The Single Most Important Question with Guest Ryan Levesque: MakingBank S2E37
with Ryan Levesque
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When you look back on your childhood, what can you remember from your days in school?
A bully? A best-friend? A field-trip?
More than anything, you probably remember the system of measurement. A collection of tests, essays, homework assignments, and in-class presentations for which you were academically judged and ranked with an arbitrary letter-grade.
And the grade you received? Well that grade was largely determined by your ability to provide answers.
Having the “answer” was the means to achieving success.
For at least the first 18-years of your life, you were conditioned to focus on “the answer” in order to achieve success, and because of that conditioning, you probably still focus on having “the answer” as a professional.
When you’re trying to sell your product, your service, your value, etc. you focus on giving your prospect “the answers” because you still believe answers are the way in which you will achieve your goals. The problem is answers aren’t the conduit to professional success like they were the conduit to academic success.
In the professional world, it’s not the answers but the questions that lead to success, and the entrepreneur who can ask the right questions with the greatest regularity is the entrepreneur who will find themselves king of the hill.
An online marketing expert and highly-regarded author, Ryan has been lauded by media outlets from CNBC to the San Francisco Chronicle for his capacity to ask the “singe most-important question” in any situation.
Today on Making Bank, host Josh Felber invites Ryan onto the show to share his international journey, his very real brush with death, and explain how he became one of the most highly-regarded marketing minds on the planet.
Ryan will also provide some invaluable advice for entrepreneurs looking to get a leg-up on their competition, and grow their businesses from floundering operations to cash-machines doing $25K or more a month.
You will learn…
- The significance of leaving a legacy.
- How to start thinking small to score BIG.
- What makes a question more powerful than an answer.
- Why the online business is the sacred cow for the introverted entrepreneur.
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The Single Most Important Question with Guest Ryan Levesque: MakingBank S2E37
Josh Felber: Welcome to Making Bank. I am Josh Felber, where we uncover the success strategies and the secrets of the top one percent, so you can amplify and transform your life and your business today. I’m excited for today’s guest. We got to connect a little while back. I’ve been following and studying his methods in his courses and everything for about a year now. It’s really an honor to be able to have him on this show. Ryan Levesque is a software entrepreneur and the author of the number one national best selling book ‘Ask’, as featured in Inc. Magazine as the number one marketing book of 2015. By Entrepreneur Magazine, as the number two must read book for budding entrepreneurs.
Ryan has used the ‘Ask Method’ to help build multimillion dollar businesses in 23 different industries, generating over $100 million in sales along the process. Since then, his students have used the ‘Ask Method’ in thousands of different industries to launch and scale their businesses online. Today, in addition to offering training, certification and live events for entrepreneurs’ looking to launch and grow their business using the ‘Ask Method’, Ryan is also an investor in a new software called Bucket.IO.
It’s a segmentation software for entrepreneurs’ using and implementing the ‘Ask Method’ in their business. I’m excited today to welcome Ryan Levesque to Making Bank.
Ryan Levesque: Josh, my man, I’m excited to be here and just been looking forward to our conversation.
Josh Felber: Awesome. Well tell me a little about how you, because your background is not entrepreneurial. You have a degree from the university in Psychology and all kinds of cool stuff, I remember from talking with you.
Ryan Levesque: Totally.
Josh Felber: Fill us in a little bit and then kind of how you got started down this whole path.
Ryan Levesque: Yeah, totally. Like so many of us doing what we’re doing, like this, I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to do this. I went to college. I studied neuroscience and East Asian studies at Brown University. After college, I ended up working on Wall Street in investment banking. I had this itch. I wanted to go to China, like I really just wanted to travel to China and work in China.
I had this opportunity to move to China to lead a big expansion project for the company AIG. This is in the early 2000s. My wife and I spent almost five years out in China. In 2008, when the world financial crisis hit, I literally walked into my office one day and the Wall Street Journal Asia edition had the headline ‘AIG to file for bankruptcy’.
It was on that day that I literally typed up my resignation letter to my boss and handed it to him, and I decided that I wanted to pursue my entrepreneurial journey. The first little business that we started, my wife and I started in a totally obscure market, teaching people how to make jewelry with Scrabble tiles. That was our first little business, as funny as it sounds. We went into that market, then we went into another. We went into the orchid care market and we went to the memory improvement market. Then before you know it, I had started to develop this methodology that was working in all these markets. I went into 23 different markets all said and done.
I did that for almost a decade and then began, you’re familiar with my story. I got very sick, very sick after my first son was born and ended up in the hospital. I spent 10 days in intensive care, came close to dying and really just had this realization that I wanted to do something bigger with my life. I wanted, like so many of us, I felt like I had something more inside of me to give.
Legacy started becoming really important, and so I decided to publish a book ‘Ask’. Basically revealing how I’d done it in all these different markets and really shift my focus to serving and teaching entrepreneurs, so they could have a bigger impact in their business. That really kind of takes us to today.
Josh Felber: Along the ways you’re building your, because we’ll take a little step back. You had, with the orchid care business, which I know you’re still running. The jewelry business and some of these different companies that you’ve built up to the ‘Ask Method’. What along the way, those are all internet marketing businesses?
Ryan Levesque: Yeah. My expertise is selling online specifically. Like so many of us, like I came into this world and it’s funny when people … People who have met me in public don’t really realize this, but I’m pretty introverted. I went into the online space, because I was afraid to sell.
The first businesses that I started were all built around these personas, because I was too afraid to be me in front of the business. The Scrabble business was a persona, the orchid care business, even though we used my name, we created this persona. I wasn’t on camera, I wasn’t actually speaking to customers. I was hiding behind a sales page.
I think for so many of us that are attracted to this world of kind of online, it comes from that fear of rejection right? For me, I’m not a sales person, I don’t do well in person selling and stuff, that was what originally really attracted me to this world. Was I wanted something where I could build a future for my family. I wanted to have control over my own destiny. I wanted to have freedom, when I worked, where I lived, all that stuff.
I didn’t want a business where I had to be on the phone selling or in front of people selling. I was really attracted to this idea of online marketing, where you could sell through a website, you could sell through a sales page, you could just use words on a page and people will actually pay you money. It sounds crazy, but 10 plus years ago when I first started, I mean that was like a revolutionary concept to me. It wasn’t something that I would, I knew existed.
Josh Felber: What do you think that you attributed to your success with those businesses? Obviously coming from a totally different background than the online marketing and marketing in general, what was kind of one or two keys that you found created that success for you?
Ryan Levesque: There’s two things, two things that come to mind. Number one is, when we, when I left my job, I was getting paid well at AIG. When I left that job, I moved in with my wife and we were living this crazy by country marriage. She was actually getting a PhD at Hong Kong University. I was based in Shanghai, so we’re like literally flying between Shanghai and Hong Kong every couple weeks to see each other. It’s insane, right? This is like in our mid 20s.
I moved in basically with her in student housing. I donated everything that I owned except for what I could fit into two suitcases and basically just got to work. It was kind of like I went from this very luxurious life. My company was paying for my apartment. I had a maid. I had all my meals cooked for me. I mean I had like that really nice life to living in like a 400 square foot apartment, eating tuna fish sandwiches. That was like the big, the drop off.
The first thing that comes to mind Josh is this idea of, I want to call it forced poverty, but it basically was that, really made a distinction so living really lean. We’re not going to go out to eat. We’re not going to buy new stuff. We’re just going to keep our expenses really, really, really tight, as tight as possible.
I wasn’t distracted by all the trappings of life, right, and I think that’s a thing that traps a lot of people, is they have high overhead in their life. They have a nice car, they’ve got a nice house, they have maybe vacations that they take. They go to concerts, they do all these things. For somebody who’s just starting out, it’s very distracting.
Now, after we left Hong Kong, we moved back to the United States with literally nothing. My wife had two suitcases, I had two suitcases. We were starting from ground zero. We moved into an apartment, we bought $100 mattress that we put on the floor. We opened up a bank account in the United States. We got two of those soccer chairs, like the [crosstalk 00:08:21].
Josh Felber: Right, yeah, when you open the bank account.
Ryan Levesque: That was like the gift for opening up a bank account. That was our living room furniture, so we put that in the living room. We had a TV off of, what is it called? The goodwill. There was like $10, no cable, but we had the rabbit ears and we had to jam the rabbit years into the window to extend the metal, so we could get better reception. We got like three channels and that’s it, that was the only furniture that we had. Oh and a desk that my wife’s parents gave, an old particle board desk that was just from, I mean it was like falling apart when we got it. That was it, and I had a computer.
I drove, we bought one car. I drive my wife to work every single day and just living super lean like that. We had a $50 week grocery budget, just purposely keeping things super tight and simple. What that does, is it creates just enough discomfort, just enough discomfort where you’re saying, “I don’t want to live like this forever.”
It allowed me, because we weren’t distracting ourselves with everything that was going on, it allowed me to be really focused in those early days, which I think is really important. That’s the first thing. Second thing Josh was, this shift in mindset. That was kind of very, a practical thing that we did.
The other thing was very much a shift in mindset. I’d read a lot of success books, and they all kept telling me the same things. They all said, “Write down on a piece of paper the amount of money that you want to make.” Every day in the morning, you look yourself in the mirror and you say, “I am going to make this money,” or, “I have made $20,000 a month,” or I have made half a million dollars a year,” whatever the thing is.
I was spinning my wheels and I realized the reason for that, when I came back to my background in neuroscience and psychology, is I studied, I spent a lot of time in university studying the neuroscience of fear. What I realized is that, that scares you. When you actually put out a huge number that you’re not sure if you can hit it, it paralyzes you with fear.
The shift that I made Josh is, instead of think about how to make $500,000 a year, I asked myself a simple question every single day. What can I do today that’s going to help our business grow by $500 this month? That’s it. The reason for that is, $500 was an amount of money that I could get my head around. I could do things like, okay, well what if we go from shipping our books out first class mail to media mail, that’s going to save us like a dollar per package.
If we ship 500 packages per month, awesome, that just saved us $500. We just made $500 more, okay, awesome. I just kept asking myself those questions. Instead of thinking big I started thinking small, and when I did that Josh, things all of a sudden took off and we went from basically making nothing to $25,000 a month in 18 months. Up until that point, I was really spinning my wheel. Those are the two things, the forced poverty excuse me, and going from thinking big to thinking small.
Josh Felber: Awesome. I mean that’s definitely some phenomenal bits of information, some really good gold nuggets. We got to take a quick break, can you stick around for a minute?
Ryan Levesque: Absolutely.
Josh Felber: Awesome. I am Josh Felber, you’re watching Making Bank and we’ll be right back.
Welcome back to Making Bank. I am Josh Felber, and we’ve been speaking with Ryan Levesque. He’s uncovered some really awesome nuggets here for you. First one was, being trapped by high overhead. I think that’s a key point and really living lean as they were able to get their feet on the ground and just start to build their businesses. As well as a shift in mindset. He went from thinking big to now thinking small, and so that way he was able to wrap his head around and his brain wasn’t in fear mode to go after and continuously make and generate additional revenue of $500 every month.
Two awesome insights Ryan and welcome back to Making Bank.
Ryan Levesque: Josh, awesome to be here, excited.
Josh Felber: As you’re moving along, the businesses are growing and I know you said you got sick and you were laid up in the hospital. You weren’t sure, because you just went in for, I think like a routine check to see how you were doing, because you were a little under the weather basically.
Ryan Levesque: After my son was born, my son was six months old and my wife said, “Hey, you know you should apply for life insurance, because if something would ever happen to you, kind of the main breadwinner in the family, it’s not just the two of us anymore. It’s like we’ve got another, a human that we’re responsible for.” I said, Oh totally, like I’ll totally apply for life insurance.”
I’d just turned 30 years old, I applied for life insurance. If you’ve ever applied for life insurance, they send a medical examiner to your house. They take, do some blood work, they take your height, your weight, a few things like that. Then a few days later you get the results from the exam.
I few days later I had a business trip to New York City. I went to New York, came back to Texas and I had the letter, a life insurance letter waiting for me on my desk. I opened it up and the letter says, “Denied.” I’m thinking, “There’s got to be something wrong here.” I’m 30 years old. I was an athlete growing up. I played soccer. I ran track, I was a pretty healthy guy. I said there must be some mistake.
I called the life insurance agent and he says, “Ryan,” I thought it was a mistake. He said, “Ryan, it’s not a mistake. I also have your lab results in front of me as well, from your blood work.” He said, “You might want to sit down.” He then proceeded to read a series of numbers to me, I didn’t know what they meant at the time, but I wrote them down. He said, he ended that phone call he said, “Listen Ryan, I’m not a doctor, but I really think you need to go see one.”
I wrote, hang up the phone and then I made the biggest mistake of my life, I went to Google. I went to Google and I looked up what the numbers meant. Josh, the results in Google that came back when I typed in those numbers were kidney failure, renal system shut down and pancreatic cancer.
I’m freaking out right? I’m totally freaking out. Later that night we put our son to bed and my wife casually asked me, she said, “Honey, I saw we got the life insurance letter. All set?” I said, “Well, yeah, not exactly.” Then I told her the situation. I was still in denial at this point, so she freaks out, she breaks down and she calls the hospital’s hotline and make sure that we get the first doctor’s appointment the next day.
This is at the point of my life where I wasn’t going, I didn’t have like a doctor. I wasn’t going to the doctor, you know what I mean? I was just like, I’m a young man, I’m healthy. Go to the doctor is what you do when you’re a kid or when you’re like old and sick. I go to this guy, he sees me and tell him the story. He says, “Okay, well we’ll order some blood work done. We’ll have it done stat.”
We wait in the waiting room and when he comes out back into the waiting room to see us, his demeanor completely changed. He looks me in the eye and I remember like it was yesterday. He grabs me by the shoulder and he says, “Mr. Levesque, you should be in a coma right now. We’re rushing you to the emergency room right now.”
They rush me to the ER and it turns out I’d fallen into a state known as DKA. Right now, I know you can’t see me, but previous in shape I weigh about 175 pounds right now. I had dropped down to 132 pounds. That was 43 pounds lighter than I am right now. What ended up happening was my body lost, my body was eating itself. My body was eating muscle tissue, and so I just attributed the weight loss to the fact that, if you’ve got kids, it’s like I’m a new dad. I’m not getting a lot of sleep, I’m running a company, just not taking care of myself. Again, I just assumed it was that.
I get there, [inaudible 00:16:16] is DKA, diabetic ketoacidosis and spent the next 10 days in ICU, in intensive care. I have a dialysis patient next to me and a cancer patient across the hall, and these are people at the end of life. These are people in their 80s, 90s. I’m here, I’m 30 years old and it’s like why am I here? What the hell happened?
We didn’t want to bring my son into the hospital, because we’re afraid that he would get sick. I had all this time alone and it really forced me to reflect on my life. If you’ve ever had an experience where you come to terms with your own mortality like that, it brings a clarity unlike anything else. I had achieved some modest financial success, but I wasn’t changing the world.
I just had a little business and little lifestyle business was making decent money. I came out of that, the hospital and I said, “I have something more to give.” There’s something, like so many of us, right, we feel like, “I’ve got more. There’s something inside me, this can’t be it. I have to do something bigger.”
I decided that the thing that I was so passionate about was teaching. I wanted to teach the methodology that had been so impactful for me and get it in the hands of millions of people. I basically made that decision in the hospital. Then within the next year I exited the hospital, made some changes in my life and published the book ‘Ask’, and the rest is history.
It went on to sell 100,000 copies of the book, became number one national bestseller, you mention about Inked Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine. It’s been featured in a number of different places. It’s kind of led to really a movement, where people are now using the ‘Ask Method’ in a major way. It’s what I eat, sleep and breathe. It’s what I’m so passionate about and the reason why I am so passionate, is I’ve seen it, how it’s transformed my life in the businesses that I’ve been privileged to be involved in.
What’s most exciting to me is, I see every single day, I get a Facebook message, an email, a letter in the mail from an entrepreneur, who says, “Ryan, this, the ‘Ask Method’ has transformed my life, it’s transformed my business, it’s transformed the life of my family.” For me, I mean that’s like, I mean that gives you the feels man. That gives you a warm and fuzzy, and it’s like, you do that, you get one of those, it’s like your fuel every single day.
It’s almost like this, it’s funny, it’s almost like a drug in some ways, because you get so, you get high off of it. You see how people are changing, like I want to be more of that, and it just energizes you. Yeah man, that’s what brings to today.
Josh Felber: That’s, I think sometimes we have that, where we have to have that shift in our life. Whether it was an experience like you or had or just we get hit, we hit a certain point, whether financially or whatever. We lose it all to make that mind shift and make that change in our life to move forward.
Tell us a little bit about some, maybe some of our viewers don’t know what the ‘Ask Method’ is. What is it and how’s it all work?
Ryan Levesque: Totally, absolutely. The ‘Ask Method’ is a marketing methodology that involves using a series of surveys to basically better serve your customers and better sell to your prospects. It helps you identify the different segments that exist in your market and how to speak and communicate with those different segments differently.
Sometimes there are just certain small nuances in language when you’re speaking to one type of person to another person, that makes all the difference in the world. The ‘Ask Method’ is all about a methodology that helps identify what those language patterns are, and then better communicating with the different segments that exist in your market.
Josh Felber: Okay. We have an online business and we want to know, hey, we’re selling to men and women both, but obviously, so we’re going to speak to a woman different than we do a man. With your, I guess methodology you’ve created them, that’s going to allow us to then differentiate and then direct those people to the information that’s going to best fit them.
Ryan Levesque: Totally, absolutely and it could be men and women, maybe that segmentation makes sense in your market. It could be something that we call journey segmentation. If you have a success path in your business, let’s pretend you help people succeed in their online business, well there’s a journey there. There’s the person who’s starting at ground zero. There’s a person who has had a little bit of success, but really wants to build their email list. There might be another segment, someone who is they are already making six figures, but they’re trying to break through that million dollar mark right, and they’re just stuck. Then maybe someone who is more of a marketing consultant or an agency and they have clients.
Each of those different segments of people have different language that they use. They have different pain points, different challenges, different places where they’re stuck. Now, the problem is most people, let’s say you have a product that can help all four of those groups of people, most people what they do is, they have this one size fits all marketing approach. Or they do the kitchen sink approach, which is like this. “This is the most amazing product for you, whether you’re just getting started, whether you’re looking to build your list, whether you’re looking to go from six to seven figures or if you serve other businesses as a marketing consultant, this is the most important thing that you’ve ever read.” You’re kind of like, bull crap right?
Josh Felber: Right. I am guilty, I’ve done that before.
Ryan Levesque: I mean it’s like no, it’s like how could these be for everybody, right? The key is asking, hence the ‘Ask Method’, asking a few questions online before you begin selling some. The thing is, this is how we naturally communicate offline. When you have a conversation with someone, if someone walks up to you and says, “Hey, what you are selling isn’t right from you.” You don’t just go into your pitch, what do you do? You ask a few questions.
Well, time out a second. I don’t know if what I do can help you, but if you take a moment to tell me a little bit about your situation, I can tell you this is a good fit for you or if not, what I’d recommend that you do. It’s really just translating that process online in a way that is easy, that is technologically simple to do so. It’s not like this big burden and in a way that allows you to sell so much more authentically.
We’re not having to be sleazy or scamy. This is how humans communicate, and just taking that approach and putting it into a methodology that entrepreneurs can use online.
Josh Felber: That’s awesome. Tell me a little bit about, so what’s our first step with this? How do we start to create this in and where do we go with the initial part of that?
Ryan Levesque: There is really three phases to the ‘Ask Method’. The first phase is discovery. Second phase is segment. Third phase is launch. The discovery phase is all about doing what we call a deep dive survey. A deep dive survey involves doing a survey online to uncover and identify the pain points that exists in your marketplace.
This could be a survey that you send out to your email list. If you don’t have an email list, it could literally be a few phone calls that you have with potential customers in your market. Or just text message conversations, where you’re asking a few intentional questions. One of the questions that’s most important to ask is what we call the Single Most Important Question or SMIQ. It’s a question that sounds like this.
When it comes to X, I’ll talk about X in a moment, when it comes to X, what’s your single biggest challenge or frustration that you’re running into right now? Let’s say for a moment that you have a business where you help people with their Facebook marketing as an example. You would say, “When it comes to advertising on Facebook, what’s your single biggest challenge or frustration that you’re running into right now?”
Now let’s say for example you teach, you sell to make a completely different example, I’ll take a real example of one of our students. Let’s pretend that you sell cooler trailers, so refrigerated trailers for, so big, $25,000 refrigerator trailers to restaurant owners, produce transporters, people that need to transport refrigerated items.
Your question there might be, when it comes to transporting the refrigerated goods that you transport in your business, what’s the biggest challenge or frustration you’re having right now? What you’re trying to identify are, what are the pin points that exist in your market that aren’t being met? What is the language that people use to describe those pin points?
The biggest mistake we make as marketers or entrepreneurs is, we use language that makes sense to us, but it’s not the language that our customers use. I like to say that, you don’t have to be a great copywriter to really write compelling and motivating and persuasive sales messaging. All you need to do is know what questions to ask your audience, because they’ll give you the right language to use themselves.
It all starts, that’s the discovery phase. It’s all about discovering that pain that exists in your market. The segment face is all about identifying the different segments that exist in your market, so you can communicate with those segments differently. In the cooler example, one of the segments that exists in that market are restaurant owners who need to transport a lot of refrigerated materials. That’s like one segment.
Another segment are produce growers, so people that have small farms and berry farms and things like that. May need to transport their produce from the farm to where they’re selling it. Maybe at a market or maybe to a distributor. Another example would be someone who, they do temporary food service. Someone who is, does that, they’ve got a food truck at a fair or they do festivals that are lik three days long and they need something to refrigerate their food while they’re on site. You can think about, those are three people that would buy the same product, a refrigerated trailer that you hitch on the back of your F150, right, your Ford F150, but they are very different people.
The segmentation process is all about how to speak to those different people differently, because they use different words to describe the same things. Even though you might be selling the same product to each of those segments, and a question I always love to ask people, so for someone listening to this, I love to say … They might say, “Is the ‘Ask Method’ right for you?”
I say, “Let me ask you a question, are you in a niche? Are you in a specific market?” Everyone says, “Yes, I’m in a niche, I’m in a market.” Then I ask, I say, “Do you sell a product in that niche?” They say, “Of course, yes, it’s our product or service, yes.” I say, “Well, let me ask you this then, can your product or service serve different groups of people within that niche? The same product, can it help different types of people?”
Inevitably almost 90% of people will say, “Yes, totally.” This is where the ‘Ask Method’ comes in. Speaking to those different groups of people differently to better serve them and better sell the product that you’re selling.
Josh Felber: That’s awesome. The discovery segment and then the launch, what, so say, I mean if we’re a brand new business just starting out online, what’s the best way? I mean obviously we don’t have anybody to go do a survey directly and a list or anything like that. I mean what do you recommend kind of like a first step for them? Do they go out to Facebook or Google and just post out a survey from that?
Ryan Levesque: Basically, the best thing to do for someone who doesn’t have a list, this is something that we teach in our training is, to go to places where your market is already hanging out. A couple of examples. You can go to forums, you can go to Facebook groups. You might go to your personal network of contacts that you have and really what you do is, you say, “Hey, I’d love to ask you a question. I’m working on this project right now where I’m trying to better understand the biggest challenge and frustrations people are having when it comes to this. I’m wondering, would you be open to me asking you a few questions about this situation? Would that be cool?”
Then once they say yes, that opens up the door to have a series of one on one interactions. Now these one on one interactions, if you’re comfortable hopping on the phone, get on the phone. Just ask a few questions instead of running a survey to a list, get on the phone and ask the questions. Like you and we could ask the questions right here doing, in an interview like this.
Now if you’re the type of person that’s like a little bit shy, you’re not thrilled with that, I mean heck, it can just be a Facebook Messenger conversation back and forth right? “Hey, first question, when it comes to transporting your refrigerated goods, what’s the biggest challenge or frustration you’re having right now?” You’re just having this one on one conversation.
Now people say, “But how many of these do I need to have? Do I need to have a million of these?” Well the way the math works out Josh is pretty simple. One individual conversation like this, is worth 25 survey responses, because you’re able to go so much deeper, right?
If you have an email list, the easy button is you just send a link in an email and get 250 people to fill out one of these surveys. The alternative, instead of 250 people filling out a survey, just have 10 one on one conversations and you’re getting the same information. You’re able to go so much deeper in those one on one conversations.
If you’re just starting out, you don’t have a list, that’s what I would say. First step is this, identify what’s your SMIQ, what’s your single most important question. That’s the most important question that you want to ask people in your world. From there you can ask a whole bunch of other questions. You can ask about, for someone in the cooler example, you might want to know what produce do you sell. You might want to know how much money do you make in your business? How long have you been in business? How much staff you have, all these kind of questions to better dimensionalize that business, that person.
If you were to ask just one question and one question only, it’s that SMIQ, single most important question. When it comes to X, what’s your biggest challenge or frustration?
Josh Felber: That’s some great insight and I think I mean, whether you’re a new business or an established business, it’s definitely something everybody needs to be doing to move them to the next level. I know we recently did and actually it was all over the phone, we did a survey of roughly about 20 different people that bought one of our Acne care products for a skin care business. With like, you said, was able to really dive deep.
Ryan Levesque: What was, get, dimensionalize a little bit. For someone doing this, who’s like, “Is it really worth doing?” I mean you’re a smart guy. You’ve been running your business for, you know a lot of stuff. You know your market.
Josh Felber: Right.
Ryan Levesque: What was one of the, like what was one of the takeaways that comes to mind when you got on the phone with 20 people? What was the surprise or something that was unexpected?
Josh Felber: Why I wasn’t the one on the phone. Okay. I actually had somebody doing it, but it …
Ryan Levesque: By the way, so glad you brought that up, so for someone listening to this is like, “I don’t really want to do it, because I don’t have the time.” You can go on Upwork.
Josh Felber: Sure.
Ryan Levesque: There are so many people who would love to do this type of work for gosh, $15, $20 an hour. It’s, and there’s so many people. Anyways, when you analyze or you heard back the report from this person, was there anything that stood out to you? You’re like, wow, anything?
Josh Felber: I think just what we’ve found is, where we initially thought kind of our market segment was, was a whole totally different age bracket. We thought, we were thinking they were kind of in that older age bracket of that 44 to 50 range. We actually found out they are more in that 25 to 35 range, so obviously you’re going to speak to both of those areas totally different than if you were just talking to a 50 year old person.
Like, “Hey, clear up your acne, because you’re young and eating whatever.” Now it’s, hey, we’ve got to speak to that younger demographic than the older ones.
Ryan Levesque: Totally and it’s like, when you come up with case studies right, or testimonials. If you put a 55 year old woman and it’s a 25 year old woman who’s the potential buyer, there’s a mismatch. That can actually un-sell, even if the 55 year old woman says, “This is the best product I’ve ever bought ever,” 25 year old woman looks at that and she’s thinking, “This isn’t for me. This is for old lady’s,” right?
Yeah, so you can actually, you’re imaging, your imagery excuse me, your testimonials, the stories that you tell, the references. When you’re talking about things like cars and movies and music, all these things that might weave into your marketing, you want the 25 year old to be able to identify with it rather than the 55 year old.
That’s great. I mean that’s such an important insight. Thank you for sharing that.
Josh Felber: Oh definitely. Then our next step is then, we’re going to be doing a full deep dive survey to our full list of, to then segment down based on what people buy and then do some smaller surveys from there for that as well.
Ryan Levesque: Brilliant.
Josh Felber: We’ve got a few minutes left. I want to maybe see two action points you’d like to let people take away today. They can go implement and start doing, would be pretty awesome.
Ryan Levesque: Totally. You know really the best way to get started, we kind of covered it already right? First thing is this, come up with what you’re saying the most important question is. For that, you need to get clear on what your goal is. Are you trying to figure out what product to sell next? Are you trying to figure out why your mark, how to better market a product that you’re already selling?
Are you trying to figure out if the, a niche that you’re considering pursuing, is there enough demand? Are people in enough pain for you to consider pursuing it? Once you’ve decided what your goal is, then from that come up with that single most important question. When it comes to X, what’s your biggest challenge or frustrations? That’s the first thing.
Second thing is, just find one person. Test it out, find, just identify one person that is, can, a woman who needs help with their skin. It could be anybody. It could be your aunt. It could be your mom. It could be your neighbor. It could be your coworker, whatever, you just reach out and say, “Hey, I’m working on this project, I’m looking to solve this problem and I’m trying to get a little bit of insight and I’m wondering would you be open to answering a few questions.”
When the first person says yes, just ask her that single most important question and then you’re off to the races.
Josh Felber: Awesome. No, that’s some great action steps for you guys, just takeaway and start doing. I mean don’t sit there and wait for this. It doesn’t take a whole lot of time to put it together and like Ryan and I said, you can go and find somebody, if you want to have them jump on the phone and do the surveys directly.
What’s one piece of technology that you can’t live without?
Ryan Levesque: One piece of technology that I can’t live without. Gosh, that’s a really good one. Related to this, if you’re going to do the phone interviews, I’ll give a semi not obvious one is, I use a program called Call Recorder on Skype. Now, so, when I do these phone interviews, I love doing it on Skype, because one it protects your phone number. You don’t have to have like … If you don’t want to use your cell phone and you don’t want to give up your cell phone to people, you can do it on Skype.
Number two, it’s super easy to record. When I do these phone calls, I love to record them and then transcribe them. I record them using Call Recorder, and then I’ll send them to, here’s one to write down as well, I send them to a service called Rev.com, R-E-V.com.
Basically Rev.com is a transcription service, so you a 20 minute phone call with someone, have it transcribed and then what you have through that is your copy, is practically literally written for you. All you need to do is just copy and paste that, those words. Put them on your website with a few little tweaks and massaging and you’ve got your headline, you’ve got your bullets, you’ve got your landing page copy. It’s all written for you.
I’ll say Call Recorder plus Rev.com is the technology that I can’t live without.
Josh Felber: Fantastic man. I just, one piece of success advice you want to just leave everybody with.
Ryan Levesque: This is the most powerful piece of advice I can give you with someone, something that one of my mentors gave me. It goes like this, you don’t have to get it perfect, you just have to get it going. Movement breeds clarity, just keep moving forward.
You might be scared to do this and this way you just say, screw it, just do it. I’m going to do one of these damn interviews and you just whatever. I might look like a fool, I might say stupid stuff, but you don’t have to get it perfect, you just got to get it going.
Josh Felber: Cool man, awesome. Where can people find out about you and I know you’ve got a new software Bucket.IO that will help people segment and survey and everything that you’ve put together. Give us a little insight.
Ryan Levesque: Absolutely. We’ve got some great free resources at Ask Method.com. At Ask Method.com, we’ve got a free 13 page PDF blueprint that walks through the entire ‘Ask Method’. If you’re like a visual person, you want to see examples and you want to know like, what is this ‘Ask Method’ all about? How is it all tied together? What’s the big deal? That’s a great place to start.
You can also get a free copy of our physical book on our website, the book is called ‘Ask’. You buy it on Amazon for $10, $15, whatever it is, but you get a free copy on our website. We just ask you to pay a few dollars shipping and handling, so that’s on Ask Method.com. As far as like the survey technology to do the deep dive survey that we talked about as well as the segmentation, Josh mentioned that I’m an investor in a piece of technology that I believe is the future of online marketing. It’s called Bucket.IO, Bucket.IO.
If you go to that page there, you’ll have an opportunity to check it out, test drive it and start using it in your business.
Josh Felber: I know the software looks really awesome and we’ve used other different platforms up until now, so I’m excited for that to be released first of the year I think right?
Ryan Levesque: Yup, exactly, first of the year.
Josh Felber: Cool. Ryan it was an honor and I really appreciate your time today. We have so much information that we’re able to dig out for people today, so again, thank you for coming on Making Bank.
Ryan Levesque: Josh, it’s been awesome, really grateful for the opportunity and look forward to connecting again sometime soon.
Josh Felber: Cool. I am Josh Felber, you’re watching Making Bank, where we uncover the success strategies and the secrets of the top one percent. Get out and be extraordinary