26. High Profit Presentations: Distilling Your Message

High Profit Presentations: Distilling Your Message

In the last episode, we talked about why you need a high profit presentation. It’s like a faucet that brings money directly into your business. 

But how do you change an underperforming presentation into a high profit one? Over the next few episodes, I’ll guide you on the high-profit messaging targets to aim for. 

But before you can fix any presentation, it’s important to recognize a low profit one in action. 

Low profit presentations use a lot of words, but they don’t convey a lot of meaning. This can kill your business. 

Why? If your offer doesn’t feel meaningful, your audience doesn’t see how it will make a difference in their lives. And then, they don’t buy. 

So how do you convey meaning? The first step is distillation. When your message is distilled, it’s like a martini. Simple, clear, and potent. When your audience consumes it, they feel something. 

“When meaning goes missing, so does money. Distilling your message lifts the meaning of your offer out of the murky depths and into your message where your customers can see it.” — Kelly Hollingsworth

Is your message murky? Undistilled? Let’s fix that!


  • Why you should avoid low-profit presentations at all costs
  • The definition of “demonetized zone” (and how to get out of one)
  • How to think about meaning, so you make more money
  • Why meaning is crucial: When meaning goes missing, so does money
  • Why I don’t use the term “impact.” (it’s a cliché generally used by struggling entrepreneurs)
  • Why your high-profit presentation doesn’t have to be perfect (conveying, even imperfectly, that “happily ever after” can happen gets you clients)
  • Target #1 – Distilling your marketing message — Clarity + Simplicity = Potency. Potency in messaging creates PROFITS
    • Potency / Power:
      • How it’s like a martini
      • Makes your audience feel that meaningful, positive change is possible
      • Enhances the most powerful parts of your message
      • Clarifies and simplifies the hero’s journey for your customer
    • The formula for potency: Meaningful Transformation expressed with Clarity + Simplicity
      • Clarity brings meaning to the forefront. Removes murkiness, and is like a sunken ship pulled to the surface
      • Simplicity removes the unessential. Cuts away the barnacles, strips away any unnecessary gunk



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Welcome to Episode 26 of How to Make More Money, a podcast that helps you get seriously good at the game of making serious money. I’m your host Kelly Hollingsworth. I’m thrilled you’re here because today we begin talking about some of the key differences between low profit presentations and high profit presentations.

Why do you need to know these differences? Because they high profit presentation attracts clients and customers and money to you. A low profit presentation repels these things. So picture this. Whenever your business is represented by a low profit presentation, what happens is that creates an ever-widening circle of scorched earth around you. This circle of scorched earth persists and widens the longer you use a low profit presentation. And if that continues long enough, it can kill your business. I think of this circle of scorched earth as a “demonetized zone.”

You’ve heard of a demilitarized zone? It’s a zone in which no military is present. And it’s the same thing with a demonetized zone. That is a zone in which no money is present. A demonetized zone can occur around any business, no matter how good you are. A low profit presentation will prevent the world from seeing it. The direct result of low profit presentations is a demonetized zone in which money just disappears. It’s like the Bermuda triangle of business and the money doesn’t reappear until you create a high profit presentation that attracts the money back into your business.

So today and in our upcoming episodes, I want to begin sharing with you some of the key differences between a low profit presentation and a high profit presentation. These differences are the targets to aim for in your marketing message. They’re the distinguishing characteristics that I’m aiming for. Whenever I create any kind of presentation, I shoot for these targets, whether it’s a podcast episode, a webinar, a keynote or workshop, a training session or an interview. Do I always hit the targets?

No, but anytime I’m speaking, writing or otherwise conveying ideas, these are the targets I shoot for. And even if I don’t hit them, just aiming for them makes for a better message. When you aim for these targets, even if you don’t hit them precisely, but you just get closer, you still hit the bulls-eye. Your audience far more readily understands the meaning behind your message. They feel the power of what you’re doing. And they want it for themselves.

So if you want to build a faucet that delivers money into your business, your message must create this powerful understanding of the meaning that your business creates. Your audience must easily understand the meaning behind your movement. Why? Because when meaning goes missing, so does money. So what exactly is “meaning?” When you hear the word meaning, think transformation.

Some business owners talk about impact. “I want a business that has an impact.” This word impact also conveys the idea of transformation. But impact isn’t a word I use very often. What I see is that impact is a word used by struggling entrepreneurs when they want their business to mean something. But often they don’t actually know what it means. And sometimes they’re not offering something that actually means anything to anyone. The word “impact” often gets trotted out most frequently by folks when they are actually disconnected from the meaning of what they do. This is why impact is a word I don’t use very often. I generally only hear it when I’m in a conversation with an entrepreneur who is feeling disconnected from meaning, and who is therefore speaking in cliches.

And here’s something else to notice. People in our audiences generally don’t think or speak in terms of impact. What they are seeking, when they are longing for transformation, is meaning. This is the word they use.

When you hear someone say, “It didn’t mean anything to me,” what they’re saying is that it didn’t affect me. It didn’t change me. It didn’t transform me or my life in any way. When you see someone demand, “What is the meaning of this?????”, they’re telling you in no uncertain terms that this thing you’ve done has changed things. There has been a transformation, but not for the better. For the worse. Meaning for the better is in line with what people want. Impact is less in line with what they want.

So now that we’ve cleared that up, the question is, how can you, in your marketing message, convey to your audience, that that’s what they are going to get from you? That they are going to get meaningful, positive change in exchange for their money that they pay to you? The answer is that you aim for the messaging targets that we’re going to talk about today and in the upcoming episodes.

If you hit these targets, that is the golden ticket. But just aiming for them will also make you a lot of money. When you even get in the neighborhood of these targets, your message is leaving the barren wasteland of the meaningless mundane.

This is critical. Whenever we say that something is meaningless, what we’re saying is that I don’t see how it will change anything. If in our minds it won’t change anything, why on earth would we spend money on it? We wouldn’t. We will, however, spend a great deal of money on something that we are certain will make our lives better. People want a happily ever after so much that in the absence of a real one, they will spend good money on a poor approximation. That’s how much humans hanker for happily ever after. And when you get in the neighborhood of the targets we’re talking about today, they will hear the happily ever after in what you’re offering. They will believe they will get there. And then they will buy.

So what’s the first target? It is distillation. An effective marketing message is, among other things, distilled.

Here’s how I visualize it. When you distill your marketing message, it turns into a martini. It becomes clear, simple, and powerful. It becomes a potent force for creating profits in your business. Because when something is potent, we know we’re going to feel it. We know that it’s going to make us feel something and change things. (Usually for the better, with a martini 😊),

We like potencies in our martinis. And we like them in our messages. Why do we like this? When something is potent, it has a great power, influence, and effect. When you drink a martini, you can instantly feel the influence and effect. And this is what you want in your marketing message. You want it to leave a mark. You want your people to feel its power and effect when they consume it.

Inside of gateway to seven, the first thing you do is watch the movie Legally Blonde, because lessons from that movie solve every business problem. And I’m only half joking here. The reason you watch the movie Legally Blonde is because that movie nails the beats of the hero’s journey in a way that’s easy to see and understand. That’s why it was a sleeper hit that got big box office. It distilled each element of Elle Woods’ heroic journey from California to Cambridge… From silly sorority girl to serious law student.

If you want big box office in your business, that’s what you need to do–nail each element of your client’s heroic journey on the path of the transformation that your business creates. And what’s involved in nailing these elements ,we’ll talk about in upcoming episodes. But once you’ve nailed them, you’ve got to distill the message, so your audience can hear the happily ever after in your message.

So once you’re inside Gateway to Seven, and you’ve seen an example of what a distilled marketing message looks like in terms of that movie–it’s just an example that we refer to over and over again. Then what do we do? Then we put the lessons to work in your business. When we do, what happens is that you are far more likely to hit the targets that create a high profit presentation.

So, as I said earlier, the first target we’re going to discuss today is distillation. When you distill your message, it becomes potent. It feels powerful, because distillation creates two things, clarity and simplicity. When your message is clear, what that means is you’ve enhanced the powerful parts of your message. You’ve brought them to the forefront, so they are easy to see and understand.

Here’s how I visualize this. Before I begin working with a client to distill their message, what’s meaningful about what they do often feels as if it’s lurking in the depths of the client’s mind. They know something’s there. They know it’s powerful. But the meaning behind it feels murky. So I see the meaning as a sunken ship that we are raising from the depths of the ocean. This is the distillation process. As the message becomes more distilled, the ship rises closer and closer to the surface. The value of what you do, in all of its facets, rises out of the murky depths. And then you can see it. It’s so much more clear. And when it’s clear to you, then you can begin speaking about it in your marketing message.

Your clarity about the meaning behind your business, the power of the transformation you create rises in your mind. And then it shows up in your message, and you begin communicating that meaning to your audience. Exactly what is so powerful about what you do. And this clarity on the part of your audience invites them into the transformation that your business creates. They see the power of the transformation with increasing clarity just as you do. And that clarity gets them to their happily ever after. And that creates cash for you.

That’s one thing that happens when we distill your marketing message. You get very, very clear on why, what you do is very, very beneficial. And you begin communicating about that. And then your audience hears it, and that draws them towards you. And you make more money. So this is one of the major benefits of distilling your marketing message. Distillation creates clarity. You can see in your mind the power of what you do.

You communicate it in your marketing message and your audience picks up on it. This is when what’s important, comes to the forefront. Distillation also creates simplicity when the previously sunken ship of the power and meaning of what you do rises up out of the murky depths. That’s clarifying. Simplifying is where we cut away all the barnacles and the seaweed and the gunk that’s attached itself to the ship, but that isn’t actually the ship. We cut all that away. We remove everything that’s unnecessary. And then people can see just the ship. There’s nothing attached that doesn’t need to be there. Stripping away the unessential is key because often the unnecessary stuff is what repels your people away from you. I saw this in the hedge fund world over and over and over. An investor would be ready to buy, and a struggling hedge fund manager–or his sales team–would keep offering a blizzard of additional information. And eventually the investor would get a headache and go skittering away.

When I was selling interests in my own hedge fund, I would present the offer–my high profit presentation. If the investor was used to being on the receiving end of low profit pitches from struggling hedge fund managers, the investor would often say, “Is that this all?” And I would say, “Yes, the only question now is, are you in?” Often, they would say “yes.” Sometimes they would say, “Well, I think I need more information.” And to this, I would say, “I’ve given you everything. What else is it that you think you need?”

And then I would shut my mouth. And in the space that was left by me shutting my mouth, and not filling the void with reams of information, what would happen? I created a vacuum, and the investor felt invited to fill that vacuum–that space–by telling me what he was concerned about.And I could address his concern, and either welcome him into the fund, or we could conclude that this wasn’t for him either way. At that point, we would know. (And here, I want to clarify I’m using the word “him” because it was always a dude. If I ever had a female investor, that would be thrilling, but it just never happened.)

So this story illustrates why so many people struggle with distilling their marketing message–one reason, at least, for why they want to keep adding to it, and why they don’t make money. Many struggling entrepreneurs–not just hedge fund managers, but folks in every kind of business–are terrified to make the offer simple and to invite their prospect to say yes or no. Instead, what happens is they keep talking. Struggling hedge fund managers I worked with over the decades would leave a presentation that was already too long, and call me up and say, “They asked a bunch of questions.

So we have to add this information and this and this, because people are asking for more information.”

And what I told them then, I will tell you now. No one wants more information. We are all drowning in it. What everyone wants is a distilled presentation that shows us how we are going to get exactly what we want. The excess stuff gives everyone a headache. So if we’re sticking with our martini analogy, the unnecessary stuff is what creates the headache. It’s another thing that repels people.

If you enjoy an adult beverage from time to time, you may have noticed this. You may have noticed that you feel better when you drink the clear stuff versus the darker stuff. Why is this the case? Well, here’s something that I just learned about spirits from our friends at bustle.com. It turns out that all distilled liquor starts clear or light, but dark spirits, for example, bourbon or scotch or Canadian whiskey, those liquors are aged in barrels. And when that happens, the spirits take on color and flavor from the barrels because of elements that leach from the wood, into the whiskey, these elements change the flavor. And often they contribute to that exquisite and very specific agony known as the hangover. Whereas clear ultra distilled alcohol leaves you feeling maybe not fantastic, but better than the darker stuff.

And this is as true with a marketing message as it is with a martini. I have definitely experienced an exquisite and specific type of agony in listening to the ever-expanding presentations my hedge fund manager clients would give. When I’m listening to a message that isn’t distilled. I am often in pain. I don’t talk about this a lot, but this happens because I have what I call a red pencil function in my brain that kicks in from time to time. It goes into high gear when I’m listening to someone who uses a lot of unnecessary words to say very little. Typically it kicks in in a commercial setting. It can also happen socially, but mostly it’s when someone wants to sell something and their message is long on words, but very short on meaning.

Here’s what this experience looks like for me. I see the words they’re saying on a screen in my head. And then my brain crosses out the unnecessary words with a red pencil. I can actually see a big red slash mark through the unnecessary words in my mind’s eye. I suspect this is unusual. I’ve told a few people about this over the years, and no one has ever told me that they have also experienced this type of thing. If you haven’t experienced this type of thing, it’s a little bit like reading a book that uses a lot of words to say nothing. It’s a book that could have been a brochure. That’s what happens to me when I’m in an undistilled marketing presentation, I get a big headache.

But you don’t have to have this red pencil function to also experience that headache. We have all gotten it from time to time. When it used to happen to me in the hedge fund world, I would say, “Guys, guys, guys, I am getting paid to listen to this. And I am in pain. We have to think about how your investors are going to feel when they are experiencing this. They’re going to feel terrible. So this needs to be cut down. We need to boil this thing down. So you get some clarity, simplicity, because that creates potency.” Those who listened to me were far more likely to get money, instead of “maybe”. Those who didn’t, they created scorched earth, because here’s the thing. You might get away with an undistilled presentation at the lower end of any market. But when you begin dealing with people at higher levels of any market, the players become more serious. And what happens with the more serious players is they’re far less tolerant of a marketing message and a sales process that isn’t serious. That is ill considered. That is undistilled.

When people get to this higher level of commerce, it’s in large part because they don’t give their time away. And they especially don’t enjoy giving their time away by throwing it down a rat hole of a sales presentation that could be one fifth of its current size. So a big thing we do inside Gateway to Seven is we distill your marketing message. You learn how to see what’s powerful in your offer and bring it to the forefront. You learn how to remove the yucky stuff. What’s not powerful. Cut that away from your message. And then your audience doesn’t have to slog through it to get to the appealing part.

When your message is distilled, the meaning behind your movement becomes crystal clear. One of them women instead of Gateway to Seven described it this way. “It’s like what I’m offering is the hope diamond. I have it in my hand, but it’s covered with mud. So no one could see the value of what I’m offering. And you’re helping me wash off the mud. So my audience can see exactly how valuable it is.”

This is the process of distillation exactly. Distilling your message is like washing the mud off of the Hope Diamond. If you want money, distillation is a target to aim for, with your marketing message. What’s the next target? That’s what we’re going to talk about next time. And thank you so much for being here today.