The Biggest Lesson I Learned Working In A Billion Dollar Business

Written by Steve De La Cour on February 4th, 2019

The Biggest Lesson I Learned Working In A Billion Dollar Business

I remember thinking, “How on earth did I get here?!”

I’d just woken up in France, in a ridiculous three-story French chateaux, built in the 1780’s.

The weather was something out of a picturesque novel, the lawns out front seemed never-ending, I could smell the food emanating from the kitchen, and the birds were in full force amongst the hundreds of trees just outside my window.

I almost had to pinch myself.

But I didn’t want to…The Agora Groups French Chateau

You see, I had just been flown to France by The Agora Group, to be trained personally by their founders Bill Bonner and Mark Ford (IE “Michael Masterson”).

They wanted to teach me everything they’d spent the last four decades perfecting, so I could help grow their business.

They’d also flown in a handful of people from around the world, and some of their best management team to boot.

We were there for one purpose, and one purpose only:

To share secrets, learn techniques, and pass on the business-exploding methods we could each use to help grow The Agora Group.

We had three full days planned, and even then it didn’t seem like enough time.

There were presentations, dinners, speeches, training, excursions, you name it.

But looking back now, little did I know that the information, methods and secrets I was about to be given would change my life.

However, there was one specific thing that I learned during my time in France that completely changed the way I approached business, marketing and sales.

Its since helped me generate millions of leads and customers, and tens of millions in revenue.

It felt like I'd been given some sort of bottled lightning, a secret sauce. 

Today, I want to give you what was shared with me back in France…

 

The Secret Sales Sauce

 

Joining Agora and learning their methods, techniques and secrets felt like that scene in Spider-Man.

You know the one I’m talking about.

Where the spider webs down and bites Peter Parker on the hand, giving him powers and ultimately turning him into Spider-Man.

That’s what Bill Bonner and Mark Ford did for me.

(Not bite me, mind you, that would’ve just been weird!)

But their training, knowledge and their methods gave me abilities I never had before.

Don’t get me wrong, I was still a pretty good marketer before all this, but this stuff was like a whole other level.

Remember the Spider-Man analogy? Yeah, it was like that.

Of all the things I learned during my time at Agora, one thing stuck out time and time again.

No matter where I went in the business, what product I worked on, or what growth I achieved, there was a single constant that was ever present.

I soon started to realize it was the reason the company had grown so much, how my publications were growing so rapidly, and why our bank balance was looking so healthy.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this was at the core of everything Agora did.

It was their secret sauce!

It’s why they have offices all over the world, why they generate more than a billion dollars in revenue (yip, you read that right!), and the secret behind all the growth I’ve achieved ever since.

What was that secret?

 

 

The Two Levers EVERY Business Needs To Pull In Order To Grow

 

Simply put, it all came down to people and products.

Sounds a little too simple doesn’t it?

Let me assure you, this small notion changed the way I saw business, marketing and sales. It was like being unplugged from the matrix, or coming back to our analogy from earlier, like waking up the next morning after the bite and finding yourself being able to web-sling between buildings in New York.

Great business comes down to those two things.If you can keep those two areas growing, your business will have unlimited upside and growth potential

If you can keep those two areas growing, your business will have unlimited upside and growth potential.

How many people do you know that can say that?

Or better yet, how many people know how to actually have an effect on that side of their business?

Very, very few.

Naturally both areas are incredibly nuanced and have a bit of detail in each.

They’re almost like levers on a machine, and in order for that machine (IE your business) to run optimally, you need to pull both levers.

So, what does that mean? Let’s take a look.
 

Growth Lever #1: People

One of the big things I learned from Agora was that you don’t speak to every person who comes across your business the same way.

The person who literally only found out about you this morning and is seeing your site / store / product for the first time…

The avid customer you’ve had for a few years, and has bought pretty much most of what you sell…

You don’t speak to these people in the same way.

Top-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel approaches have literally been created for this.

Heck, the actual phrases ‘top-of-funnel’ and ‘bottom-of-funnel’ were created for this!

But at the end of the day the list or lists you have as a business, of either newbies or multi-buyers, is not a static thing.

You will always have new people discovering you, people considering your products or services, and then ardent fans (well, in a good business at least).

Great business requires great effort, or should I say:

With great power comes great responsibility.

It’s a constantly moving, shifting thing, which means if you want new customers, better sales, and your current customers to keep buying from you, you need to put in the effort to make that happen (that’s the ‘great responsibility’ portion of it).

That’s the crux of what I mean when I say “people”.

You need an audience, and you need to keep topping up that audience with new faces.

That is the lifeblood of what you’re doing.

Remember, it’s all a numbers game at the end of the day. Or as the die-hard marketers would tell you, everything is a funnel.

A thousand people go in, so a hundred people can sign up, so ten can buy.

You then get to upsell and cross-sell those ten people.

Keep pouring in new people to your funnel, and it just becomes a game of scale.

If ‘Channel A’ costs you $10 per sale (IE then $100 for the ten customers mentioned above), common sense would dictate that if you scale properly then $1000 would nab you 100 customers, and $10,000 would get you 1000 customers, and so on.

But you have to keep the wheels moving, and momentum consistent.

You’ll always experience churn, or people unsubscribing from your lists, or people just moving onto a competitor.

You can build a tidy business by replacing them adequately.

Say you have a list of 10,000 people and a list-churn of 5%, that means 500 people disappear from your business every month.

If you’re replacing them with new, eager and most importantly hot-to-buy leads, your business can grow.

Your list size isn’t growing per say – it’s still 10,000 after they’ve been replaced - but the DNA of it is.

How so?

You have new people on board.

Now imagine if you weren’t just replacing those churned people, and you were growing your list by 10% every month?

In just a year you’re talking about total list growth of 171%.

If you know your numbers, and you have a defined approach to creating sales, your business will grow.

Remember what I said earlier: Unlimited upside.

Simply put, you need to keep growing your audience with new people.

Let’s move onto lever number two…

 

 

Growth Lever #2: Products

I like to think of this lever as a bit of a double whammy.

It’s not just your products that need to keep growing, but your promotions around them.

At Agora we had a system of control. What that meant was that there was always a control promotion, meaning that was the promotion we always tested against.

So, when I ran a new campaign, the idea was to outsell whatever the control promotion was, and if we did that the new promotion became the control.

Now, this didn’t always happen, but when it did the business grew like wildfire.You cannot show the same things to the same people all the time

Think about it like this, what do you think would happen if you showed the same group of people the same promotion 10 times?

The first time you might have say 20% of the people interested, but what do you think would happen on the tenth time?

That’s right, a drastically reduced percentage of interest.

You cannot show the same things to the same people all the time, they’ll lose interest in both you and your product.

That’s why taking a promotional / campaign approach works – different people respond to different things.

You seriously cut down on that kind of sales fatigue when you grow your promotions and products.

Basically, you have to be showing new things to people, constantly.

At Agora we had a few rules around how often we needed to introduce new products and services into our release schedule.

This is obviously going to be different for every business, but you get the idea.

Think of it like this, the needs of your customers aren’t going to remain static, so why should what you offer them do that?

Your customers will always grow, at every stage of the funnel, so its about offering them as much value every step of the way. Products will do that, promotions will show them how and why.

Remember, at the end of the day people buy marketing, not products.

 

REVEALED: Your New Business-Growth Formula

 

Remember what we were saying earlier?

Imagine you have a new pipeline of new people coming into your business, and you constantly have new and exciting promotions & products to show them…

Your business will explode.

And I don’t mean that lightly.

That’s what it comes down to, figuring out those two things:

Products and people.

Where are your people going to come from, and how are you going to grow the products & promotions they’re exposed to?

Figure these two things out and it’ll be like that spider biting you, giving you business superpowers.

And who wouldn’t want those?

Until next time, here’s to super-powering your business. 

Steve De La Cour
Steve De La Cour
Founder & CEO

Kong