Marketing Podcast with Russ Ruffino
In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Russ Ruffino. Russ is the Founder of Clients on Demand, an Inc. 500 company that helps coaches, experts, and service providers attract the right clients at the right price, anytime they want.
If you’re looking for some serious advice on how to attract high-paying clients and not sure where to start, Russ Ruffino—the mastermind behind Inc. 500 company Clients on Demand joins me to share exactly what it takes to appeal to (and secure) your ideal client at just the right price. He’s sharing expert tips that could change everything about how you do business.
Questions I ask Russ Ruffino:
- [1:30] Could you tell us more about your story?
- [5:08] What are the mistakes people in the industry (coaches, consultants, small agencies) are typically making when they come to you?
- [7:32] What has to be in place in order for people to want to pay you twice as much?
- [12:08] What does it take though to build trust?
- [14:43] Do you absolutely need to have a niche?
- [15:35] Let’s talk a little bit about your client attraction system – is there an approach that you think for selling high-ticket items is the way to go right now?
- [19:36] Let’s say I’m a management consultant – do you feel like this approach can work for somebody that’s doing high ticket but maybe one-on-one or not necessarily the traditional coaching industry?
- [21:55] Where can people find out more about the work that you’re doing and more about you?
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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Nudge, hosted by Phil Agnew. It's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. You can learn the science behind great marketing with bite size 20 minute episodes, packed with practical advice from world-class marketers and behavioral scientists. And it's not always about marketing. Great episode. Recently you learned the surprising truths about and tips for beating, stress and anxiety. Sounds like a great program, doesn't it? Listen to Nudge wherever you get your podcasts. Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Russ Ruffino. He's the founder of Clients on Demand and Inc. 500 company that helps coaches, experts, and service providers attract the right clients at the right price anytime they want. So, Russ, welcome to the show.
Russ Ruffino (01:07): Thank you. It's great to be here.
John Jantsch (01:09): So, listeners, this is the Construction Zone episode that you might be
Russ Ruffino (01:30): Yeah, my, I mean, my story's all right. It's, I should probably just make up something more exciting. But basically I, I was a bartender in Los Angeles from age 21 to age 31. I was there in LA because I wanted to do acting. And when you're, you wanna do acting, you're waiting tables, you're giving massages your personal training, you're bartending, you're doing something right. And I turned 30 and things just were not going my way in terms of my career. And I, you know, I just had no idea what I was gonna do. So one day I was on break at work and I walked into Barnes and Noble and right there sitting on the shelf was before hour work week by Tim Ferris. And I originally thought, what the hell is that four hour work week? That sounds like nonsense, but I'm interested enough that I'll pick it up and read it.
(02:12): And that book really introduced me to this idea of, um, making an online income, making a passive income online. I didn't even know that was possible until I read that book. And so I said to myself, look man, I, you know, come hell or high water, I'm gonna figure out a way to make this work. I'm gonna figure out how to do this. So I started doing just a little bit of online marketing, a little bit of affiliate marketing here and there. Started making a little bit of money doing it. I think I was making maybe like $500 a month maybe. And then one day at work I got, I really got into it with my manager and, and I wanted to tell 'em off. And I, I didn't have the guts to do it. And I went home and I told my, my, my girlfriend, who's now my wife, I said, David, you know, I got in a big fight with my boss and I really wanted to tell him off.
(02:48): I didn't do it. And I just, I feel like I'm being a worse to myself. And she looks at me dead in the eye and she goes, you gotta quit. And I was like, okay. And she had just lost her job two weeks before. And it's not like, again, I wasn't making a fortune online. I was making $500 a month, maybe, which is certainly not enough to live on when you're in la. I think my rent was like two grand or $2,400. Crazy. Yeah, I'm crazy like that. But I said to myself, look man, I bet that if I try to do this full-time that I, I can make it work. So I walked in there, equipment bartending job, woke up the next morning, you know, I went to bed feeling incredible and proud of myself. Woke up the next morning, terrified in terror cuz I didn't have enough to cover rent, literally the next month.
(03:28): But, you know, long story short, I went to work making money online and I could just do it. I could write copy, I could do sales letters, I could do sales videos, I could do. And I had never done any of these things before. There was an actor and a bartender. I had no idea about marketing. But I ended up doing $250,000 my very first year and, um, changed my life. So then I went on to create my own low ticket products. And the problem then I realized in doing launches, and I realized the problem with low ticket and launches is it generally speaking, people don't do anything, right. They'll buy your $27 program, your $97 program, they'll watch it. They'll say, oh John, that program was awesome. I'll rush. That program was awesome. And you'll say, did you do anything? You know, did you take action?
(04:04): No, not really. I'll get around to it.
John Jantsch (04:52): Yeah. So you like a lot of people, I mean, you figured out how to do something and then all of a sudden it's like, hey, there's a lot of people that need this. I can teach this to other people as well. So that's really become your business hasn't, is teaching other people how to do what you discovered how to do. Right,
Russ Ruffino (05:06): Exactly. Yeah.
John Jantsch (05:08): So talk a little bit about some of the, like when people come to you, you're probably seeing the same mistakes over and over again. They clearly you're, you know, set up to fix mm-hmm.
Russ Ruffino (05:27): Well, most of the time right outta the gate, they're undercharging. And so they decide to get into coaching and they look around in their, in their space. There's usually some other people that are already doing this. You know, if you're a marriage coach, you're not gonna be the first marriage coach the world is ever seen. You know, there's other people doing this. And so the mistake they make is they look at those other people and they go, God, you know, that person's got better branding than me and all, they got better pictures than me. And maybe they're better looking than me and their website's a little nicer and everything. And they've got all these followers on YouTube and Instagram. Oh man. And their program is a thousand dollars. So how so I better price mine at 700 bucks or whatever. And what we teach our clients is that what your competition is doing is irrelevant.
(06:05): Because fundamentally what people are buying from you is not your knowledge, it's not your expertise, it's not your time. What they're buying is an outcome. There's a certain result that they want to achieve in their life. And that's the value you provide. And so what that means, John, is that all of your pricing should be based on what it's worth to have that outcome. Like if you can really save someone's marriage, what is that worth? You know? I mean, it's priceless, right? So of course you can charge five or eight or $10,000 for your work. And when you do that, now all of a sudden, like I was saying, you can get, you can work with fewer clients. They show up committed, they show up resourceful. You know, you can give 'em a real v i p experience and actually get people the outcome, actually get people the result.
(06:46): So the first mistake is that they're undercharging. And then I'd say the second mistake I see is that a lot of them don't have a client attraction system. They're depending on word of mouth, they're depending on referrals. And they, people are very proud of that fact, well I haven't, I've never had to advertise and I get all my clients through referrals. I'm like, and that's great, you should be proud of that. But PS it also means you can't scale because you're constantly gonna be going to your clients. Do you know anybody else you could send to me? Do you know anybody else? And eventually they're gonna be like, no dude, I've referred everybody that I can. So unless you have the ability to run ads on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or TikTok or wherever and turn those ads into new clients, you know, you have a business but it's not a business you can scale. And, but when you do know how to do that, you've got something you can build up to a hundred K a month, 500 K a month, even up to like 1000001.5 million a month because now you can turn advertising into dollars. Does that make sense?
John Jantsch (07:32): Yeah, absolutely. But you hit on a really key issue. I think a lot of people don't think about outcome. They don't think about the problem they're solving. They think about the thing they're selling. Mm-hmm.
Russ Ruffino (07:59): That's a great question. So, and I really think you actually just hit the nail right on the head, is that people put all of their attention on what they're selling. Meaning the course, the program, what are the bonuses? What are, what's the, you know, whatever, it's an eight week program, you know, it's a 12 week program, you know, it's a six month program or now getting into the, you know, the guarantee if you don't get results all come to your house and wash your car or whatever, you know, what you are selling is the outcome. And that is what you need to build all of your communication around, right? Like again, using the example of a maybe a marriage and family therapist. In fact, I have a client who's a marriage and family therapist. She was a marriage and family therapist in Australia. I think she was charging a hundred dollars an hour.
(08:36): She was seeing couples in her office. I think they were making about $70,000 a year doing that. She came to work with us, I believe it was four years ago. And we took her whole business online and now she's doing a million dollars a month. So, so getting her to understand that it wasn't an hour of her time that people were buying, cuz that was what all of the marketing, all the communication was around. And so the customer understood, well, I'm buying an hour over time, you reorient all of your communication to make it crystal clear that what they're buying from you is a saved marriage. You know, what they're buying from you is to lose 30 pounds. What they're buying from you is to have a business that works, whatever it might be, and then you charge accordingly. And believe it or not, that reassures people that you are the best of the best. And that's something that I think people need to understand. Doesn't matter if you're just starting out, what matters is can you get them the outcome? And are you building all your communication around that?
John Jantsch (09:27): Yeah. And I actually see the other side of like, there's also this belief of well, it, it's too good to be true. It's too cheap. Like, you know why you surely can't get me the result, right? Of
Russ Ruffino (09:36): Course that's so common. Because the thing is like, if you are a coach, then chances are you solve some of the biggest challenges in life or in business. You know, you're a dating coach and you help people find the love of their life. You're a trainer, you help people get into amazing shape, you're a nutritionist, you help people get into shape and fix their autoimmune conditions, whatever else they have going on. All of those outcomes are priceless. And so if I come to you and I go, listen, I'm gonna help you do this. We're gonna work together for eight weeks, but at the end of that eight weeks, you're, you are not gonna recognize your marriage. You are gonna be in a completely different level of love. And you know, with your wife and attraction and passion and PS it's eight grand. Now I'm gonna take you seriously. No.
John Jantsch (10:08): Yeah. And I think that that, you know, the part that I see people, you know, they just, they don't like just what you said. We're so used to selling time or we're selling a product, you know, that's tangible. And I think that if you can get somebody a result, I don't care what it costs. Like if I got a million dollar problem
Russ Ruffino (10:28): Mm-hmm.
John Jantsch (11:21): Hey, marketing agency owners, you know, I can teach you the keys to doubling your business in just 90 days or your money back. Sound interesting. All you have to do is license our three step process that's going to allow you to make your competitors irrelevant, charge a premium for your services and scale perhaps without adding overhead. And here's the best part. You can license this entire system for your agency by simply participating in an upcoming agency certification intensive look, why create the wheel? Use a set of tools that took us over 20 years to create. And you can have 'em today, check it out at dtm.world/certification. That's dtm.world/certification. What does it take though to build the trust? I mean, right, I've got a million dollar problem, but how do I know you can solve it? I mean, what's it take to like get to that high ticket trust?
Russ Ruffino (12:16): So this is the thing that no one seems to understand. The conventional wisdom out there in the marketplace says that if you want to have high ticket clients, then you really need to spend a lot of time in energy building your authority. You need, you know, a million followers on Instagram, a million followers on YouTube. You need to hit podcast, you need New York Times bestseller, you need 50 different things. And uh, that's what everyone told me when I was first starting in high ticket. And I said to myself, well you know, God, I don't have any of those things. So let me try and do this without any of those things. And let's see, let's see what happens. And I'm really happy to be able to come and report to you that you don't need any of that stuff. The truth is that if you want to establish your authority, you only need one thing.
(12:54): And that's empathy. Empathy. So when you come onto one of our webinars, mine or one of the ones that we create for our clients or one of our marketing pieces, what you're gonna hear is you're gonna hear that marriage coach describing your problem better than you can. You know, maybe saying something like this, does this sound like you do? You wake up every morning 10 inches away from the love of your life, but you feel like there's miles separating you. And every day that gulf is getting bigger and bigger. And if you're in that situation, you're like, yeah, that's exactly how I feel. You know, has your situation between you and your wife gone from being, you know, F but lovers to friends now to roommates and you have no idea how it happened. You know what I mean by describing your problem where you're going? Yes. That's exactly what I'm going through. Your immediate reaction is that this person must have the answer, right? So if I can describe your problems
John Jantsch (13:43): Better they they get me. Yeah.
Russ Ruffino (13:45): Right? Yeah, exactly Right. And there's this thing that people have where we assu, you know, when we hear someone describe our problems better than we can, we automatically assume they know the answer. And so by creating that empathy and that connection at the beginning of the webinar, right, where like, I don't have to talk about myself. I don't have to talk about my accolades, I don't have to talk about how great I am. I don't have talk about you. Let's talk about you and your problems and I will tell you what you're going through and once you, I accurately describe what you're going through and then I can tell you, look, and then I bet you've tried this and you've tried this and you've tried this other thing and none of that's worked and here's why. And here's the thing that will work. Now you're gonna wanna work with me. And so all of that time building up your authority, you can do that in a 10, 15, 20 minute video, a 40 minute webinar, something like that. You can do it very fast.
John Jantsch (14:27): So common vice right now is, you know, niche, you gotta have a niche, right? I think I go back and forth on that. I mean, I like to work with people I like to work with, not necessarily dentists. Mm-hmm
Russ Ruffino (14:47): So what you do is we don't start with the niche. What we start is what is that problem that you solve? And then once I know what that is, I can ask you, well who do you most want to solve it for? Or who is the, what is the piece of that audience that you most wanna work with, right? So you don't have to niche down again, I'm just gonna beat the marriage example to death cuz that's something everyone understands. You know, maybe you are, maybe you're really Christian and you tell me like, hey Russ, you know, I want to do, I want to, I wanna help people save their marriage, but I really wanna work with Christian couples. Sure you can absolutely do that. On the other hand, if you're like, you know, I don't care if they're a Christian, Muslim atheists, you know, or whatever down, I'll help them. I'll work with 'em to save their marriage. So y you don't need to narrow down in that way, but if you want to, you usually can. But it's more about what's the problem you solve and who's got that problem.
John Jantsch (15:35): Let's talk a little bit about your client attraction system. I mean, is there one channel, you've already said you don't need to have a thousand or million followers and this and that. So is there a, an approach that you think for selling high ticket items is the way to go right now?
Russ Ruffino (15:48): Yeah, absolutely. So the best method that we have found to attract high ticket clients is to run ads on social media. So that's Facebook and YouTube and Instagram are the three best right now TikTok is looking pretty good, but it's a little bit inconsistent right now cause they keep changing things. So you got those four platforms there, you run ads on those four platforms, you drive that traffic into like a 20 minute presentation. So it could be a video, they could be automated webinar, whatever, but for 20 minutes they're gonna sit there and listen to you do what I just said. Where you're connecting with them, you're showing that empathy, you're explaining to them why the other stuff they've tried has not worked and can't work. And then what you've got instead and why that approach is better. And then you offer them the chance to book a call with you, Hey, you know, if you wanna learn more about how you can apply this stuff to your marriage and get things turned around, you know, click here to book a call and that's it. Then you get on the phone with them and in one conversation you can enroll them into your five or eight or $10,000 programs. So one of the things that we do that's different than most other coaches, we don't teach our clients to do a lot of follow up. I saw a guy the other day saying, well if you wanna make sales on the phone, you gotta follow up with that person 16 times. Like, I dunno about you, but like I
John Jantsch (16:51): Getting the restraining order right now. Yeah,
Russ Ruffino (16:53): Of course. It's like, dude, so 95% of our enrollments happen on that very first conversation and most of the time they booked that call within like 24 hours of clicking on our ad in the first place. So what I'm talking about is taking people who've never heard you, never heard of you before, they don't follow you, they don't know who you are, but they see your ad and your ad speaks directly to them. They click the ad, they watch your 20 minute video, 10 minute video, whatever it is, they book a call with you and then they're enrolling in your high ticket programs within 24 to 48 hours.
John Jantsch (17:22): And I can, uh, that's the exact approach you use in your own business as well. Cuz I've, you know, I went through your webinar and I, you know,
Russ Ruffino (17:28): Oh nice. Good
John Jantsch (17:43): Yeah. One thing that people might have missed is you skipped the, I hate these terms, but you skipped the trip wire and the low cost stuff and the, you know Yeah. Up to upsell to this crap and upsell to that crap. And you go right for if this is for you, here's how you get it.
Russ Ruffino (17:57): Yeah. So there's this myth that says that if someone buys something from you, even if they buy something for $5, then now they're a buyer. And the buyer leads are worth so much more than any other leads. And that's absolute nonsense because they're not buyers, they're $5 buyers. And a $5 buyer is not a $10,000 buyer necessarily. They might be, but you don't know. What I've found, man, is that when you have a bunch of trip wires and low ticket offers and like, you know, you sell 'em some for $27 and then $97, and then there's the 1 97 upsell and do all that stuff. What that does is alienate the people that really need your help, right? Because if your health is failing, your business is failing, your marriage is failing, you know damn well that $27 e-book is not gonna fix your marriage. You know what I mean?
(18:45): You're like, bro, my wife hates me. There's no way I'm buying this e-book and all of a sudden everything's gonna be cool regardless of what the marketing copy says. And the sad thing is that usually the marketing copy is saying that's what's gonna happen. The, oh, you're gonna buy this ebook, it's gonna fix all your problems. And you know that's not true. But when I come to you and I'm like, look man, we are gonna work together for real to fix this. I'm gonna work with you. I'm gonna hold your hand every step of the way. We're gonna execute this game plan. I'm gonna be available to you to answer your questions to coach you through this entire process and it's 10 K, but we're really gonna get you the result. Now I have your attention, now you understand that this is something real. So what those low ticket offers do is they tend to attract the curious, but not the committed. The committed people see that $27 ebook and they're like, yeah, whatever, I'm done, I I don't need it.
John Jantsch (19:26): Yeah. Or worse they buy it and realize you can't help them
Russ Ruffino (19:31): When y'all eagle didn't save my marriage, why would I give this guy 10 grand? You know?
John Jantsch (19:36): So what you're describing, you know, this client attraction system, I mean, I know that you specialize in help people do group coaching programs, but mm-hmm.
Russ Ruffino (19:57): So how you deliver the outcome is basically irrelevant. You could do it in an eight week group coaching workshop. You could sell them a block of one-on-one mentoring sessions over the next six months. You could even get 'em into like a small event, like a 3, 4, 5 day retreat, something like that. So the way you choose to deliver the magic is really up to you. The only thing that matters to make it high ticket is it's gotta be, it's gotta be set up to give them the outcome. So if you can get them the outcome in a five day retreat, go for it. You know, if you can get them the outcome with one-on-one mentoring, it's not my favorite, but go for it. It's terms in terms of, as far as how you sell it, doesn't matter as long as it's all about the outcome.
John Jantsch (20:35): Yeah. The one-on-one mentoring better be really high ticket, right?
Russ Ruffino (20:38): Yeah.
John Jantsch (20:40): Know what? There's only so much, there's only so much one
Russ Ruffino (20:43):
John Jantsch (21:20): And I've actually found that since the pandemic, people are hungrier than ever for that kind of cohort, small cohort stuff.
Russ Ruffino (21:26): Oh yeah. Because most of these big problems we're talking about are very lonely problems. Like if you're, if again, if your marriage is falling apart, it's like you might not even wanna tell your best friend that, you know what I mean? Like you might, the people closest to you, it's like nobody wants to admit that. Nobody wants to get into that. You know, if you're 80, 90, a hundred pounds overweight, like it's, it's really hard to go to the people you love and have a conversation with that about, you know, but if I join this program and now there's all these other people I don't really know, but they're in the same boat that I am now, I feel like I'm not alone and I feel like I have a community that can support me and help me.
John Jantsch (21:55): It's kind of the stranger on a plane that, you know, you'll tell 'em your life story. Right? So ro, tell people where they can, uh, find out more about the work that you're doing at Client on Demand and just connect with you. I know you have a podcast as well.
Russ Ruffino (22:05): Yeah, sure. So we have a podcast if you wanna check that out, you can go to clients demand.fm. If you wanna check out just our homepage and what it's like to work with us, you can go to clients on demand.com and then you can also find us on YouTube and Instagram and everywhere else. Probably the best place to go is clients on demand.com. Check out the presentation on that site and that's gonna give you a really good introduction into what we do and how we can help you do the same thing.
John Jantsch (22:25): Awesome. Well, again, thanks for checking the time to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and hopefully we'll run into you soon, one of these days out there on the road.
Russ Ruffino (22:32): Thanks John.
John Jantsch (22:33): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy strategy before Tex? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ marketingassessment.co, not.com,
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