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Episode #38

The one about Target Markets and Mafia Offers – #38

  • Dean and Joe talk about how to choose a target market
  • How nutrisystem shot up the stock charts
  • Why some offers are exponentially better than others
  • PLUS: How to make offers your prospects can’t refuse

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Dean: Hey everybody, it’s Dean Jackson.

Joe: And Joe Polish.

Dean: Fresh off the heels of the very first I Love Marketing live event in Phoenix. How are you feeling?

Joe: I’m feeling pretty good. That was pretty darn exciting.

Dean: It was exciting, wasn’t it?

Joe: Yeah, we had 480 people there, and it was super cool, and we had a lot of surprise guests for the audience. Other than maybe the room being a little cold at times, I heard nothing but ecstatic. It wasn’t cold for us, because we were under the lights, but…

Dean: Yeah, I was just going to say, holy cow up there under the tanning lamps.

Joe: Yeah, but it was great, and the feedback was awesome. I know that the vast majority of people that were there are listening to this podcast, so I hope everyone has watched Dean’s focus finder video by this time, and have seen some of the follow-up videos that I sent out to everyone. And now have a better understanding of the 8 profit activators, and a much deeper understanding of before during and after. If you’re new to the, I Love Marketing podcasts, because there’s people that have started I Love Marketing groups in, at this point, Belgium, Australia, UK, Germany, all over America, Canada…

Dean: That was great, we got to shot some videos with some of the Meetup group hosts. We did the video with Dave from DC, we did the video with Christoff from Germany, and was it Stewart from London? So it was great. It was good to see everybody starting all these international Meetup groups. I think that’s kind of cool.

Joe: Yeah, and if by the time you’re listening to this one, I don’t know if it’ll be up there yet or not, but we’re working on getting all of the addresses, locations, links, everything compiled, so that we can have those Meetup groups listed at, for people that actually want to go meet other direct response folks that really want to develop easy, lucrative and fun businesses, ELF businesses. And we even had our own superhero there, Mark the marketing man, which we should put some videos on, so people can see our little man.

Dean: Let’s do that. That would be great, because he was great fun.

Joe: Yeah. All in all, it was a great group. And to everyone that was there, we really, really appreciate you coming and investing your time and your money and really going deep with learning the marketing. And those of you who were not there, we had people watching it all over the world via webcast also, not just the 480 live attendees, but we had people all over the world watching it. So, it was great. And we do have it recorded, and we’re going to offer that as a product, so go to, and there’ll be a link there where you can be put on a list, and once we have it ready and available we will notify you. And yeah, it was awesome.

Dean: Awesome. Well I think what we should talk about tonight would be helping people really work through selecting a target market and talking about their mafia offers, because those are the 2 things at the conference that, even just in listening to people ask their questions, those where the things that kind of stood out to me as the things that people could use the most help with. And really, of the before unit, getting those 2 things right can make a huge difference.

Joe: Exactly. That’s exactly what I was going to say, Dean. No, seriously. Why? Why do those things make such a big difference? I mean there’s a lot of things to pay attention to in business and in marketing and stuff, so selecting a target market and making a mafia offer. Explain what that is. I’m just going to play devil’s advocate here.

Dean: Yeah, yeah, perfect. I think it’ll be good if we can really help people get clarity on this. So, the thing that people have to master is the ability to really think more like the customers, more like their prospects, more like the people that they’re trying to serve and attract, and less like from their own perspectives. See, when you’re thinking from your perspective as a business owner or a marketer, the natural tendency is to want to expand things and to want to have one umbrella that covers everybody.

So, you try and make up words, or you make up categories for what you do. It’s very, sometimes, confusing for your prospects. It’s funny, because when we were listening to people explaining their business, explaining what they do, the ones who had a crystal clarity on who it is that they are serving, it was so much easier for us to understand. And the ones who were sort of focused on their product or their service and being very careful to not leave anybody out of the potential people that could be served by their product or service, it was a lot more difficult to understand what their business was really about.

Joe: Exactly.

Dean: Can you think of some examples? I’ll share a couple of examples of businesses that have done an incredible job of this and made a big difference in their bottom line. A few years ago, there was a big change in the way that Nutrisystem marketed their weight loss programs, their meal delivery services. If you remember, they really started focusing on narrowing their target market to appeal to specific groups. Instead of just one Nutrisystem weight loss product that they had had all the years before, they really started focusing on narrowing their focus to men as one target audience. And you remember they ended up signing up Dan Marino, the Miami Dolphins quarterback. They ended up signing Dan Marino, and you’d see him all over, and all these football players, Mike Ditka, the coach of the Bears, and all these like manly men who had lost weight on Nutrisystem were all talking about the Nutrisystem program specifically for men.

While that was going on, they were also doing the Nutrisystem weight loss program for seniors, where they had Don Shula, the coach of the Miami Dolphins, and his wife were one of the spokespeople for the senior market. And you start seeing how this became very, very specific in the marketing, and it becomes so much more compelling; because if you’re a man and you have to lose some weight, they really got into who was their target audience. It’s probably guys who are laying around watching football all the time, and they could lose some weight, and there’s Dan Marino talking about how simple it was to lose weight eating these man-sized meals from Nutrisystem. They’re delicious pasta and burgers.

They’re showing all these delicious foods that has a much more magnetic appeal than just a generalized weight loss meal supplement, which is what they were for all of those years. The year that they started with that, the year they started that marketing shift, they topped the Russell 3,000, which was one of the indexes that showed the fastest growing companies, the ones that make the biggest improvement on their stock prices in the year. And they rocketed through this because of that narrow focus.

Joe: One of the things, in terms of talking examples, if you take that, most people prior to that would probably not even think of that company as catering to men, because it sounds like the vast majority would be women. I think prior to that, it actually was. So, they just opened up a whole market just by focusing. They used celebrity endorsements to do it, but that sort of example can be used for almost any business. In my particular case, there’s a lot of things which are obvious, from what we talk about at I Love Marketing, that are applicable to any type of business. And we’ve got I Love Marketing users and listeners as was represented by our event, that are in all kinds of different industries.

Now, when I came into the marketing business, I focused primarily on, for one, the industry that I was already in and, secondly, that I knew and understood, inside and out, which was professional carpet cleaners and restorers. Now, I could have went out and started selling marketing information to any business owner; which, in this particular case, simply due to longevity and attraction and things like Nightingale-Conant programs and interviews and I Love Marketing and all that, we have clients in all kinds of different industries. However, even to this day, I focus on, when it comes to stuff I do for my primary money, is high net worth information marketers that use direct response, which is my $25K group, and professional carpet and upholstery cleaners.

I have licensees in other specific niche industries, like auto sales and pest control and things like that. But for the most part, I’m a niche marketer, as are you in real estate. You take Robin Robins, she’s an expert in marketing, and any of her marketing techniques can be used for a variety of different industries, but she focuses on IT professionals in the computer industry, and that’s her target market. She has thousands of those people, and she has a $5-million-a-year business just targeting what, from the general market, is predominately a pretty small, focused niche.

Dean: Right. Even when you narrow your niche to a specific category, like you chose carpet cleaners and restorers, I chose real estate agent, because that’s where we had the experience, we applied and that’s what we started doing, was showing other people how to do the same marketing things we were doing in our own business. That’s why we chose those niches. But as we’ve become more sophisticated in those niches, as we’ve become having more programs and things, you start to realize that there are more divisions within those niches that make it even more specific. Like if I look at the real estate agents, one of the things that’s valuable, I’ll share with people like a backstage type of thing that we do. When Eben Pagan was speaking at the event, if anybody has seen Eben’s Altitude program, his Altitude DVD’s, one of the things that he talked about is creating an avatar for who your client is.

So, Eben and I’ve talked a lot about this, and we talked a lot about it as it was a developing idea, because it really is about narrowing you focus and getting crystal clear on who those people are. Within the real estate niche, I’ve divided it into 4 different categories and with 4 different avatars, because there are really people at different stages in their career, who have different needs. So, the one phase, one group for us is brand new agents. People who are just getting started in real estate. What their aspiration is, is to make it as a realtor. They want to get into business, they want to stay in business, they want to learn all the moves, they need to figure out how to attract clients that they can actually work with, and they need to learn the technical proficiencies of being a real estate agent as well. And that lasts, pretty much, for your first 12 or 18 months in the business.

Then, the next level up from that are the agents who’ve made it through that first little bit. The failure rate in the real estate industry is very high, within the first 18 months of being a realtor. Sometimes, people just don’t. Because it takes so long to get your license and to be a realtor and there’s a lot of sort of expenses of getting your license and joining the real estate board and funding your living expenses for the first little while, while you’re getting your first transactions, sometimes people don’t make it. But the ones who do, after the first year or 18 months in real estate, they’ve gained the technical proficiency. They know how to actually do a real estate transaction. They know how to fill out all the paperwork. They know how the dynamics of working with people actually work.

And that next stage are people who are in the real estate business. They hope to do enough business to kind of stay in business, hope to grow, and to continue to develop as realtors and grow their income. But there comes a point where, if they become more successful, they kind of outgrow their ability to manage all the business on their own. And they advance to that next level, where now they’ve got an assistant, and maybe they’ve got one buy agent that works with them. They’re building a little bit of a team, but they’re still the star of the show. It’s all them, with some helpers. And that is a different person than the person who’s just now getting their real estate license.

Then at the next level of the real estate experience spectrum are people who are building big real estate teams, people who are going all out on their marketing. They spend a lot of money on getting their name out there, on building their brand, on getting buyer agents and a team of assistants, and all these people. So, knowing that there are at least those 4 separate target audiences, you learn that you can change the way your message goes to match who you’re actually speaking to, having that kind of clarity and knowing who the idle client for you is.

A lot of people might be surprised that our ideal client is the person who is in that second category, the person who has at least a year or 2 years’ experience, who knows how to be a real estate agent, is a good real estate agent, but just needs ways to consistently find people to work with. And that’s where I focused all of our time, on really helping that person grow to the next level and the next level. Rather than jumping in with somebody who’s already so busy that they’ve got these assistants and they’ve got these teams, and they’re kind of married to the way that their ideas work. The people at that second level are much more receptive, because the programs that we have can be like rocket fuel for them. If they’re applying good marketing, it creates a foundation for them to really grow.

Joe: Yeah. Let me make a couple comments, too. One of the things that I think I see a lot of, and you probably see this too, is that when people first start out in business, they try to start with a big wide net, because they just want a bunch of customers. And in reality, they should be fishing with the pole, in a lot of cases, and just really targeting, because it’s more manageable. What happens with a lot of people and I would even say people that are listening here, if they’re going to make more money, higher net income, have less complexity and get better, higher response and return on their marketing. They are most likely going to do better if they nichify it, if they select a single target market versus everyone.

And what I would encourage everyone to do is completely do the opposite of what most people do. In a lot of cases, they aren’t making it trying to service everyone, so they’re forced, by either going broke or they’re just pulling their hair out of their head constantly to where they’re like, “Man, I’ve really got to narrow my focus and select a single target market.” What most people do is they go out trying to service everybody, and the smart ones realize, “Wow, I can really focus in, if I select a single target market.” To give an example, you can actually go to a much bigger market as you grow, after you’ve got some roots in the ground.

For instance, Richard Branson. He started in publishing, but his first venture that really made it big was records. And then he sold the record company and went into airlines. And then at that point, he developed such a big brand that he’s got hundreds of different Virgin companies now. And by the way, we’re doing a trip in March. So, if anyone’s interested in that, they can look at our interview with Richard Branson on the I Love Marketing, and I think there’s a place where you can be put on the list. But we’re doing another trip to Necker. But anyway, that’s an example. And then Tony Hsieh, who’s a buddy of mine. He’s a CEO of Zappo’s. I’m going to keep plugging my interviews here, Dean, so I hope you enjoy that. You can watch my video interview that was done at Zappo’s, with Tony, at But when they started out, their niche was shoes. That’s what they sold online, was shoes. And after they got a large amount of customers, they started selling all kinds of other stuff. And 5, 10 years from now, who knows what they’ll be selling. But they were acquired by Amazon, for over a billion dollars in stock.

And you can look at Amazon. Jeff Bezos started off with shoes. No, just kidding. He started off with books. And what happened? Well, after they started acquiring tons of clients, now you can buy everything on Amazon. So, there’s a lot of people that will start out with a specific product or a specific niche, and then they will expand. You take our friend Mike Cline. Mike Cline owns a company Tech Guys Who Get Marketing. Well, they understand all kinds of databases, from Infusion to Sales Force, to all kinds of consulting that they can do with almost any business that is in business, that uses a CRM or database. But they focus on people that are marketers. So, they have a website, And they focus their technology skills to marketers. Jon Benson, who’s our friend, he has and he wrote a book called Fit After 40. Well, Jon consults with a lot of people that are in the…

Dean: Which is a narrow target market, by the way.

Joe: Right. Right.

Dean: Which is a very specific target market.

Joe: And he’s sold probably in the millions of dollars’ worth of stuff, very much focused in the niche. You take Craig Ballantyne, who’s now the editor of, which is a newsletter that I’m now writing for. And basically, his fitness product is Turbulence Training. But he has a lot of products that are focused on business travelers. How do you actually work out in a hotel room, while you’re traveling, that sort of stuff. There’s examples all over the place.

Dean: Probably the biggest one I always use as an example is Proctor and Gamble. They started out selling soap in the 1850’s. And they’ve grown from that to all kinds of other products. But, each one of the products that they have is it’s own individual brand. Over 50 different brands that they have, 24 of them doing a billion dollars each.

Joe: Yep. And you went through that at the I Love Marketing event. We’ve got all the videos of that and everything. That’s a perfect example.

Dean: We need to do a shameless plug. Here’s the real thing. I’m going to call this a selfless plug. If you were not at the I Love Marketing live event, you really need to get the DVD’s because everything that we talk about on these, we went really kind of deep with that. And it’ll really enhance your experience of listening to the podcasts.

Joe: Yeah, well one of the big bonuses to is we have that huge manual that has all kinds of training and templates and all kinds of stuff that you can definitely use and profit from in your business. Plus, it’s guaranteed. Like anything that we would ever ask money for, if you’re not ecstatic with it, you don’t have to pay for it. We will give you a full refund. And plus, while we were there, we raised a whole bunch of money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and it was really cool. So, we do our best to give so much value that people would just naturally see it.

Dean: That’s why I say a selfless offer. I know that there’s no chance that those DVD’s are not going to be worth multiples of the money that people spend on them.

Joe: And we had Robert Cialdini came in, and he spoke to the audience. We had Eben Pagan. We had Dean Graziosi.

Dean: How lucky is that? Just to have Robert Cialdini just serendipitously, the way that worked out, because we’re both friends with him, we had said to each other on the plane from New York to Phoenix that we need to text, we need to call Bob and tell him that we’re doing the event. And then meanwhile, the week goes by, and Wednesday morning we’re sitting up, you and I sitting together right before the event, and both of us realized neither of us had called Bob. So, Joe texted Babette, his wife, and she texted back and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but he’s actually doing an event in the same hotel, the next day.” So it was just like the stars all aligned. We weren’t planning on him coming to share, but he was able to stop by, and what he shared was incredible. It was great.

Joe: Yeah, and he’s probably the smartest person in the world in the area of persuasion and influence, in terms of he’s the most cited living social psychologist in the world. He’s done enormous study on the area of influence. Just the segment he did alone, people where telling me, “Hearing that alone was worth coming to the event.” He didn’t just give people an idea; he gave people a strategy that every person can use to make more money. That’s the whole point. Yeah, so that’s a good, selfless plug, and we hope you do get a hold of it and go deep with it. Because we want everyone that’s listening to make a lot of money and love this podcast and love I Love Marketing so much so, that they tell everyone about it, and we create this movement of marketers that are doing good things in the world, that are selling more stuff, that are “eating their competition alive,” as we say at Piranha Marketing. So, going back to selecting the single target market.

Dean: One of the things that I think would help people clarify this, and we’ve kind of talked about it in different ways in the examples we’ve given, there’s no limitations on what you can do. There’s no limit. I kind of laugh, because when you were talking about Richard Branson, the very first venture that he did, of course, was that student magazine that they did. And that lead to them doing the mail order records, because they were advertising it in their magazines. And that lead to them opening up the Virgin Record stores. And that lead to him starting the Virgin Records label. And that lead to getting all kinds of cash, which lead him to have all kind of other opportunities.

When they started Virgin Airlines, they had one plane that flew one route, from London to New York. So, every empire starts with the first venture. Every empire starts out like that. So, a lot of times, what I see is that people’s eyes are bigger than their belly or their budget, or their ability to execute. So, they can’t get themselves to see that. I think you used the example of going into the candy store, like kids going into the candy store, and just feeling overwhelmed that they’re going to try and eat all the candy at once.

Joe: I might have said that. I have no idea.

Dean: Oh, you know who did say that? I forget who it was, but they were talking about the teaching their kids that they’re going to get 5 things, so just slow down, take a look, take it all in, and really make your choices wisely. Choose wisely, because you’re going to get 5 pieces of candy here. So, you kind of discriminate. So I think that same kind of thing is why not let yourself think empire-wise first? Go ahead, let your brain run wild. Let your brain see as big as you could see this going. And then, realize that the path to getting there is narrowing and focusing on the easiest, the most profitable, the healthiest part of this, of who you could serve.

So, one of the things is to start maybe by looking at the geography that you serve. I imagine that carpet cleaners run into the same thing as real estate agents, that there’s no restrictions on where they could clean carpets. Same thing with realtors, there’s no restrictions on where they could sell real estate. So, typically, they want to try and expand their territory into as many towns as they can. But I always challenge people that their income would go up if their real estate license forced them to only sell real estate within the city limits of the city they live in.

Joe: You’re absolutely right. And what you’re saying there is such a critical point, where I would just encourage people to not overlook what you just said. In my carpet cleaning business, one of the things that, in a lot of ways, was accidental specificity, if that’s even a word… By the way, when people read the transcripts, sometimes we ramble of people’s names so quickly that sometimes they’re misspelled. But hey, what do you expect, it’s a free podcast. Don’t complain. No, I’m kidding. Just looking for someone to write a comment, “But you guys need to be professional.” Anyway…

Dean: I think I can speak for you, when I say that we will cheerfully offer anybody a full refund for that episode of the podcast.

Joe: For the free podcast?

Dean: Yeah.

Joe: But one of the things that forced me to be specific, in terms of territories in my carpet cleaning business, was when I started doing joint ventures. And I had a dry cleaner of clothing in Chandler, Arizona, which was one of my very first joint ventures, and they were indorsing my cleaning services to their clients. And the cool thing was all of their clients lived within typically a couple mile radius of the dry cleaners. So, all of a sudden, the profitability of those jobs soared, because I did $18,000 worth of business in a year and a half, off of one dry cleaner, back in 1992. These where all homes that were all close.

Dean: How much did you do from one dry cleaner’s site?

Joe: $18,000 in a year and a half.

Dean: That’s great.

Joe: And then there was a carpet store that sold carpets in Ahwatukee, so I would get all these high-end homes in Ahwatukee, which is an area of Phoenix. And of course, the transcriber’s probably not going to be able to spell that either but nonetheless. So, the point is by just having great joint venture people geographically; I was doing the cleaning in specific areas. And I remember I did radio once. Some of the things that I would do, I was always thinking like a marketer. I actually cleaned the carpets for free of this big, gigantic business, 10,000 square feet of carpet for free, to get a phone number that spelled “We Clean,” way back when, because I just wanted a number that spelled something.

This was before, in Phoenix, they made the area codes like 602, 623, 480 for the ___ (32:49) in Phoenix, Glendale, that sort of stuff. But there was a time, when I first started my cleaning business, where people could simply call WECLEAN, and it would go directly to me. And I ended up running a radio commercial – and Phoenix is a very big place – and I remember that’s when it dawned on me, target marketing, like direct mail to specific neighborhoods. Because I was getting calls from people that were a freaking hour and a half drive from where I lived. And I was like, “Even if I get a job, this is not good.”

Dean: You spend more gas money getting over there.

Joe: Exactly. So, there’s so much that could be said about picking a niche, picking a geographic area, picking male, female. You take Dan Sullivan at Strategic Coach. First off, their clientele has to make at least a net income of $100,000 a year or more even to go to Strategic Coach, and the vast majority of their clientele was in the financial services industry. So, 60% of their clientele, for a big period of time, was in financial services. And now, one of the targets they’re marketing as a result – and Dan Sullivan is obviously always crediting me – is the information Internet marketers that they’re targeting now, because he is fascinated with that industry and, of course, it’s such a growth industry. Now, they have some of the top information marketers in the world that are joining Strategic Coach, in a lot of ways, because I started referring people into it and it’s now taking on a life of its own. Although they coach any business owner, they’re still very targeted in how the select a target market, and in income, in industry, and that sort of stuff.

Dean: Exactly.

Joe: Alright, you want to talk about offers?

Dean: I think we’ve got a little more to say about target markets, too.

Joe: Then you say it, my man. Spit it out. Come on.

Dean: Spit it out. Just say it! Say it! Well, you kind of hit on it, because one of the examples that I like to use is that radio example. When you pick a broad market like that, I typically find that the people who want to go broad like that don’t have the budget or the staff or the ability to really completely dominate as big a market as they have eyes for. So, what you’ve found in radio advertising is just that, that it spreads you out. So, a lot of times, one of the things in radio, the choices they have to make is reach versus frequency. And reach means how many people you’re able to reach your message to, and frequency, of course, means how often you can reach that group of people. A lot of times, people want to spend their money, and it’s the same thing with their advertising budget, they want to spread it out over as broad an area as they can.

But the best advice, the best question I’ve heard about radio advertising, is that the choice you want to make is would you rather convince 100% of the people – broad reach – 10% of the way, or would you rather convince 10% of the market – a small group – 100% of the way? And that’s the kind of focus that you can have, if you narrow your target market. Whether you do it geographically or whether you do it demographically, by choosing men or choosing fit over 40, or choosing anything that you can do to segment your market, focusing on one of those and just really going all out.

Joe: Yes. And here’s how I ended up doing radio. I actually hired an ad agency, which was one of the stupidest things I ever did early on, to help me with my advertising and my marketing. And this was kind of before I really understood direct response. I was trying to figure out how to do things, but I wasn’t quite there yet. I was still in the educational phase of my marketing career, trying to figure out well how to actually do it. So, it was the ad agency that was telling me about, “Oh, you need name recognition. You’ve got to get out there and have a lot of people hear about you;” which, of course, is really stupid advice. And not only did I waste money hiring them, but almost all of the marketing that they created didn’t work, lost money, and, secondly, wasted a tremendous amount of my time.

And it’s kind of like the only thing worse than singing the wrong note is singing it louder. They wanted me to yell, and they wanted me to go reach far and wide. It’s kind of like a lot of my carpet cleaners, even to this day, get Yellow Page people selling them Yellow Pages is where it kind of starts. And then, it goes into Money Mailer or Valpak-type coupon mailers. And you take like a Valpak or a Money Mailer, usually, those are going to zip code areas, territories of 10,000 people at a time, and it’ll range $300, $400 for a mailing, sometimes more. Basically, if you were to go out to the average service business, not just carpet cleaners but plumbers, landscapers, chiropractors and say, “Hey, would you rather have 100 highly-qualified, targeted people to offer your services to or would you rather go out to 10,000?” almost all of them would say, “I’d rather go out to 10,000 people, because it just sounds better to the uneducated business owner. “Oh, we’re going to have X number of impressions.”

I always love terms like “hits” and “impressions.” What the hell does that mean? I love this saying, “What HITS really stands for is How Idiots Track Success.” It’s like, “Look, it’s cool that you got a lot of people to visit your site and you got a lot of impressions, or that you have a billboard that 4-million cars drive by in LA every week, but so what?” I will take 100 qualified prospects any day of the week over 10,000 people that are just out there. Because the amount of money that you can make off those 100 qualified people is, frankly, infinitely greater. And the more that you can realize that and be okay with it, for one, it really simplifies your job. It eliminates a tremendous amount of complexity.

It’ll just simple make you more profitable. And you’re not gambling, when you do that. And it’s only going to come when you are willing to narrow it and focus it and choose to. And this is a choice. That’s one thing I want to point out. The marketplace is not doing this to anybody; you’re doing it to yourself. If you have clients that you don’t like, you are fishing for those clients. And if they are not responding at all, then you need to narrow it to people that really will respond, and you need to select people that you want to be heroes to, so there’s enthusiasm and the passion. Because a lot of times, if you don’t really want to service and help solve problems and offer solutions to a specific group of people, you’re just not going to put the oomph, whatever you want to call it, the passion, into your messaging, and into the media, and into the things that you use.

How well does somebody do a job that they’re not excited about doing? And that’s not to say that you have to be excited all the time. My point is the more you can get yourself excited about a specific audience; I just think you’re going to do that much better of a job. It’s easier to romance somebody that you really want to romance, than it is for someone you really don’t care all that much about or that you’re not even clear who they are. It’s the whole saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any path is going to get you there.” The rabbit.

Dean: You were talking about starting small, but it reminded me of what Gary Halbert would always do in starting. A lot of times, they get up to where they were mailing hundreds of thousands of pieces a week for a particular promotion, but they would always start out by mailing a small amount and parlay that. They would reinvest the profits into mailing more letters and then get those orders in, and take all of the profits then roll it back out. If you start small and you figure out what works, then it’s easy to roll that out. A lot of times, because it’s very frustrating to try something, to spend all the money on one radio ad that doesn’t work, rather than starting in a much smaller area and testing a couple of radio ads, to see which one really works, and rolling out from there.

Joe: A good question for people that are running I Love Marketing Meetup groups and people that are attending I Love Marketing Meetup groups, is you go into the group, and you talk about how to select a single target market. And then you describe the type of people that you’re currently servicing, the type of people and markets that you would like to be servicing, and let the attendees give you feedback. “Does that sounds specific?” And ask them, “How can I narrow it even further?” And engage everybody in a conversation. And if you’re not attending a Meetup group, do this with someone that you know, like and trust, someone that’s smart, and someone that can give you valid, legitimate feedback, and preferable someone else who listens to

If you don’t have anyone doing that, recommend they listen to this particular episode, and then do a feedback conversation with them and say, “Okay, let’s get out the notepad, and we’re going to sit down, and we’re going to really narrow.” Sometimes, a trusted person that is not coming from an idiotic standpoint of not understanding anything about marketing, can be a really good sounding board and can help you think things through that, on your own, you may not think through. So, I think it would be really good to engage yourself in a discussion with a yellow pad, and just see how you can narrow, narrow, narrow your focus.

Dean: Now let’s talk about offers. Because once you narrow your target market, it becomes much easier to really see what would be a dream come true for them. When you know who your target audience is, you can think like them, you can really understand what their hopes and their aspirations are, and you can know what their fears and frustrations are, and really get inside, what goes into them making the decision to do whatever it is that you do. Creating offers that work for people is really about removing any of the friction that they might have, any resistance that they have to getting started. A lot of times, it’s like being able to really look at your product, look at your service, and see what possible objections would I have about getting started with this? What could I possibly have that would slow me down, if you’re thinking from the perspective of your prospect, and removing that friction.

Joe: Yeah. And if you think of like all the speed bumps and all the hurdles that get in the way of the greased slide, if you want to call it that, that copywriters talk about, one of the things that Gary Halbert used to say all the time is that if somebody wants what it is you’re selling or something like what you are selling, the only thing that stands in the way of getting it is fear. Of course, assuming they actually have the money to buy it, the only thing that stands in their way is fear. And sometimes, not having the money to buy it is another way to express fear. Because we’ve all encountered people that can afford what it is we’re selling, but they will say, “I can’t afford it.” And what they’re really saying is, “I don’t believe you,” or “I’m not convinced…”

Dean: And that may be true, that they can afford it, but they can’t afford for this not to work.

Joe: Right. So he would say, “I someone wants what you’re selling, the thing that stands in their way is fear. And if you remove the fear, they will buy.” If you have competitors that will do a better job of removing the fear than you, they’re going to be buying from someone other than you. So, whenever I’m constructing an offer, I always try to think of, “Okay, what do I need to say? How does this need to be packaged? How does this need to be communicated, so someone will look at this, see this, hear this, read this, and say, ‘I absolutely would be crazy not to get this.’ And how can I remove all of the risks, so the ownness of responsibility is really on me and my ability to deliver, than on the client.

You take the I Love Marketing live event. We had an offer where, if you come to this and you’re not ecstatic, not only will you get 100% refund but we’ll give you up to $500 in reimbursable travel expenses, if you let us know on, like the first day or whatever, that you’re not happy. Not only will we give you 100% refund, we’ll even pay you to fly you back, for wasting your time. Of course, we didn’t have a single person take us up on the refund, because we delivered. However, the point is to what degree can you make the fear that every person’s going to have – in varying degrees – nonexistent, or at least limit it as much as humanly possible, if you can come up with an offer like that? I created the most successful offer in the world. No one’s ever been able to come up with a better offer, in almost 20 years, for how to sell carpet cleaning services. And that’s a free room of carpet cleaning, to homeowners.

So, we’re targeting and selecting. Even that, we’re niching it down by making it to homeowners, people who will have an investment in something that they own, not renters, with a free carpet audit, which is a process of evaluating the condition of someone’s carpet. So, they not only get a free room to try it, they’re going to have a professional come in and evaluate the condition of their carpet and give recommendations on how to care for it. And there’s no cost or obligation of any kind, they’re not pressured into buying anything else. They’re educated before and during the presentation. And for the most part, people will increase their average job, the average cleaner will increase their average job by 25% or more using my carpet audit system, giving away free carpet cleaning. I and many hundreds of cleaners, every year, use my system that was created, and millions of millions of dollars of cleaning services have been transacted as a result of that specific offer.

And I’ve always made more money giving away free carpet cleaning than I ever did price-discounting my services. And the same goes for my many, many clients all over the world. And, by the way, you can meet many of those people that are Ethical Service members. If you go to, you can find cleaners. How do you like all these plugs I’m doing today, Dean?

Dean: I love it. It’s hard for me to keep track of them all.

Joe: But they’re all good.

Dean: They are all great. And that’s the thing. That’s what’s so good. You’re absolutely right.

Joe: So, go get your carpets cleaned is all I’m saying. That’s really all I have to say about offers.

Dean: So,, pick a carpet cleaner.

Joe: Yeah, you would sleep in your bed for 6 months without washing the sheets, would you? You would wear your underwear for like a month without washing them. But people are walking around their filthy carpets and upholstery.

Dean: Or only go 2 weeks, tops.

Joe: Yeah, they should have their carpets cleaned every Sunday.

Dean: Every Sunday?

Joe: Not really. I’m kidding. They should have them cleaned. That’s all I’m saying. Let me say one more thing about selecting a target market. I have someone named Lisa Wagner, who’s worked with me for about 11 years, at this point, and she owns a San Diego rug cleaning plant, Oriental rug cleaning plant, San Diego Rug Cleaners and Latchford’s rug cleaning. And she’s the only full-service Oriental rug cleaning plant in San Diego. There’s a tiny amount of people that specialize in rugs, and she has done very well specifically offering training just to that niche. So, even within a small niche already, of professional carpet and upholstery cleaners, she went to an even smaller niche. And I would like to credit myself for her learning about how to do this, to me, of course, because I have low self-esteem and it makes me feel good to publicly say that.

She has done extremely well just targeting a very small niche within that niche, and she owns that niche. She is the best in the world at teaching what it is she teaches there. So, you can make a very good income and impact people in a very positive way, the more and more and more you can narrow it down. And it’s easier to come up with an offer, if you select a target audience, than if you are unclear. So, our whole conversation about selecting a target audience, if you’re having difficulty with coming up with the right offer, it may be because you’re trying to cast such a wide net that you don’t even know how to convey it.

Dean: Right. And that’s the thing is that when you have crystal clarity on who your audience is, you can really understand what would be a great offer for them, what would be the very best offer that you can make, how would it be so irresistible that they can’t refuse it, like a mafia offer.

Joe: Explain mafia offer, because we went deep into that at the conference.

Dean: We did. It’s kind of from the old mafia movies, that we’re going to make him an offer he can’t refuse. That’s become kind of know as the mafia offer. It’s so good, that you can’t refuse it. What is it that is going to be that good for your audience, that you’ve removed all of the friction, you’ve removed all of the possible objections? So, if you’re in a category where somebody starting with somebody new, like you, often their biggest concern is, are you really able to do what you say you can do? Because all the carpet cleaners say, the can get our carpets clean. And when you offer them a free room of cleaning, it gives you an opportunity to showcase exactly how you can. They get to meet you; they get to look at you, they get to see how you act in their home. You kind of interact with them. And ultimately, hopefully, the carpets are going to be really clean and great in that room, and they’re going to feel like going forward.

Joe: Yep, exactly.

Dean: I hope we don’t draw a blank here, but can you think, right now, of any of the offers that are kind of like out there in the world right now, that we see, that are pretty good, that would be good examples?

Joe: I think Audible, from, which you see on Amazon, where they have their free trial. I think Netflix does a great job with their trials, to where they take the risk out of people using it. Trying to think like mainstream companies, because I have a lot. The most sophisticated offers you really see are people that fly under the radar. They’re not national.

Dean: But here’s the thing. I think that you and I talked a little bit about this, but I think that Southwest is a pretty good alternative. They’ve got pretty good things, the things that people hate about traveling, like baggage fees and making changes to your tickets, and all those things where they’ve really basically said, “Hey, buy a ticket; if the dates don’t work out, that’s no problem, change them up, bring your bags, there’s no charge. Bags fly free.”

Joe: Yeah, exactly. I freaking love Southwest. Whenever I’m on a short flight, I will take Southwest any day of the week, and I fly first class a lot when I travel far. I do my best to always fly first class, and I certainly travel enough to where, in a lot of cases, I get upgrades and things like that. However, I always vouch to fly Southwest whenever I can, simply because it is so much easier. I wish Virgin America actually had a hub in Phoenix, or I would obviously fly them.

Dean: Yeah, Virgin America’s great.

Joe: Yeah, they don’t. Southwest, they just take a lot of the angst out of it. And one of the offers that people can make is you find out what do people hate about your particular product category or the particular industry that you’re in. If you don’t know how to come up with an offer, start asking your clients what frustrates them. What are the issues that they have? What could they wish for? You can get so much great feedback on how to construct an offer from your clients. I remember an art gallery in Scottsdale, where I had a friend who’s a doctor actually had all this cool art in his house, and I asked him where he got some of the stuff, and he told me about a gallery in Scottsdale.

And it’s no longer there. I don’t know what happened to the guy. Craig Foote, who was actually the owner of it, it was called Art 1, I ended up buying a few thousand dollars of art from this place. The very first time I went in there, I went in there because of a recommendation, so I was referred, and there was like a really cool piece. And a lot of the art was made by student artists, so it wasn’t extremely expensive. But it wasn’t cheap, either. And I just though this one piece was really super-cool. It’s an interesting piece of art. You’ve seen it in my office, it’s called Money Horror. It’s like a big long statute with these hands reached out, with coins in it. And on the back of it, it says, “Placate me.” It’s pretty funny. But it’s this wall piece of art, and I don’t know, it was like $1,000, or $1,500 or something. And I was looking at it and he said, “You know, if you want, just go ahead and take it and put in your house. And if you like it, pay me for it. And if you don’t, bring it back.”

And I’m like, “Really?” and he’s like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, and anything you see here, if you want to just go hang it on the wall or put it at your house, if it’s a sculpture, just check it out.” Like, how could I not do that? That was like the puppy dog close. So, I waltz out of there with a couple thousand dollars’ worth of art. And I said, “Well, do you need a credit card?” And he goes, “No, no, no it’s the honor system.” I’m like, “What do you mean?” And I go, “Do you do this with everyone?” And he goes, “Oh, yeah. Almost everyone.” And I’m like, “Do you ever get ripped off?” And he’s like, “Never happened yet.” and he goes, “A good portion of the art comes back but, for the most part, we do it with most of our customers, and that’s why we have a lot of repeat business.”

And I ended up doing an interview with Joe Sugarman at that time, and we were talking about reciprocity and stuff, and I even talked about it on that interview. And I know people ended up going to that art gallery at the time, as a result of that. But the point is that is a fantastic offer. You got people in the story. And if I owned a clothing store or I owned a retail store, and you’re in the position to where you just know, what a great way to sell stuff. Try it out. Look at 37 Signals, look at all of these software companies. Their offers are free trials. Get people using it. You know the noise canceling headphones from like Bose?

Dean: Yeah, Bose.

Joe: I’ve bought a couple of pairs of those over the years. And if they somehow worked a joint venture, or any noise canceling headphone, because there’s different companies now that sell them, is work out a joint venture with airlines and say, “Hey, can we just stock the plane with these things, people onboard, and let’s let them try them for a month. And if you like them, we’ll whack your credit card. And if you don’t, you don’t. Or even just say, “Hey, would you like to try these during the plane?” You see some tired, frustrated, exhausted traveler who would just like to sleep or just listen to something, you give them a set of headphones on like a 2-hour, 3-hour, 4-hour flight and say, “Hey, would you like to wear these? If you like them, at the end of the flight you pay for them. If you don’t, you give them back.” You know what? A ton of people would end up buying several hundred dollar-costing headphones, if they just did something like that.

Dean: Just like you’re saying, it doesn’t have to be forever. It could be for a month. Put them on all the flights for a month and then people, next time they come back, “Where are those headphones? Well, I can’t live without those, I’ve got to have them.”

Joe: Oh, I even did a video on this. Cracker Barrel. I know we’re getting towards the end of time, but I’m talking about offers and I think everyone can probably decipher some good stuff out of this. So basically, Cracker Barrel, which is a restaurant chain, they have CD’s. So I rented a Warren Buffet CD case. And this is used, right? So like the snowball effect, or whatever it’s called. So I think I was in Ohio, at a family reunion, and I get this from Cracker Barrel. Basically, you have to pay for the entire CD set, which was something like $56. It was unabridged, lot of CD’s, but you’re renting it for like $3.49 a week. So basically, I just wanted to see their process of how they did it. That was the offer. “If you want to listen to this and then bring it back to another Cracker Barrel when you’re done listening to this audio book, it’s $3.49 a week. So, it’s $7 for 2 weeks.”

Now, some people just end up keeping the whole thing. And I don’t care about $50. I spend $100,000 a year on marketing information and seminars and stuff, so I’m a big investor in education. But I had my assistant Eunice actually bring the CD set back a couple weeks later, to Cracker Barrel, and they end up just giving me credit back, or you can exchange it and use the credit for other books on tape. They are reselling. As you have companies like Blockbuster going out of business and stuff, they have a captive audience. That’s one thing that they’re doing there. Not only are they making revenue off of that, but it causes people to come back to their restaurant. And even if people don’t keep the tapes or the CD’s, they end up getting repeat business because the people are coming back to the restaurant. What are they going to do when they come back? They’re most likely going to order food. So, things like that. Stuff to think about.

Dean: Well, let’s wrap it up with a couple of questions that people can ask themselves, then, like to help them think through those kind of choosing a target market and creating an offer. The question would be, “How can I narrow my focus geographically? Or how could I narrow my focus to a specific demographic? Or how could I limit myself to a specific solution, a problem that people have?” Those kind of things, those kind of questions are going to help you narrow that focus a little bit. And then on the offers, I think a couple of common things that we’ve seen or how can I remove any of the risks that people might have or any of the fear that people might have in getting started with me, with my service or with my product? Is there any way that I could get people a result ahead of time, in advance?

Is there some way that I could create a benefit for them, that they’re going to experience before they even have to pay for it? That’s kind of a cool way to think about things, especially if you are in what I call a moneymaking field, where you’re serving people who are using your information or your product or your service as a tool or as information to make more money. If you can create and position your product so that you can do almost more sort of partnering with people, the more willing you are to take responsibility for them getting that result, you kind of partner with them on getting results, the easier it is to get people started, and the more money that you’ll make.

Joe: Exactly. So, if you can think about like your version of a carpet audit, in the printing industry we taught printers how to do printing audits and plumbing audits and there’s home remodeling audits. There’s a bunch of varieties of different ways. Daniel Amen, who’s the top brain scan psychologist in the world. I’m not sure exactly what his site is. I think it’s But if you just type in Daniel Amen into Google, and you go to his main site, there is a brain audit. And he ended up creating this really cool test to determine kind of the health of your brain, because he listened to my Nightingale-Conant program and spent 6 hours putting together this really cool survey that people can go through and learn a tremendous amount of stuff about their brain.

And it will lead to things that you can purchase through him, or just things that you can do, because he offers fee-based stuff that you can do, if you need it, if the survey shows that your brain could use some help, or just recommendations that are lifestyle stuff. And he’s in my $25K group. So, we’re talking from service businesses to medical doctors, to internet marketers, to you name it. Offers and target markets are for everyone. Explore them at the Meetup groups, those of you that are going to live Meetup groups this week, talk about selecting the target.

Dean: What a great place to practice your offers.

Joe: Exactly.

Dean: Yeah, craft your offers and practice, and work them out with the people in your Meetup group. That’s a great idea. Alright, let’s wrap up.

Joe: Well, I think I’m done. I’m done talking to you. No. So, on the behalf of myself and Dean and my whole team, and everybody, we really appreciate all of you that were recently at our conference. It was really fantastic, and we love to hear the results and feedback that everyone’s getting. Please put your comments at, and let us know what you want to hear about, what you need clarification about. To the best of our abilities, me and Dean will continue to deliver useful, valuable, and sometimes semi-humorous information.

Dean: Perfect.

Joe: Alright have a great day, great evening, great week, great whatever, and we will talk to you at the next episode of Goodbye.

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