Captain Lou Marketers Cruise
Karl Bryan: I’m here with my good friend, Captain Lou. I just had the good fortune of being able to share a cruise with him and about 3,000 other people. Captain Lou was the leader of the ship and our cruise.
You guys have probably heard of it, the Marketer’s Cruise. I want you to imagine living your dream lifestyle, getting paid to explore distant shores, islands all over the world, cruising the world for free with your own highly profitable group events and doing it on a cruise ship with many thousands of people and hundreds of your best friends while earning thousands of dollars for yourself.
Well, let me introduce you to my buddy Captain Lou, and this is basically the exact lifestyle and business that he’s created. What we’re about to talk about is the coaching program that compliments all of it. So with that said, Mr. Captain Lou, it’s an honor to have you here.
Captain Lou: Thank you so much Karl. I see you’ve done your homework and read some of my propaganda… I mean my supporting materials. At any moment now I expect you to start speaking in rhyme.
Karl Bryan: You’ve obviously built a little bit of a cruise empire. How do you go about generating leads for your events?
Captain Lou: Good advice from well-meaning friends. I won’t name drop them because there are some top marketers who are my clients and I love them dearly. These are my mentors, my coaches in the Internet marketing space. Successful marketers are way too busy to take a week out of their calendar and go on some cruise ship masterminding and everything. You’ll never really get people to do that because marketers and entrepreneurs just don’t have time for that.
Karl Bryan: How do you manage to get 400 people into the Marketer’s Cruise every year?
Captain Lou: Well, I’d like to say that I have a huge hundred thousand or five hundred thousand person list, which I don’t. I don’t because basically I’ve leveraged opl, other people’s lists very, very successfully by rewarding them with almost nothing more than acknowledgement, recognition and a big group hug. So what am I talking about?
We have the world’s worst affiliate program in the Internet marketing space. The house is not me… the house is the cruise line, so it’s not like an info product or a package or software where you could do a 20, 30 or 50 percent commission split. So what’s happened is that we’ve created a cause that’s bigger than the commission… that’s bigger than the profit.
I think that’s been my strategy and everything I’ve done in my life. And that is to create something so cool, with just the higher meaning than the dollars. It’s kind of hard to explain and put your finger on it.
You know what the benefits of a high level mastermind is. We do mastermind vacations with people who want to bring me their tribes. And in return, if you actually sort it all out, it’s in return for about four percent commission. So I proudly proclaim we have the world’s worst affiliate program with people clamoring to get in.
Karl Bryan: So in nutshell, you’ve built an incredible event and then you leverage other people’s lists to fill the event.
Captain Lou: Woody Allen once said that eighty percent of success is just showing up. So that’s what I did. I let people know who I was and what we were doing. And then I didn’t try to hard sell anyone. I’m really a terrible salesman. Karl. I have a terrible fear of rejection. Even back in the dating days when I was single, a quarter of a century ago. I would give everyone my phone number and say, well, if you want, you can call me. I knew if the phone rang, it was a definite sale
As far as lead generation goes, let’s talk about my strategy for procuring this. There are three things I want to talk about. First is my strategy for procuring a client, a group leader that brings me groups, and not just for the marketers cruise but for groups that we do all year around. I do everything from murder mysteries to martial arts, real estate, investors, scrabble.
Whatever the theme is, and whoever has an audience, they can come to me. But why can’t they go to any other travel planner? Why come to me? So there’s a strategy for how I procure those leads, the group project leads. And it’s something that I think all of your readers can probably benefit from and that’s by application. So in my case I’ve written a couple of books, and I think everyone should have their own book.
I have a book for the travel industry and I have a book to procure group leaders. That’s a lead generation piece and I have a website with a questionnaire that determines if you’re a good fit for me… and then you go through an eight or 12 step process filling out that questionnaire and applying with your group idea. So instead of me pitching myself to you, you fill out the form.k
Hopefully you’ll buy a copy of my book where I send you a digital download and then we schedule a strategy session. It’s like in the dating days, the prospect calling me and the conversion rate is very high. But the reason why the conversion rate is high Karl, is because now I’ve got lots and lots of social proof.
My name is out there. People know that I’m the go-to guy for groups on cruise ships. I knew to get started, all I needed was my first one. You start with that first sale, and once you have success, that becomes your social proof. So I use this modality of qualifying my group lead prospects. I’m having them consume my content, in this case my book, and then I’m scheduling a strategy session. I’m sure a lot of your coaches use this same basic technique… right?
Karl Bryan: Right! Captain Lou, this is insanely high level stuff, so please keep going. I’m having trouble keeping up with my note-taking.
Captain Lou: I don’t want to be repetitive. I’ve seen some fabulous high level content in your publication and I’m honored to be part of this. Basically, through the process I just described, I can pick and choose who it is that I want to deal with and who’s a good match just like you do in your company when you select the coaches you want to work and partner with.
It’s taken me a long time psychologically to get myself to a place where I can fire individuals that are inappropriate to our goals and objectives. No one wants the aggravation that goes with something like that. I just want to deal with great people that get what I do, want to help and support me and vice versa. I want to help support them.
It’s taken me probably a decade to figure this out. When you have good people that surround you and support you and become a valued part of your team, then you will attract like-minded people as you yourself Karl just witnessed on this past Marketers Cruise. The quality of the people that we attract is based upon the quality of the energy that we put out and the people I try to surround myself with. Would you agree?
Karl Bryan: Absolutely! If there’s one thing you’ve done, you’ve done that.
Captain Lou: You know, I’m not the only one in the world that does this, but I think it’s important to put that quality and integrity, the greater cause and the greater mission above profits. That’s why we do closed end affiliate programs. I have people calling me up saying, can you whip together a website for us? We’d like to promote you. And I say, are you registered? Are you a client? Are you going on our next cruise? Or are you just doing this for the little commissions you can earn by sending this to your list?
No, I want people that are fully onboard with us, that are not in it just for the money, that understand about branding, masterminding, brainstorming, relationships, networking. If it’s not that type of person, I’m not interested in putting up billboards over highways just to get sheer numbers into the funnel. I want quality people, and it seems that it’s worked.
Karl Bryan: Perfect, we should all emulate that model Lou.
Captain Lou: Well, the key is to make every client a potential partner. I like the term partner program because it involves a lot of recognition. You see, I do both the handholding and provide the love that we give our people before the actual event. We want everyone engaged in terms of having a dialogue rather than a monologue. It’s very easy to produce events with multiple speakers and gurus. And then the audience just sits there quietly and listens.
Karl, you saw I do it differently. We blow people away. We level the playing field by telling the gurus to check their egos at the door. We’re all entrepreneurs and we’re all in the game together. Everyone has something to contribute and everyone is welcome on stage and on microphone. It’s pretty hard to run a mastermind group with just 30 or 40 people. Imagine what it’s like with 300 to 400 people.
But by having that mindset and having that spirit and that passion, I think my heart comes through that. People just want to do this formula and this program. I teach my travel agent students this exact formula. Another formula for people that do events is the work and play balance. You notice I talk a lot about 30 percent work and 70 percent play. I’ll bet you Karl that you have had more meaningful conversations, potential business relationships and deals from play time than you did from work time.
Karl Bryan: Yeah, you’re right.
Captain Lou: Yet people think that they have to fill a calendar with information overload from early morning till way past close time. And then it becomes a self-helped program where this information just stays on the shelf, whereas in interactivity and in relationship building, that’s where deals get done.
So when we tout that we’ve created more than $500,000,000 in revenue and business and new product launches, software, joint ventures and all sorts of other things that’s come out of the organic relationship building that’s kind of hard to explain. But I think that you’ve had a little sneak peek at what we were able to do in that week away on a cruise ship.
Karl Bryan: Everybody understands what’s going on. So you sort of mentioned you do it organically, but I think you’re ridiculously strategic. What was the name of the Jacuzzi?
Captain Lou: We have things like pizza and prophets up under the stars late night. We have the JV Jacuzzi at sunset where people gather around and it’s a fun thing. It’s not a business thing, it’s a fun thing.
Karl Bryan: I think there’s some magic there and everybody knows that when they come in. They’ve all heard joint venture Jacuzzi. George mentioned it throughout the week when I was there. I heard it 100 times. You wrote a book called Pizza and Profits that was given to every individual.
So when I see pizza and profits on the schedule, it’s very, very clear to me that this is not grilling you with information. This was very clearly an opportunity to go up there, eat some pizza, have a beer and talk about your business. So very, very clever.
Captain Lou: Karl and I probably have to give credit to my pro wrestling world. I realized long ago I had to brand myself as a superhero. So instead of Lou Edwards, travel planner from Brooklyn, New York, I became Captain Lou and the phone number eight, eight, eight… I want to go!
We have “I want to go.com” and my slogan – “we’ll go overboard for you and your group.” These are things people remember. I learned an excellent marketing tip for writing salesletters from a famous copywriter, Michael Fortin. He’s a nut for testing for conversion on what elements of a webpage or sales letters convert the best. Michael Fortin says that if your sales letter headline speaks in rhyme, it will convert better than if it doesn’t.
Karl Bryan: I’ve never heard that? I love that. Can you give me an example of a few headline rhymes for me?
Captain Lou: Networking and schmoozing while Caribbean cruising… where profitable deals get done while on vacation having fun. See you in the JV Jacuzzi doesn’t rhyme, but it’s very, very catchy. I once had a retail office in Brooklyn Karl that had a sign in the door that said – “don’t stop in to waste our time unless you’re ready to put cash on the line.”
Karl Bryan: These are what I refer to as a “hack.” I’m really into business coaching hacks, aka cheat sheets because I just find that I’ve had an unbelievable amount of success, especially with business coaches, but more to the point with small business owners just providing them small little snippets of information that they can then go and deploy. And the results can be absolutely dramatic when done properly. So your examples are very cool.
Captain Lou: Since you love hacks, you saw my secret link strategy in action. This is where I make an offer based upon scarcity and urgency… but in this case it’s true scarcity and urgency. It’s not like an Ebook or a PDF where everyone knows there’s actually an unlimited quantity.
These are rooms on a cruise ship. So you’ve seen me do this Karl, where way before we ever announced where we’re going next year, I did my now famous “secret links strategy.” That’s where I offer my highest priced and most coveted accommodations to the first people that raise their hand.
But then I make them jump through hoops to find the link to register which is kind of counter intuitive if you think about it. But between 80 and 90 people were kind of like… “where did Lou hide that stupid secret link he wants us to find? He wants us to book a four, five or seven thousand dollar suite on a cruise one year from now… and instead of telling us where the link is to book, he says, if you’re smart enough to find the secret link, you can go book that.
Karl Bryan: A LOT of people found that link by the way,
Captain Lou: Yea, but more than people finding it. It created conversations. Remember how earlier we talked about how important these conversations are. The secret link strategy created friendships early on from the beginning of the cruise. People were like… “well, is Lou a travel agent or planner or is he secretly a marketer? He’s like one of us because he’s doing some Ninja marketing stuff.”
Is he completely out of his mind? He wants us to find a link so we can book his highest priced product. But I’ll bet if your coaches reading this try something similar, and they make it fun and they make it cool… it will work for them as well.
Later on, I’ll describe the funnel that I use to get people to apply, to get travel agents to apply to learn from me in my own travel industry coaching program. But you have to make things fun and you can have fun with scarcity and urgency… as long as you’re genuine and people realize that you’re the real deal.
Karl Bryan: People want to be educated but they’d rather be entertained. So what I believe you do is bring a perfect mix of the two. You entertain the heck out of people but you’ve also got some very, very high level education laced throughout. And I think you make it a heck of a lot of fun.
Captain Lou: Well, thank you so much Karl. You know, one of the things that you asked me – how did I get started and build this whole thing up? About 15 years ago I would go to these internet marketing seminars, business seminars and trade shows where you get a chance to ask the speakers a question.
And I always asked questions that I already knew the answer to. But the most important thing for me was to get a plug in for myself and my website. Every time I’d get up and ask a question, I gave out a different URL and I’d throw in a catch line or phrase… something that rhymes where people would kind of be annoyed and attracted to me at the same time.
Karl Bryan: I like that approach. It’s more strategic than I ever dreamt it would be. So, you have a coaching program for travel industry professionals, correct?
Captain Lou: Yes. And let me explain about the genesis of that. I spent 10 years wringing my hands and debating whether or not I should start my own coaching program. Do I want to create competitors or should I adopt an abundance mentality that there’s enough business and riches out there for all of us. I’ll admit that it took me a while to decide. I play things very close to the vest. I would not have done an interview like this 10 years ago.
When I created my own million dollar group business, I just wanted to keep things very close to the vest, and finally with some cajoling and arm-twisting, some industry associates said Lou, give back, give back. You can earn money while you’re giving back. You could bring the entire level of the travel industry and group planning industry up with some of the things that you’re doing and the world deserves to hear about it.
So I went ahead and entered a world and an industry where most speakers and content providers in the travel industry either have a $20 book to sell or a $50 DVD or something of the sort. I knew I wouldn’t be telling my trade secrets for $20 or $50. That’s just a front end product. That’s not a strategy, that’s not a money maker.
So obviously I had to position my coaching program between two, three or five thousand dollars for people that wanted to learn my million dollar group system. As you know, travel agents are notoriously, how should I say, frugal. So they want and expect everything for free. You know Karl, the plain and simple truth is that most travel planners get into the industry to get discounted and free trips.
The average travel agent works 60 hours a week and earns $23,840 per year. It’s pretty pathetic. And in terms of Internet marketing there in the dark ages, I’m pretty much afraid of the Internet as a faux rather than as a tool that they can utilize to reach the whole world. Even now, after all these years, it’s an uphill battle training travel professionals because most of them have been trained all wrong.
So now I go into that industry and while everyone else at these trade shows is selling their books and having a hard time getting a $20 bill out of a prospect, I go in and I do a book signing. That’s one of my hacks. I’ll be doing this in Vegas in April and in Fort Lauderdale in November.
So one of my hacks in getting the funnel started for my coaching program in the travel industry… and here comes the rhyme – I’m looking at the big tabletop sign behind me that says… make a donation to a charity and get my new book for free.
And it’s my book, Think Groups and Grow Rich by Captain Lou Edwards, How to Double, Triple, Quadruple Your Income. I give this book away. By the way Karl, this is something ANY of your coaches can easily do themselves. We go to trade shows and ask the organizer of the trade show if they would give us a complimentary booth for a book signing and I’m not selling my books, I’m actually giving them away for free in return for donations to charity. Well, what’s my charity?
Well, Mr. or Ms. Huge Trade Show Organizer, what is your personal charity that’s near and dear to your heart? One expo show owner said to me… my daughter has epilepsy and my closest friends are involved in activism to find the cure for epilepsy… and anything you could do for the epilepsy foundation would certainly be my personal favorite.
So I created an entire campaign where all monies from my book giveaway go to the epilepsy foundation. Long story short – not only did I get a free booth but I get one now every year from this associate, this giant company. But I’m also called up on stage, I’m invited to be on panels. I’m all of a sudden becoming a darling speaker at this event. And then I come up on stage with a bowl of thousands of dollars that we’ve collected at my booth.
So the Epilepsy Foundation benefits greatly. We’ve done this for St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House at other events. That’s how to get a comp booth and get called on stage and be loved for what you’re doing. But more importantly Karl, the other travel agents that have been in the game for a long time trying to hawk their $20 book and can’t get a purchase… I’ve got the red velvet ropes and the long line of people waiting to meet Captain Lou.
Then they throw a $20, sometimes a $50 or $100 bill into the clear Lucite donation box and get a signed copy of my book and a picture with me before they’re invited to my special training session the next day at that event.
But listen Karl, I don’t talk very often about this, but I know you have a high level audience that are seasoned business coaches, so let’s give them some real meat. At the booth, we tell each guest that instead of throwing your business card into the container… to instead, fill out a questionnaire. The questionnaire is two sided and it tells me about their business and their needs and gives me a lot more than just their contact information.
But what’s more important Karl, is it keeps that person at the table long enough to create a table rush. This is the subtle hack. This is where we get the rush of people lining up to sign for my book … then fill out a questionnaire… and then agree to attend a three hour or 90 minute training workshop the very next day.
Then I tell them, I have homework for you. I made you fill out this questionnaire. I’ve taken money from you for a good cause, for charity. Now I’m going to ask you to do one more thing tonight in your hotel room. Would you kindly read at least chapter one in my book? It’ll put you right to sleep – and they all laugh.
And so tomorrow when you join my special training workshop live, we’ll both be on the same page. Can I get that commitment out of you? Look them square in the eyes, shake their hand and have someone take a picture of that moment. This is a little complex, but it all happens inside of like two minutes. And now you’ve got a qualified lead that’s going to read your book.
And now they come to that workshop as a hot lead. And I do some trial closes and ask… so how many of you read at least chapter one? All the hands go up. How many read more than chapter one? Half the room’s read the whole book. It’s an easy read. How many of you are ready to get started with the rest of your career… even before my presentation?
All the hands go up. We’ve sold them already. Now you have hot leads in that room. I don’t see many people using this strategy. I’m actually having to turn down invitations to speak and book signings because of this process.
What we do with the coaching program, that questionnaire is really step one… have an application process to join my program. The next step is a two-part enrollment form and a commitment of $3,000, which can become $5,000. Would you like me to go into what’s included in my coaching program and how I get them to consume and take action?
Karl Bryan: Absolutely, I’m just doing my best right now to keep up on my note-taking.
Captain Lou: OK, the next part of this focuses on how we deliver the training and how we engage the coaching clients to actually consume the content. I bet your coaches have a lot of issues with that. It’s hard enough just making the sale, but how do you get clients to stick?
Well first of all, what do they get for their three, four or five grand? For five grand, they actually get something I started doing two years ago. They actually get to take my newest book, just add friends at justaddfriendsbook.com, and they get to rip my name, face and contact information off the cover, license the content from that, write one chapter introducing themselves, put their picture on the cover or the back or whatever… and make the book about them with my blessing.
It’s not a co-op book, it becomes their book. 99 out of 100 people will never actually sit down and write their own book, so I’ve written the book for them and that’s what they get for an additional $5k.
So now they get to use my book to get their own group leaders and they get to replicate my system. But I’m jumping ahead of myself here. How do I train them to be an effective group event planner in the travel industry? For me, it’s taken me awhile to figure out that you need multiple points of contact and multiple modalities to create content stickiness and consumption.
So we have a private Facebook group which all coaches can create for their clients for free, and it becomes either secret or private and encourages the interactivity between the members when you’re not doing your weekly or biweekly coaching call or a monthly webinar or whatever.
And we add to that an interactive webinar that starts off with a 30 minute topic, presentation style and then ends up with going around the room in small group coaching, helping agents with their particular concerns.
Now I’m talking about the travel industry. Obviously your readers can extrapolate this to whatever niche, whatever industry they’re serving. So now you’ve got the monthly webinars which are also recorded and archived and can be replayed and consumed that way. And the only way to get them to do that is you have to send out a bunch of emails and Facebook messages.
We even use voice blasts, we use a service called call-em-all.com to put people in a voice autoresponder because now more and more these days, especially high level entrepreneurs are ignoring their emails. So email penetration, open rates and readability and clickability have gone way down.
So you have to do things like voice broadcasts and SMS text messaging. So I encourage everybody to do that, you know, to combine high touch with high tech. Very, very important. So now what happens is we’ve got the webinars, we’ve got the Facebook group and then in between these monthly webinars, these coaching calls, I do weekly video tutorials using screencast-o-matic.com or useloom.com.
Now useloom.com is great for video emails as well. It’s a Google Chrome extension that you can affix to your browser and it’s completely free. It interacts with your Gmail so you could actually embed a talking head video email or a screen capture tutorial right from your Gmail. It’s really, really cool. That’s completely free. Screencast-o-matic.com is a different sort of screen capture where you can combine your headshot in the corner of the screen with the step-by-step of what you’re teaching them with screen share.
So I do these screen share capture tutorials about once a week or once every two weeks to teach the students exactly how to do something because we have a lot of technology phobic people now. Look, I’m a guy way over 50 and if I’m embracing the latest software and technology, there’s no excuse for anybody else not to, but you have to kind of walk them through it. We’ll do a five, six, seven, eight step video so at least people can start not just consuming the content, but taking action on some of the hacks that I have within my industry.
We build websites for group leaders in like 20 minutes. Here’s a secret for your coaches Karl. You can do a simple one page website that takes payments using something called formsite.com.
I’ve got a bunch of templates that work for me in the travel industry, so when somebody a subscribes to formsite.com, not only do I get a commission but I can actually push my customized and proven template into their account so that they can take my name off of it and my company information and use it as their own and their business.
So when you, when you actually help with software hacks and templates that can be pushed into someone’s account, that’s a very cool thing as well. So that’s another thing that I do for my coaching clients. And then finally, once a year I’ll have a three day success mastermind, a boot camp or workshop in the New York City area where my students fly in from around the country and they sit with their laptops and part of it is a workshop where we teach them the things that they’re most afraid of doing.
A lot of it having to do with technology… but two thirds of it has to do with mindset. So I would tell your coaches who are teaching content and technology to start teaching mindset more because if you can’t get your agents to get over that financial thermostat hump… or whether they deserve to be successful hump… or the technology hump.
There are so many things where you have smart people that are unwilling to do the basic steps necessary to be successful because everyone’s a perfectionist. So for me, I think of what could go wrong after I’ve taken the action. I say ready, fire, aim.
OK, so we do these live boot camps. And in the boot camp I used to sit with them for three days and work with them on their computers to get their webpages running and their automation running and their back office CRM system set up. And all of that is kind of boring but necessary stuff, right? But then we wouldn’t have such a great success rate and I’d wonder why. And the answer is people have to work on their mindset before any of these tools will do anything for them. Would you agree, Karl?
Karl Bryan: 100%. OK, anything else on consumption and stickability?
Captain Lou: What I really try to work on with my coaching clients is mindset and replacing the negative phraseology, the negative mindset. The thinking of people who are above you or smarter than you, or are better than you. I basically know that most people are all of those three things, but I don’t care. You feel the fear and do it anyway.
I will talk to you in the same way that I will talk to the pope or the president or a pauper or a janitor… with respect and decency and kindness and fun. I’ll put myself out there and whoever’s interested will be attracted to my message and my products and whoever isn’t, that’s fine.
Karl Bryan: I love it. Well, Captain Lou, you told me you were going to deliver and you delivered in spades. So on behalf of everybody at The Six-Figure Coach magazine and our very avid and many readers, I’d like to just say thank you and that was fantastic.
About Karl Bryan
Karl Bryan gets clients for Business Coaches…period. He is the editor of The Six Figure Coach Magazine and Chairman of Leader Publishing Worldwide, home of the largest private community of Business Coaches (24 countries and counting) in the world.
His goal is straight forward… to help serious coaches/consultants get more clients and to start using the internet effectively.
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