In this episode, we have Max Shank of M3 Academy where we focused on the topic of creating offers and the common mistakes that people make when they're making offers. Enjoy!
Table Of Contents
- Introduction To Making Offers
- Making The Offer All About Themselves
- Trading Hours For Dollars Instead Of Trading Value For Dollars
- Being a Control Freak
- Matching Your Offer To Your Audience
- Do You Really Need Certifications?
- Know Your Customer's Pain Point
Introduction To Making Offers
Mike: Welcome to the Strong Coach Podcast, I'm here with Ben Walker. We have our guest Max Shank. If you've listened to Max Shank on Barbell Shrug, The Bledsoe Show all over the place. You've been on this one before too.
Mike: Today we're going to talk about focus, creating offers. We're going to point out a lot of mistakes that people make when they're making offers. What I mean by that is what is it you're selling to your clients? What are some really common things that people are fucking up? And I know, because I've done it over and over and over again, and I'm sure you guys have too. Ben, before we go any further, where are they going?
Ben Walker: They should go to the StrongCoachPodcast.com and check out the three step coaching business tune-up and stack that with this podcast to make a beautiful offer that everyone will want. Everyone.
Making The Offer All About Themselves
Mike: Max, what are some common problems you've seen with coaches and trainers who are putting together offers?
Max Shank: Oh, the number one thing that is probably taking them further away from a sale is probably making the offer all about them instead of making it all about the person that they're trying to interest in this offer. My buddy Phil Ross calls it the WIIFM, what's in it for me? And that's the number one most important thing, what's in it for them? I think that the best writing is writing that inspires some sort of action, so if you're really considering who you're writing to and the very clear thing you want them to do when they're done consuming the piece of content whether it's the video or the written word, you have a really good shot.
Ben Walker: Social media posts.
Max Shank: Sure. Whatever form it takes. I think it's funny, you don't want to discount the power of any way that you can get in front of someone's eyeballs. It kind of ties into what we're talking about with focus. People are definitely more scattered with their focus now, because the quantity of stimuli is through the roof. Genetically we're not really well adapted to handle the fact that we have the ability to stimulate every pleasure center we have 24/7, number one. And we don't really have a clear understanding of what's really necessary, because people tend to be chasing goals that don't really move the needle that much.
Focus away from yourself as possible
So when it comes to putting together a really solid offer, you want to really know who you're talking to and what they want, and you want to make them the hero and you want to take as much of the focus away from yourself as possible, in my opinion. Because maybe someone cares a little bit about your credentials, but not really. People don't care. They just want to know that you can help them.
And if you give them something that is valuable right away, that is the most tried and true way to get that, is you want to deliver them value right away and get them excited. And that's way more important than educating them. Of course you want to do as much education with marketing as you can, but really, getting people excited is way more important when it comes to converting the sale. And the education is there really just to justify.
Focus on the contact
Mike: I've heard a lot of people go "I just want to be authentic, and for me to basically meet the prospect, the client, where they're at, feels inauthentic. Because it's not what they want to talk about. And I'm like "Well that just sounds selfish, to only be talking about what you want to talk about." Figuring out what's the conversation that clients have in their mind, like what's the problem they're trying to solve?
Max Shank: Right. Being a coach is a tricky bargain in the first place, because the whole job is meeting people where they're at. Otherwise there is no other job, because they could find raw information on the internet that's going to be way more organized than 99% of the coaches out there. 99% of the coaches, and I do my best, but I'm still nowhere near as tightly organized as I'd like to be.
We're just pulling bits of information from deeper in our psyche, and it's most likely just shit we believe for whatever reason. Like "Someone we like said that, so we just repeat that thing." And it's like "Oh, I heard that, so I'm going to talk about that," And "Oh, if I say this, people really like it when I say that, so I'm going to talk about this again." And it has nothing to do with actually moving the needle.
So if you want to be a good coach, you want to really focus on the contact, which is essentially meeting people where they're at. And if you care at all to make things easier, you're going to do your very best to organize the content, which is the other half of coaching, in as useful a structure as possible. And those are really your only two responsibilities as a coach, is the contact and the content. And if you give them disorganized and scattered content that you're regurgitating from somewhere, fucking useless. And if you're not meeting people where they're at, also useless. So essentially you have either a net zero or a net negative effect as a coach if you don't take those things into consideration.
Mike: And then when you're constructing the offer if you're making it all about yourself, then you're only going to come up with the thing that you want to do.
Max Shank: Right.
Mike: It's great. No one else is going to be paying you for that. So I've even had conversations with people in the Strong Coach who are very artistic, so they come up with all these fancy artistic names for their offer, how they're going to do it.
1000 True Fans
Ben Walker: Just a couple. But the thing is, then you get so enamored by the art of it, like "Look at all this cool stuff." It's like "Well, did you check in and see if anyone actually wants it first?" Because the easiest thing to do if "Hey prospective client, what do you want?" And let them tell you, and they give you all the answers.
Max Shank: Right, yeah. Finding that balance of delivering what you think is valuable personally and what the prospect actually needs is really important. And I think that if you … It sounds so cheesy, stay true to yourself, you don't need that many customers.
If you're not offering people a more premium level for coaching when they want it, then you're leaving a lot of potential on the door for everybody. You want to make sure that you have different … Like you guys have that Mastermind program, so you have ways that you can really get even more tight knit with that person, and that's where you're going to develop those relationships that you care about too. And then like I was attempting to get to, is you don't need that many of those people. You can really stay true to yourself. Call it 1000 true fans, you probably can get by with 10 people if you take really good care of them.
Mike: A lot of people will go "Oh, I don't have a big enough Instagram following," And I look at it and I go "You have 3,000 followers. That's plenty." But then they look at mine and go "Oh, but you have … " I'm like "Doesn't matter what I have, it's a waste."
Max Shank: Well, comparing to others is one of the other biggest mistakes we've been talking about. Sure, I could compare myself to the Rock and think that I suck at business, I'm in terrible shape, I'm ugly, and I'm not very articulate. By comparison, of course, that's one of the tricky things with social media. Is now you're comparing, potentially, to seven billion instead of a hundred.
Ben Walker: And it's seven billion people who are only posting when they're crushing it.
Max Shank: Yeah, exactly.
Mike: Well that's a whole new thing we're not built for.
Max Shank: Of course not. I mean look, I have a pretty okay social media presence. It's lied totally dormant for an entire year, because A, I think it might actually be ruining peoples' lives, and B, I don't need to, so I don't. I think the cost is actually greater than the benefit I got from the money I was making staying in that … I'll just call it the race for content, like every day you'd better be posting all the time.
I can't tell you how these business coaches are talked to, you've got to be doing seven stories a day. I'm like "Dude, that ain't a business, that's a job. I don't want to do that." And there are a lot of ways that you can reach people that don't require you to do something you don't really want to do. You definitely have to reach people, but you don't have to do it on one way or the other. Print advertising works, door to door works, Instagram works, YouTube works, email list definitely works.
Mike: What are your offers? Someone comes to you for training, what does it look like?
Max Shank: I do a Mastermind group that's $900 a month and we do one private call, and then we do weekly calls. And it was nice talking to you about it before, because we really talk a lot about resistance. And some of that resistance comes from inside, and some of it seems to come from outside. But rally, it's just clearing all those resistances and barriers within yourself. Because most people actually know what they need to be doing, if they do want what they say they want.
And I've always been impressed by how big in effect one to five minutes of courage can have on somebody. So that side of what I offer is much more about learning language skills and organizational principles and exploring the concept of intellectual leverage. So you can have more valuable mental lattice work or filter readily available. So you end up more or less memorizing these short, simple truisms that can be readily applied.
I kind of think of knowledge in two levels, and number one, I think acquiring knowledge is fun, so it's essentially just some other version of pleasuring my curiosities, more or less. And number two, I think it is the best way for you to do the least amount of actual stuff and still gain the most benefit. Because if you improve your decision success rate, then everything feels a lot easier. And one of the things I've been exploring a lot is Wu Wei, which is inaction as opposed to action.
And when you have … I'll split up the knowledge now. You have your tool belt, which is stuff that you have ready to go all the time, and then you have your garage. And you don't really have good access to the garage all the time. So we talk about trying to bring as many of these mental and psychological and communication tools into your tool belt as possible so that it's pretty easy to use them in the natural flow of life.
So you can apply that filter and you can, first and foremost, determine if whatever input you're taking in is true or not true in your opinion. And that's the most important one, because if we're getting over 5,000 messages a day on average, and that's from a two year ago stat so it could be way more, the most important thing is to know whether or not you should care or believe this thing. And the amount of misinformation out there is so gargantuan that it's almost like there's a minefield of, at best, wastes of time, and at worst-
Mike: Does it work for you like it does for me?
Max Shank: What?
Mike: New piece of information comes in and I don't believe any of it? I'm just like … Maybe. Everything's a maybe now.
Max Shank: I like to be a curious, optimistic skeptic. And I know that seems like you couldn't possibly house all those three people in the same brain, but I think that you shouldn't believe things so easily. You should be optimistic and believe that … How could you not be optimistic? What are the chances that you managed to find your way into being born, staying alive as long as we have, learning all the stuff we have? It's unbelievably good luck that we're even in this point. So how could you not be an optimist? But it's pretty clear to me that the grab for a person's attention is more competitive now than it has ever been.
Trading Hours For Dollars Instead Of Trading Value For Dollars
Mike: All right, I want to go back to the offers though. We were talking about … This is a conversation of focus. A lot of people think "Oh, I need to have a huge list or a big following," And they're doing all this comparison on social media, but really, you have an offer. I imagine that that's your top offer, is what, $900 bucks a month. You have however many people in there, you need, what, 10 in there to make a good enough living in Southern California.
And I know a lot of coaches who … I think I sent out an email. Some of these emails are automated, folks. One of them is about 10x'ing your revenue. It was like "Think about it from this point," Somebody goes "I'm already busting … " Again, email back. "I'm already busting my ass, I'm already maxed out on hours. There's no way I could … I'm only making $3 or $4,000 a month, there's no way I could 10x that. I don't have any more time to work." And it hit me, I go "They don't even realize that the email is about doing things completely differently where you work less and get more money. They automatically jump to "I have to work more hours. I can't make 10x more money, because I don't have 10x more hours. That's insane."
Max Shank: Yeah, it's definitely a mistake to think of it in terms of trading hours for dollars instead of just trading value for dollars. The reason I do my coaching group and the reason I do coaching in person still is because I like it. Not because it's the most profitable. I would much rather sell copies of Simple Shoulder Solution, Ultimate Athleticism, Five Minute Flow, Kettle Bell Essentials, because I can make some money for zero minutes. And the math, it's like an infinite ratio. You can't do better than that. So if I just cared about making a ton of money, I would just keep doing more info products.
Mike: You'd be pushing more buttons on computers, or just telling other people to do that.
Max Shank: That's it.
Mike: I'm going to go back to the offers thing. You could just have your Mastermind where people are paying $900 a month, but can you run os through your offer? Because you just mentioned digital information products …
Max Shank: I could run you through my whole business if you want.
Mike: Yeah, let's run through the business, because I think this will be really good for people to hear, because what, you're 30 years old?
Max Shank: 32 now.
Mike: 32, Jesus
Max Shank: I do a little moonlighting, but we don't want to talk about that here. That might be more Bledsoe Show No, but basically I started the gym in 2008. So we're somewhere around 11 years in. And when I was doing that, I started out with an eBook right out of the gate, because I was also allured and enticed by this being a digital millionaire. I was like "This is what I'm going to do." So I was super self conscious and afraid and I wore sunglasses and a Jiu Jitsu rash guard and Jiu Jitsu shorts-
Max Shank: For the pictures. I didn't take any videos, that would be way too personal.
Mike: So you took pictures. You were wearing sunglasses for pictures?
Max Shank: I was wearing sunglasses. On the cover of the book I was wearing sunglasses. It was called "Real Stone lifting." It was the minimum amount of setup possible. I didn't have a tripod at the time, I had my buddy take photos of me lifting rocks that ranged from 20 to 200 pounds, I did a bunch of different stuff, and I gave the thing away for free in exchange for emails. And I think I maybe got like 100 people to do that, so it really didn't work well at all. I didn't have anything to sell them afterward.
Financially, it was like a total disaster, it did absolutely nothing. But I was doing that at the same time that I was doing the gym, and one of those things that you realize is that … And another bit of intellectual leverage too, is that quantity has a quality all its own. And I think the real story is that I have just continued to put out offers, and the gym I've always been looking to increase the amount of clients for the coaches.
The gym is kind of tricky because all my friends work for me, so it's sometimes hard to be a boss. But the other advantage is that we're very tight knit and I'm super motivated to get them coaching as much as possible. And I did the in-person workshops, I started out just locally, and then by the time I stopped doing workshops … I was telling you guys before, I was going to Europe 7 to 10 times a year, traveling 30 times a year, teaching courses.
And I would go anywhere, as long as it was a net positive. Even if it was a little net positive, I would still go and do the thing. And I guess somewhere in those last 10 or so years I've also produced a ton of digital products that have worked really well. And I think that the more tiers you have of an offer, the better it is. You don't want to give people too many options. If you're focusing really a lot on coaching for coaches, you maybe don't want to have a huge library of Ebooks too right away, because it might distract them from that main offering.
You just always want to have a super clear call to action. And one of the things that I think I've done the best that has allowed me to explore the level of not working that I'm currently doing has been to integrate all of the products together nicely. So they all relate back and forth, so it goes back to that interconnected-
Mike: Would you say you did that on purpose from the beginning, or is it one of those things-
Max Shank: Fuck no, not on purpose from the beginning. I realized that I was just-
Ben Walker: Good, because I've done a similar thing and it was all random in the beginning. And I was like "Oh."
Max Shank: Yeah, yeah.
Mike: So everyone who's listening now, I'm going to look at all the cameras, it's okay to do it wrong. It's okay to mess up.
Ben Walker: Yeah, I mean, just do what you want to do.
On making mistakes
Max Shank: Right. The way I like to define mistake is that it's impossible to make a mistake. You can only notice one in retrospect. Because whatever you do right now you think is the best, otherwise you would do nothing. And we all know how easy it is to do nothing. So if you do something that looks like a mistake later, congratulations, you learned something that you didn't really know before. But you can't make a mistake, you can only notice a better option later. And if you're very reflective, you will notice more mistakes. And as someone who's super reflective, that can take a slightly dark turn as well, where you judge yourself harshly for the incredible amount of mistakes that you have made.
Ben Walker: I like to write down how much money I've likely lost. And then laugh about it. Yeah, if you can just "Oh yeah, that was a seven figure mistake. Okay, can I laugh about it now? Oh, that was funny."
Max Shank: Well, and if you're constantly chasing that, your heart will never unclench. You'll never feel like it's enough. There's no potted gold at the end of the rainbow where it's like "Suddenly this," And then everything's going to be all good.
The Evolving Self
Max Shank: I'm reading the new book from Mihaly, Csikszentmihaly, who wrote Flow. I'm reading The Evolving Self. Have you looked into it?
Mike: No, I haven't looked into it.
Max Shank: It's so good, the content is amazing. And I don't think we could find someone who's studied flow states more than him. As far as my information is concerned, he coined the term. So he really takes a nice holistic view. And one of the things he talked about is the human desire to be in motion doing something, and when we don't get that level of stimulus we kind of trick ourselves into thinking that we'll be happy with stuff. But you're never happy with stuff. You're happy when you're doing an action. So if you're just focused on that pot of gold at the end, not only will you not achieve happiness in the end, but-
You'd be dead. Totally. So we don't really have a good way to fight that, because these are really deep, deep in our DNA as good survival strategies. Consume as much sugar, salt and fat as possible, expend absolute bare minimum energy as much as possible. So one of the things I do with my coaching clients is we really explore hunger and desire. And of course, desire is just a derivative of hunger, because you just feel this pain or this itch that you have to go do something.
And that's why I like fasting so much, that's why I enjoy various periods of extreme restriction. One of the most fun experiences I've ever had was renting a cabin for three days and doing a bunch of hiking. And no electricity, no food, no music, no reading, no writing. Just nada. And part of the reason I didn't want to write anything is I wanted to be left with the main point of the whole thing.
Because I'm a nerd. I really like to write stuff down, I like to draw shapes and connect all these things together, and usually the result of several hundred hours of that is something kind of useful. But I really just wanted to experience a total deficit through as many of those overstimulated senses as possible.
For me, I tend to be a little more cerebral, so I try to remind myself to sing and dance as opposed to analyze something on the 10th level of analysis where it's like "Dude, this is getting a little cerebral, can we chill please?" So it's been a really good journey for me trying to figure out how to create that dynamic balance of go, and you don't know what's going to happen, versus wanting to really plan it out as much as possible. Because I think you would know as well as anybody, there's no perfect plan.
Mike: I stopped doing it. Yeah, we don't need plans. No, that's a joke. You should plan.
Max Shank: I mean, you want to have an idea.
Being a Control Freak
Mike: Yeah, you want to go in a direction. Have a vision where you're going.
Max Shank: Yeah. You probably need … A target is good to have. But more importantly, is what do you want to do every day? What do you want to be responsible for doing every day? And it's not like live as if you would die tomorrow, it's live as if you would repeat this day 10,000 times and still be totally stoked. Then you're probably doing something that's in tune with your nature. As a coach we talk about meeting people where they're at.
One of the hardest things for anybody to do is meet themselves where they're at and not judge themselves and just accept themselves as they are, and move from that place instead of feeling like you are constantly operating from a sense of lack and scarcity. So what ends up happening is you're chasing different types of completeness. Some people chase completeness with their relationships, some people chase completeness with "Once I'm strong enough," Or "Once I'm rich enough, then I'll finally be complete." And then that's kind of that Faustian bargain.
Mike: Do you find yourself fall into that still? Wake up one day and you go … Do you ever fall into a pattern where you realize "Oh, I've been chasing money a little bit," Or "My ego took over with my fitness," And "Oh, I pulled a hamstring." And it's like …
Max Shank: Not for a long time. That used to be the only speed that I had. Is "Are we in a race? I'm winning right? I'm not winning? Okay, faster." You know? Now I really don't care. And I love it, because I feel like I'm embodying this level of not giving a fuckedness that people usually don't get until they're 80. You know?
I'm wearing zebra print blue pants and no shirt and riding my hover board around the neighborhood and just fucking chilling. It's great. I don't think I'm chasing the wrong things anymore, if you could chase a wrong thing. And I feel pretty-
Mike: Do you feel like you're chasing anything?
Max Shank: No, that's what's so funny.
Mike: That's what it is, you're just not chasing. You're being and things are coming to you.
Max Shank: And it's really hard for a former control freak to believe that that could possibly work, because it was almost like I felt as if I didn't get my hands dirty then nothing would work unless I went in and interfered.
Ben Walker: It's been popping up a couple times in my head listening to you guys, is a quote I heard doing a Headspace meditation where the guy says "The brain doesn't like being angry. It likes being involved in things." So when you're in that control freak place, or when you're lost in the scrolling of your phone or you're jumping from training plan to training plan, it's like your brain just wants to be involved in something. It wants to be doing something.
And the trick is, which look it, is tying into all of these notes, because you, Max, you said something earlier about "This isn't what I actually care about doing." So when you find the thing that you actually care about doing, then all those distractions go away. I remember when I was at the summit, afterwards I looked at my Instagram activity and it was three minutes, two minutes, because I was surrounded by all of this stuff that I care way more about than what was in the little black mirror in my hand.
Know Thyself first
Mike: I went to Columbia, I was there last week doing Ayahuasca and had a lot of reflective time. And one of the things that I realized while I was there is that I'd been restricting myself a lot. And I go "Oh, so I'm actually in a place of indulging a bit." You're talking about fasting and stuff, I'm like "Oh yeah, that's stuff that I've done," But the message I got, which is surprising, because if you would have asked me before I went down there, like "Oh yeah, I'm probably going to cut back on a few of these things that aren't really that healthy because I'm going to go do the medicine and I get the message," This and that. And then I come out and then it's like "Well, you should drink more coffee, have a pastry here and there, and enjoy women."
I'm going "Didn't see that coming at all." It's the opposite of what people report when going and doing something. But I think most people that go do something, they're not living a life of restriction. So what they actually need is probably cut back on the indulgence a little bit.
Max Shank: You know, one of the things I always say is rule one, know thyself. And the fact that people are so ridiculously different is exactly why you have to respect that fact as a coach and meet people where they're at. Because you definitely would not benefit from the same type of coaching that an overweight lady in her 40's who just got divorced would have. It'd probably be pretty different.
Ben Walker: Maybe even opposite.
Max Shank: Or the same.
Max Shank: Maybe she also needs ayahuasca and to loosen up a little bit, I have no idea. But that's the tricky thing with being a coach. You're going to build a really meaningful relationship with whoever you're coaching. Unless you're an asshole, then you're just going to coach them and take their money. But otherwise, you're probably going to care about this person a ton. You're probably going to spend a lot of your non-replenishable attention interacting with this person, so why wouldn't you want to experience it as fully as possible and talk about the hard shit?
People are afraid of things. Fear, death, love, these are really tricky topics. And one of the things that I've found so rewarding about the gym is that I just let it loose with the topics and we talk about things that are really uncomfortable. And I just go "Man, we didn't talk about this when we were growing up in school. Where do people talk about this?" Where do you have the opportunity to talk about all these things you're afraid of, all of these love problems, money problems, work problems.
Mike: But they do it in a state. People, they desensitize themselves enough to have the courage to say something. But when you desensitize yourself and then dissociate well enough to verbalize it, you're so dissociated you actually don't process it. And it's like "Oh, I got to let off some steam." It's like "Well congratulations. You didn't actually let off any steam, it was just like a … "
Max Shank: You can diffuse the energy temporarily, as opposed to learning where it came from.
Mike: So in a gym, if people can walk into the gym instead of walking into the bar, making that their third place. Home, work, gym versus home, work, bar, and you can create an environment where there's community and connection, and then you're having these conversations. You can really help people. That's a huge part of what we're doing, is I see a huge opportunity in that.
Coaches who are coaching health and fitness. People are terrified of their wife leaving them or their husband leaving them, so they've got to be in shape and all this so they're going to the gym and they're looking for help. But that's not really what the issue is. So mental health, and psychologists have this really negative stigma, and in my opinion are a lot of times ill suited to work with human beings because of the Western medicine indoctrination of the psychotherapy.
Max Shank: It's at least another coin flip if they help this person or totally fuck them up worse.
Mike: It's like any industry. 90% of them are shit, 10% of them are great. And the same with trainers and coaches and stuff like that. But I think that the future of coaching is going to be a lot heavier on the life stuff, because that's where people are coming and that's what they're going to talk about. And it's not why we all sign up to do it, but in my experience it's become the most fulfilling. It's like I don't give a shit about taking somebody, making them one or two percent better so they can podium. I'm excited that Susan was able to get off her diabetes medication and now has a better relationship with her kids and so on and so forth.
Max Shank: Right. And that's staying true to yourself and doing something that you care about. Because if you do care about helping people hit the podium, then you should just focus on that too.
Mike: Definitely, definitely.
Max Shank: Absolutely.
Ben Walker: You have to get the weeds. Because what you were saying, like people going to the bar instead of the gym, is if they're going to the bar they're going over the weed with the lawnmower and the roots of the weed are still there. And it's going to grow back. And then anything you plant next to the weed, it doesn't matter how robust it is, that weed's going to fuck it up. So you go into the gym and you have a coach who helps you find what that weed is, pull it up by the root, and then you can actually make some positive change in your life. But otherwise that underlying whatever that limiting belief is that that weed is, is going to run rampant through whatever improvements you try to make.
Max Shank: Kind of like it's just pulling resources from the things that you actually want.
Matching Your Offer To Your Audience
Ben Walker: I wanted to ask you a question Max, because you said this a couple times before we started and during this podcast, is what's the difference between a business and a job for you?
Max Shank: A job you have to show up. If you don't have to show up and things keep humming along, then you win. It's a business.
Mike: And you can work in your business.
Max Shank: Yeah, exactly. I don't have to show up.
Mike: That's the best part. I remember when I took myself off the schedule of my gym the first time, it was terrifying. Like "Oh, what are people going to think of me?" And then I noticed that when I did step in to coach I was hanging around the gym and I would just coach athletes when I wanted, way cooler experience. For me and the client. The client is just like "Dude, this guy … " And I was turned on because I was doing it out of my passion and not because my name was on the schedule.
Max Shank: Get to instead of got to. That's almost the most certain way to destroy your chances at good long term progress, is have the tactic be a got to instead of a get to. Because … Some percentage of the population has got really good, call it willpower. They're really tough, they care about things. And it's the ones who are in phenomenal shape still think their bodies aren't so hot, and they show up six or seven days a week, day in day out, week in week out, and they keep showing up and they don't even really like it that much.
But that's so ridiculously few people. So when the average person, which is all of us, tries to do some got to like that, it won't last. So you want to do things that you find intrinsically enjoyable. If someone's just trying to get active, I wouldn't necessarily recommend exercise as the first option, because exercise is this specific thing you do to stimulate a specific thing.
Max Shank: I would much more likely suggest someone to go for a walk. Just go for a walk. Even better if you can take your shoes off, go for a walk outside, step on some rocks. That might be way better, you might realize that you really enjoy that behavior. We go back to trying to juggle progress and desire and hunger, right? The key, I think, is to really focus on doing things that are intrinsically enjoyable.
If you are working on gymnastics because you think it would be fun and rewarding to learn about how your body moves in space and maybe do a handstand, that would be very different than "I'm going to do this until I lose 10 pounds." And if you can do something where you really don't care about the result and it's just fun for you, then that is honoring your unique individuality and it's setting you up for success. Because you're going to look forward to it. I call it the three feels test. Did you look forward to it ahead of time? Did you enjoy it? Do you feel better afterward? And truthfully, if it passes the three feels test, then who cares?
Ben Walker: And it's the same thing when you're making offers. Where you want your training program that you're doing for yourself to pass those three, you want your offer of what kind of coaching you're delivering to pass those three, and then to find the kind of client who it will also pass those three.
Max Shank: Oh, man. Matching your offer to your audience is probably one of the most important and most challenging things there is. Because you can't really use the same language to 25 year old male coaches as you would use to 40 to 50 year old housewives who are buying dog food. So you have to really hit that offer on the head, hit the nail on the head with that offer, and speak to them using language that resonates with them, and it ignites passion for change. And that's, again, what makes coaching such a weird, tricky business, is we're agents of change mostly. And a lot of what I do when I work with people one on one is educating about what a practice session could be, and really thinking about it.
Max Shank: And no judgment one way or the other, but if you go for a run for one hour, that might be the perfect match for the right person because it's meditation, it's movement, running is very primal, they might even have great running technique, so they're going to have that nice springiness and reciprocal action and everything is going to be really dialed. And then someone on the other end of the spectrum would be totally destroyed by that running program.
Mike: I watch people run.
Max Shank: It's painful sometimes.
Mike: The average person I see run, I go "I know they're not enjoying this, because that looks fucking terrible."
We could talk about the anatomy and offer a hook and the benefits and the features and the call to action and stuff like that, but I think the key is you've got to really ask for it – Max Shank
Max Shank: It's like a series of car crashes. It just doesn't look good. And if you oversimplify running, the goal is get there with as little effort as possible, and once that's satisfied, get there as fast as possible. But it should be as little decelerating and slowing yourself down as possible, and yet most of the running technique you see is just this series of collisions that do not keep that momentum.
We could talk about the anatomy and offer a hook and the benefits and the features and the call to action and stuff like that, but I think the key is you've got to really ask for it. If you believe in the product, it really works a lot better. It's funny, because I'm by far the worst salesman by nature. I don't even really have a good gift for sales in general, but I know my product. And it's such an easy sell, what I can offer somebody. And it's for everybody or it's for nobody. My friend's got a fencing school, and his making offers is hilarious. He goes "It's sword fighting. If you don't already get why it's cool, you won't."
Also, you get to a certain point where it's like "I don't want to convince anybody of anything." And it's weird, because you feel like you have to, but I think it's actually counter productive. As long as you really have-
Mike: I've done it both ways before.
Max Shank: So what's the main difference you notice?
Mike: When I say both ways I mean I've created a product and then tried to figure out how to convince people they need it.
Max Shank: So backwards.
Mike: Yeah, backwards. I've done that a few times and I'm like "I'll never do that again." And then I somehow catch myself doing it again. So I fall in love with this idea. And it's always uphill battle. It doesn't mean it doesn't work, but it's 10 times harder to market. 10 times harder to sell. And then the easiest thing to sell is when I go to the people who I love, I go to the clients, I go to the type of people who I want to help the most, and I go "What do you need?" And I go "I know exactly how to make the thing that you need, oh my god."
And I go make the thing, come back a couple weeks later, I go "Hey, here's the thing you were telling me that you needed." They go "Here's the money." It's like oh, that was … And by the way, the thing that people need, I found for myself, is really easy to make. It's like "I was imagining it was going to be way harder to make the thing that was going to solve your problem." But it was really easy.
And what I see coaches do now is, and I see this a lot, is they learn this new cutting edge thing or they've developed some new cutting edge thing, and like okay, I'm going to now … I need to get this to the people. And then I go to the people and everyone's like "I don't know what the fuck you're talking about."
He's like "But I worked so hard at this, I'm in love with this." I went to a Mastermind, yeah, it was about a year ago, and it was not a health and fitness oriented group. It was just people who talk about making money. And I was, at the time, really excited about a product that I had made. I was like "Oh my god, this fucking product, I'm so stoked," I go to Mastermind and I'm there to talk about business and marketing and numbers and all this stuff, and at the end of it I'm like "I got to show them my product, it's so cool." And the not give a fuck that came from them, I was like "Oh. I've been in love with my product, that's what's in the way."
Max Shank: And you were stuck in the fitness mindset too, and you've got this sample from people outside fitness who are like "What the fuck is this?"
Do You Really Need Certifications When Making Offers?
Ben Walker: I've heard Shane Hines from Onnit say this, and a bunch of different things, is that the commons story is someone gets their Onnit certification and they come back to their hometown and it's like "Yes, I'm the only one here who does this, let the clients rain down on me." And that never happens.
Max Shank: I took so many courses where they promised that. Every single one. They were just going to be knocking my door down, wanting that specific type of coaching.
Mike: Here's one, is people ask … Or they're like "I want to do the Strong Coach program, but I've got to get this certification first." And I go "Well what certifications do you have already?" And they name off five of them. I go "Did those other ones make you any more money? Did those get you any clients?" "No."
Max Shank: I think it's also an avoidance tactic. So what you were saying with the more certifications is you're like "Well I'm not ready, but if I get this one more thing then I'll be ready. Well I'm not ready yet, but if I get this one more thing then I'll be ready." And every time that they add a certification, it's like they're putting on armor.
I don't have business cards anymore, fuck it. I don't need it. And I used to have on my business card all of these acronyms, all of these letters after my name. I think I had six sets of letters after my name. I was so proud of myself, I was like 22 years old, I had spent all this money on all these certifications, and I really identified with the letters after my name and I felt like it gave me power. And of course, nobody even asked what the letters meant.
Mike: And they didn't know.
Max Shank: They didn't know what they meant, they didn't ask me what they meant, but I felt the protection that they gave me. But I think a lot of people use it as an avoidance strategy from just pushing the snowball down the hill and chasing it.
Mike: Doing the real work.
Max Shank: It's the reason people stay in academia, is there's no skin in the game. You don't have to turn a profit, and turning a profit can be scary because the market will tell you really quick if what you're offering is valuable now. It won't tell you if it's valuable period, but it will tell you if it's valuable to people now. And when you say "Oh, I need more certifications, I need to do more preparation, I need more of this," It's just an avoidance tactic. And there's nothing I can really say that will instill the confidence in a person to let them know "Hey, those people who have the certification, they may not know that much either actually, just so you know."
Mike: Yeah. I mean, "By the way, somebody made it all up."
Max Shank: My certification was handed down to me on stone tablets. That's why I trust them.
Limiting beliefs when making offers
Mike: Yeah, exactly. I think a big part of is, if you want to get down to beliefs or limiting beliefs that people have, is that "I'm not good enough." And then they go "Well, when I have this next certification, then I'm going to have the experience of being good enough, then I'll be making offers." Right? "And then I can make the money."
But the problem is the experience of not being good enough has nothing to do with your credentials. Because once you get that credential, what happened after the last time you got a credential? You thought you were going to be good enough when you graduated high school, but then you weren't. You thought you weren't good enough until you got out of college, then you just kept going. When did you have the experience where you accomplished something, you got a certain amount of money in the bank or you got that piece of paper, and finally, "God damn it, I'm good enough."
Max Shank: There's no magic number.
Ben Walker: It was when I told myself I was good enough.
Mike: That's the key.
Ben Walker: I remember even the day it happened, I was looking at Instagram and I saw someone putting out this educational steel mace content, and I remember thinking "Who the hell is this person? I know I've been doing this longer, who are they to position themselves that way?" And I was like "Oh wait, who am I to position myself that way?" I am someone to position myself that way, I'm going to position myself that way. And that was when I started to pick up momentum, was when I said "Hey everyone, I'm an authority."
Mike: Yeah. Well you gave yourself permission.
Giving yourself permission to go ahead
Ben Walker: It really is like, do you choose that identity? Because I've had people say "Oh, well I can't really call myself a coach, I don't have any clients." Well it's chicken or the egg. Can you have clients if you're not a coach?
Mike: Was it you and Danny were talking about the other day, somebody started just, when people asked them what they did for a living, they switched to talking about being a coach? And that's the only thing they changed, and anything they were doing, all of a sudden they started accumulating clients. Is they got the balls to tell people "I'm a coach."
Ben Walker: It's as simple as telling yourself that. It really is.
Mike: Yeah. Hearing these stories all the time. Ben and Danny are coaching 90 day program and I'm just in the headquarters just getting reports every day, fucking loving it.
Ben Walker: And more and more it's the same story. It'the "I don't want to put myself out there, asking for money's hard, how can I be a coach if I don't have any clients?" It's all those same things, and all of them come down to getting your own house in order and deciding "What identity do I want to have? Okay, I'll take it." Because too, the thing is everyone's like "Oh, what if people troll me on Instagram?" It's like guys, it's Instagram. It's a cool tool, but it doesn't actually matter that much in the grand scheme of things. And if someone comments on you and says "Hey, you're full of shit." You can delete it.
Max Shank: They don't have any real problems if you're complaining about the mean things people are saying about you on the internet.
Ben Walker: Yeah, if that's the worst.
Max Shank: Like, you don't have any real problems. That's all. You're just too sensitive, I guess. Is that sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me?
Know Your Customer's Pain Point
Mike: I like to think about it as there's a difference between being sensitive. I think in our culture we've mixed these two things up, which is sensitivity with taking things personally.
Max Shank: That's huge, okay. Because I think being sensitive is a good thing.
Mike: It's a good thing.
Max Shank: That's your main ability, sensing. And we tend to focus on visual stimuli because that's what we have thrown in front of our face the most, but you have all of these other ways that you take in your environment. You're in a constant feedback with your environment. And it's amazing how some people really react negatively to electromagnetic fields, and some people don't.
Some people don't really have a problem with that. There are different levels of sensitivity, but I think being a good sensor is a very valuable skill. But I also think there needs to be that balance of having a thick skin and realizing and being able to decipher the difference between what matters and what really doesn't matter and what's in your control or what's out of your control.
Mike: Yeah. I don't like the term thick skin, because it's like there's a barrier between you and me and I've got to push it away. Like I've got to create a wall where … And it's penetrable at some point. My skin's thick, but at some point you're going to fuck me up.
Max Shank: So really, you're thinking more in terms of just being so empty that nothing absorbs. You don't absorb any of it.
Ben Walker: It passes through instead of bouncing off.
Be like water
Mike: It's an Aikido move, it's more like "All right, no big deal. And you just fell on your face, okay, fuck you."
Max Shank: That's one of my favorite differences between Bruce Lee and Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, is Bruce Lee says be like water, but Morihei Ueshiba says be as empty as space. And it's a little bit of a difference, but it's actually kind of a massive difference and you start thinking about things on a molecular level. Well a water molecule, that's mostly space too. Everything is mostly the space in between, so how we interact is largely effect of how we're interacting with ourselves, and that's just being reflected outward.
Kind of to your point of being like "Okay, you know what?" And it sounds cheesy, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and dog gonnit, people like me." Right? But one of the first books I give people when they enter my group, and it's a year long plan and you cannot quit before a year, is What To Say When You Talk To Yourself. And it's by this guy named Shad Helmstetter, who's a neuroscientist, and he's written another one a little more recently, but that's the first one. That's an awesome book for what you're talking about. And then in terms of communication and constructing an offer, there's a free audiobook on YouTube called How To Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less.
One of the other good things I've seen, and I share this with the guys in my different groups, they have the bigger Mastermind and then I have the coaching group, which is the M3 Academy, Movement, Muscle and Meditation. And we talk about this kind of stuff all the time. We'll go over a main theme and we'll try to learn as many different ways to connect these themes together, because that gives you a much better neurological chunk. If you have a principle, a movement, a quote and let's say connecting it to a story somehow, whatever that bit of information is is going to be so much more tightly into the new you.
Mike: It's going to be more meaningful.
Max Shank: So how you relate to yourself is going to be how you relate to everything else, and there's not a ton of great information that is being put out there about that. I would say the mainstream is much more judgmental and a lot less compassionate, especially when it comes to self. My good friend Ben Schwartz, he used the word kind. He said "Be kind to yourself." And it's a weird distinction. I think for guys especially it's really more challenging, because our culture doesn't really value a kind man the same that it values a tough man, really. So finding how, like you said, what's your identity? What are you really going to be putting out there?
Mike: Most people don't know that they can hold both.
Killing a part of yourself to change a belief
Max Shank: What's interesting too, is because in order to change a belief, you have to kill a part of yourself. Because all your beliefs plus your body right now, that sum, that's you. Your body plus everything you believe right now, that's for sure you. And in order to change your belief, you've got to kill that other guy. And it can be really painful. And the more attached you get to this avatar created, the more you feel like a slave to that strategy or to that guy.
And I think one of the most rewarding things that I can speak on from my own experience is this … Like I said, it's just this weird level where I really … I just don't get bothered. And I know that I can change my beliefs any time, and it doesn't matter if I'm right. And most of the time, I don't even really know what's right. Even in something where I am probably one of the top experts in, like human movement.
Mike: That's how you know that someone's a true expert.
So if you know your audience well, you're going to know their mass desire and you're going to know their pain points and you're going to be able to communicate the value that you can give them in a way that is as easy as possible to understand
Max Shank: These old maxims are true, when all you've got is a hammer everything looks like a nail. So we're currently implementing the more fitness is better strategy to people who are already overstimulated and under stimulated. We're visually overstimulated. People, they've got tired eyes. You can really tell a lot by looking at somebody's eyes, and you're just like "Dude. I know this can't be helping you in any way."
But then physically so under stimulated. And your body's a reflection of what you do with it, it's this cool thing, neuroplasticity, where everything just sort of adapts to the demand. If you squeeze a gripper or squeeze something really hard every day, your hands will get ridiculously stronger in the next year. They'll get a bunch stronger in the next week, and even more strong in the next month. But if you don't give your body the stimulus it needs, it's going to deteriorate.
So you find yourself in this funny situation where many people end up sacrificing their health and performance in pursuit of these other goals, because they think that if they do that, then people will love them more. And we are in a culture right now that is obsessed with getting attention. Everybody wants to get the most attention. It's like you were talking about the person with the Instagram followers, like "Oh, if I have this many I'm good, but if I have this many then I'm not as good."
The constant comparing, all it does is take you away from what's important. And yeah, you could kind of chop that up a lot of different ways, but if it's always just focused on achieving a result, you're never going to get out of movement the ultimate potential, which is this honest self expression and this non verbal dialogue that you can have with yourself every single day.
And you start to build this connectedness with your true self, not whatever commercials you're seeing that are telling you that you don't have enough yet. Because remember, marketing is a lot reminding people that they're not complete unless you buy this widget or unless you buy this service or something like that. So there's the other side of that offer coin where you go "Are you sad and depressed? Do you feel like nothing's going your way? Well buy this magic widget of some kind and that will solve that problem."
So if you know your audience well, you're going to know their mass desire and you're going to know their pain points and you're going to be able to communicate the value that you can give them in a way that is as easy as possible to understand. Because every word that you put in an offer, whether it's spoken or written, is going to make them more likely or less likely to purchase from you.
So the last thing you want to do is put a bunch of words in there that actually take that person further away. You really want to focus on those couple key points, and it's kind of like what we were taking about earlier, you don't want to start by making the thing and then convincing people to want it. You want to start with the mass desire, and then give it to them. You know? It's like my buddy who's really good at marketing was like "We just saw what people bought the most of and sold that."
Mike: There you go.
Max Shank: You're going to sell way more dog food than kettle bell courses. So if you're a coach, you've got to really figure out who you're speaking to and meet them where they're at. It's good that I sound like a broken record, because it means that I'm staying on point.