The one where Joe grows his business 500%
- Joe finds out there’s nothing wrong with the carpet cleaning business
- How Joe got rich giving away carpet cleaning
- How Dean and Joe discovered Gary Halbert
- Plus: Another cliff hanger ending…
Intro: I’m Dean Jackson, he’s Joe Polish, and this is the I Love Marketing Podcast.
Dean: Hey, everybody, it’s Dean Jackson.
Joe: And Joe Polish, how you doing Dean?
Dean: I’m good Joe.
Joe: You like that?
Dean: Welcome back to, I love that, that was great, right on cue just like that. Welcome back to episode number two of the I Love Marketing podcast. Its pretty exciting so far isn’t it?
Joe: Yeah absolutely, and so I you know I honestly I can’t even really remember that much about what we talked about last time because I have entrepreneurial ADD. But I think we were talking towards the end about the Jet Ski story where I met the rich guy out on the lake. And we were jet skiing, and he gave me some incredibly good wisdom about staying with the business I was in or at least learning how to make a business work. Because that’s where we were at right, is that what you recall?
Dean: That’s exactly where we were at. We had we left at a bit of a cliffhanger from last week.
Joe: So imagine like I’m a trained seal and you’re the seal trainer, how would you like me to start? I can go right into [inaudible 00:01:42] and there’s very few people in my life I give that level of authority to, but I love marketing.com you know hey we are here to serve. So you want me to just kind of go into it?
Dean: I think that would be, because last time we talked about the just kind of the earliest lessons, the earliest impacts of marketing on our lives and on our businesses. And now I think it’s a great idea to kind of pick up that story where you were sort of a struggling carpet cleaner and thinking about getting out of the business. And then you, why don’t you just kind of refresh everybody’s memory about the Jet Ski encounter. And then we’ll hear from there what you actually did with that advice.
Joe: Yeah and I was in my 20s, and like I said I mean to go back to the story kind of refresh you I went out on this lake, and I had this carpet cleaning company, I was looking for something else to get into where I could make some real money. And I explained to this rich, wealthy individual that I had a carpet cleaning company, and I wanted to go into something else. And since he did really well any recommendations he had for a business I could go into. And he asked me if other people were making money in the business I was in, and I said yes, and he said well if there’s other people making money and you’re not there’s nothing wrong with the business, there’s something wrong with you.
And of course I defended myself with how I’d gotten certified, and I was trained, and I do the technical side of the business. And he basically said well you know if you want to go into another business you’re going to spend another six months, another year, another two years learning the technical skills of another business. So you can go out and repeat the same business habits that have caused you to be a failure in the business you’re in right now. And so what you need to do young man is learn fundamental business skills and figure out how to make business work. Because once you do, you can then take those skills into any business. And so even if you hate the business you’re in if you at least know how to make profits with it there’s certain fundamental things that you need to that if you know them and you’ve learned them they apply to all different types of businesses.
So that’s when I sort of made a pact to myself that quit thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side, figure out how to make this business work. Other people were doing well, like I think I mentioned in the last podcast we did, that you know I’m young, I live in a great country, there’s lots of opportunities, there’s other people that are doing well. Figure out what the people that are doing well are doing. And that’s when I started reading, so I went back from this Jet Ski trip with the pact that I am not going to get out of the carpet cleaning business until I figure out how to make it work.
And so I didn’t know if I would ever get out of it at all, I mean even to this day I’m still in the cleaning and restoration industry I just do something different in it. So people can still stay within their same careers, industries, occupations they can do many different things with them. I mean Bill Gates is doing something much different in the computer industry than he was the first time he even conceived at Microsoft we all know that so, you can grow in many different ways.
So what I did is I came back from that trip, and I’m going to talk about something Dean, and you can pipe in and interrupt me at any time. I started on this mission to figure out what should I learn, what do I need to learn in order to make business work. Because the guy didn’t give me an answer to my biggest problem and the biggest problem was that I simply didn’t know how to generate business. What he did do is he gave me a mindset, he gave me a perspective that what are other people doing that you’re not and I started thinking about that.
So one of the first books I came across wasn’t a marketing book however it kind of set the stage for me to be sort of very open to being coachable. Because like my first introduction to marketing was a Gary Halbert Newsletter that a guy had given me and that’s what really started me on the path to marketing. But even before that happened, and I’ll talk about that today. Was I read the E-Myth by Michael Gerber, it was one of the first books I read, and I just loved that book, I loved the message behind it where you can systemize and automate a business. And what if you run your business like a franchise, what if you had to set your business up so there were 10 of them, a hundred of them, a 1000 of them you know what would you do differently.
Dean: When I first read that book that was the, I mean I can’t tell you how many people that book is the turning point for their lives. Like that was fascinating to me too because it was speaking my language, he was talking about creating a business that works when you’re not working. I loved that idea, I’m going to talk a little bit about that too, but you go ahead.
Joe: Because you know, seriously I Love Marketing for all of our listeners is all about me and Dean just one-upping each other. Because he’s of the opinion that he’s smarter than me and I, of course, I mean there’s thousands of people that would disagree with that. But I’m kidding, we both have hopefully our own areas, and Dean is just a genius. And it’s hard for me to even say did you see I had the lower my voice. We’re not even in the same room together, we’re across the country, and it’s still hard for me to say that.
So when I read the E-Myth I really one thing that really struck me was this whole idea of systemization where you can automate things. However unlike a lot of people that I think have read that book I sort of thought of it differently. I thought of if there’s any area of business that is the most important to systemize and automate it’s the one area of business that’s responsible for bringing in the money. You can automate a computer system; you can automate a filing system you can write a standard operation procedure. You know how to hire people, and I mean how to take out the trash answer the phone. I mean there’s a bunch of different division of the company, and here I have this carpet cleaning company and how do you set-up the van, how do you take the hoses out of the back of the truck for like a truck mount. There’s all these little procedural things that you can do to automate and systemize a process.
And the thing that I really thought about the most was how do I automate selling, because if I can systemize that I mean, that makes business much easier. Then you don’t have to rely on so much human effort to do it, and that’s where my mind was, but I just didn’t know how to piece it all together. It wasn’t until I had a friend give me my very first issue of the Gary Halbert Letter and I started reading it that I pieced it all together. And also little did I know that three years from that period of time Michael Gerber would actually hire me for a day of consulting to come down to the E-Myth Academy and give him marketing advice. And at the time he had told me, this was back in 1997, he had told me that the day that he had spent with me was the best day he’d ever spent with a marketing consultant talking about marketing.
Dean: Can you believe how you, you know isn’t it funny how when we’re reading these things, I mean here we are in sort of kind of local businesses, nobody knew who we were. We weren’t in the business of training yet; we were still trying to figure out our own businesses, right. And reading this book that’s so impactful and then you doing consulting with Michael Gerber, and we used to bring Michael Gerber to come and speak at, he came to speak at about two or three main events that we did in the mid-90s same thing.
So it’s kind of funny how you get to meet these people who were so impactful for us you know, including like Gary Holbert and Jay Abraham and all these guys who we were studying them. And then all of a sudden we get to because of applying all of the things that we learned from them and growing our businesses and growing our own sort of sphere of influence in the marketing world. That we get to become friends with these people and get to be peers with them, it’s an amazing journey.
Joe: Yeah, it is, and it really boils down to if people want to know the secret to it apply what it is that people are teaching you. And if you apply what it is that we are sharing with you there’s no telling how far this knowledge will take you. I mean you know one thing I’m a professional name dropper, and I know a lot of people. And what I’m known for is like just being a connector between when my top friends and clients need to know somebody they’ll ask who can do this, who could do that, how do I meet that person. I mean that’s why I do trips to Necker Island with Richard Branson now, and I just keep shooting for the moon.
I need to make a correction too because I said three years later Michael Gerber would’ve hired me, actually it was three years after I started my marketing business that he hired me. But actually at that time when I first read the E-Myth that was in 1992. And so it was really five years later from the time I first read his book to where you know I’d actually met him in person and hired him and all that he hired me, hired him. I actually did sign up for his E-Myth program in the very beginning, and that’s, because I just I loved the whole concept. However, knowing how to systemize and automate something has absolutely nothing to do with making money if you don’t focus on marketing.
And so the marketing is what made all the difference in the world. I mean I remember I met Dan Kennedy very early on too, Dan wrote a lot of my sales letters and a lot of the copy and would speak at all of my conferences the first nine years of my info marketing business. When I went from taking this small carpet cleaning company and in a matter of six months after being introduced to Gary Holbert style marketing, I took this cleaning company that was doing 2100 a month in revenue, and I built it to over 12,000 a month with a single van in a six-month period. And I had in that period of time quickly developed all these cool automated systems before the Internet in order to generate business, and I’d like to talk about a few of those things.
It’s in the process of doing that I turned this little carpet cleaning company around, it was still small, and I had dreams and aspirations of building the largest carpet cleaning company in Phoenix. I mean that’s what I was thinking about right when I first got introduced to marketing, how can I build this big giant company and we’ll be everywhere, and I now know how to generate business and get jobs, how big can I make this thing grow.
And where my passion was though was every day, every night I would just want to read marketing, I would want to study marketing. I would want to read all these books that Gary Halbert was recommending like the Robert Collier letter book and Scientific Advertising and tested advertising methods by John Caples. And all kinds of Ogilvy on Advertising all these classic marketing books and that’s where my passion was. And I was studying all this stuff on direct mail and direct marketing. And most people that were teaching it at least teaching anything that was worth teaching, not the crap that’s taught in most universities about marketing. I actually most of them were information publishers, and so that’s how I fell into well you know instead of building this big carpet cleaning company maybe I’m better served to focus on where my passion is at. Which is really this one niche within the cleaning industry which is like job getting, how to generate jobs. Because I’d love to make a phone ring I mean it amazed me that you can change the message on an ad or a flyer or in the Yellow Pages and it would sometimes 10 times the response. Or you could take some marketing piece, some flyers, some [inaudible 00:14:40] type ad that wasn’t working at all and you just tweak the message and all of a sudden you’d be getting a ton of calls, and you know that sort of stuff so. You’re saying huh a lot, so I want you to say something smart.
Dean: I’m fascinated because I’m listening to the evolution here of it you know. And so I’m interested to hear what the very first application of this learning of direct response into your carpet cleaning business. So you started discovering this, what were you doing to get business before you started applying direct response. What kind of marketing were you doing and what kind of strategies were you using?
Joe: I was actually spending like I mentioned in the very first podcast that we did I was living off credit cards. So I was running ads in the Yellow Pages, but they were like a blown up version of my business card, name, rank and serial number. And that’s what a lot of websites are today; they’re just the electronic version of a blown up version of someone’s business card. They got their logo; they got their name, it’s just image advertising.
And I was putting out flyers, two rooms and a hallway for $39.95. And I remember I used to have this little line that said we will beat any advertised price and I actually used to believe that people would clean carpets for 6.95 a room because they would run those bait and switch ads too. And in big cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix and Chicago and Houston and you name it any big city in the US there’s bait and switch. And bait and switch doesn’t just apply to carpet cleaning it’s in all industries, dentists even do it. I mean a lot of every type of industry where they advertise a ridiculously low price in the hopes of getting a foot in the door and then they rely on upselling. And there’s nothing wrong with upselling; there’s nothing wrong with wanting people to buy more, it’s how you go about doing it that’s the difference. People love to be sold they hate to be pressured. So it’s one of the ways of using pressure selling and that sort of stuff.
And so I was advertising just really low prices, I was handing out business cards, and I was doing a lot of manual marketing. If you don’t have what we now call elf marketing, easy lucrative and fun automated marketing strategies, you know the same stuff that you have successfully used for many many years Dean that you’ve taught thousands of people how to use that sort of stuff, which we’ll get to. I was doing a lot of manual marketing where you literally call people; you knock on doors. I’d go to restaurants, and I’d hand out business cards I was getting business by going to apartment complexes. And that just sucked because I’m allergic to cats, I failed to mention that, and I would get these apartment units in the middle of summer you know cleaning carpets is hard enough work as it is. But in the middle of summer in Phoenix where you can go into an apartment that doesn’t have any electricity, and you have to carry a portable steam cleaner up three flights of stairs. And you have an extension cord plugged in electricity somewhere downstairs, and you go into a unit that there’s no AC and you’re doing hard manual labor and your sweat, it’s like working in the sauna. And then when you’re allergic to cats and your wheezing because you can’t breathe I mean that just sucks. And there were days where I’d spend all day doing that but I was committed, I wanted to figure out, I didn’t want to work for anyone. I mean I was an entrepreneur dammit I don’t care that I’m going bankrupt here I’m going to figure out how to make this crap work.
You know Dan Sullivan our friend the founder of Strategic Coach there’s two things you need when you first start a business. You need ignorance, and you need courage, and I had a lot of both I guess. So I just didn’t know what I didn’t know and so not knowing what I didn’t know kind of kept me in it. It’s still swinging at the bat, but also it also kept me stuck because I had no idea that my biggest problem with generating business was knowing how to craft a compelling message and make sure that the right people see it so that they can respond.
Because marketing’s basically what you say and who you say it to. And so what I was saying was lousy and who I was saying it too was lousy, I was going after low-price apartment complexes where the management would take 30 60 90 days sometimes to even pay you. But that’s how I survived in the beginning, I mean I just got a few apartment complexes that would throw me a few units here and there when people were moving out having to get them ready, and that’s what I did.
So before this marketing stuff showed up, I’d get occasionally a few residential homes, but honest to God I would literally walk through neighborhoods and put really kind of lame price based flyers on their doors. And if there was anyone there I would talk to them, and I would literally try to sell them face-to-face if I could. Because when you’re starving you need to eat, so me being hungry is a good motivator to get off your ass and do something. So that’s kind of what I did, and so that was where I was at, and I don’t want to bore everyone with all the miserable details of it. I mean I think most people have either have their own version of that or might be in the middle of it.
And so what did I do first, well I had this guy give me a copy of the Gary Halbert Newsletter, and I read the first, and I remember specifically it was the issue about the Halbert Index. And what we’ll do at some point is we’ll post this on Ilovemarketing.com and then let people read the very first issue that I read the got me into the marketing. It was in 1992, and he talked about the Halbert Index the things that you need to be successful in business. And basically in the issue, it talked about smart people, well I first said to the guy that gave me this newsletter I said where do you get this. And he said well I subscribe to it I said how does it cost, and he said $197 a year, and you know back in 1992 that was a good chunk of money. And I said well what do you get for it, and he goes well you get that newsletter every month. I go it’s this eight-page newsletter he’s like yeah, that’s all you get he’s like. I swear to God Dean I did this I got a calculator, I said that’s $16.25 an issue I mean you can get a book for less than that. And he said Joe you’re the last person I thought that would say something like that continue to read it.
So that was about four pages into the newsletter that I made this comment when I stopped reading it. And I continued on and two pages later about six pages into that issue it said something like smart people are the ones that don’t value information by the pound, they value it by the quality, that a real player. And he talked about players with money in that newsletter, that a real player would rather pay $1000 for I think 10 pages of valuable information, than $10 for 300 pages of fluff.
And so what I first got was I got a marketing mindset that the value of something is based on what you get out of it. And the whole newsletter was about just real players with money, and what do players with money invest in, what do they spend their money on. They spend their money on speed; they spend their money on things that will save their time, that will allow them to do things differently. And what do the smartest people subscribe to, they subscribe to educational materials. They go to seminars, they subscribe to newsletters, and that’s what kind of hooked me.
And so I signed up for $197 for this newsletter, and one of this bonus came with it which was Gary Halbert’s book How To Make Maximum Money In Minimum Time. And that was one of my very, to this day one of my favorite marketing books and all it was was a compilation of some of his past issues of his newsletter.
Dean: Yeah, I got it, we’ve talked a little bit about this, but it’s amazing to like see like step for step the past early on how you this is before we even knew each other we were on identical paths so far.
Joe: Yeah exactly in a very close timeframe too, I mean right around give or take a year or two where we were both right around there. And I think you might’ve even started it, when did you first get introduced to marketing?
Dean: Right around that same time, so 1991, 1992 right around there, that was I mean to direct response marketing. I always have been interested in advertising and all that kind of stuff, but I would say that my real education really started with The E-Myth. That was the big breakthrough book, and then it started with an introduction to Jay Abraham. And from there Gary Halbert ran ads in Success magazine, like I subscribed to the Gary Halbert Newsletter very early on, I don’t remember whether it was 1991 or 1992 somewhere in there. But he would run ads in Success magazine that were like free report reveals, 14 ways to I forget what the actual headline was, but he listed them and they were like how to get the name address and telephone number of everyone in your city that’s likely to be your customer. All these things like point by point which, were basically the chapters of the book.
And so you call in, and you order, you just leave your name and your mailing address, and this is he’s using free recorded messages. And he mailed you a letter that told you how to get the [inaudible 00:25:20]. You know it was funny because my initial reaction to it was that it felt a little bait and switch at the very beginning because it was saying free book reveals how you know all these things. And you call this phone number and leave your address, and then you get a letter with, it was a dollar bill letter, that he mailed and I was like what is going on here getting money in the mail. And the letter went on to tell you how you can get the free book when you subscribe to his newsletter. And so it was I thought the free book was coming I thought that’s what I was ordering, but I was subscribed to the newsletter anyway, and I got the book. And it was just it was wonderful, that whole world then became an obsession for me.
Joe: And you know Gary was I think one of the very, first off Gary Halbert was a tormented you know demonized person in so many ways, he was also a funny irreverent just brilliant marketing genius I mean truly. Gary would burn bridges with some people, because he became a really close friend of mine, and I mean I’m still very good friends with his sons. And a lot of stuff we have where we’re going to be putting out a lot, already have a lot of Gary Halbert materials, I’ve got the XXX Halbert consultation I did with him. Which is I recorded back in 97 when I was doing a lot of work, right when I first started a lot of work with Bill Phillips when he had the company EAS and writing the book Body for Life at the time and all that sort of stuff. And Gary was very involved in helping Bill with at least Bill learned a ton of stuff about marketing. Gary Halbert gave Dan Kennedy his first copywriting job for 500 bucks, and he taught and swore as how to write copy.
Dean: That’s amazing isn’t it the impact.
Joe: Yeah totally so the whole impact of it and Gary was a character, but he really knew how to explain the importance of marketing using copy. And what I never realized was the value of words, one thing that I would always say and I still do to this day, the difference a one dollar bill and a hundred dollar bill is the message on the paper. And even when Gary would send a dollar bill at the top of the letter you know that was a very powerful headline. Even without using words you know if someone mails you something and there’s money attached to the top of it, it doesn’t matter if it’s a penny or a dollar or $10 or $100 bills or whatever, it’s pretty darn impactful. He would always say you know in order to, the people of America sort their mail out over a wastebasket, and that’s going to go into two piles. Either the A pile which is everything that is personal or appears personal, or the B pile which is everything that is junk or looks like junk. And he said that if you want people to respond to your offer for one you better make sure it gets delivered open and read.
And one of the ways of making sure it gets delivered is use what’s going to be the highest likelihood of deliverability. Send it either FedEx, send it through some sort of priority mail or overnight mailing or people have to sign for it or use a first-class stamp. Don’t use bulk mail, don’t make it look like, don’t put teaser copy on the outside that would say something like how to save 50% off your subscription to time magazine, it immediately yells out that’s a sales pitch. You want it to look like a personal letter that you know Aunt Minnie was sending because if it gets open and then boom, then you’ve got to capture their attention once they open it. And that’s what he would use dollar bill letters, headlines, very powerful copy.
So even the way he sold to me and got me hooked into it had a lot to do with me understanding how it worked even before I started applying it. Because you asked me what are some of the first things that I did, and I’ll tell you a couple of the things. One of the very first things I did was I learned the whole concept of education-based marketing. And if someone really wants to understand marketing and wants to read what every great copywriter will always consider just a fantastic one of the best marketing books ever read Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins. I mean it was written in the early 1900s, but you know that’s a great primer for what I’m going to talk about and you’ve been teaching this for many many years, Dean.
Basically, I got the whole concept of copy educate people about what it is you’re doing so that you’re not they’re not making the decision totally based on price. So I’d hire a copywriter a low-level copywriter paid him $1800 just based on conceptually what I had in mind, from what I what I learned from Gary Halbert’s newsletter you got to have a really good sales letter. So it’s like okay, so I started writing some sales letters, changed the offers and things on my business card. I put a free recorded message, then actually I got a red stamp at the time that said warning don’t call any carpet cleaner till you listen to this free recorded message, call anytime 24 hours a day. And I would stamp that on the back of my current boring business card that said the name of my company, the phone number, residential and commercial, I mean it said basically nothing. So I used a free recorded message, that was one of the first things that I did on a business card.
But I hired this copywriter to talk to me; it took about a month to actually get this done. He was asking me questions about all of the things that people didn’t know about carpet cleaning, but they didn’t know they didn’t know these things. And so it doesn’t sound confusing it’s all of the things that your prospects don’t know that they don’t know. So I came up with this whole thing, and I’m doing all this off memory because I’ve done this a lot, but I had this consumer awareness guide to carpet cleaning. It was a half, if you imagine 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper folded over and it’s laid out. And word processing is not like it is today, I mean you could do this stuff online, you can have videos. You can do all kinds of crazy stuff.
But basically it said read this guide, and you’ll discover six costly misconceptions about carpet cleaning, eight mistakes to avoid when choosing a carpet cleaner, seven questions to ask a carpet cleaner before you invite him into your home. Crawling critters and crud a guide to the slime, grime and livestock that’s seeping, creeping and galloping into your carpet. How to avoid four carpet cleaning rip-offs, the difference between value and price, how to get your carpet cleaner to 100% guarantee their work and much much more, open this guide to learn. You know, and they’d open it up, and it would start out saying dear homeowner choosing a carpet cleaner isn’t easy, why, because you’re bombarded with unqualified technicians to near worthless methods to bait and switch companies, how do you ever find a qualified, competent carpet cleaner? You start by reading this guide, in this guide you’ll learn, and then it reiterated what it said on the cover. And we wrote this guide to help you make an informed, intelligent decision.
And you know and that’s the key because you know people don’t want to make an uninformed, stupid decision, they want to make an informed, intelligent decision. And so I basically taught them in this guide everything they needed to know to choose a carpet cleaner. And the funny thing was is it wasn’t totally biased towards my company, I mean if they never hired me the consumer would learn a tremendous amount of valuable things that they would need to know, and they would simply know how to hire someone. And that was like a contrarian way where people don’t want to give up their trade secrets or don’t want to explain how they do things. Or you know God forbid they would actually help someone in their advertising actually not only why they should hire this company but how to actually hire that sort of service. Like how do you buy a DVD player, how do you buy a television, how do you buy a computer, how do you buy car. I mean they’re all like price, price, price, buy from us, and even to this day there’s a tremendous amount of education-based marketing that’s lacking in every industry.
So not that the information isn’t out there, I mean with things like Google now we have all kinds of great ways that we can do research and people that don’t understand good marketing today are more commoditized than ever. I mean but they were still very commoditized back then because everybody chose a carpet cleaner based on price, and why do people you know say how much you charge or something. Well, void of any other criteria to make a buying decision people always default to price. So before I learned this, my main buying premise was I’ll give you a good deal, but after I created this consumer awareness guide, I then paid the copyright another $250 to take the consumer guide and turn it into a 24 hour free recorded message script.
And so then here’s what happened, I got magnetic signs that said warning don’t call any carpet cleaner until you listen to this 24 hour free recorded message and I slapped that on the side of my van. So when I was driving around people could get the phone number. I put it on my business card; I put it on all my flyers, I ran a phonebook ad that said that. And I also came up with another I needed an irresistible offer. So the irresistible offer I came up with was a free room of carpet cleaning up to 200 ft.² and a carpet audit.
And I came up with this process that not only included the offer which was a free room of carpet cleaning, but it also included the carpet audit. And the carpet audit was a system of evaluating the condition of someone’s carpet in their home so that when I went in there, I was not doing what everyone else was doing which was giving them an estimate, everyone was like we’ll give free estimates. Like well okay free estimate what’s that mean, free estimate means free sales pitch. And so no one wants a free sales pitch, I mean, of course, it’s going to be a free estimate I mean how many people pay for estimates. So I wanted to do something valuable, so could you imagine you know let’s go to the auto mechanic and let’s pay for an estimate. I mean some industries actually do of course depending on what it is, but you need to call it something different. What you call something is critical, that changes the whole perspective in perceived value.
Most business owners you talk to even lousy ones actually think they’re valuable. A funny thing though I’ll give you like the funniest reframe that you’ll ever hear, you know the café by my office where I go every morning. The girl there Christy so she’s been making these cookies that are like with oatmeal and all good stuff in the cookies. But she reframed it, she puts a basket of them out in the morning with a sign that says breakfast cookies, and people gobble them up, I mean it’s just the funniest thing to call them breakfast cookies. But what seriously how important is that little example you know it’s just like yeah people [inaudible 00:37:18] would always talk about you know the famous line that all human beings are secretly wanting to be led, I mean absolutely. People don’t want to think, I mean look around the world people only do what they want to do.
Dean: But they want an excuse, like it’s okay to have a cookie for breakfast because these are breakfast cookies.
Joe: Okay, so I started using all this education-based marketing stuff and all of a sudden I no longer got phone calls that said how much do you charge if I did get a call like that I’d say you know Mr. And Mrs. Jones let me if you would like and this is before the Internet. See Dean this is so much easier to do today because now all you need is someone’s email now and you don’t even need to talk to them, I mean they can opt into your website, and you can just automatically send them your free report or your educational video. I mean today we now have carpet cleaners all over the world that use consumer awareness DVD, they have it uploaded on their iPads.
You know we have links that they put on the websites that give them an educational video on how to choose a carpet cleaner and now crated ethicalservices.com which I first created in 1999 when I went on ABC’s 20/20 and that show was viewed by 20 million people in the US and I was you know dressed up. I had long hair and a ponytail hidden behind the little hat that said Pope John Paul 2 comes to St Louis because that was the only hat that we could find I think at like Kmart early in the morning before we did the sting operation with 20/20. And I created this, so now my consumer awareness guide has been read and viewed by just you know hundreds of thousands of people.
And basically back in 1992 when I first started using direct response I had a little booklet, and I had a free recorded message. And so people that would call up I’d say if you’d like I’ll send you a consumer awareness guide and it will teach you everything you need to know on how to choose a carpet cleaner. Or if you want to write this phone number down go ahead and listen to this free recorded messages and it will teach you everything you need to know. And if you would like to do business with me after you’ve listened to that go ahead and call me back, and if not it will at least tell you what you need to know.
And by taking that sort of approach that is in a lot of ways it was kind of like not begging for business, it was proper positioning. And then people they would call that free recorded message, and they would call me back and say I want to do business with you. And the phone calls were not like how much do you charge; they were when can you come out. And when I added the free room of carpet cleaning and a carpet audit people would call up to schedule because I would have copy, I didn’t just say free room of carpet cleaning and a carpet audit because no one even knows what that means. So I have sales letters that would accompany this, and basically it would be like, we’ll come out to your home, we’ll give you a free room of carpet cleaning up to 200 ft.² there’s no cost or obligation of any kind and we’re also going to give you a 15 minute carpet audit. We’re going to evaluate the condition of your carpet, let you know what recommendations you’re going to need in order to maintain your carpet in the best state possible. And then we’d go on and on, and when I’d go out to the home, I actually had a form. It was going back to the E-Myth it was an automated process where what’s their name, how many adults, how many pets, how many children in the home. Does the vacuum use environmental filtration or what stains or spots, what are the areas of concern, does anyone in the home smoke, is the carpet mattered. And all of these things where I would be able to keep track of the condition of their carpets.
And then the real simple things that most people really should find out about them, but most people really don’t think to put it to an automated system was like how often do you clean your carpets. If the person put every five years, then this is a person that really neglects their home. But if they put every six months, every year you’re like Goldmine you know this is a person that really cares about the condition of their carpet, have you ever purchased carpet protection. Then you never put yourself in the position of having to upsell somebody something if they’ve already acquired the habit of buying it.
And so I would capture all this information, we do a free room of carpet cleaning, and then reciprocity would kick in. Whenever you provide something of value to somebody I mean of real value, I wasn’t going in and cleaning a tiny little spot out of the middle of their living room. I mean we were literally letting them pick one room up to 200 ft.², if they wanted to do a larger room we’d say well you know you’re obviously going to have to pay for the larger room. I would every once in awhile I would depending on.
Dean: 200 square feet is a good size, that’s a good size bedroom.
Joe: Yeah, it is a good size room, and it certainly is a good enough of an area to go into someone’s home and clean for free. But see I was doing this built on something I learned from listening to a Jay Abraham tape and let me share you that story real quickly. Its funny how like Gary Halbert and all these they kind of like lead to other people because I found out about I met Dan Kennedy through the Gary Halbert Newsletter. I got reintroduced to Gary Pursley in a lot of ways through just being in that circle. And I met all kinds of interesting marketers in the very beginning including getting introduced to Jay Abraham’s material. It wasn’t until you know probably a decade later that I actually first met Jay and now Jays a friend and you get to know all these people. However you know back then I got this cassette tape because Jay Abraham was pitching a really expensive seminar and he sent out some tapes, audio cassette if people can remember those, yeah and this was his way of instilling reciprocity.
Dean: I got that exact one yeah.
Joe: He told this story of two carpet cleaners that wanted to hire him, and at the time Jay Abraham was like $3000 an hour. And he always touted himself as being the most expensive marketing consultant that you could hire. And so basically these carpet cleaners didn’t have $3000, they scraped together these two guys, young guys, scraped together $2000 and Jay gave them 45 minutes of consulting and taught them in that 45 minutes lifetime value of a customer. The concept of lifetime value of a customer, that you don’t know how much you can afford to spend to acquire a customer until and unless you know how much they’re actually worth to you in the lifetime they’re going to do business with you.
So as an example let’s say at the time an average carpet cleaning job $150 to $200, let’s say it’s $200, well to clean the carpets once a year in a five-year period that person is worth you know $1000 in revenue if you have a carpet cleaning company. And if that person refers one other person just like them, just one only one in a five-year period just like them that cleans their carpets once a year for five years that’s another $1000. So instead of going into a home and thinking of well this is a $200 job you go into every home thinking this person’s worth $2000 to me if I do a really good job of wowing them and impressing them. And so using that premise what would you be willing to do in order to generate a client.
And so because you’re going to pay for business anyway, a lot of people are like I don’t do any advertising, I’m never going to pay businesses like really. You pay with time; you pay with money, you pay with energy. If you don’t pay with money, you’re going to pay with your time you’re going to pay with energy. Unless you just happen to be so lucky that you’re in a business where everyone you know is beating a path to your door, and a lot of people want to live in that fantasy. But the reality is I always use this example where if like the world’s supply of toilet paper ran out tomorrow and you happen to have a garage filled with toilet paper you don’t need to be a brilliant marketer you just get a cardboard sign you put in your front yard. I got toilet paper $50 a roll, you can be a complete idiot, and you’re going to a lot of toilet paper because supply and demand is on your side.
So if you’re ever in a situation where supply and demand is I mean where everyone in the world is buying houses, and you know you’ve got a house for sale. Well now look what’s happened you know what I mean. So void of having supply and demand in your favor in being lucky, you usually have to be a little bit more sophisticated about it. And so you know that was sort of the situation. So I kind of went on a tangent but I want to let you say something before I just kind of go off because you know how I can be Dean.
Dean: I know exactly how you can be.
Joe: It’s that entrepreneurial ADD; I just keep rambling.
Dean: But it’s all sort of heading in one direction which is good because you always come back. Right now we’re still, you know you’re at a point where you’ve completely switched from doing the traditional kinds of carpet cleaning advertising, and now you’re advertising educationally, and people are calling you. Instead of you having to go out and try and just yell at people to choose you when they need to get their carpets cleaned or trying to convince them they need their carpets cleaned.
Joe: Okay well, let me talk about that if I could then because it’s really important what you said. And you’re a master at this and you know this, and one thing I want to reiterate to everyone listening and we’ll talk about this probably in depth in future I Love Marketing podcasts. And you’re always going to hear me, and Dean come back to some of the fundamentals, like education-based marketing, automated marketing, I mean the lifetime value of a customer, you know that sort of stuff. And one of the things that we’ll talk about a lot is before, during and after which you created for the real estate industry. What do you do before the job to get business, what do you do during the job to increase the average sale and to bond with the clients, what do you do after the job to make sure they keep coming back.
And so when I learned the lifetime value of a customer it really, what really dawned on me was that being in the relationship business, not the transaction business. And these two carpet cleaners that were on this tapes sat with Jay Abraham, you know he said go out and give away free carpet cleaning, giveaway entire homes of carpet cleaning because when you do, so you’re going to basically acquire clients. And in six months or year they’ll maybe come back, and in a lot of ways they’re going to have reciprocity, so they may refer other people to you. So these two carpet cleaners for paying $2000 to consult with Jay Abraham for 45 minutes spent a month going out and literally giving away entire houses of carpet cleaning. And according to this tape set that I was listening to these two guys built a six-figure a year carpet cleaning business giving away free houses of carpet cleaning. They would go to county fairs, they would knock on doors, and they lived, they survived that first month by referrals and by tips that people gave them. And I thought how can I take that same idea that sounds pretty cool. I’d been reading all this Gary Halbert stuff, so I sort of get the education-based marketing angle, how could I create an offer that is as good as that but doesn’t require me to actually have to give the entire thing away for free.
So there were some companies that were teaching people to go into there was a dry-cleaning system called host and I had bought some host machines. And I had a steam cleaning method, I had a dry-cleaning method and I was thinking let the consumer decide what they want, I was going through all these evolutions of trying to figure out how to make a business work. Because at the end of the day you know that most business owners just get up and most human beings bumble their way through life. So I was just trying to figure out what the hell to do. And one of the demonstrations that this company did was they would go into a commercial setting or a home, and they would like take some tape and they would it would look kind of like duct tape and it would like painters tape, and they would put it on a square area in the carpet. They would clean the square, and they would remove the tape, and you would clearly see this really clean contrast. And I thought you know that’s a really cool way to demonstrate the quality of your cleaning of before-and-after. But I felt it was a little kind of like not the right thing to do because you force the person to have to hire you, or they’re going to have a clean square in the middle of the room, and it was a tiny little area.
So I wanted to take a little bit of the Jay Abraham stuff of the whole house, a little bit of the demonstration and create a very powerful irresistible offer. And at the same time have the customer be thinking this is totally ethical, this person provided a great value, and if they liked more they would hire me, and if they didn’t I would say thank you. I wouldn’t use any high-pressure, I would simply impress them and wow them with the quality of my service. And so I came up with a free room of carpet cleaning and a carpet audit. And the thing that allowed me to really make the free room really appear valuable is before I’d start the free room of carpet cleaning I would go in and evaluate the condition of the carpet. And I would talk to them about their carpet, I would give them a consumer awareness guide, or I made sure before I showed up they listened to the 24 hour free recorded message so that they knew they had a professional coming over to their home. And then when they were properly positioned then they were more likely to do business with me.
And so that’s what I wanted to say, that you’re a total master of the before, during, after its positioning. And the difference between selling and marketing, selling is when you’re on the phone or face-to-face with somebody, marketing is what you do to get someone on the phone or face-to-face with you properly positioned. So that by the time you talk to them, they’re pre-interested, pre-motivated, prequalified and predisposed to do business with you. I’ll say that again because this is something that everyone should write down. When you do, your marketing right selling is easy and ideally unnecessary, because if you do your marketing right, it does your selling in advance. Really good marketing is the quickest path to the sale, really good marketing does all of your selling in advance. And the people end up becoming pre-interested, pre-motivated, prequalified and predisposed to do business with you.
And that’s what I first learned from Gary Halbert, how to actually create that positioning robotically through a sales letter, through a sales message delivered by paper and ink, delivered through a free recorded message, delivered through advertising. And in today’s day and age you can deliver it through a website, you can deliver it through an email; you can deliver through you created the first opt-in page. You can do it through Facebook; you can do it through social media, there’s a lot of different ways that you can actually educate people in advance, deliver valuable information, give stuff to them for free that sort of thing. Because the number one question in all consumer’s mind is who can I trust, that’s what our friend Richard Rossi says. And your job as a marketer is to establish trust and rapport so that people feel they can do business with you.
Now if you have something that no one else has, you know a lot of times people will do business with companies they’ve never heard of because they simply they’re so in love with the pitch or the offer or they so badly need it. However, if you have a lot of competitors, you’re way better positioned to have people really have trust and rapport with you. And if you understand the lifetime value of the client you’d be willing to do a lot of things to acquire them. And so I quit doing what every other carpet cleaner was doing which was trying to sell jobs. They would go, and they’d get a job, and then they’d spend all this time, money and energy to acquire customer and then they’d forget about them. They wouldn’t mail them a newsletter; they wouldn’t send them a thank you, they wouldn’t try to get referrals, they would just try to go to their next job. And I was like it’s just ridiculous; you’re just chasing after new customers, new customers, new customers, and you’re neglecting the ones that have already given you money. So I not only improved my marketing, but I looked at every single client I’ve ever done business with, and I started communicating to them, I started mailing them monthly newsletters, I started asking them to introduce me to other people for referrals. I developed an automated referral program where every time someone would give me a name I would send them $10 in the form of 5 $2 bills so that they would totally remember me. Because no one’s going to spend a $2 bill, and every time they opened up their wallet I wanted them thinking about me and my carpet cleaning business. So that’s some of many things that I started doing in the beginning.
Dean: How long did it take you to roll a lot of that out, so the consumer awareness guide was the very first thing?
Joe: Honestly probably about three to four months it took me about three to four months. I mean I instantly increase my prices, even before I wrote a sales letter I started talking to people differently because I started realizing that you know wow your customer. You know people don’t do what everyone else does, I mean if you want to have success in business look at what everyone else is doing and do the complete opposite and you’re probably going to be better off than trying to copy what everyone else is doing, unless you’re modelling the very successful.
I mean so what happens is people model idiots, they look at what all of their idiotic customers are doing, they listen to what their idiotic brother-in-law says on how to run a business. They get advice from all kinds of people that know nothing about what they’re asking advice for, it’s kind of like relationship advice, how many people that have bad relationships talk to their other friends that have bad relationships and everyone that has better relationships is talking about how to have a good relationship. I mean it’s just gossip, I think currently the stats on gossip in the United States are two-thirds of everything that people talk about is gossip. And you know as it relates to advice and business I mean when I went on the Jet Ski trip I’d listen to the advice of a guy that was a multimillionaire. Every one of my other friends that were broke they all were giving me business advice, what I learned very early on is like the best advice to take is from people that are actually doing it, not someone, you know anyone can have an opinion. But I can’t tell you how many quote-unquote marketing experts that are out there that have never even read a book on marketing, have never built a successful business, but they certainly think they know what they’re talking about.
Dean: Do you remember how long it took for all this new stuff to have an impact on your revenue?
Joe: Well like I said I went from $2100 a month average gross to $12,300 a month within six months. So five times, more than five times the revenue of the business within a six-month period. You know some people say double your business in a year, I mean I more than five x-ed my business in six months by simply changing the message. I didn’t learn anything more about the technical side; I wasn’t a quote-unquote better carpet cleaner, I simply changed the message on the paper I conveyed a different message. And that was fascinating to me that you can change a headline and increase response, you can change the offer, you can target a list. There’s all kinds of you know it’s literally about the offer and the list, the offer and the list. And now when I say offer that means including the copy, and Gary Halbert would always say that almost any problem in the world, well he didn’t say almost any, he said any problem in the world can be solved with the right sales letter.
And I didn’t believe that in the beginning, and the more I’ve been in this business, the more I realize if you need a kidney transplant you can write something. In today’s day and age when it says a sales letter that could mean a video, it could mean an audio; this podcast is an example. If we spent an hour trying to educate people about something and then offered to sell them something which we’re actually not going to do on this episode, maybe down the road we’ll maybe suggest things. But this I Love Marketing podcast is simply going to be you know two guys that have done really well in marketing, that love marketing, share what it is they know why because we love marketing, this is a cool subject, we like talking about it. We could use audio to try to educate someone and then sell them something, I mean because what is selling anyway you know.
So I think any business situation if you do not have a sales letter put it together, write it. You know sit down and create something that educates people, that explains the reasons why they should look at what it is you’re doing, why they should buy, why they should acquire. And so many people will just do everything they can to avoid any sort of selling, and then they wonder why they don’t have any money, they wonder why they don’t have any business. And what I learned early on is go out ask for the money.
I remember this great story about John Lennon and Paul McCarthy. And Paul I think was talking about how I remember people saying that the Beatles went capitalistic and he goes that’s not true at all. I remember sitting down with John and saying hey let’s write ourselves a swimming pool, meaning let’s sit down and write a song, and the song will pay us royalties so we can buy a swimming pool. And I always wanted to do that, so I mean a few years ago I actually had a guy build a swimming pool for me in my backyard that I taught marketing to, so that was kind of cool, so I guess in a lot of ways.
Dean: That’s fantastic, so you built yourself a swimming pool.
Joe: Well someone else built it for me but I.
Dean: No, you wrote yourself a swimming pool or talked yourself.
Joe: I talked myself a swimming pool in that particular situation. I mean hell I mean Bill Phillips back in 1999 gave me a brand-new convertible Jaguar that cost I think $81,000 because I know he made a few million dollars from one single marketing strategy I gave him. So all the same marketing ideas, and we’ll go back and forth during the podcast on this in future episodes. But I ended up building this carpet cleaning business, turned it around, was originally thinking of I was going to build it into a large carpet cleaning company in Arizona. Then I decided I love marketing, so let me just stay totally immersed in that. I ended up selling the carpet cleaning company a couple years after I first got introduced to the marketing. I went full-time into my marketing business, had a partner in the very beginning for like a year and then I just literally bought this person out. And you know Piranha Marketing was full throttle, and I ran an ad in an industry trade magazine offering a free report on how to build and grow your cleaning company and I was.
Dean: It’s amusing how you take those same lessons that you applied to build your business that you moved into a completely different business. We’ve come up to an hour.
Joe: Are we really already at an hour?
Dean: I’m going to get to think for a whole week of how I get to one-up you with my early day’s success story.
Joe: Yeah during the next episode Dean is going to be doing.
Dean: And I’m going to monopolize the next episode.
Joe: Yeah this will be the I Love Marketing featuring, we should change the name from the where it says Dean Jackson and Joe Polish. I really think we should do a vote I think everyone that’s listed to this in the comment section should vote should it be Joe Polish and Dean Jackson because I said at the very beginning I wanted this to kind of be like Batman and Robin. Where you’re like Robin, and I’m like Batman, and I’m like the Lone Ranger, and you’re like Tonto, I don’t really know, but I’d love the listeners to give us their viewpoint on that.
Dean: There we go. So that I think is another successful episode it’s amazing how fast it goes.
Dean: I’m looking forward to next week because I’m going to share the same, I’m just amazed at how similar so far our stories are, you know I mean getting to that point of really applying education-based marketing, that was the very first thing that I did as well. So I’m really looking forward to sharing that story, and you can see the similarities there.
Joe: Yeah, can’t wait. So thank you, Dean, and to all of our listeners, thank you give us your comments on if you’re finding all this extremely valuable. And go out and create some educational stuff and literally apply it because you’re not going to get any results if you don’t take any action. So you’ll hear that a lot, but the idea is only useful if you use it so thank you.
Dean: There we go, okay Batman; we’ll see you here same Bat time same Bat channel.
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