SFR 246: How To Choose Your Market – Stephen Larsen

SFR 246: How To Choose Your Market

May 28th, 2019 anchorwave

What IS a ‘market’?

One of the most frustrating things for me at the beginning of this whole game was that I didn’t know what a market was… and there wasn’t anybody who could really define it for me…


Sales strategy shortcuts

Usually, I don’t believe in shortcuts, but if you know your market, a lot of stuff just gets answered for you… and it’s much easier to pin down…

  • Your Messaging
  • What To Sell
  • The Funnel You Should Build.

Existing companies I work with like this a lot because it helps them position themselves in relation to their competition

New people want this because it actually fills in a lot of the questions that get asked along the way.

For Example:

  • What should I sell?
  • Who am I talking to?
  • What kind of sales message should I create?

Choosing the right market is one of the major things that help to shortcut the game for real.

Sales strategy game


There are some things that it’s obvious that I need to teach; I can see everyone’s struggling with X, Y, and Z…

However, there’s an area in my brain that I’ve NOT quite uncovered yet and I keep trying to reach to it.

Sales strategy problem

A few days ago, I woke up at five, [spp-timestamp time="5:30"] and spent three hours trying to figure out what question I should be asking…

I believe that questions invite revelation; therefore, I must be careful of the questions that I ask.

I always consider the questions and ask… and who I’m asking those questions to.

For example:

Am I asking broke people questions… or am I asking rich people questions?

In fact, I have a whiteboard where I list out the major questions that I feel I should start asking. I’m NOT trying to answer them, I’m just logging that I have that question.

Sales strategy questions

Then when I get a little more clarity on what I need to be asking, I go to my bookshelves…

I buy a lot of books.

… and it’s because I’m trying to create clarity on what question I’m hunting the answer for, so I don’t get stuck in learning loops…

I just hunt the answer.

Sales strategy answers

… and I’ve been hunting answers a lot lately.

Half of what I do is teach people, “Hey, this is X, Y, and Z – I see a lot of people are struggling with this.”

The other half of what I do is in a discovery realm that’s super fun mentally, but exhausting.

Target market hunting

And there’s something that I’m trying to grasp, and I’m NOT quite there yet…


I used to believe that in order to have success, you needed a good funnel.

Now before anyone poops a brick, let me explain…

How to get more customers with sales funnels

Originally, I’d build a funnel and then I build an offer contingent with the funnel that I’d hacked… NOT based on what the customer needs…

Then I’d build a sales message.

Eventually, I realized that I needed to be doing the exact opposite…

Instead, I need to create the…

  1. Sales Message
  2. Offer
  3. Funnel

…and I started teaching it that way.

However, I quickly realized that wasn’t where I needed to start

I was like, “Wait a second, I’ve gotta go even further back; way before the sales message and get to know the Red Ocean a little bit more.”

Red ocean sales strategy

…and that’s when I started creating my Red Ocean Analytics Checklist.

It’s a living, breathing checklist of my actual findings; I’m not taking that from anywhere, it’s my stuff.

Red Ocean Analytics sales strategy

Red Ocean Analytics, Baby!

So before I’d create an offer, I’d go through the Red Ocean Checklist…

But then I was like, “Crap, no! We can’t start at the Red Ocean, we have to go back even further because there are other oceans and other markets…”

  • There are ghost markets
  • We have to think in terms of the customer

How to make your sales strategy

… I have to go back even further.

The further I’ve gone back, the more I see that when people just follow the framework, (and not even well), the chances of their success goes way up.

The challenge is that I can tell that there’s another stage before friggin’ market selection that’s starting to pop out.

But I can’t tell yet if it’s a pre-market selection or something that’s in it…

Sometimes I feel like it’s ‘The Beautiful Mind’ kind of thing, “Y’all here?”

Sales strategy patterns

It’s like schizophrenia, “Aah, pictures, patterns everywhere…”

That’s my unique ability. I’m not very good at many other things besides this.


It seems funny for me to say, (cause I’m the “offer guy’), but I’m at a spot now where I believe you can’t even make a good offer until you know…

  1. The market you’re selecting
  2. The customer journey and where they’ve been previously.

I can’t sell something to a customer that they’ve already gone through – and that’s what I mean by a ghost market.

Ghost target market

It’s the ghost of “marketing past.’

The ghost of the ‘vehicle past’ that they’ve already gone through.

It’s interesting to start looking at the journey the customer is on…

You have to understand that piece…

Market selection is still an art right now ’cause I’m still learning how to describe it as a science.

I’m trying to pull the pattern out so that it’s not an art.

Target market art


I’m NOT saying that “I hate actual art…” I’m saying, “I hate depending on art because art is hard to calculate.”

I like science. I like patterns because I can say, “When I do A plus B, I get C.”

I’m still learning to pull out the science piece of market selection.

… and I’ve gotten a lot better at it.


The last OfferMind Masterclass was the clearest I’d ever taught about market selection.

A lot of people have already created success with what I taught – that’s why OfferMind is such a big deal.

I’m not just teaching fluffy junk you’ve already heard.

OfferMind sales strategy

So let’s talk about market selection…

Market selection fuels acts of marketing

Stick with me while I explain this…

There’s market selection and then there are acts of marketing.

Target market selection

So what are the acts of marketing?

I spent three hours going through all my books…

I wrote down the question I’m trying to answer right now and I asked, “Could this book answer that question?”

… just from face value and kinda flipping through, I’d literally throw books in different piles in the corner.

I cleared out a bookshelf and labeled the shelves:

  • Offers and Market Positioning
  • Model, Scaling and Marketing Activities

..and those are the things that I’m deep diving into to answer the questions.

  • What is a market?
  • What are acts of marketing?

…’cause they’re NOT the same thing.

Target market

This is where people get screwed when it comes to marketing.

They say, “I’m gonna go do marketing, so I’m gonna go post stuff on Facebook…”

To that, I say, “Grrgh, tell me some context otherwise, that’s NOT marketing…”

What is a target market

So what are acts of marketing?

An act of marketing is things like:

  • Creating A Sales Letter
  • A Webinar
  • A Launch Campaign
  • An Evergreen Campaign

Let me explain what I mean a little bit more…


Let’s say that you’re gonna go do a launch campaign

You all just saw me do that with my OfferMind funnel, (we already have 200 seats sold, which is crazy).

Let’s talk about what market selection means…

(Maybe I should call it marketing design? I don’t know… it’s actually a good way to describe it.)

‘Cause we’re all very familiar with this world, let’s take ClickFunnels as an example…

ClickFunnels target market

Anyway, if you look at ClickFunnels…

ClickFunnels is selling wealth.

When they went straight to selling wealth, it didn’t sell….

That’s when ClickFunnels almost became an abandoned project.

Target market ClickFunnels

Russell had to try and figure out how to sell ClickFunnels to the right market

…. that’s a very natural thing for anything that you build. You’re trying to learn how to sell it, right?

Check this out…

When ClickFunnels said, “We’re not gonna sell the general wealth category, we’re gonna sell to people who’re convinced that websites are the way to get wealth and become anti-Red in our messaging…”

… that’s when ClickFunnels became ‘ClickFunnels.’

ClickFunnels talked about the death of the website.

ClickFunnels began to sell to the Red ocean of people who are convinced that building a website is what will give them wealth…

How big is that market? It’s friggin’ huge, right!

And when ClickFunnels became the anti-Red in their messaging

Who did it talk to?

It talked to the sliver of people who were using the websites as the way to get wealth, but who weren’t having success.

Target market success

These were the easiest people to sell to; you don’t have to convince them there’s a problem, because they already know there’s a problem.

Watch the way ClickFunnels grew from this…


Eventually, someone would say: “Well I’m in affiliate marketing, could this work for me?”

Expanding your target market

Well, of course, it could… so we’d be like, “Let’s add affiliate marketing to the pot,’ and then that would become part of the expansion…

… and that’s one of the ways to grow.

Russell didn’t try to sell EVERYBODY, he sold to people who were in affiliate marketing and already experiencing pain…

That’s very different to somebody who says,”Yeah, I’m interested,” but they never pull out their wallet.

These people are:

  1. Problem-Aware
  2. Solution-Aware
  3. Buyers
  4. In the middle of pain

They’re not having all the success they want.

Selecting a target market

This is a HUGE deal to understand.

Then after we’d added the dissatisfied affiliate marketers to the ClickFunnels customer base, we went to…

  • B2B
  • Retail

…’cause they were also asking, “Can this work for me?”

We used the same strategy and sliver by sliver, we grew the ClickFunnels customer base.

How to get more customers

And what’s fascinating to understand is that it’s a mistake to try to target tons of markets at once.

You have to have one market that acts like a big ol’ anchor…

Anti-Website positioning is one of the major anchors for ClickFunnels.

And this is the reason why most people fail, (right at the get-go), before they even get to:

  • The sales message
  • How do I write a sales letter?
  • How do I come up with the funnel?
  • What’s my launch campaign?

One of the BIGGEST reasons why they fail is because they don’t know what market they’re selling to…

Know your target market

*You’re selling to the Red Ocean*


If I wake up one day and I say, “Hey, I’m gonna go sell my stuff,” and I put my stuff in a little cart, where am I gonna push my cart to?

ANSWER: To where everybody else already is.

I’m gonna go to where there are people, i.e., the Red Ocean.

The Blue Oceans don’t exist by definition, they’re not there. It takes a long time to grow an actual Blue Ocean.

Target market blue ocean

So then, acts of marketing are things that you do in *that* market…

Does that make sense?


I know who my market is… for me, it’s ClickFunnels.

Steve Larsen target market

However, I’m not anti-ClickFunnels in my messaging:

You peel back that heart you’re gonna see gears and the ClickFunnels’ logo tattooed there.

I’m the offer guy, and if you want success with ClickFunnels, you should probably learn how to build an offer, right? That’s how I’ve positioned myself…

I’m complimentary, NOT competitive

Complimentary target market

…this is very key.

So for market selection a.k.a market design – (that’s really what I call this piece)…

First of all, you identify the market and you somehow position yourself to become either the…

  • Companion to…
  • Anti of…

… you need to figure out which you want.

This is all stuff I’ve discovered on my journey


There are not a lot of books out there on this subject, and that’s why I’m writing a book.

That’s also why I have almost an entire bookshelf full of books around this subject, I’ve had to piece it together.

There are a few books that have gotten close or really helped close a few gaps.

But most marketing books out there have been written, how my marketing degree was created – for corporate and big massive analysts.

Target market research

I didn’t learn any kind of direct response marketing material in college. That’s not what you learn in a marketing degree… I didn’t know that.

What you learn in a marketing degree is marketing analytics.

You learn a lot of quantitative marketing research, (I hated that class), and qualitative marketing research.

Sales strategy research

I learned a lot of market research, but nothing that I actually use now…

So most of the material that’s out there is about that.

There’s NOT a lot of material out there that is about direct response marketers or specifically about offer creation like I talk about.

OfferMind sales strategy

What I’m talking about is very much stuff I’ve discovered while I’ve been en route.

That’s a lot of what OfferMind was about last year:

  • How do you know that the market your selling into?
  • How should you choose a mature market?

Just think about it…

I’m over here positioning…

  • Myself
  • My messaging
  • My sales letters
  • My product

Everything is in relation to the market that I’ve chosen… and if that market leaves, I’ve lost my business.

That’s why a lot of people fail…

They build a product with no thought on the market that they’re selling into and where they go to market…

…and so they just friggin’ wander the village and trying to follow the veins of gold…

Why does your sales strategy fail

In my honest opinion, that’s very dangerous, and it’s one of the reasons why people fail!

The offer, the sales letter, the funnel… all that crap gets waaay easy when you understand this


Stephen Larsen target market

I am in wealth and my market is the ClickFunnels market.

I’ve helped a lot of people make a million dollars.

I’ve helped a lot of people make hundreds of thousands… and thousands of people have made their first money online, (or offline), EVER.

There were a few signals that told me that ClickFunnels is a mature enough market to sell into.

I’m selling into the ClickFunnels space, but I’ve positioned myself as an accelerant to the vehicle.

…and I’ve done that on purpose and a lot of design, (and I told Russell that)…

I was in his office probably like two or three months ago, and I said:

“Hey, You’re not just the CEO and CMO of an insanely massive and very valuable SaaS software company that’s explosive and almost worth a billion dollars…”

( It definitely will be at some time, you know what I mean! It’s amazing.)

“ … AND you’re also running a massive coaching program. My goal is to take the burden off of you in terms of ‘nerd out coachingism’.”

And he’s like, “Oh cool, sounds good.”

That’s why… that’s how I positioned myself in the way I have…

I’m an accelerant to the vehicle.

Sales strategy

I’m not the anti-Red, that’d be dumb. I love ClickFunnels, you all know that.

(I think it’s crazy when someone doesn’t I have a ClickFunnels trial. You can get a trial at


Usually, when I say ‘market design’ most people think logos: “No, no, no, bad! That’s branding.”

Branding comes second

… and when I say branding comes second, I mean it comes at no. 5,000 down the line…

Branding means absolutely zero in terms of how money is already flowing…

I’m like,” Hey ClickFunnels people:

  • Would you like to learn how to use ClickFunnels from a guy that was the lead ClickFunnels builder at ClickFunnels?
  • Would you like to learn from the guy who gets outsourced huge amounts of the coaching for what they’re selling?

That’s a pretty powerful position.

If someone’s like, “Well Stephen, I can’t be successful like you ’cause I don’t have status.”

Yeah, you’re friggin’ right! It’s powerful. Go earn your own path.

I got a few people with poopy-pants syndrome who reach out to me like, “Stephen, but I can’t do that…”

Steve Larsen how to get more customers

Well, you’re right…

You haven’t worked your face off for the last six years with obsessive sacrifice to figure it out.

…but you’ve probably done something that I haven’t, and if you haven’t, it’s time to cut out some things in your life…

Stephen Larsen how to get more customers

Alright… 😉

So there is market selection and then there are acts of marketing.

  • Market selection = which market is naturally akin to the thing that I’m going to sell.
  • Acts of marketing = what most people think marketing is.

Acts of marketing are…

Let’s go create:

  • A Sales letter
  • A Sales Message
  • Different Kinds of Campaigns.

Most people NEVER do any market selection, and that’s why they’re NOT making money… (and that’s a lot of what OfferMind teaches).

OfferMind event sales strategy

Until Next Time: Make Money, Do Good!


If you’re just starting out you’re probably studying a lot. That’s good. You’re probably geeking out on all the strategies, right? That’s also good.

But the hardest part is figuring out what the market wants to buy and how you should sell it to them, right?

That’s what I struggled with for a while until I learned the formula.

So I created a special Mastermind called an OfferMind to get you on track with the right offer, and more importantly the right sales script to get it off the ground and sell it.


Wanna come?

There are small groups on purpose, so I can answer your direct questions in person for two straight days.

You can hold your spot by going to

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