 7:00 you go dance class and there are lots of people and it’s just super fun. And that’s what I do. And now four to five times a day a week I just dance and meet a lot of people.
Andrew: And you would go dance. I’ve also heard the times when you just go dance overnight, multiple days. Most people will do for an hour. They think they’re okay. Some people will party till 1:00 a.m.
Bastian: I do like four or five hours a day. Yeah, for sure.
Andrew: You go five hours?
Bastian: Yeah, for sure.
Andrew: And then still work?
Bastian: Yes, in the next day. The cool thing is because you . . .
Andrew: What drugs are you on when you’re doing that?
Bastian: You don’t do any drugs. You drink one beer because that’s part of that entry and that’s it.
Andrew: That’s it.
Bastian: That’s it.
Andrew: Are you going to tell me differently when we talk in private? Don’t hide this part of your life.
Bastian: No, no. It fuels you. It’s awesome. That’s the drug itself, the dancing.
Andrew: The dancing.
Andrew: All right. Are you dating or just dancing too?
Bastian: Just dancing. You got to keep these things separate.
Andrew: Just dancing is enough?
Bastian: You got to keep them separate.
Andrew: All right. Okay. All right. So things are going well, but like you said, “Hey Andrew, this thing didn’t immediately take off.” And one of the issues was . . . Was it Facebook ads?
Bastian: One of the issues at the beginning was just not being focused.
Andrew: Okay. But then you got focused, you started to get sales and things weren’t super easy after that. What was . . .
Bastian: Yeah. Then the problem was diversification. So at the beginning, when you start out, you want to pick one thing and just double down on that, right? But once you made that one thing work, you need to like ahead of time being able to like start to diversify. And we missed that step and then exactly when Facebook switched on actually, we just were still on Facebook only and that just was the big pain in the ass. And we have slowly pick up and now we do like [inaudible 00:45:03] things.
Andrew: What was it that they changed? What was it about their algorithm that changed?
Bastian: What exactly changed, I don’t know. I was just looking at the number and I was like . . .
Andrew: Oh, you’re just saying, suddenly, one day your ads didn’t work as well as they did before and it’s not something you did.
Bastian: The past it saying $2 for leads and $4 for the confirmed RBS leads and then like $7 for webinars and now everything is like tripled. I’m like, “Huh . . . ”
Andrew: What’s an RBS lead?
Bastian: For us, it’s like when people actually go into the email sequence, the RBS is the Relationship Builder Sequence, they need to go to the second survey. So, that’s the course, there’s a drop off.
Andrew: So the email is good but someone who’s actually going through the second survey is the real value for you. It’s not enough to just getting . . .
Bastian: That’s what we want.
Andrew: Okay. All right. So then when Facebook hit you with that, what did you do to fix your business?
Bastian: So, basically, we follow a strategy called the Bull’s Eye framework, traffic framework. Basically, you . . .
Andrew: Gabriel Weinberg did a course here on Mixergy about it. Yes, he’s the founder of DuckDuckGo.
Bastian: Exactly. Yes, exactly. It’s a nice, attractive [inaudible 00:45:55]
Andrew: So what you did was you made a list of all the different things you could do, the probability of success based on what you could do, and then you picked three to experiment with. What did you experiment with?
Bastian: For 90 days we do social advertising, we do content, and we do public speaking.
Andrew: Okay. Those are the three that you decided to focus on?
Andrew: And that’s why I got harassed by you because I’m part of your public speaking.
Bastian: Yes. And the whole publication stuff. Yeah.
Andrew: Okay. All right. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about here. All right. And so of those, was one starting to become the breakout hit for you?
Bastian: In terms of like . . . Yes, I think the podcasting is awesome because the public speaking thing is awesome because once you do a lot, right? Once you do a lot, you start getting noticed. And it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes some time but people see you around. They type your name into iTunes and you show up like 25 times. So that’s one thing, but for us the main thing I think what changed it was starting to double down on content. So the money we used to spend mainly on Facebook, we now take and you know, we have an editor, we have a writer, we have a distributor. So, actually building content assets.
And what I mean by that is we reach out to Buffer. We reach out to HubSpot and we tell them, “Hey, we want to interview the VP of sales.” Let’s jump on a call just like you do here. We record the whole thing and then we have the video, we have the audio, we turn it into three or four blog posts with one main one and few small ones, right? And then we distribute it, we use it for retargeting, we turn it into videos, we turn it to Facebook and Instagram and YouTube and so on. But the main thing is that . . .
Andrew: Oh, you do that. You take the one interview and you turn it into all those different mediums.
Bastian: Everything else, yes.
Bastian: And the reason why we do it instead of just teaching about sales funnels, and hey, that’s how you 3x your ROI. We say, “Okay. Here’s what it can do.” That’s how we would do it, but we always base it on another company. So the interviews are always about the company and what they do or what they did and what the results are. And then we can take their numbers, we can take what they do and then we can feedback it, we can improve it, and so on.
Andrew: I’m starting to look and see one of the big things that worked for you was being on indiehackers.com, for example, but I’m trying to understand what you did there. And it seems like it’s a case study that you published somewhere . . .
Bastian: About ActiveCampaign probably? Or . . . ?
Andrew: About ActiveCampaign.
Andrew: Okay. All right. And you basically took the blog post about . . . Did you write it for your site or for their site?
Bastian: Our site. Everything is in our blog.
Andrew: Okay. But it’s also copied and pasted into their site. All right. And so people are reading your case study about ActiveCampaign, how you built a sales funnel and grew to 50,000 customers. It’s not 50,000 customers. It’s 50,000 email subscribers, right?
Bastian: It’s ActiveCampaign’s numbers. It’s ActiveCampaign of how they grew from 0 to 50k customers.
Andrew: Oh, you’re doing a study on them. You didn’t do jack.
Andrew: You just interviewed them and you turned it into content on Indie Hackers and also on your site. I see. This is part of your strategy.
Andrew: Who leads that for you?
Andrew: Someone on the team.
Bastian: Say again?
Andrew: Someone on the team, a guy named Nathan.
Bastian: Yes, exactly.
Andrew: Under your guidance?
Bastian: Not anymore. He used to be.
Andrew: But he was?
Andrew: You gave him . . . You said, “Here’s what we need you to do. Here’s my vision for it.”
Bastian: I created a content strategy. Exactly. So I had the content strategy . . .
Andrew: What was Nathan’s background? I feel like I need a Nathan.
Bastian: He’s an editor.
Andrew: He’s an editor. You just found him through a friend.
Bastian: Remember this one article I first published which got a lot of negative feedback where I mentioned a guy called Nathan, right? And he said, “Don’t worry about it. You got 50% good, 50% negative. So that’s . . .
Andrew: And so you then hired him to be this guy, but he’s not full time with you.
Andrew: But he’s doing . . .
Bastian: He is working . . . Yeah.
Andrew: This is clever. You see, I’m telling you. This is not like the typical Mixergy interview. I’m doing this for myself. I just am fascinated by how you operate. I’m fascinated by you.
Okay. That then started to grow your business. At what point did you say, “No more education being the focus. We’re going to be the done-with-you.” And I’d never heard of done-with-you before. I always thought, “Look, I do it myself or I hire a company that does it for me.” And what I’m learning is that there’s an in-between spot where the company says, “We’re not going to take on all the weight of having to do your work. We’re going to show you and do it with you and then let you move on without us, which is reassuring for the client, but also great for the business because you’re not taking everyone else’s problems on. That’s done for. Done with you.”
Bastian: Done with you. And it’s super scalable, right? So usually we work with people who are companies who have their in-house team. They just don’t know how to do it. They want it. They just don’t. And they’re not the type of people who go through a course, so that’s why they purchase done with you. If they don’t have people, I introduce you to Nathan, to Andrew, to all my people. So either/or, there is a solution.
Andrew: And then that’s how you get it done. Okay. And what point did you say, “This is our next step,” versus continuing with education where the margins are much higher?
Bastian: It was the business model of change. We wanted to change the business model because once you get clients which pay between 10 and 50k, just the game of advertising changes. You can just now do certain . . . You can do things. You can spend more. It’s just different.
Andrew: Oh. It was . . . You wanted to be able to charge more so you could afford to pay more for advertising.
Bastian: One thing, and now, at the beginning, our goal was to be super profitable with the courses. Now, I don’t care about the profitability of the courses. What I care about is just getting them not profitable. Just, you know, like break even so that we can get a lot as many buyers as possible and as many buyers as possible to then call them for the consulting. Does that make sense?
Andrew: Yeah, yeah. Because the consultant is [inaudible 00:51:32].
Bastian: [inaudible 00:51:33].
Andrew: And so what do you charge for consulting?
Bastian: It starts at 10k, but it really depends on what you need.
Andrew: Okay. And it’s always a Let’s Chat button on your site for that. I hit the button Let’s Chat and then I get to pick a time on a calendar. Whose calendar am I going for for that?
Andrew: James. And he’s the closer or the SDR?
Bastian: The SDR.
Andrew: He’s the SDR.
Bastian: The SDR, yes.
Andrew: And it’s always the SDR getting to learn your situation. If it’s not a good fit like they’re just getting started in business, they want to do things right from the beginning . . .
Bastian: The budget.
Andrew: Right. At that point what does he . . . Let’s say someone listens to this interview and says, “You know what? I’m going to go check this out.” They hit the button, they go to your calendar, to James’ calendar and they say, “I’m just getting started but I want to get started the right way.” What would you do? What would James do?”
Bastian: So, if James qualifies that person, figures out if he’s a bad fit for our mastery for our consulting project, then we will, of course, if it makes sense, offer relationship funnel which is our course.
Andrew: Okay. And on the call, who does that?
Bastian: Then he becomes the closer.
Andrew: And on the call, he closes them. He says, “Look, you’re getting started. To pay $10,000 for Bastian to go do this and his team just doesn’t make sense for you. What you should probably do is learn this on your own, get a little bit of progress and then when you’re ready and you’re overwhelmed, you come to us and we’ll do it for you. I’ve got this.” That’s the thing.
Bastian: Exactly. And then it depends . . .
Andrew: Do you give . . . Sorry. Go ahead.
Bastian: No, just saying, like either . . . Usually, you can’t close the person right on the same call. So we end the call with, “Okay, you know what? Here’s a page. I want you to check this out. But you know what? You have a calendar in front of you. Let’s book a call in four days from now and let’s talk about any concerns,” and then they close.
Andrew: All right. This makes sense. Okay.
Bastian: [Two-step close 00:53:15].
Andrew: Is James full time with you or part-time?
Bastian: Full time.
Andrew: Full time. At what point . . . So I’ve been thinking of adding salespeople. At what point did you bring in a salesperson? Did you bring him in full time? What’s the process for doing that?
Bastian: So, for us . . .
Andrew: What was your process? Not the ideal, not how you do it now, but how did you do it?
Bastian: For us, it was a transition. So James didn’t come in for sales. He was the guy who came in for success. So now he’s doing success in sales and SDR, sorry, and then just works really good like together. So that’s why it’s perfect. At some point, you probably have to have like a full-time salesperson, but I don’t have a full-time salesperson.
Andrew: And the SDR was . . . Wait. Oh, so you don’t have . . .
Bastian: James is the success guy 50% and 50% the SDR.
Andrew: The SDR, right, but you don’t have a full-time sales closer you’re saying.
Andrew: You’re the closer.
Bastian: I’m the closer right now.
Andrew: Because it’s a $10,000 product, it’s you. Got it.
Bastian: Yeah. At some point, we will like get someone to be the closer. Maybe probably James will become the closer and someone new comes in to be the SDR, right?
Andrew: All right. How much money do you guys bring in now?
Bastian: Really depends on the month, but usually it’s around 100k a month.
Andrew: 100k a month. How much from doing the work? How much from the courses?
Bastian: Courses used to be last year way more, way more until we changed it around. It’s being the bigger bunch of the revenue share, the part, right? And now we just pumping up consulting since this year and it’s around 50/50 right now.
Bastian: And most of our leads who become our consulting leads first buy the course.
Andrew: And then they . . . Got it.
Andrew: You know what?
Bastian: They buy the course and they’re like, “Oh man, it’s just too much work. I need someone to do it together with me.”
Andrew: Tell me something. You’ve got good style to you. You’re wearing a shirt that’s open. It looks good.
Bastian: It was one more thing open and I was like, “I got to close it.”
Andrew: Oh, just because of this, right? You said, “Look, I’m going to get on . . . be a little conservative,” but your hair is kind of wild. You’ve got a necklace that looks good. You’ve got on your website you . . . You’ve got good design in some places, but then I look at your homepage. You’ve got great photos, by the way. And I like you used the same photo for years so I could . . . When I saw you on my inbox, whatever reporting tool that I have showed me your photo and I recognize I go, “I’ve seen this guy somewhere. I got to pay attention.”
And then I go to your freaking homepage is like a picture of you . . . You don’t have the energy to take your earphones out. You’ve cropped out your chin from it. This is your homepage. This is the thing that welcomes people. I believe there’s a reason for that. Is it because you’re staring me in the eyes with your eyes and you like that stare? It’s like some kind of . . . I don’t know. It’s some kind of mind fuck or what is this?
Bastian: Like you know, we just don’t have another picture. It’s just . . .
Andrew: It was just, “This is the photo we have and we’re going to go with it”?
Bastian: That’s it. Like, two weeks ago we got our logo, so we’re like taking it step by step.
Andrew: Okay. So there’s no logic behind. It’s not like if I look like I’ve just handmade it, people are going to feel more connected to me or any of that.
Bastian: No. It’s just like . . . Okay. I have two pictures. Usually, I take that and let’s try the other one.
Andrew: All right.
Bastian: But people keep saying they don’t like it, so maybe I should change it.
Andrew: People say they don’t like the picture?
Bastian: Yeah. At least my sister doesn’t like it.
Andrew: You know what? Here’s what I think about it. I think the homemade part of it makes you look much more approachable, and so I was happy to talk to you but it keeps you from feeling like you’ve got a big agency that I should spend tens of thousands and be glad that you’re spending time with me.
Bastian: You know what? Like, on our proposal right now, it’s me and my dog. And James yesterday was like, “Dude, you got to get rid of your dog, man. You got . . . ”
Andrew: I think in some places it works. I think in others it doesn’t. I also think in some places the fact that you use like Quick Screen Sharing what works for you and other places it feels like too homemade for a business that I would take seriously. You know who does this well? Brad Martineau from SixthDivision. He doesn’t have a lot but everything just looks so freaking polished. You go, “I want that perfection. How did he make things that perfect? I want that.”
Bastian: Nice. All right. I’ll check him out.
Andrew: But with you, what I got is, “I like his attitude. I feel like he’s at that hustler’s stage. I want that hustler’s energy. I want that energy that’s going to find a way that we’re not supposed to do.” I want you back on Mixergy. I don’t know how. I really liked that we did this. What I would like is more of like this . . . I would like to communicate more of what you did with me privately where you sent me those videos and said, “Here’s how we do things.” That’s the part that electrifies me. I think we captured some of that here.
Bastian: Yeah, I think we did. That was fun.
Andrew: I wish I could hire you for something. I don’t know for what. I want to work with you guys. All right. So, now, here’s the weird thing. So I’ve been doing podcasts for our chatbot business. I get on . . . I always have a unique URL that I give at every show. I noticed you don’t do that. You’re just like, “Go to Wild Audience.” How do you know if this podcast is successful for you or not?
Bastian: We do wildaudience.com/podcast.
Andrew: But that’s it. But you didn’t even give that to me. Is it because I was too intimidating?
Bastian: I’m not sure. /podcast, that’s where you want to go, that’s where all the people get tagged with podcast in AC.
Bastian: So that’s what I would usually mention. Yeah.
Andrew: And that’s what you’re like . . . In interviews what you’re supposed to do is say, “Look, I’ve got an eBook that’s supposed to teach you this. Go to wildaudience.com/podcast.”
Bastian: What I usually say is like, “If you want to see exactly what we talked about in action if you want to see the whole fun of play out, if you want to see how everything is customized and stuff like that, then you should check out this eBook.”
Andrew: That’s what I do. I think that a lot of other people should do the same thing. And it should actually be a unique URL that connects to what you’ve said. So it should be something like, “If you guys want to see this video that Andrew was talking about, just go to wildaudience.com/mixergy. I’ll put it up there. You’ll see this video and then it’ll also help you understand how we work.” Like that kind of thing is a direct connection.
But I’m surprised. I’m surprised how many marketers don’t do that with me and I think it’s because I do intimidate them that I’m not . . . Like, I’m not fucking around here. We’re going to get down to business. And then they think, “You know what? I’m just going to . . . Let’s go on and trust Andrew’s system instead of . . . ” I think that’s what it is.
Bastian: It could be, yeah.
Andrew: It also is probably why I don’t have as much fun as some of my other guests like Joel . . . What’s his name? Joel Comm. Joel Comm sent me his book. Even the shipping bag that he uses for his book is fun because he likes to have fun. He sent me a toy with it because he likes to have fun. He’s the guy who likes to have fun. I’m like way the opposite.
All right. We did not have fun here. I guess we did, begrudgingly I had fun here. What I really liked is that we got specific here. We got specific about how you used SDRs. We got specific about your process for taking content and putting it out. Well, we could have been a little more specific about that, but we covered that. I understand your funnel a little bit better because of this.
Anyone who wants to understand it more can go to wildaudience.com/podcast if you want to or just wildaudience.com. And I want to thank my two sponsors for making this happen. The first sponsor is a company that Bastian uses. It’s called ActiveCampaign. Check them out at activecampaign.com/mixergy. The second is a company that will help you hire better. It is called Toptal. I hired a great, phenomenal finance person from them. It’s like having a McKinsey . . . It is. He’s a former McKinsey consultant. I now have a McKinsey consultant who I get to pay on an hourly basis because I work through Toptal. This is like the future coming to my business right now.
And finally, anyone who likes this interview and wants more of it should just say, “Hey, Alexa, play Mixergy podcast,” and then you get to listen to the Mixergy podcast on your freaking Alexa device. That’s amazing. You should do it. We’re on there. Bastian, thanks so much for doing this.
Bastian: I tried that, by the way.
Andrew: What do you think?
Bastian: I love Alexa. It’s so cool.
Andrew: Right? I was against it for a long time. But do you use it for anything other than podcast and music?
Bastian: Lights, meditation, bird sounds. My favorite part is like open bird sounds. In the morning it’s like in the ocean is perfect. And when you go to sleep, the sun comes in and the birds twittering is great.
Andrew: Yeah. You know what? I have used it for white noise for the kids’ room to help them fall asleep. But for the most part, I use it for music, and I’m fine with that. If it does nothing but give me music when I want it, I’m happy. I love music. All right. Bastian, thanks so much for doing this interview. Thank you all for listening to this interview. Bye, everyone.
Bastian: Bye, everyone. Thanks so much.