Ryan Levesque has converted more customers and generated more leads than almost anybody by using the simple tool of surveys.
His Survey Funnel Formula has generated…
- Over 2.8 Million Leads
- 175,000 Customers in 17 Different Markets
While surveys sound simple, it’s a little more complex than that, which is why we brought him on for this week’s TriggerCast.
He also shares with us the story of how he went from $0 to $25,000 in monthly income over a span of only 18 months back in 2008.
We cover his neuroscience background, the NEGATIVE emotion that almost all landing pages evoke and hacking the fight or flight response.
We’ve Provided the Transcription Directly Below
Interview with Ryan Levesque
Sweeney: Hey everyone! Sweeney here and welcome to another episode of the TriggerCast. I’m here today with Ryan Levesque who actually lives in Austin, TX which I just came back from but more importantly, he’s the inventor and creator of the Survey Funnel Formula. Is that the exact title?
Ryan: That’s the exact title! You nailed it.
Sweeney: I got it. His tagline is that he’s probably converted more customers and generated more leads than almost anybody online using this method. You want some hard numbers? 2.8 Million Leads, 175,000 customers and 17 different markets. If that’s not impressive, I don’t what it is. Thank you a lot for coming on today.
Ryan: Sweeney, I’m happy to be here. I’m really thrilled to be with you and share what we’re doing with your audience.
Sweeney: After you run all these crazy numbers, I think a lot of our listeners, most people aren’t that slow. You have your 0-18 months story really how you got started.
Ryan: What happens is whenever I bring up these numbers, 2.8 Million leads and 175,000 customers you’re absolutely right. People hear those numbers and they think I know we’re near that side on my business, how does that relate to me? Well, what’s interesting and I think it’s more relevant is really the story of how this methodology came about. So I got into this world; internet marketing like most people. It wasn’t something that I grew up and thought I was going to do. I have a corporate background and worked on Wall Street for the investment that sucks. I worked for the insurance company AIG. I was living in China and I was running sailed off extension project flying around the country from the Blackberry, living at the hotels. I was based in Shanghai. My wife who’s also an American was doing graduate school at University of Hong Kong. We’re living these crazy by-country marriages and I burnt out like a 25 years old, I was basically burnt out. I said there have to be something else. I want to go business for myself but I don’t know what I want to do. So I turned into online marketing. There’s a few buddy of mine on that space who makes some money. At first, I failed like most people. I tried a whole bunch of stuff. I invested into some stupid programs. I had stuffs shipped to me in China. Eventually, I stumbled upon a gentleman by the name of Dr. Glenn Livingston. Dr. Glenn Livingston is someone who’s the PhD Marketing Psychologist. He has this methodology that he used to get into different market that involves using surveys. Immediately I grabbed into his model because he was getting into all these tiny, little niche markets. I immediately lapsed onto him and decided that he is doing something that nobody else is doing. I invested in his $2,000 product and had it shipped to me in China, used his methodology. Long story short, I was able to break, make my first money online. I got a tiny, little niche teaching people how to make jewelry in a very specific space using scrabble tiles most random of things. For me, it was not something I had any interest at all. It’s the niche that my wife stumbled on because she’s telling me about this crazy, fan that was happening. That led me to appreciate the value of using surveys in a very specific way. Using that methodology of the ground work, it involves to what I do today. After that first small success which is what I considered “practice business”, my first business online, we took from nothing to $25,000 a month within 18 months. This is back in 2008. I replicated the process in 3 different markets like I said jewelry marketing, gardening market and then memory improvement. After having 3 successes in 3 markets I was able to make money and start telling people about this methodology that I was using which is now known as the Survey Funnel Formula Method. Eventually, I was on a mastermind and I have someone say, hey Ryan your methodology is brilliant. What if I just have you a big pile of money, would you be willing to do this for my business? That’s what I’ve been doing all day everyday for the last 5 years. I now publicly say 17 markets and actually in 23 markets at the time of this interview. I implemented this now in every markets ranging from golf instruction to business funding, dog training, weight loss supplements, fitness instruction. It’s a whole bunch of different markets. Earlier this year for the first time ever, I came out of the shadows. I’m not into some of this “IM world”. At the urging of a friend on a webinar teaching my methodology, it’s part of the telesummit series. I had no idea what to expect but I’m sure if anybody was going to buy the training that I had put out, not only the best selling training in this particular telesummit series but we out hold the next, most popular training to the one. We put 350 people in the training. It was the most popular by far and that’s what I realized. This is something that people can use whether you’re starting out some ground zero like I was back in 2008 or if you’re a large established business and you want to take your business into the next level. That’s the minute story in a nutshell. I’m happy to talk about whatever we think is going to be helpful.
Sweeney: It sounds like you’re definitely an expert at a few different things. I was researching on you, I mean 3 questions immediately come to mind. What’s the science behind the survey funnel formula? Ideally it maybe an applicable way of this is what works and this. You might find this is why people do this on all opt in pages. This is why people are doing these campaigns.
Ryan: Sure! Well let’s talk about science for a moment. What’s interesting is my academic background is in Neuroscience and Chinese Studies. As a neuro science, I’m not in NLP or some certification. I actually have some Ivy League Degree in Neuroscience from Brown University. So I study then actually taught 2 years of Neuro 101 at Brown. I have legitimate, academic background in Neuroscience. A lot of my marketings is based on the psychology neuroscience of consumer behavior. I bring that up because it’s important to what I’m going to mention which is your question. What’s the science behind using surveys in a very specific way in your marketing? We’ll talk about 2 different things. The first thing is relatively obvious. In a world where so many businesses build their funnels around a one size fits all offer, the secret of standing out is to a zig when everybody else is zagging. The way I’ve zig in my marketing and basically what I teach is in a world where everybody on their tippy toes, figuratively speaking. On their tippy toes, screaming at the top of their lungs saying look at me, I’m the best. What I’m doing effectively with survey to be perfectly honest, I don’t know if I can help you but if you take the time to answer few simple questions about where you are right now, what you’re struggling with, what your challenges are using that information I can put you in touch with the best match solutions. That’s the first thing. That might sound very obvious but very few businesses do that and even few businesses execute on that effectively. That’s the first major premise behind why this methodology is so successful and why it worked in market after market after market. The premise of will everybody else offer a one size fits all solution? I’m offering you a customized, tailored solution. That’s universally applicable. So, that’s the first thing. On the more science end of it is something that I like to talk about that I call micro commitments. Again, if you look at what everybody else is doing online and through zigging where everybody else is zagging, what’s the most common first point in a marketing funnel? Sweeney, if you’re to ask. What most people say the first step in the marketing funnel after someone clicks on your Ad, they reached the landing page and what happens next?
Sweeney: Landing page is most likely going to offer them something in return for their email address?
Ryan: Right! What was the problem with that? Asking someone for their name and email even just their email as the first point of contact, you listed a threat response in your prospect’s brain. It’s literally been signed and proven that it fires an area of your limbic system. It listed to respond the same area of your brain responsible for the response. What you’re doing when you’re asking someone for their email address too early in a relationship, you’re literally scaring your prospects. The question is, what’s the alternative? What’s the secret? The reason why on that response is you are asking your prospect to take a step that’s too big. It’s threatening. On the extreme, it would be like imagine if I met you for the first time on the street. I said, hey dude what’s your Social Security Number?
Sweeney: It makes of sense. A lot times when you hear them talk about getting advice, they say it’s silly and stupid but number one you have to make sure you don’t pose a threat. You don’t freak them out. It’s funny because you hear it in something like this and what is everyone doing step 1 is posing a threat.
Ryan: Right! Your prospects aren’t going through this conscious process in their mind. They’re not saying I’m threatened by this. What’s happening at a nonconscious level? All of these prospecting is going on. They’re thinking is this a spam a hell in my inbox? What’s this? Is this going to steal my contact information? I don’t want to be bombarded with these whole bunches of stuff. I don’t want to commit to this. I don’t even know if I know this guy. All of those thoughts are happening at an unconscious level in micro seconds. What’s the fighter flight response manifestation of that online bounce? It bounces off your site. The bounce rate, right? They fleet. That’s the fighter flight response. So the question is, what is the anecdote? The anecdote is hacking that fighter flight response. Hacking the limbic system. The way you hack a person’s limbic system just like in dating. That’s the perfect analogy. I’m glad you brought that up is you reduce the size of the step you’re asking someone take. Instead of asking them to take the giant step across the river, you decrease the amount of space between stepping stones. You move that stone much closer to where they are and there’s less of a threat and feel that they will fall in the river. You reduced the size of the commitment hence micro commitment. In my world, what that might mean is instead of starting with name and email, I’m asking someone, first tell me are you a man or a woman? The reason I ask this question is because we’re in the weight loss market. Men and women tend to suffer or struggle from different weight loss challenges. It’s a simple, multiple choice questions. It’s easy to answer. You don’t have to think about it. If I say are you a man or a woman there’s no cognitive higher level thinking going into it. You don’t have to think about the answer. You’re just click on man. What it does is it builds what I describe action taking momentum. It gets people to take that first step. Get their toe in the water in a non threatening way that fighter flight response or limbic system isn’t even set off. If you’re going to do an MRI, a PET scan on person’s brain, you’re not going to see any activity in that part of their brain. You’ve literally hacked the limbic system. You have that fighter flight response. That’s a little bit of a science. That’s a preview and I know we’re going to talk this in a little bit more detailed at some point. That’s a little bit of a foundation behind why there’s a scientific evidence and its effective. We’re going to be talking about how to display out in the marketing context that actually play out that you might expect. The 2.8 Million leads, the 175,000 customers across all these different markets give evidence that this is something that does have legs.
Sweeney: I’m curious in business or in markets where man and woman doesn’t work. What kind of questions do you tend to use then?
Ryan: That’s a great question. It really depends on the context. For example, if it’s a business question you might say are you primarily in an online business or a local business? Do you sell to customers in just a single local market or around the country or around the world? You want to make it a question and it depends on what your market might be. Do you sell digital products or physical products? You want to ask question that is ideally in that soft ball theme where it’s so easy to answer. A person doesn’t have to give any thought to it. It’s also not something that implies a threatening request for information. The other thing too that I didn’t bring up that’s important is unless it’s self evident, you need to explain the rationale behind why you’re asking that question. Are you a man or a woman? The reason why I ask is because otherwise it feels like why are you asking me this question? If you frame it in their self interest and answer that question accurately, the reason why I ask the question is because man and woman suffer from different challenges. If you tell me your gender, I can better match you up with the best solution for you.
Sweeney: Most of the times if you go to a website or you go to something like that, it’s to your benefit. Same reason when you’re walking to a store and you’re looking for clothing. You look for the women’s sign or men’s sign and you go to the section appropriately, it makes sense.
Ryan: There’s no difference like we take this for granted in a face to face interaction and face to face sales experience, it’s very rare that someone like the most question retail. What’s the worst question of retail if you take a guess?
Sweeney: I don’t know. I never work much on retail.
Ryan: What’s the response that we have been conditioned even when we were kids. Listening to our parent’s response to that question. No, thank you. I’m just looking.
Sweeney: If you’re asking a question for failure, you’re probably going to be a failure.
Ryan: What’s interesting is that people won’t even say, no thanks. Even when they actually need help. How many times have you done this? They say, no thanks. I’m just looking. In the back of their mind, you’re saying it would be really helpful if you pointed me where the grey shorts because that’s exactly what I’m looking for. The point is, what wouldn’t happen, what we never see offline is walking to a retail store. If we do see this, it’s so awkward. You’re walking to a retail store. Even the worst possible way to say this question. May I help you? Then you say, actually yes. Can you help me find? Then it starts a dialogue. Online it doesn’t happen. It intuitively makes sense that if we translate that offline sales process of asking questions in a very specific way, translate it online that’s taps into an experience that we’re all very familiar with and all very comfortable with. That’s the premise for this process. I will say this like most things in business and most things in life, it devils in the details. The order in which you ask certain questions, the number of questions, how you position the survey. In other words what you do to someone before they see on the landing page before they presented with the question. How you use that information? How you use that information to customize your offer? How you let that information in the auto responder sequence to segment people. There’s a lot of magic that can happen. I hope this gives a sense to people to get excited around what are the possibilities when you implement this correctly. There’s a lot of potential and there’s something for me can be the same that I did it out of necessity because of getting into market where doing a one size fits all positioning. Almost on a whim, I decided to create different sales messages or different segment on the market. That was the first major breakthrough that I have. That’s what helped me cracked the nut. Ever since I have that experience in my first market, that’s exactly what I’ve done in market after market after market after I’ve done it in a much more sophisticated, methodical way to point that it’s rinse and repeat. It’s something that’s literally anybody can take my methodology and apply it on top of their business.
Sweeney: I’m curious, you’re at the stage so obviously now where you’re at, systems are very successful. I’m sure it builds upon itself. When you’re at that mastermind, you had someone hand you and had your first “client” for the system, how did you take it from there to the next level? Just because you have the greatest thing in the world, you still have to come in to people that it’s the greatest thing in the world.
Ryan: Are you asking from a client’s acquisition thing like how did I sell it?
Sweeney: I’m curious with how it grew in that sense?
Ryan: I have spoken a mastermind and it was a mastermind where we all sharing what we’re doing. I shared what I was doing in one of my markets. It was one of those moments where you could hear pin drop in the rib. People are just blowing away with that I’ve done. It was one of these things where people in the room recognized and said I get it. Like it totally makes sense. Survey, segmentation, it makes perfect sense but how do you actually do it. It’s one thing like picking the theoretical idea down to the practical sense. I just said, to be perfectly honest the only way that I know to succeed online and it’s like done out of necessity, I’ve repeated it 3x. At the time, my business model was I would do it into 20 different markets. I would have $20 Million businesses in different niches. I would have a collectible $10 Million business. That was the path that I was on. I was just moving down that path and it was just about knocking out one of these businesses. Really it was a year process to take me from nothing to half a million dollars at this point of refining the process but still, you do the math. 20 markets a year each and half a million dollars, that’s still like a 20-year process to get to $10 Million. For me, it was attractive to work with the business that is already had $20- $50 Million and helping them get from $20-$30 Million, for example, using this methodology and held a lot faster for me than to take something ground zero. That’s the reason why I decided to go down that path. The trade off of course is less freedom. When you’re running your own business and you’re taking something yourself from ground zero, you have no balls. You have nobody that you need to answer to. It’s really just a matter of what’s more important. For me, I love freedom. We live in Asia. We live in the United States. We travel anywhere in the world that we wanted to. We could take a month off if we wanted to and that was very appealing. For me, I was really interested in and translate to the next market. We have success in that first market. Really from there and all honesty, I’m a marketing guy that does marketing on the private side of our business. Every single client that comes to me who’s been a private referral. It’s really just vindicating like I can’t believe what you’ve done. Let me tell my buddy about you and what you’ve done for us. That does go to another business to another business to another business.
Sweeney: So it’s nothing wrong with the product so good that everyone wants to talk about it.
Ryan: Yes, I was on the phone with Harris the other day and they’re not familiar with it regardless he’s one of the best copywriters today for direct mail/direct response. People had criticism. How come you’re not using a service funnel for your marketing practice? I tell people why would you build a survey funnel if you have more business that you can actually handle. Harris’ response is I totally get it. I’m a copywriter with an unlisted phone number, with an unlisted address but my phone rings off the hook. When you’re in that position, why would you do any marketing? The curse to success is really too many opportunities to take advantage of that you can’t say yes to everything. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to teach this methodology is because you only have 168 hours in a week. I can’t work in all the markets that I’d like to work and I can’t work with all the people that I like to work with. The next best thing is to teach it. For me, the big mission that I’m on and this is truly a mission is I have this vision that 10 years from now, what we’re talking about today is being cut edge, something unique and different. 9 out of 10 websites are going to start with what we’re just talking about that has been jamming down someone’s throat and why we’re the best. It’s going to be a common place for a website to say let me come out a second. Let me see if we can help you. All you need to do is answer these simple questions. The reason why I’m so passionate about this is that it benefits the customer. It helps more people out. By extension, it helps out merchants because when you’re helping out more customers you’re going to be more successful. To be part of that process, for me it was really what energizes me. We get to a point where the money is just like a scorecard. You bought everything you could ever want to buy. You have a lifestyle that you want. You’re living exactly what you want. Really it’s the mission that drives me personally to continue doing this.
Sweeney: It’s funny actually like you address the question without even asking you like why don’t you do this for yourself. What I’m attracted to buy your pause if you say there’s a balance between their implementation and their training. So often it’s 80/20 the other way. It’s all training and they maybe do it. That’s where I find it to be a big issue. With you, it’s the exact opposite. It’s like what it matters if you’re doing it yourself. You’re doing for other people results with it. I mean the best personal training in the world aren’t always in the best shape. That’s not really the point. The point is they get into their client’s result. That’s what people are looking for. They use the system and the system gets results.
Ryan: What I realized for me is why don’t you do this for yourself. That’s a great question. It’s a question that I reconsider really almost every quarter. Why won’t I just get rid of my entire client and just build my own business. What I’ve recognized and this is unique to me but I’ll answer the question. You’re not asking me but I think it’s an important question to bring up. There are a lot of things that go on this path. I don’t mis configure businesses from the ground. There are a lot of things about that I personally I’m not very good at and don’t like. I’ll give you a perfect example. I don’t like building products. I’m one of these people that do not like creating products. I just don’t and I don’t know what it is. What happens is my academic; perfectionist tendency tends to take over whereas living a marketing context, that doesn’t happen. I love to sell and I’m very, very good at it. I’m not very good at managing vendors. I don’t like supply chain. I don’t like having one supplier supplying DVDs or printing, working with a fulfillment house, put everything all together. I don’t like that side of the business. I would much rather have someone who’s good at operations and do that. For me, doing this for clients allows me to do what I’m very, very good at over and over again and only that one thing. At the same time, the way I’m compensated most people might not notice, I get paid off the very high fee plus a piece of the action. I’m not doing this just for a fee. I get paid a percentage of all the revenue that’s brought through my work. It operates more like a partnership when I work with someone than just a client-vendor relationship.
Sweeney: I know time wise we’re about to get pressed here. I would be interested real quick on how you go about establishing that and actually getting that percentage in making that work. That’s one thing that can be an issue with client service based businesses.
Ryan: That’s a great question. First and foremost is deciding who you’re going to do business with. In other words, you need to trust who you’re going into business with. That matters more than anything else. It’s nice to have a piece of paper that spells out an agreement and detail. I’ve invested a lot of time and money to build an agreement that spell out everything in detail. For anybody who’s going on this path, do the key things that you want to have, made sure everybody’s on the same page in terms of reporting that tricks. What date that you have access to? What date that the client has access to? How is that shared? Make sure there’s a common level of understanding on that will be shared. In my case, clients are willing and very happy to provide with data. You’ll notice that when I speak publicly about what I do, I never compromise a specific client result. I never compromise in a specific client’s name. It’s not appropriate. I’m very discreet and clients trust me. That trust is paramount to everything else. You build that trust overtime that comes with reputation. So that’s the first thing. People know you’re not divulge information. So that’s the first thing. The second thing that is very important which respect to that one thing is there’s a reason why it’s beneficial to the client giving access to numbers. The reason why is because the gain doesn’t end when the funnel’s built. That’s when the gain begins. When the funnel is built then it’s all about testing, optimizing, tweaking, split testing, making changes. The only way that you can test and tweak itself to your way to success is by having access to the data. That’s the client best interest to share thing.
Sweeney: Real quick before you go, I know we are going to have the pleasure of having a webinar with you or you’re going to talk specifically about the Survey Funnel Formula more in depth. Can you give us 2 minute or 60 seconds run down of what you’re going to cover on that and why people should attend?
Ryan: Absolutely! The reason why it’s called the Survey Funnel Formula and we touched on one of the survey is what makes this. There a lot of people that talk about building sales funnels/ marketing funnels. What makes it unique? What makes it different? Well, what makes it different is that there are 4 specific surveys that are used at strategic points in the sales funnel. What I will be doing is I’m going to be showing what those specific surveys are the role of a play and I’m going to walk through actual real case studies showing the type of results that each of those surveys was responsible. We’re going to be covering that details to the type of webinar that you wanted to have a pen and paper out to take lot of detailed notes. I will be showing you some things that you can actually use. I’m going to the emails that I send out. I will be taking screenshot so you can get the copy that I use and verbate them. I’ll have the webinar that you’re going to walk away with very detailed, hackable, actionable things that you can apply to your business immediately after we finished. I’m really excited to do this. I’m passionate about this. I love teaching the academic in me. I love teaching, I love sharing and I’m really excited to be sharing these with your audience when we have a chance to do this.
Sweeney: Definitely! I appreciate a lot for you to jump on the Podcast beforehand. I definitely appreciate. Everyone, all the listeners of course, I will have a link if you check out the Podcast. I’ll have a link for you guys on the webinar and have a link for the webinar for you guys to sign up. It’s very easy and smooth like you check out any of Podcast and interviews on the blog post. So, once again Ryan, I know you have to run. You’re a busy man and I respect that. Thanks a lot again for coming on and sharing this with us. I honestly do look forward to this upcoming webinar. I just learned a ton of out funnels and funnels interested me. I’m excited.
Ryan: Awesome, Sweeney! Thank you so much for having me.