SFR 157: Three Personas Of The Red Ocean – Stephen Larsen

SFR 157: Three Personas Of The Red Ocean

Jul 18th, 2018 anchorwave

A common funnel error is targeting the wrong persona in the red ocean…

Do you have a great product that you know could change someone’s life, but you’re not getting the sales you want? Well, stick with me, because you might just be selling to the wrong people.

In this blog, it’s my mission to help you discover the customers who are ready, willing and able to buy your product. In fact, these people are so eager to buy – that you can even be a C-level copywriter – and still make loads of cash. Intrigued? You should be 😉

Couple with credit card


A few years ago, I got a job as a door to door salesman. I’d walk around knocking doors, “What’s up, pest control!”

As the summer went on, I developed a bit of a theory.

I started to notice that when I went to areas that were less affluent – smaller houses, not as much cash – I could get a ton of sales fast.
I was killing it!

Two to three sales a day was good in the pest control business, but I was regularly making six. I’d collect the cash, and we’d spray the houses… I thought everything was amazing. I felt like “The Man.”

Child thumbs up

Every so often, we’d rotate our areas and visit different cities with more affluent neighborhoods where people had bigger houses and more money.

When I’d knocked doors in these wealthier neighborhoods and gave them my pitch, I was shocked to find that I got a lot of rejections.

It was rejection after rejection; I couldn’t figure out what was going on. So I decided to go back to those old neighborhoods where the people didn’t have as much money – ’cause I knew I could sell them.

Well, at the end of the summer, at least half of my accounts failed. Lots of my contracts refunded or didn’t renew because the people I’d pitched were not able to keep up the payment – even though they “wanted” the product.

Man showing his empty pocket, no money

I realized that I’d perfected my pitch to sell to people with less cash.

In the meantime, all my buddies who had spent time learning how to pitch to rich people made a lot of cash.

They had fewer cancellations and sold higher value contracts – so by the time the summer was over they were still getting paid on their accounts.

Not only were their customers not leaving, but they were also putting more money in their pockets.

Closeup picture of stylish guy in casual shirt and sunglasses covering his face with lots of money dollar bills, isolated over white wall with shadow

I realized that even though I’d been making lots of sales, in reality, I’d been selling to people who didn’t have the money for continuity – which made them far more likely to refund or cancel; leaving me broke and fed up.

Sure, I’d get a lot of accounts, but none of them would stick very long.

I was like, “Crap! How can I NOT ever do that again?” It was a huge lesson for me.


Now it probably won’t surprise you to you to learn that since my pest control days, one question I’ve obsessed over is “How do I sell expensive things to people who have cash?”

Most of the time when I consult with businesses they have a great product, it’s simply that they’re selling it to the wrong “type” of person.

We know that it’s best to sell in places that are competitive (i.e., the red ocean) – because there’s security there.

Personally, I combine elements of the red ocean with elements of the prolific and the blue ocean to create a purple ocean offer that’s extremely attractive to your customers.

The Purple Ocean

If you want to learn how I create purple ocean offers, you can find out here.

However, If you want to avoid making the same mistakes that I made when I sold pest control, it’s vital that you understand the 3 personas inside of the red ocean…

So let me grab my whiteboard and show you what I’ve figured out!

Stephen Larsen Whiteboard


The first thing I look at on any funnel that I work on is its promise.

There are 3 “no duh” areas that people spend money in, and these are HEALTH, WEALTH & RELATIONSHIPS.

So the question that you need to answer is: “Does my product promise results in either Health, Wealth, or Relationships?”

These are the “no duh” places for people to spend money in. They are the basic that everyone wants – they’re like milk or eggs (or maybe tofu if you’re vegan).

There’s no salesperson next to eggs, right? It’s a “no duh” buying experience.

Selling eggs at local market in Barcelona, Boqueria

I’m not saying, “go get in the eggs business.” But it’s best to choose industries where there’s a “no duh” purchasing experience because this will make selling your product so much easier.

No Duh Buying

People will spend money on:

  • Improving Relationships
  • Improving Health
  • Growing businesses, investments, and wealth


In every red ocean and every single industry, not all buyers are created equal – that probably goes without saying, right?

So let’s look at why I made such a big mistake as a door to door salesman.

Let’s look at the 3 types of buyer who exist in the red ocean (i.e., the proven market) and what motivates them to buy.

The Three Personas


The “die-hards’ are deeply seated inside of their red ocean product.

If you come to a die-hard person and say, “Hey, I got this cool thing for you.” They’re not going to be interested. They’ve had success with the product that they use – they’re a fan.

I’m wearing my funnel hacker shirt right now. I’m a die-hard. For me to move away from ClickFunnels – well, it isn’t going to happen.

For me to shift from using ClickFunnels, I would need an identity shift. I would literally need change how I see myself. It’s about so much more than price and value for a die-hard.

Steve I Build Funnels

If someone starts bad-mouthing ClickFunnels, I get a little hot and bothered about it. I’m like, “Are you kidding me? ClickFunnels changed my life! I’m a product of that product! No. I will never change.”

If you ask a die-hard to switch products – it’s a personal insult.


Let’s use a relationship example here:

Let’s say someone goes to Tony Robbins kind of event and that person is someone who’s considering suicide or divorce and then Tony flips them around – those people are the die-hards. They’re never not going to love Tony Robbins. They’re never not going to buy his next program coming out. For them to change to someone else would mean an identity shift. It is not likely.

However, a person who goes to a Tony Robbins type event, and as a result, they feel better about themselves – but they don’t experience a massive transformation – they’re a “break-even.”

Public speaker giving talk at Business Event.

They’ve not had a massive transformation like the die-hard. They’ve had a little bit of a, “Oh my gosh, this is super cool.” They’re probably gonna keep purchasing the products. They won’t be looking for anyone else for relationship advice.

They’ve had a taste of success, but they don’t necessarily “love, love, love” the product like a die-hard would.

For the break-evens, it’s the pain of disconnect that they want to avoid. They don’t want to go through the struggle of switching services or finding something new.

However, for the break-evens, price and value do have a role to play. If they become aware of a better product that offers more value, if the incentive is enough they will be willing to shift their allegiance.


Now, let’s get to the number ones – the “no other options.”

I’m going to use a health example here:

Have you guys ever had pea protein powder? It’s like whey protein powder but made from peas. It tastes terrible, and the texture is horrible… oh my gosh! But I know it’s the best one.

I was read loads of reviews and found out that pea protein is awesome for protein synthesis. I was excited to get some. When it arrived in the mail, I took a scoop, put it in water.

I have a strong stomach. I’m not the kind of guy who throws up or anything, but honestly, “That’s some nasty crap!” I’ve spent 6 months trying to find ways to mask the texture of that crap.

this makes me sick, it's disgusting

I’m a number one pea protein drinker. I drink that stuff simply because I know it’s the best, but I HATE it. I hate that it’s the vehicle. I have no customer loyalty that brand at all.

If you can offer me “a super sweet protein powder – that works as well as mine but tastes waaay better – How easy do you think it would be to sell me on that? Super easy, right?

On the other hand, if someone has a protein powder that they love and it’s helped them lose 50 lbs – How likely is it that they are going to switch? They’re a die-hard – so your chance of getting them to switch is practically zero.

The break-even person who’s had some success with that protein, but doesn’t “love it” – well, they may be willing to try it.

For number twos, it’s all about price and value; it’s not an identity shift.


Now let’s go back to my pest control fiasco!

When I was selling pest control, who was I selling to? I was selling to a lot of “break- even” and “no other option” people. There weren’t that many die-hards.

I was selling to the people inside the red ocean who wanted to get rid of the bugs. I was selling to a lot of ones and twos, but it was the wrong kind of ones and twos because they didn’t have the resources.

So within the three different personas, you also have then you have levels of different resources. You need to identify “Who has money?” and as who, as Russell Brunson says, …“ is willing and able?”

The reason why I want to talk about this issue is that 80% of the time, when I’m looking at somebody’s headlines, or doing some consulting – I see that the people creating their messaging to try to convince with facts, figures, and features, and maybe with some benefits…

BUT they’re trying to convince the die-hards to come and buy their product.

That’s the wrong person to write your copy for… It’s the wrong person to write your headlines for… It’s the wrong person to build your product for…

Kid thumbs down

You are not trying to sell to the die-hards!

Your target market should be the people who are willing to hear your message… the people who have no customer loyalty to the brand that they already use.

You need to design your message to sell to the break-evens and the no other options; the guys that are just using a product ’cause they don’t know of anything better.

These people just need to hear a new story. They need to hear a new sales message.

That’s the thing I didn’t figure out when I was doing pest control until it was too late.

When I started building my first info product, I did the same thing again. I spent eight months building it, and when I tossed it out there, I was selling it to the die-hards.

The people who were like, “Don’t you dare make fun of my products and the things I use.” It was an insult to their identity – I was offending them by merely suggesting an alternative.

See Speak Hear

Once I changed my messaging to hit the people who “hated the vehicle” and “hated the products they were using,” things changed. I made my messages for those people. I helped them throw rocks their old products and showed them a better way.

All they needed was an excuse to switch, and they bought my product.


So if your product is not selling the way you want it to, or you’re designing your sales message, remember to run it through the 3 personas I’ve talked about and check it for fit.

I’m trying to help you guys identify the people “no other option” people because it’s not hard to sell to these people.

If they also have the resources, you can be a C level copywriter, and still sell to these people easily.

They’re just looking for something that’s that’s different and better to save them from their current vehicle – which mean more money in your pocket.

Anyway. Hopefully, this has been helpful. You can check out the episode on iTunes, please rate and review. If not, subscribe to my YouTube channel as well, that’d be very very helpful.

If you’d like to see some live funnel building, (a lot of times I’ll build whatever project I’m doing, live), go to the science of selling online, and it’ll forward to my Facebook group, it’s free.

You guys can join me there and watch as I document what I’m building and why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Until next time – Keep Crushing It!

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