59. Sell More By Using Your Students' Stories
7 July 2020 | By Salome Schillack
On today's episode, you'll learn the magic behind using stories to sell your course to more people.
As humans, we're pretty simple creatures: we don't like to spend our money on things we have unanswered questions about, so it's your job as an online marketer to answer your potential students' questions before they have enough time to become objections.
Transform stories into magic sales tools to take away uncertainty and make your course the obvious answer to their problem.
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When other people find the show they get to learn how to create more freedom in their lives from their online courses too!!
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Hello, and welcome to Episode Number 59 of the Shine Show. And in today's episode, I'm going to share with you how you can use your students' success stories to sell more of your online courses. Giving up your time and freedom to make money is so 2009. Hi, I'm your host Salome Schillack and I help online course creators launch, grow, and scale their businesses with Facebook and Instagram ads so that they can make more money and have an even bigger impact in the world. If you're ready to be inspired to dream bigger, launch sooner, and grow your online business faster, then tune in, because you are ready to shine and this is the Shine Show.
Hello, and welcome to today's show. I hope that you are very well and very safe where you're listening to this today. Today is the 29th of June. It's Monday. And I know that this podcast episode will probably only air in more than a week's time, but I wanted to briefly talk about what happened at the end of last week and over the weekend with all of the big brands pulling their advertising from Facebook as part of a campaign to boycott Facebook in order to force them to do better when it comes to filtering hate speech and to do better with their fact checking of political ads and posts. And I spent a large part of Sunday morning organizing my thoughts about this and putting them into words. So I'm going to read for you what I posted in another group where people were asking me, should they be joining the boycott or should they just keep running their ads as normal?
So I'm going to read for you, word for word, what I posted in this group, because frankly, I can't say it better than I posted it here. So I said, "I will start by sharing what I believe to be true of Mark Zuckerberg as a leader. I've watched him closely lead Facebook as a company since I started building my business on his platform and it's always been important to me to question his values and make sure that they align with mine. What I've come to learn is that he has a very good understanding of the power he has as the leader of the company that distributes a large percentage of the communication we all consume. And he does not take that power for granted. I see that he's careful to use that power to create a role where one person or one company controls free speech. Free speech is, after all, the foundation of a free and true democracy.
"Does that mean he gets it right all the time? Heck, no. He built a platform that was new to all of them. The platform has weaknesses and he has blind spots and that's led to people misusing information for their own gain and power. But since then, he has done a lot to rectify that and to be more aware of how his platform can be misused, particularly during elections. He doesn't get it right all the time but I've seen his willingness to take responsibility and to fix what's not working in order to preserve free speech and limit anyone who takes advantage of the weaknesses of the platform, not just in America, but in many, many other countries before this election. So as far as the reasons for the boycott goes, I can only say that I've seen him make mistakes, but I've also seen him own his mistakes and fix them, which is a lot more than we can say for the abusers of the same system.
"I place my hope in his character and that of the people who advise him, because I believe there are good people who understand the tremendous power that they have. As far as running ads right now, I am happy to leave the boycott up to Coca-Cola, Unilever, Proctor & Gamble, and all the other big companies, the giant multinationals who are pulling their ads. And I'm grateful to them that they're using their money to help Mark understand if he's doing the right thing or making a mistake. And I do believe that he will listen. My business and that of my clients relies solely on our Facebook and Instagram ads being on. If I stop running my ads, my agency's doors close and I have to tell three people that they no longer have an income, which means they can't pay their mortgages and might have to file for government support. And that is not something I am eager to do or something I stand for ever.
"If I tell my clients to stop their ads, some of them may be in the same boat. Now we're talking maybe twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, hundreds of people losing their jobs. So I'm forced with this dilemma. Do I stand for stopping ads right now or not? I do not. I believe we can support a conversation about getting free speech right on social media and in politics without giving up our ads. We can be part of an imperfect system and stand to make that system better. In fact, the system has been challenged in many countries when they had elections long before this became about an American election, and it will continue to be an ongoing conversation about how we make this platform better for people in all countries around the world, always.
"So will I keep running ads? Yes, and I'll keep telling my clients and my students to keep running ads because when we do, we make a small part of the world that we can impact better and we build an economy, and we continue to believe that good people will use their good power for the good of many. And we continue to keep those good people accountable in whatever way we can without disabling our livelihoods. Lots of love, Salome." So I posted that in a group and I feel that I got a lot of people who resonated with this message. I think it's very easy for us sometimes to get caught up in a moral dichotomy where we see one group of people doing something to stand up for something, and we agree with them and we want to stand with them, but then the question is, do we stand with them at the cost of our livelihoods and at the cost of people's jobs? And I just feel like there has to be a third door.
There has to be a way where we look at it and we go, "Well, hang on. Do we really believe that these people have ill intent? Or are they good people with good values who will do the best they can? And who, historically, if you look at it, have done the best they can in most situations more than a lot of other people." So I want to give Mark and Facebook a little bit of grace here, and I want to focus on continuing to control the things that I can control. And that is running my business, serving my clients, serving my students, doing my bit to make my little corner of the world a better place, which involves running Facebook ads and having them on. So I want to tell you that if you decide to pull your ads, good on you, go for it, as long as that is what you believe to be true for you.
And if you want to keep running your ads and you want to launch, and you want to continue to pay for ads that put you in front of the right people, then good on you too, go for it, as long as it is what you believe in your heart 100% to be the right thing to do. And I will keep running ads because I believe that it's the right thing for me. Now, having said all of that, let's switch gears a little bit and now let's talk about how you can use your students' success stories to sell more of your courses. And I have to say, I have had an absolute ball of a time the last couple of months watching James Wedmore launch his signature course Business By Design. I am a complete marketing geek who funnel hacks everyone and I love, love it. When the giant successful online marketers like James is in live launch because I can just totally geek out on everything they're doing.
And one thing I noticed that James is phenomenally good at is using his students' success story to sell his courses for him. And I wanted to tell you a little bit more about that and how you can do that today. But before I do that, I need to tell you a story. And this is the story of how I got this very interesting name, Salome. Now, when my mom and my dad were expecting me. At some point during the nine months, they had a name reveal to my grandmother, my mum's mum, who was very conservative. And they told her that they were going to be naming me Salome. My dad's name is Solomon. So I was named after my dad. It is the only female name that can really work with that. So they liked it, they thought it made sense, they wanted to name me after my dad, and they chose Salome, not thinking anything of it. It's quite a common name in South Africa where I grew up as well.
So the name was familiar to my grandma, but maybe too familiar, because when my parents said they were going to call me Salome, my grandmother completely freaked out and said they are cursing me and she will not stand for them naming me and giving me this name. And the reason she said that is because when you look up the meaning of Salome, you find two things. The one thing is very beautiful, is the explanation of that it comes from the Hebrew word shalom, which means peace, and that is how they would say hello and goodbye to each other. So it's a greeting, and whenever someone would say "Shalom", they wish you well. They wish peace and they wish you prosperity and wellness and wholeness and welfare, and there's a whole list of beautiful things that you wish upon someone each time you say, "Shalom." So, for that reason, I am really fond of my name because I feel like it really stands for all these beautiful things. But there's also the biblical story of Salome, who was the daughter of the Queen and she was a dancer. This is the story.
She was a dancer. So we know from the Bible that she was the Queen's daughter and that the King, Herod, loved watching her dance. And what happened was John the Baptist was captured and in jail. And one of the things that John the Baptist was very outspoken about and outspokenly against was the marriage between the Queen and Herod the King. And one night, Herod was having a gigantic party and he asked Salome to dance for him. And at the end of the dance, he said that he loved that so much that he will grant her any wish she has. And her mother came over to her and whispered in her ear that she wants her to request John the Baptist's head on a plate, which she did, and so died John the Baptist. And so Salome is in the Bible recorded as being responsible for, I would say, one of the heroes in the Bible's death because she danced for Herod and then requested John the Baptist's head on a plate, which was already bad enough for my grandmother.
And it is bad enough for anyone who grew up in either a traditional Catholic church or any other traditional church where they would have learnt this story. And this story started building up more and more layers to it and became more and more dramatized. There is a German opera that was written about it, and then Oscar Wilde got hold of the story as well, and dramatized it even more to the point where it is now told as the Dance of the Seven Veils. So Salome is referred to as "the woman who did the Dance of the Seven Veils" and she's depicted as an absolute complete seductress, but who was secretly in love with John the Baptist and when her mother then requested John's head, it was the end of the love affair with John the Baptist, which we do not know if that's true. We guess it's not.
So this poor woman, who did what her mom asked her to do, has gotten quite the bad rap and it's gotten worse and worse. And there's even a song by U2 called Salome. And you can look it up, it's not one of their best songs, but they sing about her. She has a real bad rap, so my grandmother had an absolute heart attack when my parents decided to call me Salome, and you can understand why for the older, more conservative generation that would have been really tough. So fast forward, my mom was stubborn and rebellious and she stuck to the name and I'm glad that she did because I think it's really pretty, but fast forward about 23 years after my birth and I'm living in London where the name is not very common. It's quite common in Europe, but not in England so much, and definitely not in Australia or in America where I live now or Australia where I live, but America where I visit often.
So I lived in London when I was 23, and one day my roommate decided we are going to buy tickets to go and watch the recording of the Ruby Wax Show at MTV Studios, because the runner up of the first season of Idols in the U.K., you'll remember that Idols was actually started in the U.K., and the guy who was the runner up, or maybe he was third or fourth, his name was Darius, and my roommate had a giant crush on Darius. And so she bought us tickets to go to the record of the Ruby Wax Sharp. So we found ourselves standing in line outside the MTV Studios and the producers of the show came out into the line where we were standing and they said they're looking for volunteers years for an experiment, a dating experiment, they want to do. And I was 23 and I was single and I have never turned down the opportunity to be on TV, and so I volunteered, not considering the fact that my name is going to be tricky to pronounce for these poor boys on TV.
So they took us into this private little room where they immediately gave us alcohol and strawberries and try to make it all romantic and we were told to mingle and to speed date. And I got to chat with a few pretty nice guys, but you kind of get a name here and half a conversation and then there's another one, and half a conversation and another one, and a half a conversation. And after about an hour of this, they said, "Okay, they're only going to choose three men and three women." So they chose the three, and I was one of the three, but none of the guys I had actually had a decent conversation with was there. But I could see there was one guy who was also kind of looking like, "Oh, what is happening now?" Because all the girls that he had spoken to were also not chosen. And so we're standing on stage and the cameras are on and they're saying, okay, "Well, now we have to choose whoever we hit it off with the most."
And this poor guy, we became good friends afterwards, poor Jamie, Jamie, I see him look over at me trying to remember my name and we were wearing name badges. So it's funny, because I remember watching the replay of it, you can see how I turn my whole upper body so that he can read the name badge, and live on TV he says, "I choose, Salmon." Mm-hmm (affirmative), he said salmon. He called me Salmon. So, yeah, there's been some fun that I've had with this name of mine. And the reason I tell you these stories is not so that you would never, ever again forget how to pronounce my name or that we would have a really cool conversation starter the next time I meet you live in person, but that too, but the reason I tell you the story is because I want you to pay attention to how me telling you these stories have now cemented this in your brain and how we now have something in common, and you were very eager to listen to this.
I hope so. I really tried to make this story entertaining for you. But that's how our brains work, and our brains are programmed to listen and to pay attention and also to position ourselves in the shoes of the characters of the stories that we are listening to. So if you were, in your mind, right there with me in the MTV Studios on the stage with Ruby Wax and Darius and my friend and the cameras, then you put yourself in my shoes. And that's why Hollywood exists. It's because our brains are naturally programmed to want to hear stories. And when we're marketing our online courses, we have to work towards entering the conversation that is already in the mind of our ideal customer.
So the challenge for us as marketers is to know our ideal customers and their challenges so well that we can enter the conversation they're having in their mind every step along the way as we move them through our funnels, from the moment they first see us on social media through to when they engage with us, through to where they opt in for our email list, through when they listen to our podcasts or watch our videos or read our blogs, through to when they sign up for our webinar or a three part video series or our challenge launch, whatever we're using to launch right through to when they purchase our course. And at every step of the way, the conversation in their head will be slightly different.
Now, I want to demonstrate this to you by giving you some examples from my audience. So, for example, one of the internal battles that my ideal customer would have is whether they'll just be throwing money away on Facebook ads like they have so many times before when they've tried running ads on Facebook in the past. Another battle that my client has is with actually believing that they really need Facebook or Instagram ads in order to launch their course. They've heard of people who did it without ads and they believe they can do it without ads too. And so I need to know that they have that battle there in the back of their minds, because if I can't help them overcome that battle, that's an obstacle to becoming one of my students. Or maybe my ideal customer could be facing a battle with their fear of technology. They don't understand the layout of the Ads Manager and every time they build up the courage to use ads then they get the backend of the Ads Manager and everything looks different again.
And unless I can start a conversation and tell them a story that's going to help them see that other people have had the same struggle, the same fear, and I was able to help them overcome that, I have no chance of selling this person into my course. So these are actual real challenges that my ideal customer has to overcome before they'll take out their credit cards and invest in learning to run ads from me. And I know this because I've spent hours and hours and hours talking to my ideal customer. I've asked them what are they struggling with and I've heard every objection they have and I've written them down and I've studied these objections and I've compared them to see what the patterns are. I've compared them to see how they describe these challenges, what the words are they use, because that's where my copy comes from.
So now I have a choice, I can approach these objections logically in the following way. So to the person who doesn't want to throw money away, I could say, "Well, you threw money away because you really didn't have a clear strategy and no one showed you how to do it right." Right, but that's not quite going to get their brains to stop objecting. To the person who doesn't believe that actually need ads, I can say, "Sure, but it will take you a lot longer to build your audience and to make money." And that's true, but their subconscious mind is still not going to be convinced and they are just going to reach for the next objection. Or to the person with the fear of technology, I can say, "Well, the basic functions are always the same, so as long as you know what to do at each level of the Ads Manager, you'll be fine." And they'll hear the words that come out of my mouth, but will they actually be convinced? I'm not so sure.
So that can work, but it's likely their subconscious mind is still skeptical and they'll be like, "Sure, but ..." and then they'll just come up with another objection, and I will not make a sale and I will not have another student who's going to succeed. So instead we use stories to help people see the journey that someone else went on in our community when they were feeling doubtful, when they were feeling fearful and stuck and not knowing how to move forward, to where they discovered us and our way and we became the guide for them on their journey, to how they overcame these obstacles, and eventually how they achieved their biggest desires and made their dreams come true.
So when I'm interviewing my students to collect testimonials and get their success stories, I try to keep this hero's journey that they went on in mind, because if they've volunteered to give me a testimonial then there's a journey somewhere in there because they're saying, "I'm willing to share my story because I love your course, I love you, and I want to help you get more people like me to have this transformation." So what I do is I try to ask questions in such a way that they start at the beginning and they take me through the journey of how they felt when they started, what they were struggling with the most, what obstacles they had to overcome, and how I help guide them through these obstacles, and where they are now, and what the results are that they have today.
And I try to link it up to the pain and the objections and the fears that my students have when they start on the journey to discovering whether my course is right for them or not. And I end in the outcomes and the desires that they truly want. So when I explain this to you guys, but with examples and I have taken three testimonials, three story testimonials from some of my A-Lister students, and I want to read you, I've just taken little snippets from it, but I want to read you some of those testimonials. So this is Claire's story, and I'm paraphrasing and reading to you what she said. So here we go. "Facebook ads just completely confused me and they scared me and I wanted to be running ads to grow my audience so that I wasn't forever trying to be putting out content and reaching traffic organically.
And I knew that Facebook ads was going to be the way that I was going to be able to do that so much faster, but it just confused me and I was most of the time asking my husband to run the ads for me. While he did a better job, he was a bit more confident with it because he's got a more techie mind. But, yeah, it was just so scary. I've had bits of Facebook ads trainings that have been tucked inside other people's courses so I've learned bits and pieces but I've never been able to learn the whole picture and the underlying strategy behind it. So I always ended up spending so much on ads, not really knowing if I was actually doing it right, and really not making much return for them. And to make it worse, my ads were just becoming more and more expensive. So it was just becoming harder and harder to make it work.
I knew I was looking for a complete system and I was looking to take away the overwhelm and just feel confident with running Facebook ads and know that I was following a system that was going to work, that wasn't just pushing buttons and throwing money at it and hoping it would work. And now that I've taken your course and I've worked with you and I've been on your live classes, it is so amazing to be able to reach so many people from so many different countries at such a low cost. That's amazing. And so I feel really confident that with having that groundwork done, it will be so much easier for me to build my list and then sell my course. And the best is, I've already had two sales and I've only just started running engagement ads."
So that's, Claire's testimonial. That's just a small piece of it that I wanted to share with you because I wanted to demonstrate how I interviewed her in a way that she started by telling me what she was frustrated with and she ended with an actual, real result, two sales, and reaching people in countries that she's never even thought of, is a physical outcome that I know my clients have. So maybe the next time you interview one of your students, you can keep that in mind. And the next story I want to tell you is Alex's story. And Alex, I would use Alex's story when I want to help somebody understand how, just like Alex, who thought, well, maybe she can do it without ads, they can also find that it is a lot easier and a lot faster with ads. So here's Alex's story.
"I used Facebook ads on an off. I've kind of tried all of the things but I never knew what results I was made to be getting. And even when things looked okay, I still didn't know what I was doing was actually correct or the most right thing to do. So I knew I needed to get some training in it. We help health and wellness practitioners grow their online private practices and we advertise on Facebook to draw them into our email list, which is a new strategy. Thank you, Salome. And from that, the main objective is to get some of them to sign up for our big course, which is where we'll make most of our money. When I started looking for ads training, I wanted to understand the larger strategy. So if I do this well now, what do I do? What are all of these steps? And what am I actually aiming for overall? I felt like I needed quite a large structure and then I also needed to know the small step by steps as well.
"Now that I've taken your course, I'm confident that I'm doing this correctly and that frees up my mental space so I can start looking at the analytics and understanding those more, because I think that's the juicy stuff. And because I'm spending money to get people into my email list, and not only that they're signing up for the free Facebook group and they're completing the 10 day course, so these people are not just after a free thing, they're actually I think probably a little bit more engaged, maybe a little bit further down the funnel, and maybe a little bit more ready to purchase my course. But because of that and because I actually put some money down, it means that I'm sticking to my marketing plan, and one of those things is to send a weekly email each week and to write a weekly decent blog post and pop that into my website so I've got something to talk about in my email and on all of my socials to make sure I'm keeping this warm audience warm.
"Now that I can see the bigger picture, I can see that it's actually attainable. It was a lot easier to stick to this plan. There's no way I'm going back to growing my email list without Facebook ads. I think you used the words, "it supercharges your list building". Just using social media to build my list is far too slow. I'm all for the "supercharge." That's Alex's story, or a part of it that she shared with me. And anytime someone says to me they're just not sure if they're ready for ads, they'd rather keep using social media to build their email list, I will pull out Alex's story and tell him her story, because it's in her words, it was her experience and there's no way their brain can argue with that because it's not me trying to make a case for myself, it's someone else's hero's journey that they have to see themselves in.
And then the last one I want to share with you is Lauren's story. And this one I would bring out when I have to overcome the objection about around the fear of the tech, because that's one I hear a lot, and it's so easy for me to say, "But just give me a chance. I'll teach you to use the tech and you'll be confident," and they're still going to be doubtful. But when they hear Lauren's story, they will trust that they can have a similar experience to her. So her story is, "When I signed up for A-Lister, I was struggling with Facebook ads because I would start and stop and start and stop. And every time I started, I'd create a new pixel, a new account, a new mess, and a new pile of clutter, and I knew that I had to get it all sorted out because I knew I wasn't being as effective and efficient as I should be with my Facebook ad account. I knew I needed help.
"When I decided to jump into A-Lister, I was looking for help with a way to get organized and a way to be more effective, a way to have more financial efficiency with the ads that I was creating. I was at the point where I delayed doing Facebook ads as long as I could. And at this point, I have all my products, I have everything ready to go, I just kept hesitating because my past experience with Facebook ads wasn't getting me the results I wanted. So I was looking for insight, help, and understanding so that I didn't just throw money out the window and spin my wheels. I started looking through dozens and dozens of courses that I've signed up to find out what I'd actually signed up for something on Facebook ads in the past. And I did find a few things, but they were basically a piece of something that was a bigger whole. So the entire focus wasn't on ads, it was on a support piece. It's as if you're taking a training course that they have one little module about tech.
"They would have one little module about Facebook ads, and it was nice that I had a general understanding from that, but it wasn't thorough. None of those things were thorough or detailed enough. It didn't walk me through, really, step by step all the way through the depth of what I needed to really jump into ads. I would say that working with Salome for a very short period of time the difference that I have found is that I have gone from a couple of 100 people that were engaging on my pages and my business and my emails to 1000s upon 1000s upon 1000s, and 10,000s. So it's a massive difference in terms of the audience that I have out there and that I'll be building and growing to start being able to sell to them."
Now, I mean, I could not top that. So thank you, Lauren. It feels a bit jerky to me to be able to use my own testimonials as examples for you here. I'm sure you had a chuckle about that. But it is the best examples I have, and if I say so myself, they're not bad stories, they're not bad results. And so I wanted to share them with you so that you can have a think about how you can interview your students, get them on a Zoom call, and just ask them questions and take them through their story, through their hero's journey. Where did they start? How were they stuck? What were the solutions they were looking for? What were the obstacles they faced along the way? How did they overcome those obstacles? How did you help them overcome those obstacles? How did the information you provided them help them overcome those obstacles? And where are they today and what are the tangible results that they have as a result of working with you?
So hopefully now you have some really random, funny stories you can connect to me and my very fascinating name. But also, I hope you have a better framework to interview your students to get better stories from them so you can tell those stories when you're in your prelaunch or runway phase so that you can help your next best students see themselves in the shoes of past students, and that way, see themselves getting the results they want and become your student. And I hope that, that also means that you see yourself as the leader in your community that you are, and as the leader of all of those students, stepping up, making sales, marketing to them, selling to them, and bringing them into your community so that you can make a difference for them. So I want you to think about the next time you're planning a launch and how you can reach out to at least three of your current students and ask them to hop on a call with you and tell you their story.
Your future students will thank you for it because you'll be helping them see how they too can achieve what your other students have already achieved with your help. And if you're ready to learn more about how to run Facebook and Instagram ads during your course launch so that you can create a more profitable launch and get more predictable results and finally create that five or six figure launch you've been dreaming about, then I have the definitive guide to using Facebook and Instagram ads to launch an online course. And you can get it by going to shineandsucceed.com/guide. So I would love for you to go and download the guide because it is 40 pages of juicy information for you to learn which ads to run at which phase of your launch so that you can stop throwing spaghetti on the wall and finally start creating profitable and predictable launches for your online courses.
And I hope that you have a wonderful, wonderful, lovely, peaceful, I kind of feel like I need a peaceful, week. I need a week where I switched my phone off of the news and just remember how beautiful the world is around me. I hope that you also have a lovely, wonderful, peaceful, safe, healthy week, and I look forward to seeing you again next week. Take care. Bye. Thank you so much for listening. If you had fun, please come back next week and remember to hit that subscribe button so you never miss a thing.