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How a Young Couple Made Half a Million Dollars In an Hour Before My Eyes

Just a few weeks ago I found myself sitting in a room full of 500 aspiring internet marketers who had gathered together to learn the art of growing an online business.

I was there to present on the topic of blogging but after presenting right up front as one of the first speakers found myself fascinated by the way in which the other speakers presented.

Each speaker was given just over an hour to talk and then 10 or so minutes to pitch a product, resource or service to those attending.

Over the three days of presentations I saw a wide array of presentation styles:

from the quiet and humble interview that the organizer did with one presenter who was making her fortune through selling pearls

through to the hype filled presentation of a black hat SEO splogger (who made me feel ill)

through to the dynamic presentation of a 22 year old young man who was building an online community with hundreds of thousands of members around teaching people to play piano by ear


The array of stories and presentation styles left me feeling numb by the end of the three days.

But there was one presentation that rocked my world.

It started when a young couple quietly got up on stage. He was dressed in a suit (but didn’t look like he wore one very often) and she was heavily pregnant.

Each had a sheet of paper in hand – their ‘script’.

At first I was a little despondent – their start was nervous and in quite a stilted way they almost seemed to be reading their presentation. He would say a few lines and she would take a turn.

But within seconds – and despite their ‘style’ – I was hooked.
Why?

They told their story

Over the next 45 minutes this young couple nervously shared their rags to riches story. From being broke, unemployed and with few prospects they turned to the internet and over a few years built a multi million dollar business. In fact their business made what I’ve built look like chicken feed. They’d created a 7 (actually it was probably 8) figure income and they were a three person business.

To be honest, I look back on their presentation and can’t say that I learned a lot on a technical level – however the simple way that they put their teaching in the context of their own story was brilliant.

When it came time for their presentation to end and for them to pitch a product or service they offered themselves as coaches to people in the room – for a fee.

The price was high (it was in excess of $20,000 and was the most highly priced pitch for the three days).

I found myself doubting that they’d make any sales – but within minutes of them starting to make their pitch for their services and well before they’d finished speaking people began to leave their seats.

They were not leaving the room – they were heading for the sales table.

I don’t know how many people signed up for their services that day – but my suspicion was that they made over 20 – 30 sales – they probably made around half a million dollars in sales in just that hour.

Why did people buy?

I’m sure many did it because they felt they could learn something from this couple (they certainly knew how to make money) – however the clincher of the deal was that the pitch was made in the context of a story.

Stories are powerful and I’m convinced bloggers who use them have a tool in their arsenal that can make them incredibly influential and persuasive communicators.

For more on learning how to utilize the power of telling tantalizing stories to kick off a blog post – check out Brian’s post on the topic – he’s definitely onto something.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. James says:

    Hmm… I wonder what they do to make an 8 figure income? Do they have a web site?

  2. Jeremy David says:

    Hey there. I was wondering who these people are. I would be interested to see their website!

  3. I’m guessing they made their money through affiliate marketing.

  4. Miracle says:

    Darren, it is posts like these that we can really see your emerging church background. Good job being able to bring what you learned as a pastor into the world of blogging.

  5. Jagala says:

    Do they really exist? Or are you making up a story to advertise Brian’s blog?

  6. egon says:

    Same here, I’m interested in learning more about them.

  7. Blaine Moore says:

    Darren,

    You told a story and now you’ve sold people on learning more about the people that your story was about…heheh.

    I agree with you and Brian (and countless other people) – the story is what differentiates you from everybody else.

  8. Cucirca says:

    Do you have a copy of the presentation? Can you share it with us? :)
    Interesting story.

  9. Hi Darren,

    Found your site a week ago. You’re an intersting guy. But your story here leaves me with a lot of questions …

    If these people were so succesful, why were they so nervous?

    I can’t find any other reason in your story for people signing up for $20K per person than that this couple earned an 8 figure income? What was their story really about?

    I agree that an interesting (and believable) story can be the magic for attracting (and keeping) an audience (to a web site for instance), but you really need to share some more details here.

    Time for part II of this young couple ;)

  10. Nick Hodge says:

    Sorry, I smell a pyramid scheme here.

    Either that, or they were selling monorails to little towns all over the mid-west of the US.

  11. Gerard says:

    cough…. bullshit…. cough

    You’ve made up one too many stories on this one Darren. What a liar you are. Stop trying to manipulate your readers with this crap.

  12. Darren Rowse says:

    Some quick answers:

    - As part of attending this conference I signed a confidentiality agreement and can’t reveal details of the presentation – as a result I’m playing it safe and am not going into details and am not even sure if I can mention their names.

    - In short – They made their money through selling a product/s – buying traffic (massive amounts of it) and directing it to their landing pages

    - Yes they do exist – there were 500 or so people in the room that could verify it

    - I don’t have a copy of the presentation and wouldnt be able to share it if I did (see above)

    - They were nervous because they were speaking in front of 500 people. It’s said that the number one fear that people have is public speaking. This was the first time that they’d given such a presentation or offered these sorts of services so I suspect they were nervous about how it would go over.

    Hope that that sheds a little more light.

    I actually shared this story not because I wanted to share how they make money online but to show the power of a story to persuade people. Of course in sharing it it seems that I’ve raised doubts in some people’s minds – oh the power of a story to touch emotions :-)

  13. Hey Darren,

    I completely agree with you here!

    The reason some of your best blog posts (like the 18 lessons) are so popular is because you’ve interwined the learnings with your experiences and almost narrated them as stories. It makes for an interesting read that way.

    Please continue the great work.

    Cheers!
    Siddharth Thakkar

  14. Yes, telling a story has a power, but we have to tell a story that can really convince audience.

    Your “Story” raise our curiousity – a critical factor of powerful story telling :-)

  15. Doug says:

    Interesting story, why are online surfers always skeptical :D?Stories are powerful selling tools, some of the best salesmen and copywriters are powerful story tellers. One of the most powerful and successful ads in history was the WSJ ad.

    Doug

  16. Rehan says:

    Hi Darren,
    Love your blog.
    All these folks are complaining because its basic human nature to just look at the ‘Juicy’ bits (How a Young Couple Made Half a Million Dollars In an Hour…) and jump at it. But still..a good post ..
    Your an inspiration ..
    Regards
    Rehan of the London

  17. Nicholas says:

    That is an amazing story!

    $20,000….

    I think you can match that Darren, I really do. I think working with you would be well worth that.

  18. Thanks Darren. It’s always good to hear success stories. I’m busy making my own, and I love to hear about other’s who have found and successfully executed a business strategy.

  19. Phil Newton says:

    @Marc: Some might find it easier to make money online than to give a presentation to hundreds of people. It’s quite easy to do a lot of business without ever giving a speech, so I can understand why they might be nervous.

    Great story Darren, it really emphasizes how much impact a story can have on an audience.

  20. gaman says:

    In the internet marketing world there’s a saying that goes – ‘sell the sizzle, not the steak’

  21. tantowi says:

    @Darren
    Are you signed up for their services too.
    $20,000 is peace a cake for you :)

  22. nakedpastor says:

    Darren: Tantalizing post! You discreetly withheld the names and site and business of the “couple”. Come on, tell us!!

  23. Vic says:

    Ooooohh so fascinating. What is this all about – you need more e-mails for your list ?

    Or were they charging £20,000 dollars for a 2 minute course entitled “Charge people $20,000 for a 2 minute course”

    What are you playing at Darren ?

  24. Matt says:

    I’d be interested to hear more about this couples story – how and what they did. A three person operation that makes that much money is definitely something that I’d love to learn more about.

  25. Haunted TUNA says:

    Aww this was a cool post. Like everyone else writes, do they have a website??

  26. Miles Baker says:

    I can vouch for Darren, I was actually sitting next to him during the presentation. I was equally impressed with the presenters story. Their income expanded my thinking of what is possible online. I actually had a friend I met at the conference who I later found out purchased the $20,000 plus coaching. Like many he was compelled by their great story and phenomenal results.

    People remember and relate to stories, especially inspiring ones from people who started out like many of us do. I think Darren’s own personal story is equally as memorable, perhaps not as dramatic in terms of income, but definitely dramatic in the way he went from a small time blogger to a circle of influence in the tens if not hundreds of thousands is pretty amazing.

  27. I’m curious about the confidentiality clause that you had to sign. Was that for all attendees or just the presenters? I’ve never heard of that before.

  28. Darren Rowse says:

    Everyone who was there signed it Barbra.

  29. A very thought-provoking post Darren. It was hard to see the value of the story past the cartoon dollar signs in my eyes, but I get your meaning! Any chance these people will become better known in the near future?

  30. That’s a very interesting tale. As far as the story telling goes I do a lot of professional speaking and telling a story is one of the most critical aspects of speaking success. Some speakers have great factual content but the ones that capture the audience’s attention give them a story – be it funny, sad or emotional – to hang onto.

  31. Valentin says:

    Mwuahahahahhaha

    “Is this a “Darren brand” story ?”
    “Do they really exist ?”
    “What are you planning, Darren ?”

    R
    O
    F
    L

    I don`t give a (censored, watch your language) if the couple really exist or is made up.
    “The story” made the sale ?
    No sir.

    “At first I was a little despondent – their start was nervous and in quite a stilted way they almost seemed to be reading their presentation”

    THE POWER OF MAKING THINGS REAL (or look like).
    The WAY they make the presentation.

    They were really excited/nervous/shy or rolle-playing … We`ll never know.
    But THAT was made all thing looks REAL. That made peoples, working as a subliminal message, to decide they want that.

    One single “testimonial” comming from the hall (“Hey, they say the truth, I allready buy it and works great !” )and none woulnd`t buy.

    Simply great article , Darren, Thank You !

  32. James says:

    You are very right Darren, stories sell. Not only that, but people want to hear stories vs. a sales pitch.
    The best stories are true.

  33. Two years ago they were giving handjobs for crack and now they’re “internet marketing millionaires”. Only one thing could explain it: spamming Google.

  34. Behind every article, blog, success, there is a true story. Now it all depends on how you TELL that story to evoke emotion (or in this case patronage of your goods/services). The couple mentioned above are either very good entrepreneurs or compelling storytellers. Who knows for sure; it seems like they could be both.

  35. ExtraBest says:

    Intriguing! Whether this couple are the real deal or not it seems that there are scads of people who make a LOT more with their coaching services than anything else that they sell. Those who can do, those who can’t teach? haha. Well, hopefully not. :)

  36. Lara Kulpa says:

    Hehe it never ceases to amaze me how no matter what one writes, no matter how inspiring or wonderful, there are always negative people who assume the worst.

    I’m so glad to know you personally, Darren. I’m so happy that I can laugh at these fools who let skepticism rule their lives.

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