Episode 171 | Posted on

Cracking The Code On Lead Generation with Tom Poland

If there’s one thing we could all use more of, it’s leads. Not just any leads, mind you, I’m talking about quality leads. Qualified leads who know exactly what’s up and understand the value of your offer. If there’s one man who has turned lead generation into a science, it’s Tom Poland. He even has a name for it, Leadsology. If you’re skeptical, remember that Tom has founded and sold many multimillion-dollar businesses himself. He even wrote a book where he explains how to do it. If you’re looking to crack the code on lead generation for your business, then you want to hear what Tom has to say. This episode is all about the nuts and bolts of attracting and qualifying leads and more importantly, how to create replicable and delegatable processes that work. In other words, a scientific approach to lead generation. Keep tuned in because it’s time to stop messing about with random marketing experiments and create a system for bringing the right people straight to your sales page.



Tom, it’s so great to have you on the show.

It’s terrific to be here, Stephan. Thanks for the invitation.

Let’s start by explaining to our audience here, what is Leadsology? That sounds so scientific and what a great name.

It’s scientific. Leadsology is the science of being in demand. When you create a new word, you get to say what it actually means. That’s what it means for me. It’s about creating demand from the marketplace. Inbound leads, a weekly flow of inbound high-quality leads, that to me was always the Holy Grail. Having spent 37 years chasing the Holy Grail and finally cracking the code, I came into a conclusion that it was science. It wasn’t an art form. We’re not relying on the universe. It wasn’t about random acts of marketing. It was a specific series of steps and at least in terms of principles, even though the detail might vary from one to the other in principles, they were unchanging. Once I figured those principles out in my own mind, I’m not saying that I created them, I just figured out what was working and what didn’t work. I figured, “This thing is a science. What can I call it that implies that there is something to this?” It’s not random. It’s not unpredictable. It’s not relying on pure dumb luck. It’s science and you can figure it out, hence Leadsology.

One of the most important things about science is it’s reproducible.

That’s one of the great challenges for a lot of people. A lot of people are waiting to be discovered. They’re waiting to appear on someone’s stage or get the invitation from Oprah or if they can just get the one big breakthrough and that’s not repeatable. We need to have a system that can be rinsed and repeated. Preferably, rinsed and repeated by someone else, by a contractor, so that you and I and our clients can do the things we loved to do, which is mostly working with their clients. That’s not a part of that Holy Grail I suppose. I observed in myself that if I didn’t want to do a marketing method, one of the three outcomes was likely. Either I never start it because I didn’t like the idea and I’d wake up in the morning and think, “I should do that,” but I never got around to it. Or I’d start it and stop it, like blogging is a classic. How many blog posts are there? There are five blog posts and the last one was three years ago because the person thought they should do it, but didn’t really want to.

The best-case scenario is a marketing method that we think we should do, but we don’t want to do is doing it inconsistently. We’ll only do it when we run out of money. We’ll call X clients and try and get a coffee when we start to run out of money or we’re going to business networking meetings when we run out of money. These are random acts of marketing. One of the central truths behind the Leadsology philosophy is that if you’re going to engage successfully in a rinse and repeatedly successful marketing method, it must be a method that you want to do. Not one that you feel you should do.

According to Nonviolent Communication, NVC, Marshall Rosenberg is the creator of that. He says that the word “should” is the most violent word in the English language. You’re projecting and forcing your own agenda, your own ideas, your own values on somebody else. You should be doing this particular approach to generate leads or to increase referrals or whatever. If they don’t find joy in it, if it’s a painful process that they don’t want to be doing, but they feel like they should be doing, because you can’t should all over yourself.

In my estimation, having worked with thousands of clients for decades now, I have to say it took me 35 years to come to this conclusion. I’m going to put up a slow learner, but 97% of marketing has failed for the one simple reason and that is the person that’s meant to be executing them, doesn’t want to do them. I’d really invite people to check in what are they feeling in their bodies? What are the small moments of resistance in their mind when someone says, “What you should do for your marketing,” then fill in the gap? Set up Facebook funnels with tripwires and auto-responders to split test and kill off the losses and track them. If in your body you’re going, “I don’t know if it’s needed, but I suppose I should do it because of I need clients,” then don’t do it because you’re compromising your personality. You’re compromising your life’s purpose because the things that you are meant to be doing in life and the way you’re meant to be working with your clients and the way you meant to be doing your marketing, all of those things will be things that you would naturally be inclined to want to do.

Unless you could generate a predictable flow of new clients, then your financial security is going to be insecure at best. Click To Tweet

Almost all of my clients have one thing in common. Fifteen different times, they have different cultures, different countries and different languages. One thing they have in common is every Thursday morning at [10:00], there was an audience waiting for my client to present about how they work with their clients, then they would want to attend that meeting. They wouldn’t wake on that Thursday morning and go, “There’s an audience waiting for me to present about how I work with my clients,” by implication, a lot of them are going to be interested in what I do, my profession and how I work with clients. “Should I go to that meeting?” You wouldn’t even think about it. You would want to go to that meeting. In fact, it will be such so deeply embedded in your psyche that you wouldn’t even consider not going to the meeting. You go, “At [10:00], an audience is waiting for me to present how I work with clients. Amongst whom are very likely my future potential clients. Yes, I would want to go to that meeting.”

Let’s assume that you’ve got a knock out of the ballpark presentation. You’re confident delivering because you know people love them. Let’s assume that. Other than that, people would want to go to that meeting. We talked about some of the philosophy behind Leadsology, some of the core concepts. If you want to go to the heart and soul of the tactics of the execution, one online meeting every single week, other than maybe Thanksgiving or Christmas. Every single week you’ll have one online meeting and there’s an audience waiting for you. The beautiful part about it is you don’t even have to get the audience.

Most meetings, people do not want to attend. They see those meetings as time wasters and there’s even a demotivational poster that’s quite popular on Despair.com. It’s a demotivational parodied poster of a motivational poster. It says “Meetings” and then underneath, “None of us is as dumb as all of us.” I love it.

That’s like your sick puppy and I like it too, “The dark underbelly of truth.” There are so many different ways you can do your marketing. You can have quizzes and survey, all internet- based. You can do product launches, you can do public live events, 3D and conference halls and so on. If you think about it, this is one of the things when people get stuck with marketing is they get confused because there are so many different options, “Should I be podcasting? Should I be blogging? Should I be running webinars?” Let’s make it simple. Think about this, what would you say would be the oldest, most proven successful marketing method in the history of mankind?

I know the answer though, it’s referrals.

It’s close. That’s the second. The first one is speaking to groups of people. The referral is after that or whatever happens after that. I don’t like word of mouth because it’s random. I want that one domino that can be pushed over every Monday morning that will click all the dominoes and I want to control just looking at it. I want it to be like a tap that I can turn on in the flow of leads. I don’t want it to be left to the marketplace. Do I love word of mouth? Absolutely. I love it when it happens. It’s terrific but it’s not predictable.

Aren’t referrals predictable?

They can be. It’s systemized.

Cracking the code on lead generation is a science, not an art form because it follows a specific series of steps.


Because you’ve got a system for that.

If they’re automated, absolutely. If it relies on someone waking up in the morning going, “I want to ask my clients for referrals now.” It wouldn’t happen or you do it inconsistently or you stop and use that as. The oldest most successful marketing method in the world is speaking to groups of people. If anyone has any doubt about this, just think about the number of clients that have been generated by Christ, Buddha and Muhammad. They didn’t write anything. All they did is speak to groups of people and mostly small groups of people. Now, they’ve got billions of clients so to speak. You take the oldest most successful marketing method in the world, combine it with the newest marketing medium in the world, and what you have is online meetings. They are efficient, they are effective. If you’ve got an internet connection and a PowerPoint, you can run it completely free. If you do the presentation right, you know how to get the audiences in, then there’s a completely predictable week-in, week-out generator of new client inquiries. It’s not a training webinar. I want to reinforce that. We’ve all fallen prey to the training webinar, “Come along and we’ll show you XYZ, ABC,” but it turns out it was a sales ambush and there’s a pitch at the end and there’s a freaking countdown climber.

There’s the awkward transition from the education portion to the sales portion to the pitch.

They didn’t tell us there was going to be a pitch. I wouldn’t mind if they said, “By the way, the last ten minutes, we’re going to make you an offer. You don’t have to stay for that if you don’t want to, but if you do, just a heads up so you’re aware.” Here’s my problem with the training webinar that turns out to be a sales pitch. If my first exposure to someone’s brand is a duplicitous one. What’s called in marketing, bait and switch. I thought I was getting A and yes, I got A but I had to sit through B with it. If my first exposure to a person’s brand is where they went fully open and transparent and honest with me, will it get any better after I’ve paid money? Can I trust them that the thing I’m paying money for is exactly what they said it was and not something else? My first exposure was now we’ve been conditioned that the training webinar is going to have a dollar-related offer at the end of it. You put your credit card out, “Be the first twenty and you wouldn’t have in to pay this much,” etc.

Even worse than this as far as being duplicitous is to position the webinar as live and it’s actually prerecorded so you’re boldface lying to the attendees.

Seeing the promoters of these evergreen webinar platforms are going, “Don’t worry about it. We’ll have all these names on the right-hand side.” People will think that they’re one of 1,000 people. Seriously, that is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I’m not going to trust you.

These hotshot speakers are generally extremely good at marketing, if not manipulation, and not as good as delivering on the value. Click To Tweet

“Ambrosia Walker is one of the attendees right now.”

“We’ve just had a question come in from Daniel in Moscow. Daniel, what’s your question?” That’s the problem with the marketing world. It’s universal, it’s a mile deep and it’s a million miles wide and we’re all over it. Everyone reading this, there is an opportunity for you to get cut through and to shine by not following the recipes that everyone tells you should follow. Authentic, genuine, fresh, that’s what’s going to get you to cut through. The clients that are attracted to that, you’re going to love working with them because they’ll be straight shooters the same as you are.

What was that point in time where you suddenly came across this new approach or this insight that what you were doing was not scientific, but it was more haphazard and now you’ve got the science? Where did that transition happen? How did it happen?

I can tell you where it started, as a 24-year-old launching my own business. Realizing quite quickly that unless I could generate a predictable flow of new clients, then my financial security was going to be insecure at best. I bought a lot of copywriting books and marketing books. I literally flew around the world and sat at the feet of the marketing gurus and over a period of some years, just time and again I would spend money. I’d come back and unfortunately, the pattern of experience looked something like this. I’d hear someone speaking generally a man with the deep voice and basically they will say the same thing, “Trust me, give me your money and I’ll show you how to get clients in.” I hand over my money, go back and implement whatever the program, recommendations, coaching and consulting. We didn’t have coaching back then. It was all consulting and so on. I’d implement and then three months later all I had to show for that would be an empty bank account balance.

When I tell that story to let’s say I have an audience of 100 people and I say, “Pop your hand up if you’ve done something like that.” Ninety-seven hands go up. I’d say, “Keep your hand up if you’ve done that three times.” Almost all the hands stay up. “Five times?” Almost all. “Seven Times?” Folks, why don’t we stop believing these people? Why don’t we start only working with people who are prepared to put skin in the game as well? What happens is these hotshot speakers were generally extremely good at marketing, if not manipulation and not as good as delivering on the value. It’s like they’ve got ten out of ten marketing, but their value is two out of ten. It’s the same deal, “Trust me, give me your money and I’ll show you how it works.” Since when was the level playing field that they should ask you to trust them, but they’re not prepared to trust you? “Give me your money. Once I got your money, I’ll give you all the goods.”

The way I encourage my clients to spend this time around is to say, “You’ve been burnt before. I understand you’ve spent money before and you didn’t get anything out of it. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s work together for a month. Don’t pay me anything. I’ll give you full and complete access to all of my IP and I will trust you. I’ll trust you to pay at the end of the month. Yes, I want to be paid for the month. I’ll meet with you once a week, twice a week, whatever it is. I’ll give you all the IP, complete open access. Don’t pay me a dollar. At the end of the month, you be the judge. If, ‘Is this the real deal? Is it what you expected?’ Great, then you can start paying me. Until then, let me put some skin in the game and back myself and work with you.” When a prospect is considering purchasing, they see this massive obstacle called risk. What if this happens again and I end up frustrated and disappointed? It’s another notch in the belt to some marketer. If you take the risk out of it and if you’re prepared to share the risk because you’re putting the time in the game, if you permitted to share the risk and actually say, “It’s okay. I trust you.” Will I get ripped off? Yes, you’ll get ripped off, but you’ll get a lot more clients in that way than if you insist on getting money upfront.

When did you start doing that?

I started doing that around 2009.

How many times have you gotten ripped off?

I’d say genuine rip-offs are very rare. I’d say 1 in 50. The person who accepts the deal goes from downloads everything then cancels. That’s what I call a rip-off. You can see they downloaded 89% of the program and they’ve come and picked your brain for about two or three sessions and then they just canceled. They’re not responding to emails or whatnot. That’s about 1 of 50. Not very many when you think about it.

We need to have a system that can be rinsed and repeated, preferably by someone else, like a contractor, so that you and me and our clients can do the things we love to do.


You’d think that they would realize that all those downloads are getting registered.

My experience is that people who rip off generally are not that bright. They fail to understand the need for coaching and guidance throughout the implementation process. If you’re teaching someone how to serve in tennis, I could throw the ball up and show them how to bend the racket back and to move the body forward and to lift up. These people think that because they saw that once, now they can go off and do it successfully. You’ve got to have coaching.

When you pay, you pay attention. If you haven’t paid anything or you’ve paid almost nothing to get all this online training and information product and eBook or whatever, what’s the likelihood that you’re going to consume it and implement it?

They don’t. They just go off and download someone else’s program. That also collects digital dust. The majority of people who cancel, they go on a different path or it gets too hard. They don’t persist. I don’t know exactly how you describe it. They say something like, “My daughter’s come to visit from overseas. I’m going to cancel.” The excuses people come up with. I would say that’s around unfortunately as high as 20% are people who just come up with some random excuse. I understand if you got diagnosed with cancer, please cancel. Your husband just walked out of you after 30 years of marriage, cancel please. This is not a good time for you. I understand that. I get that. When people approach you and say, “I have these extenuating circumstances, I’m sorry,” I get that, that’s fine. There are a lot of people that when it comes to implementing even relatively simple things, just don’t want to chase another shiny thing.

It may be because they’re not prepared to persist, but I also think there’s deep psychology that we have to be more aware of, which is the psychology of disappointment. People talk about the fear of failure maybe, but I think the fear of disappointment is even stronger. One of the unconscious’ jobs is to protect us from emotions which we don’t like. Disappointment is a deep, unwanted emotion. This is how it plays out, “I’m starting to implement this. It’s looking exciting. I can see it’s going to work, but what if it doesn’t?” A lot of this is unconscious. People start to have doubts, they start to have fears and the unconscious then distracts them and says, “There’s another program over here. There’s someone else that looks even better that’s got a better haircut than Tom, let’s maybe go up and try that.” You have people and I do feel empathy for them. I’m not judging them, but they go from starting one thing to starting another thing, to starting another thing, and they’re always chasing shiny things. I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons, but the number one reason is that their unconscious is moving them away so they can never complete because if they never complete, they can’t be disappointed if it doesn’t work.

People talk about the fear of failure maybe, but the fear of disappointment is even stronger. Click To Tweet

Do you think that’s why people do these random acts of marketing as well? Because they can always fall back on rather than, “I failed, there wasn’t enough strategy there. I just tried something.”

I don’t think that’s the primary reason. The primary reason is they don’t have a simple process that’s rinse and repeatable that they have confidence in. If anyone had a simple process that was rinse and repeatable that they had confidence and will generate a weekly flow of high-quality inbound leads, I think they would run with that. The smoke in the mirrors and the camouflage that the fuzzy thinking comes from because there are so many different people saying, “This is the way you should do it. You should blog, you should podcast, you should run webinars, you should write a book. You should get on stages, speaking. You should do SEO, you should do pay-per-click. You should do Facebook funnels, YouTube or Instagram.” They are bombarded with different ways to do their marketing if not every day, several times every day. It all sounds good. Where do you stop?

In fact, I was experiencing this. I was speaking at a mastermind run by Loral Langemeier. She was a guest on my other podcast on Get Yourself Optimized. I was at her mastermind and I spoke about SEO. The people in the room were nontechnical. They had already heard some other presentations relating to other aspects of online marketing and lead generation and money making and all that sort of stuff. This was the second day of the event and their eyes were already glazed over. The last thing I wanted to do is sell them on a training program. I have online courses on SEO, but that’s not a fit for them. They don’t want to learn SEO or if they do, they wouldn’t be skilled at it because it wasn’t in their zone of genius.

They needed to just find an agency or a consultant that they could trust to hand over the keys and say, “Here you go, here’s the website and here’s our overall marketing strategy. Please help us.” I do some consulting but I don’t have the capacity like a big ad agency. I only take on a small number, like maybe ten clients at a time. I wouldn’t be able to service that whole room of people and it would be a disservice for me to sell everybody on an online course. I ended up not selling anything because that was in their best interest I thought. People want to buy shiny object if it promises some result at the end of the rainbow, like top rankings in Google or flood of social media traffic or doubling your conversions or whatever.

The answer to your question is that people get confused and bewildered by the range of supposed miracle cures, “Do this one thing and you’re going to have 70 leads.” If people are feeling like, “Where do I start?” I’ll give them a simple model that they can evaluate their options with. If you imagine a blank sheet of paper or whiteboard. At the top, you’d put audience, in the middle you put asset and at the bottom you put action. That’s a marketing model. That marketing model applies to every single type of marketing. At the top, we’ve got audiences. We’re the audiences. Audiences are on Facebook, they’re on YouTube and they’re on Twitter. They’re in Amazon, if you write a book, you’ve got an audience there. There are other people’s email lists with joint ventures and so on.

What instances are easy to find? That’s the easiest part of the whole thing. The asset, what assets can you develop? A podcast, a blog, a diagnostic, a profile, a survey, a book, an eBook, a video series or whatever. There are so many different assets you can develop. At the bottom, you’ve got the action. What’s the call to action? Is it to buy an online program? Is it to book a consult and talk with me about becoming a client? Is it a free brainstorming session? Is it an opt-in? Lots of different options for audiences, lots of different options for assets and lots of different call to actions. If anyone out there is marketing the invisible, like in my last book, Marketing the Invisible, I can give them the simplest, most effective model on the planet.

The audience comes from other people’s networks and you’ve got a lot of your potential clients in your network and probably vice versa. If you look at North America alone, there are literally thousands and thousands of people with email subscriber list that if you knew how to get them to promote your asset, then they would do that. You would have an endless and inexhaustible supply of reasonably high-quality and completely free source of leads. If it’s inexhaustible, it’s free and it’s relatively high quality, I can’t think of anything better than that. You don’t pay affiliate fees, you don’t pay advertising costs. You don’t have to spend any money on promotional literature materials. Audiences are covered by OPN, other people’s networks. In the middle of the page, asset. What’s the best asset? Because that’s the best audience, free, inexhaustible and high quality. Best asset is the online meeting and I talked about the reasons why that is so.

The oldest, most proven successful marketing method in the history of mankind is speaking to groups of people.


You have a 45-minute presentation. It’s a demonstration of how you work with your clients. It’s not a free training webinar. It’s a demonstration. The people who are attracted to it, but are lined with naturally being interested in how you work with your clients. Therefore, it draws a very short line between them being interested in how you work with your clients and them being interested in working with you. The action is really simple because there’s nothing to buy on the demo. You promote that, “Nothing to buy, leave your credit card at home.” Then at the end of it you say “For those of you who want to know how I work with clients, click this link, book a time to talk to me.” It’s not a free coaching session. It’s a conversation between two mature adults to see if you have a fit.

If people want an example of that, they can go BookAChatWithTom.com and see how I promote that. At the end of our online meetings, I promote that link. It’s not still available by the time you get there, I apologize because it’s not always up. Sometimes they close off new clients. Asset, other people’s networks in the form of email, subscriber lists who promote your online event once a week. We talked about that before. The asset is your PowerPoint presentation, which is a demonstration of how you work with clients and the call to action is book a time to talk with you about becoming a client. By the time they get to talk with you, they already know your fees because you covered that in how I work with my clients. They know you’re in a program or they know you work one-on-one or they know you’re a consultant because you covered that in the demo.

With marketing, if everyone else is doing it, do the opposite. Click To Tweet

For example, I would already let my prospects know that there are two ways of working with me either as a consulting engagement or through a coaching engagement. They would know the prices before we had that first call.

The one-on-one consult. Before your booking link, whether you schedule once, whatever. Before that’s activated, able to be clicked on and actually works and takes them to your calendar. They have to check a box to say they understand, they have the different ways of working. The other box should say they can afford your minimum monthly fee, which is X dollars. Then the link to book a time with you becomes active.

A big mistake that a lot of coaches make, and I’d say consultants too, is a free coaching call which they structure as an actual coaching call and they get their value. They get enough to work through like, “I’ve got tons of homework here. This was great. Thank you for that free coaching call.” Then they’re off and running.

It’s a mistake for that reason, but it’s also a mistake because you de-position yourself as being someone in need. There’s no reverse psychology there. There’s nothing that says, “I don’t know if I can help you,” which is the genuine thing to say. “I don’t want you wasting your time. If you can’t afford to work with me, it would be a waste of your time. I can get you all excited and it’s not going to be free.” A deposition is the strength of the brand and the attractiveness. The second problem is that every man and his freaking dog has it on their website. I’ve always been wanting to say with marketing, if everyone else is doing it, do the opposite. Coco Chanel, “In order to be indispensable, one must be different.”

The third thing is disingenuous because if you’re offering that, you want to convert them to a client. If you’re desperate, you want to convert them to a client whether they’re an ideal client or not. I’d been desperate too and it lowers your IQ about 60 points when you’re desperate and your ethics become somewhat variable as well if you’re not careful. I’m not saying I’ve never done any of these things. In fact, I have done them and that’s why I’ve stopped doing them because I didn’t feel right about it. It sucked. It didn’t work as well either. By the time they get to meet with you, if you’ve done the meeting right, there’s no convincing at that meeting. Selling is convincing. This is why you should do this.

All there is confirming. Do the marketing right and when people talk with you one-on-one, they literally come to the meeting hoping to confirm that you are the best option. The questions will be around validating to confirm that you are the best option. You don’t have to convince them because they’ve been to the meeting. Running the online meeting and having everyone come through that meeting before they book a time to talk with you, avoids what I call Hugh Jackman marketing. Hugh Jackman marketing is based on a short story. I had this stupid thing one day, I was having coffee in the kitchen with my wife and I said, “I’m curious. I’m a bit of a brain sneeze here. Who would you say is the world’s most irresistible man?” She said, “Hugh Jackman.” I said to her, “He’s incredibly good-looking. He’s a hunk. He probably makes $1 million a week. He can sing, he can dance and he can act. I accept your answer.” I said, “Tell me this then, if there was a knock at the door right now and you put your coffee down. I’m sitting here. You go to the front door and you swing it over. It was Hugh Jackman standing there right now. He dropped to one knee and he held up a small red velvet box. He opened the lid and it was a $10 million diamond ring sparkling in the sunshine. He said to you, ‘You don’t know me. I’m aware of that, but my name is Hugh Jackman. Would you make me the happiest man on Earth? Would you run away with me? Don’t go back to the house, run away with me now. Live with me for the rest of your life. We’ll get married.’ What would you say to him?”

Online meetings are efficient and effective. You can run them as long as you’ve got an internet connection and a PowerPoint.


She put her coffee down. She looked at me and she said, “Tom, you know I love you, right?” I said, “I know that. I think I know what’s coming next.” She said, “I’m sorry, but I’d run away. The guy’s irresistible. That’s the definition of it, you can’t resist. I’m sorry.” I said, “I was a little hurt,” and I thought about it. I said, “Don’t apologize. First of all, I asked you the question. Secondly, if I’d answered the front door and he had proposed to me, I probably would have run away as well and I’m not even gay. He’s that good.” Hugh Jackman marketing, therefore, is when people propose at first sight. You’ve seen my photo, you know I’m definitely not Hugh Jackman. We are not the commercial company of Hugh Jackman, but if you go to a business networking meeting and trust business at the hands of perfect strangers, hoping they will want to talk to you about becoming a client, that’s Hugh Jackman marketing.

Appointment setters, where third parties contact people called and say, “Do you want SEO services now? I’ll hook you up and talk with someone,” that’s Hugh Jackman marketing. Direct mail letters that go out to 10,000 and say, “We should talk because we have these services,” that’s Hugh Jackman marketing. Trade shows is a Hugh Jackman marketing. Any effective marketing method when you’re marketing the invisible, marketing ideas and proprietary services, etc. It’s far more likely you are proposing marriage than it is you’re selling a washing machine. You’ve got to build a relationship of rapport and respect. I call it reciprocity and relatability before you suggest that someone reaches out to talk about becoming a client. One-hour online meeting is a perfect vehicle for that. It’s easier for them to get to. It’s free. You get to start your stuff and demonstrate how you work with your clients. You establish respect, rapport, relatability and reciprocity. Then you suggest they reach out and book a time to talk with you.

The online meeting also gives you the opportunity for elimination, qualification, education and motivation. These are four important ingredients to be built into any online meeting. Elimination is the elimination quite rightly of the ineffective alternatives to working with you. You have the opportunity of saying, “This is what we don’t do when working with clients. We don’t do this and this. This is why we don’t do this and this.” That’s eliminating all your alternatives to working with you. They should be eliminated. You do it ethically and you explain it logically. Qualification is because they know what your fees are. Education is they know how you work with clients and why it works. Finally, motivation is evident in that they have clicked the link to book a time to talk with you. Elimination, qualification, education and motivation, you don’t get those things with cold email or cold calling or direct mail letters. You get them once you get people into an environment where you can establish rapport, respect, relatability and reciprocity.

Hugh Jackman marketing is when people propose at first sight. Click To Tweet

These online meetings are done-all live or do you have some pre-recorded?

Absolutely 100% live.

What if there’s only one person in attendance?

That’s happened to me once and I told them how lucky they were because they get my undivided attention. That’s pretty rare that happens if you follow the system. It happened to me once. We’re talking physical meetings back around 1999. It was still a painful memory. I still remember the meeting was awkward. If you do it right and you use OPN, then you’re going to be having someone with a list of 2,000, 3,000, 4,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 or 60,000 subscribers, driving registrants to your online meeting that you were doing once a week. That hasn’t happened for many years.

How many networks are you tapping into on a weekly basis? How many emails or JV partners and friends, colleagues in the industry and so forth are sending emails?

First of all, with JV partners, it’s equivalent JV partners but no affiliate commissions. I don’t like doing affiliate commissions. They’re motivated to drive traffic to my meeting because it’s done good quality content and the subscribers will benefit because of it, by reason of that for making the recommendation. That’s the way you put the meetings together. That’s what happens. The KPIs have been one a week, but I’m going to drop that to one a fortnight next year.

Why is that?

Because I can’t handle the clients right now. We shut our doors for new clients for three months so I could focus on the 77 clients that had signed up. What happened is we all want scalable value. We can serve more people and we can do it in less time and make more money. Online programs are terrific for that. That’s how I work with my clients through online programs. One morning I’m sitting there having coffee, not asking my wife stupid questions. I’m going scalable about it like, “I’ll set up this program. It will be an eight-week program and it will be great quality content. I’ll do a Q&A once a month and I will make it so simple that people only need one hour a month for a Q&A.”

It wasn’t before the end of the second week that I stopped sleeping well at night thinking, “This guy needs more support than that.” Long story short, I try to be a smart ass and scale bigger beyond my value system. My value system is that every single client will need help with information. I’ve got to be there to deliver that help, whether it’s mailed or someone that’s really well trained but someone has to be there. Nowadays, we run for support sessions a week. I think that’s unheard off for the style of programs that I’m running. That’s four live support sessions where clients can come in, I can review their work, ask and answer the questions and send them on their way again to the next step. Four times a week. Who does that?

I don’t know exactly how this started but it was around why I’m going to two a week not four a week because I’m getting too many clients. I want to be able to support the clients that come aboard. Again, I’m not Mother Teresa but I feel guilty if we’re not doing that. I get a lot of fulfillment when clients come back and say, “I’m just blown away by the amount of support you’ve given us. The detail you went into. I didn’t expect that because it’s a program. I expect to be herded through this program like one of the thousand sheep, like with the other programs that I’ve been in.” We’re on a journey and we all have increasing realizations. One of the realizations I’ve come to is that I do not sleep well at night. As many clients who want to engage and are engaging feel totally supported.

In fact, the last few years I give every new client regardless of which fee level they’re at, my mobile phone number. I say, “I’m happy to give you this mobile phone number because I think you’ll need it. I think we’re doing a great job with the support, but I want you to know I’m accessible and I’m available. I’m not some guy sitting in an ivory tower or something counting all the money. I want to get into the weeds with you on this thing. If you ever feel stuck and you ever feel not getting service, please reach out. Call me, send me an SMS, we’ll talk. We’ll get you unstuck.” That’s the benchmark I’ve ended up with. That’s what I’m comfortable with, I’m happy with. I can sleep well at night. I feel fulfilled. Four support sessions a week it is and ratchet back the marketing from one OPN partner supporting our gigs onto a week to two a month. That will do the job.

When people talk with you one-on-one, they literally come to the meeting hoping to confirm that you are the best option.


It’s the classic best practice of customer service. Under promise and over deliver. Not the other way around. Unfortunately, it’s so rare that it happens.

I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is. That’s the way the game is played. The other thing is, and I know it’s a little weird but I’m a great believer in Karma. I’m a great believer in believing in Karma. Let me clarify. I don’t know if Karma is true or not. Karma is the idea that you reap what you sow but over multiple lifetimes. It’s similar to the Christian or Judaistic belief where you reap what you sow, except with the Buddhist, it comes back as a goat or something, I don’t know. The reason I believe that believing is a good idea is that the more people that act as if Karma were true, the better the world’s going to be. I don’t know if it’s true or not. I can’t prove it’s true or not true. I believe that believing in it is a functional belief.

You mentioned that in the asset column, you have audiences, assets and actions, that demonstrations are the best way. Doing it as an online meeting is the best way to do a demonstration or in-person meeting, of course. An in-person demonstration would be great too. I know you have a lead gen demonstration that you have built and that’s at LeadGenDemo.com. Do you want to talk a bit about that?

There are a bunch of things, but if people want to see how I run a demo and sit there as a spectator and go, “Let me see the secrets of Tom,” because you guys were very set sequence of the promise, the proof, the principles and the prove it. They can rock up to LeadGenDemo.com and register for one of my one-on-one meetings. The reasonably small intimate affairs for that particular link. It’s webcams on. Make sure you’re not having a bad hair day. There is a lot of fun actually because I do run the big webinars once a month where we’ve got hundreds of hundreds of people registered, but that’s not as much fun because it’s faceless.

Every single client will need help with information; you got to be there to deliver that help. Click To Tweet

Why have a video of them?

It’s more intimate. One of the things that you lose with online meetings is the 3D element. The most effective marketing is the live meeting where you’re face-to-face with a group of people. There’s no question about that. Online meetings are better overall because the little bit you lose in effectiveness, you gain in efficiency. The cost and the time, the complexity of running live meetings in hotels and conference centers. I’m not saying don’t do it because I’ve done over 500 gigs. I hire a conference center, get lots of bodies in there, strap my staff, feedback form and pick up the clients. I know they work and I know how to do them. If you look at the relative effectiveness of online meetings and the relative efficiency of online meetings as a total package, they are a better option.

We know you’re a big fan of rinse and repeatable type of systems and you briefly alluded or I think I mentioned that you have a referral machine or system. Could you give us a little taste of what that referral machine is like? Because we could all use more referrals. We have customers or clients, we want more of the same kinds of clients. One of the great ways to get those is to get referrals but not just as let’s hope and pray that they actually wake up one day and decide to refer somebody to us. We need to spur that on. We need to have a system that’s predictable and scalable and all that.

Let me give you some of the principles behind the referral system because they’re actually far more important than the tactics. When you think about asking you for a referral, then the client you’re asking for referrals have a risk-reward happening in their unconscious. Normally, the way referrals are asked for in the unconscious of the client who’s been asked for the referrals, they carry the most risk and they get the least reward. You carry the potential for the most reward, but you carried the least risk. This is why a lot of people can be reluctant to make referrals because if they refer their friend or their colleague and something goes wrong, your friend or colleague doesn’t like your haircut, but something goes wrong. You missed the appointment or they go, “I’m carrying some risk here. I’m not getting a lot of reward out of it, potentially I’m helping a friend.”

You’ve got to build a relationship of rapport and respect before you suggest that someone reaches out to talk about becoming a client.


What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to upside-down everything so that the client feels they’re getting well-rewarded for the referral, not financially, and that the risk is mitigated. Whatever system you set up and when we set up a client referral system for my clients, we want to reward the client by giving them something soft dollar. We want to reward the person that we’re referring to so that they feel like it’s a bonus. That could be a genuine free coaching consult. If you refer someone, there won’t be any sales. If they want to talk about becoming a client, there would be a separate meeting. We’re offering for a limited time maybe five per month. You refer your friend, we’re going to give you one hour of additional coaching for free and we’re going to give your friend, a free one hour of coaching or whatever it happens to be. You’re both going to be rewarded equally. It’s added value. If your friend wants to talk about becoming a client, that would need to be a separate meeting. We’re not going to be doing any selling. That’s an example of something that increases the reward of the mind of the potential referrer. It makes it very easy for them to make that referral because their friend is going to be happy that they referred them to you.

Totally de-risks it for the referring party.

That’s the plan. Whereas if you just go, “I noticed you were a happy client. Would you mind referring me to a few of your friends?” Then we haven’t gone through the process of removing the risk in their mind. If we go to them and say, “If you refer a friend, we’ll give them a free hour of coaching,” then your clients are going to hang on, I’ve been a client for years, you’ve never offered me a free hour of coaching.” Don’t you hate it? I signed up for a new internet company and they’ve got a good deal and then in the mail, I get two months later, “For new clients, we are offering 50% off.” I find that internet company and say, “I’ve been a client now for three months. I don’t get this deal. Can I get this deal?” They said, “No, you’re an existing client. You don’t get that deal.” The existing client you have, you’re treating them worse than new clients. How is this building brand loyalty? That annoys me, so don’t do that.

What are some other principles that would be helpful for somebody who’s seeking to get more referrals in a predictable and systematic way?

You’ve got to automate them because it’s one thing that we don’t wake up wanting to do is asking for referrals. You can automate the process. I’ve done this and it’s worked so well. I stopped doing it, so damaging admission, we’re not doing it currently. If you have group coaching or you have one-on-one coaching or consulting or whatever you’re doing, have it systemized so that from the time they start, 30 days later at the end of each meeting, they get a simple link with three questions. The questions are related to the net score promoter, “On a scale of one to ten, how likely would you be to refer to other people?” If you get a ten out of ten from someone, that’s an invitation for them to get an automatic trigger in your database and go, “This guy is ten out of ten, why don’t we set it up for the two weeks later to send them the offer? If you fill in the space, refer three people, we’ll give to you an hour free coaching and we’ll give this person an hour free coaching. Don’t worry, we won’t be doing selling with them, etc.” The whole thing has to be automated because then it set it and forget it and it just rolls on relentlessly.

What’s the name of your referral system and how does somebody learn how to do this from you?

I do have a product called Killer Referrals Machine. That’s got twelve proven referral systems. I started with 157 different referral system, including some that I created. Some of them sounded like garbage and worked. Some of them sounded good but never worked. There was twelve which you could automate and systemize to work reasonably well. Killer Referrals Machine is on the website, Leadsology.guru in the store. There’s a bunch of them there. The thing is if you’re going to get referrals from existing clients, you’ve got to get existing clients to start with. That’s the part I’d focus on is setting up that weekly rinse and repeatable system where the new client flows are happening every single week routinely and then after that, add on the referral system.

Online meetings are better overall because what a little bit you lose in effectiveness, you gain in efficiency.


How long do you think it would take somebody to set up that rinse and repeatable machine with the weekly online meetings, the funnels and automated sequences and all that would be required?

Eight hours over eight weeks is what I need. If someone does one of my programs, they’re going to get leads up to eight weeks if they could be eight hours. If they’re only giving me four hours a week, it’s going to take them sixteen weeks. If they give me two hours a week, it’s going to take them 30 weeks. 64 hours is what I need. Ideally, eight hours a week over eight weeks because some of it involves a creative process and that works best with a bit of repetition. You do the exercise. I have 29 modules people work through and four support sessions a week, so lots of support. If they give me eight hours a week, over eight weeks they’ll have the leads flowing in. The best part about it is they’ll keep flowing week in, week out.

Is there a done-for-you solution where they can completely outsource it and not have to go through the training and everything and hire you or hire your team?

$25,000 a month and I’ll do it for them.

How many clients do you have that are currently doing that with you?

None. The reason I promote it is that I would do it for that price, first of all. Secondly, when you look at that and then you look at $500 a month, the $500 a month suddenly looks pretty affordable.

It’s great price positioning. For our audience, now is the time to take some action and create a reproducible system for your lead generation and for referrals as well. Thank you so much, Tom. This was a lot of fun and very informative. I think that you’ve got a great set of programs there. I’m happy to dig in and check those out.

I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks for having me on the show, Stephan. It’s been fun.

Important Links: 

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

☑ Understand how Leadsology works and apply my learning by creating a marketing system that can be rinsed and repeated.
☑ Stop with random acts of marketing and engage in a standard marketing method where I feel passionate about and sincerely want to do.
☑ Start speaking to small groups of people. Tom says that it’s the oldest most successful marketing method in the world.
☑ Constantly evaluate my marketing content to ensure that what I provide is authentic and fresh for my clients.
☑ Create an environment where I’ll have the opportunity to establish rapport, respect, relatability and reciprocity. Potential clients must understand if what I offer is fit for their needs before anything else.
☑ Build my online meeting with these four key ingredients: elimination, qualification, education and motivation.
☑ Visit BookAChatWithTom.com and learn how Tom effectively promotes his product and service.
☑ Grab a copy of Tom’s book Marketing the Invisible and gain sharper insight on how to have a predictable weekly flow of high-quality new clients.
☑ Don’t miss Tom’s lead generation demonstration and go to LeadGenDemo.com. Make sure to register on his one-on-one meetings.
☑ Automate my referral process with Tom’s proven referral systems through Killer Referrals Machine.

About Tom Poland

Tom is the best-selling author of the Leadsology® series and has started and sold numerous business with multimillion-dollar revenues.

He tells me that he is voluntarily married to a pretty German Frau who he affectionately refers to as his Little Bavarian Bulldozer. They live quietly and happily on the sand next to the waves at little Castaways Beach in Queensland, Australia.

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