Master Class:
How to get recurring revenue
(For freelancers)
Taught by Brennan Dunn of We Are Titans

Master Class:
How to overcome burnout
(And stop it from coming back)
Taught by Charlie Hoehn of The Recess Project

Master Class:
How to build a six-figure community
(Using Facebook Groups)
Taught by Mark Bowness of Six Figure Facebook Group

Master Class:
How to use viral contests
(To grow leads and sales)
Taught by Travis Ketchum of Contest Domination

Master Class:
How to get launch partners
(For your new product)
Taught by Alex Taub of SocialRank

Master Class:
How to boost your revenue
(Through social media)
Taught by Marcus Ho of SocialMetric

Master Class: ROI

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Master Class:
Start your freelance business

Taught by Daniel DiPiazza of Rich20Something

Master Class: Start your freelance business


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Master Class: How to Connect with Influencers Taught by Steve Sims of Bluefish

Master Class: Connect with Influencers

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Master Class:
How to Build a business you love
(And have a life too)
Taught by Chuck Blakeman of Crankset Group

Master Class: Build a business you love

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Master Class:
How to Grow your membership

Taught by Robbie Baxter of “The Membership Economy”

Master Class: Grow Your Membership




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Andrew: This session is about how to grow your membership business and it’s led by Robbie Kellman Baxter. She is the founder of Peninsula Strategies which advises subscription and membership based businesses on growth strategies. What we’re talking about here today is based and comes out of her book, “The Membership Economy.” Let me see, can you see that up on the screen? Yeah. Find your super users, master the forever transaction and build recurring revenue. I’ll help facilitate. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy where proven founders teach. Thanks for being here.Robbie:Yeah, thanks for having me. It’s great to be here, Andrew.

Andrew: I run a membership based business. More and mores SaaS based companies are subscription, membership based businesses. You are right, this is becoming more and more a membership economy, but we want to get it right. In the early days of this tech revolution, people got it wrong. In fact, here’s an example of a company many of us loved. I don’t know if anyone will recognize this, but I’ve got to bring this blast from the past up on the screen. This is what Napster used to look like on a PC. Napster got tons of users. Where did they get it wrong, and what can we learn from their mistake?

Robbie: Yeah, so the place where they got it wrong is also what initially led to so much grief which is they gave it away for free. They didn’t worry that much about who had the rights to that content and when they needed to implement a payment model, they had already trained their users to expect online music to be free. So they actually did a lot of damage to the music world for online because of creating that expectation, because they were so successful with building word of mouth and building traction.

Andrew: They did eventually start charging and because of the expectations that they set they had a hard time doing it. Is the big lesson for us that if we are going to start building a membership based business or growing ours, we need to communicate to our potential costumers. This is a business we’re going to be charging and set all the expectations up right from the start, is that our big take away?

Robbie: Absolutely, and the other big take away I think, Andrew, is that it is very hard in a membership business to raise your prices. It’s not impossible but it’s a lot easier to do it if you’re adding additional value and layering on additional tiers as supposed to charging more for the same experience.

Andrew: Okay, meanwhile a new economy business that actually was able to make that transition and do it especially well, here let me bring up my browser, RelayRides. What is RelayRides and what are they doing right that we can learn from?

Robbie: Yeah, so RelayRides is really interesting business model. What they do is they allow people to share their cars, so let’s say that your car sits in the driveway between nine and six, Monday through Friday because you take the bus to work. Well, maybe somebody else could use your car while you’re not using it, so they allow you to share the car and they use geo tracking and remote unlocking capabilities and all kinds of other technology to make it really easy for peer to peer sharing of cars.

Andrew: Okay, kind of like Airbnb. What is it that they’re doing right that we can learn from?

Robbie: They’re doing a lot of things right but one thing that they did right from the very beginning is they built their market up customer by customer. If you think about it all the technology stuff that they did was easy compared to getting people to trust a stranger to borrow their car. And so what they did is they brought on people one by one with a lot of human hand holding. So they blended online with physical relationships, and they did it market by market to let word of mouth help grow their business. So I think the big learning is that early on in a highly trust driven membership relationship, you really need to build it from the ground up by building across a network that already exist in the offline world.

Andrew: Okay, all right and as a result they’re getting people to trust each other with their car, strangers which is … I don’t trust my close friends with things as personal as a car, but strangely if it’s done right we do trust strangers with it. Let’s talk about how the person who’s listening to us can get those kind of results for their business and do it right. I’ve got a collection of points here up on the big board, you know what? Even though I’m the one who put this together, I’d like to skip over to the second point first and then go back and pick up the first point, is that okay?

Robbie: Sure.

Andrew: All right, so second point is to get the experience right before you get awareness. Now Jenny Craig is a company I’ve known about for years, I think before I even aware of the internet because they used to have a location not too far from my house and I just happened to see the meetings and the number of people that would go in there. Why couldn’t they just go online and just say, “Hey, guess what everyone, we’re online. You can now sign up and do everything that you did offline, online and life is good.” Why did they need to get it right first?

Robbie: Yeah, well so in that model where they’re transitioning from an offline to an online experience, you need to really think about how you’re going to provide the same value without defaulting to providing the same process.

Andrew: Okay.

Robbie: What a lot of organizations in a membership business, your promise to your customer is that they are going to get some kind of value. But the way you deliver that value has to evolve over time and it’s a big evolution to go from offline to online. So before you start moving people to what you think might work, you’re better off testing it and understanding how people react before you do a big reveal.

Andrew: So what were they able to learn when they decided to go online, that wasn’t immediately obvious to a company that had been doing it for years in serving so many customers before.

Robbie: Well, so I don’t know the Jenny Craig story that well but I do know the Weight Watchers story.

Andrew: Oh. Did I just say Jenny Craig? I meant to say Weight Watchers, you know what? It’s so interesting that I combined the two in my head and I’ve been looking up on their website and saying “Wait, this isn’t what I wanted to show.” The screenshot I had was completely different, you’re right. Yes, Weight Watchers is the company that I meant to talk about.

Robbie: Yeah, so Weight Watchers a really, really interesting company. I think most people are familiar with them. They’re probably maybe the most successful membership based offline business that we have. And when they about 10 years ago wanted to go online there was a lot of pressure, first of all, to give it away for free, and there was a lot of assumptions that they should offer the exact same experience but offered online. So online meetings with an online moderator, online recipes and so on. But what they did when David Kirchhoff who eventually became CEO of all of Weight Watchers that was brought in to run a Weight Watchers online did is first, he realized that they needed to charge. There were still real value being provided if you are actually going to be effective at helping people lose weight and that people would be willing to do that in whatever the form was.

So they avoided what I would call the Napster problem of giving it away and removing the perceived value from the service. Then the second thing that he did was he tested and tested, and iterated and iterated on the experience until he got to something that was engaging to users and that actually worked to help them lose weight. And Weight Watchers online is dramatically different than the Weight Watchers experience that you get if you go to a members meeting in real life. And the fact that he was really disciplined about figuring out how to provide the same value that is predictable, easy weight loss without defaulting to offering the same product.

Andrew: I see, and where Weight Watchers offline is largely about keeping track of points, as they call it, and also having those meetings online. Are there meetings at all?

Robbie: There aren’t meetings. They are now toying with and testing the idea of having coaches online. So that you can actually talk to an expert in real time if you need to which is actually somewhat of the KURBO model that is currently getting a lot of traction with kids. But their model was much more anonymous because one of the things that they realized was it wasn’t just that people were appreciating the online version of what Weight Watchers because it was easier and online more convenient. But also because some people don’t want that level of being known, they want privacy.

Andrew: I got that. All right, and so if they hadn’t spend some time and first built out their experience and gotten it right, they might have just said, “We’ve got something that works offline and it’s been working for a long time, let’s just put it online and create these communities for people to get together with just like we have them offline we’ll do it on the internet.” And if they’ve done that and they would’ve missed one of the big reasons why people are now today signing up online and that is that personal surveys, do it privately in your own home. This is the screenshot I wanted to show that for some reason I … This is what it looks like an explanation of their process and as result of what they’ve done, now I’m looking here at my notes from your book, they’re now doing 1.5 billion each year.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: They’re three times larger than their primary competitors, NutriSystem and Jenny Craig. Maybe that’s where Jenny Craig got stuck in my head, and they have eight million website visitors a month, 1.72 million paid online subscribers. That’s huge, 1.72 million people are signing up and using the Weight Watchers system online. All right, all because they got it right before they got awareness. It’s such a hard thing to do. I wonder if bigger companies have that kind of a challenge too because when we’re getting started we feel like unless a lot of people love it it’s a failure. I’d better it in front of a lot of people and have them all join up because otherwise I’m a failure and you’re telling us something that’s counterintuitive. Forget about a lot of people, get it right with a few people and then expand it to more.

Robbie: Yeah, and tinkering is sort of the hallmark of great membership organizations. You know, I always caution people against what I call the big reveal, the, you know, ta-da!

Andrew: Yeah.

Robbie: A new offering for you, I hope you love it. Oh, wait you don’t love it you hate it because not only do you have a failed new offering which is the case in a regular business, but you also disappoint your members.

Andrew: Yeah.

Robbie: And that’s the big problem is that when you do a big reveal and you change what’s been offered it can be very upsetting to your members and it can also give them a reason to reevaluate the relationship.

Andrew: All right, let’s go back to the big board here. The next big point is the one that I initially had as the first one on the list which is to put your customers at the center of your business. Now Caesars has been known for doing that. This is a company that started in Vegas years ago, that decided that they were going to go huge to give you huge experience, huge connection to the company. And they decided that they were going to grow their membership business, total rewards.

Robbie: Yeah, so what’s totally interesting about them right now is they’re going through this very bitter bankruptcy feud and you would think that their most valuable asset would be their gorgeous huge resort that’s in the sweet spot on the Las Vegas strip. But actually their most valuable asset which is valued at over a billion dollars is the data from their member rewards program.

Andrew: Wow!

Robbie: Yeah, and the reason is that they’re one of the few companies that I can think off that is really gotten loyalty programs right. They segmented their market, they don’t just look at loyalty as a program on the side that encourages people to return more frequently and spend more money. They actually look at it as a way to build data, get to know their members better and then to take that learning and apply it to product development and service development. Which most companies don’t really do, they sort of just put loyalty off to the side and say, great. You know, if you do this then you get that but we’re not actually going to learn from it or do anything on a broader level.

Andrew: What do you mean? So I know, for example, having read “The Membership Economy” that one of the things that they do is … it’s so cool to actually have a physical book. I’m usually so digital but I’ve got your book and I’ve had it here for weeks on my desk. They will see if I as one of their customers and now I guess close enough or valuable enough for them to give me perks like a company a drink or make an exception to a rule. That’s basic stuff. What are they doing that allows them to build a better product because of the data that they have about their users?

Robbie: Well, so, for example, they’ve realized that this sounds so basic but most companies really don’t do this that people that are local that live in Las Vegas use the facilities a lot differently than people that are coming in from out of town. And if there are some people who come to Las Vegas to gamble but that there are a lot of people who’s spend a lot of money on restaurants, shows, other kinds of experiences that have nothing to do with gambling.

So they’re starting to segment out offerings for those groups, you know, different kinds of benefits that they can get, different kind of experiences that can be enjoyed. I mean, one thing when I talked about them that they’d talk about is that some of their best members what they really want is access to meet famous people. So I think they’d said that, I’m trying to remember now it was Elton John that was in-house and they arranged for some of their best members to meet Elton John just as he was getting set up for his show. And that had nothing to do with the gambling places, it had to do with somebody who really enjoys seeing the shows, enjoying all the facilities and the hospitality resources. So you know, thinking about what to offer people, it isn’t always what you’d think of first which is discounts. That’s always the default, discounts and free stuff. But sometimes it’s just an experience that you wouldn’t otherwise get access to it. It comes down to being treated like you’re special and having somebody recognize what it is that you would really value.

Andrew: Okay, and at Caesars company with a long history, huge size even their data alone is worth a billion dollars but in your book you also talk about startups who are doing similar things. One of them is a company called Punch Card which does local shopping with a rewards program, and one of things that they do here reading from the book is they allow you to take a picture of your receipt as a way of kind of punching a card and saying that you’ve been to this restaurant. And the reason I’m bringing up Punch Card is to show that what Caesar is doing on this massive scale startups are able to incorporate into their companies too. All right.

Robbie: Yeah, absolutely. I was just going to agree with you that startups should be building loyalty into their model from the very beginning and not just … I mean, Punch Card is great and loyalty programs are great but what’s really important is building loyalty and ongoing relationships into the fabric of your business and into your core culture, which is way harder to do when you’re a big organization trying to do that after the fact.

Andrew: What size companies do you work with?

Robbie: I work with a range of companies. I’ve worked with public companies like Netflix, like Yahoo!, eBay, Oracle but the majority of my bread and butter clients are somewhere between … they have a good business and they’re public. So venture backed, fast growing private companies and, you know, they’re big enough to have a real business model but it’s not too late to really instill some discipline and rigor around building community and ongoing relationships.

Andrew: Okay, and so the clients that you work with if they were going to add a rewards program or something that kept track of how loyal their members were, they would probably build it in-house. Do you know of any outside software that companies can integrate in if they don’t want to develop it themselves? I know for WordPress there are multiple plugins that do it but how about on the higher end?

Robbie: Yeah, so for loyalty programs one company that’s really interesting is called Stellar Loyalty and I mean, it’s really interesting because they’re totally rethinking what it means to have a loyalty program and allowing organizations to do some really cool things like …

Andrew: I’m pulling up the browser.

Robbie: Yeah, tracking at .. they allow you to provide surprise benefits which people love rather than just always getting … Now like if you fly United you know when I hit 25,000 miles I get something, I hit 50,000 I get something, my status changes here. But to surprise and delight members or when you come into a restaurant having them know that you’re already a loyal member and maybe even asking you oh, so do you want to get the burger with avocado like you gotten the last three times that you’ve been there and maybe even start the order for them before they’ve sat down.

Andrew: Okay.

Robbie: So that’s a really interesting company that’s really pushing the envelope on what it means to have a loyalty program. But I also work with … a lot of companies don’t have loyalty programs, they’re just subscription models or have a community and they’ve really integrated it into the fabric of the business model itself.

Andrew: All right, let’s go on to the big board. The next big idea to talk about is to provide your members with immediate value after on boarding. Now I think you are talking a moment ago about a company called Kurbo. Kurbo is there to help develop proper … Wait, that is zoomed way too far, here we go. There’s their app, their goal is to help out adolescents with their weight loss, right?

Robbie: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: And the challenge there is if you’re talking about providing immediate value, how do you let some one lose enough value immediately that they think great? This Kurbo thing really is helpful. I’m going to stick with it.

Robbie: Yeah, so that is a problem with a lot of businesses that the actual benefit that the product is designed to provide takes some time and actually takes some engagement for the result. So if you’ve ever tried to lose weight which I have, you know it takes, at least, a couple weeks before you lose weight and it takes about a month before anyone even you’re going to notice any difference. So what Kurbo does with kids who tend to have shorter attentions spans is they’ve gamified the onboarding. Which basically means they’re rewarding the kids for eliciting the desired behaviors through artificial means, as kind of a stop gap between now and the time when the weight loss becomes the rewarding it self. So, for example, if kids they have a red, yellow, green model for food, so, for example, candy would be red light but vegetables would be a green light and something like chicken would be a yellow light. So green lights, you eat as much as you want, red lights you should stop and think before you have any, and yellow lights you should eat but with caution not with abandon. And they reward you when through a game that you play they have evidence that you have understand that principle.

They reward you when you exercise, they reward you when you track your food intake. So these are all the kinds of behaviors that are going to lead up to success in weight loss. In fact, 80% of losing weight is tracking your food, I mean it’s just that simple. So if they can get kids to track their food everyday, the kids are going to lose weight, they’re going to eat healthier, true for adult too.

Andrew: And so we want to give them that value immediately so people feel that it’s worth continuing and being a part of the program but it doesn’t have to be the main goal that they came in for.

Robbie: Absolutely.

Andrew: Okay, all right, let’s go on to the big board. The next big idea is to start with a single service and leave room to expand. Now I’m looking at the big guys.

Robbie: Mm-hmm.

Andrew: Here is American Express, a company you’ve written about.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: Look at the number of cards that they have, In fact, it’s even more than this. I see green, I see gold, I see, I guess, that’s platinum and black and they have other cards also.

Robbie: Yeah, they have blue and they’re coming out with the debit cards as well for people that are in a lower income bracket. They actually have a pretty broad range of products. They also have products for small businesses and they have a enterprise business card systems as well. And they’ve continue to evolve, they’re very, very clear about what their mission is. You know, when I spoke to them they said, “We’ve got our customers back” and that’s different than the positioning or the promise of other credit cards. So it’s not just about extending the credit, but it’s also about when you have a problem with the thing that you’ve gotten on credit using your credit card. American Express is willing to step in and “Do whatever it takes to help you.”

Andrew: So that feels overwhelming, that feels like well if they are already establishing all these different cards, all these different services maybe when we start we should not be starting with one offer with one kind of membership, with one option. Maybe we should also be offering multiple. What do you think? I say I know what you think, I know it because it’s important.

Robbie: I love that kind it was like …

Andrew: Wait, that’s a little too obvious. I’m supposed to tee it out for the guests so that the guest can express the point that I’ve read about and we discussed but that’s a little too obvious. I figured I’d call myself out on it. Why do you still say that we should start smaller with one?

Robbie: I think we should start with focus, do one thing really well that has a perfect match with your buyer. So people talk about product market fit and I talk about service member fit. You really want to get that right and it’s so tempting to just throw everything in in the kitchen sink and bundle the whole bunch of … I always say bundling a whole bunch of staff and calling it a membership. But really most people are willing to pay actually a higher price for one thing to be solved really, really well for that one audience and then you can always extend it. But what happens is people throw in other stuff or they try to reach another market or they say we’re for everybody and they end up pleasing nobody. You know, or they’re kind of interesting to everybody but not interesting enough to buy for anybody.

Andrew: Do you have an example of a smaller company that maybe could have had multiple different offerings when they started but they decided to have just one offering?

Robbie: Yeah, so they’re not a small company now but they were when I worked with them and that’s Netflix.

Andrew: Okay, and so, oh I see Netflix could have done video games and movies and other things and you’re saying …

Robbie: Yeah, so people ask them all the time, you know, they were getting all kinds of increase like let’s do videos or we have this really cool hardware that maybe you could sell because your audience really loves movies or maybe you can sell movie tickets because …

Andrew: Why would that have hurt their business if they said we’re Netflix we’ll send DVDs to you one at a time to your house and so on. We’ll talk about them in a moment more but why would it have been any worse if they would have said we do all that and if you want movie tickets and go watch a local movie you can buy tickets from us too. And we’ll even rent you a great DVD player that you can take on trips with you because you might sometimes want to be on the go. Why would they’ve hurt their ability to do the DVD business?

Robbie: It’s distracting, it’s too many things at once. So if you think about a restaurant and you think about a restaurant that makes one thing really well, you can kind of imagine that in your head. If you try to make 10 things at the same time in that kitchen, first of all one person can’t do it, so you need to hire more people. The manager needs to understand all of those different offerings and it can be really distracting. And the temptation is to take your eye off the ball and each one of those offerings is no longer quite perfect. The other issue from a brand perspective is that if you offer too many things, it’s very, very expensive to build brand awareness to have people understand that the more complicated your offering is the more complicated your messages.

Andrew: I see. I kind of have that problem now with Evernote where I used to be able to say to people on our team, you need to sign up for Evernote because Evernote is going to be our software for sharing notes. And then they’d installed it and now they see that Evernote also does chat and Evernote also does sale of socks and all kinds of other stuff, and it’s hard for me to even convince my own people, people I pay that they should be on Evernote because now they go in there and they get too confused by all the different features. Now Evernote is a little more mature than most companies, but I can imagine when you’re just getting started and trying to get anyone to understand what you’re about it becomes so confusing that they just walk away.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: All right, let’s go back to the big board here. Wait, we talked about that one. So we’re going to go on to this next one which is to optimize the onboarding process with simple pricing. T-Mobile is a company that is now calling itself the uncarrier, they don’t want to be like all those other carriers. What are they doing about pricing that you like?

Robbie: It’s simple, their pricing is easy and then they say if you transfer to us we’ll pay for it.

Andrew: Pay for the contract, so you don’t even have to think about all the other expenses that other people are inflicting on you.

Robbie: Yeah, so they are trying to make it as easy as possible for you to get a subscription and for you to buy it. And in some cases the challenge with pricing subscription is that not every subscriber is going to require the company don’t occur the same cost, right? Some people make more phone calls than others, some people used more data than others. It’s hard to know it’s kind of the same problem that you have at the all you can eat buffet, right? One person’s going to go straight for the oysters and caviar, and someone else is going to have a half of sandwich and be done and the two people are paying the same price. The temptation is you want to price each person on what they do which is number one, it takes away from the subscription value.

And number two, it can be so confusing to somebody that they don’t understand what they’re paying for and the result of when you don’t understand something is you have a sinking feeling like you’re being tricked. And so the more complex your pricing is the less transparent you seem even if you make it all perfectly, say, here’s our complex algorithm and you too can understand why we charge you $42.78. The feeling is that you’re being tricked.

Andrew: I see and so by keeping it simple you’re keeping people from feeling that they’re tricked and you’re getting them to understand what you are even offering.

Robbie: Yeah, and then on the company side managing two, three, four pricing models is a lot easier than having a different price for every customer. I mean, that is just a nightmare to track and when people cancel or they want to upgrade, I mean, you have to like look through. I mean, it takes hours to even understand what you sold them in the first place.

Andrew: All right, let’s go back to the big board. The penultimate point is pick one key benefit and deliver it to a focused audience. We spoke about Netflix earlier. What were some of the benefits that Netflix could have promoted when they were getting started?

Robbie: So many, so when Netflix started they could have said we have more Bollywood movies than any other company in the United States.

Andrew: True.

Robbie: They could have said we deliver movies right to your home so that you don’t have to put on your shoes to get a movie. They could have said we keep a queue of the movies you want to see, so that you don’t have to remember what it is that your friend told you was really great and you’d love.

Andrew: We’ll help you find the right movies so you don’t have to walk into your local video store and try to figure out which movies you should watch based on what you liked before. Right now I’m thinking of all the different benefits, you’re right.

Robbie: Yeah, and they kept it really simple. Well, the reason they could keep it simple is because they did so much research to understand what people really cared about and I’m just going to say I know a lot of your listeners are in technology. The temptation in technology is to not invest in marketing and not invest in market research, and to think that you know best about the product because it’s a new space or a new technology. And Netflix invested in understanding their market and they really understood why people were signing up and staying with them and it’s all about the late fees.

Andrew: The late fees, why were people so upset about late fees?

Robbie: Because they felt cheated by it because it didn’t fit with the value preposition and they would forget to return the movie and then the late fees, they actually cost more than … at one point I think Blockbuster’s making more money on late fees than they were making on rental fees. And any time that a business, I mean, forget membership models. Any time that a business is making more money from their customers misusing their product and being penalized, than from actually providing value you have a big problem.

Andrew: I see and so people who are customers of Blockbuster, another local video rental chain, were so upset about late fees that when they saw here. These are the early promotions for Netflix. We found them online. Here is one where you can see how does this work? Here’s how it works. You receive what you want by mail, you watch it and then you exchange it as often as you want and right there in the center no late fees. If we’re to look at one of the early ads, I love that I can Google back in time and see what things used to looked like.

Robbie: It’s so cool. I love all these images you have. It’s really fun, it’s great.

Andrew: Yeah, you know what? I forgot that this is the way they used to promote themselves. That’s one of their early button ads and it says no late fees right in the center and as easy as that, they didn’t have to communicate the whole value proposition behind Netflix. They just picked the one thing that you really cared about and that’s what they emphasized. You said you have done work with Netflix, right? because I looked at the back of your book. Didn’t I see it on the back of the book?

Robbie: Yeah, it might be. I did do work with Netflix, they were actually my very first subscription client.

Andrew: I see.

Robbie: Eleven years ago or 12 years ago now I did a consulting project for them Up until then I’d been a generalist strategy consultant that worked at all kinds of companies and after I worked with Netflix, I really fell in love with this business model around membership. I could see how valuable it was. And so I’ve really moved my whole consulting practice to companies like Netflix.

Andrew: I see, all right, I know where it is. I think it was on your website, isn’t it on your website?

Robbie: It’s probably on the website.

Andrew: Yeah, I saw a quote from someone from Netflix on the site.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: And that’s where I saw that they are one of your early clients. All right, final point on the big board. Continue innovating even after you achieve success, I went back into the internet archives and I found this screenshot of SurveyMonkey from their early, early, early days. Look at how that page looks, today it looks so much cleaner than that. Let’s see that is from 2003. If we’re to look at their site today SurveyMonkey, SurveyMonkey, there we go, it looks so much more polished.

Robbie: Yeah.

Andrew: Beyond the polish, what have they done to continue innovating after they became so successful?

Robbie: Yeah, so first of all the first picture that you showed that SurveyMonkey when all they did was basically they had a consumer product. They had one price, kept it super simple just like we’ve been talking about and it was really designed for either an individual like you or me to do a quick survey of friends and family or potentially for a professional researcher to do some quick and dirty research without having to engage their whole corporate marketing department or their agency. And what they realized was there’s actually more value there, there’s more they could be doing. So, for example, they realized that bigger organizations especially about the rise of online research happened, they realized that they needed a product for the enterprise, they needed dashboards and if you have multiple researchers within the same company that they were using the right logos and the right layout, and that all of those questions could be shared across departments.

So SurveyMonkey added and evolved their offerings and came up with models that appeal to larger organizations and even to the enterprise customer. They also introduced panels. Sometimes you have a question and you want to ask your customers. Sometimes you have a question, and you want to ask people who aren’t your customers to see if you should evolve your model in a certain way. They can actually now provide you with the kind of people who fit that target.

Andrew: So how do you know when it’s time to go from that single, very focused offering to innovating by adding another one that’s not completely different but it is different enough for you not to have included it in the first place.

Robbie: Yeah, so I would say there’s a couple of things. One of them is you want to stay focused on your mission. So if you look at Netflix they went from the DVDs that you showed in the pictures to now they stream most of their content, totally different but it’s the same value which is great video content. With SurveyMonkey I forget exactly what their mission statement is but they’re still helping people understand their customers and so they’re just evolving how they do that. And practically the way that they do that is by observing the behavior of their members through the data that they’re collecting.

Andrew: I see.

Robbie: And seeing where are people bumping up against the limits of what the product can do and how can they continue to meet their customers’ needs. So in the case of SurveyMonkey they knew that a lot of people were saying I can’t do my survey because I don’t have people to ask or I don’t know how to find those people. Or with Netflix they said, you know, we realized that people are curious about all these trends in downloading, streaming, other ways of getting your content digitally that don’t require the DVD packaging. And so, like I said, they’re always thinking about how to improve things for their members, they’re always focused on the same mission and then they tinker.

So they don’t just do a big ta-da! They roll things out slowly, get feedback, adjust and there might be a moment when they announce it to the press but most of these organizations do very slow gradual roll outs and often will just add one feature at a time and we didn’t even talk about that but I mean, if you look at SurveyMonkey everyday or Facebook, or Pinterest they’re changing it every single day. Making little incremental improvements, testing things, taking them out when they don’t work, adding something else because they don’t want their members to ever reach a point when they look up and say. “Wow! They haven’t changed this product in years, I bet there’s something better out there.” That’s what they’re trying to avoid.

Andrew: All right, they define their mission, the mission statement’s right in their back page it says, “We want to help you make better decisions.” That’s it, that’s all, that’s what drives us.

Robbie: Yep.

Andrew: And so, anything that allows them to do that, anything that their customers want that still stays within their mission is a possibility for what to add.

Robbie: Great.

Andrew: All right, the book of course as we mentioned is called, I’ll bring up the camera on me for a moment. “The Membership Economy” and it’s available everywhere. I think I got an early copy of it and I thought it was incredibly helpful and now it’s available in stores everywhere, am I right?

Robbie: Yeah, everywhere online, offline, independent book stores, yeah.

Andrew: Congratulation on the book and the business and, of course, the website is let’s bring it up, and Peninsula is a reference to here, San Francisco.

Robbie: It is.

Andrew: The Silicon Valley area.

Robbie: Yes.

Andrew: Cool. Thank you so much for doing this. Every one, thank you for being a part of Mixergy. Bye everyone.

Robbie: Thanks for watching.


Master Class:
How to get a massive webinar audience

Taught by Robert Coorey of Feed a Starving Crowd

Master Class: Big Webinar Audience



Master Class Toolbox

Course Cheat Sheet (Coming Soon)


Andrew: This session is about how to get a massive audience for your webinar. This session is led by this man. He is Robert Coorey who previously founded E-Web Global Marketing, a high end performance digital marketing agency. He is also the author of “Feed a Starving Crowd” which offers more than 200 hot and fresh marketing strategies to help you find hungry customers. You can find out about the book at where . . . there it is. It’s still available for free.

The reason I invited Robert on here because when interviewed him for Mixergy he said that people, that entrepreneurs, specifically used to give him a piece of their business in order to have him do the marketing for them. One of the key areas of marketing that he did was online webinars. He’d get a lot of people to watch and then from there he get a lot of those people to buy. And so I said, “Robert, please, please come on here to Mixergy and teach us how to get that audience for that webinar.” And Robert, that’s why you’re here.

Robert: Hi, good to be on the call.

Andrew: Thanks for being on here. Now I want to show people the pain of not doing marketing right, and I hate to bring it up again, but it’s a pain that you experienced. Here is a photo of you and your wife from back when you guys ran this previous business. What was the business?

Robert: It was called Vippo. I look like about 18 in that photo.

Andrew: And you look really happy and eager in that photo. I’m guessing you were expecting good times back then.

Robert: Oh, I was pumped. I thought I was going to take over the world and retire after 12 months.

Andrew: So how many millions of dollars did the business make?

Robert: 0.00003, or something like that. So it wasn’t, it didn’t work out as well as we would have hoped. To cut a long story short, I was working in the corporate world doing really, really well, climbing the corporate ladder, and I had a great idea that I would start a video production business with my wife. Now the thing is, this was in 2010 and video was starting to get a little bit more mainstream for online, but it was still very early days. YouTube was only a few years old, and I had this great idea that I could be one of the first ones to market and offer online video for clients. I’d go to all these businesses and they’d pay me a lot of money to do their online videos and it’d be really easy.

The thing was it didn’t work out that way. Because it was so early to market, the cost of production was still quite high and it still wasn’t as mainstream as it is today, and it was a lot harder to convince businesses to take us on than I thought it would be. So we spent a good 12 months, me and my wife. We worked not full-time but double full-time, all day and all night, the both of us. And you can see that was when we started the business and were really happy. After 12 months we were exhausted. We haven’t worked that hard in our whole life.

Andrew: Hard work, and you only brought in $30,000 a year from that business, after all the hard work among the two of you and you ended up closing down the business.

Robert: That’s correct, yeah, because it is just too hard. It wasn’t working and sometimes you’ve got to swallow your pride and just say, “Look, it didn’t work, and we’re going to pull out and just [inaudible 00:03:16] that does work.

Andrew: We all had the challenges with marketing. That’s one of the reasons why people are listening to us here today, to avoid that kind of problem and to find something that actually works. The way I work here at Mixergy. I’m kind of a jerk because you volunteer and everyone volunteers to do interviews here and to teach here on Mixergy, and one of the first things I say is if you’re going to teach something, prove it. You actually did. You said, “Here.” Here is a screenshot from proof that you gave our producer. What is this that we’re looking at, exactly, and why is this proof that you know what you’re talking about?

Robert: You’re looking at the stats from Google Analytics for a webinar that we ran about a year and a half ago. This webinar was for a nutritionist and we had, like you can see there, over 7000 people register to attend this webinar. That’s a huge number. It’s an absolutely huge number. Most people are lucky to get 100 or 200 on a webinar, but this was just an absolutely out of the park raging success because we did everything right, and we’re going to show you how to do that today.

Andrew: Okay. That’s over 7000. 7889 people hit the Thank You page on the webinar, which means that they registered to watch a webinar, and every one of them . . . or not every one of them will actually show up live, but we’ll talk about how to get more of them to come to the live event.

But then once they’re there at the webinar, you teach and you sell, and that’s why these webinars are so powerful. If you get enough people in the room it creates an energy and they all become potential customers, and you close all those sales right there in one day, in one event as opposed to waiting for the ads to work and conversion rates on website. Right?

Robert: Absolutely, and it’s kind of like, I call these webinars online seminars because it’s kind of like the way that you used to run seminars back in the day where you get all the people in a room, you do a presentation, and you make an offer. And then some people buy it and some people don’t.

The thing is, if you’ve got an international audience like you and I do, Andrew, we can’t run global tours every day of the week. It’s just not practical and not cost-effective. So we can run webinars where people can have a similar kind of experience but do it from the comfort of their own home. And it’s great because you’d have to hire an event crew, staff, all that kind of stuff. There are so many expenses when you run live events in person.

Andrew: Essentially, all you need is a GoToMeeting account.

Robert: That’s it.

Andrew: What software do you use for your webinars?

Robert: GoToMeeting, because this one was a lot more than that, we had to use a different platform because GoToMeeting cuts out at about 1000 users. It just couldn’t handle that kind of volume.

Andrew: You guys are getting more than 1000 users to come in all at once? All right. I’m getting about this. I want to learn for myself because I’ve seen that we at Mixergy have gotten good sales from webinars. I want to learn how to get more people in there.

Let me go up to the big board here. These are the different steps we’re going to use to get people to come to our webinars. The very first one on there is to identify your starving crowd. The people who have those pain points, you want to find and understand those pain points. You actually had a customer who was a nutritional client, right?

Robert: Yes.

Andrew: That’s what she was doing. She had only so much time in the day. She wanted to reach more potential customers. She partnered up with you, and how did you find the pain that her customers have? And we’ll talk later about how to use it. But how did you find it?

Robert: My client spent six years doing one-to-one consultations with women, helping their health challenges using nutritional tactics. She had all that data of what women were going through in their life. The sad thing about this is I learned way too much about women’s health than I really wanted to learn, but at the end of the day, women have a lot of health challenges and they’re really confused about what happens with their bodies. That was the biggest thing that came out of what she did.

So I went to the client and I said, “Look, you’ve worked with women for six years one-on-one. You’ve seen literally thousands and thousands of women. Can you tell me the eight biggest challenges that women have when they come to you?” So she said, “Okay, here’s what the eight biggest challenges are. I’m going to write them down.” I said, “That’s good.”

Andrew: Here’s some of them. I think you’ve given them to us before this session started. We’re looking at things like, I routinely feel bloated, I suffer from PMS, I can’t lose weight no matter how much I diet and exercise, and this is just you writing it all down.

Robert: That’s correct. This is exactly what she told me, and they’re ranked from one to eight. The most pain was the bloated one. Nearly all the women that went to her were suffering from bloating. That was the biggest pain point.

Andrew: I wonder what it is to suffer from bloating. I hate to sound so ignorant here but I don’t know.

Robert: What it means is that in practical terms you fit into your jeans perfectly in the morning, and then by the end of the day you feel like taking the button off because you can’t fit in them anymore.

Andrew: I see.

Robert: We’re joking about it here, but it’s actually quite a serious health challenge that women have, and it’s very confusing because a lot of them don’t know why it happens. They’re not eating a whole lot of food. They’re not going to McDonald’s and buying chips and burgers and Coke. They’re not doing that. There are a number of reasons why it happens. I’m not a nutritionist. I don’t want to give the answers on here because I am not qualified to say, but what we did was we promised that if they came to the webinar they would learn the solutions to these problems from my doctor nutritionist client.

Andrew: I see. That’s why you want to identify those big problems, because when you’re talking about feeding a starving crowd, you mean what it that they’re starving for a solution for? Am I right?

Robert: Yes. Think about it this way. If you’ve got bloating as a health challenge, if you wake up in the morning and you fit into your jeans perfectly; end of the day, you can’t fit into them anymore, you’re wondering what the hell is going on? What is going on here? And if you’ve been to other doctors and people before and they can’t help you, and then you have a nutritionist who’s a doctor, who has a PhD in this that says, “If you come on to this webinar, I’m going to show you solutions, how to fix this up.” That’s a starving crowd, and that’s a key reason why we had so many people come on, because the information was good, and people really wanted to find out what was happening.

Andrew: Robert, I thought what you were going to say is create a survey, find potential customers, survey them, and you’re saying in this case it was as easy as talking to the person who talked to all those customers in the past and having her just remember what were those big issues where. Write them down one to eight in order.

Robert: That’s right. And look, in my book I’ve got lots of other ways you can find a starving crowd as well. Some people who haven’t had six years of experience serving clients, and it’s not as easy as that. You might have to go do some research. There are a lot of different ways you can find a starving crowd. This is one of them, and this is the best one. If you’ve had physical one-to-one interactions with the clients, that’s the best way to find out what their problems are because they’ve told you for six years.

Andrew: Good point. I know a lot of entrepreneurs have to go out and talk to customers to understand them before getting started because they don’t have much experience with their customer base. You’re saying to understand what their issues are, and if you’ve talked to them already you know it. Sit down, write it down in order, so that you’re aware of what the top priority issue is, and all the way down the line. And that’s what you did with this collection here. I don’t even know that I need to show it again, but there. I just like to see how you’ve done it. I feel tired and wired, I have trouble sleeping at night, I’m a happy person but sometimes I feel sad for no reason, etc.

So now that we’ve identified the big pain points that our crowd has, the next step to talk about is having a success story for each pain point.

Robert: That’s why it’s okay, because it’s all well and good to have this pain points, so if you’ve got bloating or you can’t sleep at night or you feel wired, any of those kind of things, that’s all well and good. A lot of people have those challenges. What they want to know is do you actually have a solution and can you help me?

So to get more people to come to the webinar, we gave examples of how my nutritionist client actually delivered these results to people already. Her marketing wasn’t just saying, “Hey, come to the webinar, come to the webinar, come to the webinar,” the marketing was, “Hey, here’s the ten pain points. We’re going to send you one email for each of these pain points and tell you a story about how someone had this challenge, then came to my client and then got all fixed up as a result of the strategies that they learned. And we’re going to show you these strategies in the webinar.

Andrew: Let me look at one of this emails. This is kind of email that you sent out. Do you mind if include this here with the session for people to look at on their own time?

Robert: Yes, that’s fine. We include all this in the resources page from the book, so that’s fine to share.

Andrew: I’m going to read this because of course it’s going to be too small on people’s screens and frankly they pay me to read it out for them. Here’s what’s the subject line is. It says, “Tired, Moody, Stressed Out all Day. How a burned out woman put an end to those problems.” And then the body says, “Before learning about my secrets, Angela was reaching burnout. She couldn’t lose weight no matter how hard she tried. She was so tired, moody and stressed out all the time. Her life was in turmoil and her relationships were falling apart.” So right now what we’re seeing is that Angela had the problem that your audience has.

Let’s continue with me reading it. “She tried everything to fix her problems but nothing worked but as luck would have it, she discovered my method one evening. Then she started applying them. Within a few short months . . . bullet point number one, she could manage the ongoing stress in her work and home life, bullet point number two, her relationships improved, bullet point number three, and she finally felt in control of her health, weight and happiness again.”

Continuing on, “Now Angela was just one of the thousands of women who have found blessed relief using my simple method. It can work for you, too, if you suffer from any of these ailments: bloating, digestion problems, PMS, stressing, anxiety, unexplained weight gain, cravings, poor sleep, brain fog, and be sure to . . .” and then hyperlinked, “Attend my webinar. Best regards.

So I’m seeing what you’re doing here. What you’re saying is, “Here’s a person who had the problem that you have, here is how painful it is, and here are the benefits that she got by using this thing that you can get by coming to the webinar.” That’s the way you want us to promote the webinar.

Robert: Absolutely, and see, if you read that email it doesn’t feel sales-y. It doesn’t feel like you’re pitching it. It’s actually giving a bit of value, and it’s quite entertaining to read. You can definitely send 10 of those emails with different stories addressing different pain points, because if someone has bloating, they don’t necessarily care about, you know, they can’t sleep at night. It’s a very different audience.

So by having 10 different stories for the 10 different ailments, that’s why we’re were able to get such a wide range of people to come in. If we just did one on bloating, we might have gotten less numbers, maybe about 2000 or 3000. So by having all those different symptoms and addressing them all in one webinar and having those 10 different stories, that’s why we were able to get such a large number.

Andrew: First of all, the format makes a lot of sense. What you’re doing is you’re telling a story of someone who has a problem, talking about how your solution helped, and then giving details about how it helped, without saying specifically what the person did. You’re leaving that gap in people’s minds that they want to fill in by coming into the webinar. Makes a lot of sense.

Sometimes people are launching a brand new product with a webinar, and they don’t have these success stories. What I’ve seen is, actually, what do you say to those people if they still want to make people want to come to a webinar but they don’t have those case studies.

Robert: Look, it’s a bit harder. You can definitely sort of run a webinar and get people to come, but you’re not going to get the thousands and thousands if you haven’t got proof. There are a few different ways that you can do it. You can actually be really straight with people. You can say, “Look, this is a brand new course we’re running. We’ve never run it before. We’re really excited. Here’s why we’re excited.” Because you will not have proof for yourself but you may have proof that it is working in the market for other people. And so there are different ways to do it, but the very best proof is the proof that you’ve achieved for your clients. That’s always the best one.

Andrew: That’s one of the things that I insist on here when we do with one of these master classes in Mixergy. I want the person who’s teaching it to have an example of how what he taught worked for somebody else, and sometimes people don’t have that and I have to say, “You’re just not a good fit.”

But when someone who is listening to us wants to do a webinar, if they don’t have a case study, tell me if this is a fair way to do it, to say one of my steps is to do . . . actually, you know what? Let’s suppose somebody was starting a webinar trying to teach people how to do interviews, and they’ve never done an interview before. They can still say, “Here’s a benefit that Andrew got by doing interviews, and here’s what he did.” So you’re telling Andrew’s story without taking credit for having given Andrew the methodology. You’re just saying, “Andrew’s using one of the methods that I’ll be teaching you, and here’s the success that he got.” Is it fair to do that?

Robert: Absolutely. That’s what the Napoleon Hill did 100 years ago with “Think and Grow Rich.” Napoleon Hill wasn’t rich when he wrote that book, but he interviewed 50 or 100 of the most rich people going around. Then he consolidated all the best strategies from them, and that book has been an amazing bestseller.

So you can take the reporter route, where it’s like, “Hey, look, I’ve interviewed the 10 best guys that do interviews. Here’s a snippet of what Andrew does, and I’m going to show you what the other nine guys do in the webinar. Come along.” That’s worthwhile, and I’d be up for that. I’d check that out, because that person isn’t saying, “Hey, I’m the guru on interviews.” I think you’ve just got to be authentic and straight with people, and just be really . . . if you haven’t done it before but you’ve interviewed 10 guys that did do it, and they showed you exactly what they did, that’s fine, but just say that, and then whoever comes, comes.

Andrew: I remember one of the first courses that we did on Mixergy was with Paras Chopra, the founder of Visual Website Optimizer. He said, “Look, you need case studies if you’re going to be selling these high margin products.” I said, “What if you’re new and you don’t have case studies?” He said, “Don’t get a case study for your software. Get a case study for your methodology as used by someone else when you’re getting started.” So these are workarounds for it.

Here is the next big point. I think we’ve gotten everything out of this one. The next big point is to contact your current audience everywhere. That means Facebook, it means email, it means Twitter, it means wherever they are, and invite them to come to the webinar. You did this on Facebook. In fact, before we were starting you were saying that Facebook is working really well for you. What’s working better, Facebook, Twitter, something else?

Robert: For this particular market, Facebook.

Andrew: Before this women’s health nutrition webinar?

Robert: Absolutely, yes. We only had two traffic sources for this particular webinar. We had the email database and we had Facebook advertising. Those were the only two ways that we promoted this webinar.

Andrew: And for your book, I know that you’ve been advertising this landing page, on Facebook. What’s worked best for you there?

Robert: It’s running an ad to go directly to the landing page, but I’m actually borrowing the credibility that I’ve got from Brian Tracy and an ad to go fix at the landing page but I’m actually borrowing the credibility that I’ve got from Bryan Tracy and Vishen Lakhiani as testimonials.

Andrew: Right there in the center. So are you buying ads with their face, with Brian Tracy’s face on it and sending it over?

Robert: Yes, absolutely, because they have given me a testimonial and permission to use their testimonial. And with testimonials what you find is that it also benefits the person that gives a testimonial as well because his brand is getting in front of literally hundreds of thousands of people with running the ad. So it helps both people, the person that gets the testimonial and the one that gives the testimonial.

Andrew: Okay. So by those ads there . . . let me see here in my notes what you’ve said. You can send out an email, a Facebook post, Twitter message, etc., for each one of the pain points that we described. So how do you turn each one of these pain points, like I feel bloated, into an ad that delivers a new attendee to your event?

Robert: See, the way that we did this was exactly the same way we did the email sequences. We told the stories in Facebook posts. The post didn’t feel spammy and saying, “Hey, come to the webinar.” We actually just gave solutions. We told the stories like we did exactly with that email. So exactly the same way we wrote the emails was exactly the same way we did the Facebook posts. That’s why it got so much engagement, because a year and a half ago no one was doing this.

If you look at nutritionists and the way they market, 99% of them say eat green vegetables and drink water. Stop eating McDonald’s and stop drinking Coke. And it was, like, come on, everybody knows that. We all know we’ve got to eat better food and stop eating bad food. We know that, but we’re not doing it. When you’re in a competitive market space like nutrition and there’s so many people out there saying the same thing, you need to be a bit creative in how you approach it. And that’s why story telling works so well, because it flies under the radar and it helps people to have a better reaction to your marketing.

Andrew: So actually, here. You’ve been open with me about as much as you can. Something strange, you sent us this tweet. It says, “Do you think about the strength body? Do you focus on improving your flexibility? Both are critical to a . . . ” and then it’s FB.ME/etc. This is your tweet linking to a Facebook post which I’m assuming then links over to the webinar page. Why did you obscure the url? Why don’t you want me to see the actual ad as you have it in Facebook? Is that intentional?

Robert: I think that’s for a different program that we ran. I think that was an example of a tweet for a different program. That wasn’t for this nutritional webinar.

Andrew: Okay. So are you in fact hiding that webinar from me, too?

Robert: No, not at all. I can’t remember which on it actually is for, to be honest with you. That was on a few months ago, so I’d have to check it out and see what it’s all about.

Andrew: Let me get a little more specific here. So if, for example, we’ve got a problem, I’ll keep going back to this “I routinely feel bloated.” How do you present it in a Facebook ad that gets people to come to a landing page and register? What do you do? What kind of ad works for you?

Robert: We use extremely similar copy to that email that you saw. So it’s long copy and it’s a photo. You test different photos, but it’s a photo of a woman who’s holding her tummy in a bit of pain. That’s what worked well for that one. And then for each of the different symptoms, you have someone who can’t sleep at night, you might show them in bed trying to toss and turn and things like that, like she was roughing up the sheets.

Andrew: And then you link to the landing page. Does the landing page talk specifically about this problem or do you have a general landing page that says “I solve all these problems.”

Robert: Yes, the same landing page that you showed at the start, that same copy. It was a really simple one page landing page, it said, “Hey, if you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, then you have to attend the webinar.”

Andrew: All right, cool. Then let’s go on to the next big point. We talked about buy ads. The next one is to get affiliate partners. Oh, actually, hang on a second. Let me see. Contact current or whatever . . . oh, sorry. We didn’t talk about buying ads. Let’s talk about . . . wait. Contact current audience everywhere. I accidentally lumped these two together, but you intentionally in my notes here have separated them. Contact current audience everywhere means for you, do a re-targeting campaign, and I think I missed that, where you upload your email list to Facebook and you say, “I want to reach my people.” Is that what you mean by that?

Robert: Yes, absolutely. And even to take it to the next level, if you haven’t got an existing email database or if you haven’t got a budget for ads, what I teach my clients is to get down and dirty, and to contact your clients in every single channel that you have. If it’s LinkedIn, if it’s Twitter, if it’s email, even if it’s business cards. If you’ve got business cards stacked up from a long time, if some of those people would be interested in what you’re doing, you could email them once personally. You can’t upload all those into a database and kind of blast them out, but if you met someone at a conference six months ago and they could come to your webinar, you can go and email them.

When you’re getting started and you haven’t got a huge database, you’re going to roll your sleeves up, and if you haven’t got a whole lot of money to spend on ads, you’ve got to contact people no matter where they are.

Andrew: I see. So that point, contact the current audience everywhere, means the people who you already are engaged with wherever they are. If you have a Twitter following go to Twitter and talk to them there. If you have a Facebook following, do that, and again, even right down to if you have business cards, email them so that you invite them over.

Robert: Get your hands dirty, absolutely. Even if get, you might have to scrape and scramble to get 50 or 100 people in a webinar, but for some people, 100 people in a webinar, that’s a good . . . if you could stand in front of a live audience and talk to 100 people, that’s still good, especially if you’re just getting started. So no matter where you are, you can still use these strategies and you don’t have to buy ads. But the thing is, you’ve got to make an investment somewhere. You’ve either got to invest your time and your sweat where you get your hands dirty and do this stuff, it’s not as glamorous, or you can run ads if you’ve budget to spend on that kind of stuff.

Andrew: Now, then, we go back to the one that I accidentally almost skipped, which is buy ads to reach a new audience. What you guys did, according to my notes, is you advertised a success story for each one of the problems, you did it with a direct call to action, you told 10 stories, your budget was $200 per post for a total of $2000, and each post told the story of one problem.

Robert: That’s right, and all we did was, it was just a normal Facebook post on the fan page, and we hit the boost post at the bottom for $200. Nothing fancy.

Andrew: And this is the kind of thing that you were . . . is this really the ad itself? Now I see what you were talking about earlier where you said a photo with some text. Is it something like this?

Robert: Yes, something like that. But if you have a cat, that’s a different example, but it was similar to that. There were some of them like that but most of them were actually stories, so actually like that story we showed you in the email, but with a better photo like I described before.

Andrew: Image, and you do the full text within the Facebook post, even though it’s long?

Robert: Yep, long copy is good. People read it. People read long copy. They read it. It works really well.

Andrew: So you do that full long text and then you would link back to your landing page, and on your landing page you would get them to register for the webinar.

Robert: Absolutely, absolutely. Now, you can take it to the next level, like, we could have for each one of those different landing pages, we could have had an article that spoke about that problem in more detail, and then had a call to action to come to the webinar after that. So you can do that, but it’s more work. It’s ten times the amount of work. You’re going to write ten more articles and then each of them has to link back to the webinar.

We just found it worked fine. If I was going to run this more often, then you probably wouldn’t need the ten articles so that you’ve got a bit more variety. Otherwise, once those people have seen that ad and then come to the webinar, then you need to kind of mix it up and do different topics.

Andrew: All right. Let’s go to the big board, and the next big thing is to get affiliate partners. These are people who are getting a share of every sale that you make within your webinar.

You approached a big name celebrity and you said, “Hey, would you please promote,” and the celebrity said, “Absolutely” right from the start.

Robert: Yes. It depends on what your relationships are. I don’t want to say you can just call any celebrity up and say hey, please promote, and they’re going to say yes. This was someone that we already had a relationship with for this particular event.

Andrew: Who is the person?

Robert: I can’t say, Andrew. That’s confidential.

Andrew: Are we talking about television celebrity or online celebrity?

Robert: Well, online for this one.

Andrew: Okay.

Robert: I can talk about my business because that’s mine and I can share that. It’s not a private client. For example, what I’ve done is with my book, I’ve deliberately sent my book to a lot of influential people that are around, and what tends to happen is if they get my book, and I send them an Australian hat as well, quite often they’ll actually take a photo with the Aussie hate with corkscrews on it which looks pretty tacky. I will send you a photo of that as well. And then they’ll have the book in their hand and the Aussie hat and they’ll say, “Thanks, Rob. This is a great book,” and they’ll post a link to my book.

Now that works fantastically well, and that’s what spoke pretty well for my book, and that’s one way you can approach it. So there are a lot of different ways you can get it to happen. I’m saying that it’s easy. I’m definitely not saying that that’s easy at all. What’s more traditional is to get traditional affiliate partners. For example . . .

Andrew: You know, what’s that? I can’t pass up what you just said right there, because frankly I’ve been Googling it on the other screen here. I never heard of an Aussie hat. This is what the Aussie hate looks like, with corkscrews just hanging out from it?

Robert: That’s it. Yeah, it’s exactly like that. And the corkscrews, do you know what the corkscrews are for?

Andrew: No.

Robert: They are to kick the flies out of your face.

Andrew: Are you, are you kidding me?

Robert: Yep. So if you got flies, in Australia we’ve got a lot of flies so you can just wear that hat and you can kind of shake your head and get the flies out of your face.
Andrew: Really? It’s not just a joke? It actually is being used in Australia?

Robert: That’s what they’re used, that’s why they do them.

Andrew: Wow. All right. So this is what you were passing out to people, and of course they would take a photo of it and say thank you, I can’t believe you just sent this over.

Robert: And here’s a photo of the book, and you know, it works really well.

Andrew: Okay. Clever idea. I can see how that would work out. How do you get people who are affiliates to start sending traffic to your webinar? What do you do?

Robert: There’s a few different ways. There’s a lot of ways you can do it. The easiest way is to actually, if you promote them first. It’s like the law of reciprocity. If you help someone first, they’re a lot more likely to help you later. That’s the very easiest way to do it, because it’s the lowest friction. Like if I approach anybody and say, “Look, can I introduce you to my audience and kind of promote your work,” nearly every single person is going to say yes. Why would you say no? And then once that’s happened, there’s a bigger chance that they’ll say, “Hey, can you help me as well?” So that works really well.

There’s other ways you can do it as well. The more traditional way is that you have an affiliate manager, and they go and approach 50 or 100 people that are in a similar category to you, and they say, “Look, here’s what our offer is. Here’s the percent of commission that we pay. Here’s the landing page, here’s the [inaudible 00:28:45] copy, would you be open to doing this to your list?” That’s the most traditional way of doing it.

But like I said, there’s a lot more creative ways you can go about it. You can send them something in the mail. You can do a favor for them in advance. And that’s what I prefer to do, rather than going the traditional route of just having all the stats, all the techniques, all the things like that. I just think it’s kind of been slammed, and I’d rather have less affiliate partners but more dedicated ones are better.

Andrew: You might send a gift of a corkscrew hat, not corkscrew, that would be painful. A cork hate, and then you’d follow up and say, “Hey, I’m doing this thing,” or actually even before, you’d offer to email your audience or support them, and then come back and ask.

Robert: That’s right, and that looks a lot better, because if you think about it from the other person’s perspective, like if I went to you, Andrew, and said, “Hey, go to all of your people that Feed a Starving Crowd. Here’s what our stat is . . . ” And you’re like, “Well, I don’t even know you, Rob. I don’t know if your stuff works, I don’t even know if it’s a good product.”

It sounds obvious, but it is important. If the show was on the other foot, you’d want to know more about that person and get to know them a lot better before you promote anyone’s work. It’s the same when you’re approaching anybody. Everyone’s the same. Everyone’s very protective of their database and they only want to be promoting stuff that’s good and that works.

Andrew: You know what? I want to ask about a photo, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m now looking at my screen. I’m looking very dark here for some reason. I wonder if somebody messed with the lights. Let’s try adjusting it.

Robert: Yes, I thought you got a suntan, I thought you’d been hanging on the beach.

Andrew: First of all, I’m always dark. I’m the darkest person in my family. I’ve got a very a white blonde wife and now we have a kid. So she’s very light, I am very dark, even the kid is lighter than me, so I’m walking around like the foreigner in my own house. But I think the light should be helping me out here. I think maybe somebody bumped into the lights and is making me look darker. Let’s adjust them. There we go. I still don’t look European but I look better.

All right. Who is this person who we were just talking, who I was just referencing?

Robert: Yes, this from my book, [inaudible 00:30:46]. This is a TV celebrity in Australia, and she and her twin sister have been featured on a home renovation show here. So what happened was the approached me and asked if I could help them with their online business, and I said, “Look, come in, spend some time in my office and I’ll help you guys out.” So I spent an hour with them. I didn’t charge them for the session, and at the end we took a photo with the book. And then she posted that to her Facebook page and she’s got 188,000 Facebook fans. What worked really well was that I got 1000 downloads in 24 hours just from that one post.

Andrew: Just from this post a thousand people had downloaded.

Robert: One post, 1000 downloads.

Andrew: Downloaded the book.

Robert: That’s how powerful this can be.

Andrew: A thousand people went from this post to this page, went to the bottom or clicked . . .

Robert: And downloaded them. And that’s just one celebrity, just one person. So that’s how powerful this stuff can be. And that’s why I’m saying good relationships, because if I went to her and I said, “Listen, can we do a sponsorship deal where you can endorse my work,” she’s going to say, “Well, okay. Fine. We’re going to spend six months doing contracts and things like that, and there’s going to be a fee.” I said, “Look, come to my office. I’ll help you out. I’ll give you some good tips.” I helped them, they started to do a lot more business online, and then they, as a result, they wanted to say thank you to me. And then they shared my work with their audience. So that worked extremely well for me, and that’s something you can do for a lot of people. You can just help them, and they’ll help you back.

Andrew: I wonder how many people are going to hear me to say, go type it in and go download. There’s no way for us to know. That’s my frustration, not just with this, but with podcasting in general. People watch or listen to one of my interviews, and then they’ll remember the url and go back to it. I’d love to get credit. I’d love for an interviewee to say, “I can’t believe it, Andrew. I just did this interview with you and as a result 5000 people downloaded, or even 500 people downloaded it. Somebody.

Robert: Well, Andrew, I ordered five new servers after that last interview because the Mixergy crowd, that’s going to be a hungry audience. I want to make sure that the website holds up.

Andrew: First of all, more than five and reup with cloud flair. Go to the next level of [inaudible 00:32:46].

Robert: I’m going to buy a whole data center, different types.

Andrew: It’s the only way that I’ll feel good about myself. I don’t have naturally feeling good about yourself capabilities. I have to have outward results in the world for me to feel good.

All right. Everybody who’s listening should go over to your site, FeedAStarvingCrowd.come, download it, and then find a way to conspicuously let you know that it’s because of Mixergy. But for now, let’s get back on track here. Use a reminder sequence. I never know how much to do here because, and frankly, I think I sent a reminder the day before, I think I sent a reminder the day of, and then we are going live reminder. That’s three. To me, that felt like a lot. I got emails from people saying I missed it. Why didn’t you tell me? I said dude, I sent three. So what’s the right amount? How do I not irritate people? Or maybe I did the right amount and I should accept it and be okay that some people are always going to complain. What is the right amount of reminders?

Robert: Look, the best way to do this is actually to tell some more stories in the lead-up to the event. We told similar stories to the opt-in sequence, but just kind of made them a little bit shorter, and just reminding people about why it’s going to be so good to come on.

Now, what I’ve also . . . I didn’t do this for this webinar, but I had done this for other webinars and it worked extremely, extremely well. 48 hours before the webinar starts, you send a PDF workbook, and it’s kind of like a fill in the blanks workbook where you have all the bullet points but they need to fill in the blanks when they come to the webinar to learn about what’s happening. The reason why this works so well is because firstly, people get a sneak peek of the content. Secondly, they feel that it’s going to be value, like [inaudible 00:34:27] is going to be a sales pitch. They feel that they’re actually going to learn something. Especially in our space in the marketing space, the number one reason people don’t come to webinars is because they feel it’s going to be just a sales pitch. They’re not going to learn anything. So if you can send them a workbook in advance, then they know that hey, I can learn some stuff here. And I know I’m going to get pitched at the end, but I’m going to learn stuff in the meantime so it’s worth my time to come on.

Andrew: So I’ve just actually seen this done. I would think that a workbook is a big PDF with lots of pages. It’s like I’ve seen four pages of a workbook.

Robert: That’s plenty. I’ve sent two pages, three pages, that’s fine.

Andrew: So we call it a workbook but frankly it could just be a work page, essentially. A work two pages, which I ordinarily wouldn’t think of as a workbook.

Robert: Yeah, like a worksheet, a work page. As long as it, the whole objective isn’t to say, “Look, this is good training. You’re coming here, you’re going to learn some stuff. You’re not going to be pitched through the whole time.”

Andrew: But I know my audience. Some people are just so anal and, God love ’em, that they would sit and write everything in the, that they would fill in the blanks. So if the first step, if I say the first step to doing XYZ is blank, they will fill that out because a lot of people think that way. They think by writing. Frankly, I guess I shouldn’t say that they’re anal. I’m pretty anal, too. I take notes within an interview, otherwise I’m not on track.

All right. So that’s what you mean by it, and it’s a reminder but it’s also a statement that they’re going to learn and it’s something that keeps them involved within the webinar. Give me more. What else? That’s 48 hours before. What else do I need to do to remind people to actually show up?

Robert: What else works really well is an SMS reminder. If you really want to drive your registrations to the next level, you can send two SMS’s. You can send one 24 hours before, and you can send one one hour before.

Andrew: And so you take, here’s one of yours. This is . . . let’s see if I could, I’ll read this again because it’s a text message we’re looking at. It says, “Phone number, don’t forget to join the webinar starting in two hours time. Click here to join.” And then you give a link to it.

Robert: That’s it. It’s just that simple, and it doesn’t need to be anything complex. It’s a text message, they can’t pick up that many things on there, so it’s just simple. And a lot of this stuff doesn’t need to be complex. It’s just about execution and doing it well.

So those are the two things that work. I’ll say the three things. So if you continue to tell stories before the webinar, send them a PDF workbook 48 hours before, and then send a couple of text messages. By doing that, that’s going to maximize the number of people that will come on.

Andrew: But within the last 48 hours all I’m doing is sending a webinar and text messages, or am I also sending an email the day before and the day of?

Robert: Well, you’re sending it 48 hours before, and you can send one out one day before and one hour before. Any more than that, you’re going to start annoying people, and you really don’t want to . . .

Andrew: So three emails within 48 hours plus two text messages.

Robert: Yep, and then if they registered a long time before that, a day or two before that as well, you can also send a couple of stories. And that’s it, because you don’t need to kill people. You want them to know about it, you want them to turn up, but you don’t want to be annoying.

Andrew: All right. Let’s go on now to the very last page, or the very last point here for today, which is to have the right elements on your landing page and your thank you page. Here is this template that you use. A lot of it just seems basic.

Robert: Very basic. Really, really simple.

Andrew: Help me understand what I might ordinarily miss if I were to look at it as a stranger. We intentionally kept this as just the key elements. What are the key elements?

Robert: Like I said, the event title is huge, because what a lot of people will look at is just the event title and make a decision if they’re going to come or not based on that title. Our title for this nutritionist webinar was “What in the World is Wrong With Me?”And the reason that worked so well is that it’s a very common question that people are asking my client. So they resonated that when they saw it.

The next thing was in that little box at the top we had two options for people to join the webinar. We had a 5:00 p.m. option and a 7:00 p.m. option. What blew my mind was that we had an almost equal attendance between both of those two options. I had no idea. I thought that most people would pick the 7:00 because it’s after work, they’d log in at home and watch it then. But we had an almost equal between the 5:00 and the 7:00. Like I said, it blew my mind.

Andrew: And that’s a dropdown menu that you have under, you ask people’s name and you ask their email address, then you have that dropdown menu underneath it.

Robert: Yeah, select the time. And then underneath the description on the left-hand side is we just had those eight bullet points which you showed at the start.

Andrew: There it is, on the left-hand side underneath the date and time, where you would have . . . let me see what those bullet points are. Things like, “I routinely feel bloated. I suffer from PMS. I can’t lose weight, etc.”

Robert: Yep, and then we had a little paragraph under that saying, “If you suffer from any of these symptoms, then you have to attend this webinar.”

Andrew: I see. And that’s what you want. But the key elements it seems like you want us to have two date options, excuse me, have date . . . wait. Have the dates on it and two options for different times.

Robert: Yes, and that’s because this was the first time we were running a webinar to this audience and we didn’t know which time they would want so we offered both. But as you get to know your audience better, you may just find that the majority go for one time, and then you don’t have to offer the two times. But to start with, it’s always good to offer a few different times so you get to know what people want.

Andrew: Here’s something else that you did that I hadn’t thought of. You had a . . . let me see. On the thank you page you had a call to action which asked them to share the event with their friends. What’s the incentive that they have for telling their friends?

Robert: That was huge. Nothing, nothing, but that was huge. That was absolutely huge, because well, we just had, like, there’s a lot of traffic that came to the site where it was shares from Facebook, where it wasn’t actually from the ad, it was from shares. So that was just huge. It was really big, and because I think, especially with this market, people might know friends that have the same kind of problems and they want to help out. See, if me and you were running an event about how to get more traffic to your website, well, I don’t know if that many people are going to go share it on their Facebook wall, or share that with their friends. So it depends on the market, but for that market it worked extremely well.

Andrew: Anything else that you want us to have on that confirmation page? I’m guessing a way for them to add the event to their calendars is helpful.

Robert: Yes, absolutely, that works as well. We had that there and that was about it. It wasn’t too complex. A lot of people are starting to get more fancy with this, and they’re putting videos on that landing page, and then even trying to make a pitch on that page. I haven’t done that personally myself so I can’t attest to the results, but I’d imagine it did do okay.

Andrew: Okay. All right. And there it is. We’ve covered so many different topics here today, or so many different steps to getting people to come to our webinar. Let me ask you this, Robert. If we were to do everything here on this big board and everything that you just talked about here today, what’s the one place where, one thing that might keep us from having a big audience for our event? Where is the one place where we’ll likely to make a mistake?

Robert: It’s the first one. It’s identifying the pain points, because if you’re running a webinar about a topic that no one cares about, then who’s going to come? You can do all these other things perfectly, but if the topic is not good then no one’s going to come. That’s why I wrote my book, Feed a Starving Crowd, because all the reason people don’t see it online is not because they’re not following the tactics or the strategies, it’s you’re selling something that no one wants. And so unless you really know those pain points, then all this other stuff doesn’t mean anything.

Andrew: All right. Well, thank you so much for walking us through it. I’ve seen that that’s actually a problem or a challenge throughout, finding the pain points of your customers whether you’re trying to get them to come to a webinar, trying to create a product that’s an information product, or trying to create software for them, wherever it is, the more you understand people’s pain, the more you can address it and give them a product that they’re dying to bye.

That is also one of the key ideas that you’ve been talking about. If people want to see how you market and learn from you, they can come to your website, and buy the book. It’s actually free. Is there shipping and handling, or something else about the download that we need to know?

Robert: The eBook is for free, and the physical book is $9.00 shipping worldwide.

Andrew: Here, I’m going to hit the download button. Let me see what the next step is on your site.

Robert: Oh, fantastic. Now I can spare you, Andrew.

Andrew: This is one simple tweak to just put . . . I hit pause on this because you and I are now talking, and then find my major business . . . actually, I shouldn’t be revealing this. People should just be going over to your site and seeing your marketing plan step by step. I like to actually see what you’re up to just because I’m curious about how you do it. Oh, this is . . . hey, what software are you using to do these multiple choice questions?

Robert: Gravity Forms on WordPress.

Andrew: That’s just Gravity Forms, where as soon as I click it, it automatically goes to the next page?

Robert: I’ve got a good a developer, Andrew.

Andrew: You really do. I love Gravity Forms. I use it all the time. I just didn’t realize that you can do it so that as soon as people click . . . oh, that is beautiful. I would pay just to learn how to do that. All right. Never mind. This has been great to have you up on the site. I’m so glad to have you teach this. I’m looking forward to hearing people use it, and frankly, I’m looking forward to using this myself because I know how powerful webinars still are. Are they still hot, or is it one thing that people have overdone?

Robert: In the internet marketing space they’re a bit harder to fill up. I’m running one in a couple of hours. I still work quite well for my audience, but in the internet marketing space it is harder to get these massive, massive numbers because think of what a market’s have kind of screwed it up. But in other audiences, these guys have never, for the business webinar, a lot of people never heard what a webinar was at the time, because it’s some industries don’t even know what a webinar is, so there’s this [inaudible 00:44:11] for it’s Greenfields, and sadly now industry is being slammed. But you can still do them and do quite well.

Andrew: I feel like in the internet marketing space everything gets slammed like that.

Robert: Marketers ruin everything.

Andrew: No, they help get people to come buy products which means that they fuel businesses. All right. But this is still effective outside of the internet marketing space. I’m curious to see how it works for people in our audience and I like the way you think in general. A lot of these ideas apply for marketing outside of webinars, like finding people’s pain points, buying ads based on them, and etc. A lot of this applies outside.

I’m so proud to have you on here. The website of course is Robert, thanks for being on Mixergy again.

Robert: Thanks, Andrew.

Robert: You bet. Thank you all for being a part of Mixergy. Bye, everyone.


Master Class:
How to become rejection-proof
(And turn “no” into “yes”)
Taught by Jia Jiang of Rejection Proof

Master Class: Become Rejection-Proof

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Course Cheat Sheet


Andrew: This session is about how to become rejection proof. It is led by Jia Jiang. He is the author of the book, Rejection Proof. Let’s bring it up on the screen here, “How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible through 100 Days of Rejection.” You can read all about Jia’s rejection experiments on his blog, which I’m looking out right here. It’s, and what we’ll cover here today, here are the big ideas we are going to be covering, it’s all a small part of what’s in his course. Let’s bring it up on my screen so you can see it, where you can find it at, if you want to learn more about this. But we’re going to be covering a whole lot here today with you, Jia. Thanks for coming here.Jia: Hey. Thank you for having me, Andrew.Andrew: Jia, you’re a Mixergy fan who quit his job, you started your company, your wife was pregnant at the time, you introduced it to an investor, in fact, I think, this is the site right here. Let’s bring it back up. Where is it? This is the business.Jia: Yes.

Andrew: When you showed it to an investor, what happened?

Jia: Well, the idea was, like, a lot of people liked it. And depends on the customers and . . . but the thing is, the investor said he was interested and just listened to my pitch. It was almost a little bit like a shark tank. But I didn’t get instantaneous result. He was like, “I will get back to you. Let me think about it.” Then the thing is, by that time, if I didn’t hear anything, it’s probably a good sign that he wasn’t going to invest.

But the thing is, at that time, I was a first time entrepreneur. I wanted this investment so bad. I felt it was an answer to my prayers or everything, but I just thought, and because he said he liked it and everything, I thought he was going to give the investment, but he didn’t. He sent me an email later on telling about he wasn’t going to move forward with this. It’s a very short email and that’s where the rejection that led to everything that happened later on.

Andrew: Yeah. In your book, which I freaking love because it’s just a narrative, it’s a story of a guy who gets rejected and holds himself back for a large part of his life without even realizing that he’s setting all kinds of limits to himself. And then you tell the story of how you break free of that through these crazy experiments. Some of which we’ll see here today. The thing is, though, in the book you talk about how you really expected this money. You did a great job. I think you were high-fiving after you did the pitch to this investor.

The investor said no. You were so surprised that you said to yourself, “I finally took a shot here. I finally overcame my fear and started a company and I still failed.” And that threw you for a loop and kept you from trying again. And that’s the problem that we’re trying to really overcome here. That rejection in the past often is the limiting influence on us that keeps us from taking more risks, from taking more shots at the world and we don’t even realize that that’s what it is, right?

Jia: Absolutely. Absolutely. We will have these moments in our lives that we fail in the past and we got rejected in the past. And sometimes it could be really public rejections or be about a girl or whatever. When those things happen, popular culture or popular psychology teaches us to get over it, don’t worry about it, just go, don’t take it personally, move on. But when we do that, we try to move over but those memories linger in our mind. If we don’t actually know what rejections are and they can haunt us as we are moving forward into our bigger opportunities. So I found in my life was because sometimes in the back of . . . When I was little, I got rejected in classrooms or when I was a teenager, I was rejected with a business idea.

These moments linger in my mind and tell me I shouldn’t do this, I shouldn’t speak up, I shouldn’t be more innovative because if I do people will reject me. And this is the moment that where I felt, “Wow, a simple rejection from an investor could make me want to quit my dream, my dream, my dream of being entrepreneur.” And that’s where I realized I have to overcome this fear before I move on.

Andrew: And the cool thing about what we’re going to talk about here today is it’s not just about overcoming the resistance and the fear of rejection, it’s about how to turn rejections into wins, get people who say no to you to end up saying yes. And we’re going to see a few examples of that, but let me show what can happen if people do some of what you’ve said or what you’re about to teach. This is one of the videos from your experiment. There’s a police car over your shoulder. Do you remember this one? Do you know what you did in this one? This was from a while back.

Jia: Yes, I do. I do remember exactly.

Andrew: If you describe it, I’ll just skip around here. If you just tell us what it is that you were trying to do here as you’re holding up this camera.

Jia: Well, so I approached a police officer that was outside a police station. I asked the officer, “Hey, can I get in your car? Can I just pretend to drive it?” And, by the way, I thought there’s no way and hopefully he didn’t arrest me on site. But he was like, “Okay. You look kind of harmless. Why not?” And so he did, he invited me into his car. And there was the other couple of police officers walking by, asking him what’s going on and he was like, “No. No problem.” His colleagues were asking him. He’s like, “Don’t worry. I think I got this covered. It shouldn’t be a problem.” So he let me into his car and took pictures of me in the car. He took . . .

Andrew: This is you getting into the car and that’s the photo that he then took of you in his police car.

Jia: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And we see a lot of things on TV right now or a lot of backlash against police. You know, sometimes, but in my case I found they are just humans like you and me. Of course, we’re all predisposed by our jobs. They’re high anxiety, high pressure jobs and there are things that can go wrong in many cases. But really, in vast majority of the cases that, at least, in my personal experience, they are just humans like you and me. And if you treat them with respect and, of course, I have some advantage because by the time I made that request I learned how to talk to people by doing these rejection attempts again and again. So I kind of disarm people with the way I talk and . . .

Andrew: And it’s a process. And it’s a learnable, teachable process. You’re going to teach us what you’re saying here and how we can get the kinds of results. If you can get a police officer to just randomly let you in you in a car and do some of these other stuff, then we can make more proposals, get more people to say yes to the crazy things that we have in mind. And frankly, it’s the crazy things that often help us really build our businesses. Really quickly, what are some of these other things that you got? On the top right, we see a photo of you in that police car. What are we looking at on the left?

Jia: On top left, I knock on a stranger’s door and I had a soccer ball in my hand. It was all cleats and all decked out and I asked the person, “Can I play in your backyard?” And he said, “Sure. Come on in.” And I couldn’t believe it.

Andrew: He let you do it and he took a photo of you. And the lower part of the screen, what’s on there?

Jia: This is where I got on the front of the plane. I approached the flight attendants before the plane took off saying, “Hey, can I give the safety announcement instead of you?” Most times, people when they give safety announcement, no one pay attention, right? You just watch your phone and try to make small talk with the people next to you. I said, “I’ll try to make it entertaining. I will do it.” And he said he couldn’t let me do the safety announcement because, by law, I have to be sitting in those seats. But he would ask me to come to front and say whatever what I want to the customer, greet the customers.

Andrew: Did you get to say whatever you wanted to the crowded plane of people?

Jia: I couldn’t believe it. Yeah. Absolutely. And I was like this, well, you know . . .

Andrew: This is all on camera. It’s not 100 days of wins like this, but it’s 100 days of you learning to deal with rejection to overcome your resistance to it and frankly, to get other people to overcome their rejections of you at times.

I wanted to go to the big board here and talk about how our audience can do it. I’m actually going to skip the first one and come back to in a moment. Instead, I’d like us to talk about what’s number two on our list, which is “Turn Rejection into A Numbers Game.” And one way that you did that is, let’s go and go back into your site. Do I have that here? Yeah. Let me bring it up like this. Here is, I think, rejection number 50. This is you in Austin. There you are. I like the intro to your videos.

Jia: I should take that out.

Andrew: That’s okay. We all have to collect emails addresses and grow our businesses. What are you doing here?

Jia: So this is where I went to . . . one of my rejection attempts was trying to find a job in one day. Just not about applying online, not by networking, just dropping in to random offices and tech companies, basically. And I asked them, “Hey, can I work for you for one day?” And so what happened is I made three stops. The first two stops, I got kind of swept out basically, scolded at and saying, “You shouldn’t do this,” but I left my resume.

But on the third try, the lady you were saying that beat you in the beginning, she was interested. And she’s like, “Why would the well-dressed man ask for a job for just one day?” So I had this conversation and in the end, I convinced here to give me a job for one day to work for her as an assistant office manager for one day. She didn’t know who I was. She didn’t know what was going on. She just found this interesting and eventually she said yes. She would have to get the approval from her boss and once when that happened, this is the video of me working for this company for one day.

Andrew: It’s called Big Commerce. They’re a major e-commerce platform. That’s you working for the day.

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: The point is, you walked right in there and you say, “I want a job.” And what you’re saying to us here is if we want rejections to turn into yeses, we shouldn’t look for one person. We shouldn’t have what one of my past interviewees, Neil Strauss, used to call one “one-itis,” where it was just, “I have to have this one and if I can’t, then everything stinks.” Set up a series of them, so that you’re almost pushing or forcing yourself to do this over and over again until you get that yes. Make it a numbers game.

Jia: Yeah. What I learned is there’s no universally rejected idea or no universally accepted idea. If you really want to get a yes, sometimes you just have talk to enough people. So now when I approach things, instead of saying, “How can I get that yes?” I say, “How many noes can I take before I quit?” In this case, I said I will take three noes. I will visit three offices in one afternoon. And lo and behold, on the third try, that person said yes.

Andrew: All right. Let’s go to the big board. I’m going to keep skipping around here, actually, frankly because I’m going to be entertained by you today. And I also I think that it will pull people in better.

Jia: Sure.

Andrew: All right. So the next one I’d like to talk about is “Don’t Run When You Hear No. Ask Why.” And you have an example of how you did that where . . . let me bring up again another one of these videos. This is why it took me a little bit longer to set up with before we started.

Jia: You really did your homework, Andrew.

Andrew: This is a guy, and I could see you’re shooting your videos. I love these intros. Let’s skip over to you’re walking over with . . . What’s that in your hand?

Jia: This is a rose bush I bought from a local store.

Andrew: Okay. Just a plain old rose bush . . .

Jia: Yep.

Andrew: Hasn’t even fully started to grow.

Jia: Yep.

Andrew: Who is this woman?

Jia: So okay. There’s the backstory to this. I actually should’ve put a whole story, but what I did is I just went straight to talking to this lady. What happened is before talking to this lady, I was talking to her neighbor. Her neighbor was an older gentleman. I knocked on his door, I have that flower in my hand, saying, “Hey, can I plant this flower in your backyard.” I don’t know why I like people’s backyard that much. It’s like [inaudible 00:13.03] but the person said no and before he could turn away, I asked him why. And he said, “I like flowers, but the thing is I have a dog that would dig up everything I put in my backyard. So what you want to do is you might want to talk to . . . I think her name is Lauren. Lauren across the street is my neighbor and she loves flowers.”

So this lady you’re seeing in the video is Lauren. When I approached them, they were about to leave. She was getting into their car I said, “Can I plant this flower in your backyard?” And she said, “Oh, that’s interesting. Yeah.” So she talked to her husband, and eventually, they let me plant the flower in their yard and they’re very happy about it. So this told me that had I just left after getting the no from the first gentleman, I would’ve though, “Okay. Of course, he was going to say no. This is a strange request. Maybe I didn’t look that trustworthy” or whatever. “Maybe he didn’t like my . . .” I don’t know.

I could start making up stories that are just totally not true, but this turned out to be not me. Because I asked why, I found out it’s not because me. It’s because what I offered did not fit him and did not fit his needs. And he trusted me enough to even give me a referral, using sales terms, and asked me to go across the street.

So ask them why after. This is not the end-all, be-all, if ask why you will always find the reason. Sometimes people just want to avoid confrontation, they will make up reasons, but a lot of times some people would actually give you a real reason why they would give you rejections. So sometimes if you attack the why, meaning if you solved that why you can actually turn a no into a yes.

Andrew: That’s one of my favorite stories of yours. You really did, just by asking that one question, understand why it really didn’t make sense for him and then get him to help you to turn that no into a yes somewhere else. All right. On to the big board now, let’s go to the first point, which is “Understand What Rejection Is.” And you didn’t. You had this idea for skates or what was it?

Jia: Yeah. So if you’ve heard of these things called Heelys, basically it’s a shoe . . .

Andrew: Yeah. It’s like this.

Jia: Yup. There you go. It’s a shoe with . . .Well, you see it; it’s with a wheel.

Andrew: With a wheel on the bottom of it. I see kids running around with it all the time. It’s not so much running around. They put two feet together and they start sliding around.

Jia: Yeah. So back in 1997, I had this idea, the exact same idea. I mean, it’s a little bit different, but it is almost exactly the same idea. And I was ready. I wanted to be an inventor. I was ready to apply for a patent for this idea. And then at the time I was a 16-year-old kid. I didn’t know a lot about America or patent or anything, so I relied on my family for advice.

So I talked to my uncle, who I admired the heck out of him, he means the world to me even today. But when I asked him, “I have this idea, look, I got this imprint.” I made a drawing and I went to a school library to find out what a blueprint should look like.

I used that blueprint to make my own blueprint of this shoe, so I send it to him and yet he told me, “That’s not a good idea. Why would you spend time on this? Instead, you should spend some time on improving your English.” That’s a great advice, I guess. English is always good after moving to this country from China.

I was so dejected because I respect my uncle so much and he means so much to me. A rejection from him, to me, it was like the truth. That means I shouldn’t do this. But then just a couple of years later, maybe just one year, this Heely thing caught on. I think his name is Adam. I forgot his name, but he applied for the patent and he made Heely almost a billion-dollar company at its height.

So every day, a lot of times I see kids skating around in the malls and just on the street and I think about what could have been. But the thing is it has taught me one thing. We all have this type of experience where we have what we thought was a great idea or a proposal even at work. As soon as we hear someone we respect or we trust say no to us, we just want to give up. Because “no” is the most painful word in the English vocabulary and we just don’t want it. We just want to move away from it. So when we get rejected, a lot of times we just give up.

So what I learned later on is no matter how much I respect my uncle, no matter how smart he is, what he’s saying is not the universal truth. It’s far from it. In fact, if I asked 10 different people, I might get 10 different answers from that. So rejection is really nothing more than people’s opinion. Opinion is based on his background, his education, maybe the mood or her-I’m using the word he-but maybe it’s her mood of the day. Maybe it’s her upbringing, her prejudices. There are a lot of things that would lead up to a rejection, so if we treat rejection as some sort of a universal indictment of our idea or who we are then that’s where you get in trouble. But rejection is nothing more than people’s opinion.

Andrew: Good point. And it’s hard to sometimes accept that, especially when there’s someone who we admire. When you talked about your uncle, I think, “Well, who cares about your uncle? I don’t know him. He’s not the person that’s significant in my life.” But when I think about it on my own life who would say no to me that would suddenly make me rethink everything, and there are a couple of people, frankly.

Jia: Yup.

Andrew: Right?

Jia: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Andrew: All right. Back to the big board. The next one we should talk about is “Negotiate for Something Less.” Negotiate. Let’s bring up your site again.

Jia: I like how you’re doing this, Andrew.

Andrew: This is one of the other people who you talked to. You’re standing outside of the Westin Hotel.

Jia: Yep.

Andrew: Right.

Jia: I’ve researched, and supposedly this is the best hotel in Austin.

Andrew: Okay.

Jia: I think Austin can do better, frankly, but anyway.

Andrew: So you’re walking over, what were you asking her here? She’s smiling. She seems okay with it. What are you asking?

Jia: I asked her for a free night.

Andrew: A free night at the hotel?

Jia: Yep.

Andrew: Okay.

Jia: But she’s really good at customer service. She’s smiling. She’s friendly and so I asked her, “Can I sleep there for free?” And she said, “No. I can’t do that.” Then I asked her could I have a trip up to your hotel room because I heard they have this thing called “heavenly bed.” Supposedly this is really good, that it is good for your spine and I want to try it. So I said, “Can I go there? I’m just going to take nap.” And she let me do it. So this is the principle . . .

Andrew: Wait. I don’t want to overlook what you just said there. You said, “Can I go there, not to see it. Can I go there and take a nap?”

Jia: Yeah. Can I try it? Can I try . . .

Andrew: Can I try it?

Jia: Can I try your bed?

Andrew: Okay.

Jia: Like, not her bed but her hotel’s bed.

Andrew: Her hotel’s bed, right?

Jia: That would be a different request.

Andrew: Okay. So you go in and she’s letting you up here.

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: We can actually . . .

Jia: She sent this person to accompany me up to the hotel, and there is the heavenly bed. And I just fall down.

Andrew: And you get to lie there and you took a real nap in there?

Jia: Quick one, because that person is waiting for me, so I was there. Look, I was happy with some visuals about the best things I could dream of, including Costco. I love Costco.

Andrew: I see. Yes.

Jia: So Krispy Kreme, that’s what happened. So I took a quick test drive of the hotel room and came back. So this taught that sometimes if I come in and asked her, “Hey, can I go to your hotel room and just have a free ride on the bed and try what happens,” I’m not sure if she will say yes. I mean, I don’t have the evidence to say she would say no. But it’s pretty far-fetched. But I asked to have a free night there and after she said no, I retreated to a lesser ground, saying, “Can I just do this?” It’s really hard to say no to a person twice on two different attempts. In fact, was I doing was I was negotiating. I was willing to step back, and people usually, when they see you are stepping back, they usually return in kind. So this is what I demonstrated.

By the way, this is not my idea. I didn’t invent this idea. This is based on an idea from the book, called Influence, where they’ve done research on this. So I actually just experimented on this idea. It turned out to be, again, and again in my 100 days of rejection, I used this idea to get something lesser of what I originally requested. But sometimes even it amazes me.

Andrew: I see. And that’s part of the fun of also asking you something so outrageous that if they say yes, then you’ve got an outrageous experience. You’re like sitting in a police car and some of the other things.

Jia: Yep.

Andrew: Weren’t you in a helicopter also?

Jia: Yeah. And I was actually not in a helicopter. I was in a gyroplane, and this is toward the end of my 100 Days. I went to an airfield in Austin, in Pflugerville. It’s a small town near Austin. And I said, “What are some of the things that no way people will say yes? Just no way.” How about I fly a plane? I don’t know how to fly a plane. I have no license or, frankly, I don’t have the courage to fly a plane even right now. But I went, I saw this pilot-looking guy and I asked him, “Hey, can I fly your plane?” And not only did he say yes, he was actually really happy I asked.

It turned out he owned this thing called a gyroplane. It’s a small plane, almost like a miniature version of a helicopter or like a bigger version of a motorcycle in the air. And he seen an enthusiast and he loved to show this to people. So when he saw me come, he’s like, “Sure, I’ll take you up there.” It was pretty amazing because when I tell people, “Flying is not like . . .” When I think about flying, I don’t think about flying like that. I thought about going to the big commercial airplane and really there are a lot of bad experiences that come with it. But that flight, you can see in this video, was a . . . here you go.

Andrew: There it is.

Jia: Yeah. So that’s my buddy and I took him there. Actually, this is a crew of people who are doing a documentary. They felt what I was doing is cool, so they came down from LA to Austin to do this. And so they said, “We want rejections.” So I said, “Let’s go to ask to fly a plane and there’s no way they would get a yes.” But we did. We did get a yes. So he flew first then I did it and it was pretty amazing.

Andrew: And even if then you don’t get that amazing experience, you can always ask for a second thing that’s a little bit easier, more palatable and you’re saying people are more likely to say yes to that.

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: Because they don’t like to say no twice.

Jia: No. No. We often think people are cold. They would just flat-out reject our request and so we often don’t ask. And sometimes when we ask, we don’t hear the no. We either just retreat and run away or we could get angry sometimes. We’re like, “How could they say no to us?”

Well, sometimes we’re tied to getting a yes. But what I’m telling people is to have a second ask ready. Like for example, if he will say no to me in this case, we would say, “Can I get in the plane and you can take a picture of me? Or maybe we all get on the plane? Maybe, you can just set up a lesson for me I can do that? If I have something lesser to ask, the person is more likely to say yes to the second request.

Andrew: All right. Good point. Let’s go back to the big board. And the next thing we should talk about is to use rejection as a motivating tool.”

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: Let me bring this guy up here. Do you recognize his photo and where he is?

Jia: This is Michael Jordan.

Andrew: He’s at the Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony.

Jia: Yep. He made the ceremony speech that’s unlike anyone else doing it. I mean, when we think about acceptance of an award, we talk about, “Hey, thank you, my wife; thank you, my director; thank you for my coach and thank all of these people helping me. You’ve inspired me.” We would maybe go into some personal stories, someone telling us an inspiring story that made us who we are.

No. This guy, he was the best basketball player in history. And he got on there, and all he talked about was rejection. He got rejected in high school and he was not a starter on his varsity team. And when he went to University of North Carolina, Coach Dean Smith wouldn’t make him a started, wouldn’t talk about him in a media interview. When he got to the NBA, he was shunned by fellow NBA stars Magic Johnson and Larry Bird because they were more established stars and they thought this youngster hasn’t made it yet. And he talked about how a GM was saying players are not the reason for success, actually, managements are. He started having this laundry list of all the rejections he received in his career.

And then he talked about how each one of them was like wood added to this fire, to make him this excellent player. Because every day he needs to find that fuel, and rejection was that fuel. And this is amazing. No one has achieved the height of excellence that he has, and he did that not by using inspiration, but using rejection as motivation. He constantly try to prove other people wrong and he’s often said in the arena you would hear thousands of people cheering and clapping, but he’s looking for that one person who boos him. And he will use that as motivation to perform to a level that no one could.

Andrew: Did you do that? Did you use one person’s reject . . . What did you use as rejection motivation?

Jia: Yeah. So it was the investor’s rejection, and I would be lying to say that rejection did not pull some . . . it did not kill me and when I came back I’m saying, “I’m going to just blow this up. I’m going to. . .”

Andrew: And when you said it to yourself, did you say, “I’m going to show him,” or, “I’m going to make it”? What was going on in your head?

Jia: Yeah. I’m going to show the world.

Andrew: “I’m going to show the world,” not him. “I’m going to show the world that his assessment of me is wrong.”

Jia: I’m going to show the world that I can turn rejection into something great. Because, frankly, people like him or investors like him reject people on a daily basis. Most people would just go away or maybe get angry or sulk or maybe find on the next investor. I’m like, “I’m going to turn this rejection thing into my own tool to make me a better leader, to make me a better entrepreneur.” And later on when this thing blew up I’m like, “You know what, this is my life now. I’m going to turn this into my life mission.” So small part of that was basically the motivation of this rejection.

Andrew: All right. And let’s go back to the big board. Let’s talk about “Giving A Reason when Asking for Something.” Let me show it here, go back to your site. This is you walking around New York City. What are you trying to get people to do here?

Jia: I’m getting people to take pictures with me randomly. They couldn’t believe it. I mean, they were almost always they’re like, “What are you trying to do? What? Are you trying to have me take a picture of you? No problem.” But I would tell them, “I’m trying to take a picture with you,” they’re all perplexed but they all said yes. And part of the reason is I told almost all of them that because I feel this is New York and people don’t do this. People just want to get other people off their picture frame and instead they want to take pictures of those buildings and landmarks. But, you know what, I just want to take pictures with people. And they all said yes, which was really surprising. Not one person said no.

Andrew: By the way, let’s have a look at this one for a second because there’s something that just stands out for me. This is him. You’re talking to him, right? You’re explaining to him, you’re saying what you just told me that . . . here we go. Saying, “My reason for doing is everyone in New York wants to take pictures of buildings. I want to take pictures of people in New York.” I get that and that’s the reason that he says yes, that’s our point here, but the thing that stands out to me is you’re still wearing your earphones the whole time. What are you listening to?

Jia: Yep. This is where I’m filming with that iPhone on my neck. You see that little pouch that . . .

Andrew: And so why are you listening to them too?

Jia: No. I used that as a microphone, so I can talk.

Andrew: So the earphones that are in your ears are actually aren’t important. It’s the microphone that’s dangling from them that’s important.

Jia: Yes.

Andrew: That’s how you’re recording your audio.

Jia: Yes.

Andrew: And by wearing it around your neck, you can shoot video of the people you’re talking to.

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: I see. And that way it just looks like you’re walking over them and they don’t see that they’re being even videoed necessarily.

Jia: No. Maybe once or twice some people said, “Are you recording?” I would tell them, “Yes. It’s my blog.” So I never lie about recording.

Andrew: Okay. So the big point here, the reason that so many people say yes is because you give them a reason for doing it. So it’s not, “Hey, can I take a picture of you,” which seems a little bit creepy, but, “Can I take a picture of you? Most people who come to New York would take pictures of buildings. I want to take pictures of locals. Will you do it?”

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: And that’s what gets it to it. All right.

Jia: Yeah. You heard this landmark study called Xerox Machine, right? This is back in the 7’0s when Harvard professors did this. Basically, it turned out that if you give people reason to ask to cut in line of people who are getting ready to make copies at a Xerox machine, but if you would give them a reason, and sometimes it could be a really bad reason to, but the fact that you’re giving them a reason, the chance of people letting you to cut in front of them goes way up.

Andrew: Okay. Yeah. I think that was an experiment where they said, “Can I please cut in front of you because I’m in a rush,” or something like that?

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: People would say yes, but if they just said, “Can I please get in front of you because I need to get in front of you,” or something nonsensical like that, people still were more likely to say yes than if they were asked without a reason. So just a reason, even if it’s a flimsy one, is enough to get people to agree.

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: All right.

Jia: I don’t make up reasons. I don’t lie about, “Hey, can I take a picture of you because it’s my mother’s dying wish.” That would just defeat the purpose. That would be too easy and that would make me feel like a secondhand car salesman. I always give a real reason, and in that case, that was a real reason why I was doing it.

Andrew: So you were going in to experiment with rejection and putting yourself out there in situations where people would reject you. But it sounds like you are also doing a lot of persuasion research too, trying to . . .

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: You were? How methodical were you about that? Did you go home and say, “How do I get someone to say yes?” or, “What’s the way to get them to be more likely to say yes?”

Jia: Yeah. So it’s a combination of kind of just a spur of the moment thinking but also some planning as well. Because I’ve read a lot of business books, and I listen to a lot of podcasts and interviews about how other people do things. I just want to experiment with them in my own case. So these experiments started with me looking for no. There’s nothing. Just give me a no and let me move on.

But then I had these moments where people started saying yes to me. That’s where the light bulb kind of turned on because I felt, “Wow, maybe I shouldn’t expect a yes or shouldn’t expect no. Well, I should just ask and learn and experiment and turn these 100 days of rejection into a learning, experimenting or proof playground for me.” So that’s you started seeing these lessons coming out just because I became very intentional toward the middle and end of these whole experiments.

Andrew: All right. On to the big board, next big one is to collaborate. Don’t be contentious. Don’t argue. You actually had an experience. I don’t know which one of the videos on your site it is, and hopefully we can see it here. But you walked in into a music studio with someone else.

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: What happened there?

Jia: This is not actually in the100 days video, but because it was the same documentary crew you saw earlier. They made into their own video. They basically went to Austin. They are saying it’s the capital of live music, right? So are there are a lot of independent music studios where they would let you rent and play music and perform. So we went to this studio and the idea is we want to hear the receptionist play his favorite instrument.

Andrew: The receptionist? The person who’s sitting at the door?

Jia: Yes. The person sitting at the door.

Andrew: Even the receptionist to play an instrument for you?

Jia: Yeah. Yeah. We don’t know if he could play or not. So the first person, it was actually documentary crewmember. He wants to try this. He just came in and said, “I want you to play this.” And they were like, “Sorry. I can’t do this because I’m doing my job. I can’t leave here.” And then my friend, or the documentary crewmember, started arguing with him saying, “No. It is part of the job. I’m a customer. I could be a customer. That is your job to actually . . .” You know, this started to become contentious. Their voices were raised and I’m like, “Wow, I have to stop this because it’s not fun. This is not how you do things.”

So I stopped him and I said, “Hey, what we really want is just to hear you play music. Is there any way you can help us to make this happen?” So I turned that “if” question into, “How can you make this happen,” into a “how” question. And he’s the customer service person, right? Now, he started taking off his hat of argument and put on this hat of customer service and he was like, “Okay. Let’s do this. I’m going to ask my coworkers to be here, to man the booth and we’ll have a free drum room. I’m going play my favorite drum for you.” And then the documentary crewmembers, their jaws just dropped.

They were like, “How is that possible? How is that we cannot get this done and you can just do it? What are you doing?” At that moment, that’s also a moment where I’m like, “Wow, I’m actually getting really good at this, that the people who haven’t practiced this don’t know how to talk to strangers asking for favors,” and I could. And because I was respectful, because I collaborated with the other person, I was trying to fulfill a wish and try to do as favor instead of forcing them, telling them this is their duty and force them to argue. Because, as you know, after you start to argue and disagree on things, the chance of you getting a yes goes a way down.

Andrew: Yeah. Because now you’re reinforcing the other person that they believe the no. And the more you argue, the more they have to stand their ground. So you’re saying turn it into a collaborative experience by saying, “What we’re trying to do is . . . how do we make that happen?”

Jia: Yup. Absolutely. Instead . . .

Andrew: Okay. You’re trying to do is just hear what the studio sounds like, is there a way for us to try that?

Jia: Yeah. I have a few other examples from the 100 days. The solutions they can come up with are much better than we originally thought. I mean, we sometimes we have this god complex or maybe just we’ll have this thought that this is the way I want it done and it should be done. But we’re not the experts in many things.

Andrew: Yeah.

Jia: A lot of times, the other people can come up with solutions that are so much better. Honestly, I’m not sure but some of you are but if you are a US congressman who’s listening to this, get the rejection therapy because you guys need to know how to collaborate.

Andrew: All right. Final point on our big board is to acknowledge doubt before the other person raises it. And here’s how you did that. Let’s again go back to your site. This is, and there it is.

Jia: There you go.

Andrew: This is you at Starbucks. What’s happening here?

Jia: Yeah. So this person, he was manning the Starbucks store and asked him, “Hey, can I be a Starbucks greeter?” “What’s a Starbuck greeter?” It’s like I want to be a Walmart greeter who works at a Starbucks. Basically, you’re standing there at door and greeting customers and tell them we got a really good and it was holiday. It was the holiday season I wanted to give them holiday cheers.

The thing is, when I asked he was not sure, right? And one thing I said is, “Is that weird?” He said, “Yes. This is really weird.” And by me asking that, telling them it’s weird, I can almost feel that he was putting on the doubt look.

Look, he’s right here. His face is full of doubt. He was not sure. But because I acknowledged that what I’m asking is weird, he felt much better about it afterwards. And in many cases, when we’re trying to make a sale or trying to ask people for things or an entrepreneur request, we try to hide our weakness, right? We just try to sound as if everything was great.

But I found if sometimes if I make the other person know the weakness in my argument, like, “I’m asking for favor. You probably haven’t heard this a lot,” or, “Maybe this is a little bit weird,” you actually put them at ease because now they know you’re not crazy. Then now, they now know you are not trying to get them fired. You’re showing empathy that you’re thinking the same way they do. And don’t think those doubts will just go away on their own, just naturally on their own. When you mention them, the chance of you getting a yes goes up.

Andrew: This is you actually greeting people, right?

Jia: Yeah.

Andrew: And this is . . .

Jia: I’m greeting people, yeah.

Andrew: It’s weird because we don’t see you in your videos sometimes. It’s you showing us, from your perspective, what it looks like as you’re greeting people as they walk in the door.

Jia: Yep. By the way, whatever you do, being a greeter is not a good trajectory for your career.

Andrew: I know.

Jia: It’s boring as hell.

Andrew: But that’s a really good point, to acknowledge the weirdness. To say, “Hey, is that weird?” Even with guests, if I bring up, “Hey, this is a little bit of a tough question. Isn’t it?” or, ” Is that a weird thing for me to bring up?” it does reduce the barrier. Or, “I don’t think I asked that clearly,” and what I want to do is pretend that I asked it perfectly. But if I say, “I don’t think I asked that clearly,” it brings them onboard with me and gets them to help me out too.

Jia: Absolutely. Because we are showing a weakness or you show that you’re a human. You show that you’re not standing up there making this request from top down. You were just like collaborating and then that’s where almost automatically I want to defend you, Andrew, when you asked that question. I’m like, “You’re fine. You’re fine.” That’s actually a very powerful tool when you are making a request.

Andrew: Acknowledge the doubt that they’re feeling instead of pretending it doesn’t exist and they realize that they are human being and it makes them more likely to say yes. All right. These are a few ideas and let’s go back to the big word, yeah, we’ve gone through all of them. If people want to see more of your work, they should come to Almost everything I pulled up here was from these videos. I love when someone teaches not based on what they read in a book or what they theorized works best, but because of their experiences.

And here you’ve got a collection of 100 of your experiences on your site, on Fear Buster. So I urge people to click the 100 Days of Rejection link at the top of the page. I urge them to get the book because it’s really well done. Where is that? There it is. The book is just so well told. It’s a collection of stories. Here what I asked you to do was I said, “Please pull out specific tips that people can use, so if there’s one thing that they got from this, they will have gotten the value out of listening to this and go on use it tomorrow, if they wanted to, or today.” What you did in the book was say, “I don’t need to give you a bunch of instructions. I’m just going to tell you my story.”

And as I told you before, one of the things I love about you is the way you tell stories. I get wrapped up in the story but you also have these open loops where you say, “And then something happened. But I’ll tell you about it in a moment because this other thing is also important.” Then I say, “All right. I’m sucked into the story. But what happened to the thing that you didn’t tell us?” “Well, that comes later on.” Yeah, anyway, I don’t think I’m doing it justice but it’s kind of like watching an episode of Lost, where we just keeping seeing, “This is coming soon. Wait.” And unlike Lost, you actually deliver on it.

Jia: Wow. I mean . . .

Andrew: Anyway, I really love the book.

Jia: That’s crazy Andrew, wow. If my book can be as good as Lost then I’m set for life.

Andrew: More substantive and you actually deliver on your promises. I hate that TV show. I got sucked in to it every single episode. They’re so good at sucking me in but they’re not good at payoff. You’re good at sucking me into your stories and there’s always a payoff. So people should click the 100 Days of Rejection. Get the book here and if they want more of the kinds of tips that we talked about today, there’s a link right there at the top of your site for the rejection course. That is available at, if they want to skip to it directly, or from your site, which is So good to have you on here.

Jia: Can I make one more point?

Andrew: Yeah. I’d love it.

Jia: If you read my book or if you do Rejection Gym, one thing I want to say is you’re going to make some change in your lives. You got to have some tools that you didn’t have before, where you can increase your persuasion skills. The thing I want to say is don’t use that for bad. Because these things are kind of amoral things, like you can manipulate people. I don’t want that to happen. I had the idea as, “I want to be a better entrepreneur. I want to change the world in different ways. I want to make the world a better place.”

The last thing I would want is for you to learn these techniques and things that use it for something that’s not ethical.

Andrew: It’s funny you just said that because in my mind I was thinking, “If I go on 100 days of getting people to do stuff for me for free and see what happens. I can take plane rides. I can get free coffee. I can donuts made in special shapes.” I see. That’s what you’re saying. Look, don’t get carried away with the power of this. It’s not about doing this for evil and getting small things like a free cup of coffee or plane rides. So actually it’s not called . . . What was it called? The gyro what?

Jia: Gyroplane.

Andrew: Gyroplane. So it’s not about that, it’s about the bigger idea, which is how do you not get afraid of rejection when it comes to doing big things like creating these big companies that we’re all here to do. And if we do get rejected, how do we turn it around? Turn a no into a yes.

Jia: Yep.

Andrew: All right.

Jia: This is a means to a greater end. The person who defines the end can only be you. But this will help.

Andrew: All right. Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you all for being a part of Mixergy. We work so hard to make sure that every person who comes on here to teach teaches us something that’s directly applicable to entrepreneurs, has the experience to really back up what they’re teaching and can teach something that we can use right away, not just some time and then in the future, maybe, possibly, no. This is something that’s immediately useful and I’m so proud to have you on here. I’ve known you for a while and I’m glad that you’re now part of the Mixergy family. And thank you all.

Jia: [inaudible 00:46:53]

Andrew: Thank you. And for setting up the video the way you did. You’re easy to see on camera. And thank you all for being a part of Mixergy. Bye, everyone.


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