The Skyscraper System: How To Turn Your Business Into A Perpetual Profit Machine

Written by Steve De La Cour

On March 11, 2020
The Skyscraper System How To Turn Your Business Into A Perpetual Profit Machine

This is the biggest marketing problem I’ve ever seen.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard people ask this.

“I need more traffic”

Which is often closely followed by:

“And I need more conversions”

If this sounds like you, and you’re struggling to drive traffic to your website, business or store, let alone when people actually show up and they end up not converting or buying, I wouldn’t blame you in thinking you have a traffic and conversion problem.

You’re not alone – most marketers & entrepreneurs obsess over their traffic and conversions.

I’ve spoken with thousands over the years, and in my experience most of them are looking in the wrong direction.

They have it all wrong!

You see, these are just symptoms of a far greater problem.

And if you only knew how easy this problem was to fix…

It all comes down to the Skyscraper System.

Marketing heavyweights like Russell Brunson use it, Ryan Deiss uses it too, as does Frank Kern, Neil Patel, Bill Bonner, Mark Ford (Aka Michael Masterson), and so many others.

This system is the foundational secret behind their success, and how they’ve generated hundreds of millions, and in some case billions.

And today I want to give it to you…


The Secret The World’s Best Marketers DON’T Want You To Know



That’s how many startups fail in the first 36 months (according to Startup Genome).

Clearly they’re doing something wrong.

Whilst they’re so busy doggedly focusing on traffic and conversions, they’re missing the real problem.

More often than not it’s a “funnel problem”…

Jeff Bezos once told a reporter, “Your margin is my opportunity”.

Bezos sees his competitor’s obsession over margins (and other fancy financial figures) as an opportunity for Amazon.

How so?

Well since his competitors cling to those margins and ratio’s for dear life, Amazon can focus on absolute dollar free cash flow.

Dan Kennedy probably explained it best when he said, “Ultimately, the business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins”.

The real reason most businesses don’t make it is because they can’t spend enough to acquire a customer.

The second you can do that, when you can start making three to four times as much money for each customer, hoowee that’s where the real magic happens.

When you can do that the whole game changes!

This is the secret sauce the world’s elite marketers don’t want you to know.

It’s the ace up their sleeves, their profit printing press, and for a select few it’s their billion-dollar blueprint.

Because when you can do this, you can suddenly afford to buy traffic from a whole bunch of different places, you can outspend and even outbid your competition, all whilst you become exponentially more profitable.

And do you want to know the real kicker?

When you’re in a position where you can spend more to acquire a customer than your competition, by default you’ll bring in more traffic, conversions, and sales in the process.

Oh the sweet irony.

So, the real question then becomes…

What system can enable you to be able to spend more to actually acquire customers?


REVEALED: The Billion Dollar Business Blueprint


I call it the Skyscraper System.Value Price Matrix

It’s a systematic method of ascending someone through a multi-step sales process that perpetually offers them more value with each step they take (and gets them to spend more money each time).

Think of it as a function of price and value. As the value increases, so does the price (of what your customer pays you for).

But the best part is that it literally gets people wanting to pay you more, and buy more from you.

Picture it like the different levels or floors on a skyscraper.

Each floor represents a product or service your customers can buy, that offers them a ton more value than the floor (IE product) below it. Each floor costs more than the previous one, and provides a whole lot more value too.

The entire aim here is that you want to get as many people to the penthouse as possible (the top floor).

This represents how you can provide them with the most value possible, and also what you can charge the most for.

The penthouse basically represents your most elite product or service.Skyscraper Example

Now, on the opposite end sits the base of your skyscraper. At the base of your skyscraper is all the stuff you give away for free, or the things you use to generate leads.

This could be anything from free reports, to whitepapers, webinar signups, tools, calculators, free consultations, coupons and so on.

Remember, the entire point of this bottom level is to get people into your skyscraper.

The very next level up from this are usually low-dollar offers (what marketers refer to as “tripwire” products), or what I like to call “trigger” products (because they trigger a ‘buying frenzy’ when done right).

The purpose of this second level is to build a list of buyers. In most cases it’s NOT to make money (yet).

Think about it like this: What’s easier / cheaper to do, acquire a new customer or get a customer you already have to spend again with you?

Clearly the latter (studies back this up too).

If you’re doing this at break-even, then you’re essentially building a list and a base of customers for free – so the single most important thing to your business is costing you nothing (and they haven’t even bought your core product yet either!).

Are you starting to see the power of this?

So, the entire purpose of a trigger product is to build a list of buyers (as well as add to your ‘house list’). You can then use that list of buyers to ascend a percentage of them to the next floor of your skyscraper (usually reserved for a core product).

If you’ve ever heard a direct response marketer refer to something called the “Frontend” or “Frontend Products”, this is what they’re talking about.

Free resources (IE lead generators) and low-dollar products (IE paid list builders) are found on the frontend of your marketing strategy.

At this point I’m sure you’re probably wondering why the frontend is even necessary?

Well think of it like this, if I came to you on the street and asked you for a million bucks to grow your business you’d probably cross the road as quickly as you possibly could to get away from me.

You don’t propose marriage on the first date. That always ends up exactly the way you think it does.

It takes numerous dates, time, trust and ultimately a relationship to get there.

It’s no different in business.

The frontend is just that series of ‘initial dates’ that pushes your new customer up your skyscraper, so they can eventually buy your best product or service (IE your penthouse). The entire purpose of your skyscraper is to provide crazy amounts of value on each level, so your clients will naturally want to ascend to the next one, get their hands on even more value, and pay you more money.

Ok, let’s move on…

After the frontend you start getting to core products and other upsells, or what’s called the “Backend”.

This is where the real money is made.

These are the high-ticket offers, the meaningful upsells (I like to call these ‘profit pitches’), and the products or services that usually have a few zeros attached to them.

This is your bread and butter.

Think of things like software subscriptions, courses, events, programmes, memberships, retainers, coaching and so on.

However, no skyscraper is really complete without some form of continuity – A way for you to be able to charge on a recurring basis.

Ideally this should be your core product, and something you can bill for monthly.

For Ryan Deiss and DigitalMarketer its their DM Lab subscriptions, for Russell Brunson it’s his ClickFunnels software, for Neil Patel it’s his agency retainer, and for Noah Kagan and Appsumo it’s their PLUS membership and/or Briefcase membership.Recurring Revenue Examples

You get the idea.

I’ve also seen people put together wellness programmes, monthly coaching sessions, freelance packages, retainers and so on. Your ability to make money on this level is only limited by your imagination.

This type of income becomes the lifeblood of your business.

And it doesn’t end there either, you can always add levels above this. In fact, if you aren’t you’re leaving money on the table!

A percentage of your customers will always want to pay a premium to get more value, never forget this.

So, are you starting to see why so many businesses get it so wrong?

They don’t have a skyscraper, they barely even have a part of one (IE a single floor), or worse yet they can never find customers or make money with their marketing and can never seem to build a business because of it.

This is the biggest mistake most small businesses, marketers and entrepreneurs make.

They launch with a product or service, and think that buying a few ads is going to make them rich.

When things take a turn for the worse and the platforms they once heavily relied upon dry up – like when Google decides to cut off the organic traffic flow with yet another update, or Facebook ad costs suddenly skyrocket – these businesses become yet another statistic and go belly up.

A skyscraper changes all of that.

When you implement the skyscraper system, your customers suddenly become immensely more valuable to your business. Three, four, or even five times as much.

In ‘marketer speak’ we call it increasing your customers lifetime value.

When your customers are worth more than they were before, you can start spending more to acquire them.

Remember what we said earlier: “The business that can spend the most to acquire a customer wins

This is how you win.


How To Build YOUR Skyscraper


At this point I’m sure you’re probably trying to figure out how you can build a skyscraper for your business.

This step probably requires most of the work, but its so worth it.

Most businesses I come across only have part of one (usually something on the frontend, or on the rare occasion a single ‘premium’ product on the backend).

If this sounds like you, then you need to figure out how you can add either products or services to the frontend of your skyscraper as well as the backend.

And if you don’t have some form of continuity or recurring revenue, either as your core product or on a level near your core product, you need to find one.

If you’re stuck, here are a few questions you can ask when building out your skyscraper:

  • What other types of value can you provide people?
  • Is there a way you could possibly get more hands-on with them?
  • Can you give your customers some form of personal attention?
  • Are there any supplementary services or even products that could enhance your core offer?
  • What new problems do your customers now have (that you can solve for them) after purchasing the previous product or service in your Skyscraper?
  • What ‘Do It Yourself’, ‘Done With You’ or ‘Done For You’ services can you include?

If you can keep coming up with higher levels of products & services that offer more value, you can keep charging more & more money. There is always something else you can offer.

If you find that you only have a frontend product, then you need to start selling stuff from the backend. Think about things you could bundle together like coaching programs, live events, and so on.

If you have a fairly higher priced product that seems to live on the backend or in the middle of your skyscraper, think about what type of frontend products you could add as a lead generator or as a trigger product. And then don’t forget any further backend upsells either.

Here are a few examples of other people’s skyscrapers for inspiration:

DigitalMarketer + Russell Brunson Skyscraper Examples

Todd Brown Skyscraper Example


The Secret Marketing Formula You Can Use To Turn Your Business Into A Perpetual Profit Machine


You don’t have a traffic and conversion problem.

Your business needs a skyscraper.

When you build one you increase the value your customers are worth to you, in turn allowing you to spend more to acquire new customers.

This is the secret formula. This is how you win.

Remember, your skyscraper is comprised of two parts (and multiple levels):

  • The Frontend: The bottom level is how you generate your leads with free resources, like lead magnets. You ascend them to the next level by offering them a low-dollar offer (in order to build a list of buyers)
  • The Backend: You then upsell your core product / service to that list of buyers (which ideally brings in recurring revenue). Of the people who convert to your core product, you upsell again to further backend products of higher value. You keep doing this until they reach the penthouse.

Building a skyscraper for your business will change the game for you.

When you can afford to spend the most to acquire a customer, that’s when you win.

Until next time, here’s to penthouse profits.

Steve DLC
Steve De La Cour
Founder & CEO

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