Hey everyone 🙂 I believe that reading is an invaluable resource, and one of the most underutilized resources out there. “Someone who won’t read isn’t any better off than someone who can’t read”, as Zig Ziglar would say. From time to time I’ll post my personal, detailed notes so check out the rest of the “Book Notes” tag!

I get pretty excited because this is where the “rubber meets the road.”



* Prepare

* Persuade

* Segment

* Prescribe


There are two major concepts we need to introduce and differentiate. The first is the Ask Formula itself. The second is my Survey Funnel Strategy.


If the (Ask Formula) is the overriding conceptual framework, then the (Survey Funnel Strategy) is the step -by-step, nuts-and-bolts blueprint.


(Survey Funnel Strategy)

If you’re not familiar with the term “Sales Funnel”— for our purposes, a Sales Funnel is simply the series of steps you want people to take to go from being a potential customer to becoming an actual customer in your online business.


(The pillars of the system are four primary surveys:)

  1. The “Deep Dive”Survey
  2. The “Micro-Commitment Bucket”Survey
  3. The “Do You Hate Me”Survey
  4. The “Pivot”Survey

^^^^^ They are the key to finding out exactly what your customers want to buy. If you don’t know what the customer wants (or you assume you know what they want), there might be a mismatch between how you’re positioning your product and what the market really.



This survey collects open-ended data that you’ll use to better understand your market in a deep way, along with the natural consumer language your market uses.


If you have a list of customers (or prospective customers) whom you can reach by email, you simply run an open-ended survey sent by email, ask them what their single greatest challenge is (along with several additional questions), and use this information to really figure out who your customer is on a deep (and often more honest) level. If you don’t have a list to mail, you can begin to create a list while at the same time finding out what those customers want to buy by creating a specifically designed landing page to acquire the customer and information.



This survey is called what it is because: a) You’re using it to ask people a series of small, non-threatening, multiple-choice questions prior to asking more pointed and private questions like “What’s your name and email?”

  1. b) You’re using the answers to those questions to put people into different “buckets” so you can customize your marketing,


Why put people through a simple survey before asking people for their name and email? The reason is simple: People are generally hesitant to give out their name and email when visiting a new website.

When you start by asking a few simple multiple-choice questions that are far less threatening and personal, it builds “action-taking momentum” toward that final step of entering their name and email.


⚠ Warning: there is a temptation to skip the open-ended Deep Dive Survey, and jump right into creating your Micro-Commitment Bucket Survey. This is the biggest mistake I see people make when implementing the Survey Funnel Strategy. ⚠



This is a survey you send by email to everyone who has entered into your email follow -up system , but who has not bought.


The title of this survey gets its name from the email subject I often use when emailing this survey, is designed to get people’s attention. However, with such a strong title, you should always make the content of this email lighthearted and even a bit funny. It should ask something like, “What’s the single biggest reason why you’ve decided not to work with me or purchase the XYZ product? Was it something I said? Something I didn’t say?”or “Do you just hate me? 🙂 Click on this link to let me know.”People are usually so open and forthcoming in responding to this survey. They tell you what hot buttons and objections you haven’t done a good job of addressing in your sales messaging.



In this email-survey you say something like, “Hey, listen, I know you’re not really interested in what we’ve been talking about, so which of the following options would you like me to talk about next? Would you like to know about Topic A, or perhaps Topic B, or maybe even Topic C?” What you’re really asking is “What do you want me to try to sell you next?


{How do you succeed in market after market with nearly 100% success? You take out all the guesswork.}



The question is: How do you find out what your customers really want— who they are, and how to market to them? It’s that simple. Ask.



STEP 1: Write an email that goes out to your list that directs people to take your Deep Dive Survey

STEP 2: Set up the survey in a tool like SurveyGizmo or using Google Forms. Capture the data and download the data.

STEP 3: Do the analysis to determine what “bucket” each response falls into, what the sub-buckets are, and what percentage of your market is made up of the various demographic elements that are of interest to you.

*Identify the hyper-responsive customers in your market by using the response-length formula, force multipliers, and scoring system.

*Identify the buckets of hyper-responsive customers, and focus all your marketing efforts toward the hyper-responsive segment.



Where you are looking at each individual response for what we define as hyper-responsiveness. These are the responses and respondents which will most likely translate to customers.


The reason why it’s so important to ask the open-ended questions is that you can’t assume to know more about the prospect than you really do.


{STEP 1: Writing the Email}

The email reads as follows: “Hey, over the next coming weeks I’d like to do something a little bit different. I thought it would be fun to ask people what they wanted to learn about.”I then go on to say: “If you could take just 5 minutes and tell me what is the single biggest challenge that you’re struggling with in your business right now…If you could take 30 seconds to tell me what that is, a) it would mean the world to me and b), most importantly, I’ll be able to use that information to gear my upcoming emails toward topics you specifically want to know more about.”


INCENTIVES AND DISCOUNTS By the way, when you run this survey, do not offer any sort of costly incentive beyond the result they are looking to get.


If you do want to offer some additional incentive to increase your survey uptake uptake rate, that incentive should be a discount off the paid solution to their problem in exchange for their feedback. For example, “As a way of saying thanks for your feedback, you’ll receive a 40% discount.


You can also couple the discount with a time-sensitive condition to accelerate the pace of survey responses. For example, you can make the discount available to the first X number of respondents, or only until a certain date.



The Deep Dive Survey is something you’ll direct people to in the email you send out with a link, which directs them to an open-ended survey with the Single Most Important Question (i.e. the first question you ask in your Deep Dive Survey, which represents the single most important piece of information you want to gather.


The survey is actually “ugly” on purpose. In fact, generally speaking, you actually want to turn away people who will be turned off by an ugly presentation. By making your survey ugly, you actually create a response bias in favor of people who care enough about the topic to respond in spite of that ugly presentation.



I use a three-letter code , SFF, which stands for the particular project, Survey Funnel Formula, and a four-letter code that stands for the list from where people came. In the case of our example, “SFF-FNSP” is a template. (This isn’t an actual survey I use but it’s the template built for all the surveys I ran to the various segments of our FunnelSpecialists.com email list [FNSP for Funnel Specialists] to get this data.)

it’s important to have a coding system in your survey so you know where your prospects and customers are coming from.


[The reason why I’ve asked this question next is because, of the remaining questions I want to ask, this is the lowest-threshold question (by that I mean a question that is most non-threatening). The reasons it’s “non-threatening” is because it only requires an “A” or “B” response.]


In many of the markets I’m in—including virtually all the health, fitness, and sports instruction markets—this low-threshold, A/ B question is often “Are you a man or a woman?”


in this example is that it turned out that my “gut feeling”was wrong—and because of that, I want to show you how the actual open-ended results compared to what I thought the market to be. You’ll see how even after you’ve gone through this process hundreds of times, across dozens of markets, as I have myself, you still want to let the data guide your decision-making. To paraphrase: A beginner’s mind is a Zen mind.


Whenever you present multiple-choice options like this, to eliminate biases, ideally, you want to randomize the order in which you present those multiple-choice options. The reason why is because people will tend to skew toward selecting the first and last multiple-choice options they’re presented with.


“Lastly, I may want to follow up with a few people personally to learn about your situation. If you’d be open to chatting for a few minutes on the condition that I promise not to sell you anything—please leave your name and phone number below.”


condition that I promise not to sell you anything—please leave your name and phone number below.” This specific language used here is important: The promise of not selling anything is key. Your goal here is to see who is willing to provide their phone number to you, because we’ll be using this data as part of our formula for scoring the quality of responses. By the end of this you want to become so familiar with your market that you know where they hang out on the weekend, what car they drive.


All of this data gives you a complete, multidimensional view of your prospect.



How to transform this raw data into something that’s actually useful.


In plain English, all things being equal, the longer a prospect’s open-ended response is, the more likely they are to be a buyer of whatever it is you’re selling.


The reason why we apply this “force multiplier” of 1.5 to people’s responses if they leave their phone number is because when someone leaves their phone number and is willing to talk to you on the phone about the challenge they’re facing, they are more likely to be a potential buyer.



Ideally, I’m trying to reach 80% of my market, with as few “buckets” as possible. (And this is important.) Every additional “bucket” you add creates more work and more complexity.



  • To determine what buckets naturally emerge in your market.
  • To identify what people’s hot buttons are.
  • To identify what their objections are. •To identify what their biggest challenges are.
  • To use in concert with their demographic information.


Having too many buckets is just as problematic as having no buckets at all.


you want to combine and consolidate those buckets until you’re left with, ideally, three to five buckets that address 80% of your market.


we’ve got three columns: CAT 1, CAT 2, and CAT 3. Every single response will have at least one category— but sometimes people will refer to multiple topics



Essentially, this gentleman runs the marketing for a car-loan lead-generation business online in Australia and is wondering how to make Pay Per Click (PPC) traffic convert in a competitive, high-cost environment. This response is a good example, because it represents one we could approach in several different ways. That said, the categories I came up with for his response were as follows: Since he wanted to know how to apply my techniques to PPC, essentially getting PPC traffic to convert, I’ve called the first category “PPC conversion.”Next, he wanted to know how to apply my techniques to sell non-information products; he talked about a lot of the sales funnel training online talks about selling info products and coaching services and things of that nature but wasn’t sure how to apply it to his business. So I’ve called the second category “Sellother: Non-Info.”After that, he wanted to know how to apply his techniques to an offline sales process, because in his business he’s not able to transact directly online. He has to take the process over the phone do to regulatory issues around making quotes for car loans online in Australia. So I’ve called the third category “Offline Sales Process.”This is essentially the process you’ll want to go through for each of your Top 20% responses (and the 20% below that, if you have fewer than 100 Top 20% responses). This represents your first pass through the data.



STEP 2##


NARROW DOWN YOUR BUCKETS BY COMBINING AND CONSOLIDATING CATEGORIES The first time you go through your data, it’s likely you’ll have dozens and dozens of different categories. The name of the game is to cover 80% of your market with three to five buckets. So you will likely need to make a few additional passes through the data.


In your first pass, you want to look for categories that are very similar to one another, or even identical, but for which you’ve applied different labels. For these, you want to use the same naming convention and combine them into a single category.


In your second pass, you want to look for multiple sub-buckets that occur in small volume, which you can potentially combine into one larger bucket. For example, I noticed there were a large number of people who had very specific technical concerns about building out their own Survey Funnel, so I created a category called “Technical Concerns”


In your second pass, you want to look for multiple sub-buckets that occur in small volume, which you can potentially combine into one larger bucket. For example, I noticed there were a large number of people who had very specific technical concerns about building out their own Survey Funnel, so I created a category called “Technical Concerns”


STEP 3##


here’s the process you’ll need to follow in a nutshell:

* Set up a simple site with a Landing Page and a two-step email opt-in process, whereby you simultaneously obtain a prospect’s name and email address (to build your email list) as well as the answer to your Single Most Important Question from your Deep Dive Survey

* Your Landing Page should not have a form on the page itself. Instead, that page should have a mix of text and graphics explaining what you’re offering in exchange for the prospect’s feedback, followed by a link, button, or combination thereof which directs people to the second page in the sequence, which contains a form with your survey question or questions.

* Since this is cold traffic, the incentive for filling out the form should be some sort of “ethical bribe,”

* Once you accumulate enough survey responses, you’ll want to analyze the data


you want to know not only what their single biggest question or challenge is; you also want to know why they decided to search for a solution to that problem today specifically. In other words, what was it that happened in their life that made them decide to turn on their computer, go to Google, and search on the term “How to Improve Memory”? Did they forget something important that caused great heartache?

2nd Landing Page: The landing page will become a permanent part of your online sales funnel.

Your “Landing Page” is the page you’ll drive your online visitors to so they can enter into your sales funnel through your Micro-Commitment Bucket Survey.


presentation and positioning are key. If you introduce your Micro-Commitment Bucket Survey to your audience without teeing up the survey in the right way, your uptake on people actually answering your questions is going to be very low.


You are trying to diagnose your prospect’s problem and ultimately give them the very best solution.



this video is the single most important element on your landing page, because this video is what will convince people to fill out your survey and enter your sales funnel.


I suggest you focus first on getting the script right and using whichever video style is easiest for you to execute first. Once the script is right, you can make fancier videos later.




One common mistake people make is that they use a large header in order to emphasize their company logo or branding. The problem is that this pushes everything else on the landing page “below the fold,”
take the “blur test.” If you were to blur your eyes and say, “If everything else blends together, what is it that stands out?” You want your primary call to action to stand out.

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