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Episode #39

The one about Free Recorded Messages

Episode 39:

  • Dean and Joe share their first free recorded message experiences
  • How Dean got 3x as many calls on the same ad using 3 words
  • How Joe used Free Recorded Messages to cut refunds in half
  • PLUS: Advice on how to get started with your own messages

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Click Here to get your own Free Recorded Message Hotline!


Dean: Hey everybody, it’s Dean Jackson.

Joe: And Joe Polish.

Dean: Joe?

Joe: That’s right, it’s me.

Dean: How are you doing today?

Joe: I’m doing good. How are you doing?

Dean: Good.

Joe: Good. Hey, we had our first official I Love Marketing Meetup group at my office, while I was away, in San Diego.

Dean: I saw some of the pictures.

Joe: Yes, the pictures were good, and it’s going really well.

Dean: That’s awesome.

Joe: And by the time this recording is probably being heard, we will have had our second one, of which I will be in attendance. How cool is that?

Dean: Great! That’s exciting.

Joe: Yeah, we’ve got these Meetup groups popping up everywhere.

Dean: Yeah. Next week, I’m going to be back in Florida and I’m going to get one going down there. So, that will be cool, too.

Joe: Awesome. Okay, what’s on our agenda, what’s on our plate for this episode of I Love Marketing?

Dean: Well, I thought maybe this week we could talk about some of our favorite marketing strategies.

Joe: Yes. We’ll call this the grab bag. How about that?   

Dean: The grab bag episode.

Joe: Yeah.

Dean: No, I was very impressed, because I know you have like a very long list of all the cool things, and you’ve motivated me to make a list myself here.

Joe: Yeah, my little riffs, clicks on the dial, whatever you want to call them.

Dean: Right. Exactly. I love that.

Joe: It’s a variety of stuff that we can talk about, and I’ve got a whole list of stuff. And you can ask me pretty much anything, or I can ask you something, and we’ll just start talking about it. It will be things that are related to before, during and after, and the 8 profit activators, and reciprocity, and selling, and all kinds of stuff.

Dean: Let’s start with #1, because it jumped right out at me, with the free recorded messages.

Joe: Yeah. Okay. So, #1 on my list is free recorded messages. The reason I have that one #1 on the list is because, for one, it was one of the very first marketing strategies that I ever used. It’s a robot, so it’s an ELF marketing strategy, which is easy, lucrative and fun. To this day, everyone has telephones. As a matter of fact, there’s more mobile phones than there are computers. I think there’s always going to be access to a telephone number, in spite of whatever technologies are created. It just seems to make the most sense. Maybe one day there will be chips in everyone’s fingernails, and no one will need to carry anything around. But I think for the most part…

Dean: Directly into our ears, yeah.

Joe: By that time, it will be a different lifetime, and what am I going to care anyway. Right?

Dean: Right.   

Joe: So, for anyone that has to sell something today, or tomorrow or next year, free recorded messages work well. The #1 reason that’s on the list, too, is out of all of the things that I’ve always talked about, especially when I first started selling how-to advice after having had tremendous success turning my own carpet cleaning company around originally, and teaching people how I did it using free recorded messages is one of the methods I use to convert suspects into prospects, into clients, was through the use of free recorded messages.

It was free recorded messages that I then used to actually educate business owners about what it is that I was doing, in order to get them to request a free report, in order to give them information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I would always talk about how the 24-hour free recorded message can always deliver an eloquent, persuasive pitch (if you’re using it to sell), never complains about a headache, costs peanuts in order to have one, works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, never gets tired, and will usually deliver a much better sales presentation than if I had to rely on my own moods, my energy levels, my ability to recall certain things. You just really can’t beat it.

Dean: My first experience with free recorded messages was using them as a realtor. I used to run big ads in the newspaper, on the weekend edition of the local newspaper, and I had the front page of the real estate section. And I would run these ads on there, and put all of my listings, and I always felt like I had to be right there by the phone, when I ran that ad, because I spent hundreds of dollars every week on this full-page ad. And I would get a lot of calls, but I always felt like I was being held hostage to it, like I had to be available because I would feel like I was missing out if somebody called and I wasn’t available to take their call. I knew that they would call somebody else. So, it was kind of like being held hostage; that I couldn’t really make plans to do things with my friends or to just take time off on the weekend, because I really wanted to maximize the results that I got from this ad. So, when I heard the idea of using free recorded messages, I was here in Canada, and there was no services that you could use for this. So, I got another phone line into   my house, and I got a digital voicemail recorder, and I had the clever brainstorm of using the code that you use to check your messages remotely to give people access to listen to the recordings.

So, I called it the Real Estate Info Line, and I would have people call the number, and then they would press *99. I would use the recording to explain to people what to do. So, “To start the recording, please just press *99.” And that was the secret code that you could use if you were calling your number from somewhere else, and you wanted to see if you had any voicemail messages. You’d press *99 or whatever number you set up as the code, and it would say, “You have 5 messages or 6 messages,” or whatever it was. So, I had these nice little graphics done, where I had the listings on the front page. I would advertise 6 of them on a page. And I had them numbered, which I had a little info line logo, and I would have them numbered, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. So, I would call my voicemail and leave a message that was the description of that property.

So, I would be talking all about that property. And then when people called in, they would hear, in order, the houses that were for sale. Or to skip to the next message, they could press 7. So, I would just describe that to people, how that would work, and I just remember the very first time that I ran that, because I would have “free recorded message” on there, and people would feel safe to call, knowing that they weren’t going to have to talk to a real estate agent. And, of course, I had caller ID on the phone, so I could see everybody who called.

Now, just putting that in there, I ended up getting 3 times as many calls on the weekend, than what I got when I was running that ad with just my phone number on it. So, we always talk about that more people will call if you use the words “free recorded message.” And I found that to be absolutely true, that I got 3 times more people to call on those ads.   In a typical weekend, I would get 10 people, 12 people to call directly, when I was running it with my regular phone number on it. And then when I ran it as the free recorded message, I would get 30 to 40 people who would call and listen to the messages. And then, I would follow-up and call everybody back on Monday. And it ended up giving me my whole weekend, because I didn’t have to be there, waiting for the phone to ring.

Joe: Well, the point behind that is that it is not only effective in terms of delivering a message, it’s not only non-threatening, but it also saves you a tremendous amount of time. That’s why I often refer to this as time management marketing, because of that exact reason. And if you look on the list that I have, which I emailed you a copy and you’re probably looking at it from an iPad or something, #65 is 3 magic words. The 3 magic words, the reason I call them magic words, is “free recorded message.” Free recorded message just does wonders. And like what you were saying, you got triple the amount of calls simply because it’s non-threatening. When people see that, it removes this phone call fear that I think most consumers have, especially if you have to call someone to inquire about a service or something, where you don’t really know exactly what the price is going to be.

And you know that if you’re going to engage someone in a conversation in order to get information, their hope and expectation is that you will buy from them. And because people want you to buy from them, and when you’re talking to them live, there is a certain level of hesitancy, there’s a certain level of resistance, there’s a certain level of fear; so much so, that many consumers that are kind of looky-lou’s or they’re not really 100% sure who they’re going to go with, they sometimes opt out of not even calling at all, or really postponing and postponing and postponing the decision, because they just don’t even want to deal with having to say no to somebody or get information from someone and then tell them no, or “I have to think about it,” or whatever.   A lot of people are in the thinking about it stage. In the example of carpet cleaning, most carpet cleaners think of their prospects that are going to buy, or they’re not going to buy.

My whole thing is I would tell my cleaners, and of course I’m telling everyone now, on I Love Marketing, is that there’s a lot of people that want to buy, they just don’t want to buy right now. They’re in the information-gathering stage. And if you create a non-threatening, very robotic system. And I know we’re talking about free recorded messages right now, but this could still apply to print, sales letters, websites, blogs, you name it. Although, if you like the idea of how this free recorded message concept sounds and you’ve never tried it, then go to and get yourself a 24-hour free recorded message. We even have a special link. You know what we should do? We have a link that we should put on the page with this episode, so people can actually go in there, because we’ve actually worked it out with them to give all of our I Love Marketing listeners a special rate and all that.

But anyway, if you’ve never tried it before, just do it. It’s inexpensive, it’s easy to test. Everyone can put one on their business card, they can put it on their website. I have it on my Twitter page, You can see an example of a free recorded message. I have a free recorded message on the outside of the Nightingale- Conant program I sell. We have free recorded messages on business cards. They’re everywhere that you can put a message. When you do that, you’re getting, like you said, 3 times as many calls. Without sounding redundant, I really want to highlight that.

Dean: I want to, too. I don’t want to say that lightly, that that really was the 2-fold benefit for me, of not only getting more people to call, but not actually having to talk to them, real-time, was just an incredible experience. I remember the first weekend, I was wondering how it was going to work. If it’s just like all the time, I would hear the voicemails going off in the basement. I would   hear the click, because you could hear the actual messages. And then, I learned how to turn down the volume. But in the beginning, it was interesting to me, to be sitting upstairs and just hearing this going on down in the basement, and I’m having dinner with some friends or whatever, and just not having to be constantly jumping to answer the phone.

Joe: The cool thing, too, is if you’re running a free recorded message, and say you’re doing radio or television, or you’re doing a big campaign where you’re putting a lot of messages out there at one given time, you couldn’t possibly field – effectively – all of those phone calls. And when I say “Field them,” maybe you could have a big phone room of people, and you have other people than yourself. Do you know how many people have an opportunity to actually listen to me, and have, over the last 15 years? We’re talking tens of thousands of free recorded messages with my voice on them have delivered information to business owners and to consumers about a variety of different things.

Literally, thousands of communications that would have taken hundreds, if not thousands of hours to deliver, and all of that was done while I was sleeping, while I was having lunch, while I was working on other campaigns, while I was doing a variety of different things. And the 24-hour free recorded message robot did it for me. This was being done way before the Internet even existed. Now, obviously, you can point to YouTube videos or whatever. But the point is this is just massive, massive leverage. So, going back to 3 times as many calls, and you didn’t have to actually spend any of your time talking to people, and you could relax. There’s a lot of benefits.

Dean: And, I got the name and phone number of everybody who called.

Joe: Right.   

Dean: As it evolved, I evolved to where I didn’t call people back. But in the beginning, I did. And a lot of people do. But still, it’s better than cold-calling, for sure; calling somebody who you know has called on something because they had an interest in it. And I started using those free recorded messages on everything, like you said. On ads, on business cards, in front of homes, on the info box flyer of the house. And all of those things are wonderful uses, but when I started pairing it with direct response ads, like when I started. You and I both talked about using our guides. I did the guide to Halton Hills house prices, and the guide on how to buy your first home. I had ads and postcards that we would use for those, and people would call and leave a message.

Here’s something that was very interesting to me. In the beginning, when people were calling for the guide, I would have them call and the message would basically say, “Thanks for calling about the guide to Halton Hills house prices. To get your guide, just leave your name and your mailing address, your telephone number and your email address, if you have one, and we’ll get your guide out to you right away.” That was the essence of the message. The messages that I got would be, “My name’s Joe Polish. I live at,” whatever the address is, “and here’s my phone number.” And sometimes, they would leave an email address. So, I would get what I asked for. And I had this big breakthrough. I was kind of reading Stephen Covey’s book on the 7 habits, and you kind of go deep with things. And I was struck by this “begin with the end in mind.” So, I really started thinking about these recorded messages. And I thought, “What kind of message would I like to hear when I pick up these messages, when I record them?” And I thought, “I’d like to hear a message of people not only leaving their address information, but them telling me a little bit about what their plans are and what kind of a house they’re looking for.

So, I slightly changed the recorded message, and I just said the same thing, “Thanks for calling about the “Guide To Halton Hills House Prices.” If you’d like your   guide, just leave your name, mailing address, your telephone number, and your email address, if you have one, and tell me a little bit about the kinds of houses that you’re most interested in and whether you’re coming from out-of-town or you live in Georgetown.” People would leave messages that would say, “Hi, it’s Joe Polish. Here’s my address, here’s my telephone, here’s my email. And you know, we’re just getting started. We’re first-time buyers. We’re kind of maybe thinking about a townhouse. We kind of like the ones down on River Run. We can probably spend about $200,000.” They’d start leaving more conversational messages, just because I instructed them to do that. And it is profound, the difference in the level of connection when I called people back. Because now, they’ve kind of opened up to me a little bit.

Joe: Well, also, the reason people open up to you is because they’ve actually had a one-side conversation, meaning you talking to them, in a different sort of non-threatening sort of environment. Although you’ve really not spoken with them in person at all, they’re receptivity level is completely different. And that’s one of the things that I say this a lot, and I’ve said this to thousands of people over all the events and stuff that I’ve done, and I just know that a lot of people don’t really hear and understand quite the impact that I want them to understand when I say “receptivity level.” So, that’s why I’m talking about it as if everyone’s a second-grader or something, and like they really need to hear this. I just want everyone to really think about that. When you’re talking to someone face-to-face, take a car salesperson, and say you’re looking at a Toyota Forerunner as an example, and they’re explaining to you all of the benefits of the Forerunner. You were really interested in a Forerunner before you even showed up, but you have this person in front of you, talking about a Forerunner and why it’s so great, and maybe they’re asking questions, maybe they’re just talking.   

You’re listening at a completely different receptivity level, because you’re on guard and you’re thinking about your response back to the person; versus if you were to hear that same exact information being delivered in a 24-hour free recorded message before you decided to even drive down to the dealership, to hear about all of the reasons why a Forerunner is good. And you have questions to ask, misconceptions. Stuff following kind of like a consumer awareness guide template. You would just hear the same information differently, because you don’t have to respond to somebody. And when you don’t have to respond to somebody, it’s different. So, in your particular case, you’re coming across to them like one of their trusted buddies who’s just talking to them. Here’s my whole point, too, because I don’t want this to sound manipulative. If you really are giving people useful, valuable information, so that they can make an informed, intelligent decision, that’s about as friendly and about as open and about as honest and transparent as you can be, as a business owner. What I like about this, if this is used totally in an ethical manner, this is the most ethical way to present and market yourself that I’m aware of.

Dean: Yeah. Well, you know what’s very interesting, too? From my personal experience of this, I can completely empathize with what people go through when they switch to a format where they feel maybe a little bit out of control. If you’re used to running ads and being there when people call, because you’re the best at closing them or that’s kind of the mentality that people have, that you’re the best at converting those leads, when they call, or those callers, this sort of evolved as I really started to understand and trust direct response, that initially, when I switched to using recorded messages for that full-page ad, I wanted as many people to call as I could, and I wanted to call everybody back. So, I would do that.   But then, as I kind of evolved, I used it for the guides, for the book on how to buy your first home, and I would want people to leave their contact information, so that I could follow-up with them. We can’t talk about recorded messages without talking about our friend, Terry Hunefeld, because Terry really went very deep with recorded messages.

Joe: Yeah, totally.

Dean: The innovation that Terry had, and what I really learned from him, was he didn’t want to talk to people. The only people he wanted to talk about were the ones who were already ready to buy. He wanted not only for them to call and listen to the recorded message, he didn’t want them to leave their information, so that he followed-up with them. What he would do is he would leave a long recorded message that tells people everything that he wanted to tell them, and used it to filter out all of the people who were not ready to buy now. He didn’t want to call anybody back. He was looking for the top 10%. So, if he had 100 people call and listen to that recorded message, he knew that the top 10 of those would call him and say, “We listened to your recorded message and we’re ready to get started. When can we get together?”

And that’s really the next level of what I was sharing with you about slightly changing the message, to have people leave me a message and tell me about what they were looking for. But as you get more confident, as you get more experience doing it, you start to trust it more and you start to know that you’re not going to lose out, you’re going to actually gain by only speaking to the ones who now not only listen to the recorded message, but hang up the phone and dial another number to talk to Terry. That was really how that whole thing went. He wasn’t getting anybody to leave a message. They were listening, and then they would hang up, and they would dial him directly. It was a whole different world.   I think that’s how you used your consumer awareness recorded message.

Joe: Oh, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. In the beginning, because now you can have people redirect, you can have them press other extensions to go to different menus, you can have them directly connected.

Dean: It’s totally evolved now.

Joe: Yeah. There’s all kinds of computer tracking, so you can see how long people actually listen to the message, at what point in the recording they hang up, all that stuff.

Dean: It was way more expensive, when you and I started doing it, too.

Joe: Oh, it was infinitely more expensive. I was paying by the minute. That’s why I get annoyed when I give this idea out to people, and they can literally get a free recorded message that you can get just so many calls from, every month, and it costs literally $20, $30, $40, $50 a month. I would even tell people on the phone, if they actually did call my office directly, I would actually try to get them to listen to a free recorded message first, and then call me back. And I’d say, “Yeah, I’ve set up a 24-hour free recorded message that teaches you almost everything you would need to know initially, to hire a professional carpet cleaners. If you listen to that free recorded message and you decide you’d like to do business with me, just call me back and I’ll be happy to book a job for you.” I then would direct them to the robot, because I wanted the robot to spend 10 minutes of non-threatening, quality time with them consuming stuff. And it wasn’t until a lady told me that she had listened to my recorded message 3 times, and took notes, that it really dawned on me the impact of a 24-hour free recorded message, because this was about carpet cleaning.

And to this day, I will hear basically ignorant – and there’s a difference between ignorance and stupidity, because there’s tremendous amounts of stupidity, also – stupidity is when you hear something that has been proven to work, you hear other   people talk about it, and you still question if it will work. Ignorance is just, “I’ve never heard of this before, let me hear about it.” Ignorant people will say, “Will anyone really listen to a 5- or 10-minute recorded message, and then you will tell them, “Well, yes. As a matter of fact, one of the most successful free recorded messages from one of my carpet cleaning clients was an 18- minute message on how to choose a carpet cleaner. And people would be like, “Who on earth would spend 18 minutes listening to a free recorded message, over the telephone, on how to choose a carpet cleaner?”

And that’s someone who’s really genuinely interested in getting their carpets cleaned or that’s engaged in the recording. Most people aren’t sitting there with a timer saying, “How long is this thing?” That’s like with a sales letter, “Who’s going to read a long-form sales letter?” Well, if you’ve got someone engaged, and it’s kind of like my conversation with Neal Strauss, which I interviewed him on the anatomy of addictive writing, and he’s written a bunch of best-selling books, and he said, “As a marketer, it’s one thing to keep somebody around for 10, 20, 30 pages of sales copy on a sales letter. How do you keep people around for 200, 300 pages of a book?” You get them engaged. So, when people say, “Someone’s not going to read a long sales letter,” that’s like saying, “No one’s going to read a book. No one’s going to watch a movie…”

Dean: Nobody’s going to sit and watch a movie! Yeah.

Joe: No one has time. Well, if you keep them entertained, if you keep them engaged, if you’re talking about something they’re interested in, you’d be very surprised how much they would actually listen for. A stupid person is someone that hears all of that stuff and still continues to listen to their broke, idiotic friends that know nothing about marketing, and say that people have a short attention span and they won’t read long copy. “You can only do a 3- minute video, because after that, everyone just quits listening, as if there’s like some timer in everyone’s brain that, after the 5-minute mark, they just won’t listen anymore;   which, of course, you know that’s utter nonsense. And all experienced marketers know that’s utter nonsense. But we have to always talk about that, because there’s forces out there, in the form of really ignorant, dumb people that will try to convince marketers that no one’s going to read a long sales letter, no one’s going to listen to a long free recorded message.

My longest free recorded message that I ever used for carpet cleaning services was about 12 minutes. There are times where I went 15 minutes and 17 minutes, and things like that. But one that I used for a very long time, very consistently, was 12 minutes long, and I had people that would call and listen to it twice. And they would tell me, “Yeah, I listened to it twice, because I wanted to write down what you were saying about the 6 costly misconceptions about carpet cleaning, and I needed to get the 7 questions to ask a carpet cleaner before you invite them into your home.”

What’s really funny is I would tell people how to avoid 4 carpet cleaning rip-offs, 8 mistakes to avoid when choosing a carpet cleaner, I would tell them all of these things on the free recorded message, and because I told them those things, they rarely asked me the questions. They rarely brought up the stuff that I even told them, because their belief was, “If this guy’s telling me these are the mistakes to avoid, then this person’s obviously not making these mistakes. If this person’s telling me these are the questions to ask a carpet cleaner before you invite them into your home, then obviously this person lives up to what…

Dean: He knows the answer.

Joe: Yeah. And you are instantly credentializing yourself, simply by putting the information out there. We can go on and on about the free recorded message thing, but the point is…

Dean: I think we should.

Joe: We should.   

Dean: I think we should. As I was looking down this list, I really think we should continue talking about free recorded messages, because there’s just so much even more to say.

Joe: Then I’ll grant you your wish here. See #46 on my little riff list? It says, “Paper is expensive, ink is cheap.” I think I first heard Dan Kennedy say that, or Gary Halbert. I’m not sure. But paper is expensive, ink’s cheap. It still is, to this day. Paper is more expensive than ink. So, the whole point behind that is how do you make an ad or a business card or the side of a service vehicle, like a carpet cleaning van or a plumber’s van, or an HVAC van, or a pest control van, how do you make what it is you say bigger, without paying for more space? How do you make a half-page Yellow Page ad, as an example, back in the Yellow Page days? How do you say more without paying for more space? Free recorded message. And that was the beauty of it. Like one of my very first users of a 24-hour free recorded message in the carpet cleaning industry was a guy named Don Blue, in Denver, Colorado, still in business to this day. Healthy Home Carpet Care, I think is the name of his company.

I sold him a script to a free recorded message, for $250, and I just wanted him to record his success to me. He was running half-page phone book ads in the Denver phone book at the time that he first gave me $250. And I cut his advertising cost in half, and quadrupled his response that he was getting. It took him from a half-page phone book ad – he used the free recorded messages in different formats, but let me just talk simply about the phone book – and he actually went to an ad smaller than the size of a business card that said, “Warning: don’t call any carpet cleaner until you listen to this free recorded message.” What ended up happening, he spent $250 a month on that in-column ad, and he ended up generating over $62,000 in business as a result of that, the first year he used it. And that’s when it dawned on me like, “Wow! This is a pretty big deal!”   If he didn’t have a free recorded message to convey all the information, and he had to pay for like space in the phone book, it probably would have taken him about 5 or 6 full-page ads to say everything.

Dean: To say all of that stuff. Yeah, yeah.

Joe: That’s the point I want to make. So, people that are still spending money on advertising, like if you’re going to run a 30-second or 15-second radio commercial, but you’ve got like 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 20 minutes of information you’d like the consumer to hear in order to sell them, how can you actually do that without paying for that additional advertising space, that real estate? You do it in the form of a free recorded message. It’s multi-step advertising. What most people do is they run a blown-up version of their business card, name, rank, serial number. “Here’s who we are, here’s what we do, here’s our phone number. Call us if we can help you.” Versus “Call this free recorded message to get a consumer awareness guide. Call this free recorded message to get more information,” that sort of stuff. And it just allows you to expand the message without paying for more space.

Dean: I used to have, in my listing presentation, when I was going to talk to people about selling their house, I would have 2 facing pages in my presentation binder that, on one side, I would show a typical real estate ad, like a typical ad in the real estate section of the newspaper, that would have the little picture of the house, and then it would have 2 or 3 lines underneath the picture. That’s all people would usually advertise on one house. And then on the facing page of that, I would show our ad, where I had one of the boxes there, but then I would put the whole script, all of the stuff that I would say about that house, because when they called the recorded message it was demonstrating to people that it’s almost like having a half-page ad just for your house, because of all of the extra things that I could use to describe their property. Am I explaining that right? Do you know what I’m talking about?   

Joe: Yeah, yeah.

Dean: So, I would show them the script that I would use to talk about the houses, and it was very visual because on the left side of the page it would just have that little ad up at the top, and all the rest was white space. And then on mine, it would show the picture, but then it would have all of these words going all the way down the page, describing the house.

Joe: Which is totally fantastic. You know, people love that, too. One of the things in real estate, which sometimes the advertisement that you’re running is to really just show the person that you’re actually doing something to try to sell their home, when they see a well-put-together communicational piece about their home, they’re going to go out and tell other people, “Oh, listen to this free recorded message about my house for sale.’

Dean: Well, I wouldn’t leave it to chance. I would give them little business cards with the picture of their house and the free recorded message, for them to hand out. And I would actually get to the point where when I was calling people each week, to give them the update, I would tell them, “Here’s how many calls we got on the hotline, from the ad about your property. Here’s how many people called from the info box flyer. These are all the appointments we have set up.” Give them all the updates and rundown on what’s going on, and then I would ask them, at the end, “And how did you do?” It was funny because the first time I did, “What do you mean, how did I do?” “Well, how many people were you able to give the cards out to? Did you meet anybody who is thinking about buying a home?” And it was kind of funny, because the first time you do they’re kind of caught by surprise. Now, the next week, they’re prepared and they’re saying, “Well, I was talking to a couple of people at work,” and they now start validating that they’re actually doing something too.

Joe: That is comedy.   

Dean: It was kind of comedy. It was funny. But there’s the thing: you know, for certain, which of your ads are actually working. It’s not just anecdotal. You get the reports that show you all of the calls that you’ve had, so you know which extensions are getting action. So, I know that if I use one extension for the info box flyer, use another extension for the newspaper ad, those are the kind of things that you can do to track.

Joe: Let me bring something up, which is inevitably going to come up with all of the I Love Marketing listeners, and especially the ones that don’t listen, but actually the ones that are the I Love Marketing implementers, which is a much different animal than the I Love Marketing listeners. The listeners are the ones that hear this stuff and says, “Wow, this is a really great podcast, these are really good ideas.” The implementer is the one that actually say, “These are really good ideas. Let’s actually grab one of these and let’s actually put it to work for us and start using it.” So, what will inevitably happen is someone will put together a free recorded message, and then they might not hit the mark. And people may listen to it, but they don’t respond, or they may not call the message. What I want to point out is you’ve got to treat this the same way that if you’re trying to learn to walk. You want to obviously put some effort into it. You want to go in the direction that you want to walk. You actually need to have your balance.

But if you were to look back at the first time you actually tried to walk, you probably fell down quite a bit. And if you stumbled 3 or 4 times and then said, “This whole walking thing just doesn’t work,” I’m going to give it up,” I don’t mean to, again, talk like at a kindergarten level here, it’s just that this is how human beings actually respond to certain things. Like we’ll have someone set up a free recorded message, they’ll try one or 2 ways to get the message out, they won’t get any phone calls, and then they’ll be like, “I just don’t think this is working for me.” Or, they’ll get people to call the phone number, but then they don’t convert the people to either call them or to press zero to be directly connected, or whatever.   Leave contact info so we can email you a free report, or whatever your mechanism is, it’s the same thing. You want to test and look at where are they hanging up. Are you making a call to action? Is it an irresistible offer?

There’s many elements that tie into a lot of the different things that we talk about on these podcasts. So, if you set one up, please don’t shoot yourself in the foot by just going into it kind of, “Well, if it doesn’t work after 2 or 3 tries, or if no one calls, I’m just going to scrap the whole idea, that free recorded messages don’t work.” It’s one of the biggest mistakes that I see people make; not just with free recorded messages, but with any marketing technique. And that’s not to say that after spending $10,000 or $20,000 on something, if it’s not working, you don’t have a serious problem. Sometimes, it could be what you’re trying to sell. Sometimes, it could be the offer. But, free recorded messages work. They work day-in, day-out. They’ve worked for hundreds of thousands of selling situations. And me and Dean have been so involved in free recorded messages for well over 15 years, in our own businesses. I’ve brought in millions of dollars of sales that initiated themselves with a 24-hour free recorded message by doing advertising that has a secondary reason for response.

I want everyone to write that down or think about that term, “secondary reason for response,” because most advertising, there’s a single reason for response. “Here’s the phone number or here’s the website, go visit it.” A secondary reason for response could be, “Here’s the phone number, here’s the website, but if you’d like to hear this 24-hour free recorded message to get more information, call here.” It’s kind of like for people that are not ready to make a yes decision, but they’re like, “Well, maybe I’d like to get more information.” And through secondary reason for response offers in an ad or a promotion, that drove people to a free recorded message, I know for a fact that if you tweak them and you test it, and you look at different ways to phrase it, different headlines, different content that you put on the free recorded message, different calls to action, that just like a sales letter,   you want to hone it. You want to keep chiseling it until you get it to where it’s profitable. Sorry, I kept kind of barreling there, and I think you were trying to cut in. But you know me.

Dean: One of the mistakes that people make in thinking that they’re not working is they sometimes they think that it’s the recorded message. But the truth is they haven’t been able to get anybody to call and listen to the recorded message. You’ve really got to do 3 things. You’ve got to get somebody to call the phone number, you’ve got to get them to listen to the recorded message, and you’ve got to get them to take the next step, whatever that next step is. Just like when I was talking about when I got crystal clear on what it looked like with the end in mind, I wanted people to leave a message that said who they are, and told me a little bit about what they were looking for. So, you have to judge each element on its own. So, the ad or the postcard, or the flyer, or the lead generating business card, or the side of the van, all of those things, what you’re measuring there is are they working to get people to call and listen to that recorded message. That’s the only job of the lead generator.

Then, once people call and listen to that recorded message, the only job of the recorded message is actually to get them to take the next step, which could be to leave their information there. It could be to hang up and call this other number, or call you directly. You have to measure it in benchmarks. It’s almost like cracking a combination. Everything has to be dialed in. You can have the world’s best recorded message, but if you don’t have a predictable, reliable, consistent way to get people to call that phone number and listen to the recorded message, you may as well not even have it. You could have the world’s best lead generators, that get a ton of people to call and listen to the recorded message, but if you don’t have the right words, the right tone, the right offer on that recorded message, nobody’s going to take the next step.   So, you really have to get it all dialed in. And just like you said, it’s experimentation. It’s like running and knowing what’s going to happen when you run those ads. The good news is once you crack that code, you can basically run with that for a long, long time. I’m not going to say forever, but the guide still works, the guide to buying their first home still works, and we’ve got hundreds of realtors all over the country, thousands, who use those recorded messages for that.

Joe: I’ve got one free recorded message line that’s simply a lead generator for people to leave their name, address and phone number – I don’t even ask for an email on it – in the carpet cleaning niche. We don’t use it as heavily as we used to, but we still do have people call it, and they leave their name, address and phone number, in order to get sent a free report. And I have not changed that recorded message in 12 years.

Dean: That’s what I’m saying. This kind of work, that’s what I love about marketing, and I know you love it about marketing too, that once you crack a code like that, the longevity of it is so great.

Joe: Yeah. It goes back to an ad is brand new to someone that’s seeing it for the first time. And my voice has changed in 12 years. But for someone that’s never heard it before, they’ve never heard my voice. And if it works, and people are responding to it, a lot of times you don’t tinker with the working wheel. And the beauty is I can always test against this stuff, because all you do is get another phone number.

Dean: Yeah, exactly. Put up another extension.

Joe: This is not difficult to test.

Dean: You don’t even need another phone number. Now, the ones we use, with COA, you can have hundreds of extensions. It’s infinite, really. It’s great.

Joe: Erin Gerber, like Gerber baby food, at COA Networks, he’s an expert in this. He can walk you through and tell you how to do stuff.   Here’s one thing I’d like everyone to do, though, because the implementers are also the early adopters for the Meetup groups, so they’re the ones that are starting I Love Marketing Meetup groups or the ones that are attending I Love Marketing Meetup groups. Me and Dean are really so happy, and really honored and proud of everyone that has started an I Love Marketing Meetup group. And we want to just sincerely thank you for doing that, because we know the value of discussion groups between people in marketing and using the I Love Marketing curriculum and ideas and strategies we talk about as the jumping off points to have discussions and stuff.

What I would encourage everyone to do is have a conversation at the next Meetup group that you go to about 24-hour free recorded messages. Those that get 24-hour free recorded messages set up, hand your business cards out to everyone, and have them listen to your free recorded message. Even maybe have one person play their free recorded message to the whole group, and then just critique it. And not critique it to find fault, but just to say, “Hey, yeah, this is worth testing.” Don’t look for 400 things you can do to change it. Just say, “Does this sound like it’s up to par, up to snuff?” And if you’re already testing it, let people know the numbers, let them know the response. Give them out business cards.

If you’re a carpet cleaner, as an example, and you go to just like a BNI group, hand out your business cards with free recorded messages to all of the people there, and have them refer business. Have them pass it out, and use it as a sounding board to get feedback, to show other people what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, so that they can get ideas to go set up their own free recorded messages, different ways that you’re doing lead generation with it, and things along those lines, would make for a very lively and very useful I Love Marketing Meetup group discussion. So, I just wanted to point that out. Can I say something, also? It’s funny. This thing started out as a grab bag episode, will be like about one particular thing.   

Dean: I know. But as we started talking about it, I started realizing this is such a valuable topic, that I can’t believe that we haven’t talked about it this in-depth, and this is our 39th episode right now. And it’s taken us 39 episodes to get to this. But it’s such a fundamental thing. We talked about recorded message and how we use them, but going this deep on it, I’m surprised that we haven’t gone this deep on it yet. This is such a vital tool.

Joe: I also want to let people know that we’re always testing stuff, too. Like, for instance, to kind of go backstage with the way that we record the I Love Marketing podcast, fright now, me and Dean, for the very first time – we don’t even know if it’s going to work for this particular episode – if the quality and clarity of this episode is really higher quality than what you’ve heard in the past, it means that we actually got our microphones working, both Dean and I are recording into Garage Band, off of a mic, a particular type of mic that we have attached. Where are you at, in Florida right now?

Dean: I’m in Toronto, right now.

Joe: You’re in Toronto, right now. See, I don’t even know where the heck he’s at. We just call into a conference line.

Dean: Next week, I go back to Florida.

Joe: Gotcha. So, I’m in Arizona and Dean’s in Toronto. We call in to a specific conference line, where we record the calls. And the best we can do on the recording quality is the recording we do off the phones. But what we’re doing right now is we’re recording into mics. But this is the very first time we’re trying this. And if we have it matched up right and the sound volume is okay, then we’re going to pay to have it edited, which is not going to be an inexpensive editing job.   Although this is a free podcast, we’re going to do our best, in the future, to continually increase the quality of the recording, so it sounds like literally we’re in a studio together, although we’re in different parts of the country. Just like we’re suggesting test free recorded messages thing, this particular test may not work, and we may just use the recording, like we’ve been doing, of the recording of the conference line. But if the recording does work, then boom, we’ve just improved the quality of the recording.

This is going to take us several episodes to get it just right. And using a free recorded message is no different. It may not be perfect the first time you use it. It may totally flop. It may not work at all. And it may take you several times. But the point is we are really wanting you to get it down and be willing to test it. And that’s the deal, because it is all about testing. Something this important, that could replicate hours and hours of selling face-to-face, that could set something up that is a robot that could work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, never complain about a headache, always show up on time and, in many cases, do a better job selling what it is you’re selling than any live salesperson you could ever hire, it’s worth figuring out how to do this. It’s worth getting it down. Because you’ll spend more time training a live human being to sell something than you ever will doing a free recorded message script.

So, a couple of suggestions. One, sit down and just record a script for yourself, into something that you don’t ever intend on having on a free recorded message; meaning just get a recording device and talk, and then have it transcribed. If you want to use a service like, you can do that, to transcribe right into a phone, or you can get any sort of Olympus recording device. You can record into Garage Band on an Apple computer, whatever. And just record what you think is the best sales pitch. The other option is record yourself actually selling or educating a real customer or prospect live, in person, and then have it transcribed. And then, go through that transcription and highlight all of the really important elements that you’re sharing, all   of the important things, and then cut out all of the nonsense, and then you have the template for your script.

And that script can end up becoming a video, at some point. It could end becoming a sales letter. You could take your existing sales literature that you get good response from, and you could say, “Okay, I’m just going to take this great sales letter that we’ve been using or this great video, and I’m going to have that transcribed, and I’m going to turn it into a free recorded message.” There’s a lot of stuff that you already probably are saying, or that your company is saying about itself, that has never been recorded with a voice, into a free recorded message format. And one of main things that I don’t want, to end this call, because we’ve only got a few minutes left here, is without saying “sift, sort and screen.” Sift, sort and screen, one of the beauties of a free recorded message for prospects is it sifts, sorts and screens people that are genuinely interested in what you’re selling, versus people that are just price-shoppers or looky-lou’s. And if you’re going to have to go out and sift, sort and screen people, there’s no better way to do it than with a robot. Anyway, there’s more I could say to that, but I’m just trying to think of everything that I’d probably want to leave everyone with before we end this particular episode. Any final thoughts on this, Dean?

Dean: I think that sift, sort and screen, that’s exactly what we were talking about with what Terry Hunefeld was doing, of using the long message to know that when he got 100 people to call and listen to the recorded message, he knew that 10% of them would call through to him. We always used to talk about this. If you focus all of your attention on getting 200 to 300 people a month to call and listen to a recorded message, and you’ve got that recorded message so scripted and so dialed in that you know that 10% of the people are going to call through to you, if you get 200 people to call and listen, that means that every single business day of the month, you’re going to have somebody call and take that next step. It’s just that predictable.   

Joe: Exactly. And for people that are out there going, “Well, I don’t know if I can put a free recorded message,” how many sales do you have to make? On a very low level, you can get a free recorded message with a lot of space on it for people to call, meaning you can get many, many calls into it. You can have a long message for like $30 a month. I had Bill Phillips, back around the end of 1998, beginning of 1999, he was spending, at one point, $30,000 a month on free recorded messages. That’s how many people were calling and listening to information about his physique transformation winners. This was right before Body For Life came out.

Dean: That was probably back when we were paying 25¢ a minute.

Joe: That’s my point. It was way more expensive than it is today, just like recording equipment. You can do recording equipment today with software for $200, that would have cost $10,000 a decade ago. Here’s the point I wanted to make. Think about how many people were listening to messages. And this was a large company. He built it up to $200-million a year in sales. But he was literally speaking to thousands and thousands of people robotically, for less than the cost of an employee, much less than the cost of a high-level employee. But that $30,000 investment, the return was huge. Today, you can do the same sort of thing for probably less than $500, that he was doing for $30,000 a month. That was with thousands and thousands of calls. Those people listening, they’re not going to be getting thousands and thousands of calls. But if you are, and it’s working, God bless you. You’re probably going to be making millions of dollars.

Dean: What do you think? One of the things I know some people may be thinking is that free recorded messages are so old-school. That’s so September 10th, as they say.

Joe: That’s like saying that bench press, squat, and dead lifts, that’s an old way of lifting weights. Whatever.   

Dean: I think it’s even more prominent now, though, because you look at what everybody does have within 3 feet of their person at any given time, is a cell phone that they can call and listen to a recorded message anywhere they are.

Joe: Tell the carpet cleaner that on the back of his van, it says, “Warning: don’t call any carpet cleaner until you listen to this free recorded message,” versus “Warning: don’t hire a carpet cleaner until you visit this website.” Guess what? When someone is driving behind their van, they don’t have a computer. Some people probably do, they have Smartphones and stuff. But they’re not going to go to a website, but they will listen to a free recorded message while they’re in a parking lot, while they’re driving behind somebody, while they’re on their speakerphone, they will do that. I have carpet cleaners that will have their vans lettered, and some will spend a fortune on beautiful, full-color printing with pictures of families and dogs and dust mites, and all kinds of fancy graphics and everything, and I’ll get some carpet cleaner that has a magnet that he gets at Office Max, just black and white, and he’ll slap it on, and it’ll say, “Free recorded message,” and they’ll get more calls in the first week doing that than they’ve gotten in the entire year with their fancy dang lettering.

So, old-school or not, opinions don’t count. Testing in the real world counts. Some people are like, “What’s it going to cost you to test it?” Well, it’s going to take you a little bit of time, but the time you’re going to spend putting together a free recorded message, I guarantee you, even if you don’t get it to work initially, will force you to really think about what you need to convey to consumers. Going back to Steve Jobs’ whole philosophy, technology is important, but psychology is infinitely more important. That’s not the exact Steve Jobs quote. He does have one that basically says that. That is the premise, that they always focus on the user experience first, not the technology.

Basically, going through this whole process is going to cause you to really think through your business, how you’re communicating, what you’re saying. And most   likely, if you do it, you’re going to then have a robotic technique that’s going to work for you over and over and over again, and then you will thank us, and you will make a lot of money, and then you will invest in our I Love Marketing DVD’s, which you can go to the website and click on that button and get on the list, because they’re coming. You should buy them, right now. We should set up a free recorded message on why they need to buy our DVD’s.

Dean: Why wouldn’t we?

Joe: Why wouldn’t we? There’s a lot more than we can say, and I actually liked where this went. We can do a little grab bag one in the future, maybe next week, maybe whenever we decide to do that. However, I thought there was a lot of really good stuff here. So, if you go to, Dean’s going to put a link up there, where you can go and get a free recorded message set up with COA Networks. If you don’t want to use them, there’s other companies that do it. We like that company because they’re very inexpensive, they work very well, and it’s one of my favorite sources to use free recorded messages. Just remember that if you remove the fear that consumers have for something it is that you’re selling that they want, they will buy it from you. So, use 24-hour free recorded messages to instill trust, overcome objections, teach them the things that they don’t know that they don’t know about your business, remove the fear. And if you do a good job of doing it and get it right, then they will buy from you. And they will do this through a totally robotic system, that doesn’t even require you to talk to people.

And there’s nothing more exciting than making a sale to someone that you didn’t even have to talk with. They call you up, and they’re like, “When can I get it?” Or they simply place an order, and you didn’t have to do any sort of face-to-face or any sort of cold-call selling. That’s the beauty of this method.   There’s people that have gotten marketing degrees, that have spent years learning marketing techniques, and we just taught you something in the span of an hour that can smoke almost any marketing method out there, and it still works. If you still think this is too old-school for you, everything we just said applies to video, applies to the Internet, applies to any sort of sifting, sorting, and screening mechanism, using education-based marketing in advance, to sift, sort, and screen people, give them information, and position yourself so they want to do business with you. So, all of this is applicable, no matter what someone’s excuse is they want to make for why this may not work for them.

Dean: I get why it was #1 on your list, too, because it would be #1 on my list, in terms of something that you can do, the least expensive, fastest-acting, easiest-to-test thing that you can do. Literally, without any kind of computer skills or video skills or technical skills, you don’t need all of that to use free recorded messages. Literally, you could record a message, you could hand-draw some flyers, print them out, and start spreading them all over town, and start getting calls today. It’s that fast. We did a training on how to use recorded messages, and one of things that we do is we documented everything that we did. So, we put up these flyers – we used these yellow flyers – all over town. And before we even got back from putting up the flyers, we’d already had people call in the hour that we were gone, putting up the flyers.

Joe: Totally. And the famous words of Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So, go ahead and do it. I don’t know if I’m going to say this right, but my dear friend, Marty Edelston, the founder of Boardroom Inc., the publishers of Bottom Line Personal, he had some   letterhead that says, “Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better, and your better is best.” So, apply that to all of your marketing methodologies. Dean, we’ve got to wrap up, because we are past time on this episode of I Love Marketing.

Dean: Perfect.

Joe: So, thanks, everyone. Those of you that invested in our DVD’s, they are about ready to ship. So, go to, click on the button there, if you want information about our I Love Marketing event. Get yourself signed up for a Meetup group. If you want to start your own Meetup group, there is a downloadable document we now have at, on how to start your very own Meetup group. Keep the love going, because that is what makes the world go around. Goodbye, everyone.

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