What if you could sell less but make a bigger profit?
Sound too good to be true? Russ Ruffino, creator and founder of Clients on Demand, helps experts, coaches, consultants, and thought leaders do this very thing. In this episode of Business Lunch, Russ sits down with host Roland Frasier to talk about how he went from selling products that cost less than $10 to selling programs that cost $10,000 or more.
Russ started out in online marketing in 2011. After some affiliate marketing success, he realized the real money was in creating his own stuff. He bought everything he could afford on his bartender salary and started selling products at a really low price. It didn’t take long before he decided to flip the model on its head. Instead of selling thousands of copies of something that cost $7, why not sell a handful of something that costs $7k?
The Model Is Simple
Russ tried a massive experiment. He designed a funnel, found some committed folks to enroll in his program, and they got results. His income went from $20k/month to $200k/month as soon as he got it cranking. They scaled and scaled, and now they’re doing around $1.7 million/month.
He says his model is simple and elegant. It’s what’s left when you toss out everything extreme or unnecessary.
- phone call
- new client
They run ads on YouTube and Facebook and drive traffic into a 40-minute webinar. On the webinar, they invite people to book a call. On the call, they book them straight into their high-ticket program. And that’s the same model they teach to their clients. Their program is 8 weeks long. On the back of that, they have a 1-year mastermind ($24k). Then they have a higher-level mastermind for $85k/year for people who want to go to multiple 7, 8 figures.
The vast majority of their clients are in the health space, relationship space, nutrition space, real estate space, NOT the business building space. They don’t want to create their own competitors.
Their ideal customer is anyone who can solve a major life or business challenge. They have to have something to teach people and an outcome they can help people achieve. One of their clients is a handstand coach. He teaches how to do a press up to a handstand, which is the holy grail of yoga/fitness people. Russ was skeptical at first, but it’s wildly popular and way more than just a handstand. There are a cascade of benefits—no back or shoulder pain for the rest of your life, literally being an inch taller—that make it well worth the high ticket.
What About Downselling and Outsourcing?
A lot of people believe you have to warm people up by starting with a low-ticket item, then move toward a high-ticket program. What are Russ’s thoughts on the value ladder concept? His method works without a warm-up. He’s filtering out people who aren’t willing to invest and commit, and getting right to the people who are.
He might be leaving money on the table by not having a downsell, but he doesn’t know what he’d even sell. He could do an information-only program without the support, but that defeats the whole purpose. It’s like giving a stick of dynamite to a kid.
About 95% of their enrollments come on the first call. They have 30-35 people a day reaching out to his company, and he has 5 people on the phones full-time. They watch the webinar, then book their appointment right after.
He says he hasn’t had much success with outsourcing sales. It’s difficult to find someone completely aligned with their values. They only make an offer to 80% of the people they talk to. They firmly believe in only selling to people it’s really going to work for. When you have an outside commissioned sales team, they’re not going to abide by that. They just want to sell.
They don’t work with copycats. They don’t work with people whose niche is too narrow or whose market is too hard to reach. And they make a judgment call on the spot about whether or not their offer is viable.
They spend about $800k/year trying to break their sales model. They test different things, but nothing ever works better than their consultative, open method.
How to Build the Very Best Team
When it comes to building a good team, Russ says you have to start with yourself. You want to be a cool person to work for. If you have trouble getting along with people, you’ve got to fix that.
As far as prioritizing what you should delegate, there might be two or three things you love and are absolutely brilliant at, and every moment you’re not doing that, you’re wasting money. You have to surrender your ego if you want to grow your company. Russ knows it’s not his job to change people’s lives. It’s his job to build a machine that changes people’s lives. When he realized that, it set him free from having to be the guy who’s hand-holding every client.
On his team, he’s got Facebook people, copywriting people, mindset and performing people who guide clients through self-sabotage, overwhelm, and fear. HIs team is super hands-on, teaching people how to do everything (like Facebook marketing) and doing it with them.
Is Russ afraid he’ll train people who will go out and compete against him? Not really. He’s upfront from the get go. Whenever he brings people on, he sits down to get a clear sense of whether they have an entrepreneurial bug or are more motivated by security. You want to find people who are brilliant at what they do but don’t want the pressure of running their own business.
He’s also a big believer in reminding his team about the impact they're making in people’s lives—and creating space for them to shine. When a client has a win, they celebrate that win, and they celebrate everybody in the company who played a role in that win.
What It Looks Like to Be Russ
If Russ didn’t want to scale, his company could run on its own. Right now he spends 6 hours a week on client support, mostly with people in their highest level mastermind. He spends 3-4 hours a week meeting with his team, making sure the trains are running on time. And the rest of his time is spent scaling the company. He wants to go from $15-20 million a year to 9-figures.
How will he get there? It’s all about finding additional value adds, like developing software for their clients and ramping up what they do. But he knows the importance of balancing the growth of the company with still being able to provide an amazing service.
What resources does Russ recommend for people who want to be like him? The number one book that changed his life was The 4-Hour Workweek. The chapter on fear is the best thing he’s ever read. He also highly recommends Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio and Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins. That one blew his mind.
If you want to find out more, book a call with Russ’s team HERE. They’ll dig into your business with you, put their heads together with yours, and make a plan moving forward. That one call will massively give you clarity about what you should be doing in your business.