Stick Like Glue Radio #157 On this special episode of Stick Like Glue Radio, I interview the serial entrepreneur and bestselling author John Warrillow on his “Automatic Customer” strategy. A powerful ‘extending call’ with lots of nuggets – don’t miss it!

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Stick Like Glue Radio


On this special episode of Stick Like Glue Radio, I interview the serial entrepreneur and bestselling author, John Warillow, on his “Automatic Customer” strategy. This is a powerful ‘extended call’ with lots of nuggets – don’t miss it!


Main Questions Asked:

  • What led you to write Automatic Customer?
  • Talk about the 5 trends driving the subscription economy?
  • How do companies like Dollar Shave Club and BirchBox make money?
  • Talk about the 9 subscription models.
  • What is the psychology behind selling a subscription?
  • How do you help people get their businesses ready for sale?


Key Lessons Learned:

  • Lack of recurring revenue is a factor that can drive down companies.
  • Most people think subscription models are for software or media companies, but John has developed 9 subscription models regardless of the industry.


The Subscription Economy

  • Many businesses are moving from the transaction economy to the subscription economy.
  • Examples of businesses that have introduced subscriptions are Starbucks, AMC, and Adobe.
  • Young people want ‘access’ as opposed to ‘assets.’
  • The subscription model locks in customer loyalty as subscribers have already paid up front and won’t be tempted to shop elsewhere.
  • When people subscribe, they want to get their money’s worth and tend to use the service more.


Successful Subscription Companies

  • Often the subscription is somewhat of a Trojan horse for a larger sale the company wants to make.
  • Recurring relationships with customers creates loyalty and familiarity.
  • Subscription companies are the platform that other products are bought and sold to that customer group.


Dollar Shave Club

  • This company uses the ‘consumables’ model.
  • The concept is that we buy things that run out. Replenishing the items offer no inherent value.
  • This model offers taking an item off your ‘to-do’ list.
  • The consumables model also applies to B2B models such as HP printer cartridges.



  • BirchBox sends cosmetic samples every month.
  • This company uses the ‘surprise box’ model and takes a category that people feel passionate about.
  • BirchBox makes money as they get free samples and charge subscribers $10 per month.
  • The business model is getting customers to buy full-size versions of the samples online.
  • Half of the BirchBox subscribers have purchased full-size items on the BirchBox website.


Amazon Prime

  • Amazon Prime is the biggest success story when it comes to subscription services as it’s a $4B business.
  • Amazon Prime masks the fact that the subscription causes people to buy more from Amazon.
  • Non-Prime customers spend an average of $500 per year.
  • Prime customers spend $1,500 per year.
  • The act of subscribing causes a behavior that makes customers buy more.


Psychology Behind Selling a Subscription

  • Companies approach this model with a 10x mindset. This means that the subscriber gets ten times the value than if they were just buying a la carte.
  • Think about your value proposition and create a subscription offering.


Membership Websites

  • Take your expertise and put it behind a pay wall.
  • What do you do better that 99% of people?
  • This model works well for providing advice, council, worksheets, templates, and advisory services.


Built To Sell

  • The premise is creating a business that would be attractive to an acquirer whether you want to sell in a year’s time or in twenty-five years.
  • How your business is viewed by an acquirer gives you the ultimate freedom to run your business.
  • Buyers are attracted by financial performance, quality of bookkeeping, growth potential, and monopoly control.
  • The normalization process means you recast your profit and loss so that it appears as though the business is operating under normal circumstances.
  • Structuring your business so it doesn’t rely on you can take years.


Links to Resources Mentioned

Built to Sell

Value Builder System

The Automatic Customer

9 Subscription Models (Free E-book)


Click to Tweet

What trends are driving the subscription economy? Find out w/ @johnwarrilow & @newsletterguru

What is the psychology behind subscription models? Find out w/ @johnwarrilow & @newsletterguru  


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