Dethroning the “king of marketing”

Many service-based businesses live and die by the mantra:

“Referrals are king.”

I’m doing a copywriting project in the mortgage niche right now, and some of these guys get 100% of their business from referrals.

Don’t get me wrong here—referrals ARE pretty great.

They’re basically free leads, and it’s hard to argue with that.

And any business that’s serving its customers well should get a healthy flow of referrals.

Here’s the problem with referrals, though:

The “quality” is often all over the map.

Some referrals come pre-sold and ready to buy NOW.

Others, well…

I got one of these over the weekend…

A few days ago a consultant I met on LinkedIn referred me to his friend, who I’ll call “Jack.”

Jack wanted to hire an email copywriter for his info product business.

I followed up with Jack and explained my process, which is basically this:

All of my copywriting projects start with a “Discovery Diagnostic.” This is an initial consultation where I roll up my sleeves and examine the client’s entire funnel, then lay out what he needs to do to fix it.

I put a lot of time and elbow grease into these—sometimes 1-2 full days.

For this I charge a nominal fee of $250. (That’s really just designed to weed out the tire kickers. At my regular rates I’d charge at least $1,000 to $2,000 for this service.)

Jack replies:


I agree I think we could create some great work together.

I no longer pay for someone to do whether they call it analysis, core discovery, diagnostic, blueprint etc…

I have done more than my share of these as it has been the initial gate way to hiring someone these days.

Bottom line is they are of little value to me, even though, everyone claims how great theirs is.

This is you initial due diligence, I am more than happy to spend the time to help you get familiar with CH and me and discuss the projects I would like to share with you and other opportunities.

I think you have talent and I believe it would be fun to work together. I would like to get a proposal from you after I share the scopes of what I have to offer. I no longer pay for these “diagnostics’ anymore.

We can to start a phone conversation, we can talk about options and creative opportunities and I can answer any questions you have.

It would be great to proceed if you are willing.


The important thing to notice here is now NOT “pre-sold” Jack is.

Even though I was referred to him by a friend and marketing expert, Jack’s not even ready to stick his toe in the water with a measly $250.

So much for “referrals are king.”

Contrast that with the leads I get right here on this email list.

When entrepreneurs contact me after spending some time on my list, we don’t waste a lot of time dickering over $250 here and there.

They’re done “incubating.”

They know what I do, and their biggest concern is, “How soon can you start?”

Here’s the takeaway:

Referrals are good.

But the BEST customers you’ll have are the ones who have had time to get to know you through your carefully crafted sales funnel.

If you DON’T yet have a funnel like this, that nudges your prospects along and drip-feeds them information that proves your value and expertise…

That’s where my coaching program can help.

Contact me and I’ll add you to my VIP notification list.