1 – The Bar Conversation w Colin Chung

John Carlton’s Simple Writing System Express Course

Lesson #1 – The Bar Conversation

With Your Personal Coach: Colin Y.J. Chung

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Colin Chung, Your Personal Copy Coach

Hey, glad to see you here.

Welcome to the first lesson of your Copy Mini-Course.

I can’t wait to get started. Hope you feel the same way.

Today — you and I, together — we’re going to craft a foundational “copy tool”…

Something that will become the DNA of everything you write:

Ads, emails, blogs, sales letters, VSLs, webinars, white papers, phone scripts… whatever you use to sell your product or service.

Not surprisingly, it starts with alcohol.

And with that, I hand you over to my teacher and mentor, creator of the “Simple Writing System”… John Carlton

(Click on the image to watch John Carlton’s short video lesson below, and I’ll meet up with you after.)


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What’d you think?

Now it’s your turn.

  1. You’ve watched the video.
  2. Now, imagine what your “perfect prospect” would say at this bar…
  3. And, write that conversation out below.
  4. Finally, wait for my feedback (I’ll reply to as many posts as I can during this free course).

That’s it!

Now, if you’re a little stuck and drawing a blank, here are some questions to help you through this…

• How did the last guy screw over your prospect?

• How is the prospect’s spouse annoyed with them over this problem?

• What is the prospect vocally frustrated about regarding this problem?

• On the flip side, what is the prospect hiding from their spouse… or too embarrassed to talk about?

• What specifically about this problem… keeps your prospect up at night?

The key here is to get into their world and headspace.

So go ahead, give it a go and write our what your prospect is dealing with below…


Colin Chung
Your Personal Copy Coach


Colin has moved on to providing feedback on Lesson #2.

I’ll leave this page and the comments below available for you to review for a few more days.
There’s a TON of valuable marketing knowledge here.
Please take advantage of this resource while it’s available.

— Stan Dahl

Click here for Lesson #2.



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The testimonials and case studies on this page are, to the best of our ability to determine, all true and accurate. They were provided willingly, without any compensation offered in return. These testimonials and case studies do not represent typical or average results. Most customers do not contact us or offer to share their results, nor are they required or expected to. Therefore, we have no way to determine what typical or average results have been. Many people do not implement anything we teach them. We can’t make anyone follow our advice, and we obviously can’t promise that our advice, as interpreted and implemented by everyone, is going to achieve for everyone the kinds of results it’s helped the folks on this page achieve. The income statements and examples on this website are not intended to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the same results. Each individual’s success will be determined by his or her desire, dedication, marketing background, product, effort and motivation to work and follow recommendations. There is no guarantee you will duplicate the results stated here. You recognize any business endeavor has inherent risk for loss of capital.


  • “Bartender…please get me anything… and a lot of it…and I’ll want more of whatever it is later. Just keep the bottle out. Ok? Alright look, I’ve got an issue again. I know me having an issue isn’t news to you, but uh…I’ve got an issue. I don’t understand how writing works. I don’t like it. It’s weird. It makes me feel funny. Honestly, I’d rather punt a kitten. You know? Ok, maybe not. But look – I’m staring at a blank word doc. I’ve got to write something – ok? It’s like everything else is done. I’ve got the product – it’s a good product too. Ok? Well, I think it’s a good product obviously. But anyway, uhm….I’ve got the website name and the product. It’s just what do I put on the damn thing? I feel like there just isn’t that much to say about it, you know? You go to these other sites and they’ve got like 30 pages of just shit written down. But I don’t want to write down a bunch of shit for no reason…but it just…it just seems like there is just no way out. “

    Newbie copy cub, looking to increase his sales after his first $8 client…

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hey Daniel, congratulations on landing your first client. How much you got paid is irrelevant here, you got paid. That’s huge.

      So, I’m not clear on who your prospect here is. Is this guy looking to write his own copy, hire a copywriter, or what?

      It sounds like a first-time info-marketer. What’s more, it sounds like a guy who’s never hired a copywriter before. Which leads me to believe that you’re doing this exercise from the point-of-view of you selling your services as a copywriter to this perfect prospect.

      I would recommend you NOT do that for a few reasons. One, it’s harder to learn a craft as you’re selling/marketing it. Two, you can’t distance yourself from it properly right now… if you’re a newbie copy cub who’s just learning copywriting, it’s going to be difficult writing about something you don’t have experience and context with yet.

      Think of this way… it’s like a car mechanic student who knows less about cars than his customer… talking about car problems and all the things that could go wrong.

      It’s more important to practice your actual craft first.

      Here’s what I recommend. Pick an info-product or how-to book that’s literally changed your life. Use that as the “product” you’ll write copy for. You’re going to learn the craft of copy much faster and at an intellectual distance that will let the lessons sink in. You’re also going to run into walls you can break through because you’re not psychologically hung up on it from a personal POV.

      Does this make sense?

    • Hey Joe I will have the tallest frosty beer please. Its been quiet a day. I work with the public and it’s always the same. You provide a great service but many don’t show much appreciation. I don’t how to find better clientele to help meet their needs to where they will want to continue to work with me.

    • Hey Bob, Wouldn’t mind a triple today, I am so stressed out today, my doctor just informed me that I have asthma symptoms and that my mattress need to be cleaned of dustmites and I never thought those existed. I don’t even think I will sleep in my bed tonight.

  • Martha is a woman in her 60’s at a lunch counter…

    Martha: Hi Betty, I’ll have a coffee & a big slice of pie. I’m stressed out.

    Betty: What’s going on Martha?

    Martha: Ah, you know. I thought that getting older would be different…easier.

    I CAN”T EVEN RETIRE! I have to work to pay my mortgage and a few credit cards. Oh, can’t forget Taxes & Insurance on the house.

    Betty: I thought you paid off your mortgage & bills when Frank died.

    Martha: I was able to pay off the First Mortgage but I still have a Line of Credit that I used in case of emergency… but there’s ALLLWWAAYS an emergency. You know Jimmy, my youngest, just got divorced & he’s living with me. I get to see the grandkids more often but they devour everything they see! That’s why there’s no pie at home…

    You know, I love this house but it’s killing me to keep up with all the payments It’s KILLING me Betty!

    I don’t know what to do. I wish there was a way but I might just HAVE to sell.

    Betty: Gasp…I’ll put a little extra whipped cream

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hey Mark, thanks for writing.

      It sounds like Martha has some major financial issues and the pressure’s on. Specifically, the lack of income, the inability to retire and mounting debt from overextending that LOC.

      That’s all good in TELLING me “what” the problem is… but it doesn’t SHOW me “how” it’s affecting her daily life.

      Let’s go a little deeper on Martha’s situation. Sure, we know Jimmy moved back in, and she has grandkids eating up her fridge… but what else? How is it affecting her situation. How does she feel? What makes her frustrated? What is she afraid of? Why does she not want to give up the house? What is she worried about? Get into her head and her emotions more.

  • I just got a job in this small company who is into renewable energy. Awesome products, but they all those engineering nerds have no idea how to manage their project chaos. They are good in solving tech-problems but are not organized at all and have no idea how to deal with people. I need to learn the crucial elements of project-management. But when I look at the material for the most common PM-certifications it puts me asleep in no time.
    I am desperate, am spending 16hour days in the office trying to catch up on the chaos. And when I get home my wife gets on my nerves complaining that I work too much until I fall asleep… waking up stressed already in the morning.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hey Stephan,

      Thanks for being here.

      This is a great start. I’ve been a project manager myself. Didn’t like it. No actual authority and you had to get multiple department heads, subject matter experts and etc. on the same page. I ended up cc’ing bosses a lot to get the pressure on.

      Which brings me to my first comment. It’s a great start. I think you can expand on this more. The problems you’ve listed are:

      1. The people you have to manage
      2. The extremely vague “crucial elements of PjM”
      3. Most of the certifications are boring
      4. Wife is complaining he’s not present (all too familiar… sigh).

      I think 1 is valid, 3 isn’t (because boredom is the last thing people care about when they need a solution fast)… and 2 is too vague. 4 is good, but not highest priority.

      I’ll bet you this guy has a pretty clear idea of what’s messed up with his project management workload already. I described a few of those problems in my opening paragraph. What else? It’s not just feelings here. When you’re selling time/project management stuff… I want features that address clear specific problems I currently have.

      Expand a little.


  • Brett, 43 and a bourbon drinkerl, lets out a heavy sigh as he plops down on the stool..

    “Listen Brett if your gloominess continues and starts spreading, ima have to ask you to leave… You know the rules” said Louie the bar tender.

    “Yea.. Yea I know, just get me the usual maybe that will go right for me atleast.”

    “What’s makes you say that Brett?”

    “Well today I was doing the numbers and I am just not hitting my revenue targets.. Atleast not like I used to. I mean I advertise all the traditional ways, ya know flyers, business cards, billboards, newspaper, t.v… You name it but it honestly feels like I’m dumping all this money and not getting what I’m putting in. Ya know?

    Everything is digital nowadays, and my competition is eating my lunch, I see them all over the place on the internet. You know I’m scared of anything having to do with machines.. I just don’t trust them plus, when I did attempt it, johnny my nephew, was running my social media and he burned through social media ads killing my ad budget and I actually took a freaking bath those 6 months. I can’t sleep because I feel like I’m in the stone age with my traditional stuff. Advertising on the net and on social media is the Damn future. I have a website but it honestly feels like a digital paperweight. It does absolutely nothing for me…You don’t get it louie, Joe started out around the same time as me and now he barely stops by his shop. Everything is coasting for him and I know he’s making a killing, I see his ads on my feed everyday! What’s his secret?? I know he hates,computers with a passion!”

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hey Marco,

      Thanks for being here.

      Pretty damn solid work, I’d say. Great job. A lot of brick and mortar business owners are yes, still in the stone age and hate “the Internetz” with them Millennials and their tapping on the phone and Tindr with a passion.

      And you also nailed another key driver for this market. They hate the competition next door.

      Great job.


  • Hey there bartender, I’ll have something strong. How about a whiskey? What’s wrong? I’m just wondering if I’m in the right profession. I mean I really love piano tuning. And my income has doubled in the past year. But doubling means going from just 10 thousand to 20 and although I plan to make up into the high five figures I’m not sure I’ll break six. I’m also not sure how long it will take. On the one hand I’m excited about my prospects but on days like today I get really discouraged. What I’d really like to do is learn faster. I want to learn to do more repairs, regulation and advanced stuff. I want to learn from someone who I can trust. Who’s not just b s ing like I sometimes feel I am. Its so hard to get good information in this industry. I’ve picked the brain of every guy in my local guild chapter. Half of them don’t actually have great information to share. Of course there’s also the fact that they are my potential competitors. I don’t live in a big city. How could I possibly learn to perform at the level I really want to? And one that could earn me the income I’m reaching for? You see today I finished up a job and it was so awkward. I tried to pitch higher paying, more complex work to the client. They went for it and I attempted the work. And I’m positive that this work, if done right, would improve the piano. Unfortunately, I cant confidently say I’m the one who should have done the work. I don’t even think I should have taken the clients money. They seemed really disappointed with my outcome. I’m disappointed too. But I’m stranded here in the middle of Alaska. Where can I find a mentor to teach me? Am I living in the wrong place? I tried being a music teacher and I just don’t think I could make that my career. I thought it is what I wanted but now that I’ve tried it I’m really not into it. I can’t afford to go to these conventions. I know I’ll hardly learn enough AND I’ll spend hundreds, probably thousands of dollars. Man, is there anyone I can turn to for help here?

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Eathan,

      Thanks for being here.

      Now, I have no idea about all the complexities, subtleties and nuances of piano tuning… I have one guy come in once every year or two for mine… But something about this feels off to me. Do other piano tuners looking to take their game to the next level SPECIFICALLY looking for a mentor or someone to learn from? It sounds like you’re sneaking your agenda into this exercise.

      Of course, I could be completely wrong. Maybe this is a profession that’s smart enough to look for mentors first before Googling everything and buying courses/books/whatever.

      The rest is good… as long as you’re dead certain these are thoughts your prospect actually has. Do a lot of piano tuners promote complex work but can’t deliver on it? Should I be worried about my piano tuner guy now, too? LOL. And what kind of outcome would cause disappointment? Is A not exactly 440Hz and the client can hear it? Or is it not as resonant? What?

      To be honest… it sounds like this guy has a bigger problem than being a better piano tuner. I think he should just move out of Alaska. But that’s just me.

      Ok, that was a bit of a tangent…

      But yeah. You DEFINITELY filled out his story, pain, pressure and needs well. So on that, you get an A. Your writing here is superb. But I don’t know enough about this market to verify if any of it is true, so that depends on your market research.

      Hope to see you in the next exercise. This is a fascinating world I had never even considered before.


      • Colin! Thanks so much for the feedback. I’m so honored to get a chance to interact. I know its hard to critique copy without knowing the audience. I wrote that up as quickly as I could to make sure I had something up that was worthy of feedback. I appreciate you looking at it!

        So my product is online interactive mentoring for piano technicians. It’s a new thing and there appears to be a market for it. https://www.pianotechniciansmasterclass.com/first-lecture

        We’ve done one course already and it went well.

        I have a guy that’s paid for a year subscription that we will be rolling out. He does live in Alaska incidentally. Prices of tunings are high but of course, it is isolated. Interesting market.

        I only have talked to him a little and our conversations are pretty positive. I was trying to envision him with a sob story in a bar and it was a little difficult.

        But I chose my avatar as someone like him because he’s one that paid 🙂

        Because these things are online they are going to be more appealing to those in isolated areas.

        I’ve got a guy signed up on the tiny island of Mauritius in the middle of the Indian ocean for example.

        Beyond that, I think the primary motive is to compete at the high level and to be constantly pushing skill level.

        For example, your tuner tunes your piano once every couple of years, but has he done any voicing or regulation? What kind of repairs is he capable of?

        Maybe your piano could sound twice as good and you don’t even know it.

        He should have done a better job explaining why you should have your piano tuned more often by the way. He needs your sales advice 😉

        Some guys are great with tuning but they are not advanced with any other skills.

        Perhaps it almost comes down to meaning in life???

        Many piano tuners are only a little bit “in it for the money” but they really pride themselves on being craftsman and being authorities.

        Maybe pride is an issue here that’s worth drinking over?

        Thanks a ton for your comments!

        • Colin Chung says:

          Hi Eathan,

          Completely fascinating, as I said. Please keep sharing.

          I have no idea if my guy did any voicing, regulation or offered any kinds of repairs. Fact is, I have a cheap Eterna upright that my parents bought back when I was 7 (I’m turning 37 in a month or so)… so I don’t even know if it’s worth the extra nuanced care. On the other hand, I have three kids learning on it now. :/

          My only advice here is…

          Keep talking your market. One perfect prospect in Alaska is good… but finding a few more to verify, compare and contrast is obviously better. You *will* find commonalities after a while. Craftsmanship sounds about right. Lots of top copywriters don’t like their profession or the work they do (because most of us are closet screenwriters/novelists/etc. etc.)… but we pride ourselves on the craft still.

          See you next exercise.


  • Dave: Hey John, pour me a DOUBLE mate – I really need it!

    Bartender: What’s wrong John? Don’t tell me you lost another good chef?

    Dave: Hah! It’s not the chef, or the food I’m worried about right now – it’s keeping the family restaurant open. I haven’t been able to bring in a lot of customers like I used to, ever since new restaurants opened up and I found out why they’re always filling up…it’s Facebook Advertising and Marketing.

    But I don’t get it, we’re also doing Facebook Marketing, we also run ads, and they cost quite a bit, actually – A LOT. We get all these LIKES, SHARES and COMMENTS, only to have a few people book a table. Frankly, I don’t even understand how all this Facebook Advertising actually works…but what I do know is it’s costing me 5x times more just to get one customer to eat a meal.

    I feel duped, hood-winked at the ALLURE that Facebook Ads work to bring in business. Because in the past 5 months, they haven’t worked.

    And I’ve tried all the old-school marketing tactics, falsely believing these NEW-school tactics will a game-changer.

    I don’t know whether to worry MORE about the disappointment from my old folks when they hear I’m closing down our Family owned business because I’ve failed. Failed to leave a legacy they’ve worked so hard to build. I’ve failed to run it the way they used to…Or the sad, and very possible reality of seeing my wife and kids learning to live hand-to-mouth for a while.

    What’s more, the embarrassment of having to answer family and friends when they ask: How’s business Dave?(OH MY GOSH) After I’ve been boasting about how “great” it is to have my own business.

    I won’t be able to face anyone I know for a while. I can’t even think straight because I’m not sleeping – I lack energy and creativity to turn things around on my own right now.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Gilbert,

      Thanks for being here!

      So… Hmmm… if there’s one thing I know about restaurant owners, it’s that they seriously don’t have time for this stuff. They would’ve most likely paid some “kid”, “young upstart” or “some agency” to do this and have no idea what’s going on with the numbers.

      Now I could be wrong. Maybe your prospect does know about the “it’s costing me 5x times more just to get one customer to eat a meal”.

      On that note — you definitely captured the emotions and “world” of this prospect well. There’s that constant uncertainty in running this kind of business. Family and friends are always asking about it and you’re always embarrassed about it. And these guys love hiding. Hiding in more work, more fires to put out, etc.

      So great job.

      I’m just wondering if they would zero in on FB as the source of their problems like this… or if you’re sneaking your agenda into this exercise.

      Look forward to your next exercise.


  • Q: What’s wrong?
    A: I need an awesome name for my idea and I just can’t find it. It seems either all names are already invented or taken. I can’t get my idea on the road if I haven’t got a name for it in the first place. I have no idea what I should do now.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Floris,

      Thanks for being here. This is a good start… but you’ll need to get a bit more specific. What has this person tried already where he knows the name is already invented/taken? What kind of creative strategies/methods has he/she used to come up with new names? In short… what specifically has he/she tried?

      And let’s also get more specific with the PAIN and PRESSURE here. “I can’t get my idea on the road” doesn’t really express the frustration this person must be feeling. Let’s dive into that and talk more about that.

      In short. Expand.


      • Thanks! That is great to look into. I’ll dive deeper:

        I need an awesome name for my idea and I just can’t find it. I tried brainstorming with my team, but that made things only more complicated. I tried searching online for tips and tricks but only found name generators that came up with lame names. And once I found a name I really liked, the domain name was already taken! How did companies like Sonos and Spotify get such great names? I have the feeling I’m too late. All good names are gone. I don’t stand a chance if I have to start with a lame name that nobody will recognize. A lame name that needs twice the marketing budget to get picked up by my target customers. And I really want to get started, but great ideas start with great names. Otherwise I cannot even get my team together. Let alone get investors on board. I’m desperate now… Pour me that double will you?

        • Colin Chung says:

          That’s much better. Great job Floris. See you in the next lesson.

  • Actual words from my ideal customer.

    HVAC Business owner

    Serious question…

    Who do I call to come in and show me how to build a business? One that has plenty of work during the off season so Im not laying anyone off. There has to be a company that teaches you how to grow.
    About to complete my 5th year. Years 1-3 were growing. Year 4 same as year 3. This year? Down about 10-15% in total sales.
    I’d be fine with my year 4 number for the next 10 years but I cant sit by and have a decline in total business

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Anthony,

      Great to see you here.

      This is gold. Great job on getting actual words from an ideal customer. But the trick of being a master marketer is reading between the lines and figuring out the implicit stuff they’re NOT saying. What are they too embarrassed to say or admit when they have problems?

      So, perhaps, let’s get this guy a little more drunk so he’ll talk more… about how year 5… his first year with a decline in business is affecting his personal life, his family life, his work life, etc.

      The magic of copy/sales is when we know this stuff, we may not say it explicitly… but there are ways to “sneak” it into the language so that it pushes those buttons subconsciously.

      For example, I once got hired by a lawyer who helps vets fight the VA for denying them benefits. I got on the phone with seven or eight of them and through some deep conversations, it became clear to me they all felt like their youth and manhood was taken away from them. They fought for their country and they came back shattered (physically and psychologically)… and now they’re being refused health benefits.

      Obviously, I couldn’t say in my copy… “do you feel like you got emasculated?” in the copy… but I could hint at it… “Do you feel like they stole the best years of your life?”… and I hit that trigger.

      So yeah, don’t dismiss the emotional side of things. Business owners, especially men, like to talk about real concrete problems and numbers only… but the emotional stuff is bubbling beneath, ready for us marketers to swoop in and poke at.


  • Mike Williams says:

    Ralph: Joe give me a Jack and Coke…you know what, make that a double. I am getting my ass kicked today.

    Joe: What’s going on with you now Ralph? Catch another speeding ticket?

    Ralph: No the radiator in my rig has gone bad. I am stopping every 30 minutes to cool off. A normal 5 hour run between St. Louis and Chicago took me over 9 hours yesterday to drive. I can’t make any money that way so got it repaired.

    Joe: Aw man that sucks and school starts next week for the kids. What’s Maggie saying?

    Ralph: You know what she is saying. Sell the truck and get a job! Considering all she points out how I am in tax trouble because I spend money on repairs and fuel and then don’t have savings to pay tax…I have no health or dental insurance…and Maggie and the kids don’t get to see me much but trucking is all I know. I can’t stand the thought of being stuck in an office and listening to gossip and whining all day.

    Joe: I know a trucker’s life isn’t easy. I’ve seen a lot of guys get warehouse jobs or crappy telemarketer jobs. And we both know how many have lost their families over drugs and hookers.

    Ralph: I don’t even discuss that stuff with Maggie. She would freak out if she knew how many hookers were at the truck stops.

    Joe: So what’s your plan?

    Ralph: I don’t know right now. If I could have a business with low overhead , make better money and spend more time with my family I would be set. Oh…and still be in the trucking industry. Yep I would be golden Joe.

    Joe: Ha! As Aerosmith says…Dream On! DreamOn!… (Joes laughs as he plays his air guitar)

    • Colin Chung says:

      oh.. oh, that was really good. I welled up. I felt his pain. This is really good.

      Great job.


      P.S. Everyone else got a formal “Hi Mike, good to see you here” first. You can have it in the post-script instead, because you really nailed this exercise.

    • I’m curious, Mike…

      What was your thought process in writing this excerpt?
      What ideas led you to write this script?

      – Angel M. Gonzalez

  • Sarah collapses into the coffee shop couch and dumps the diaper bag on the floor.
    Waitress: What’s wrong?
    Sarah: I just want to be a good mom and for my baby to have a better life than I’ve had when they grow up. You know, to get a really good job, never have money troubles…Someone told me the first place to start is to read to them…But I just can’t find a book that engages her and me.

  • Sarah collapses into the coffee shop couch and dumps the diaper bag on the floor.
    Q: What’s wrong?
    Sarah: I’m feeling so overwhelmed by this motherhood thing. No one told me it would be so hard. I just want to do one thing that will be fun for me and baby…and will help me be a good mom.

  • Emette Massey says:

    Joe: a new local business owner. The reality of entrepreneurship is hitting him hard where it counts most . . . in the wallet. So he’s sitting at the bar spilling his guts to the bar tender:

    “Hey, Bill. Man, what a rough day. You better make it a double. Last week I dropped over $750 on this “new electronic shopper” here in town. The sales guy said it was the hottest advertising medium to hit the streets so I bought in. He all but promised me that my phone would be ringing off the hook. But it’s been nearly 2 weeks now and so far, I’m getting nothing, no calls, no leads, zilch. What’s more I used up nearly my entire ad budget on this damn thing. My business is going belly up if I don’t see some cash flow soon. I need help and need it fast”

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Emette,

      Great to see you here.

      This is a good start. Prospect tried something, it didn’t work and it’s costing him. He feels screwed.

      Let’s expand. How else is this affecting him. Does wife know about this $750 spend? Did she know about it before and thought it was a dumb idea? Is she gloating now?

      What else? Did he try other things before? What led him to try this electronic shopper in the first place?

      Expand a bit more.


    • Mike Williams says:

      Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Hey Chuck. (Dave) How about the big John lumberjack breakfast this morning. Six eggs over easy with rye toast and a stack of blueberry flapjacks? Oh yeah and support beef hash too.

    (Chuck) Hey Dave, where have you been? I haven’t seen you order breakfast like that since before you had a gastric bypass surgery. What’s going on?

    (Dave) Yeah… Well, Carol is pissed off, and I don’t blame her. It’s all my fault. It’s always my fault. This time I really did it. I thought I would try to start a little business online. I went to one of those Internet marketing webinars with a big named Goo-roo guy and I fell for it hook line and sinker.

    I bought into this program. I did everything I was told and I got nothing. Now it’s been three months and I haven’t made a dime. Carol is as mad as a cat with her tail caught in the door.

    She’s so angry that I’m cut off “from everything.” That’s why I am eating here. I have to make this mess work or… I may be looking for a new place to live.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hey Robert,

      Great to see you here.

      This is good. You really captured the guy’s emotional world well. It sucks for him and I feel sorry for him.

      Here’s where we can expand. The biz op. What did he try? Why didn’t it work? What kind of problems did he face? Has he tried other biz ops before? Is this a serial biz-opper?

      That extra bit will really help us frame his problem and his world even further.


      • (Chuck) Sounds like you’re in hot water again, but this isn’t the first time. What did you buy this time?

        (Dave) Listen, Chuck… Hear me out. I know I screwed up bad before when I bought that King of The World course, but this is different. I know this works.

        (Chuck) Yeah sure, No wonder Carol wants to wring your neck. How much was it this time?

        (Dave looks sheepishly down at this plate and mumbles) Ugh … $1200, but he promised that I would earn that and more back in a week.

        (Chuck) So, if this works, then why didn’t it work for you?

        (Dave) The Goo-Roo said that the hardest thing I had to do was sign my name to something called the creative.

        He said that he would mail these creative’s big affiliate offers and I would be rich. Did you know that some of these contests pay $40,000 for top prize?

        He said there’s a lot of big-name people making millions doing this so naturally, I bought in. Wouldn’t you?

        (Chuck) No, I wouldn’t

        (Dave) Anyway, I did. The problem started when they didn’t deliver the 10,000 email lists they promised. I wasn’t worried because they were doing all the mailings or us.

        The next problem was they said that we were getting a lot of opens. I thought that was a good thing. But it wasn’t. Apparently having my eye on open rates with the wrong ball.

        Now, I’m sitting on this big list and they tell me that I have to market to them myself. I don’t know anything about email or marketing. And now I’m stuck, but I know it works. I just have to find a way.

        • Colin Chung says:

          This story hurts me to read it… because these things *do* happen all the time in our world. Great job. Look forward to your next exercise, Robert.

  • Derek Van Eenenaam says:

    Bob I think I will have a Vodka and OJ, trying to lose weight. I have tried desperately to lose weight for the last several months! My Wife even lately has made puns of how I have changed since we were first Married. I really need help in finding a solution to being over weight, starting to wear on me mentally. She has maintained that perfect figure even after having our three wonderful Children. Any suggestions on losing these Unwanted pounds? I hate vigorous exercise, think I am going to have a Heart Attack!

  • Ken Steven says:

    I hate my job man. It’s been slowly eating me up for months now. I’m living in this state of constant anxiety. That’s why I need that drink … I need something to help take the edge off before I go home. This morning was the worst. When the alarm clock went off, I just kept hitting the snooze button and pulling the covers over my head. It took everything I had to drag my butt out of bed because I couldn’t stand the thought of having to go to work. I feel like I’m trapped. I don’t really know what I’d rather be doing instead, and I can’t afford to give up the financial security that I have with my job right now. I’ve got bills to pay and a family to support. All my friends are telling me the solution is simple. I just have to find a job where I can follow my passion. Yeah right…easy for them to say…they already know their passion. But I haven’t got a clue. I even bought a couple of books about finding your passion, and none of them connected the dots for me. They just left me with more questions than answers. And deep thinking is required. I don’t know about you, but deep thinking for me is usually very painful, and who the heck has the time to think about anything these days? There has to be an easier way to figure this out. I don’t know how much longer I can take it.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Ken,

      Great to see you here! Really good start. You really captured the emotional interior of someone who’s stuck in life. But let’s expand. What’s going on externally? How is being stuck causing problems with his family? His work? Who else is putting pressure on this prospect and constantly reminding him that his life is not where he wants to be?

      Also — what else has this guy tried? He’s read a couple of books and hates deep thinking (which, lol, personally, I think will cause him way more problems and it sounds like he just wants to complain here… which frankly, will make a bad customer for you in the long run. Most people who want to transform their lives are somewhat willing to do the work.)… But WHAT ELSE has he tried and why didn’t it work (according to him)?


      • Ken Steven says:

        Hi Colin:

        Thanks for inviting be to be here and thanks for the feedback. I was limiting the options our customer is exploring specifically to the area that I provide a solution, which is a faster and easier way to discover your life passion. Here’s a second attempt. Please let me know if I’m getting closer.

        Customer: I hate my job man. It’s been slowly eating me up for months now. I’m living in this state of constant anxiety. That’s why I need that drink…I need something to help take the edge off before I go home. This morning was the worst. When the alarm clock went off, I just kept hitting the snooze button and pulling the covers over my head. It took everything I had to drag my butt out of bed because I couldn’t stand the thought of having to go to work. I feel like I’m trapped and there’s no way out. I don’t really know what I’d rather be doing instead, and I can’t afford to give up the financial security that I have with my job right now. I’ve got bills to pay and a family to support. But, If I don’t figure this out fast, I might get fired. My productivity is starting to slide. I’m only getting half as much done as I used to, and my boss is all over me for that. And it’s not fair to my staff either. I’m supposed to be the one providing leadership and encouragement, but right now they’re getting nothing from me. Things are getting tense at home now too. My wife is sick and tired of me complaining every night. She definitely won’t be thrilled that I stopped off her tonight instead of going straight home. My kids say I’m not fun any more. Life really sucks right now.

        Bartender: So what are you doing about it?

        Customer: My wife nagged me into taking career counselling. I went to a guy who gave me this Myers Briggs test which was supposed to help figure out what kind of work would be best for me based on my personality type. But it’s just a bunch of conceptual mumbo jumbo man. It doesn’t tell me exactly what kind of work I should be looking for. Some of my friends are telling me the solution is simple. I’m just supposed to be following my passion. Yeah right…easy for them to say…they already know their passion. I haven’t got a clue what my passion is. So I went online to Amazon and bought a couple of books…supposedly everything you need to know about finding and following your passion…but none of them connected the dots for me. And the work involved is ridiculous. One of them laid out a 52 week plan for passion discovery. I don’t have 52 weeks to figure this out! I don’t even have 5 weeks! There has to be a faster and easier way to get me out of this mess.

        • Colin Chung says:

          Hey Ken.

          So much, much, much better. Great job. See you in the next exercise.

  • I’m getting old. I’m afraid for my future. I’m starting to lose my mobility, my ability to move like I used to. I can’t get up and down from the floor. I’m overweight, lethargic and afraid I’ll get sick with a long, lingering illness. I’m already starting to wake up with aches and pains.

    I’m bored. I’m afraid to try anything new because I don’t think I’ll be able to finish it. I’m don’t know what to do. I can’t seem to get motivated to exercise. I can’t seem to get started in anything.

    I want to feel good. I want to feel alive. I want to feel motivated to do the things I know I should do, but I just can’t seem to get off my duff to do them.

    I’ve tried before but it just hasn’t worked for me. I can’t seem to stick with it. My mental focus is way off. I know my attitude is terrible but I don’t know what to do about it.

    I want to create a new reality for myself. I want to be a new person. I’m willing but I just don’t seem to have the discipline to stick it out.

    I need help.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Bob,

      Great to see you here.

      This is a good start. Can you get a bit more specific and zero in on what this prospect’s key problem is? It seems like a laundry list of every sort of problem. The prospect here is old, afraid of the future, has low mobility, overweight, tired, bored, unmotivated, lacking focus, has a bad attitude…

      Pick ONE problem, zone in, and expand on that one problem and how that one problem affects all areas of his life… instead of listing all his problems with no focus.

      Does that make sense?


  • Hi Bartender.
    I’ll have a cup of tea but leave the bag in. I need it strong ‘cos i’m having a bad day. You see it’s time to sign my daughter up for summer camp again but I don’t know where to send her. Last year at camp it was like she was just a number. I mean it was one thing when she was bored and no one noticed but she was bullied too and it was like nobody gave a crap. They didn’t even tell us. We had to get it out of our daughter ourselves. We spent a fortune on that camp and that would be fine if she had had a good experience but instead she doesn’t even want to go to camp this year.
    Now she loves horses and i have a neighbour who sends her daughter to a riding camp. I think she’d love it but I know my husband will likely say it is too dangerous. I have to think of something because she’ll be home from school for the summer and both my husband and I have to work.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Pat,

      Great to see you hear!

      This is good. But you kinda hid the problem until the very end. It sounds like these guys just need to get rid of their daughter for the summer and that’s their biggest problem more than finding a camp she’ll love. I mean, maybe I’m acting like a Millennial special snowflake here… but the fact that she got bullied would be a pretty huge deal for me and I’d riff on that a LOT MORE … but it seems like to these guys, it’s just another problem in a list of problems with finding the ideal summer camp.

      Anyway – I’d like to hear more from this prospect’s decision making process. That’s what I would want you to expand on. What else did they consider? What factors? What else have they looked at besides just considering riding camp because a neighbor did it? I know when my wife researches stuff for our kids, she goes super deep and looks at a million factors and has a pro/con list in her head.

      I get a feeling your prospect might be doing that too. What are the factors she has considered?

      Expand on that.


      • Thank you so much! That is all very helpful. Cheers!

        • Colin Chung says:

          Awesome. I’ll be looking for your updated version.

  • Help! I need a triple shot of espresso – stat. This Christmas shopping is for the birds… There’s Aunt Gertie who has everything, but loves to bake, Uncle Mil who enjoys hunting, and worst of all my husband that I still have to buy for! My feet are tired and now I’m turning to the Internet (of all places) to try to figure out what to buy. Why can’t someone just show me what will be a hit with the family?!?
    On top of that, my budget is tight, so I’m looking for good deals because I can’t afford much. How do I know what they would like!
    At least this coffee shop has free internet…
    I’ve been told to just buy gift cards, but that seems so impersonal. I’d like to get them each something they can use and enjoy.
    Let’s see what Amazon has to offer… Hmmm…. Here are some ideas, but I can’t decide which item to buy! They are all similar, and I like this one’s photos, but it has no reviews! How do I know if it’s a good product?

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Anna!

      Great to see you here!
      This is solid. I think you captured the rush of Xmas gift shopping well.
      No further comments necessary. 🙂

      See you in the next exercise.


  • Director of Golf:

    “The Board’s on my butt to increase revenue again.

    I’m thinking of raising fees on the seniors playing rounds during off times but I’m afraid they’ll go across town to the other course.

    If I raise regular fees we’ll be priced over similar golf courses in our area.

    Our website has great drone video on it but I don’t know if anyone ever visits our site. We book ZERO tee times through the web app.

    Our Facebook page only gets updated for special events, so nobody ever “likes” our page.

    Our golf outings and special events are doing well but we can only do so many of those each year.

    The Board won’t hire any marketing help, doesn’t want to spend a dime on advertising, and I don’t have time to keep up with my job let alone do the marketing.

    But if I don’t find a way to get our revenues up, I may be looking for work next winter!”

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Michael,

      Great to see you here.
      This is pretty rock solid.
      No additional comments necessary.
      I can feel his pain.
      He’s tried almost everything and he’s held back by the board and the pressure’s mounting.
      That’s exactly what I want to see in this exercise.
      Great job!

      Would love to see your next exercise.


  • Taylor N. says:

    James loosens his tie a bit. “My problem is I keep speaking over people’s head, you know. At least that’s what it seems like. I try to tell them about ETFs, options trading, interest rates and such but nothing connects. It’s like I’m speaking on another level, but I don’t know how to speak to them. I can almost see their eyes glaze over. And to top it off, I can’t make any promises or such because of regulations. My hands are tied behind my back. I just don’t know what to say that will get them to call me or click on that button, and my business is suffering because of it.”

    Bartender: “Ooh, that’s rough. By the way, what’s an ETF?”

    James: “Well, see, an ETF is… [15 minute highly technical explanation]” James looks back to bartender. “Hey, wake up! See that’s my problem. What do I do, man?”

    • Colin Chung says:

      HI Taylor,

      Great to see you here.
      This is a good start. I know all about this problem as most of my clients are financial newsletters and trading systems. HOWEVER — you need to go deeper. First of all, WHY is this person needing another person to understand ETFs, options and economics? Is he selling the actual ETF? an options trading program? A economics class? What?

      Because, when we know that… we can go into the prospect’s head more. How is NOT being able to explain this stuff affecting him and his business and his family and life?

      Make sense?

      Expand on that.


  • Jim: I’ll have a double.

    Bartender: Why so glum?

    Jim: I don’t know. Things aren’t going so great.

    Bartender: At home? Or at work?

    Jim: In general. Pressure. Had a stupid fight today with one of my managers. AGAIN! I don’t know. It doesn’t get any easier. Things are just . . .

    Bartender: Ah, Man!!!


    Background: Jim is a key person on a management team. Company’s annual revenue is in the $50 – $500 Million range.

    The problem: Jim has a personal situation he can’t talk to anyone about. [Could be unresolved grief, marital problems, impending divorce, an errant child, addiction, depression, PTSD.) He is under stress, perhaps drinking too much.

    A high achiever with a healthy ego, he’s accustomed to putting on a good face. While he feels he can’t let on that he’s under personal stress, he suspects it’s starting to show in his job performance.

    He’s afraid of therapy and thinks it’s a weakness to need or ask for help.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Mia,

      Glad to see you here!

      OK – I think we have to focus in a bit on this. Let’s pick ONE of the problems: “unresolved grief, marital problems, impending divorce, an errant child, addiction, depression, PTSD.”

      And then get Jim super drunk… so that he DOES talk about this stuff.

      If this exercise doesn’t work for you… let’s just have him talk to himself alone in his car where he’s lost in his own thoughts.

      Because right now, we haven’t really done the exercise here. I get he has to put on a good face, I get that he’s under a lot of pressure…

      But that doesn’t really reflect ALL the different aspects of how that’s affecting him. We need to understand our prospect at a deep rooted soul level… before we sell them stuff.

      Make sense?


  • Jack is sitting in a bar, despondent. Its 10 in the morning…

    Jack: “Hey Mike, give me a double today. ”

    Mike: “Isn’t it a bit early to hit the bottle Jack?”

    Jack: “I’ve been hit man! My computers are just staring at me, with a ransom note.
    I don’t want to pay the b@stards, but what must I do?
    If I don’t pay up I loose everything! Everything on my computer.
    I don’t even know what;s on there!”

    Mike: “Where do you keep the book you’re writing, Jack?”

    Jack: “Oh no! Its on there. My last backup was a week ago.
    And I’ve been writing every day!

    Mike: “And the designs you told me about the other day?”

    Jack: “Its on there as well. I might have the latest version, but I just cannot be sure!”

    “I’ll just have to pay up! I hate giving in to those b@tards, but there’s nothing I can do.
    I cannot afford to loose all that information!”

    Mike: “This one is on the house Jack.”

    Jack: “Let me go make the payment before they start deleting stuff off my computer.
    They threatened to do that if the ransom is not paid by 1 pm.”

    Mike: “Bye Jack”

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Christina,

      Great to see you here.

      This is a good start… but Jack’s pain can be dimensionalized more. What does it mean to him if he loses his book and designs? How will this affect him? How will this affect his life, his relationships, his work, bank account, etc.?

      But more importantly — while I’m pretty sure you’re talking about Ransomware here… most people reading this would not. You might want to be more clear on that… and also all the solutions and the “process” that Jack went through. Did he try to shut off his computer? did he download an antivirus? did he do X, Y or Z?

      That will help us fully understand his pressure and pain further.

      Make sense?


  • Scenario:

    Lucy drags herself to the bar stool.”Gimme a shot of Tequila and make it fast!”

    Tim the bartender: “What’s wrong? Why the long face, pretty lady?”

    Lucy: “Well..(sigh) After graduating from college, spending four lousy years working my ass off, I decided to start my own small business. Thought this would be a breeze and the world would beat a path to my door seeking my services. That was the picture painted in the classroom. Instead, I can’t get a bank loan. My skills suck. Nobody will hire me. My student loan debt reached nearly triple digits and payments start next month. No money. No clients. Dated skills. I’m doomed for failure.”

    Tim: “Sounds like reality has hit you hard. Here, have a double on the house! Sounds like you could use a good mentor.”

    Lucy: “Thanks! I need all the help I can get.”

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hey Jewels,

      Glad to see you here!

      OK… I think you need to do a bit more market research on your Perfect Prospect here… I don’t think most people who are starting a business would ever say this: “Thought this would be a breeze and the world would beat a path to my door seeking my services.”

      If a prospect said that, that would be a red flag for me that this would be a terrible person to coach.

      So dig in a bit more. What have your past clients said to you when they needed your help? What kind of questions did they have? What concerns did they bring up? What were some of the things they didn’t say aloud that you knew was simmering beneath?

      Really figure out what’s going on with your prospect.

      Make sense?


  • “I’m spending too much money to get new clients, then losing them to the competition. They keep going somewhere else, like a revolving door. There’s no loyalty anymore.”

    My B2B product – I build follow up systems for an existing client base. We also tackle questions like, who should the client be courting in the first place, what message and offers should they be sending out, how to upsell and cross sell – essentially how to increase the lifetime value of the client.

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Debra,

      Good to see you here!

      Let’s dig in a bit more. They spend money and lose business to competition. Got it. What else? It feels like a 30,000ft level overview of your perfect prospect.

      You revealed to me what you sell. Let’s work from there. Are your prospects currently not following up? Are they following up and not getting results? Do they follow up but don’t have a system and they lose leads? What? You have to get more specific and get into the weeds here.

      Dig in. Go deeper.


      • Colin,

        This is amazing that you are taking time with this free course. Thank you!!

        My prospects focus on getting new clients. Most don’t stay in touch with existing clients in between sales. If they follow up at all with existing clients, they don’t have a system in place. They don’t understand about cross-sell and up-sell – it’s not even on their minds.

        I’m not focusing on LEADS for this product, but on EXISTING CLIENTS. Established businesses with a solid client base, who invest a lot in bringing in clients and providing the initial service, but not so much in staying in touch between sales.

        They are “mid-sized” small businesses – 10 to 100 ee’s, generally in software and business services. Very good at knowing the process of what they do, but not so good at seeing the problem from their’s client’s perspective. That’s why I spend time on the message, as well as the implementation of existing client follow-up systems.

        They’re spending a lot, maybe more and more, on getting the client, but bemoan the “lack of loyalty” – they often express a negative attitude about “fickle” clients. Some admit that they don’t reach out to their existing base, but most don’t even think about it as an opportunity.

        Thank you!

        • Colin Chung says:

          Debra, you’re welcome! Glad to be hear and of help.

          So if you’ve ever watched Jeopardy, you know that sometimes people blurt out an answer and than Trebek would say in his snooty voice, “can you phrase that as a question?”

          Same deal here. Can you phrase what you just said but from the prospect’s perspective?

          You’ll have to replay a bit. These guys are NOT looking at cross, up and even current clients. So what the heck ARE they doing? The conversation would go more like: “Man, I’ve tried XYZ and I’m not getting ROI.”

          XYZ would be whatever the heck these mid-sized businesses think grows their business… when really, they have a pot of gold sitting under their seats.

  • Ideal Client Ryan sits down at the bar.

    ICR: “Bartender, I’ll have your most obscure, nitrogen-brewed, sophisticated, triple-the-hops, craft beer” (Let’s out a deep sigh and turns to me) . . . “it’s been a damn day”
    Me: Is that right?

    ICR: Yeah, my wife and I are getting ready to buy a house.

    Me: Buy a house . . . that’s exciting . . .

    ICR: Yeah, we asked a real estate agent friend about getting a loan. Being that I’m an engineer, I already went online and crunched the numbers. The agent gave me the business cards of three different lenders. One lender is in a local meetup with my wife . . . another is offering us a better rate. I say take the better deal but my wife trusts the other guy more . . .
    Me: Sounds like quite the situation . . .

    ICR: Yeah it’s stressful. At work I’m supposed to be working on a project with deadline, but I spend most of my day going back and forth with these lenders about rates and my wife about who we’re going to go with. The real estate agent recommended all three so the decision is up to us. At home, wife and I can’t decide. Of course I love her and all, but it’s a pain. When we’re not dealing with taking the kids to soccer practice, we’re bickering about the loan. We have the money, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want the best deal. Being a numbers guy, I think we should go with the guy with the better rate, but I trust my wife’s judgment and she likes this other lender. We keep having the same conversation at home . . . I haven’t slept the past few nights. . .

    • Colin Chung says:

      Hi Sean,

      Great to see you here!

      This is a really good start. Loans are finicky things… but it seems like you’re not diving into the weeds enough here. All I heard about Ryan is “the numbers” and all I hear from Ryan’s wife is “trust him more”… Surely those two topics cannot be the cause of sleepless nights and countless arguments?

      I know from personal experience that there’s always that tension of going with fixed rate over X years… vs. variable rates over Y years… and you’re always wondering if rates will go up or down or if you should lock it in… and that’s just the terms of a loan.

      You also have to consider if you (as Ryan’s wife says), “like the guy” and trust that he’s fighting for the best rate for you… or if he’s just getting a commish for doing nothing. And then the institution where your actual loan.

      Then there’s prepayment penalties.

      There’s just a LOT more that your prospect is going through here. Like what are they fighting about? It’s not just the numbers.

      Dig in more. What’s REALLY causing the fights and uncertainty?


      • Thanks for the response! The copy I’ll be writing is for a book on how to get a killer deal on your mortgage (as the first step in my funnel) so I’m keeping your feedback close to the keyboard. Appreciate it, Colin.

        • Colin Chung says:

          Awesome, and you’re welcome.

          You’re also welcome to take full advantage of this course and not “put off” redoing this exercise by just keeping my notes near your keyboard… and instead… actually do it.

          I’m here to give more feedback if you’re game.