Armand Morin from Big Seminar, Success Leaves Traces, and AM2 Talks Internet Marketing, Offline Seminars, Software, Online Memberships and Masterminds

Robert: Right now we are talking to Armand Morin who I would think is probably the most successful internet marketer that I have ever met, or that I have ever heard of. He used to run the big seminar which was the biggest and longest running seminar in the United States.

He makes $20 million dollars a year. He has made over $100,000 million dollars online in sales. He's a great trainer, he does software, he does a MasterMind, he speaks on the stage. He has spoken from a 90 minute presentation and made $995,000 dollars in sales. We are going to talk to him today about how he got started, what he's doing and what he's doing right that you can apply in your own business today. What's up Armand?

Armand: Hey Robert, thank you very much for having me.

Robert: Glad to have you. On top of what I have already told everyone about you, what would you say that you do, pretty much?

Armand: I would say, really my business is divided into two different things. Number one is teaching people how to market their businesses online, and number two I would actually say that my business is simply the same thing, which is product development. Meaning, finding products that actually people want, and developing them either through our own team or having somebody else develop them for us, or developing a course to teach something that someone wants to know.

Robert: Software and courses?

Armand: Yes, pretty much.

Robert: I think the first way I heard of you was you had a piece of software called E-Book Generator.

Armand: Yes.

Robert: Can you tell us a little bit about how that came to be, and about all that software you ended up making?

Armand: Yes absolutely. E-Book software is actually the very first software that I actually created. I don't even know what the date was, but it was a long time ago. Let's put it this way, it was in the 90s, I think it was. What happened was, I was going to create an E-Book, in fact there was a book that I had for many years, I think I had it for about 8 years called Take Online Payments. What had just happened, just to kind of give you a little bit of background, is that I had my Merchant Account taken away from me. We had this big launch, when I first got start in the world of Internet Marketing where we did $4.2 million dollars over the course of 12 weeks. This was at the time when no one has ever thought of actually doing something like that. What happened was they pulled my Merchant Account away.

To make a long story short, I was stuck without a Merchant Account. Now at that point I had proven to myself that the internet worked, so I decided to figure out a way to process credit cards online without a Merchant Account, and I discovered something called third party payment processors, which is today, most people would think of things like PayPal or Two Check Out, or Alert Pay, or Click Bank even. And those are the most popular ones today. But at that time, no one had ever heard of any of these companies, and I discovered there are a lot more. There's actually, I found over 80 companies, and so I took this information and found that a lot of people were searching for this too, so I decided to write an E-Book.

The problem was, in order to write an E-Book I needed some kind of software to compile this E-Book together. And at the time, PDFs weren't really the main type of E-Book out there. I know this may seem odd to people now, but at one time PDFs weren't the most popular type of E-Books out there. There was basically what is called E-Book software which would take, essentially a web page and compile a bunch of web pages together into a single EXE file, kind of like a software file, and it would have it's own browser where you could scroll through the web page, and that is really what the software really does.

In this process, I bought the first E-Book software and it did almost everything I wanted it to do. Then I bought the second E-Book software and it did almost, again. I probably bought about six or seven E-Book softwares before I realized that none of them did what I wanted them to do. So I had this idea, if someone actually created a software that had all the good things that I needed, and none of the bad things that I saw on all this other software, they could probably make a lot of money. And then the second thought came up, which was kind of crazy when you really think about it, is that well why can't I develop that software. The problem was, was that I didn't know how to make software.

What I did was I remember someone telling me, if you don't know how to do then pay someone else to do it. Very simple phrase, but I think it is very applicable today as it was even back then. Now what I did was I found this company, actually I think they were in Czechoslavakia. I hired them, I paid them a lot of money, way more money. In fact, that one software is the most money I ever spent on a piece of software. I spent $5,000 dollars initially in order to develop that. What happened was I had them develop it, I put it out there on the market. And that is how we developed our first software.

But that software, like I said it's the most amount of money I spent on software. Over the years, I have probably spent - I will probably say $75,000 dollars on that software in total.

Robert: Just improving it?

Armand: Yes, improving it and getting features that people wanted. The important thing about that is many of these features that people wanted weren't features that I actually thought were necessary. They were actually what my customers wanted. So if I thought it would enhance the software and give people more options I added that feature. I think a lot of people when they are developing things or doing things, they try to please absolutely everybody when there is no way you can actually do that. We try to go with what the masses want and then once we have a feature and we have tested it and worked it through, then we release the product out in the marketplace.

That was the beginning, that was how we developed our first software. Then people started asking us questions, like well on your website how do you create that graphic, that header graphic that you have on your website, so we created a software that essentially made it easier for people to create a graphic for the top of their website. And then people were asking me, well how do you make that book cover, that graphic cover, and so we created a term, oddly enough back then. No one had ever heard of the term E-Cover until we actually invented the term.

The only problem was I couldn't think of what to name the software so I called it E-Cover Generator. All my software kind of took on the last part of Generator. We named them all the same thing in order to create a product line, rather than just a single product. I think that is really important for people to understand, is that even though I kind of happened into creating a series of products, an actual line of products I should say. A lot of people today should really go into business with that thought. How do my other products actually fit, how do my new products fit in with my existing products, and are these the logical progression that my customers would actually want or need.

Robert: That makes sense, and it's kind of funny how you were talking about you invented the term E-Cover, because I remember you also had Pop-Over Generator.

Armand: That is an interesting start because that Pop-Over Generator which created kind of like a pop-up that really wasn't a pop-up on a website, that term Pop-Over Generator actually came from the results of a conversation with me and John Reese on the phone late one night. And John actually came up with the term Pop-Over.

Robert: Yes, I remember there was a pop-up and there was a pop-under but no one had a pop-over and there was yours. Everyone else who tries to compete with you is screwed because either they are not a pop-over and you are different than everyone else, or they are a pop-over and because you were first they are comparing themselves to you.

Armand: Exactly.

Robert: So that's pretty cool, and I always liked how a lot of people they always think that maybe they can't make a training course, or they can't make software. Most training out there, most software it kind of looks like people just made stuff up, like a programmer just said whatever I am going to make an E-Book software and they don't actually use it.

You had a unique insight on that because you actually have this problem, you actually had to make an E-Book software and even like you said, improving it, paying the extra money to get the extra features added. Other people were using it and kind of making it better for you. At the same time, you weren't making it overly complicated. It's like WordPress for Joomla, it gets too techy right. WordPress is really simple, it's like an Apple product almost. Joomla can do all kinds of crazy stuff, but no one can use it.

Armand: When it comes to software, I mean especially some of our early software the basic premise for making it easy to use was we tried to look at and make the software work with the least number of clicks. That was the whole goal. Is this click necessary, can we remove it, can we make it easier for a person to use. And so the simplicity, we always tried to focus in on, in order to do that. I think a lot of times today, in some of the things we are building, some of the more complex things it's always about simplicity and how do we get people to really pay attention and actually use the software.

If they don't use the software, they are not going to buy another, anything else from us. Or if they listen to one of our courses, if I make it sound too complicated, and I don't show them exactly how to do it, they are not going to buy another product from us. And so our whole goal is to not only get that one sale, but to keep the sale, but also to get people to buy additional products from us because our products were so good they are going to want to actually buy another product from us. They are happy.

Robert: Yes, and it's like when there's that next product, they are buying it somewhat based on what it is, but also based a lot on who you are, because they trust you.

Armand: Right, the previous experience with us that is exactly what we are focusing on.

Robert: Right, and so speaking of making things simple and reducing the number of clicks. I have noticed that's kind of a lot of how you do your marketing and how you give advice because I have had people give me advice, or explain a concept to me and we will draw this huge diagram with all these boxes and arrows, a Mind Map pretty much. Then when I asked you for advice, you will just say all right, just do this, make this web page, make this video, do this training course and that's it. And then you can improve from there. I really like that, keeping it simple and not getting in your own way I guess.

Armand: I think a lot of times, what people - you have to go through this long explanation because they don't know what they actually what or what they actually need. And so if I'm giving advice to say maybe like you, you know my ultimate question is what do you want? And if I don't even ask, I kind of know what you want, so my advice really is the shortest point to actually get what you want from that question - does that make sense?

Robert: It makes sense to me. Good stuff, and when you were marketing things like E-Book Generator or like Flash Generator, all that stuff and you had all of these competitors who were maybe more complicated and they sold themselves more on features. I guess, how do you compete with that. Because you can say I'm simpler, but then they say I'm going to do a comparison, I have a bunch of stuff Armand doesn't.

Armand: I think part of it is, there are two strategies to it. Number one I think it's first to market, I think that is one of the main things, I think in almost any product category you are going to have other people come behind you. I read an article one time, I can't remember the exact number but it was about companies that were the first to market, and the example that they gave was aspirin. The company that first came out with aspirin, and I don't know who it was, maybe it was Bayer or somebody like that. But, all they did was they just sold aspirin. And then other people came out and they sold aspirin after that. But they showed the studies as far as market share after a period of time.

That first company that came to market still owned 67% of that market share, which was very-very interesting. Now I don't know if that necessarily relates on all categories, but I think it probably has a pretty good estimate as far as what happens when you are talking about market share, if a product is obviously promoted properly. So it's first to market, ease of use and then if anything I would say great support on the back end.

Robert: All right, first to market, ease of use, great support - that's pretty simple. One thing I really want to kind of find out about is this whole big seminar thing. You ran like this huge seminar for like what seven years, eight years?

Armand: Yes seven years.

Robert: How did you even think to do that?

Armand: Actually in the beginning it was an idea of a friend of mine, and he said well why don't we do a seminar. The whole story is that we first launched the seminar. What most people don't know, because I have never really talked about it that much, but the first big seminar was a complete flop. We actually never did it. Here's why, we put my friend's name at the top of it because I didn't really want to do a seminar. I helped him market it. So the first seminar, we only had like 20 people or 30 people showing up. I said well okay, we are just going to cancel it because I can't have speakers flying in to talk to only 20 or 30 people, because it was really my reputation on the line with these other people, because they were all friends of mine.

We canceled it, we relaunched it about nine months later, yeah probably about nine months later - six months later actually and we put my name at the top of it, and that was actually the first big seminar, in January of that year 2003, I believe it was.

We did it in Dallas, Texas and we had about 161 people there, and the whole concept was I had been to other seminars, I had seen what they were doing and I knew that we could certainly do them better by just providing little things they didn't or providing better training. Because many of these training seminars that I went to, and I had only gone to like three before, they were just very extremely unorganized. Even to this day, when I go to a seminar it shocks me how unorganized the seminar is. There is a lot to do, I have to give people a little bit of leeway because there is a lot to do in a seminar, but if you are going to have people pay you in order to attend an event you have to have great training and more importantly, the whole thing we built a big seminar on was a great experience from the moment that they walked in.

That is why we did things other people won't do, such as we fed everybody, we paid for lunches every day and we had a big dinner on Saturday night which cost me a boat-load of money. But at the same time the experience that they walked away from, just from feeding them, was probably as much if not more important than the actual training that they had, because they were allowed to network more and they could have just a great networking experience.

Robert: Makes sense to me. Why are you not doing it anymore?

Armand: There is just so many things, I think the seminar business is changing quite dramatically. I knew that it was really time to move on, we were doing other things, my interest had changed. It's difficult dealing with nine or ten speakers, at that time we were doing them twice a year then we dropped down to only once a year. But doing my own trainings is a lot easier for me, because I just have to show up. And our team has done seminars so much that we can really put it together with our eyes closed, as far as putting on the seminar and handling the whole experience. And even now, because we are reinventing kind of ourselves in the seminar business, is that we are still making tweaks and modifications in order to even make that better. Because based upon our previous experience, I am looking - let me give you an example.

At the end of every event here's what happens, everyone is leaving and getting ready to go home. I have my whole team that was at the event, at the seminar come up to my room and then we sit down and we go through, literally every aspect of the seminar to see what people got, what people didn't get, is there anything that we missed, can we do this differently, how should we do it better next time that we do the event. So we have this kind of breakdown of the whole event after the fact in order to improve ourselves going forward. Even from the marketing aspect of it. Like right now, even though our next event is probably six months from now, maybe - not even six months, probably five months from now.

We are still already planning what the next event is, but more importantly the marketing of that event. Because you don't have the credibility of let's say nine or ten other speakers to get people to come, there is only me. What we have to do is say what are these people going to get and how are they going to get it, and everything else. So we need to think about the marketing strategy, the positioning of it and then obviously the carrying it through to the actual seminar and the actual event. The other aspect that we have added recently was the live-streaming of the event, which we realized that we can get as many people that are in the room actually on the live-streaming.

That doubles our audience that we are speaking to, so if there is maybe 150 or 200 people in the room, we can have at least that many people online streaming and watching it from home. So we are still talking to a room of 300 or 400 people.

Robert: It's kind of cool how it all ties together, even the same reason why you made this E-Book software, the same reason why you did the seminar is that you see how either people are doing things wrong or how even like you could be better, and that's why you are always changing based on what people want.

Armand: Yes, we are always trying to stay ahead of the market, what the market wants, what the market needs. Let me give you an example of that, I was doing this facebook, doing some advertising on facebook and there is a couple new strategies that I am implementing and one of them was basically to create a graphic and put it up on facebook. The question I had was well how could I make this easier for people to create a graphic without creating - this is the other question. Without creating an actual graphic software.

Robert: I was going to say make a facebook graphic generator.

Armand: Yes, that's what we could do, but I said well what if I could do it a little bit different of a way. Basically I found an online software that works through your browser that's free, and then it allowed you to save an actual file. What I am going to do, really, and this is how new this idea is - I thought of it yesterday. What I am going to do is I am going to use this online graphics program that's free - anyone can use it. Create the graphics, the basic templates, you can save it as a propietary format for that software. When I create this course and this video training on how I do this, a person will get these templates that they can upload into this free online software, and then from there they will be able to just really replicate and follow me along on the course and create their own graphics the way they want. I will just make it very-very simple.

Robert: I wonder if you could even buy the rights and put it right there in the membership site.

Armand: Yeah, that would not, with this particular company, probably not.

Robert: Oh darn. So close. Speaking of, kind of getting back to your training and your membership sites, whenever there is a big seminar, I always see you promoting your Master Mind called AM2, so how did you get started with that?

Armand: It was an idea, AM2 started off an idea, in fact the real idea behind AM2 is that actually a friend of mine, Alex Mendosium, and Alex and I own companies together and we came up with this idea to put together this training. In the first rendition of AM2 was actually, it looks nothing like it is today. We actually had, I think it was 12 people to begin with and the idea behind it was we will train you and in the back end you will pay us 5% of what your business does. That was the original agreement. We had a bunch of people, 12 people actually joined throughout that time. Some of them you know, like Heather Sipes and Stu McCleran and Paul Culligan, and several other people.

What happened was that worked and that worked to a certain degree, but we were always making improvements to it where we did trainings and brought other people in on our trainings, and it got to the point where the directions that Alex and I were going were actually going in two different directions, and so when the opportunity came and Alex wanted to kind bow out of it, I bought him out and so I took it over. And then we made some drastic changes. Meaning that I had some ideas, like mini Master Mind groups which actually didn't turn out.

This is kind of the interesting part, because with AM2 we, at one point had these little tiny Master Mind groups where each one of my plantinum members would actually take over a Master Mind group. And, then they would do a once a week training. Well I thought that's what people wanted because that's what they said that they wanted, but what we discovered was because people were being held accountable each week, they didn't show up. That was kind of a weird part for me.

I just said let's kind of change this around, so we went to an online forum and we made some modifications, and that's worked out well as far as what we've been doing. Now there is even another step behind this that we have been working on for a long time, probably longer than what we should but it is to create our own social networking platform just specifically for AM2 where it works very similar to like a facebook, but it is just AM2 members participating in it. That's kind of the next step for us.

But the idea behind AM2 really is to just give people the training and the up to date training not only weekly, but the latest things that I may be working on. For example, like some of the new facebook stuff that I am working on or some of the new things I am doing inside of WordPress which isn't let's say typical, as with a lot of other people. We run everything off of WordPress, and we have done some things that other people haven't done yet, let's put it that way. It's just to give them the training that they need in order to build their business and go forward, or a new advertising strategy that I am looking at or new ways that we are looking at how we convert on our websites in order to make it better for us.

What we do is, and the way I look at almost everything especially in my courses or any kind of training, is that I look at myself as the guinea pig, where I will go first, I will either spend a bunch of money and try it out and if it works, then I will be able to report back as far as how it works. If it didn't work then I will be able to say well this didn't work or that didn't work. They are not just getting a bunch of theory, everyone is getting actually real world advice from someone who is actually doing it. I will show you my results and that's why if you look at almost any course I have ever done, I am always the example.

I will show you, this is what I did, this is my results and here's how you can do it too. And that is really the formula for every single one of my courses. I don't have a bunch of other people inside there talking about other sites or anything like that, I am talking about here's what I did using this technique and here's my results, and this is exactly how I did it and then I just walk people through step by step of what I just did.

Like you said earlier, where people may be thinking that they can't create a course, that's the process. You do it first, you prove that it works, so you may have a theory at first then you prove that it works, so it's no longer a theory it's an actual technique or strategy. And then you just simply go back and you explain to people exactly what you did in order to get those results. I think it's pretty easy.

Robert: That was one of the most important things I learned from you. Probably number one was double your prices, but number two was just do, it's kind of like just do what you were going to do anyway. If you were going to mess around with facebook, then kind of get the hang of it but then do it in front of someone, and I think that is a big difference than what you see a lot of marketers, especially new marketers do is I will see them just like buy five courses on facebook and then put them all together and then it's going in five different directions, it's super complicated.

But then the way I see you do things is first of you will say, well I am going to give you everything you need, so if there is any kind of software templates, it's in there, but it's then it's something that you are going to do anyway. If you are going to do it anyway, you might as well get paid for doing it right?

Armand: When I look at my, like my advertising strategies or anything that I am doing. I am looking at it and at the same time in the back of my mind I am thinking, well I can do this but can other people do this. I am always thinking about, this isn't just me doing a technique, it's actually kind of market research. It makes everything I do actually market research for possibly a product.

Now some things, let's just face it, are just way too complicated, some things I may do inside my business to turn into a product, but then maybe later on I may think of a different way to present it or a different way to do it that does make it easier and then I can show other people how to do that.

Robert: I will see you all the time, you will present something at platinum one time and then present it on like at an Armand Live, saying the exact same thing only a little simpler, until you are finally ready to do it in an actual course, and then it's as few clicks as possible.

Armand: And it's kind of funny that you mention that because a lot of times that's what happens is I will teach something and I will talk to the platinum group, and I will be showing them a strategy and I can pretty much talk openly and explain the strategy and show them step by step of how to do that. But then, I might say the same thing at an Armand Morin Live where I will have to simplify it down for the majority of the people in the audience, and then maybe even after doing that a couple times where I got the hang of it as far as I know the questions that people are having because after I teach something there is always a bunch of questions that people come up to me privately and ask me - well how did you do this or how did you do that.

I will simplify it again, and then hopefully that will remove those questions and I won't have as many. And then many times, from that point I will turn it into a product. And that is one, just one pathway to create a product. But a lot of times that is how it does work.

Robert: It makes sense to me. Well cool, so we talked about a lot of cool stuff. Armand talked about how you do software, how you do training courses, how you come up with an idea. Usually it's like you see a hole in the marketplace or see you try to do something and either the way to do it isn't easy enough, you make the first iteration of it, and then you try it out on other people, and you kind of become the guinea pig. You see how do people implement training, can I make it easier, how do I use the software can I make it easier.

We talked about how do you compete against everyone else who is more complicated or tries to appear more advanced than you. And you said, be the first person to market, the easier to use and have better support, which is cool because that applies to if you are doing a Master Mind or a seminar, doing software, anything you are doing. And, yeah so it's been cool to talk to you and just kind of look inside your head for a little bit and kind of see how things got started, how things have evolved from the seminars into the live streaming, from doing videos at a membership site to now those are live. And then now they are kind of turning into a budding press, a facebook kind of thing.

If someone wants to, just to know how you are doing, what you are working on what's you next big thing - where should they go?

Armand: They can simply just go to and you will see if we are doing something new and you can go there, you can also subscribe to our newsletter list, which you can do right on that website as well too.

Robert: You can subscribe in as few clicks as possible, right?

Armand: Exactly. Right on the main page.

Robert: Sounds good to me, that's where it should be., everywhere go there right now and everyone have a great day.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Ed says:

    Hey Rob…

    Such a cool post…you know when I get my game head on as regards how keep a list warm I always tend to think about HOW I can play with the price structure as regards reaching out to more people in the CTR’S…

    BUT…like you mention in this post HELL why should I at the end of the day some other Joe has paid in FULL and after the fact ALL comers missed the boat and thats that!

    Yeah you’re SO SO right on that score…at the end of the day I feel when you start bending to ALL requests on price you are only DE-valuing yourself on service and overall *BRAND*!

    Brilliant post my friend….Ed.

  2. Ed says:

    OOPS…is the first word last comment was meant for *missed flight post*….HOWEVER while I’m here…I’ll dive in on this call!

    I genuinely have been a follower of Armands for well I’d say the last couple of years now…as a matter of fact one of my sales funnels on my auto responder is set out on his advice from *Desk Top Bucks*…great membership site.

    As far as a lot of the content and comments discussed in this transcript…has been a real eye opener for me you have a great way about you Rob and you really do present yourself in a very professional way!

    See in you in the mix…NEXT TIME round….Ed.

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