Steven Essa grew up in working-class western Sydney, Australia. He and his sister were raised by hard-working parents, Assyrian immigrants, who had arrived in the country with no English, and few skills – but with a determination to forge a better life for their children. An interesting journey later, and through grit and sheer determination, Steven is now one of the most highly regarded experts in webinar automation in the world. He consistently wins ‘Best Speaker’ awards at live, on-stage events, and his presentations have been enjoyed by an estimated 25,000 people in 10 countries. Steven’s specialty is user-friendly automated webinar systems. He creates strategies and tools that facilitate automated webinars becoming an integral part of a business sales funnel – and he teaches others how to incorporate them into their marketing plans.
I’m opening up my private vault of unreleased interviews to kick off this podcast while I’m recording new episodes. This interview with Steven was recorded in 2016.
Sterling Valentine: Hey it’s Sterling Valentine, we are here with Steven Essa, one of Australia’s premier internet marketers, a former rock and roll guy and a really interesting guy and I’ve been watching him for a long time. So Steven, thanks for joining us.
Steven Essa: My pleasure Sterling, thanks for having me on.
Sterling Valentine: And Steven’s an unusual case because he was already an around the world rock star before he did internet marketing. He toured with a rock band and already had a career, and he has a very interesting story of how he got into internet marketing. He’s extensively experienced with high ticket back-end stuff, and he’s got a lot of interesting, unusual angles that I haven’t heard before, and I’ve been really looking forward to seeing him.
You know Steven doesn’t come from any super triple MBA background from some Ivy League school. He was a rock and roll guitar player, you know, so for those of you who might have a little challenge by saying well, what about me? And maybe he can do it, or she can do it, but I can’t do it. Hey, a lot of us come from a lot of different crazy backgrounds, right, Steven? And yet we still somehow managed to pull it all together and offer high ticket services and products, right?
Steven Essa: That’s right. You know, at the end of the day, people are buying value, they want value. You know, money is nothing but the measure of the value that we deliver to people. If you demonstrate to them how you can deliver value and you indeed deliver value, and you have a fantastic product that works and have fantastic support, then word quickly spreads. And conversely, if you offer a high ticket product and it’s shit and you don’t deliver value, then word would quickly spread about that.
So you want to always deliver quality for the high end, and most importantly, Sterling, is to pick and choose who you work with. Don’t just accept anyone in your high ticket product. You want it to be a program that has a high success rate. You don’t want to just accept anybody just because they’ve got the money. You have to have some standards, to work with people at that higher level. And I found that it’s very important to interview every single person that came into our high level, from $10,000 programs to $50,000 programs that I’ve created, everyone had to qualify for those, to make sure that they were a good fit.
Sterling Valentine: I’ve heard that before, to have people apply, not only does it filter out the people you don’t want to work with, but it offers a lot more exclusivity, and people feel like they have to actually qualify to belong to something. They value it a lot more. So let’s roll it back a little bit and take a look at how you first got started as an independent professional, as a consultant, you are famous for doing amazing webinar training, and I know that we talked about how you actually have gone around the world and helped people make money right at these actual events. So how did you make the transition from rock and roll guy to an internet marketing guy?
Steven Essa: Yeah, I think it all started with a decision. When I was living in Los Angeles for two years, we went there, we worked in the music business here in Australia for thirteen years and I always tell people, I learned more about business, by being in the music business than anything else. Because we would have to do our own merchandise, so we’d print our own shirts, we’d have our own logos and gimmicks, and we sold thousands of shirts with this one particular gimmick that we had which was, “Feels Good to be a Westie Head Banger,” out in the Western suburbs of Sydney, there’s some sort of conflict between the inner city crew and all of that, you know like that east coast, west coast you know, all of that stuff, there’s a little bit of that happening, and so we played on that.
We were the Westies, and we learned to market, and we learned how to get our name out there. After band practice we would get out and put pole posters on the telephone poles till 3 o’clock in the morning and get water and flour on big concrete bridges and put our posters up, so you know, we learned marketing, guerilla marketing, and we get chased by the council, chased by the police for putting up our stuff, and it was all about going to other networks, other events, other gigs, and supporting other bands, and you know giving our flyers out at those gigs when people came out and JVing with the bands, like telling a band hey, you support us on this tour, and we’d get you on that tour. It was like list swap, you know?
Sterling Valentine: Exactly.
Steven Essa: Like Sterling, I’ll promote you, offer to my list if you promote mine. So I learned all of that JVing. I learned about going to stores, approaching stores, putting things in the stores and you know we were terrible, average at everything, but we learned. We weren’t afraid of working hard for our dream. Our dream was to write songs that made us royalties you know, money coming in, without doing the work, that always appealed to me. Do the work once and get paid again and again, as well as the fame and the fortune that you can make in the music business, back then.
So we ended up in America and worked very, very hard for a long time, and then they said in 2003 when we arrived, they said you’ve come at the worse time. They said the music business is collapsing thanks to Napster and they’re not handing out record deals anymore, and basically we were kind of shattered, but we still went out there, and we did what we did in Australia.
We played at the Whiskey, the Roxy, the Viper Room, played with the Metal School back then. They’re now called Steel Panther on Monday nights in Hollywood. We’d never done a Gig on Monday night in Hollywood. That was the biggest night of the week. So we achieved a lot that I’m proud of, but at a time I was very depressed because the band broke up in nine months, we lived in a Hollywood apartment in Lash Lane, off Cahuenga Boulevard and four of us in a one-bedroom, we nearly killed each other.
I remember, one of our relatives sent some cans of baked beans over from Australia, we nearly killed each other over it. We were living on $10 a week at the 99 cents store on Sunset Boulevard, and it was brutal, to say the least. I mean, I’m pretty skinny, but I looked like Alice Cooper by the time I got back to Australia. So, you know, in the end, we kind of gave it our best shot.
There was a really, really cool Eminem song that I heard years before that he said, when you’re in the moment, try and grab as much of it as you can, in the music business you know, with your fame and fortune and whatever, and then he says, when your run is over, just admit when it’s at its end. And you know, for me, in my heart I wanted financial freedom. I wanted to be basically comfortable. I was 30 something years old at that stage, and I hated sleeping on the floor, and you just get over it. You know, music is a young man’s sport. When you’re touring, and you’re trying to make it, it’s very, very hard. As AC/DC says, it is the highway to hell. You know, it really is a highway to hell, the music business. So for me, it felt like I gave it everything I got. I left it all out there on the field, and we didn’t make it, and now I just wanted to settle down, I got sick of the whole rehearsing and changing singers, and you know, it was just a grueling thing, and it was nonstop. We never took a holiday.
Sterling Valentine: So how did we get to, I’m dying here, how did we get to the actual webinar expert part? This is killing me.
Steven Essa: Well, I was sitting in LA, and I’m basically looking at the computer trying to upload a CD into iTunes, and I didn’t know how to use computers very well. I could send and receive emails, and that was it. And I sat there one day, and I said, that’s it. These computers, these things here, they’re going to take over the world, and when I get back to Australia, if I don’t know how to use a computer, I’m going to be left behind. I’m not going to be able to find work. I’m not going to be able to create a business. So I looked at it basically like a tool. I said I need to learn this tool so I can go back, build a business on the internet.
So I came back to Australia. I tried to rip off Craigslist’s website and build a website in Australia like Craigslist because no one in Australia in 2005 had heard of Craigslist. So I tried to rip that off. I had one meeting with a website guy, and that was the end of that adventure. And then I got into real estate and started buying no money down properties because I thought, yeah, real estate, that’s the way to go. I got into $1 million worth of debt, and the property portfolio halved. So I owed a million, and I only had $500,000 in equity. So in those eight months, I went further backwards. When I came back from America, I was 30 grand in the hole. Now $1 million in debt and I only have $500,000 in equity. So I was going to seminars about the internet to learn for my bosses business, how I could actually help his real estate company to grow more.
And along that process of going to the seminar, I started seeing ideas for myself because I didn’t have a product, I didn’t have a website, I didn’t have a mailing list, but he had all these things. So I helped him implement that. And that’s why I always tell people, if you’re starting from scratch, the best thing to do is go and implement what you learn in someone else’s business first, because if it doesn’t work, you’ve ruined their business, not yours, right? So that’s a good way to practice, you know? Why ruin your business when … I’m only kidding. But basically, I pulled off some amazing things in his business. I helped him make like $106 grand in a month. I then implemented the web stuff that I learnt. And after six months, I quit my job, and I started my own online business. So I basically went into making money for churches and charities.
I pulled off a really good campaign where I made $30,000 for my church in Sydney in a month. And then I turned it into a product, I basically put it into a product, and then my mentor said, why don’t you try to sell it on a webinar? And I just remember saying, what’s a webinar? And he said, just go to gotowebinar.com and try it out, just check it out. So I went on there, I ran a webinar, I sold this product, I think I had 15 people on the call, and I sold two products at $297. And I thought, this is much easier than building websites, so I’m going to basically run with this. So I started doing it, and I made 4 grand, 10 grand, 25 grand, 100 grand, 140 grand in 90 minutes and went on to make a million-dollar business.
Other people started saying, how do you do that? I say well it’s really easy. And my mentor said you should become the webinar guy and people will pay you to learn webinars. I said you’re kidding. No one’s going to pay me to teach him how to do a webinar because it’s so simple. You just put it on, and you press play, and you know, over $10 million later, we now have five companies in multiple markets. I call it a medical center type model where we have other experts making us money. We just control the back end. And you know, we’ve never looked back since, and our team continues to grow year on year, our income doubles and it’s still fantastic.
Sterling Valentine: That’s a great, great turnaround story, and it’s a great example of the long and winding road, right? So if you’re out there paying attention and you’re saying, look at these experts, they’re already set, they’ve got it made, they got it all figured out. It’s a very, very long and winding road and sometimes it doubles back, and sometimes it leads you to amazing places. So Steve’s got a great story, and I want to hear a little bit more about what the original things were that you were offering. So you started at the $297 offer on the webinars. When did you break into what you would consider to be the higher ticket product? What were the original offers that you tried? What were the price points, and how did they actually go? Was it successful in the beginning, or did it take you a little while to dial in?
Steven Essa: Basically for me, what happened Sterling was I started out at $297. Now every time I start with someone who’s brand new in the business, and they want to create an information course because I never create a course until I’ve sold it. Really, I mean, that is very, very, important to me because I don’t want to waste any time unnecessarily. And if someone doesn’t buy, we don’t have a business yet, right? So I always start out at about the $297, we might throw together a quick offer like, here’s what we’re going to cover in some more webinars. So I put a free webinar together at the end, I did webinars with some support for $297. If we are converting more than 10%, I put it up to $497, if we’re converting more than 10% I go to $997, and I keep stacking the value until I get to that main offering of the business. It’s around about anything from $500 to $5,000 depending on the industry.
If we’re talking about the stock market, real estate investing, business opportunities, it’s going to be $3,000 to $5,000 minimum for our main offer, and now we bring as many customers as we can. You sell that on webinars, you sell that on stages, you sell that wherever you can sell that. From your website, and you, basically construct your main offer. So I started out selling a product called “How to Make Money for Churches and Charities,” at $297. It was about how to make YouTube videos, how to build a list, how to email the list, how to create a campaign for 30 days and make money and that whole thing, and I sold that. And I had people who were buying it that actually wanted to learn how to do it for their business, not for their church or their charity.
So I moved the next program to $500, and I basically said, look how to use YouTube for marketing purposes, how to do this. And I just started teaching them how to do it in general for $500, and I converted, I think four grand or six grand worth of sales, and then I put it up to $1,000 and then I just kept adding more value. You know, you can call me anytime for $1,000, you can call me anytime for a whole year.
So I just kept stacking the value till I got to the point where it was $3,000, and really what made me want to charge more was that my schedule was full. I wanted a full schedule and people paying me, because one of my students if they’re joining, I would rather you be busy making money, rather than sitting there saying, no I refuse to charge any less than $10,000 or whatever, but you’ve only got one customer. I would rather you’d be busy. So we get more testimonials. So you’d grow in confidence. So you create a supreme program, by working with more people, you get to create the ultimate program.
So I worked basically for, you know some people say Steve if I do that, I’m only making $5 an hour. I call it getting paid to do market research because I’m getting all these testimonials, I’m getting all these results. I’m seeing where people are weak, where people are strong. So I learned all this data. I learned how to master coaching. I would watch your webinar. I’ll sit there for thousands of hours of coaching. I would sit there and say stop, say this there, do that there. Can you replace that? Do you have a testimonial? So I literally became a master of looking at a presentation and saying, no, that’s not going to work.
To the point where I can look at a PowerPoint presentation and tell you based on the skeleton of it, whether the content is long enough, whether it’s not long enough, you know, whether the offer is irresistible. I became a master of the sales-letter, like a PowerPoint sales letter for a webinar through that whole process. So for me, I was investing in my education. The first four years was about learning what works in an internet business. And then after that, going into what the strategy is going to be. So I went to $3,000.
Now at the end of the first year in business, I made over $150,000 selling my main offer, which at that point was maybe around about $2,000 and I was like this is fantastic. And then I thought okay, now I need a higher-end offer. Because in business, the first offer that you offer is basically going to cover your costs and a bit of your lifestyle.
So at the end of the financial year, I said to my bookkeeper, I said how much money have we made? She said you’ve made $150,000 and you’ve spent this much money in cost and airfares, whatever, and you’ve bought yourself a bunch of clothes, and whatever, had a good lifestyle, went on a holiday, and at the end, there was about $20,000 or $30,000, I don’t remember the exact net profit number, and then I was like wow, it’s not really much, is it?
She was like you’ve lived your life, now you’re working your own hours now and whatever, and I said, yeah I’m working 16 hours coaching people every day, but you get to pick and choose where you work, when you work, whatever, but at the end of the day, I realized that I needed to get more income in. I can sell them more of this, or to sell a higher-end offer to the people who need more help. And this is really the thing that a lot of businesses don’t realize, Sterling. It’s like by doing and getting as many people into your main offer as you can, your $2000 to $3000 offer, you soon figure out where they need more help. Because your high-end ticket item, I call it your profit maker, your profit maker is going to come from what their problem is through your customer’s words, actions or non-actions. There’s three things that tell me what my high end offers should be, through their words.
When people are doing your first program, they will say to you, hey, Sterling, I really liked what you said here, but do you have something about this and this and this? Or, Sterling, I like the group coaching online, but do you have something where we get together in five days, and we build the whole thing? Is there something that, because you know, I get distracted. I come home from work, and I’m tired. Can I take a week off and come and work with you? And their words will tell you, or they’ll say, Sterling, you know, I don’t really understand the course. You know, like, what’s a domain name?
It tells you hang on, that’s wrong, that’s wrong, that’s right, that’s good, I like that, I don’t like that, I want this and their actions, if they’re taking action and they’re getting success, you know, hey, this is what’s working. That program is fantastic because of this. Or their non-action. Most people who buy programs don’t do anything, and it’s not just programs. Most people who go to university and college leave and don’t even do the degree that they studied. Most people who buy a book never read the book. Most people who buy food have thrown it away. Most people who buy clothes never wear those clothes and throw them away.
So we are a wasteful society. We buy on impulse, and we never use it. So if someone’s not using your program, it’s an indicator. How can we make it easier? How can we make it simpler or how can we sell them something else that they will use because they bought your program they wanted, doesn’t mean that just because they didn’t do anything that they don’t want the result. They wanted that result. Now let’s find a different way to sell them that result, and that might be, let’s sell them a five-day boot camp where you come in, and we build the whole thing for you. We did that, we sold it for $10,000, and people can leave, and they’re launched and ready to go. Or you can basically say okay, some people want more one on one attention. They’re nervous to ask questions in a group. So you basically say to them, how much would you pay for one on one coaching or consulting if I sat with you every week for 90 minutes and we built this thing, and we did it in 26 weeks, or we did it in one year, how much would you pay? They’ll tell you how much they’ll pay. They’ll tell you whether they want it, they’ll tell you what else they want inside it.
So I think it’s very important for people to get that information from people who’ve already spent… even if someone spent $100 with you that is more reliable research information than anything else.
And the biggest point that we talked about before we came online that you told me to mention is that when I first looked at my high ticket item, I didn’t have the confidence and the you-know-what to sell something for $25,000. I was nervous about it. Even I sold this amazing product for three grand, I had people making $1 million.
I had a vet who made $1 million and quit and sold his business. I had a fitness expert who made $1 million from webinars. I had a pilot that made 450,000 pounds in his first training. So I had all these testimonials of people and students who studied my course, made millions of dollars, and were doing great, but I still felt nervous offering something for $25,000. So I went back to my first mentor who sold me a $25,000 speaking program, and I said to him, do you mind if I sell your $25,000 high ticket item? Because it’s a proven package, right? I bought it. I’d done his program. It was a great course. I mean, I learned so much about marketing through his speaker training. It’s the best speaker training program in the world, called, “Next Level,” because it doesn’t involve any NLP tricks and whatever. It’s pure marketing. I just loved it. And I studied that, I became a millionaire from it and I said, let me sell it for you.
So basically I convinced him to let me sell it, and we’d go 50/50, and when I did that, I sold it at the first workshop I ran, I had like 20 people there, two people bought it, I made $50,000. I made more money from that room of people, from two sales, than I’ve had previously generated from that room of people at $3000 or $1000, whatever the package was. So I was like, wow, this is really good. And then I delivered that program and then at the end of the financial year, this is why I called it a profit maker…
Your high-end product is a profit maker because at the end of the financial year, the second year I think we did about half a million dollars in sales, and I actually looked at that, and I was like oh, here we go, we’ve got this particular income, we’ve got this particular expenses, and now at the end was leftover around about $140,000 from what I generated, my half share of selling his package. So I was like, wow. The rest of the business, the main offer that creates a really, really good, kind of income, a lifestyle, whatever, but then everything else, you know, is pure profit. That’s why I call it a profit maker. So you know, if you want to increase the profits of your business then adding a high-end offer is really, really powerful for doing that.
Sterling Valentine: Now this is the thing that originally shocked me the most, Steven, when I first added high ticket stuff into my offers and I found out when you do the numbers, and you calculate what percentage of your total revenue pie comes from the front end versus what comes from the high ticket stuff, even though the conversions are smaller, you know, your second offers, your upsells, your backend stuff, your conversions are going to be smaller, the number of buyers you’re going to have are going to be smaller. But when you see the total amount of the pie, that what you would consider a smaller section is actually bringing in, it actually can be the lion’s share of what you’re making.
So when I talk to students about this for the first time, they have to shift their paradigm a little bit because they’re really thinking like, I’ve got my main business, and then I’m going to add on this high ticket stuff on the top, on the back, like it’s extra like, they’re putting the icing on the cake and I try to get them to understand, No, that’s the cake, right? That’s the whole big cake, and you see when you really fully monetize it at a high ticket level, the front end is actually the smaller part, right?
Steven Essa: That’s exactly right. Exactly, and a lot of people get really caught up with the whole, I’ve got to do this whole ascension model where I need to sell my low ticket item and then sell the high ticket item. Well, I’ve thrown that little book out the window when I started selling my high-end product straight away because here’s what we found out through lots of research on webinars when we surveyed people who didn’t buy. And one good example was my wife, who ran her webinars. She was selling a $997 twitter course, and we did a little group where I had her on a webinar, she was overseas, and I ran a group in Perth, Western Australia.
And, we had about eight people in the workshop, and we ran this webinar in the early days, and basically, in the room, no one bought the product, and I was like, did you guys like the webinar? And they were like yeah we liked the webinar. I go, did you like the offer? They go yeah we liked the offer. I said, well if you liked the offer and you like the webinar, why didn’t you buy? And they said something that launched a over $1 million business for my wife. And they said, we love the product, we love the content, but we don’t have time to implement it. I said to the audience, so if my wife Corina did this for you, who would get involved? And they all put their hand up. I said, how much would you pay? And they said, well we don’t know. I said how much would it cost if you paid someone in the Philippines to do this? And they said maybe $300 a month. So I said if she can do it for $300 a month with a trained team who’s not in the Philippines, who’s in Australia or Europe, who would pay? And three people said we’ll pay for it, right?
You know, $300 bucks a month for one platform. So I called my wife. I said, oh this is really good. Like you’ve got to find a way to do it for them. A done for you is the best high, high level of program because it’s a push-button, they pay you, and then you do everything that is the most appealing product for anyone, especially these days where we’re all so time poor, time is the new currency. You know, if you save people time, they’ll gladly pay you money for it. So basically I went back to her, and I said, we’re going to do it. And the next webinar we ran, we generated $10,000 a month recurring income from 30 people who basically signed up to that webinar, and she had to stop selling it and get staff on board, that company is worth over a million and a half dollars now, and she’s cleaning up.
So basically, we learn from asking them what it is and we also started selling that as the front end offer because if people choose all four platforms, they pay $1,000 a month. That’s $12,000 a year. That’s a high-level package, right? And then I started selling a $10,000 program of my own, $25,000 program of my own, perfecting it. I think the first year I sold my own $25,000 program, I did a tour with my wife’s brother. We did over $1.5 million in sales on that tour, and it was fantastic. I got so many people signed up for the $25,000, I doubled the price to take half as many students, and we took like 13 students a $50,000 because we couldn’t keep up with all the students in the $25,000 price.
So, you know, these are the things that sort of happen and don’t be afraid to offer that as your front end. What you don’t want to do is offer your front end offer and your main offer on one webinar. You want to offer one or the other. So create two webinar presentations, one for your main offer, say $3000 offer and then create another one for your $10,000 offer. You know, just about a month ago, my brother-in-law pulled out of a webinar because he’s got twin daughters and he couldn’t do it, and I was going to cancel the webinar. My wife said, why don’t you just sell your high-end fast launch program for $10,000? And I was like, yeah, okay. I’ll just throw that out. So I threw it together last minute, just polished it up a little bit, and we made two sales at $10,000. Now, it wasn’t a 10% conversion, rate, but who cares? It was like an hour and 15 minutes, and I just made $20,000 from two customers that didn’t even come to that webinar for that. They came to see my brother in law. So it was absolutely amazing, and when I teach people that strategy, they freak out a little bit, you know, oh my God, I have to do this whole ascension thing first, and it’s just not the case. So many people want to buy your stuff on a webinar, they want to buy the result that you’ve got, but because you’re offering them a course and they don’t have time to study a course, you know, they’re not buying. If you turned around and changed it to a done for you, people would be lining up because they got the money, but they don’t have the time.
Sterling Valentine: And you know, you also bring up another great point. It’s that, the higher ticket you go, the less conversions you need, right? So the lower the price point, the higher the conversions, you’re going to require in order to get the same amount of money. So if you do a 1% conversion, somebody might say, well that’s horrible, but if your 1% conversion netted you $100,000, who cares, right?
Steven Essa: Exactly.
Sterling Valentine: So let’s go back and take a look at your lead flow from the beginning because this is a question I get all the time. So when you first started out, where were you getting your leads that eventually turned into these high ticket buyers? Where did you start out getting your leads? Did they turn out to be the ones that you turned into high ticket buyers or where did you find your optimal lead sources?
Steven Essa: Yeah, my number one, my business survived and grew purely on joint ventures. I couldn’t even do any marketing because I was so busy in my business doing the coaching, doing the support, collecting the money that all of the customers I got came from joint ventures, people who promoted me selling my front end offer, which was two to three grand. So basically I would go to a seminar, I would speak, I would sell, or I will do a JV webinar with them. I would speak to their list, and this is in the early stages of webinars when you could have a main offer, the cheapest main offers were two grand, three grand, and people were cleaning up on webinars with that. Now your front end offer on a webinar needs to be around about the $300 to $500 mark. If you’re talking to a targeted list, then you can sell. I still sell a three grand product on a webinar, and it still converts really well to a good list, you know, so purely joint ventures.
I always tell students this Sterling, if people who have three or four really good joint venture partners with big databases who promote them on a regular basis. You won’t have a marketing problem. You will have so many customers coming in. You won’t be able to keep up with them. And then 10% of those will sign up to your higher level, higher ticket, and profit maker product. So basically I survived and thrived and built my list to 5,000 just purely on joint ventures. People register for my webinar, some of them would buy, most of them wouldn’t, but I was building this database. Then I was bringing in other experts. I was promoting them to my database, and I was making 50% of the profit from their product as well. So that’s how I grew my business purely on joint ventures. And people say well, how do I get a joint venture? And that is basically find someone who’s got a big database and ask them what products are you looking to promote? What do I need to have? What price point do I need to be? What do I need to deliver? What does your database want? If you ask those questions, I mean I’m constantly looking for new things to promote all the time. Not at the moment.
We just acquired our first company, and we actually just launched a brand new business partner. But all the time, we’re looking for things to promote that are good, that benefit our database. That has great products. And why would you go and waste your time, in the beginning, running around spending money on Facebook ads and all this other stuff when someone’s already done all the hard work, they’ve got the database there, all you’ve got to do is find them. And people say, how do you find them? Well, go and get interviewed on their podcasts, go to their events, look at big companies. One of my students actually, we built her a webinar about joint ventures.
She went to AON insurance and had AON insurance send an email to their whole database for $100 referral fee, to promote a mental health practitioners website, which they pay basically zero 30 days free trial, $100 on that. They picked up so many customers from that. And not only that. The database, because every time someone registers for your webinar, the name and email is the most important thing. You know, all you want to do on your internet business is build your list. That’s the most important thing.
Then you go to someone, and you say, hey, can you promote me for 50%? They be like oh, 50% wait a minute, that’s so much money. Well go and do Facebook ads. Spend 100% and don’t make a single sale and now you have minus 100% of the money, at least with the JV, I’ll give you $1,500 from half of my front end offer, but guess who’s going to keep 100% of the profit maker high-end product, right? I keep 100% of the ten grand, so really it costs me $1,500 to get a customer, I made $1,500 and now making ten grand on the back end as well.
So you know, it’s absolutely huge when you focus on that, and you really focus on joint ventures. And then the other thing you do, if someone won’t promote you for 50% I’ll say to you, hey Sterling, can I pay you $5,000 just to send this email for this webinar to your database? Would that be okay? And then if you’ve got a good database and I’m on your database, and I know you send out good stuff, and I know people turn up to your webinars, that $5,000, that’s an investment. I can get a database of 200 to 300 people who are qualified because they trust you. And that’s what’s so powerful with joint ventures.
People say, should I buy a database? It’s a completely different game. You can, if you know what you’re doing and you’ve got the money, and you’ve tested them before, but nothing is more powerful. I’d rather pay $10,000 to you Sterling for you to mail your database, come to my webinar, you recommend me, I know I’m going to make money from that every day of the week, and I keep 100% of the profits. And then the other way, we do an ad swap, when I’ve built a database, I say, hey Sterling, you’ve got a webinar, I’ve got a webinar. You promote me for free, and I’ll promote you for free. You keep whatever you get out of it, you know? And that’s really all the strategies we use now in our business.
My wife ran a campaign in London recently for one of our business partners. She spent 120 grand, and we pulled in over $300,000 in sales, and they were all solo ads, people who we paid money to, to email their list and even send out direct mail letters as well. So, you know, start out small, but basically, it’s all built around relationships. JVs will make you rich, and it’s purely and simply the best way to do it. And that’s how all these internet marketing gurus made all their money. They tell you Facebook Ads, and they tell you to do this and do that. But at the end of the day, they all made their money from joint ventures, and if they tell you otherwise, they’re full of shit. Okay? So a joint venture is the most powerful number one way to do it.
Sterling Valentine: So if you had to address the people on your list, the subscribers that you’ve had for a long time, I know that some of them are doing high ticket stuff, but probably most of them aren’t. What would be some of the things that you wish that they knew, that you wish that you could impart to them about high ticket offers, about moving into high ticket territory, what would you like them to know, to believe, to understand and what kind of actions would you like them to take?
Steven Essa: Yeah so my students, how do I get him to sell a high ticket offer?
Sterling Valentine: I’m just saying anybody who’s on your list right now, any of your subscribers if you can. What are the things that you wish they all knew about the high ticket territory? What would you think that you wish you could tell them to get them to move into that area, that they don’t quite know yet?
Steven Essa: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is they underestimate, they underestimate the power of their value. Most people undervalue what they know and what they deliver because we know our expertise, we undervalue it. Like I said to my mentor, anyone can do a webinar. I mean, God, who’s going to pay me $50,000 to set up a webinar business for them. So the first thing you need to know is you are already undervaluing what you know, alright? If you are one of these guys that goes out there that goes, I’m this. I’m that. I’m fantastic. You know what I mean? Then you probably are very good, and you’ve just got a big ego, or you’re full of it, right? But if you’re humble, if you deliver great results for people, if you’ve got students that have made money or lost weight or done whatever it is that you promised and you’ve helped people even for free, there is a good chance that you’re missing out on a lot of money from not selling a high ticket item.
So the first thing is to realize the value that you give because money’s nothing but the value that you deliver to people. So that’s the first thing. Realize and recognize your value. Grab a piece of paper, write down everything that you deliver. Write down all the successes you’ve had for other people, for yourself, and gain the confidence because this takes confidence. Recently, I had a student who came to me. He ran a podcast in the music business. Now, the music business has been decimated by the internet. Downloads, record labels are dying. He’s got this podcast. He hadn’t monetized it in two years. I said to him, why don’t you start putting a $297 webinar together? He did that, he sold it, he made money, he said, what do I do now? I’ve got all these 30, 40, students who’ve signed up. He’s made ten grand from his webinar, I said, now you sell them a high-end ticket profit maker product. And he said what? But I don’t have one, and I grabbed a piece of paper, and I said tell me if I was sitting here, and I studied your first course with you, tell me what is a guaranteed way that you can make me successful?
And I grabbed a piece of paper, and we sat down at the club, the surf club down the road, I said what could you do to guarantee me success in the music business? He goes, I would need to come to your rehearsal room and actually watchethe way you practice. I go great, so I once a week you come to my rehearsal room. Okay, great or once a month, right? Once a month, you come to my rehearsal room, okay. What else would you need to do to make me successful? He said, Steve, we need to make sure your image is good and that you’re dressing properly. Okay, image. What else would you do? And then he listed for me all these different things. Now I make sure when I’m selling a profit maker product, the high-end ticket that all the things that I have them list are things that we don’t need to create if no one buys it. Okay? So I don’t want to ride in there, create a book and create 52 modules that we’re going to deliver on whatever. I want it all to be stuff that we can deliver if they buy, okay?
So basically he listed it all and I said, okay, how much do you want to get paid for doing all this? Do you think that’s valuable? And he goes, oh my God, that’s absolutely massive value. I go how much would it cost if they went somewhere else? How much would it cost if they went to a fashion stylist? And then they went here and there and bang, bang? It worked out to be 50 or 100 grand, I don’t know the exact figure. And then he said, and most people, you won’t get a booking agent because you know, I’ve got the connections, I can connect them here and there and whatever. A lot of it was intellectual property, and you’re buying into their networks. A lot of people have a big IP, like for example, I’ve got connections. If you buy my high ticket program, I can point you into directions. I can get you JV’s. You know what I mean? So you’re buying that intellectual property, the Rolodex of contacts, right? So that’s… people undervalue their asset of who they know.
It used to be the six degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon movies. Now it’s like the one degree of separation. I’m like one person away from anyone in the world. That’s why I didn’t believe they couldn’t find Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein because it’s a one-degree separation now, right? They must be on LinkedIn. So basically, I got him to list it all, and I said, how much do you want to charge Rod? And Rod said, I don’ know. And I said, Rod, would you be happy to charge $10,000? Would you be able to work with ten people at $10,000 in the first year? And he stepped back, and he said, Oh my God, Steve, no way, $10,000? He goes, which musician has $10,000? They’re struggling musicians. There’s no money in this market. You should have seen the sweat dripping off his face. I said, offer them $10,000, and he said, no, no, no, what about $5,000?
And I said Rod, let me ask you a question. How would you feel to take ten people through all of this, ten people or 20 people, because now you’ve got to make a hundred grand from your high ticket, now you need to actually, you know, do double the work. Twenty people now have five grand. How are you going to feel doing all of that for 20 people? How are you going to feel? Are you going to feel happy and joyful to wake up in the morning or are you going to start getting bitter and twisted going, oh my God, I sold it too cheap, I can’t believe I gave all this value? And he goes, yeah, you’re right, I’ll feel like I’ve cheated myself. I go okay, great. So why don’t you take a few people at ten grand, see how it goes, get some success and then start charging more and take even fewer people and then maybe even take a percentage later on as well as your high ticket product, take on ownership, which is what I started doing. I started taking ownership of all these companies I built because you know what, they couldn’t build it on their own, and it was my skills that built it. Why should I receive a one-time high ticket fee? Why don’t I take 50% of the company forever? And that’s what I started doing.
So he sat back, and he said, all right, I’m going to try for ten grand. I said, okay, fantastic. So the next question is, how do you sell your high ticket item? I said to him, go to the 30 customers that bought your $300 program, called them up and say something like this. Hey, it’s Rod here, just calling up to see how you’re going with the program. Do you like it? What else can I help you with? Oh, we’re having a great time, we’re doing this, we’re doing that, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, anyway, he says, by the way, I’ve been working with my mentor, and I’ve put together a program that I thought might suit you really well, and that is that I’m going to basically be looking for a handfull of 10 musicians that I’m going to do all of the marketing for them. I’m going to help with their image, I’m going to do this, I’m going to … and he lists the offer over the telephone, and he calls me the next day and goes Steve, you wouldn’t believe it. One lady, she’s got the money, she’s put ten grand in my bank account, and the other guy’s going to pay me $1,000 a month from literally just a few phone calls.
And that’s happened again and again. Had another example in the US property market. We sold these eight courses at $1,000 to this guy in Australia who sold them. He calls me up, he says Steve, something’s wrong with my thousand dollar course. No one is using the Skype sessions, and I say don’t worry, nothing is wrong, everyone is just busy. I say, call them up. He calls them up, are you happy with the course? They go, oh we love the course, we just got busy, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and he calls me again three months later, Steve, something’s wrong. They’re not using the courses. They’re not emailing me. They’re not watching the videos. Something’s wrong with my course.
I said nothing’s wrong. They just got busy. They spend $1,000, they want to buy US property, but they’ve got busy. I said, tell me something. How long would it take you if I booked for you to buy me a property in the US? He said, well, I’ve got to do the research that’s going to take me five hours. Then I’m going to open a US bank account. I’m going to open an LLC. Then I’m going to do this, and then I’m going to bid on the auction. And then he lists the whole thing out.
I said okay, if you do all that for them, because did they want the result when they first signed up? And the answer is yes, of course, they wanted the result. He calls him up again, and he says to them, hey, you wanted to buy property, right? Do you still want to buy property in the US? Absolutely. So here’s what I’ve put together because many of my students don’t have time. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do this. I want to do this, out of seven phone calls, because the eighth guy had actually gone out and did it himself, so he didn’t need him to help him. The seven phone calls, one lady put $10,000 in his bank account to buy a US property for her the next day. So this just keeps happening Sterling, again, and again, and again. And it comes down to confidence.
I know why people are scared, and it’s because they undervalue themselves, they’re not sure, they’re tentative, but here’s what I tell them. Write down your offer, and make it so irresistible that you feel sick in the stomach offering that much value for your offer that you go, I’m ripping myself off, and I can’t believe I’m selling this for ten grand. You’re going to get all this for ten grand, I’m going to be sick selling it to you, but because my mentor told me to try it this way you can take it for ten grand. And you give so much value, and when you see people paying and getting results, you get confident, then you put it up to 15 grand, then you put it to 20 grand, and you keep adding value and selling it for more and more.
Sterling Valentine: Sure, and you know, you bring up a great point that I don’t think anybody realizes. You can always just go to your success stories and ask them. You know we have a very skewed perception, we have a very limited bubble that we live in of exactly what the value that we have. In fact, we’re probably not the best judge of what our value is, so early and often I recommend to my students, and I go to my own students. So what have you gotten done? What have you achieved? What was the most valuable part of this? Very often, the answers that you get are not the answers you expect, right? But if we realize that we’re constantly undervaluing and when we realize that we’re not a good judge of what the value is, then we should, just go out and find out from them. You tell me what you think. Get that feedback early often. Test, reiterate, release, you know, quick and dirty gets something done. Minimum viable product. Get it out there, find out what people want and give it to them.
Very, very often I’ve found that where I start on the graph, I think I’m going to offer this with this package and this outcome. Then I take that and just like a text listing, and I go to some of my top students, and I say, if I was going to put this out, what would you think? What’s missing from this? What would you add to this? What do you think would be a good price point that you wouldn’t be shocked if you saw this at? Somewhere, between the range of X and Y if I decided to go with it? And I love your technique. I do the same thing about not releasing it, not putting a bunch of stuff in it until you actually have sales, because I think it’s very wise. A lot of our students are actually overworking and getting underpaid cause they’re building all of this Disney world before they ever even know if it’s ever going to sell. But you can always ask your students, and you can always go to them.
And there’s one other point that I’ve been dying to bring up because you brought this up about the confidence thing. People invest in themselves through us, right? Our egos get in the way, and we feel like they’re investing in us. Am I good enough? I’m not good enough. Will I be good enough, will I get judged? But I think that the real truth is, and I’d love to get your thoughts on this, is that people invest in themselves through us. We are the stewards of that change that they want to implement. We want to be the change agent for them. But it’s not about you. It’s about them, right? So if we can just understand that they’re investing in themselves through us and we’re just holding that money because you know, if they don’t pay to take the time, they’re never going to make the time. We’re holding that money for them in exchange for helping them get to that point. But if you realize that it’s not about you, then you can be more of service, right? And you get yourself out of the way, you extricate your ego from the process, and get out of the way of that head trash about am I good enough? Am I worth it? You’re not the one that’s worth it. They’re the one that’s worth it. Would you agree?
Steven Essa: 100% mate, I agree. And this is a very important point that you’re raising there because you need to sell it that way as well, okay? You need to stop selling the features, and you need to start selling the end result because that’s what people are buying. Too many times people go, you’re going to get one year’s worth of coaching with me, and their pitch becomes all the things that people are going to get, right? Oh, you’re going to get my 12 set DVDs with a book and 52 videos and a text message every day, and they sell all this because the expert, they know what that means, they know in those sessions we’re going to have a breakthrough, we’re going to get you, we’re going to shake you up, we’re going to smack you around, and we’re going to have a breakthrough. We’re going to create a webinar, and it’s going to sell, and you’re going to have your high ticket product, and you’re going to be rich, right? Or you’re going to be thin and muscley, or whatever it is that the result that your product gives them. We know what that means, but the customer who hasn’t bought yet, the prospect doesn’t know, right? So we need to sell the end result of them owning our program.
So I always teach people one little script that’s going to be very easy for you to do that. So if you’re offering 12 months of one-on-one coaching, for example, every single week, you tell them what they’re going to get, the feature. You say you’re going to receive 12 months of one-on-one, one-hour coaching every single week for the next 12 months. In these sessions, you tell them what they’re going to learn, the features, in those sessions, we’re going to work on your high ticket product, and we’re going to work on automating your webinar so that you … and then you go into the benefits. The benefits are so that you do the work once and get paid again, and again, and again. You start taking less customers but making more money so you can work on your business, not in your business. So you can travel more. So you can have the lifestyle and tell them the things that they want to have. So you can buy properties with cash or whatever the end result is that they seek, you need to drive that home.
I always say to people seven to three. You say three features for each thing. So if you say coaching, I’m going to give you 12 months coaching. I say to you. I’m going to do one-on-one coaching with you every week to hold you accountable and help you. I’m going to do that so that we go through your webinar and create an amazing webinar offer, and so that we can automate your whole business, and the benefit is that you can travel where you want and your business runs. Like me, I go overseas for three months of the year and travel around the world with my wife. When it’s winter in Australia, we go overseas, like at the end of this month we go overseas, and you can join us on this overseas tour and travel when you want to and go to the movies during the day. And you know, they’re buying those things. So say seven of those things that they want, the outcomes of their buying versus three of the features, because this is why…. If you just change that one strategy, that’s going to boost your conversion rate through the roof, just by doing that one trick, selling that end result.
Sterling Valentine: Absolutely. I call that the “So That” strategy. You have to just put “so that” at the end of your sentence, you’d tell them, it’s got this feature, it’s made of titanium so that you can … you know, you just put “so that” at the end, and then you tell them what is good for them, alright?
Steven Essa: Exactly, and then another way to say, “So that,” is, “Which means.” Which means you get this. And another one, to mix it up, so that we are not saying so that, and which means, is and the benefit of this is, that you get this, and this, and this okay? And you can use those words to mix it up.
Sterling Valentine: Well, Steve, I feel like we just got started in this, probably been an hour and we could be jamming all night. Let me get your final piece of advice. If you had just one thing to say to those students who love you the most, out on your list and if you could just reach out to all of them and say the following, one thing to them, to get them to move into action, to start putting more value into their perception of what they do and really start charging high ticket offer prices, what would you say to them?
Steven Essa: I’d say to them, right now, you are a multimillionaire from your high ticket product, and you’re losing money right now. The opportunity costs of not selling right now, you are costing yourself, because of your fear, because of your lack of belief in yourself, and in your ability, and you are right now costing yourself millions of dollars. And even worse, you are costing people that result that they seek because it’s the biggest selfish move for someone to not offer their best absolute product or service out on the market because of their own fear. Letting your fears stop you from truly impacting your customers and truly impacting their results. Because you never know, your product, whatever you deliver for them could have a ripple effect for generations to come in a positive way through the world, and that’s thanks to this amazing web of technology that we have access to now.
You can now start to share information and help people all over the world and leave a legacy for years to come. So my advice is to stop being selfish, start to take your claim, and if you don’t, your competitors will and you know you’re going to create a way better product and offer more value based on what we’ve talked about and what you learn with Sterling than anyone else out in the marketplace. Start getting your share and start helping and start giving back to the community. And the universe just has an amazing way, when you give, you receive and take the wealth that you deserve and then help more people and then have the lifestyle you want, have the family, making the money you want, start helping other people and taking a percentage of doing that for them and then share it around and it just keeps going.
Sterling Valentine: Beautifully said, beautifully said. Rock on Steve, awesome job. Thank you so much for sharing everything,
Steven Essa: Thanks, bro.
Sterling Valentine: You’re a wealth of experience, man. Appreciate it.
Steven Essa: Thanks.