In this episode of One Funnel Away Stories, I had the opportunity to speak to seasoned entrepreneur John Black. John has weathered many storms throughout his entrepreneurial journey. He has seen it all and then some after taking part in the first dot com boom to navigating the uncertainty of the 2008 market crash.
John credits his resilience to his ability to see the bigger picture and to produce value to his clients. He also ensures that the value he is offering results in revenue. His ability to handle crises when it comes to client marketing has given him valuable insight that he shares in today’s episode!
How to Deal With Downturns In Business
John Black has had decades of experience in the advertising space. He has used the business world’s uncertainty to his benefit and trained himself to be adaptable and help other entrepreneurs do the same.
John has used the current climate of chaos to his advantage. Entrepreneurs everywhere are panic-stricken due to Coronavirus. He spends his time talking them off the ledge and teaching them to transition to a remote business model. Because he has dealt with several economic downturns throughout his career, he is in a unique position to weather the storms that come.
Working from a young age has taught him the benefit of hard work and tenacity. He has a laser focus for not only selling products and keeping customers but also retaining revenue and keeping buyers. When it comes to helping customers leverage what they already have, John is an expert.
He once had a furniture retailer as a client who was caught in a sudden economic dip and pushing to drop their advertising budget to cut costs. Because of the sudden drop, all of the client’s competitors had also rushed to reduce their advertising budget. John Black did his research and realized this and suggested that his client not panic and instead keep their budget at where it was. Because of his foresight, that client had the best year to date in a recession no less.
The moral of this story is that you’ve got to sell the value that is available to you now. For this client, their value was in the fact that not everyone would be facing the ramifications of a recession and that those people should be their target audience.
John Black Approaches Business With This Mindset
“There’s a second level of education that happens when somebody is brand new to the business” – Steve Larsen
When it comes to a recession, John Black looks at the situation as an opportunity rather than a pitfall. He approaches business as a way to provide value for someone else. His goal is to help others bring in revenue. The key to leveraging ourselves in business is to spend our time focusing on what we can do best. That might mean focusing on how we can ensure our clients have enough time to dedicate to what they do best.
When that is effective, then revenue begins to reflect those efforts. There are always going to be tough times in business. It is what we do to get through the obstacles that set us apart from the pack. He has systemized his process for success. John starts by picking up clients on retainer then throws in a consultation, funnel building, and page build. It’s a process that allows potential clients to see value upfront. The key is to get the momentum going.
Why John Black Says Value Shouldn’t Be Free
“You’ve got to sell the value that is available right now” – John Black
Right now, entrepreneurs are scrambling for ways to cut costs. They question how they’ll manage to support their business in the face of an economic crisis. When facing uncertainty, business owners jump to offering free trials and promotions. There is a misconception that it is a bad idea to charge for value when the economy is at a standstill.
John Black argues against this. A free trial doesn’t help anyone. In fact, it may be doing more harm to the economy than good. Work still has to be done, so when no one is getting paid for it, more revenue is lost. There is also the risk of the customer perceiving it to be worth less because there is no charge. Remember, if you don’t value it, no one else will. To succeed, you’ve got to attach revenue to action.
His number one recommendation to other entrepreneurs and business owners is to keep on jabbing. Things will get tricky, and there will always be obstacles in the way. But if you are intent on your success, you will find a way to work through the tough times!
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"The Transcript Is Auto Generated And May Contain Spelling And Grammar Errors"
John Black 0:00
Just look at the business that you're on you're trying to target and how much time you're going to save that guy. So he can make more money doing what he does best. And you do what you do best, you'll make money, he'll make money, and they'll be your client until your heart's content.
Steve Larsen 0:18
If you're like us, you've dreamt of building your own business empire, and the freedom that can bring you. But today, there's hidden traps on the path of entrepreneurship placed by Big brother and the big brands. So now we're forced to answer hard questions like, how do we grow a real company without taking on debt or giving away ownership? Or how can we get leads and buyers for our own products when there's so much competition with deep pockets? Finally, those questions are answered and 10s of thousands of people are taking the challenge to walk the new path of entrepreneurship. Follow this podcast while I asked about their shocking journey from failure to freedom. You can join them too at one funnel away calm. I'm your host, Steve Jay Larson, and you're listening to one funnel away stories
CYC Welcome back to the one funnel way story show where I am asking entrepreneurs, but the businesses they've tried the successes, the failures, in fact, the failure to freedom story itself. Very excited to have on with me today, john black.
John Black 1:17
Welcome to the show. How you doing everyone? Oh, yeah.
Steve Larsen 1:19
Hey, thanks for taking the time. Honestly, I know it's kind of crazy right now with all this virus stuff. And we're all in different places and such but thanks for getting on. Very good. Very good. Yeah. Yeah, I guess just to start right off the bat, what is it that you do right now?
John Black 1:32
I mean, advertising, in particular, sort of media negotiation. Right now I'm really earning my money because a lot of clients are trying to cancel panicking and everything like that. So I'm kind of talking people off the ledge, talking of ways of how to get their business done remotely without having seen like, you know, have anyone's face to face in their offices or walk in and everything else. So this is like the fourth downturn. I've been through So I kind of have a bit of crisis management when it comes to client marketing. So you as I say, I'm earning my money right now and trying to do it from a bedrooms a little bit challenging as well. So
Steve Larsen 2:13
I removed this backdrops exact same setup. Yeah. Yeah. So think okay, I want to come back to that for sure. Because, I mean, you have a lot of wisdom in the space in that space and getting through something like this. But what how did you get started in business, much less entrepreneurship?
John Black 2:30
Essentially, I, I've always worked. I come from an very working class, if someone can tell my voice. I'm from London, live in the Las Vegas suburbs about 10 miles east of the apocalyptic Las Vegas Strip right now. And essentially, I've always worked and it was tender as we say, a you would say, a dime into $1. I say a penny into a pound. And I've always worked since I was about 10 years old for school jobs and I've always looked at how you sell your your product, but then keeping a customer protecting the revenue you have through the door, but also keeping a buyer. And I mean, I've looked into this, you know, the clickfunnels team about I'd say about just over a year into and when Russell says about all the principles, I've applied this to traditional business for years and years and years, and but doing it online just sort of takes all the backbreaking the you know, the the dirty digging out of it always kind of is I wish this was around 15 years ago. I mean, I
I'd be owning soccer teams and I'd be I'd be owning the jets and stuff like that.
But yeah, I got started. My way I really kind of got going was just an aside stuff for clients. Taking a look at their business. Most were sort of a bit white bread they needed. They had a marketing budget, so to speak. And then I would always take it the extra mile in meetings and go If he just did this, or if he just did that, and if anyone, I mean, we this is probably the Coronavirus special episode right now, this is not that the economy right now is nowhere near as bad as it was in our way. Right. So if anyone's listening to this take, if you're having a meeting with a client, I'm going to give you a story about when I worked. My I'm a long term advertising agency professional and I worked in Ireland, and the economy dipped so fast down in Ireland. It was frightening. And I had a furniture retailer was a client, a company called read furniture. So incomes the marketing director and she's panicking. We've got to pull this what can you negotiate is to get us out of contracts and ever hold all creative, hot. Don't do this. Don't do that. So I knew this meeting was happening. And so what I did was, I looked at every one of her competitors and at the time She was about eighth in the table for revenue and adspend. Therefore not that and her biggest competitors have gone out of business and three others have pulled all of them are advertising or TV or print digital billboards, you name it gone. So all I said to her was, if you spend exactly the same as you did last year, within six months, you will be the top furniture retailer in the country. And she looked at me as if I was crazy. And I said, Look, the property market, as you rightly said, is in the toilet, that nobody's buying or selling houses. However, if you've kept your salary, and you got paid the same amount or a similar amount as what you did last month, what you did this month to what you did next month, there is no recession, there is no that you don't have a personal recession. The recession is in the media, your own personal recession hasn't happened. So those who own a property and can afford to keep it are going to upgrade it. So what they they're going to upgrade with furniture So she said, Okay, then I'll sign the budget off. So she signed up, you know, back and forth a little bit and everything else. I went back to the vendors. And I said, I've kept this client spending What are you gonna do for me? She got 50% on the euros we say or on the dollar more marketing value. And within six months to a year when everything come back online, everyone was behind the behind the eight ball. They did their best year ever, in the worst year ever. If anyone's watching this now I've got clients panicking. You've got to sell the value that is available right now in the marketing world. Yeah. clicksor throat click is clicksor through the roof. If they want to pull off a billboard put them onto YouTube YouTube's you got is going through the roof right now. clicks are up twip Click rates are up. 20% email rates are up in all walks of business. And I've got a tutoring service I do a couple of funnels for he's panicking. He can't have kids through the door said right do one on one zoom. I've been telling him to do this for Two years now do a YouTube Live, you can teach anyone anywhere. He's now got a full calendar because parents are sick of their kids and just want to park them in front of the laptop and actually do some schoolwork. And I said to him, get on Facebook, let's get on YouTube, let's you know, do for your local area, email the list, and businesses coming in. It just takes a little bit of, you know, not why how. And yeah, and that but that's me. I mean, that's how my I got my start in business really in a way when I started thinking, right, okay, then nothing's ever that bad. It's still true. And he he's just he is the is the real business people that push through. And it doesn't take that much. I mean, I've got sales reps calling me thinking they're a genius by calling during a downturn if they'd have called me three months ago, they wouldn't be hungry now. Yeah, but they didn't. It's, I mean, what I would say is just if If anyone anyone's watching and everything else, just look at what, who look at who you pay, they need your money more than ever. And I guarantee you if they add 10 clients, they've now got three. So they'll give you two clients worth of value just to keep your action going for the next two months. And always asked a question someone who say yes, and you go back to your clients say, Look, I've got you X amount, more X amount more, everything ends, everything comes back stronger. But if you want to set yourself up to go like that, rather than like that, now's the time to get involved.
Steve Larsen 8:31
I heard one of my one of my own coaches say like, yeah, it was an eight I decided to just not participate in that. And it Yeah, true. Like it's not saying that, you know, anyone watching this is now it's, it's not to be apathetic, we're not acting like it's not happening. It's everything just got cheaper. And so you can go further with the same dollar and I'll go get such a huge gift, frankly, like, which is not going to be true in your head unless you think about it that way, but it's massive. Absolutely. So what are you doing before 2008? These may sound like you started in 2008 your business? Well
John Black 9:07
the.com I was a big part of the first.com boom, we were taking meetings with different things that we're going to say that I dare say is what how your phone rings and how Russell Branson's phone rings with the next funnel that's going to change the world. And do you want to buy in? Well, this is what we was having, would you give us ad space for my new website, and we had a client called jungle calm, and they sell CDs and books. And that massive, massive ad campaign is one weekend and I'll come in and a marketing director called me said we sell five CDs and two books. And I said was one of them the Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits? He went, yeah, well, that was me. And so it they, they just it was a saturated market. And then Amazon bought all this stock up. And that was that. But yeah, I'd launched a lot of columns and We really didn't have digital media back then there was no kind of fade there was definitely no social or anything like that everything was traditional. And the wastage was a huge donor viewer target even within most niche of audience you had to target everybody. Because if you only had a newspaper and a radio station, a TV and a billboard to really work with people were allergic to digital at the time. And yeah, there was no social so that's how I got my, my real star is in that first downturn, because then we bartered all the stock of all these down, like gone bust comms that they bought in warehouses, we bartered it for media space, and we we broke it ourselves, our agency for about a year on it. And gain is just another way of there was a downturn. No, it was an advertising downturn rather than an economic downturn because a lot of these guys they didn't have credit insurance or some genius in my in in the ad industry gave these Guys ad space without credit insurance. So where I millions, millions and millions and millions of these of these fly by night calm.
And then all anyone did was trying to buy domain names and then try and sell them. And then but yeah, so I've got my start and all I've now started my own thing where I failed miserably at something locally, and it was a mailer. And I kind of like thought, well, email, people might not read all emails, but they might get something through the mail. And it was about new Movers. So you would approach a pizza chain or hairdresser or someone like, you know, a local independent business and you would say to them, okay, then we know when the new people are going to move in, we send a gift card to them, and then that person comes to your store redeems that free gift, and if you train your customer for life, this is okay, but Vegas is a very new city most housing developments and no more than 20 years. We live in one of the more mature neighborhoods and it was built in 95. So it'll be like arts and Georgia or something like that as an old center but everything else around is like no everything's No, it's all strip malls. It's all Starbucks subway. Now hair salon, nail salon ups, rinse and repeat all along, you know, everywhere you look. So MPT is very transient here. So it failed. But on the flip side of that, I looked at it, think to yourself, any dentist I talked to was always like, I just get one family in family of five with decent insurance that can bankroll me. Yeah, because that's and they just need one of those a month. So what I've looked into is I still had my list of all my prospects in from that original mailer business, so I email them all saying, I can get you YouTube ads and a Facebook look alike audience for most of these little bite marks. He's busy Sunday really want to pull in from five, five, maybe three to five miles from the front door because everyone else has their own territory. So I'm not going to drive 2520 miles to get a pizza. Or I'm not going to drive 30 miles to get a haircut. They were fun I do. And everyone I know their businesses. So are now saying to dentists, hairdressers, I'll charge you a set fee. I'll do you ad campaigns. I'll do your email, scheduling, your calendar, your funnel, put some video on, and I'm getting a retainer. Yeah, and the funny thing is, in the last week or so I've had a massive uptick. I'll just email the list. Now's the time to mature your YouTube account. Now's the time to get buoyant. Now's the time when you're right there doing nothing else that has taken a call. So is that the original mailer thing failed miserably. It works perfectly in other places. I know the guy who worked who owns a territory We're in Salt Lake City. He's got South children and Sandy. He creams it absolutely crazy. But it's not a transient place. Las Vegas Henderson not around by me the Las Vegas. It's very transient. There's a you there's two or three u hauls on my street every week. Yeah. So you weren't you're not going to build up a relationship with that client long enough. So didn't work. Fantastic business, a lot of other places, but for me not. So I looked at a different way. It obviously works. So how can I make it work? So now I picked up about four or five new clients on $1,000 retainer, and I throw in a consultant, see, throw in a funnel build, so I build them a page. Very simple. Here we are, is our logo is a welcoming video. You know, here's a staff waving that sort of business just general sort of like feel good, happy staff. Make sure the sun shine in data capture a free gift of something or other they get sent a voucher right in our throw in A local YouTube ad campaign a local Facebook campaign from a look alike audience. And one stipulation is I can use their list. Yeah. And that's so yeah, that was one failure another failure.
Steve Larsen 15:14
It's cool to see though that like, so you've got these. I think it's a there's obviously educating somebody who's brand new in these tactics. Yeah. But there's the second level of education I feel like that happens when somebody's brand new comes into business in general. And I think that they think it's going to be like this steady rock thing like we get a funnel or some product that consistently sells and you can measure it, it is pretty steady, or it can be thing on traffic and you know, ad spin and all that but all of us pivot and we change and we move and we say let's listen to what the market saying right now. Oh, recession I smell opportunity. Sweet what what it where's the only go search for it and then next, it'll be something else the next will be something else and like, I mean, I remember Vertical. It's a Russell like, I mean, I think I was working for him for probably solid year by the time you actually shut everything else down besides clickfunnels. And, and even then he still kept us in a circle and still kept all the stuff. Why not? Exactly why not like and if he can keep going on that kind of stuff. So what I think is fascinating is we just listening to you right now at describing like, Well, we've tried this and I realized I needed these pieces. And I had to understand these things in order for me to actually do that. And then you go to the next thing like oh, next and and it's on a resume to someone that you were going to go work for. It would look like we're all squirrely, and none of us can commit to anything. But in reality, we're all chasing like, with my cheese. Let me just go find the thing. So how does how does a business I want the service in your experience? Because I mean, there's the economic dip, but then there's also like the business dip that can happen. The business recession, what things have you done in your businesses that you know you want to keep long term recession proof them?
John Black 17:01
Well, my, my approach is is value of what I can do for someone else. And let's say let's say you're targeting for what I'm doing is I mean Dentists have been very fruitful. Now. If you call a dentist at 11 o'clock in the morning, I asked ask you before you make a sales call, or you go knock on the door, and you're trying to look for the decision maker, ask yourself, what are they likely to be doing at 11 o'clock in the morning, when you want to talk to them, and a dentist, if he's any good, he's gonna be fixing someone's teeth, because that's how he makes his money. The chiropractor is going to be cracking back. The peg room is going to be shaving a dog, and so on and so forth. Me personally, I'm trying to bring in revenue so someone calls me 11 o'clock in the morning and then we're going to be unlucky. Now, what I would my approach is, is if you do get hold of the decision maker, and I use these, I always go Down the road route of you don't have if I do this for you, you don't have to think about it. And you just have to fix someone's teeth. You don't have to market. You don't have to take the calls. And anything else, you just refer anyone who calls about marketing or anyone trying to sell something to do with advertising to me. And then all my job is to make sure your book of businesses fall, and then you just fix someone's teeth. And so, the dent one of the dentists I'm working with here, she says, Yeah, I said, I'm up at night, going through my inbox trying to decipher all these proposals from local news stations and this and that, and everything else. I said, Well, I'll take all of that off, you're off your play, because you don't know with respect what you're doing. I mean, it's like, you got to reverse if if if the guy is the dentist put me in the chair and said there's the drill and there's the everything else is gonna be a disaster. I've seen it done before, but I I've had it done before could I do it now? It goes to the old adage it's expensive to hire a professional we're waiting to see when you cost when you hire an amateur so and I've had that that was instilled on my first day on the job in 1998 in the in the ad that's what we tell our clients Yeah, go on gone do it yourself. And the clients used to think they would know it alls by going oh yeah, well so and so called me with this great proposal I agreed to it. And then you're like oh yeah, no, good. Then it falls flat on his backside. And then you've got you've got a great well this is why you hire us because we would have done this this and then all of a sudden you need one of those. But for any coins. It's Yeah, don't up late at night going through these proposals and having news like these guys calling on you and everything else trying to sell your stuff will do it for you. And this is the way forward and I always go with with that. It works for any client. I mean, again, like I my big biggest clients was General Motors back in London. Huge $400 million account pounds accountant, marketing director will be sold to morning noon and night. He came. And I said to him, ignore it just put an auto on saying please refer to me. And I would get oldest and he was like, yeah, we can't quite now. And he thought it was his job is not enough. So that's why you pay us a 15% is to do to manage all of this, sift through that, sift through all the crap and send it on to you what we think will actually sell you a car. Yeah. And so yeah, if anyone's just look at the business that you're on, you're trying to target and how much time you're going to save that guy so he can make more money doing what he does best. And you do what you do best. You'll make money, he'll make money and he'll be your client until your heart's content.
Steve Larsen 20:48
Yeah, as I'm listening to you throughout this entire time. You've multiple times when you talk about clients, all of your decision making all your skills, all the sales calls, you're doing Like mean everything is tying back to how it affects revenue. Yeah, yeah, that's I love that because that's a talking to somebody they're brand new in this game You know? And they're like hey, I'm gonna go so I've got this really cool offer ideas can be amazing but because of what's going on in the economy right now like I think I'm gonna give all away for free can everything be for free I was like stop like you're the one killing the economy sell your stuff every we're gonna get you're gonna exchange goods still here. You can increase value without decreasing price. Anyway, I appreciate
John Black 21:32
it. Well, one thing I would say if anyone offering a free trial remember Free Free Trial helps nobody. absolutely nobody. Because I get I'll get marketing offers all day long. all day every day. I will give you a two week free trial. Yeah, that's great. However, I still got to make the ad. I still traffic the ad. I still want to monitor the performance and I've still got to go back to the client. So yes or no, the cost? Yeah, who makes money out of that? Nobody, and the client thinks it's crap because you said it's free. So if you don't value it, no one else will. And then the one though if you've got 100, you take 100 people right now the thing is genius by offering a free trial. And it's okay. In a certain era, if you've got a back end funnel and everything else 99% of people don't, it's just ego, there's a freebie, it doesn't work. Because your time and your value. I mean, this work, you've got to attach, you've got to attach revenue to action. And I've got a satellite company client right now. And they provide phone service and internet access to cruise ships, weaponry, oil rigs, anything as far as middle of nowhere, they will provide connectivity. So we'd run an ad campaign because that was what they do. And they've got the click throughs and they're in the trade press and all the rest of it and they're on the blog. Blah blah blah blah. So then I said we want to re up and do it again. I said, right No, no, no, we're gonna stop because I, we need to attribute value because because they were going oh yeah, well we need our sales team to follow up and ever fail so right okay, and so what's gonna happen? You're gonna do a bespoke landing page a funnel if you will. They don't understand this, but I didn't even try to explain it to us if I say sale Danny page up data capture send a brochure you that lead is now yours and then the sales team can nurture it. Okay, then we'll try it. Next thing you know, oh, yeah, we want to do and same campaign for another one of our things. Because we're now they've seen they've landed business from this campaign. Now the beauty of it is we used to have to pitch this client for every single campaign. Now they're just calling us because we've attributed Valley actual dollars to our actions. And I can say we've signed off this amount. We have now got this amount back now what used to happen Was everything needs to go into the black hole or magazines LinkedIn and everything else we've no capture of that lead now I might get 50,000 people look at it and five guys sign up there five guys a decision maker. Yeah, he's worth one one he that's that's the dude is gonna write your check. So now they say no checks come in trace back on the UTM tag from our campaign. So that's if you are going to give something away for free don't do it but if you simply must have to make sure that you get a list and the list you can attribute to revenue from if you have to answer to a client. Always put revenue attack right you that guy bought because of this you've made 10 grand from this $10 or whatever it is. And as long as you can do that the your phone will ring rather than you having to pick up the phone. Remember that as a huge piece of advice. We're up on our time john, I appreciate you taking I love it. It's been so, so fascinating. I could listen to you and business war stories forever. I mean,
Steve Larsen 25:06
very fun. For me, I
John Black 25:07
feel old and weathered, but, you know, still punching away. Just keep jabbing, keep jabbing everyone. Yeah, absolutely.
Steve Larsen 25:14
Well, thanks so much for the time, john. And guys, if you're thinking about the one funnel way challenge, go to one funnel way.com if you'd like a trial to clickfunnels, which does have a cool follow up on on the back of it, you can go see, go to I love clickfunnels Comm. And awesome. We'll see you later. Thanks so much. JOHN has been fantastic. Thanks, man. All businesses need three things, leads sales fulfillment. That's exactly what clickfunnels does. They're world class at automating your leads sales and fulfillment. The best news is that it's only $97 a month and replaces the cost of the other tools I was using. Better yet. I don't need to be a coder. Because of that. I basically have the power of an entire tech team in my hand. So if you're asking yourself, Steve, are you pitching me right now? Yeah. 100% Because of clickfunnels, I can focus on just being a marketer again, everyone you're hearing on the show is using clickfunnels. That's actually how we're all doing this. We call ourselves funnel hackers and I'm gonna invite you to become a funnel hacker like us by grabbing a free two week trial at I love Click Funnels calm. But Steve is in two weeks not long enough for me to do this. I understand the fear but you have to know I actually built my first funnel during my own two week trial of clickfunnels. week number one, I built the funnel. week number two, I focused on sales and traffic and by week three, my account was paid for by my customers which made it free for me, you guys can do this. We want everyone to experience this power in their business. So as your host I'm allowed to hook you guys up, open any browser type in I love clickfunnels comm and grab your own free two week trial now