• Michael Pietrzak

24 Lessons from Tony Robbins Business Mastery—Part TWO, Sales & Marketing

Updated: Sep 14


—By Mike Pietrzak

One year ago I put myself through the gauntlet of Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery, and on this anniversary I'll be sharing my top 24 lessons from that unparalleled 5-day "MBA through a firehose".


This is Part Two in the series, and the focus today is on Tony Robbins' Top 8 SALES & MARKETING lessons.


[Check out Part One: Mindset Lessons, here.]


[Check out Part Three: Lessons About Clients, here.]


[Check out Part Four: Lessons About Taking Action, here.]


Sales and Marketing Lessons


Lesson 7: Tell Stories


“The best entrepreneurs are the best storytellers,” says billionaire entrepreneur Bill Gross. “You need a great story to hire the best people, get the best innovators, and convince people that your success is inevitable.”


But your stories must be clear and simple. In marketing, if you confuse, you lose. To that end, Business Mastery introduced me to a brilliant storyteller named Donald Miller. He walked us through his StoryBrand format, which is a simple and incredibly effective way to write copy that hits on an emotional level, and leads to sales.


If you’re familiar with the Hero’s Journey, you already know how StoryBrand works. In a nutshell:

  • You have a client (hero) who wants something but is stymied by a problem (the villain).

  • The hero meets a guide—Gandalf, Obi-Wan, your company—who gives them a plan and calls them to action.

  • The story ends in success and avoids failure, and the hero is irrevocably transformed.

And that’s exactly what should happen in a business transaction isn’t it?


How I applied this lesson

As a writer, StoryBrand was one of my favourite Business Mastery tools, and as early as day two I used it to rewrite the soyouwanttowrite.org homepage. It became the template for ALL of my sales pages and marketing emails in all of my businesses. The results? Let's just say that people respond to stories!


Quick wins for you
  • Head over to mystorybrand.com to use Don Miller’s handy template to write all of your future marketing copy.

  • Practice storytelling in person! When you talk to other humans about your business, skip the boring stats and figures and tell stories about how your clients are transformed.

Lesson 8: Be Human


If your audience doesn’t know you or like you as a person, they probably won’t buy from you. 99 out of 100 entrepreneurs that I know or coach are not comfortable showing their whole selves to the world. That’s a colossal missed opportunity.


When you show your interests outside your business, people can connect with you more. The example used at Business Mastery was a dentist who started to bring his love of skateboarding to the office, and to his social media.


The more he kickflipped from exam room to exam room, the more clients loved him, and told their friends. His business grew exponentially because he acted like a human, not a LinkedIn persona.


How I applied this lesson

Oh boy, as a coach, I really struggled with this one. In theory I wanted to be visible and get my hands dirty in “the arena”, but I was presenting a curated persona. So, I committed to showing my clients my whole self.


I embraced social media and started posting personal photos. I started talking openly to friends and strangers alike about my coaching work instead of trying to maintain a firewall between work and life.


I’m still working to be vulnerable by talking about my challenges and my esoteric hobbies, like computer gaming and philosophy, but every time I do share, it’s liberating, and I’ve noticed that people crave this kind of authenticity.


Quick wins for you
  • Be human with your content. Use REAL photos of employees and customers. No stock photos anywhere on your website or social media, please.

  • Bring your whole self to work. Talk about your weird weekend up north in the woods at an ecstatic dance party. Nerd out about Warhammer. Extol the virtues of keto peanut butter bombs. If you’re passionate about something, show that passion. People want to be near that kind of passion.

  • Start posting Instagram/Facebook stories to give your tribe a look at your life behind the scenes.


Lesson 9: Use Video


As a writer, I railed against this one for years. I had been seeing the statistics on video—the higher engagement rates, better conversion rates, etc. but still I poo-pooed it, silently arguing that it took longer to glean information from a video vs. blog post; that only simpletons and children preferred video to the precious written art form (have I mentioned I’m deeply flawed?)


Logically, of course, humans prefer video. It’s much closer to the way we have communicated with each other for tens or hundreds of thousands of years: looking each other in the eye, reading body language, and listening to a voice. Writing, by contrast, is only a few thousand years old, and universal literacy is still a goal in progress.


How I’m applying this lesson

I still prefer reading to watching, but I’m unusual. Most people would rather watch a two-minute video than skim an article for 30 seconds. And video leads to sales.


So, I surrendered my preferences and gave customers what they wanted. We created new video sales letters, and inserted them at the top of key sales pages. We still have a long way to go with this, but I’m already amazed with the results.


Quick wins for you
  • Push past the discomfort of being “on stage”. It took me only about four or five short recordings (that never saw the light of day) before I felt reasonably comfortable posting videos to my social accounts. My videos are still amateur but there's a charm to that (right, guys?)

  • Try video! Start literally speaking to your audience through this medium. Your audience wants that.


Lesson 10: Marketing is Crucial


According to Peter Drucker, the late and legendary business thinker, “all business primarily comes down to two functions: innovation and marketing.” You need to master both to succeed in business.


The best definition of marketing that I’ve found comes from Seth Godin: “Marketing is the generous act of helping others become who they seek to become [see Lesson #2]. It involves creating honest stories—stories that resonate and spread” [see Lesson #7].


When your marketing helps others succeed—ideally by helping clients discover your valuable product—then it’s effective. If your marketing doesn’t help clients succeed, you’ll know, because sales will be flat.


Peter Drucker went on to say, “marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” When you understand how crucial marketing is, and work to become a master marketer, your clients will start to engage with you in a way they hadn’t before.


How I applied this lesson

The idea that marketing should be service made much sense to me. We doubled the amount of blog content we were producing, and worked to include more helpful writing tips in every marketing email to clients.


In my coaching work I began leveraging social media to produce videos and images that would inform and educate, rather than just promote.


Quick wins for you
  • There’s no shortage of high quality, free marketing training online. Leverage it! Want to learn Instagram? Try High Season Co’s YouTube channel. For email marketing, check out Hubspot. Udemy, Coursera, and many other online training platforms offer free or affordable training on basically anything you can think of.

  • Hyper-focus for a week on marketing to (and wow-ing) your best clients. Seth Godin explains how this will kick-off the word of mouth effect: “Invest your budget into turning your smallest viable market [AKA your fans] into your marketing department. That’s the future. That is how every successful brand is built.”

I can help you adopt a healthy perspective about marketing and sales, and provide the strategies to master both. Book a free 30-minute coaching deep dive with me.

Lesson 11: Create Great Content


I’m fortunate, because I spent five years writing one article a month for SUCCESS Magazine. That content—which is super high quality, if I may brag a little—lives at success.com and continues to drive traffic to my own coaching website, even though I haven’t published with them in months. That traffic then converts to consultations and clients.


The interwebs crave—nay—demand exceptional content! It’s easy to spot nonsensical SEO garbage, written by a freelancer for $10 and we all feel cheated after reading one of those articles.


Google agrees: its search engine prioritizes content that is longer than 2,000 words, and includes all the secondary keywords for your search term (think: t-shirts, tank tops, and crop tops as secondary keywords for women’s clothing). That's actually a low bar for creating high quality content.


Helpful content cuts through the noise of the internet, and generates leads.


How I applied this lesson

At soyouwanttowrite.org, we started to publish only high-quality how-to articles for writers that are frankly beyond the abilities of most copywriters. And, we produce a weekly branded newsletter (a la Tim Ferriss’ 5-Bullet Friday) that is packed with five helpful items. It’s caused our email list to grow steadily at 7 to 10% per month.


As I said above, in my coaching practice I started to produce video and articles that are informative and helpful, not just promotional.


Quick wins for you
  • Start a branded email list for your audience—email is the most effective marketing tool after word of mouth (check out my complete guide to email marketing). Ours is a curated list of mostly other people’s content, and takes my freelancer an hour a week to create and me 10 minutes to approve.

  • Before you create any content—a video, social post, article, or let words come out of your mouth—ask, “how can I make this helpful or entertaining?”

Lesson 12: Experiment and Iterate


Despite the avalanche of marketing checklists, guides, courses, and “gurus” in your feed, there is NO formula for your marketing. Sure, there are techniques and strategies that I’ve found effective, like Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula, but even the first time I tried that, my campaign flopped.


You need to test, test, test everything: the copy on your sales page; your images; new products; new places to promote your service; different ad platforms; different employees.


Making small variations in how you do things can result in HUGE differences in results.


As Tony says, “Sometimes, the biggest growth opportunities don’t come from new initiatives but rather from taking the core processes the business is already doing and executing them more effectively.”


Ideally, you’ll do this in a methodical way, which is where A/B testing comes in. Run two slightly different ads and see which performs better. Keep the winner, then put up a new contender. Rinse/repeat.


How I applied this lesson

After Business Mastery I became even MORE obsessed with analytics! I began to watch more closely what customers were doing on our website, and how they were interacting with our emails.


And we mapped survey data about what clients told us they wanted onto the structure of our new website, then watched how they responded. The results helped us create new services, and double down on what was working.


Quick wins for you
  • Start A/B testing EVERYTHING, especially on your website. Create two parallel lead funnels, and keep the one that performs best. A/B test your email subject lines. Install an app that will let you serve different versions of web pages to 50% of visitors. Adjust your prices up and down.

  • Set up and become best friends with Google Analytics, which will tell you exactly how visitors are using your website (which is one of your best salespeople).

Lesson 13: Jay Abraham’s 3 Ways to Grow a Business


As an analytics geek myself, this one got me excited. At Business Mastery, elite business consultant Jay Abraham proposed that there are three main ways to grow a business:

  1. Increase the number of clients

  2. Increase the average transaction value

  3. Increase the frequency of repurchase

To illustrate, let’s say you have 1000 clients, each spending $100 per sale, and they make 2 purchases over their lifetime. That means that your revenue will be $200,000.


But, if you were to increase your clients by 10% (to 1,100), increase your average transaction value by 10% (to $110) and increase your repurchase rate from 2x to 3x, your sales grow to $363,000, an exponential increase of 81.5 percent!


You can see here the power of incremental growth when these three benchmarks are multiplied together.


How I applied this lesson

To increase our clients, I installed new website popups and A/B tested existing ones to capture more email subscribers, who each received a marketing automation series.


To increase our average transaction value, we offered a new, high-ticket program, and increased our prices across the board by 10 to 50 percent.


I haven’t done much yet to increase our repurchase rate, mainly because it’s already strong, but I know that when I do, our revenue will grow accordingly.


Quick wins for you
  • Generate more leads! Publish a new blog post and stick in on Reddit. Get good at using website popups. Run a giveaway. Pay for a Facebook ad that directs people to your free lead magnet.

  • Raise your prices. Many entrepreneurs undersell their products and services because they let scarcity mindset reign, but when you raise prices, not only do you get paid what you’re worth, but your customers value your work more.

  • Automate your follow up with existing clients. In terms of marketing it’s far cheaper to sell to an existing client than create a new one.


Lesson 14: Find a Contrarian Idea That’s True

At Business Mastery, Bill Gross explained how he became a billionaire by finding ideas that were considered preposterous, and turning them into thriving businesses.


A quote from Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel defines the “contrarian idea”: "Tell me something that’s true, that almost nobody agrees with you on.”


As an entrepreneur you have an advantage when you realize that the consensus is already “priced in”... In other words, stock in blue chip companies is already expensive. Likewise, obvious ideas have already been turned into thriving businesses. Don’t start a business with an obvious idea.


To succeed, you must bet against the consensus. So what special information or insight about a problem do you have, that nobody else has acted on? Blue ocean strategy that bad boy!


How I applied this lesson

I suppose we were doing this all along with soyouwanttowrite.org. We bet that people would pay for advice from literary agents when the centuries-old tradition was that agents only talk to you when they sign you as a client, and that they work on commission. Boy, did we piss off some uptight people.


When I understood this to be a contrarian idea that’s true, I put my focus on recruiting more literary agents, and cut other product options.


In my coaching practice I jettisoned the industry-standard idea that I have to present a perfectly “put together” persona. People can smell this bullshit a mile away, anyhow. Now I present my whole self, flaws and all, and my clients love it.


Quick wins for you
  • Ask yourself: what special insight about a problem, client, or market do I have that flies in the face of conventional wisdom? Then, go build a business around that.

  • Make a list of 25 activities that everyone does because it’s “the way things are done,” then consider the opposite. For example, if nobody in your industry shares personal photos online, try breaking with tradition.

***


This may be an inconvenient truth for some, but without sales and marketing, you don't have a business, you have a hobby. They're both required to create revenue. Without cash coming in the door, it's impossible to cover business expenses, pay your staff, pay yourself, or carry out the mission that informed this work in the first place.


Start to see the truth: that sales = service, and marketing = the selfless act of helping clients find a product that will improve their lives.


Agree or disagree with any of these points? Let me know in the comments below.


I can help you adopt a healthy perspective about marketing and sales, and provide the strategies to master both. Book a free 30-minute coaching deep dive with me.
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