Learning how to win high end clients for your business is the holy grail for consulting professionals and it’s not as mega difficult or time-consuming as you’re led to believe.
Online we’re seeing increasing focus on tactics for gaining superstar visibility or making sassy sales pitches that would have you believe you need to be everywhere to succeed with a high ticket offers. And it just perpetuates the swell of content in the marketplace – and then more people jump on the band wagon selling their ‘formula’ for social media success.
It’s incredible the level of busy work being done (on facebook in particularly), which perpetuates the myth that it’s impossible to win high-end clients without the hard sell or big launch or having a huge following. It’s helpful, of course, but when you’re starting out, the pay-off of spending all that time putting out content isn’t always there.
So I want to say stop clocking up hours behind your screen and earning peanuts. Pick one or two platforms that suit you – a FB group, a podcast, blogging, but don’t try to do them all unless you’re at the stage you can hire a team or outsource.
Here’s how to leverage your time and expertise in more profitable pursuits:
Build a value stack – a low-priced niche offer that gets you on the radar of your most ideal high end clients to whom you can demonstrate you can help.
I still believe that “content is king” – but the days of giving away free content are numbered. You only need to spend five minutes on google, facebook, youtube, twitter or instagram to see the sheer quantity of freebies, challenges, videos and webinars. People are overwhelmed.
A CONTENT-led strategy is totally exhausting both for producers and consumers. When you switch to a LEVERAGE-led strategy you gain more traffic and engagement with less work. Yay!
Those you see doing a tonne of content marketing are most definitely NOT doing it all themselves, they’ve reached the level of profitability where they have a team, they have systems, they have leverage.
Or of course, when you add up the number of paying members and price tag some are charging, they really aren’t making the kind of revenue a consultant in professional practice makes. So why would you work 24/7 doing all that social media posting for not much gain …?
Now here’s the secret no-one tells you …
To succeed in the digital arena, you actually don’t need to be putting yourself out there on multiple channels all day long.
I certainly want a healthy work-life balance, so I’m not constantly on the content treadmill. That’s why I put a lot of my content into books and courses – it gives me leverage! I only publish a blog article once or twice every month and my podcast (if I decide to do one) will broadcast just once a week.
And all the social media postings that drive my SEO and traffic back to my site will come from just one piece that I repurpose into different media formats for different channels. I’m learning how to get better with PR working with a top PR expert just for this reason alone!
When you use a product-led strategy, it isn’t dependent on any additional content marketing at all – you can pinch pics of the product for content or slice bits off and use that to promote the product!
If you have a high-end offer – where clients pay you £1k – £10k to work with you – it may seem counterintuitive to introduce a low-end offer, right?
The reason people are doing it though is because it’s PROFITABLE. Pretty good reason!!
Offering one niche-focused, low-end product means you can engage and educate a specific target market in one go.
One straightforward offer means you’re not having to work endlessly to publish content in order to gain the “know, like, trust” that’s crucial to high-end client sales. Your value stack does all the heavy lifting for you.
When I’m working on how to win high end clients with my iSuccess business owners, we work towards a LEVERAGED BUSINESS MODEL where the focus is on creating a core product or service alongside a value-focused funnel stack. The “value” is based on quality not quantity – getting an early result for customers.
I dive into this in more detail in my book “Leveraged Consulting in the Digital Age” – easy click to order here – but in essence it’s a 5-step strategy that looks like this:
- Your target audience wants to solve a specific problem (which is part of a bigger goal)
- You provide valuable content and help them (with that specific problem or the first step in the bigger goal)
- They get results and come back for more (of what else they can buy from you)
- This forms the basis of your upsells (so they can see what else they need or will need to achieve the next step and reach the bigger goal)
- Getting a result for them leads into offering them your high end programme (e.g. something that helps them get the step #1 result faster or achieve the bigger transformation – the next step(s) or all the steps).
At any stage, they can stick, twist or fold in terms of your next offer. The key to making an offer work is presenting the right thing to the right people in the right way.
If you know your target market really well and learn how to articulate their pain points well in your copy, chances are your conversion will be good and your funnel will be profitable so you can leverage that and scale up by running paid ads into.
If your conversions are poor or your pricing is too low, you may need to go back to look at your choice of niche, message-to-market match, keywords and/or sales copy.
As people move into your funnel by opting into an initial free or low-cost compelling offer, you will capture their name and email address so you can engage regularly and you can deepen the connection. You only need to email once a week, it just keeps you in the inbox.
And because they’re on your list, you can present your low-end offer again, or offer something else. By putting out a few different offers or testing the messaging, you’re also able to learn and fine-tune how to win high end clients in your niche and target market.
So here are five steps you can put into your value ladder to create a funnel stack. This follows my simple Engage-Educate-Enrol pathway part of the leveraged consulting system I wrote about in Leveraged Consulting in the Digital Age (I talk about the funnel stack on page 211).
#1 – The GIVEAWAY offer
The first block in the “stack” is what you’re probably using in your marketing already to attract attention, generate leads and engage your audience, such as free reports, blog posts, articles, video series, webinars and so forth – usually scattered links around social media, perhaps running a little bit of paid ads to boost engagement.
Subsequent blocks are used to continue to give value in ways that move people through an educational experience after which they may or may not decide to enrol in your high-end programme or service. There’s a growing school of thought that ‘giveaway’ attracts non-buyers – freebie seekers and tire-kickers.
#2 – The BUMP offer
People often underestimate the power of having a uber low-end offer early on in your funnel stack – what’s often called a “bump” offer or tripwire. Low priced products, such as a book or pilot course – in the $10 to £40 range – do not require the level of “know, like, trust” that a higher priced offer does.
It’s a low-risk to say yes to a $27 product if people see clearly it solves an immediate need or problem they have right now. Notably, if you’re driving paid traffic to your capture page, earnings from these may help cover off ad spend.
#3 – The OTO offer
Adding an upsell is a great way to increase the spend of that person if the next thing you offer them is closely related to the first offer. If it’s similarly priced, it’s easy to say yes again and add it to the cart.
A more expensive upsell or cross-sell – at say $197, $297 price points – mostly needs some kind of scarcity, time-limit or ‘fear of missing out’ incentive, which is why it’s often called a “one-time-offer” (OTO). These early experiences of your expertise increase your credibility, and importantly they help to identify your most responsive prospects who are willing to buy.
#4 – The HIGH-END offer
A high-end signature type programme is the next most logical step once they are learning from you and seeing results from the mid-price “taster” if you like. This would be a chance for your customers to join a high level mastermind or course.
Price points vary and could be anything from $497 to $1997. (My Business Growth “Accelerator” programme is currently on offer for £997, so approx $1200 and is a ‘Done-With-You’ course, resources + support. It naturally leads into the next step, my high-ticket VIP consulting services where I work one-on-one with a client.
#5 – The VIP offer
This is your ultimate high-ticket offer, such as your one-to-one consulting or coaching services. You can offer an entry price point of a few thousand for an annual “inner circle” or a bespoke fee only for a handful of clients.
For instance, my client consulting work is based around either a £5k or a £10k programme of support with a clear set of deliverables/outcomes agreed at the point of contract. (Note that’s British pounds, so approx. $6k and $12k at the time of writing.)
Even here, I decided to niche down and offer a specific “Digital Roadmap” programme to corporate organisations (my main consulting client type). It made sense from a leverage point of view, because digital transformation and process improvement is my main focus nowadays and I don’t need to tailor it 100% every time for every client.
Implementing the funnel stack
Before you go implementing every step of this leveraged funnel stack, it’s important to understand the numbers behind it – it may be you don’t need five steps, you can make it work with three.
Here’s a very quick run-through of action points.
§ Sketch out your funnel stack in terms of how your freebie #1 leads into the #2, #3, #4 and #5 – the products and programmes you will offer, and put a rough figure on what you might charge for each of them.
§ Work out what income you want overall and use rough conversions of 20% to work backwards from how many leads, customers and sales that equates to.
§ Create a compelling ‘problem-focused’ titles and magnetic sales copy that speaks to what your customer/client will get from each product, programme or service.
§ Develop your marketing plan for how you are going to drive traffic to your website opt in or landing page. At first you should use ‘free’ organic traffic (costs time not money) and/or a small daily ad budget (cost money not time) to test out if your message hits home with your target audience/demographic – track impressions, clicks, email opens etc against sales and revenue.
§ Avoid the perfectionism trap – don’t procrastinate thinking everything has to be in place or exactly right from the start. Digital marketing is simple to test, tweak and make adjustments.