SFR 270: Optins Vs Leads – Stephen Larsen

SFR 270: Optins Vs Leads

Aug 20th, 2019 anchorwave

Just cause you have a BIG list, doesn’t mean you have BIG leads. Here’s how I turn optins into leads…

There’s a HUGE difference between optins and leads!

A lot of people are super impressed by list size…

However, #TruthNuke, just because you have a BIG list, it doesn’t mean you have a ton of buyers.

The whole reason why you want to build a list is to sell

So I want to show you how to turn your optins into leads in the quickest MOST effective way possible.

What I’m about to share with you is some serious sales psychology because the bottom line is…

The difference between optins and leads sales psychology

The more you understand human behavior, the better marketer you’ll become.


On a basic level, the function of someone putting their email in, and you thinking, “Oh, I got leads…” might look the EXACT same as when someone opts-in


… when you think about sales psychology itself, you might NOT be getting a lead at all.

Let me explain…

Q: Have you ever done door-to-door sales?

Door to door sales taught me the difference between optins and leads

I ask because door-to-door sales taught me something REALLY powerful!

Here’s how…

I did door-to-door selling pest control. I’d walk up, knock, and someone would answer, but when I was out knocking doors was I handed a list of people who were…

  • Leads?
  • Asking for pest control information?

Q: Did the act of someone answering the door and engaging in a conversation with me make them a lead?

Understanding the difference between optins and leads

A: NO, it didn’t!

***I’m bringing this up because there are times when I’ve gone through somebody’s funnel, and I’m like, “Oh, sweet funnel. This is actually a really cool funnel.”

They’re like, “Look at how many leads I’m getting.”

I’m like, “Your leads aren’t really coming until step two.”

They’re like, “What do you mean? The optins are GREAT!

Learn the difference between optins and leads

But, NO! There’s something key they’re missing…

I want you to pay attention to THE FACT that…

Someone who opts in for something is NOT necessarily a lead.


Here’s a CLASSIC example:

Classic example of the difference between optins and leads

Let’s say you have a standard lead magnet page with a FREE PDF to download …

A typical page layout would be:

  • A page with a headline: DOWNLOAD THIS COOL FREE PDF
  • The FREE PDF
  • An email entry field which says: “Put your email address down below so we know where to send your PDF, yada, yada, yada.”
  • A button

Now, let’s say that AFTER some has downloaded your FREE lead magnet, you actually want them to buy a software trial.

Once they’ve given you their email to download the PDF, you have a list which you can send to an email sequence that pushes them to the software trial.

So the steps are:

  1. They optin
  2. You put them on a list
  3. All these emails push them to: “Go get the software”

But think about this…???

Q: If somebody opts in are they actually a lead yet?

What is the difference between optins and leads

A: A lot of times, NO!

Q: So when does someone become a lead? (And this is important to notice)

A: … it depends on whether you started talking about the software on the first page.

If you didn’tthey’re NOT really a lead yet!

Put simply…

A lead is somebody who has an interest in what you’re selling

The difference between optins and leads that are interested in what you're selling

… that’s it!

  • So when I was knocking door-to-door and someone opened the door – we can say, they kind of opted-in.
  • When I made the list of those I needed to follow back up with at the end of each day – I was looking at my leads.


The leads weren’t every single door on the street.

I was like, “You know what, there were two people who were really interested.”

A lead is somebody who expresses actual interest in what you’re offering while an optin may just want the free PDF.

  • An optin is an act to get the FREEit’s the act of getting on the list.
  • A lead is an act in the actual sales process.

Does that make sense?


Business lead generation

OPT- IN: “I’m opting in for whatever gets me on the list.”

LEAD: “I’m actually showing interest in the sales process.”

I’m telling you this because it’s a powerful difference.

And it might sound like, “So what, Stephen?”

But you need to understand that…

The whole reason why you want to build a list is to sell

So the sooner I can get them into the zone of creating a pre-frame (#LeadMagnet), the better…

I want to pre-framed potential leads on the first page.

For example:

Sticking to the software trial scenario; let’s say my FREE PDF was about cookingthat’s definitely NOT a lead list for a software funnel.

Instead, I need a PDF that tells people, “Hey, download this free PDF on the top 25 agencies to hire to build your next software or app…”

I would say that’s much closer to an *actual lead* because they’re showing a genuine interest in what you’re selling.


Massive business lead generation

I’m saying this because sometimes people will come to me and say:

“Stephen, someone gave me a list of three million people. I have three million leads.”

I’m like, “No, you don’t [chuckle]… You have a random list of 3 million people.”

Those aren’t leads

You need to do things to turn them into leads before you send them to the actual thing you want them to buy.

Business lead generation truth

It’s a HUGE difference – BIG, BIG, BIG difference!

Here’s how it works…

Let’s say I’ve got a funnel and I’ve created this cool offer that I wanna sell…

On the first page, I have a hundred people who optin, but it’s NOT something that’s related to the actual thing I’m looking to sell…

Business lead generation pre-frame

… those leads are waaay less qualified!

The whole idea is to create a PRE-FRAME on the first page – whatever they’re downloading needs to be a pre-frame.


There are two things I really look for:

Two things to look for in business lead generation

1. I ONLY wanna sell to those who have a pre-existing desire for the thing I’m selling – that’s super key and it’ll shortcut half of your headaches in this game.

The target person NEEDS to have a pre-existing desire and a pre-existing disposition for whatever it is that I’m gonna go sell.

2. On the FIRST page, the very first interaction I have with them, NEEDS to set them up for whatever they’re gonna see next.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that people will start creating a list, and think the list size is the thing that makes all the difference, but…


If your list is NOT pre-framed for whatever you’re gonna send them to next, you just have optins, NOT leads.

Business lead generation is important

Here’s why this is important:

Let’s say that I have…

  • A 10% optin on my first order page.
  • 8% optin on OTO #1.
  • 2% optin on OTO #2.

Let’s say this is a frontend funnel, which means the prices are a little bit cheaper – it’s the low-end of the value ladder things in this funnel…

It’s NOT…

  • Your high-end stuff
  • The biggest done-for-you services
  • The expensive stuff

Q: Are the conversion rates of 10%, 8% and 2% acceptable?

A: Yeah.

I’ve had people say, “Man, I want more! How can I increase the conversion?”

You could increase the conversion rate, (and spend most of your time doing it)…

I’m NOT saying that’s a bad thing to go do…


You can just focus on getting a better quality lead in the door, and it’ll probably increase your conversions anyway.

Do you know what I’m saying?

Changing the offer is NOT always the answer.

Changing the sales message is waaay easier than changing the offer, however…

Q: What’s waaay easier than changing the sales message or the offer?

A: Changing WHO you’re talking to.


What’s even easier than changing the WHO is changing the FIRST thing that they optin to(and let’s say it’s free)…

Just change the optin and it literally attracts a different person to youso that better people are seeing a more targeted optin!

Targeted business lead generation

Better leads are actually getting a chance to buy from you in the back end.


I look at A LOT of funnels!

And when I’m looking at all these funnels, people are like, “What should I change?”

And they’d be like, “Oh, man it looks like OTO number two is sucking it up! Look at that 2% conversion. Oh, that’s super bad.”


It may just be that I’ve NEVER been in the market to buy a pink Volkswagen… and you offered me a pink Volkswagen.


Difference between optins and leads

(Don’t write in… I know it’s NOT a Volkswagen 😉)

You’re just talking to *the wrong person* and you gave me the wrong pre-frame.

For example:

Your optin was about cooking and now we’re talking about carslike, what?!

So your sales message needs to…

  1. Be congruent and one pointed throughout the funnel
  2. Attract a target customer who’s rich and who has a pre-existing desire to buy the thing you’re gonna talk about

… if you do these two things, it’s waaay easier sale…

Because when your lead starts moving through the funnel, it’s like, “Oh, of course, I’ll buy a pink Volkswagen, I’ve always wanted a pink Volkswagen.”

Your funnel gave:

  • A FREE PDF/ mini-course on how to take care of my pink Volkswagen
  • Recordings from cool coaches on the best way to drive a pink Volkswagen
  • A subscription to the best kinds of gas that you’re gonna ship out to me for my pink Volkswagen

Then when you ask:

“Why don’t you just buy a pink Volkswagen?”

Steve Larsen difference between optins and leads

The answer is: Like, “YEAH!”


However, too many times there are HUGE message differences, and because of that, it’s NOT a natural flow in the upsells.

So you can either:

  1. Go through all the worry of trying to change the offer (that’s more challenging)
  2. Change the message (not as challenging, but still challenging)
  3. Change the frontend optin (which can be challenging as well)
  4. Just change who you’re talking to (easiest thing to switch)

Changing business lead generation

Changing the customer is waaay easier than changing the offer.

Hopefully, you can see that there’s a HUGE MEGA difference between leads and optins.

Go look at your funnel and your funnel statsdraw it out (there’s something to that)…

And when you’re looking at ALL of your stats and ALL of the pieces that are in your funnel, ask yourself the following questions…

Business lead generation questions

  1. Are these actually leads or are they optins?
  2. How can I take my optins and turn them into leads who are interested in what I’m gonna sell?

And one of the easiest ways to do it is to fix your pre-frame.

  • Fix your pre-frame
  • Fix the person that you’re targeting

It’s waaay easier to do it that way than to change your message or your offer!

Let me tell you a story…


I did two summers of door-to-door sales, and it’s NOT like I was handed a list…

Door to door business lead generation

I was handed a neighborhood to walk around and knock on doors.

People optin in by starting a conversation, but leads did NOT happen unless there was actual interest.

I was also a telemarketer…

The difference between optins and leads in telemarketing

I remember my first day, I showed up excited to do it. I liked doing phone sales and I wasn’t bad at it…

I was one of the top guys for a while; I became a team leader and I trained a bunch of teams.

This other guy and I would go back and forth between #1.

Anyway, I was doing these phone sales, and they’d go buy these lead lists.

What was hard was to realize, was that the people they were buying lists from weren’t actually qualified…

The difference between optins and leads that are qualified

Meaning they weren’t leads.

They just farmed out people who were most likely to buy something, but they didn’t show any genuine interest.

Basically, they were buying optin lists.

They were buying HUGE lists of contact information so it was straight cold calling.

What would have made it a lead was if the contact had an interest in the product.


One of the ways that we do this in application funnels, (i.e., high-ticket stuff), in order to turn someone from an optin to a lead really quickly on the second page of the funnel is this…

  • On the very first page, we’ll say, “Hey, start your application process here – optin so we can send you a little mini-course, so you know what it is that we’re talking about.”

So they optin on the FIRST page.

  • On the next page is the actual application.

Q: What happens to somebody when they go through an application process that says, “Tell me why we should allow you to pay us.”

A: they become a pretty HOT lead.

The difference between optins and leads that are hot

The selling psychology difference between the FIRST page and the SECOND page is MONUMENTAL.

I’ll tell you right now, in one of my application funnels; for every 100 people who optin, about 20 of them actually complete the application.

…*THAT* is the difference between optins and leads.

  • PAGE #1: I get 100 optins
  • PAGE #2: I get 20 leads

I’m telling you to do this because it will help relieve so much of the pressure in your business if you know:

  1. “I’m actually turning these people into a lead.
  2. They have a genuine interest in the thing that I’m selling and they’ve told me that – they’re like, ‘Give me more information… Please, can we talk?’”

… versus someone who’s just like, “I got people on a list.”

Our list, right now, is about 40,000 people, but they’re not ALL leads for every product I have.

Stephen Larsen difference between optins and leads

What I need to do is tell those people on my list, “Hey, do you want this cool thing about X, Y, and Z that you don’t know is really a pre-frame for the thing I’m hoping you go buy later on?”

THEN they become a lead for just that product.

A lead for one product is NOT a lead for another product.

You wanna figure out how you can pre-frame people the hardest and the fastest, early on in the funnel…

Because as they progress down the funnel, you don’t want it to be the first time they see a pink Volkswagen.

How to get sales leads


There was one time in real estate where I did buy a list… and it was actually leads, kinda… 😉

It was a service where they grabbed the list of all the people who had somebody pass away recently in their life and they’d inherited a house or a property.

It’s called the inheritees list.

I wanted to go in and get a HUGE MEGA list of all the inheritees in my local area.

So that’s a list…

Q: How do I turn them into a lead?

We had a HUGE list with a thousand names of people who had inherited a property in the last 90 days.

A lot of people were on the list because of a major life event were someone had passed away and they inherited a property through the Will…

Steve Larsen how to get sales leads

…and a lot of them just wanted to sell the property for cash.

So I was like, “Well, let me go be the guy on that and take the cut in between.”

In order to take the thousand-person list and turn them into leads, it’s a mechanism.

I ended up getting about 100 of them to call me, and this was how…

  1. I grabbed a legal pad
  2. I grabbed a red pen
  3. I wrote, “I’m so sorry for your loss. I just wanted you to know that I’m in the area and I’m actually looking to buy a property like yours for cash. We’ll make it quick. Let me know if you’re interested. Here’s my name, my address, my phone number.”

But it wasn’t your usual type of letter!

  • It was triple spaced down the page
  • We folded it up kind of rough, put it in an envelope, and DIDN’T seal it.
  • We put the stamps on crooked.
  • Wrote the address with BIG red letters.

How to get sales leads with letters

This thing stood out so hard, it was a HUGE eyesore.

My wife and I would spend tons of time in the evenings, (this was when we first got married), writing out all these legal letters.

(They’re called Yellow Letters)

We wrote out hundreds of Yellow Letters and we’d ship them out to people.

We had 100 people call back…

How to get sales leads to call back

About half of them were freaked out thinking I was taking their house.

I was like, “No, no, no, read the letter. We’re trying to see if we can buy it from you.”

And since they just wanted to get rid of the property, we could talk them down on price based on the market value.

Then I would go find buyers and match them, and take the spread in between.

That was the plan… and it didn’t really work.

Business lead generation plan

However, we ended up having 300 phone calls in a month.


… those were LEADS!

The inheritees, they where just a list.


When you have people coming into your list you’re gonna be like, “I have all these people.”

When I send out a broadcast of 18,000 emails to one of my general Seinfeld lists, I usually get…

  • A 30% open rate.
  • A 10%-20% clickthrough rate.

Just because they’re on the LIST doesn’t mean they’re a LEAD. I have to turn them into a lead.

Difference between optins and leads Steve Larsen

That’s ONE of the most amazing powers of funnels EVER!

It’s funny because some people will be like, “Well, I’m not selling anything on the Internet so I don’t know if I can use ClickFunnels.”

I’ll be like, “What? You’re taking lists and you’re washing them, qualifying them and sifting them on down to your actual leads…

… it’ll save you a ton of time!

I’m only gonna talk to those who have a genuine interest in what I’m gonna sell to them.

If you guys like this stuff, come to OfferMind

Difference between optins and leads OfferMind



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?

OfferMind difference between optins and leads

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

Again, that’s

OfferMind business lead generation

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