Fish, Poles, Boxes & Buttons

As told by Mike Filsame …

What is the connection between Fish, Poles, Boxes, and Buttons?

Well, I am sure you have heard the old lesson of:

“Give a man a fish, feed him for a day… If you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”

Now, while that is noble and true, the fact (the very very SAD fact) is that MOST people who want to eat fish do not want to learn how to fish. In fact, most people do not want to LEARN how to do anything.

So what does that mean? Does that mean that people really just want the fish?


But they don’t just want the fish, they want it cooked, served right out of the oven, with a great white wine, butter and lemon on to baste it, and some nice rice and vegetables on the side.

And … They want it in a nice environment, and they want pay a premium that includes someone else washing up

Here’s the progression…

Fish: Teach “How to” Catch Fish – 10% of market, high refund rate

Pole: Sell The Pole – 20% of market, medium refund rate

Box: Give Him The Fish – 30% of market, Low Refund Rate

Button: Prepare the Fish Dinner – 50% of market, Pays a Premium, keeps coming back, and virtually no refund rate

So we spoke about Fish and Pole … What do I mean by “BOX”?

Well, selling a “Box” is a whole lot better than teaching how to fish, or selling the tools (pole) to help you fish. ‘The Box’ means “Business in a box” or “Solution in a Box” – But it still requires the person to do a little bit of work.

So does that mean the best business to be in is selling “Buttons”?


You want to be in the business of selling buttons. People want to push buttons and get results. You want PUSH BUTTON NICHE results.

Look at the BUTTONS that sell every day on TV!

  • The Diet Patch – Place a patch on your arm, lose weight
  • The Diet Pill – Eat what you want, and still lose weight
  • The Roomba, cleans your house while you sleep
  • The Rotisserie Gold – Set It and Forget it
  • Magic Cream to Remove Wrinkles
  • Re grow hair while you sleep
  • Whiten Your Teeth in 2 minutes per day


If there is a service, there are ALWAYS people willing to pay more, to get better, faster, premium service. Look at airlines for example. People pay 10x the price to get in line faster and get off the plane first (to meet everyone at baggage claim at the same time) as well as a nice seat and better dining.

If you go to amusement parks like Disney, you will now notice they sell Premium PASS tickets, that means you pay an extra $20, and you can go on the express line and not have to wait on 45 minute lines to get on a ride while they just walk you right to the front.

We live in a FED-EX world. People want it NOW and they are willing to pay a premium to get it faster. (Just look at a Amazon check out.) – We can have it mailed for FREE with their super saver, or we can pay an uplift to have it tomorrow. Many people pay more for shipping than they do for a book, just so they can have it NOW, and not have to wait.

SIDE NOTE: You are losing money if you do not offer a premium price and better service. There are people that WANT to pay more to be a VIP or Platinum member. Just look at the VIP up-sell you see for dinners when we buy a seminar ticket

If you go to a Tony Robbins Event, he has Platinum Members in the front row. Then they have Premium tickets in the first 5 rows. These people pay $800 more than the average price. (Just like we see at sporting events. Better seats, premium price. And people are willing to pay. People pay up to $1 Million per year for luxury suites at ball parks and stadiums.)

WORSE: If you do not offer a premium service, people may not even use your product. They may only deal with people that will take more of their money to treat them better. I have many friends that will not fly Southwest Airlines because they have no “First Class” seating!

Fact: There is an expression in the sales business…

“Low Gross, High Grief – High Gross, Low Grief”

What that means is more often than not, the people that pay your more money are better clients. Those that penny pinch (more often than not) will be high grief. (You are better dealing with 10 people paying £1000 than 100 people paying £100.)

In fact, there is a little known secret in the insurance industry. If you ever wondered why they run your credit history (in the USA) when you go to pay for car insurance, you may be surprised what the reason is. They do not need to know your credit because they are not lending money. You pay first, then get a policy. If you do not pay, they just cancel you on the spot … SO WHY THE CREDIT CHECK?

The insurance companies have found that people with low credit scores generally have low cash flow. People with better credit unusually have better cash flow. The bottom line is, people with better cash flow are LESS likely to make a claim for an small fender-bender than people with poor cash flow (usually poor credit)

The end result is, people with good credit usually avoid making a claim and pay for the £800 repair themselves because they know that making a claim can raise their rates on all 3 cars, or they maybe even be dropped from auto and home all together. Poor cash flow people tend to place every little claim with the insurance company and therefore are not the ideal clients for a profit seeking private insurance company. So THAT is why an insurance company will not carry someone with a low credit score.

Bottom line is, you want to deal with PREMIUM customers.

Heck, if you give me the option, I will pay more, just because I want to be better than average. I will admit, I love to walk on a plane before everyone else and go faster through security while people give me that look like “You bastard – I have been here for 45 minutes!”

So I hope you are starting to see a picture here.

You want to offer premium services for people. You want to SELL BUTTONS … and buttons sell at a PREMIUM.

Lets look at Adsense as a niche …

Teach “How To” = FISH – You can write an ebook to teach people how to make money with Adsense. This may establish you as an expert. Sales will be not bad, and refunds will be higher than the following.

POLE (Make Fishing Easier) – You can create a software that makes it easy for people to make a site and place Adsense on it. Typically, I have found that software can outsell “HOW TO” almost 3 to one at double the price.

BOX (Just give them the freakin fish) – You can make site templates, that is like a business in a box. All they have to do is load them up, do a little work, and they can start making money, – Very low refund rate. (They rarely say, this is too hard. They know what they are getting)

BUTTON (Prepare the fish yourself) – You can build the sites yourself, then get them making money. And then you can sell this PUSH BUTTON “Turn Key” business for a premium and it will fly off the shelves and they will love you, pay you top dollar, beg you for more, and almost never refund.

And guess what, you can teach them to fish when they buy the BUTTON. You make that part of the FREE BONUS?

Are you starting to see the picture?

If you look at the example above, you can follow Joel Comm’s Adsnese business model trough the first three. After Joel Comm learned himself how to make money with Adsense, he wrote an ebook and starting a coaching program. He then followed with software. (POLE)

They both made him a pretty penny. But when he went to the “BOX” method, he sold 10 x more in a total of 7 days, then he did with both previous models in 2 years! And guess what … people lined up to pay him AGAIN, and the yet AGAIN when he came out with new “BOX” templates the 2nd and 3rd time!

Recently, I worked on a project in the same market. It took me and Ray (my partner on the project) almost 1 year to make the “Button”, and we sold-out the project in 7 hours!

We sold over 1000 sites, and made over $100,000 in just 7 hours and had to put SOLD OUT on the page. If I hade 10,000 sites, I could have sold them all and made $1 Million dollars. –

And the refund rate is near ZERO, and even though I stated: “once they are gone, they are gone”, I still have people coming to my help desk begging me, YES BEGGING ME, to build more sites for them and they will pay DOUBLE the asking price. – The price, $749 and they FLEW OFF THE SHELVES! –

1 EMAIL – 7 Hours – NO JV PARTNERS – No Pre-launch – ZERO BUZZ

CONTRAST: A much superior product I sold 2 months ago, was called me “” – This product sold for $497 (almost half of the pre-made sites) and quite frankly, is one of the best products you can buy today on building a business online. (Google Reviews to see)

Now, we did very well with these. Yet we needed a huge pre launch campaign and paid huge commissions to affiliates and had to rock the world for 7 days to do so.

But I am sad to report, the refund rate on this product was higher than I wanted. I was hoping for 3% (Because it is so good.) It was more than double that. It was 8.2% – That’s right, over 200 people shipped the course back to us. While I was heart broken, it was a simple reason…

REASON: The Course Was Teaching People “How To” Fish.

We would get calls stating. “I want to return it” We asked why? “I did not even open the box, I just do not have time to learn all this”

or… “I opened the box, and felt overwhelmed”

or… “I skimmed thru the pages, I already know it all” (Yet, I have not made any money online, and this is a DVD course, and the ‘pages’ were only transcripts of the quality DVD’s to use as a way to take better notes.)

or… “Now What?” We said, watch DVD1, then 2, then 3, and go thru the course. – The person said: “I do not want to go thru the course, I already saw everyone speak. I just want to know what to do to make money.”

Essentially – “Don’t show me the recipe, just give me the pie”

But what I realized, is the main reason these people asked for refunds is simple, they just do not want to take the time to learn, or they do not see learning as fun. They do not want to learn how to fish, they just want the fish!

And not just the fish, they want it cooked and served with fine wine.

The bottom line is, when you can offer someone the total solution, they will line up to pay a premium. Of course, we always want to provide top quality value and exceed expectations.

And a quick side note as well. If you provide a service, that has an easy way to track a high ROI (Return On Investment), you now have the Golden Goose.

i.e. If you have a service that provides traffic to a website or something like that, people will line up to pay you as much money as they can muster, for as much traffic as you can deliver, just so long as what they spend with you can give them more in returns than they are spending. (Look at Google Adwords.)

So what can you do with this information I outlined here?

You can go through your business and decide if you are teaching how to fish or are you selling poles, boxes, or buttons.

If you are not selling buttons, rethink what you can do in your business to sell BUTTONS and and watch your profits soar as people line up to throw premium prices as you and beg you for more and more. They will be the best customers you ever had.

Better yet, see if you can create a Golden Goose service for your customers. If you ask your customers the right questions, they will tell you what they want.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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