Online Course Marketing and Sales is Not Really Rocket Science with Chris Bintliff

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In this episode of LMScast, Chris Badgett dives into why online course marketing and sales is not really rocket science with Chris Bintliff. Chris Bintliff shares his story of creating his first website in the year 2000, to working with different organizations and building up his brand and agency into what it is today.

Online course marketing and sales is not really rocket science with Chris Bintliff

Chris Bintliff works with businesses to do marketing identity, content strategy, web experience, personalization, and automation. He positions himself as an instigator rather than a strategist or creative, because those terms do not get to the heart of how Chris works with organizations.

The parts of an organization that allow it to function are often viewed as separate entities that come together to make a process work. In modern business the system is more accurately depicted as a singular system with different aspects that keep the flame burning. The holistic approach tends to address the sources of problems rather than the symptoms, which leads to more reliable, long-standing results.

Chris shares his mentality for how he approaches projects. He focuses on addressing an issue rather than providing a potential solution and walking away, meaning that he will help design a solution, and then see how it works, and then react and move forward. The true professional engages in an iterative process with clients rather than providing a one-time solution to a symptom of a larger issue.

Having a results-driven or outcome-focused approach to course building and consulting is a great tool for solving problems and fixating on the important issues. Chris Bintliff likes to start with the intended outcome and work backwards from there. So rather than starting by building an ad on Facebook, he would look at the core need of building an audience, and then figure out the marketing plan.

Chris’s business Not Really Rocket Science is aimed at helping people who are not professional marketing experts understand the world of marketing with Chris’s guidance to the end that they can use what they have learned to improve their messaging and reach the goals they seek to achieve.

Chris has a free course over on, and he has more courses over on To connect with Chris you can find him on Twitter at @ChrisBintliff and Instagram at NotReallyRocketScience.

At you can find out more about how you can use LifterLMS to build your own online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes hereSubscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!

Episode Transcript

Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.

Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name is Chris Badgett, and I’m joined today by a special guest, Chris Bintliff. He’s from and also We’re going to get into that branding later, but besides also having a rocket logo, Chris is …

Chris Bintliff: Yes.

Chris Badgett: Chris is all around an awesome guy.

Chris Bintliff: And the same first name.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, so this is a … I think there’s going to be a lot of energy and we’re going to really get down on this one, so Chris, welcome to the show.

Chris Bintliff: Thanks, man. It’s so good to be with you. So good to spend time with you again and great to be with your audience. I appreciate the opportunity.

Chris Badgett: One of my favorite words like if I had to pick a word for my brand or just more my personal brand is … One of my favorite words is “integration” or “holistic.” These are …

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: These are things that make me who I am like I’m interested in a lot of different things, and I like combining and mixing things together. You’re a big-picture guy like that too with your hand in a lot of fires, and you call yourself an instigator. What are you integrating there?

Chris Bintliff: Well, instigator, so on my business card, it says, “Instigator.” One of the things that I promise my clients when I get into working with them is I’m going to shake things up. I’m going to come in here and see things from a perspective that maybe you haven’t seen before, and that’s part of why I’m in the room, and sometimes, it’s almost like … and if that’s not cool with you, we’re not a very good fit.

Like if you just want somebody who’s going to give you 16 options and let you pick the one, I’m not that dude. I’m going to come in and say, “I think my guidance says we should do this, and the reason is that, and if we do it this way, I think the results we can get could be here,” and I bring an energy into the work that I do with that that says, “Look. You brought me in because it maybe hasn’t been working so great so far, and you brought me in because you’re really good at what you do, but you need some help with this thing that I’m pretty good at, so let me add it. Don’t come in with ideas about how this should go. Come in with an open-mind, and if you do, I promise we’re going to find some exciting things to do together.”

When I position myself as the instigator, it’s so much more fun a little more elegant than as you and I were talking about just earlier of offline strategist or creative. Those things are true, but they don’t necessarily get to the heart of what I hope to do for an organization which is, “Let’s move from where we’ve been to somewhere new,” and sometimes, that takes an energy or an inertia that we haven’t explored before, and that’s what I’m hoping to bring into it.

Chris Badgett: That is awesome, and if you’re passing somebody really quickly, you probably … You mentioned you say something like digital marketing strategist, but I’m looking at your website,, where you do marketing identity content strategy, web experience, personalized plus automation so personalization and automation, and marketing strategy. There’s a lot going on there.

Chris Bintliff: A lot going on, dude. Yes.

Chris Badgett: You also do courses, so you do the agency side, and then you do the courses, which are over at

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: There’s this concept, and pardon the gender stereotype. It’s just an old word which is … There’s a personality type within the company called a yes-man, and I always … When I hire people, I really value people who aren’t just yes-man or yes-women that like really push back, or if I hired you as an expert, I want you to tell me where I’m wrong or my thought process is incomplete. I like working and hiring instigators. How did you decide or how did you get to that point where that’s the type of person you are when you shake it up, when you come into a company?

Chris Bintliff: That’s interesting, Chris. I mean, that gets into a person’s whole history and how did their career go. None of us start there. At least I didn’t. For me, I’ve been in this business 20 years now. I designed my first website in I think the year 2000. I got my domain name as a birthday gift. I didn’t even know what to do with it, but I went to some bands that I liked, and I went and spent 50 bucks at Barnes and Noble, and I reverse-engineered their websites and brought their code into my website. I was like, “What? I just created something. It’s amazing,” and I can’t even tell you that high. Well, I can’t. You get it, so it’s this idea of creating something. So then, it takes, for me, years of experience of doing different things, working with different organizations, having a different focus of my business. You mentioned earlier these five disciplines. I call them the five gears of the modern marketing engine. They’re not separate …

Chris Badgett: Silos.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah. They’re not separate disciplines for me. I love what you said earlier about holistic. When I go into an organization, I get a lot of people like, “Can you help me redesign my website?” I almost always take that to say, “Yes, but a poorly performing website is a symptom. It’s not an illness. There’s something else going on, and that means we need to look at your marketing identity, which is your audience, and your story, and how they click, or your content, your content strategy, or are you not being relevant with personalized communications maybe in your email strategies, or are you poorly connecting your marketing and your sales, which is marketing strategy?”

These five components all work together for me when I’m doing the work I do. They’re easier to understand when you can break them up, but if you take one out, the whole thing doesn’t work. If you take one of those components out, your website, for instance, which is like your biggest marketing asset, it’s going to underperform.

For me, coming in and having this confidence that I’m the instigator, I didn’t just decide that, and it can be … If done poorly, it could be a sort of an arrogance. It isn’t that at all. It just says, “Whatever you’ve been doing, you’ve been doing for a long time. You’ve built the credibility, the expertise. You know where you want to be because you know you’ve been where you don’t want to be. That’s me over here too, so let’s put our energies together so I can bring all this stuff in.”

My ideal customer or client is somebody who doesn’t understand digital marketing, has struggled with it or is getting poor results. Well, there’s a reason for that, and I might have a perspective that could help you with that, so that’s the vision that I bring in with that, but it’s developed over years and years of working with huge companies and small companies, of being an entrepreneur, a solopreneur, of hiring and firing, of building teams, things you I know relate to as well.

Only when you get to a point in your career and your experience are you, I think, prepared to go into somewhere else and say, “Look. I’m very happy with what I have to offer here. I think I can contribute,” because you’re not scratching your head all the time, or if you are scratching your head, you know that’s an exciting time because you’re going to come up with something really exciting on the other side of that rather than be afraid of it like you are, for me anyway, earlier in your career where you’re like, “I don’t have all the answers.” That’s okay at this point in your career, you know?

Chris Badgett: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. To unpack it more, because you’re a marketing person, you really get differentiation in messaging, and copywriting, and these things, so on your website, in addition to being an instigator, it says that you’re a marketing consultant for a company … or I’m sorry. You’re not a marketing consultant for your company, a marketing consultant in your company, so what does that mean, or why are you telling us this?

Chris Bintliff: Yeah, that for me was really fun. It was a little moment of … So, I use Not Really Rocket Science sometimes like cause and effect. I think if you keep reading on the homepage, it says something like, “Building your modern marketing engine is not really rocket science,” so there’s this play on words, which I think is really fun.

When I cooked up this, “A marketing consultant in your company, not a marketing consultant for your company,” I like told my daughter who’s 11. I was like, “Look at this. I think this is really clever.” She’s like, “Yeah, that’s clever, Dad,” and went back to whatever she was doing, but I thought that was … For me, it just totally encaptured the perspective that I have, which is you’re not outsourcing something when you work with me. At least, that’s not how I want to feel about it. I do my best work either supporting your marketing team, your small marketing team, and I have an agency around me, so there’s other creative professionals on my team, and we work together.

When I can come in and get to know your organization, start to listen into some strategic things, and offer some guidance and perspective, if you just hire me to like push buttons, I don’t even … I’m not even energized by that because you can go find somebody probably much less expensive to go ahead and push those buttons. If you want somebody who knows why you’re pushing the buttons and who can tell you which buttons to push instead, that’s me, and so I love to position myself as your companion inside your organization.

I’ve got this great benefit of being one foot in and one foot out, so I can see the things that aren’t going so well, but if you let me in, I can also start to get to know your culture, and your customers, and your products, so that I can start to say, “Well, what if we connected this to this?” or, “That’s a great idea. What if we added these three components on to it or took these three components off to make this easier?” That’s when my strength can really help yours is when I can get in there.

I was just talking with a prospect yesterday. He had a project in mind. I said, “I’m not really a project guy. If you want somebody to come in and really start to help you assemble this or disassemble this as necessary, then I’m your guy, but I’m not just going to design something and hope it goes well for you. I’m going to design something. Then, we’re going to see what happens, and then we’re going to react, and we’re going to relate and start to put things together.” That’s where that creative energy and that strategic energy meet, and that’s when it gets really exciting for my customers and for my clients.

Don’t you think that’s true too, Chris? Don’t you think that this idea of problem-solving is a lot more interesting than just … I don’t know. It’s the difference of just pounding nails and knowing where to put the nails. You know? Don’t you think that that’s just a more interesting space to be in?

Chris Badgett: I think so, and the way I like to describe that issue is that people don’t really want to outsource like they want a partner. They want somebody who is really invested.

Chris Bintliff: I agree.

Chris Badgett: The mark of a true professional is it’s not a one-hit wonder. There’s going to be an iterative process. We’re going to do marketing through time as opposed to a tactic that we’re just going to drop real quick.

Chris Bintliff: Yes, yes.

Chris Badgett: We need to tweak the dials, and test, and challenge assumptions. The biggest gains I’ve ever had in marketing happened by tweaking the dials. Then, all of a sudden, something … a small change had a huge impact. “Little hinges swing big doors,” they say, and it’s not always using a design right on your very first implementation.

Chris Bintliff: Ooh, I love that. Yes.

Chris Badgett: Like you said, you’re not a button-pusher. Like a true professional, it’s going to bring strategy. Like do the headwork first before you do the legwork. If the client is telling you that they want to do this tactic …

Chris Bintliff: Yes.

Chris Badgett: I mean, the question is like, “Well, hold … Let’s slow down a second. Why?”

Chris Bintliff: Yes.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, so I’m agreeing with you. Yeah.

Chris Bintliff: I think you got to be outcome-focused too, so you got to be … Like if somebody says, “We really want to do this,” if you can ask why three to four, five times, you can figure out, “Okay, so what you really just want to achieve is this thing? Let’s work backwards from that and figure out how. Let’s not get fixated on ‘It has to be this,’ or, ‘It has to be that.’ Let’s think about this broader thing.”

Those are two different skillsets, to be able to see the outcome and work backwards versus, “Oh, you want me to build an ad on Facebook? Okay, I’ll build an ad on Facebook,” versus, “You want me to build your audience? Let’s start from there and work backwards.” Both valuable skills obviously, but that’s a different kind of space, and I like to work backwards from the outcome and figure out the best way to get there.

Chris Badgett: That was really awesome. I want to share with you a framework we use a lot to describe the course creator problems, and this is why we created this podcast because we help course creators with technology, but they have all these other problems too.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: I call it the five hats problem, and essentially, what the challenge is to course creators is they have to be five different people at once, or wear five different hats at once, or build a team that addresses these five area, which are being an expert, being a teacher, being a community-builder, being a technologist, and being an entrepreneur which … Under the entrepreneur hat is where the marketing comes in, where a lot of experience is.

Chris Bintliff: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Badgett: I wanted to spend some time with a marketing expert that can help course creators out there that are perhaps, let’s say, strong at teaching or really mastered some specialty, so they got the expert hat on. They got the teacher hat on. Let’s say they’ve even done a little bit of community building around their ideas. Maybe they have a book out and they’ve got a little following, but they’re not really marketers. I guess like in your experience as a marketer and helping companies, small businesses grow, is there a certain area you get into where you start to find typically a lot of low-hanging fruit where a non-marketer has a business that’s validated, and up and running, but could be so much bigger if they just X? Like what is X?

Chris Bintliff: Yeah. Yes. I can share a few ideas with you. One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to constantly scrutinize everything from the words you’re using on your emails or on your website to how you position your product to work from the customer backwards rather than from yourself forward. Here’s an example of what I mean by that. If your website, or your marketing materials, or your copy on your course description starts with a lot of, “This course will help you do X, Y, Z,” or, “Stark Industries designs the best armor for superheroes ever. Find out why.”

If you’re saying a lot of things that are I statements or assumed-I statements, or you’re positioning it as, “We’ve been in business for five years. We’ve sold 10,000 courses,” whatever, you’re creating a cognitive load for your audience, which means they have to figure out why that matters to them. Instead, if you can work backwards from them, which means you need to really understand their problem and their pain.

Everybody is just trying to either understand a problem better or solve a problem. If you can operate in those two spaces, you’re more than halfway there, but if you can work backwards from there so that instead of using words like, “This course will help you get more leads,” if the language you use is, “Crush your sales quota with high-qualified leads.” And then get into some of the advantages of your course.

You want to start with the benefit, the advantage that whatever this experience is going to be for your user, you want to promise that, and if that’s like the big banner headline … because if you can figure out what that problem is that you either help solve or help them understand, and then you lay that out right away, you can always see the best brands that do that because they’re like, “Get 10 million more leads.” “Oh, that’s exactly the problem that I have. I need 10 million more leads.”

Then, you already have them hooked, and now, you can just massage the language and massage the experience so that you’re getting it, but if it starts with, “This course is designed to help you da, da, da, da, da,” then they have to start thinking, “Okay, but is it really for me? So, is this one for me?” On any website or on any digital marketing experience, we want to eliminate or shorten that path between my asking, “Is this for me?” and my knowing, “Yeah, this thing is totally for me.”

That happens with using smart words at the right time for the right people, so I think my key point of advice, and I get this all the time from my clients who will shoot over some copy, and it’s like, “LifterLMS has worked hard for the last 10 years to be the best place for course creators to do this, this, this. We do this through this, this, this.” That’s super interesting for people who care about LifterLMS, but if you can just flip it on its head, “Course creators know more than others about X, Y, Z, and because of that, they expect X, Y, Z. LifterLMS helps by …” Now, it’s a different conversation. Right?

Now, it’s working backwards from that pain or that struggle that somebody is working with rather than forcing what you are on to them, and that’s one of the first things that I see when I audit a website. It’s just, “What kind of tone of voice do you have here?” and a lot of it. I mean, maybe 90% of small and medium-sized businesses start with things that are driving from me forward rather than from my customer backwards.

Chris Badgett: Wow, I have so much to say in response to that. Let me see. I can encapsulate it. Your brand, Not Really Rocket Science, implies at least to me when I hear that there are some key fundamentals. We just got to work the fundamentals and be strategic, which I … The older and the further I get in business and entrepreneurship, it’s all about in sales and marketing. I just go back to the fundamentals.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: [inaudible] I know I can trust. You have to talk to them. You have to be relevant. Just basic 101 stuff. Just keep doing that, and what I wanted to do for the course creation audience out there that may not have a background in marketing and sales is if you could do just a short little explanation of the buyer’s journey or whatever you call that, and then I noticed on your website, you made the comment that today’s buyer is 70% through the journey by the time they contact you, so that … Just like let’s talk about the buyer’s journey and like some frameworks that people can use to understand that or understand how to communicate with them differently depending upon where they are on the path.

Chris Bintliff: Good.

Chris Badgett: Can you take us to school?

Chris Bintliff: Absolutely. When I say the “today’s buyer,” that can be true in B2B. There’s different … That maybe closer to 59%. In B2C, it’s going to be maybe closer to 72%, but what it means is people aren’t just randomly interested and curious about something. They’re studying things all the time. If you have the most vague concept of interest in something, the first thing you do is you fire up Google or you read some reviews on Amazon.

By the time they get to wherever, they already have some perspective. It’s either deeply informed or it’s not deeply informed, but they have some perspective. That’s the function of marketing, so if you’re a leader in an organization, I see a lot of imbalance between sales and marketing. We can have a huge sales force and a very small marketing team, and that imbalance means that the sales team is responsible for a ton of unrealistic expectations in trying to connect not just with the, “I’m ready to buy,” but with the, “I don’t even know what I’m trying to figure out.”

Chris Badgett: A small rabbit hole question here just so people really understand the difference between marketing and sales. Is marketing like generating the leads and sales is closing the leads, or how do you describe the difference?

Chris Bintliff: I wouldn’t even get that practical with it. I would say sales are experts in the product. Marketing are experts in the people or in the pain.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. I love it.

Chris Bintliff: Right?

Chris Badgett: I love it.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah, and a great … By the way, that distinction is increasingly blurred, and a great sales pro today understands modern marketing, and a great marketer understands modern sales, so you don’t … This day and age, back in the old school where we got to hand them off, that’s not how it works anymore, so we have to know what each other are doing, but I like to think of … The marketers need to understand the pain and the people really well, and the salespeople should definitely have that perspective, but should really, I mean, just be genius with the product, so what functional role they carry after that isn’t even that interesting. I don’t care who closes this deal, and I don’t care who generates the lead, but let’s just make sure that that insight is balanced between understanding our people and what’s driving them, and understanding our products and how that solves after that.

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome, and you were at like what if their sales have a … and it’s an unrealistic expectation on the sales team?

Chris Bintliff: Yeah. When we think about the buyer’s journey, we just have to think about … Again, let’s work backwards. Let’s not work forward from us and thinking, “Well, more salespeople is going to equal more sales.” It could be that more marketing is going to help us better understand our potential audience, which is going to lead to a healthier funnel, which can drive more sales, so we have to think about that a little bit.

I like to think of this modern marketing funnel differently. We’ve all seen this awareness, and decision, and maybe all that kind of stuff, but I think about it in context again of, “What is our audience experiencing?” I have this funnel that I developed called the CARE Funnel. It’s actually my framework for content strategy, and if you think about your customers in this way, I promise it’s going to help you to meet them where they are.

At the top of this, in the C, this is an acronym, CARE, is your clueless but curious customer. They don’t really have a strong sense of things, but they’re on a hunt for something, and so they’re going to hit your blog post, or your YouTube videos, or your podcast. The important thing to them is if they are anonymous to you. They just want to peruse your stuff, and they might do that for the rest of their lives, but they want to be on this outside layer.

A layer down is your attentive, and those are people that are willing to become your first customer by trading you an email address. That’s the currency of that transaction is I’m going to give you my email address in exchange for a PDF, or a small how-to guide, or a whitepaper, or a video that you’re going to teach me something for free or whatever. I didn’t trade you dollars yet, but I gave you something really valuable, which is my email address.

Then, down in the R, that’s responsive or ready. These are people willing to trade you something even more valuable, which is their time, so they’re ready to come on to a webinar or to schedule 30 minutes for a consultations. They’re ready to spend some face time with you, 45 minutes, 60 minutes, to really understand, and by now, their problem has gotten specific, and they feel like, “I have a specific problem because you, Chris, have taught it to me, thank you, through your blog posts and maybe through the downloads or being on your email list. Now, I’ve been getting your regular emails.” That’s the value of that email address, right, is we get to continue to market to them and tell our story, and now, I’m ready for some face time to really dive into this together because I think you might specifically be able to help me solve my problem.

Then at the end, the E. Those are engaged. Now, those people give you real-life money. Awesome. They are customer. You take their experience in the form of a testimonial, or a case study, or a review, and you bring it to the top, and you write a blog post about it, or create a case study, or the Google reviews, and now, the clueless precarious people who might be dabbling around see those reviews and the funnel starts over.

I like to think of the modern marketing and sales funnel in context of that. Meaning, so how do we hit that person where they are? Some people need to be nurtured all the way from the C down to the E. Some people come right in ready for a webinar, or some people are like, “Look, I got … I read your thing. I think you may … I heard you on the podcast. I’m ready to give you money.” Some people come in wherever, but we have to have the right strategies at each component there, at each part of that funnel so that we don’t miss anybody.

We don’t leave anybody out, and I see a lot of small and medium businesses or course creators are really heavy in one place and really light in another, and not every business needs this like flourishing blogosphere, and not every business needs a YouTube channel, but we have to have something available for those people that aren’t ready to commit anything more than their own private research, and then something available for those ready for a little bit more and ready for a little bit more. Otherwise, we’re missing an opportunity to nurture somebody and to meet somebody where they are, so that’s another, I guess, piece of advice is be thinking with diversity about what you’re offering your potential customers because they’re coming in at different phases of understanding and different levels of awareness, and we have to be able to respond to those things.

Chris Badgett: That is awesome, so press “Pause,” rewind, and let’s do that again because that was a masterclass on the buyer’s journey and addressing those different levels. I want to talk to you about something that you mentioned. You have it on your website where you have a consultation call?

Chris Bintliff: Yes. Yeah.

Chris Badgett: Just to affirm what you were saying like that’s getting really close to like they’re ready to invest, and come out of hiding, and talk to you, and money might come up, and whatever …

Chris Bintliff: Those are your best sales-qualified leads for sure. Yeah.

Chris Badgett: Things are happening, whereas like … I just want to say like I’ve heard from people like, “Oh, Chris, I’ve followed you for like three years,” and I’m just now like finally hearing from them about something like this happens. This is real, so I love that, and you do have to have … There’s just this whole like anonymous people researching thing that a lot of people don’t focus on.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: They think about the ascension model where everybody is going to come in in this order. I’ve had people come in hot and heavy just to buy the most expensive thing. They never subscribe to anything. Just boom, they’re …

Chris Bintliff: Yeah, which is awesome, right? That’s like, “High five. What just happened?” Yeah, that’s great.

Chris Badgett: Be open to that and don’t force people to go through those giant journey. I mean, they can pick up on a path where it makes sense to them.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: Now, I want to get to a really specific question, which was on my notes before that I want to ask you about.

Chris Bintliff: Awesome. I’m ready.

Chris Badgett: You yourself are an expert. You offer services. You have courses, and I know … and when you have the free … I’m not sure if it’s free or paid, but you have a call on your site.

Chris Bintliff: It’s free. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chris Badgett: I’m a big believer in doing conversational marketing and consultative selling. Like you said, I know the product really well, so I just answer questions and ask questions to make sure that the features are there they need or whatever. That’s my approach, and I’m not scared of doing live calls. I do tons of live calls. My team does live calls. They do group calls every week, and by talking to real prospects and customers, I’m infinitely more in tune with what’s working in their world, what’s not, what their problems are, and all this. It’s just … I’m a fan.

I would put my own … my cellphone number on my website. I know that’s really extreme, but if I was launching a new course, or a new membership, or something, I would make it very easy for people to talk to me whether that’s account they linked or whatever because it’s just such an important part of sales, and so I’m a big fan of not automating too much. I’m a massive automator like I have serious automation going on.

Chris Bintliff: Me too.

Chris Badgett: But I don’t live in this reality where everything is automated, which I think people mistakenly think like, “Oh, I need to just automate everything and never talk to anybody.” Whatever, but going back, I want to really zero in like a laser on the call. When someone does get on a call with you wherever they’re at on the journey, what’s happening on that call? What are you doing? What’s the framework, or what do you do?

Chris Bintliff: Well, first of all, let me back up a step because you dropped something on me, I don’t know, two or three weeks ago that I have like immediately absorbed, which was I think in a blog post of yours. You put at the end, “Here’s what I’d like you to do next,” and I thought that was so great. You just had this comment, “Here’s what I’d like you to do next,” and then you invited action instead of it being a passive thing. I immediately put that into my email campaign, so when you subscribe to my newsletter on my website, there’s something on the bottom. It says, “Here’s what I’d like you to do next,” and one of those things is just a big fat question, “What are you struggling with most that I can help with?”

Whether you’re a customer or not, if you’re a subscriber … So, even in your automations, Chris … Well, I’m an automation nerd. I love that you asked that question and invite the reply. “What’s going on with you?” Because the more feedback you get from that, the better it’s going to help you shape your product design, your messaging, your delivery. It’s going to bring issues to the surface you didn’t even realize, so constantly be in a place of conversation with your prospects and customers.

That’s how you build trust. You become this trusted advisor just by listening and then offering your consult where it fits, or you’ll discover, “I’m not the right fit for this person’s question,” and there, we’re better … we’re both better off for that too, so nobody is going to waste their time and energy, but okay. To your question …

Chris Badgett: Hold on. Hold on one second.

Chris Bintliff: All right. Back up.

Chris Badgett: Just a small rabbit hole. I like to give credit where credit is due. “Here’s what I’d like you to do next,” is a framework I learned about eight years ago from a copywriter named John Carlton, and I use it in every single blog post, email, slide deck I ever create.

Chris Bintliff: Great.

Chris Badgett: It’s a three-part … Three steps, and this is from John Carlton. He probably stole it from somebody else. It’s what copywriters do, but it’s like just tell them what you’ve got. That’s step one. Step two is tell them what it will do for them, and then tell them what you’d like them to do next, so it’s a three-act kind of thing. Basically, that’s like content, benefit, call to action.

Chris Bintliff: Press “Pause,” rewind, go back, and listen to that, everybody. Take some notes. That’s so good, Chris. That’s so good.

Chris Badgett: Going back to the call, like what’s going on? If your call to action is, “Here’s what I’d like you to do next. Jump on a call with me and let’s see if we’re a good fit for each other.” Whatever you do. What happens on that call?

Chris Bintliff: What happens immediately is an automation where Typeform … A form goes out that asks them basically, “What are you struggling with?” It’s a really easy form. It takes a few minutes, and in fact, I get a lot of comments from my prospects about how delightful it is and how much it just helps them briefly, but accurately shape their own perspective on this, and it’s also logic-driven, so if you tell me you’re interested in apples and bananas, but not kiwis and pears, you don’t get any questions about kiwis and pears. You’ll just get some questions, and all it does is help me understand your baseline.

Like if you say email marketing is interesting to you, and I say, “Great. What service provider are you using?” You say, “I’m not using any.” Good. Now, I know a little bit more about what’s going on with you, and it helps me get a little bit of an understanding of what your issues are so that I don’t have to spend 15 minutes of your time in this call just trying to get to know you. That’s why I built that was so that as soon as we get into this call, we can easily jump right into, “Okay, so I see this, and I see this, and I see this,” and then I’m in a state of listening.

I just want to understand. I want to hear you. I want to … Always, I have gears turning where I’m trying to understand how I could contribute, how I could help. In some ways, there’s a prequalification thing going on because they might be coming in thinking, “Maybe this is a super short brief project, and I’m like, “Well, no, it isn’t, and here’s why.” The outcome of that call is almost always, “I don’t think this is a good fit. I’m sorry. I don’t think I can help, but here are some ideas,” or, “I think the best way I can help you is with some of my courses. Here’s how. A, B, and C,” and I really built the courses for those who honestly couldn’t either afford the time or the financial aspects of engaging my agency model, but ideally … and that’s why they’re my highest sales qualified … The people who mostly tap into that, 99% of them, are people who need help in the ways that I can deliver with the things that I talked about with the modern marketing engine.

Then, it’s, “I feel like there’s a fit here. I’d like to talk about this, this, this. How does that sound to you?” “Oh, that sounds exactly what I’m going through.” “Cool. Maybe what I think we can do next is let me put a proposal together. I’m going to sketch that out for you. I’m going to share that with you in a couple days, and let’s realign, and you’ll have a better sense for what I think this is going to take.” That usually leads to what I call a roadmapping session, which is a low-investment examination of your real issues. We really dive deep. It’s a couple hours long, and I’ll give them a deeper analysis after that that they can either take and run with with their existing agency, or the people they have on board, or their similar staff, or more likely, they’ll say, “This is great, Chris. Can you help us?” “Well, yes, I can, and here’s how.”

It’s designed to be comprehensive. Let’s talk about you in a structured way. I like to call it guided discovery, and then let’s really dive in deep and understand some things together so that I can give you a specific … I like to think of it as … I said to a client the other day. I challenged their sales team. I said, “Do you want to be doctors, or do you want to be pharmacists? Meaning, do you want to help diagnose and then prescribe, or do you just want to hand out the thing to do?” I think we want to be doctors than pharmacists or doctors and then pharmacists. For me, it gets into, “How can I help you diagnose?” and then, “Great. We understand the problem together. Here’s the prescription. Let’s rebuild this. Let’s design that. Let’s consider this. Let’s bring this tool and whatever it is.”

Chris Badgett: That is awesome, and how long are your calls?

Chris Bintliff: 30 minutes. Yeah, the consultation. The, “Let’s talk about it together,” that’s limited to 30 minutes, and by the end of that, we should have some perspective together.

Chris Badgett: That’s beautiful, and I love the idea of like doing a survey or questionnaire so that you don’t waste any time, and you jump in with a baseline of like, “Okay. I know where this person … I have some data to work with on where they’re at or what their goals are.”

Chris Bintliff: It pre-qualifies a little bit because if you go through that form and you’re like, “I didn’t really even understand or like the questions that you asked.” “That’s cool. Then, this isn’t probably the right situation for us to start from, and let’s go other things together that … or separately that will be better for us.” Again, I don’t find a lot of that, but that’s part of its function is to help us stay focused on the results together.

Chris Badgett: Yeah, and if you’re scared about putting your phone number or meeting scheduling link on your site, you can always just keep tightening up the qualifying stuff, and then you can …

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: It’s never as bad as people think of like … When somebody literally like goes through the effort to schedule a call with you, it can take them another day and invest the time.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: Like that’s a big commitment. That’s a good lead. That’s a qualified lead, and if you’ve done your job well on your website describing what you’re all about and what you offer, it’s going to be a good lead.

Chris Bintliff: I agree. I agree.

Chris Badgett: I want to ask you. One of our five hats is just being an expert. You have your expertise, and you’ve developed services and courses. I’m a big fan of the Barbell Strategy where you take care of the high-end and the low-end. Like if somebody … Like if you’re on a call, like you said, and they’re not qualified for your service offer, they don’t have the budget or whatever, you still want to help them. That’s only human nature. Do-it-yourself training courses is a great … that costs money is a great place to send those leads. Instead of just being like, “Bye. Sorry, you can’t afford me,” it’s like, “You may have this option.”

Chris Bintliff: Huge.

Chris Badgett: Maybe one day, after they go through that, maybe they’ll come back later and hire you for your services. Tell us about your journey there with expert, services, service plus training. I like that model.

Chris Bintliff: The advantages to having a complimentary suite are many, and so part of it is … Yes. For those who don’t qualify and this wouldn’t make sense for your business for us to really engage together, here. I’m going to teach you some of the same things that somebody is going to pay me to come in and really become that in the company, a consultant. I’m going to teach you some of the same things that I do so that you can put them to work yourself.

There’s huge power in that, but additionally, for some of my agency clients who have marketing teams, it will be a value-add for them, so it won’t just be, “I’m going to come in and work with your team,” but, “I’m going to come in and work with your team, and here’s a whole suite of learnings for them even after I leave, and it’s a price we can negotiate or even, I’ll just throw it into engagement.” Often, I’ll do that because it makes sense.

It’s a shortcut for me. I have a lot of clients where they already have a digital somebody, or a web somebody, or a marketing somebody, but that person is maybe not comfortable with this discipline or that. “Great. Here’s a course. Go take it. Let’s talk in a week and see where you are in that. Rather than feeling like there’s this added pressure of having to look over my shoulder or quickly absorb everything that I say in a meeting or whatever, just take this course.”

If you can be multi-disciplined … and that’s not right for everybody. Some people are great products and some people are great services. I’m experienced with services and products are something that I’ve worked really hard through 2018 to build up exactly for this in response to the questions and the problems that my clients and customers get, the things that I go and teach to sales and marketing teams or to … and organization. I mean, it’s all grounded in the real world.

If you’re at all like that, if you’ve got a services component you’re confident in, if you can start to distill or break that down into separate courses that are manageable and learnable, you have a great compliment like that barbell metaphor where you can supplant or compliment one with the other real easily.

The final thing it does for me is just it’s a lot of credibility. It says to anybody who might be really genuinely interested in me, “This guy isn’t just making this stuff up. He is clearly putting time and thought into this. He clearly has some perspective and expertise in these issues, and that’s what I’m looking for.” It’s helpful to me when I can speak to a high-caliber prospect and be like, “In addition, here’s … I think I’m up to seven courses or six courses that I’ve built to help demonstrate some of the things that I’ll be doing to help your business grow.” That just helps me have a stronger, more compelling story to tell.

Chris Badgett: I always try to challenge assumptions not for the sake of challenging assumptions. It’s just that some conventional wisdom that’s just frankly wrong. One of the things out there is those who can’t do teach, but what you’re saying and what I see other people pull off successfully is like, “Well, that’s not true. I actually do both. I do and I teach.” So, there you go.

Chris Bintliff: Yes.

Chris Badgett: You could do both. We made it to the lightning round, so …

Chris Bintliff: I’m ready.

Chris Badgett: We’re running out of time, and I have on my list that I wanted to ask you, and I’m on …

Chris Bintliff: Let’s have another one, dude. We’ll do another interview soon.

Chris Badgett: I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions that I’m going to be putting on the different course creator hats, and so some of them are going to be tech questions, business questions, whatever, and you have to answer in less than two sentences.

Chris Bintliff: Ugh, geez. High pressure. Okay.

Chris Badgett: What is the most useful tool or one of your favorite tools in your home office?

Chris Bintliff: Well, I guess my most productive is my iMac Pro, which is my daily driver, my big machine that I use every day, but I love my iPad too. I do a lot of writing on my iPad and stuff like that.

Chris Badgett: What kind of microphone are you using?

Chris Bintliff: This is a Rode … I think it’s NS-10. Is that what it is?

Chris Badgett: How much money did you spend on it?

Chris Bintliff: 140 bucks or something like … 80 bucks? Something like that.

Chris Badgett: What kind of video are we on right now? Is this through the laptop, or is this a special camera?

Chris Bintliff: It’s just the MacBook. There’s nothing special about this right now.

Chris Badgett: Awesome.

Chris Bintliff: By the way, it’s the 2015 MacBook, the last good MacBook that Apple made, and I’m going to … It’s a dinosaur now, and I’m going to beat it down into the ground because I’m apprehensive about buying a new one.

Chris Badgett: We didn’t talk about your email mini course.

Chris Bintliff: Yeah.

Chris Badgett: How does that fit into your …

Chris Bintliff: It’s a great way to just like get to know your marketing, so the promise there is it’s marketing that makes money, which is basically like … It’s a five-day email course or actually, it’s a seven-lesson email course, and it’s automated, so if you finish one and you do a worksheet, so it’s not just passive. It’s like, “All right. Dive in here. Now, let’s dig in a little bit to your own personal stuff.” As soon as you do the worksheet, you get the next one or don’t do the worksheet. No problem, and the next day, you’ll get the next lesson.

It’s really like my top-level do these things or stop doing these things to help your marketing grow right now. You know? Put them into play right now, and they’re meant to be actionable and practical. Some of them are a little more conceptional and philosophical, but most of them are meant to be, “Here’s something that I see all the time. Take a break.” I think day four or five is one of my favorites. The subject is, “Does your Website suck? Let’s look,” and I walk you through, “Here are some things you should be seeing or doing on your website.” You know?

Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. Is there a call to action in the last email lesson?

Chris Bintliff: Of course, my friend. Of course, there is. In fact, it knows … Because you tell me your role when you start the website, if you’re an executive, I’m going to want to talk to you about the agency stuff. If you’re a consultant or a freelancer, I’m going to help you understand how the courses can help you work, so yes.

Chris Badgett: That is awesome. Well, Chris, thank you so much for coming on the show. His agency is at, and then the courses are at I love the brand. Before you go, can you just tell us how you ended up with this very memorable good branding?

Chris Bintliff: You and I were in Cabo together, and Chris Lema was there, and he even said it during an all-time group because I hear it all the time. It’s one of the best decisions I made was this company name. I think marketing, digital marketing, and especially, digital marketers are very proud of how clever we are, and we use these complex words like lead magnet.

Chris Badgett: Technobabble. Yeah.

Chris Bintliff: Technobabble, and influencer, and inbound marketing. That’s really complicated to a lot of people who aren’t breathing and drinking the marketing Kool-Aid all the time, so Not Really Rocket Science was my promise like this isn’t that complicated. We just break it down into some manageable things. I’ll take care of the complicated stuff. But conceptually, I just want you to know some of the things that we need to do, so that’s where the name of the company came from, Not Really Rocket Science.

It comes up all the time in client meetings or whatever because somebody will be talking about something and be like, “Look, this is not really rocket science, but …” and then they’ll all stop and look at me, and it’s like, “High five on the branding, everybody.” It’s a name I’m fond of and I enjoy a lot. I love what I do, and that represents it a little bit.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, besides your two websites, is there anywhere else people can find you?

Chris Bintliff: I’m on Twitter, @chrisbintliff. I’ll spell my last name, B-I-N-T-L-I-F-F, but just go to the website. Go to Not Really Rocket Science, and you can find my YouTube link. You can find my Twitter, my Instagram, all that stuff, and links to the courses, so Not Really Rocket Science will take care of you if you just land there, and jump into that free course. It’s a great way to just like start improving your marketing right now for free in a super, super cool course. That’s a fun way to get started.

Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Chris Bintliff: Thanks, Chris. I enjoyed it. Again, let’s do it any time. I’m in. It’s great to connect with you again.

Chris Badgett: And that’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling, and protecting engaging online courses. To help you get more revenue, freedom, and impact in your life, head on over to and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging results getting courses on the internet.

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