Have you ever put a website or sales page together, even created a new service or program, that you thought was one of your best irresistible packaged offers in terms of visible value and got little engagement, and no sales whatsoever? That’s what we’re tackling in this article (and podcast episode).
If you’re scratching your head how to leverage your expertise through new products or programs, stay tuned. Today, we’re on the second part of this mini-mini series on leveraging your value proposition.
Last week, in the first part, we talked about creating visible value in terms of your positioning in the marketplace. And today, we’ll dive into how to create irresistible packaged offers that deliver high-value results to your target market.
And the two parts must be aligned – visible value and an irresistible offer – and that’s what we call a packaged program.
Being able to charge premium prices – whether it’s your services, a group program or a course – isn’t just about cost, it’s about the perceived value for money in the eyes of your customer.
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Aligning Your Offer with a Value Proposition
The central premise of creating irresistible packaged offers is that you need to “woo” your prospective clients with relevant and helpful content before attempting to sell them on your high-end offer.
If you create visible value so they find you AND they enjoy your material AND feel they’re getting value, these initial encounters can blossom into a stronger relationship. Things may get a little more serious and your new-found friend (aka prospect) becomes willing to spend more time and money with you.
If you’re a service provider, you are probably trading your personal time, knowledge and skills for money. You get paid usually on an hourly or daily basis, or you’re on a monthly retainer. If you’re a little more leveraged, maybe you deliver your solution as a project or group program.
In packaging irresistible offers, we have to get the messaging right about the result your client wants, and you have to get the delivery vehicle right – the mechanism if you like.
Two things are important to know here about successfully packaging irresistible offers.
First, people don’t purchase products primarily for their features or functions. In fact, function is simply a means to deliver what a customer really wants: benefit. That’s where the value lies in what you offer, what you do, what you deliver to your customer or your client.
In all or any of these cases, in order to deliver “good value” to your clients and maintain premium profitability for you, you must know how to plan, price, prioritise, package, promote, schedule and leverage your expertise for maximum efficiency.
Second, well-packaged irresistible offers speak to how well what you do resonates with your target market, more so than the quality of what you do, your professionalism, your methodology, your policies, guarantees, customer support and so forth.
Last week, in the first part, we talked about creating visible value in terms of your positioning in the marketplace. And today, in part 2 we’ll dive into how to package irresistible offers that convey the promise of something your target client really wants.
When you put a website or sales page together, create a new service or program, promote the offer, and get little engagement, and no sales whatsoever, more often than not, it’s not always a case of the offer didn’t land.
Sometimes it’s not that what you offer isn’t great, and it’s not always a quality or a capability problem, it’s that you’re not communicating clearly enough how it aligns with their need.
Packaging irresistible offers means articulating exactly how your solution can change the problem or situation they’re facing.
And it starts by meeting them where they’re at – their current pains, problems, frustrations, challenges.
I’ve talked before about the customer journey and what I call a kind of ‘client dating’ process. There are differing schools of thought on whether having a lot of low-end products works for a high-end consulting or coaching business.
But it doesn’t hurt or create too much work to put at least one stepping stone between your first date and your marriage proposal
Randy Shattuck founder of the Shattuck Group management consulting firm talks about the nature of selling professional services as being all about the promise.
“The first step in growing a service firm is getting clarity around your promise. It should be attractive to your ideal client and speak to what matters to them.”
The Pleasure Principle of Pricing
Promise is a lot to do with branding, and from there a lot to do with pricing. This is explained really well in an article titled Price and Pleasure from brand strategy consultancy the Tronvig Group – link in the show notes. Let me summarise.
There’s a school of thought – well actually it’s human psychology – that says paying more for something makes us feel good. When something is expensive we tend to be more likely to take a liking to it. The high price sets off our pleasure sensors in the brain.
In the absence of genuine expertise in judging quality, price is a shorthand to our perceived value or quality.
Behaviour experiments back this up. What’s interesting is that if you are like most people, you will be happier with your purchase if you spend the extra money.
In fact, our belief or perception that “high price equals high quality” is also highly influential even in the presence of expertise. When you buy an expensive piece of clothing or bottle of wine, we make it so in our mind even if the experience ends up not so great.
Perhaps we’d rather justify the purchase than beat ourselves up about spending all that money.
So customer perceived value is just as important from a marketing and sales point of view as actual value – the figure we come up on paper to justify the price we charge.
And most consultants and coaches continue to undercharge for the value they provide anyhow, and certainly don’t add a profit layer that pushes up against the customer perceived value phenomenon.
I’ve found this very very common in our industry. Professional service providers generally undercharge and certainly don’t wish to overcharge.
What’s really interesting though is this:
A client will be much more likely to get the result you promise – to get the promise – when they’ve paid more money. I’ve experienced this myself and with my own clients.
And as the author of that article, James Heaton, concluded, and I quote:
The lesson is clear: If you can deliver on a brand promise, you should charge full freight for it or you will find your delivered value under-appreciated.
When people pay less, and particularly if they get something for free, they either don’t value it as they should OR they don’t act on it. If that’s a free resource or a $97 course – you find people may take you up on the offer, but they don’t use it or commit to implementing it, and therefore don’t get a result from it.
That backfires on both them and you in the long run.
So please charge what you worth plus a bit extra – then if you want you can go the extra mile once they’re a client.
When you buy a high-ticket product or program or service, you tend to commit to it, and (assuming the provider delivers on the promise of value), your experience in its value is then both perceived and actual.
Delivering Your Promise With a Results-Orientated Program
When you put an offer out, and don’t attract more clients, that is you get few or no sales, it can be that the value isn’t clear or that the sales process is ineffective.
Are you getting people on a call and not “closing”? Or are you just not getting calls booked in. Sometimes it’s our own mindset and anxiety that gets in the way. We just don’t like to feel pushy or we just don’t invite in a way that sounds of value.
A lot of consulting or coaching is just too open-ended. Clients don’t see where the value is, so they just compare your daily or hourly rate to others in your industry.
An irresistible offer is an offer that’s a no-brainer for your prospective customer to buy. It matches exactly what your ideal client wants to achieve.
When you can craft a results-orientated offer and match it to the specific things your perfect people struggle with or want to achieve, the value becomes much more transparent, more tangible to the customer.
And a structured sales process – be that a sales page and/or a consultative conversation will help you draw out exactly what the thing they want to achieve looks and feels like. So you can get your messaging right, use the language your customers use so it resonates.
Only when you’ve explored their “pain points” if you like, can you start to help them see the possibility of what your offer can achieve and whether it’s a good fit for their specific situation.
Most consultants (and indeed many consulting firms) apply largely undefined service offerings to a broad market rather than highly targeted messages that align with the specific problems of their ideal clientele as a segment of the wider market.
It’s quite astounding the number of “experts” who struggle to articulate clearly the specific problems they help people solve or the benefits of their service. They talk about how experienced they are in their field, offer up all manner of accolades and case studies, but many have no clear offer.
On top of this, most do not have a clear process for what they do, or an effective platform for promoting and selling what they do. So not only are they unsure or unclear in communicating the value they bring to the work, there’s no structure or system in place for engaging prospects (marketing), signing them up (sales) or when working with a client (delivery).
Sadly, the result is that many consultants and coaches end up at the “mercy” of their clients’ whims, taking on less than ideal work, rather than being leaders and in-demand experts in their field.
A lot of people nowadays float the concept and structure of a new programme or service and even get people to sign up for it – and pay for it – before it’s even live. That way you can test out the level of interest and tweak your sales copy during a “launch” phase.
If you keep the content insightful and the dialogue helpful during this launch period, through an email follow up series or social media group, you can continue to provide value, develop the relationship and attract further interest.
You’d be surprised how many people will readily pay $500 for a workshop or even $2500 for an online course, yet aren’t ready to invest $5000 on your high-end consulting or coaching programme. And of course, some people will never buy – they just like to date but nothing serious.
Growing Your Customer Base Through a Value Ladder
As people engage with your material, the content you share, they will be deciding whether you are right for them or not. But not every potential client will be ready, willing or able to pay for your high-end consulting or coaching, even if they’re convinced that you can help them achieve results.
So while the offer may be attractive and appeal conceptually, the price may be putting people off. This is where developing educational products at different price points comes into play.
There’s a relationship between demand, price and quantity, where people will buy a given quantity at a given price. There’s a graph I’ll put in the show notes for reference. When you stack up low to high-cost products, the demand increases, as does the quantity of sales, according to people’s willingness to pay.
Creating products at different price points is not just a revenue strategy, it’s a great way to grow you customer base as people move through your material and get to know, like and trust you.
The point is this. If you only have one offer (whether it’s a product or a service) at a high-price point, you’re not leveraging yourself enough. You’re missing out on serving all the potential people who are willing to pay for your help, but only ready to invest, initially at least, in a product at a lower price point.
Typically, only a segment of your potential market will buy high-priced consulting or coaching services or programmes, even if they love your stuff. That means a lot of the potential demand for what you help people with is going to waste – that’s people you’re not serving unless you have other low-cost options.
This is where a diversified product strategy provides greater leverage. I go into this more in chapter 6 of my book, which focuses on leveraged delivery.
When you add free or low-priced options – a free weekly article, a podcast, a book, a course, you will serve more people and ultimately increase uptake of your high-end offer.
Depending on the volume of sales and the rate they convert to higher price points – lifetime customer value – you could end up making quite a tidy profit. It could be a steady trickle or a gushing stream of additional income.
Everything in your mix is mutually reinforcing across the customer journey; it’s a funnel into the next funnel and essentially an “upsell” to a higher priced option to continue learning from you and working with you, and getting results.
The logic is that if someone likes your free stuff and it helps them with a first step forward, they’re more likely to buy your entry-level course.
If they find this valuable and it helps them, they’re more likely to buy a premium product like an online group programme or live event or take up one of your high-end one-to-one services.
This is what’s known as a value ladder and is often deemed the most effective way to nurture prospects towards a high-end commitment.
Now, not all business strategists agree that a value ladder with multiple products at increasing price points is necessary or even a good idea.
Some advocate keeping things very simple: a free training webinar that generates leads and offers a high-end programme – a one-step funnel.
Personally, I advise somewhere in between – three steps –
- a lead magnet giveaway;
- one low-cost option; and
- a high-ticket service or programme.
This is because until you’re certain of your conversions from clicks to paying clients, a low-cost front-end product can help fund paid advertising to drive traffic to your sales page and into your funnel.
Regardless of whether it’s a free or paid product, one thing is clear: education products that deliver a clear result to the customer make great business tools; they can help you build your audience, grow your email list, showcase your visible value (as I talked about last week) and increase revenue from the sales generated across your entire offer matrix.
Entry-level products are a great precursor to your work with clients and a very persuasive demonstration of your expertise in helping them.
In the B2B world, business to business, most often we don’t run lead generation with sales funnels. Your contacts are unlikely to come from a lead magnet or low-cost entry product. We tend to use more of an outreach strategy. Because you’re selling into an organisation, your sales process will be much longer.
First, you have to find the right person to speak with about your program or service, in terms of their role and department in the company, and elicit their needs or provide some value to engage their interest, such as a roundtable, a research report or a webinar or workshop.
However, what we’re finding, in fact, is that a diagnostic or assessment works really well as a front-end offer. There are several online quizzes or survey tools you can use to ask questions that, as a consultant or coach, you’d typically want to ask a new client, either before or just after they sign up with you.
I like Interact and Scoreapp, but Typeform is popular, and SurveyAnyway is one that a client recently found does exactly what they wanted.
For you, it’s great market research and gets your most responsive prospects onto your value ladder to start the relationship with you. In answering the questions, they help you take the temperature on the market environment whilst also showing any segmentation.
And you’re able to provide a key individual with some clarity and guidance that’s super focused and relevant, because it’s based on their answers. That’s a great step towards following up with them to book a call.
Productising Your Value Proposition
Packaging irresistible offers that align your expertise with what your perfect clientele want is, I believe, the most crucial element of marketing success for independent consultants.
A business’s success depends on good ideas, authenticity, connection and results. A positive brand based on value ignites enthusiasm and drives all your profits. This isn’t something you should leave to chance or expect to build without careful consideration and planning.
Most recognised experts achieved success less so from “doing their job well” and more so from putting new insights together from disparate ideas presented in novel and meaningful ways.
From my very first modest “signature” programme, Mindset, Marketing & Money Breakthroughs – I’ve stood for helping people bridge their performance gaps – to break through barriers to success.
You can’t do this kind of work and deliver results with information alone, which is why coaching and mentoring has always been a big part of my courses. Good educational design is critical to how I deliver value and it’s what I’d aspire to become slightly famous for!
Work out how your expertise can help someone do something better. Because people don’t improve by knowing more, they improve by doing things better.
People attach value to things that affect them emotionally. If there’s no way for them to place what you offer into their understanding of the problem they have, it won’t seem relevant or resonate with them, which means they won’t value it.
Because your system (or way of using a standard methodology) is unique to you, you can package it as a distinct and branded product or programme, and importantly, price it according to the value to your client of the result you deliver.
Understanding How Value is Created in Business
The financial folks will tell you that value is created when a business earns revenue that exceeds expenses. But as I’ve talked about earlier in relation to “value for money”, I believe that for a service-based business we need a broader definition of value creation that can be considered separate from monetary measures.
If you want to make more money, serve more people and have a bigger impact, you need to find a way to leverage your expertise and create more value in the marketplace. Educational products and programmes are an obvious add-on to what you already do as an expert and service provider and create value to your consulting and coaching clients.
It has to be said that a lot of business owners invest time and money creating products or courses no-one wants to buy. This is usually because they didn’t do their market research homework or test out the idea before going full steam ahead. Either their price point doesn’t fit their target market and they can’t charge the prices they expected or they aren’t communicating the value effectively in their marketing and sales calls.
As an educational entrepreneur, your value is measured through the results you deliver and the satisfaction of your clients – influence and impact precede income – always.
While sales-based marketing is about telling people how great you are at helping people solve a problem, education-based marketing can show them how valuable you are by actually helping them.
Achieving learning outcomes is what education is (or should be) all about: it’s about supporting people, to not just know more but to implement and achieve the results they want. That’s the value they are paying you for.
Packaging Your Value
Creating a packaged product or programme is one of the best ways to acquire clients who otherwise couldn’t work with you. If you only offer face-to-face and one-on-one, they may not be in a position geographically or financially to use your consulting or coaching services.
Better late than never, let me explain what I mean by a package.
A package is something you offer that is not based on how many hours or days you provide. It could be a bundle of resources and tools, a structured set of sessions or a 6-month group programme. It could be a purely digital product or course. Or it could blend digital resources, virtual sessions and one-to-one time.
What you choose depends on your business, your niche, your skillset, and your preferences. However, what is critical to creating a great package that people actually want to buy is that it’s based on value not hours. It focuses on solving a specific problem, delivering a tangible result and has a defined start and end.
Even a premium packaged program that ends up being the same cost to your client as your high-end consulting or coaching services can feel like a more attractive proposition.
Dialogue is the cornerstone of effective learning and can make your programme more engaging, experiential and outcomes-focused, and thus increasingly high value and premium.
However, if your only offer is a consulting or coaching 1:1 arrangement, people can be put off because it’s hard to budget for something like that. To all intents and purposes, it’s open-ended and vague. They may feel like there’s no guarantee how long it will take to achieve your intended goal.
One high-value signature programme promoted through one great webinar is a simple strategy that can turn your business success around.
Building Trust With Potential Clients
When you use this kind of value-driven path in your marketing, you build and nurture a trusted relationship with your target audience from the outset. You become a beacon for integrity and a magnet for new clients.
As I covered in last week’s episode/article, there’s perceived value – your front-end marketing or promise – which gets your foot in the door, starts the engagement and converts prospects to clients. Real value is the outcome you deliver on the back end – your paid products, programmes or services – and what keeps your clients coming back.
The truth is, nowadays you can create amazing online marketing profiles and clever funnels, but if you can’t persuade people to buy your stuff or hire you, it’s a waste of time, energy and money.
It’s actually not even about how good your product, programme or service is, the crucial part is how well you can communicate its value and the benefits to your ideal customer.
I love this quote by Randy Shattuck, CEO of another consulting company I follow. He said: “Most service organizations build their promise based on their capabilities rather than on the goals, opportunities and challenges of ideal clients.”
Makes you think, right?!! How many businesses have you seen that do just that? Are you one of them?
So instead of falling into that trap or feeling like you’re somehow inflating your prices, how about if we mix up the notion of perceived and real value?
What if we give some real value for free on the front end by providing great educational content or support that helps your potential client solve the first part of a problem they have.
Do you think that might draw the right people in and make them want to work with you as opposed to someone who shares only perceived value through a fancy marketing website?
Communicating Value in Your Sales Conversations
Clarity, relevance and value for money are the primers for sales. As I mentioned, most “sales” material for consulting type services just doesn’t work, because it tends to focus on the services offered not on what outcome or benefit is delivered specifically as a result of working with you. It’s hard to convey value when you’re only talking about delivering X number of days or a 30-page report.
(As an aside: this is probably why many project teams find evaluation so challenging. While they may be focused on the project’s aims and objectives, they tend to write these out as activities and outputs rather than outcomes, i.e. gains, benefits or impact on their key stakeholders, in our case our clients.)
A golden rule in sales and marketing is to talk about results and benefits not facts or features of your service or product.
Your sales copy should be focused on addressing three crucial return on investment questions people will have about your offer: (1) what’s the opportunity that will change or improve things for the client; (2) can we trust you to deliver it; and (3) is that benefit worth the fee? In other words, what’s the outcome, benefits and impact from working with you.
Your prospect wants to know how much bang they will get for their buck in terms of outcomes; quality or quantity are secondary concerns.
Surprisingly, most consultants aren’t too good at articulating the end outcomes they achieve for their clients. Their sales material tends to focus on the means to the end – what they do or how they do it, rather than the end result.
At the same time, obviously we know that consultants and coaches tackle complex problems and clients are unlikely to believe there’s a single nugget of wisdom or know-how that they are missing that will turn everything around.
In fact, suggesting there’s some kind of “silver bullet” solution to tackle a complex issue is likely to diminish your credibility as an expert. But they usually like the concept of a collaborative, co-designed process to help them review, analyse and plan the solution.
This is why your consulting or coaching methodology is an important element of how you deliver the intended outcome or result for your client.
As we discussed in the previous chapter, when you leverage your expertise through education-driven marketing, what you are doing is showcasing your understanding of the problem and your process to resolving it.
A good enrolment conversation gives relief, hope and incentive that the full solution is within reach. You need to provide the prospect with a lot of value without giving too much away. It’s most definitely not about delivering one big sales pitch.
Enrolment should be a positive experience for your prospects. Don’t focus on making a sale and getting clients signed up; focus on getting consult sessions booked in.
A good consult is where you help the person see what’s been holding them back. The gift is one of clarity; they no longer feel stuck, and have been given the next steps to take. The call should make the solution feel within their reach and your only pitch is to ask “do you want some help implementing that?”
At the end of the enrolment call, you will either have a new client or you won’t. Perhaps it’s a no but not a never. It may well be that the timing is not quite right for them or maybe just that you don’t feel your programme is the right solution for them.
In this case, they will stay a subscriber and/or follower and go through another cycle of the engage-educate-enrol process, perhaps in a different segment if the call revealed your programme isn’t quite right for them.
The good news is, when you create a sales funnel, alongside good follow up (by email or phone), education-based marketing does much of the trust building and selling for you.
This means when you get on a call with the prospect, they’re already half on board with you. Go into the call with the mindset of seeing if you can help the person, and if you can, tell them about your programme, product or service as the vehicle for them getting the help they need.
The “trick” is to help them get clarity on exactly how they can achieve a specific result they desperately desire.
You can let your material do most of the problem explanation and trust building work for you, which means you end up only doing one-to-one calls with highly engaged applicants. You shift from selling to helping so they get value and see you as the way to procure the solution to their problem.
People who have gone through an inceptive education with you make ideal clients and good candidates for your high-end products, programmes and services.
So let me summarise where we’ve got to…
We started out looking at how to align your offer with a clear value proposition, to match what you deliver with what your ideal client wants to achieve.
Sounds logical doesn’t it, but often we start from what we can do, and look for a buyer, rather than starting from the buyer’s need and package an offer that fits that purpose, audience and outcome.
I’ve given you some insights around pricing, how to structure your pricing and how to create value by communicating the benefits to the client, talking about the outcome, the impact of achieving the result they want, and what that’s worth to them.
We’ve tackled ideas around creating a value ladder that provides a bridge as you create the trust relationship with a new client, so they experience how you help them and feel confident to make a bigger commitment with you.
We looked at different ways to productize what you do – to create a clear and tangible pathway for your clients to follow – which may be one or more modalities, self-directed, group-based or one-to-one. The blend depends on the level of input and interaction needed to achieve the promise of your offer.
And we looked at the sales process for how your client buys the packaged offer – a product, programme or service – and ways to build trust through your consultative conversation.
A business stuck in the old paradigm clings to marketing approaches focused on advertising and sales meetings that presents what they do and not engagement with who they’re doing it for.
So finally, I’d like to come full circle back to the ideas around visibility, credibility and engaging a global audience with your irresistible offer.
Reaching a Global Audience with Your Irresistible Offer
Despite the tremendous opportunities of the internet and social media for communicating our value and what we stand for, many are blind to the opportunities of global reach through digital delivery.
Top performing service providers, agencies and firms can demonstrate their value by educating their audience and building an authority platform: a digital presence such as a website or media channel. When people search for a specific issue, need or problem, your branded sites and content should come up in the results.
In today’s crowded marketplace where consultants and coaches are abundant commodities, it’s a little challenging. So here are three principles to reiterate why sharing high value educational content around a core concept for what your clients struggle with, is a powerful strategy to stand out and get noticed by the people you want to attract.
First principle: Education trumps information.
Research shows that information alone does not help someone learn and understand, or foster the kind of shift in beliefs or behaviours necessary for transformational change to happen.
Blasting out “expert” content alone will not lead automatically to enrolling clients; in fact, it’s making us all feel rather overwhelmed.
But a well-structured, guided path offers an excellent and refreshing solution for your prospects and a first step for building a relationship.
Second principle: Dialogue is empowering.
It’s crucial you understand your potential clients (or customers); that you vary your message and mechanism to suit their preferences and the experiential learning they need. Group programmes enable clients to apply what they’re learning in their own context.
This dialogue is an inherent part of any good development programme, whether it’s personal development, professional development, spiritual development, health or business.
You make yourself available to support them through any questions that come up, but you can also harness the wisdom of others and provide a vital facilitation for group masterminding.
And third principle: Needless complexity is a repellent.
Offering an array of services can serve to confuse – often less is more. Make sure the thing you help people with is super clear, that you could explain it easily to someone who doesn’t know you, as well as someone in your technical field.
Complexity can also happen when you spread yourself thin across multiple platforms, doing too many things rather than owning one particular space.
Having one main digital platform you show up in consistently will provide a strong entry point to everything else you do.
Having one high-end signature programme or service that really plays to your strengths means you can focus your marketing on one clear high-end value proposition – one core offer that’s the flagship of your business.
You build confidence and trust in the minds of your buyers, and so attract more clients to work with you, when you have a clear path to success through your value ladder, no matter how many steps you end up building into it.
And that’s it for leveraging your value proposition with irresistible packaged offers. Has it been helpful?
I’d love to hear your thoughts or if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me here or book a free discovery session to discuss how to clarify, package and leverage your unique value proposition.