Category Archives: Business Tools

Kaizen in Action: 8 Types of Micro-Commitments and How You Can Use Them in Your Sales Process to Increase Conversions (Part 2)

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As I used the science of Kaizen to build my business, I also realized how this simple strategy applies to sales and marketing…

Which led me to a MAJOR epiphany as well as the creation of the Ask Method.

Sometimes the biggest successes happen not by thinking bigger, but by thinking smaller.

To take my first business from $0 to $25,000/year in 18 months, I forgot about my big goals, gave up on visualizations, and stopped giving myself pep-talks.

Instead, I started asking myself tiny, minuscule questions, like:

“What’s ONE thing I can do in my business that will make me an extra $500 this month?”


“What’s one thing I can I do that will generate ONE additional sale per day?”

Instead of thinking big, I began to think very, very small…

These small numbers were the sort of thing I could actually get my head around.

And shifting my thinking to $500 in extra monthly revenue and one additional sale per day also allowed me to “seek the small improvements, one day at a time”.


Once I began seeking those small improvements instead of huge leaps, I started making SIGNIFICANT progress in my business.

There’s a quote by Mark Twain scribbled on the whiteboard in my office that says the following:

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started. And the secret to getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks and starting on the first one.”

This is Kaizen in a nutshell, and Twain understood the “secret” behind it.

In my previous post, I talked about how I used Kaizen to help me make progress when I was first starting my business…

Incuding the “hack” that can get you unstuck no matter where you are in your business:


Today, I want to dive deeper into this idea.

We talked about how your brain perceives ANY kind of change as a threat, activating your “Fight or Flight” response…

Now let’s see how we can tiptoe around this in a creative way.

How to Influence Your Customers with Kaizen

This marketing epiphany came to me as I was standing in the coffee aisle at the grocery store, deciding which brand of coffee to buy.

“What’s so hard about buying coffee?”, you might ask.

Well, the first coffee I remember drinking was the giant red can, the Buick of coffees, the coffee that my parents drank: Folgers at $3.99/lb.

Since it’s what I grew up with, Folgers started out as my coffee of choice by default.

Eventually, once there was a Starbucks on every corner, I began seeing their ground coffee in the store, and on a whim, I gave it a try at the sale price of $5.99/lb.

Weeks later, it went back up to the regular price of $8.99/lb., but by then I was hooked on Starbucks, whether I liked it or not.

A few years later, as part of a concerted effort to eat healthier, my wife and I switched to certified organic and pesticide free coffee at the hefty price tag of $10.99/lb.

And standing in that aisle at Whole Foods, debating between two different certified-organic, fair-trade, boutique-brand varieties at a price of $12.99/lb. and $13.99/lb. respectively…

Suddenly it hit me:

“HOW did I go from buying the big red can at $3.99/lb to trying to decide between fair-trade organic coffee at $13.99/lb?”

I never would have made that leap directly…it’s TOO BIG of a price jump.

But each incremental decision over the years was a small enough price increase that it seemed like “no big deal”…


And I was able to accept paying more and more for coffee without setting off any of my internal (amygdala-controlled) warning signals.

This is true, not just for coffee, but for any kind of purchase or buying decision…and you can leverage this concept in your marketing on a practical level in a number of ways.

By now you’ve probably heard me mention “Micro-Commitments”, which is how you influence people to complete your quiz, one question at a time.

However Micro-Commitments can come into play at EVERY stage of the sales process.

And today I want to talk about some other ways you can use the concept of Micro-Commitments in your marketing.

8 Ways to Use “Micro-Commitments” in Your Sales Process

The key to this concept is looking at any point in your sales process where you are asking someone to take too big of a leap…

Basically, any step that is potentially scary, and figure out how to break it down into smaller steps.

I’d like to cover 8 different ways you can “chunk down” or add another smaller step in order to reduce buying friction and avoid “scaring off” your prospects.

In fact, I bet you may be using several of these already…and that’s great!

The more you are aware of WHY and HOW Micro-Commitments work, the more effectively you can use them.

Are you ready to dive in?

OK, here it goes:

8 Ways to Use “Micro-Commitments” in Your Sales Process

❏  1. ASK a Segmentation Question Before Your Opt-in

For many people, entering their name and email address sets off all sorts of warning bells. Even if you just ask for an email address, you’re still likely scaring some people off. It’s just too big of a first step to take. Instead of having the opt-in box appear right away on your landing page, give them a button to click instead, with a pop up to either a quiz, or a one-question segmentation option, and only then ask for their name and email. Button, question, and opt-in: 3 steps instead of just one big one.

❏  2. Use a Tripwire

It’s pretty accepted marketing wisdom that someone who spends a small amount of money with you is likely to spend a larger amount later on. Enter the concept of the Tripwire – a low priced (i.e. $1-10) product that puts your customers in “buying mode” without making them feel like they’re breaking the bank. If you don’t have a Tripwire offer yet, you might want to consider testing one.

❏  3. Introduce a $1 Trial Offer

If you have a higher priced product, then offering a $1 Trial is a great way to turn prospects into buyers. In my Next Level Group Mastermind, I run a 7-day $1 trial offer a few times a year, and it usually brings in several hundred new members, many of whom will continue their membership after the trial period. In my experience, $1 Trial offers are generally very hard to resist for your core audience.

❏  4. Create a “Bridge Product” between your Low End and High End Offer

If the price gap between your front-end and back-end products is too big, you may be setting off those warning bells in your customer’s brain. Just like I couldn’t make the leap from Folgers to Fair Trade Organic coffee, if you have a $97 product on the front end that upsells into a $10K coaching program, it’s probably too big of a leap for most people. Consider adding a mid-priced option in between the two offers instead.

❏  5. Head off any potential objections at the pass

Make sure that before you ask for the sale, you have at least one opportunity to answer any potential objections. Usually a FAQ section on your sales page does the trick, but they should also be woven into your sales copy as well. Using the Ask Method “Do You Hate Me?” email is a great way to hone in on any potential objections and answer them effectively.

❏  6. Use Live Chat

This is something that I discovered during my last launch of the Ask Method Masterclass. We installed a live chat plugin on the sales page and during Open Cart, we had team members available to reach out and chat with potential customers. Getting people to engage in a real-time chat is another form of Micro-Commitment and another great way to overcome objections.

❏  7. Add an “Objection-Busting” Webinar

During a launch or a promotion, I like to add a Q&A webinar (or two) into the mix. Similar to live chat, it accomplishes the goal of getting your prospects to take another step into your world (by registering and then showing up for the webinar) and gives you another opportunity to answer their objections.

❏  8. Get Subscribers to *HIT REPLY* (Again and Again…)

I often like to ask my subscribers to *HIT REPLY* and answer my emails directly. This turns any old email into a survey AND a Micro-Commitment all at once. Just add a question in a P.S. or in the body of an email and ask people to *HIT REPLY*. You’d be surprised at how many responses you’ll get.

Now, these 8 Micro-Commitment strategies are a good starting point, but always remember the #1 goal:

“HOW can I seamlessly move my prospects and customers through the sales process by breaking it down into much smaller steps?”

Or in other words…

“Am I losing people along the way by asking them to take a step that’s too big or threatening?”

So now I’m Curious…

Speaking of “Micro-Commitments” (wink wink)...

1) How are YOU using Micro-Commitments in your business?

2) Which of these are you going to take action on next?

3) Have you already implemented any of these and gotten better results?

Share your results and stories in the comments below…I can’t wait to hear from you!


Ryan :-)

The 44 Tools I Use to Run a 7+ Figure Business

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This post was inspired by Noah Kagan’s post HERE on the tools that he uses to run his business.

I thought it would be cool to put together a list of all the tools that WE use in our business (the software/digital ones, at least).

So here they are, in no particular order:

Documentation and Storage

  • Google Docs/Drive: We use Google Docs as a team not only to collaborate on files, but to organize and systemize the processes in our company. Each procedure document has a code and a number, and each is linked to in a master spreadsheet that everyone has access to. The permissions for each procedure can be controlled as needed.
  • Egnyte: Our main file storage system for other documents that are not in Google Drive.
  • Dropbox: Another way to share files, videos, meeting recordings, etc.
  • Evernote: I use Evernote to take notes, save important bits of information, and pass those on. It’s not used team-wide but I often find myself sharing my Evernotes.


Shopping Cart

  • Infusionsoft: We made the transition to Infusionsoft this year, and while there’s definitely a learning curve, it’s been worth it.
  • 1ShoppingCart: Before Infusionsoft, we used 1ShoppingCart, which is definitely a solid choice.


Membership Sites

  • Xenforo: The membership site of my Next Level Group Mastermind is hosted in Xenforo, which is a great forum software that allows for any number of customizations, which we are constantly updating to create a better user experience.
  • Memberium: When we were looking for a way to host the Ask Method Masterclass course, we looked into a number of different options. We decided to go with Memberium because it was the best fit with the course that we were trying to design, and allowed us to integrate with our existing software.



  • Maropost: We made the transition to Maropost because it allows us more tagging and segmentation options than Aweber.
  • Aweber: Our alternative email provider, a solid choice, especially if you’re just starting out.



  • GoTo Webinar/GoTo Meeting: This is what we use almost exclusively for webinars and internal company meetings of more than 3 people.
  • Our “backup” meeting software if Go to Meeting is glitchy, it’s free and easy to use.
  • Skype: Used for client calls or internal meetings of 3 people or less.


Project Management

  • Trello: A cool way to organize and assign tasks, using cards, boards, and a Scrum integration to keep track of team productivity.
  • SLACK: This is team communication central, with channels for every aspect of the business. Slack is where all the action happens.
  • Teamwork: Our other project management software, used for our automated team member onboarding process, as well as larger projects.


Landing Pages

  • ClickFunnels: Landing page templates, opt-in funnels and more
  • Leadpages: Alternative to ClickFunnels, mostly used for webinar sign-up pages.
  • Ask Method Software: The software that’s custom-designed to implement Ask Method quizzes and surveys, like the Deep Dive Survey and Micro-Commitment Bucket Survey.


Planning and Outlining

  • LucidChart: Create flowcharts, processes, and mindmaps
  • iMindMap: I used this to create my Ask Method Blueprint, among other things. One of the best mindmap softwares available (for Mac).


Testing and Tracking



  • Fiverr: Need something done fast and cheap? Fiverr is the place to go.
  • Upwork: Where we go to find freelancers for specific jobs
  • Craigslist: Believe it or not, I’ve found some of my BEST team members on Craigslist. Here’s how I do it.
  • We use Rev to get calls and events transcribed. Fast 24 hour turnaround.


Video Stuff

  • Vimeo: What we use to host the Ask Method Masterclass training videos. Reasonable fees for a pro account
  • Wistia: More expensive, but offers a lot more tracking options.
  • Snagit: Easy way to grab screenshots and play around with them.
  • Camtasia: Screen recording software
  • Screenflow: With ScreenFlow you can record the contents of your entire monitor while also capturing your video camera, iOS device, microphone and your computer audio
  • Final Cut Pro: Video editing software
  • MySpeed (by Enounce): Lets you speed up videos to 2X or 3X so that you can watch them faster. (You can also slow them down)


My Personal Apps:

  • Flux: Cool app that automatically changes your screen color based on time of day (when it’s dark, the light is yellower).
  • Inner Balance: Helps me control and regulate my breathing rate and reduce stress
  • Boomerang for Gmail: Lets you schedule emails for later, set reminders to follow up, and more. Helps me keep my Gmail efficient.
  • Google Calendar: Nothing happens in Ryan’s world if it’s not in the calendar. I have separate calendars for client meetings, team meetings, family time, etc. so I always know what’s going on, and team members can edit and update as needed without seeing the whole thing.
  • Voice Memo App: Quick way to give myself reminders and jot things down on the go.
  • Call recorder for Skype: Since many of my client calls and team meetings are on Skype, I need a reliable call recorder.
  • Voice to Text Chrome Extension: This nifty little tool isn’t 100% accurate, but it’s a great way to get transcripts of calls on the spot.


Now, we use everything on this list, which means that it gets a personal recommendation from me.

That said, some of the links here are affiliate links. If you prefer that I don’t get paid, just type the website into the URL bar.

Now I’m curious…

What tools do you use that didn’t make this list? Anything that we absolutely need to know about? From this list, which tools do YOU prefer

Leave your recommendations in the comments below.