Suspect Sales Strategies: The Six-Figure Shuffle

“INTEGRITY NOW!”

Remember on Seinfeld when George’s dad used to run around saying. “Serenity Now!”. Well, it happens to me that every time I see a telesummit promoting six-figure “experts” (that aren’t all making six-figures); or “48 hours” to get 10K subscribers or any other suspected sales strategies that attempt to sell people the idea that they can get immediate success with little or no real effort, I am going to scream: “Integrity Now!”

There’s a reason why many solopreneurs cringe when they think about having to sell their products and services.

When I first started, every time I thought about selling to a potential client, an image of a sleazy, pushy used car salesman came to mind.

Other people conjure up aggressive telemarketers or fast-talking, overbearing direct sales reps that they’ve encountered in the past.

If you spend time online, you’ve no doubt been exposed to some of the more common and in my book questionable sales strategies or tactics. The one that annoys me the most is the “Six-figure Shuffle.”

The Six-Figure Shuffle…

Notably, this is where sales gurus promise you an exclusive life-changing experience or revenue-producing content and information from experts that have all reached the magical six-figure mark in their business.

And if you follow their advice, you too will cross into the promised land of six-figure bliss in a weekend, 30 days, or 8 weeks.

I am not about knocking anybody’s six or seven-figure hustle. While I do believe that it is 100% possible to earn six-figures as a service-based solopreneur (I’m doing it), I also know it only happens with the right business models.

Anyone can make six-figures with the right clarity, strategy, and consistent implementation. 

The challenge is that a lot of gurus aren’t telling the whole story. Now more than ever we need integrity and honesty when it comes to what it takes to really build a sustainable business with consistent profit.

We need to see more people tell the truth about what it took to reach six figures: how long it took to get there and what the actual profit on the six-figures was after all of the expenses were accounted for, including affiliate payouts.

Many of the people I see employing “Six-Figure Shuffle” sales strategies have had some skin in the game – they didn’t just start marketing online yesterday, or even in the last six months.

And more than likely, they also have connections to more popular, highly visible influencers in their niche. There is nothing inherently wrong with using either of those approaches to selling more products and services.

What I do see as a problem is setting up false expectations for people just getting started online or that have no understanding of sales and marketing.

People promoting Six-Figure Shuffle sales strategies sell you on the idea that everyone and anyone who uses their step-by-step systems can immediately make six-figures too.

The truth is that their sales strategies or systems may not work for you or your audience.

And many of them are making six-figures by selling us on how they say they did it the first time. How many experts do you know that made six-figures after expenses and taxes, by actually doing something other than teaching people how to make six-figures?

The more integrity, the more sales!

I’ve seen so many people disappointed in their investments of time and money. Especially since it is usually not just one product they purchase but several. They start with a lower-level product and when that doesn’t work they find another “expert” and invest in a bigger package.

And when that doesn’t work they are off to the next expert, investing in an even bigger package. Before they know it, they are out of thousands of dollars and years have gone by and they are still struggling to put things together.

A few years ago, a client we’ll call Joan, asked me to help her with social media for an upcoming live class she was offering. The fee for her class was $97. Her topic was something she had years of expertise and credibility in.

Joan had just invested in a group coaching experience led by a highly visible online “expert” that guided her through 8 weeks of building a product she could sell online. Sounds good so far, right?

But then when I asked Joan who her target audience was she said: Women in corporate America are at the executive or C-level positions. This immediately raised a red flag for me, but I kept going with my questions.

Surely the program she had just invested thousands of dollars in had helped her position this for the right audience, I thought. I was wrong. The more questions Joan answered, the more red flags I saw. And here’s why:

My first step with any clients I help with marketing is to ensure they have a clear picture of exactly who they are marketing to and the problem of their product or service solves.

What was Joan missing even though she was doing all she was told to?

First of all, her event was about five weeks away and all she had done was post links to Facebook. But she didn’t have a:

  • Current blog or online content to help establish credibility.
  • Mailing list of people that she was frequently engaged with.
  • Consistent marketing approach for her business, let alone the sales page for her event.
  • Sales page with clear benefits and sales copy in the language of her audience.
  • Free offer to give them so they could get to like, know and trust her as someone that could solve their problem.
  • Powerful online presence on social media sites, including LinkedIn, the platform most likely to be used by her target audience.
  • List of potential joint venture partners, affiliates, or people in her network that could help her cross-promote and spread the word about her event.

However, this was just the first list of to-do things to take care of. In short, she needed to do plenty of other things before being positioned to make six-figures.

Is this list enough to reach six-figure goal?

Well, no. Even if she had all those things, it still would have been a hard sell. Why? Because her target audience was executive women in corporate America.

To put it in the right context, these women she was aspiring to reach are not sitting around in their offices, trolling through long sales pages. They are not pulling out the company or personal credit card to buy a $97 live call, video or ebook from someone they don’t know or trust.

Joan needed to create the right sales strategies to point them to her target audience. Probably that’s something you’re missing too.

Another key point is that corporate audiences have a different buying cycle. They make buy decisions differently than solopreneurs and service-based entrepreneurs that spend large amounts of time online.

I felt horrible that I couldn’t help her get the results she needed to get a return on her investment. I could have tweeted for 1,000 hours in the five weeks leading up to the event and it still wouldn’t have gotten her the results she desired.

Like so many other brilliant women anxious to find success online, she was misled and misguided and unsuccessful in turning a profit.

Now I know that you might be thinking it’s Joan’s fault. Joan does have some ownership in this: people looking for quick profits online, rarely get it quick and rarely make a profit. But to many the online marketing game is like a shiny casino floor with lots of shiny objects saying “try me”.

Under these circumstances, it seems like everyone else is playing and we don’t want to be left out. And if we just spend $100 more dollars, we know I can hit it big. It’s addicting. And it’s tremendously hard to make a comeback once you get wiped out.

How to Avoid Falling for Six-Figure Shuffle Sales Strategies

  • Never trade short-term gains for long-term success. Avoid shortcuts that promise you quick results without honest effort: you reap what you sow.
  • Commit to learning the fundamentals of marketing and sales. Get clear about who you serve and the best way you can solve their problems. Knowing those two things will save you time, money, and frustration.
  • Choose coaches, mentors, and consultants that share your values and are willing to sow into your vision (not just take your money). Use your intuition: pray before you make any large investment or sign on to a new partnership.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people. It will only make you anxious and cause you to scramble for a quick fix. Focus on your journey and take the time to find what works for you.

Finally, my goal in sharing this message isn’t to make you fearful. I intend to help you be aware of what’s happening. If you’ve fallen prey to the Six-Figure Shuffle, you are not alone and it is never too late to make a different choice.

I’m here to support you. There ARE ways to market and sell without manipulating or short-changing people. And I know a bunch of brilliant women in my circle that practice selling and serving from a place of honesty and integrity.

When you are ready to increase your impact and income, in a way that’s 100% aligned, reach out so I can help you break free, breakthrough, and break out.  Click  here  to  apply  for  a  private  Profit  Breakthrough  Call.  Everyone  who  qualifies  will  receive  a no-cost  consultation on  how  to  find  and  fix  the  gaps  in  your  business.

  • Tai – I couldn’t agree with you more and this blog post is spot-on. Since when did it become “nice” and “honorable” to shout from the rooftops about your income anyway? And you are right about audience: programs that charge you tons of money for the program that worked for one, most likely will not work for the masses. Well done on this post!

    • Tai Goodwin says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing Shannon. As entrepreneurs income is important – we need to feed our families and be able to support the lifestyle we want. And when you have been called to serve as an entrepreneur, boasting about six-figures to attract clients seems out of alignment to me. I’d much rather have clients that come to me because they want to have more impact, not just more income.

    • Tai Goodwin says:

      Thanks Shannon! I think we share the same perspective when it comes to building relationships with our clients.

  • Vatsala says:

    I must confess, I do keep reading about the tele-summits that you mentioned, Tai and on occasion have listened in but the big questions I have are a) will their strategy work for me and my niche? and b) is there a resonance with them. I’m not a fan of ‘in your face’ marketing and prefer to observe the service provider from a safe distance and then invest. Many of my clients do the same with me and if they are making an informed decision to work with me then why not learn from them and do the same?

    • Tai Goodwin says:

      Vatsala, You are asking the question a lot of people are starting to ask. Content is great – and that is what most of those tele-summits give you – but when it comes to implementation and application, you need more than that. A lot of marketing strategy is teaching people to aim for the masses – my approach is to focus on the people I really want to sow into and build long term relationships with them. Sounds like you are doing the same.

  • AnneGage says:

    This message is wonderful and timely for me, Tai. It resonates with what I have been thinking and feeling. I’m struggling to come up with a product or way to offer my services to reach and help more people (and their horses). You’ve given me something to think about with your 4 tips to avoid falling for the six-figure shuffle. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

    • Tai Goodwin says:

      Hi Anne,
      Thanks for stopping by. One of the things I tell my clients is, “where there is a vision, make a way.” Sometimes it takes being willing to find your own way to do things instead of following what the masses are doing, especially when it doesn’t “feel” right to you.

  • Malla Haridat says:

    Hi Five for focusing on integrity on building your small business model and more importantly giving us tools on how to ensure we are doing the right thing with marketing. Your case study was a great example of what not to do!

    • Tai Goodwin says:

      Thanks Malla! I think part of what we get to do is educate prospects and clients so they can know and choose better.

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