Boom, what's going on everyone? It is Steve Larsen and you're listening to Sales Funnel Radio.
Today I'm gonna talk to you guys about product evolution.
I've spent the last four years learning from the most brilliant marketers today. And now I've left my nine to five to take the plunge and build my million dollar business.
The real question is how will I do it without V.C. funding or debt, completely from scratch. This podcast is here to give you the answer.
Join me and follow along as I learn, apply, and share marketing strategies to grow my online business using only today's best internet sales funnels.
My name is Steve Larsen and welcome to Sales Funnel Radio.
What's up, guys?
Hey, I'm excited for today, got the whiteboard with me if you guys are watching on YouTube. If you're out listening on iTunes or some other place, welcome. I'm so excited about this.
This episode specifically has been a long time in the making. I'm very excited about it. I have gone through and I have I spent the last hour and a half just thinking through it alone. Let alone the months prior.
I've been trying to figure out how to describe this very critical lesson. And I don't know another way to be able to describe this except for like two or three stories. So I gotta tell 'em here really quick…
What I'm trying to do is…
I first want you guys to know right, this episode specifically is all about how I create good products. I'm not talking about offers, I'm talking about products. Products and offers are totally different. And I'm here to talk about product creation.
Now I had the good pleasure in one of my semesters in college... I'll never bag on college. I think it's good. It's not how you make money though, but it does open up the noggin a bit, right?
So anyway, one of my semesters in college was kind of cool 'cause the professors walked up and they said, "Hey, check it out. You have no classes this entire semester. Your only task is to make as much money as you physically can." That's what the whole semester was…
They assigned us a random industry. And I got stuck in the food industry. If you guys know me personally, you know I am not a good cook. I was like “Crap, I don't wanna be in food, put me in the knick-knack. Put me in you know, the e-com space. I was like food, seriously?”
But it ended up being the best education I got the entire time I was in college. And it was fascinating.
At the beginning what they did was they put us into groups of like 15. So we're in these small groups, and we went on this retreat. They brought us up and super high mountain place for like three days and, we just did a whole bunch of like team building stuff.
I always made fun of that stuff, but if you guys ever heard of the terms Form, Storm, Norm, Perform? Meaning you're gonna get with a group of people, people are gonna unofficially be assigned roles.
You're gonna fight with each other and then finally the team can actually start producing, right. Well, we did that in that three day period. And that was one of the reasons they did it so fast with us.
Anyway, so we go in, #1: we start brainstorming cool product ideas.
We went through and we started writing out ideas for the name of the business, for what the product is gonna be, what the price point should be.
We were all over the place just coming out with this crazy deep dive of what we think would be best to sell.
Well, when we came back out of our high mountain escapade, it wasn't challenging or anything, it was a lot of fun though. When we came back they said, "Hey, you know what's helpful is to start asking your customers about what is it they wanna buy." And they started teaching us about design thinking.
Design thinking, meaning: here's how to actually think in order to design cool stuff. And they started teaching us these really cool processes. It was really really fascinating, it was a ton of fun.
And among those techniques were different brainstorming methods - different ways to go through and create products with customers. Which is where a lot of what I know comes from. It's really really cool.
Well, I remember there was this really fascinating point where they started telling us we had to keep a journal of what we were learning each day. And I found the journal, and I just read it for the last little while … and this thing is full full full full full, okay. And super awesome.
I started reading the journal entries and what I was writing, and I'm so glad I took it seriously 'cause like there's some good crap in here. It's fascinating to see what they were teaching us.
It was a combination of how to be creative, mixed with what they call data-driven decisions.
And I'm not the first person to ever say that at all. But that was when I was like, “Oh yeah, that makes total sense. Why would I not make decisions based on data? That makes sense. There's security in that…”
Remember, I'm specifically talking about product creation here.
So I'm gonna go through 3 separate things on how to actually create products.
Some of these stories, some of you guys may have heard in the past, but I don't think I've ever done an episode where it’s kind of laced altogether.
So first of all, remember I'm not talking about offers. I'm not talking about offers at all. I'm talking about product creation and how to make sweet products that make people be like, "Oh my gosh, that's so freaking cool."
The first time I ever learned about this was data-driven decisions, right. Meaning I can go out, I can see what other competitors are doing - essentially funnel hacking, right?
I can start asking and see what other markets are doing; what other products are doing, how they're making money? Very very data-driven - obviously data-driven decisions.
What was interesting is like as we started pushing forward and as we started learning these cool techniques and methods, I started having these really massive “aha's” on what actually created good products.
I've told this story in the past, but … so the guy, the professor that was assigned to our group, was not allowed to intervene with us at all. Only when we asked specific questions. So it was very much like, “Let's throw you off a cliff and see what you do in free fall.” And the whole semester was like that. It was a bunch of fun.
Anyway, so I was voted to be the CEO at the beginning, and what was cool is I got a lot of really cool interactions with him. He kind of became one of my first unofficial mentors, and I spent a lot of one on one time with him.
He was fantastic. He was the CEO of Denny's and of Pizza Hut. The guy invented stuffed crust pizza,... ahhhhhh! He was the man. He was super cool.
Well, one day he walked in and he goes, "Okay, this is what we're gonna do. I'm gonna teach you guys more ways to brainstorm effectively." And so walked in this room and there's like toys, like child toys all along the tables. Child’s toys all over the place.
There's Play-Doh, Silly Putty, there's Lincoln Logs and K'nex. There's Legos - there's toys all over the place. Any kind of toy you can imagine, all over the place. The room is filled with 'em. And we're like, “What the heck?”
This professor was awesome; next to him was a squirt bottle. There was one person that was the scribe, and they'd stand up and write down on the board the problem we were trying to solve.
We were like, “Okay, here's the problem -we're trying to solve this.” And we would start writing different solutions down. He would watch like a hawk and when somebody said something that was like a negative reaction…
Let's say we're gonna figure out how to solve world hunger, and somebody's like “Oh yeah, let's feed the world with Big Macs!” And I'm like, “Eh, I don't know if that's a good idea.”
Any kind of negative reaction, he would take the squirt bottle and shoot it in our face and yell, "Bad kitty!" And he would start spraying it at us. The guy was crazy, he was awesome though. He's the man...
What he was trying to teach us... and I wrote this down in the journal. I said: “Ridiculous ideas are essential in the creative process.” That's what I wrote down.
“Ridiculous ideas are essential in the creative process!”
And what was fascinating about this process is that we would start with an idea… We found out the market wanted empanadas. I didn't even know what that was…
I was like “Okay, right.” What if? How could we sell it this way? How could we sell it this way? And when we actually started realizing that when we started brainstorming, this really interesting stream of events started happening.
We started listing out tons of our own ideas - which is great, but to do this we had to get inside this creative zone where there was no judgment.
I’ve found that that is one of the major reasons why people I’m coaching now do not move forward; they’re afraid that their ideas are stupid. They're afraid that they're gonna be exposed as a fraud.
There's some imposter syndrome going on. Like, "Oh my gosh, people are gonna find out that I'm really not this amazing individual."
I was like, “Well, you're literally creating a new identity. Of course, you're gonna feel that way, right?” I've totally had imposter syndrome in my life, I totally get that.
But what's interesting about this is you have to give yourself license to go to the crazy zone. You have to give yourself license to be able to go into these spaces. The areas where like “Hey, you know what? Let's write some crazy stuff down.”
When I was doing the FHAT events, the funnel hack-a-thon event at Clickfunnels, one of the ways I would teach them...
when we sold the original 2 Comma Club Coaching Event it was the night before we were gonna sell something we sat at a board... it was Russell, Dave, Brent, Melanie, and myself, I think that was all in the room... and we just started writing down cool things that we could offer for this package.
We wrote everything down that was crazy. I want you to know that we use this. We wrote everything down that was nuts:
- They're gonna come for this three-day event.
- They're gonna fly into this crazy place called Boise, Idaho.
- They're gonna stay on Russell's pajamas.
- They're gonna brush their teeth with Stephen's toothbrush in the morning. Oh yeah, they're gonna love that, oh my gosh.
We’d go in and we write down all these things that are like, nuts, right? They're ludicrous, and we write that down. All this stuff, and then we'd go back and we'd cross out all the stuff that's totally unrealistic.
- They're probably not gonna stay in Russell's pajamas...
- You know what, they're not gonna use Stephen's toothbrush, that's a little weird...
- You know what, his wife's not gonna make breakfast for them...
- They're not gonna stay at his house. It's a little bit crazy…
But what we're left with at the end this was a product or an offer, you can use this for products or offers - ('cause remember they are different) that is prolific. That is new, that no one's ever really done before. But is also from a place of security. It's really interesting.
So data-driven decisions, super impactful. Super powerful. Should be amazing, but there is a hindrance inside of it…
You guys have heard this story before as well, alright...
My wife was pregnant, we literally were driving to the hospital to have our first baby...
Just before I move on... the whole point of this one is I want you to know product creation very much involves data-driven decisions. Very much involves data-driven decisions.
...Said in another way, “Funnel Hacking.”
That's data-driven decisions. That's where you farm data. You see what's already being done.
Moving onto the next one... Number two of three here.
My wife and I we were going to the hospital to have our kid...
The flaw with data-driven decisions is that when you go in and you start doing things like an ask campaign, right…
I was texting Noah Keegan in the hospital. We're about to have our first kid, and I was like, “Hey dude, what's up man?” He had this offer where you could text him before you actually bought. (I know I've just told this story recently so just to recap for those of you guys that didn't hear it, right.)
I was texting him, I was like, “Hey dude, I've got all this data…” That's basically what I told him. “I've been asking all these people and I wanna go launch this business, do you think that's a good idea?”
I can't tell you how many times I get asked that on stage in the Q & A section. "Do you think that's a good idea?" I get asked that all the time. I Five years ago, I asked that same question to Noah Keegan.
I was like, “Hey what's up?” And he goes... I should probably ask him about this. See I don't know if he remembers it, maybe not. But it was about five years ago. My kid's almost five…
Anyway, he texts back and he goes, "I don't know."
I was like, “What do you mean you don't know? I've asked all these people that this is a great product idea, and I said is this a good product idea and they said yes, so, therefore, I should go do this product, is that right? I should probably go do this?”
And, he's like, "Man, I don't know." And I got all frustrated - and so did he.
I was like, “Dude, all these people have said ‘Yes.’ I've collected tons of data, I've done my homework. Should I launch it?” And he goes, "Dude, I don't know. I let people vote with their wallets not their mouths."
And I was like... it's interesting, right?
So the data is important. It shows you where the yellow brick road stopped, right. It shows you where you need to get to, but it's not what creates something that's prolific. It doesn't get you that extra step out.
It doesn't help you create that next brick. It just helps you know that you're creating something that is somewhat secured. Does that make sense? This is a huge thing to understand.
… ‘Cause most people that do this will be like, "Do you think this is a good product?" And then they go ask like their friends, family or someone. They're like, "Hey check this out, my parents said this was a good idea. Do you think this is a good idea?"
I’m like, “Are they gonna be the ones buying it in the first place?” “Erm...Well, No." “Then why the heck are you asking them?” It makes no sense to ask if that's a good product if they're not the ones gonna be buying it anyway! Right?
You're not the one buying your own product, so your opinions only matter “this amount.” (small gesture) Does that make sense?
The market is the one that pays for it. You don't fill your own wallet, right? So data-driven decisions have massive massive flaws inside of it, as far as creating prolific products. Huge, huge flaws inside of that.
Next one I want you to understand - this comes from a book I've really been enjoying lately called Niche Down. Really really awesome. Right at the very beginning of the book…
I can't agree more with what this guy is saying. I was laughing so hard when he said this. One of the things I've been saying a lot lately is that your whole goal in product creation, and your whole goal in funnel building, your whole goal in market creation, is to be different, not better.
Different not better. Alright.
When I ask people, “How come I would buy your thing over the next guys?” And they default to, "Well, 'cause we have a better this, we have a better that, we have a better this over that." I immediately already know they're gonna be strapped for cash.
It's not enough of a reason for someone to jump. It's gonna become a feature war really fast. It'll become a price and a feature war super fast:
Your goal is to become different, not better.
And I was laughing because this book right, Niche Down, says, "It comes down to leveraging the exponential value of what makes you different rather than leaning on the incremental value of what makes you better."
And I was like “Hallelujah!” I was sitting on a plane when I read that, and I was like “Wooo! That's exactly it! That's 100% exactly what I'm trying to say.”
Your product should be different, not better.
It's a very subtle way to think about that.
I was on a Q & A for 2 Comma Club X a little bit ago, and that's exactly what I said and I was like, “It's about being different, not better.” And I think that that's a better way, it's an easier way, fast way, to understand what it is that we're trying to share all the time.
It's about being different, not better.
If I'm like, “Oh, this is a better widget.” That's gonna be rough, that's gonna be really really rough. Anyways, let me move on here…
The third thing here is this game, (again remember I'm talking about products, I'm not talking about offers and I'm not talking about markets or categories)And you feel like Stephen, that is a lot of vocab. I understand that, and I understand a lot of my podcast lately has been definitions - which can be freakin' annoying and boring…
So I'm trying to keep it engaging, trying to keep you very involved with this and hopefully, you guys have been enjoying this? But I want you to understand that it’s not about going out and creating something that is brand new, totally prolific - something that nobody's ever seen before, you know what I mean? That's what college taught me until I got to this semester here…
So in that business where I was in that food semester, right, where I was creating that business, we ended up doing two to three grand a week in sales to poor college students. We did quite well. We made a lot of money in that.
I had a lot of false beliefs and fears melt away as we started building that. And it was awesome, super cool.
At the end of it you go and you donate all that money out to charity and such, and so it was a bunch of fun. So anyway, we went and we made a sizeable amount of money. And I sat back after that semester was over, it was easily the most impactful one that I had in college, and I sat back and I remember thinking like, “How can I teach what I just learned?” Because I was already very aware that I needed to coach other people for me to speed up my personal progress. It's one of the reasons I do these episodes…
And what I did, I actually wrote a chapter of a book. I didn't finish it, but this is it guys, I freakin' found it, how cool is this? It's awesome, it's only like 60-ish pages, but I was just trying to write down and encompass the things that I learned.
I should probably put this in the new book I'm writing now.
I'm writing an offer creation book which I'm super stoked 'cause there's not really a book out there like that…
So anyway, it was it was; “How a group of college students used these 5 rules to get our business off the ground in a week for 3K a week.” Which is awesome, right!
And I went through and I wrote it down and one of the points that I wrote…
I'm just laughing because I just barely found this thing in like some cupboards and stuff. And I went and I found it and I was like “Oh, check this out!” And there's this whole idea that I was trying to put across.
Most of the time what people say you need to have, right, this totally brand new thing, something that's completely prolific. But that's not the case at all. I call that The Product Big Bang Theory.
Bam, this brand new thing that's never been seen before just pops out, boosh. Product Big Bang Theory. Product Big Bang Theory is like so risky! It's like blue oceans that are truly blue, that truly nobody has actually seen before. Those kinds of products exist. But they’re risky to create.
The product is cool, the product serves a real purpose, the product actually solves things, but it is not marketable. Does that make sense?
It's very hard to make money on a truly blue ocean. 1991 is when the internet became publicly available for the public. It was being used way before that, right? The infrastructure, the whole economy, there was no infrastructure available for something like the internet for such a long time.
The book Innovator's Dilemma talks about this very concept. It’s by Clay Christensen from Harvard. That guy's amazing! It's the exact same concept. You can go too blue.
So it's not about product Big Bang Theory - it's about product evolution.
Again, talking about products, not markets. Products, not offers.
It kind of ties in with data-driven decisions: you're gonna go and you're gonna funnel hack and you're gonna figure out how far somebody has carried that product and then you're gonna figure out what you can add to it to make it different, not better.
Does that make sense?
I know I've dived into this quite a bit, and this is kind of a more technical episode, and I'm trying to make sure that like people understand what I'm trying to teach when I share this kind of stuff.
- Product Evolution, not product Big Bang Theory.
- Using data-driven decisions to make you different, not better.
Most of the time people make data-driven decisions, they take data to make them a little bit better than the competition. That's great to do once you already own a category - but it is not the way to dominate a category.
You must craft something that has never existed, a category that's never existed and then use a product evolution to actually get people into that new place. That make sense?
That was deep, probably too deep. I've done a lot of episodes and I can feel there's not enough story in this one, but hopefully, that makes sense to you guys?
This is the whole idea:
- We take market data, meaning you ask people that hopefully will purchase from you.
- You add, right, you add the ridiculous ideas - that equals good products. Attractive products - products that are talkable.
That's basically it. That's how I do what I do:
- I see how far people have gone.
- I come and I add ridiculous ideas on top of it.
- I take away the things that are just not realistic.
- And I'm left with good products that people are like, “Crap that was awesome, no one's ever done that before.”
And I'm like, “I know because I've done my research.” I've gone through and I'm like “Hey check this out. Oh, this is what everyone's doing, this is how everybody's delivering that product.”
Then I just go in and I lace in my own crazy, I lace in my own prolific zone.
And when I add those two together, that's honestly what leaves me with good products. (I'm talking about products again, not offers.)
Anyway, guys hopefully this is helpful to you?
This is a deeper episode, I don't really like to go this deep on that. And I promise I'll go more story based so that they're more interesting to listen to, but hopefully that makes sense to you? Hopefully, you see why I do what I do in this stuff... And what's going through my head when I start to see someone's product, or their offer, or whatever they're doing.
This whole game's so much more formalized and more formulated than I think people realize…
It's not a scary thing - there's just a formula behind it. And once you learn the formula, it's not that hard.
Dedicate yourself to learning the process. Fall in love with the process, fall in love with the personal process that you're going through as you develop into a character that can create and own that product.
Most people are not the person they need to be in order to deliver the product to the market. So fall in love with the process of it. Don't judge yourself, it's okay.
Start learning to enjoy as you move forward and start moving down the road…
I got one last quote here, okay. Oh crap, let me grab it. I dropped the book thinking that I was done here and I'm not. Check this out. I don't remember who said this:
"Enlightened trial and error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius."
That's awesome. "Enlightened trial and error succeeds over the planning of the lone genius." '
So just act.
I'm not trying to cause analysis paralysis in anybody:
- Create your first iteration of the idea.
- Go try and sell it.
- See what happens.
- Then take what they did and didn't like an make adjustments.
- Then relaunch.
- Then take the adjustments, and go relaunch again.
- Then adjustment and relaunch. That's all the game is…
That's all the game is. Pretty soon, you got it. That's the reason why we say “You're just one funnel away.” 'Cause honestly you are:
- If you know you got a good idea.
- If you know the market's telling you “Yes.”
- If you know there's a place for you to do things differently, not better.
Then just keep rinse and repeating, rinse and repeating, and suddenly it'll hit.
Some of my products right now, like the Secret MLM Hacks one, that's the third time. The beginning of this year was the third time I've launched that product. Isn't that fascinating?
Anyways guys, thank you so much, appreciate it. Hopefully, you guys enjoyed this episode? I know it was a little bit deep and I promise they will not be that crazy in the future. I just had to get this one out because a lot of people ask.
Alright guys thanks so much, I'll talk to you later, bye.
Boooom, if you're just starting out, you're probably studying a lot. That's good.
You're probably geeking out on all the strategies also, right? That's also good.
But the hardest part is figuring out what the market wants to buy and how you should sell it to them, right?
That's also what I struggled with for a while until I learned the formula. So I created a special mastermind called The OfferMind to get you on track with the right offer, and more importantly the right sales script, to get it off the ground and sell it. Wanna come?