By this point, you’ve selected the service you want to perform and identified the people you want to market it to. You know what their problems are, what their emotional hot buttons are, and what weak spots you can poke to make them buy. Believe it or not, that’s the hard part.
This part is a little easier. However, it’s also the most important. If you screw this part up, nothing down the road will work like you want it to. Getting your offer right is crucial to your success. An offer is simply the bundle of goods you are offering to your customers. In other words, it’s what people get when they buy from you. It could be an ebook, a physical product, a membership site, etc. But for the purposes of this article, I’ll be assuming that you’re going to be offering a “productized service.”
What is a productized service?
A productized service is a business model where you offer services to customers in the form of pre-packaged solutions. It’s based on the idea that you can use your existing skills and experience to create a packaged solution, which can be sold and fulfilled quickly and easily, over and over again. Productized services generally have a name (such as mine, the Web Accelerator 2.0 and the 2 Hour Website) and a fixed price, as well as specified deliverables and outcomes.
Productizing a service involves taking a set of tasks or processes that you do (or plan to do) regularly for clients, packaging them into an easy-to-buy product with measurable outcomes. That way, customers know exactly what they’re getting – no surprises. It also helps entrepreneurs focus on their areas of expertise while reducing time spent on mundane tasks such as onboarding new clients or managing customer inquiries.
I highly recommend that you start with a productized service. It makes it easier for you to sell, easier for your customers to buy, and easier for you to fulfill.
For example, here are two of the productized services I’ve offered in the past:
The Contractor Content Package. This package included photography, videography and copywriting aimed at small contracting businesses (think HVAC, plumbers, electricians, etcetera). It came with 4 jobsite photography sessions, two 5-minute marketing videos, and 365 unique social media posts (enough for an entire year).
The 2 Hour Website. This package includes custom copywriting and offer strategy that then plugs into a semi-custom website design. It requires a 2-hour onboarding process from the client, and my company takes care of the rest. It comes with a website, 5 pages of copywriting, photography curation, a loading speed under 3 seconds, and a labor guarantee (as opposed to a money-back guarantee).
Week 1: Crafting your offer
Before writing your offer, it’s important to think about who your intended audience is and what benefit they’ll get from engaging with it. By now, you’ve already spent a lot of time talking to these people and you know exactly what they want to hear from you. (If you haven’t, go back to the previous article and don’t come back until you have.)
Remember, to catch fish, don’t think like a fisherman—think like a fish!
Start by writing out the main problem you’ll be solving. Beneath this header, write out every component of the problem that your solution will address. These are your benefits. The specific functions of your solution that address these problems are the features. You want to think of the benefits first and mention them before (or in place of) the features. People don’t buy a drill, they buy a hole.
Consider what will make your audience FEEL something. Your offer can be inspiring, evocative, or even offensive—but it absolutely cannot be boring. Think of what keeps your prospects awake at night. The things that make them afraid. These are the things that will make your offer sell. Tony Robbins teaches us that people are 3x more likely to move away from pain than they are to move towards pleasure. If you can promise to alleviate a pain point, you’ll be well on your way to a winning offer. If there isn’t any pain, you won’t be able to sell your offer effectively. It’s like trying to sell a glass of water to someone who isn’t thirsty. It’s doable, but it’s not natural. (BONUS TIP: However, if you sell a bottle instead of a glass, you’ll be able to sell to thirsty people AND people who are worried about being thirsty in the future. Fear of a potential problem is a problem in and of itself.)
Here are a few other tips to make your offer irresistible:
Make it exclusive
People are often more interested in things that are rare or hard to get. If you can make your offer exclusive, it will be more appealing. You can create exclusivity by only working with a limited number of people per month, by only working with a certain niche, or by only working with those who meet specific qualifications. I stumbled upon this exclusivity trick at the very beginning of my career. I said that I only worked with people who were already generating over $50k in gross revenue per month. I sometimes worked with those below (or even WELL below) that marker, but publicizing that limit created a sense of exclusivity that made me more attractive to my clients.
Create a sense of urgency
If people feel like they need to act quickly to take advantage of your offer, it can be more compelling. You can create a sense of urgency by setting a time limit on the offer or by making it a limited-quantity item. For example, the templates I use for the 2 Hour Website are only ever sold to 10 people before being retired. This helps to keep the value of the design high, but it also helps to motivate people who see a design that they REALLY like.
Make it valuable
The most compelling offers are those that provide a lot of value to the customer. This could be in the form of a discount, a bonus, or a special benefit. For example, the value stack of one of my private offers (not available to the general public) provides value of over $20,000 for about $9,000. It only costs me about $500 to fulfill, but generates HUGE results for my clients because I know exactly where to push to get them results. The offer was so insanely valuable that one of my clients actually closed himself—I hadn’t even finished presenting my pricing when he stood up to fish out his wallet and asked “When can we get started?”
Remember, you’re not charging for your time, your expertise, or even your work (at least you shouldn’t be). You’re charging for the results you create.
Use strong language
The words you use to describe your offer can make a big difference. Use strong, persuasive language to convince people that they need to take advantage of your offer. Zig Ziglar once said “Timid salesmen have skinny kids.” And that’s true. Your belief in your product and confidence in your abilities needs to be apparent. This did NOT come naturally to me. I didn’t want to be seen as cocky or arrogant, but a bit of cockiness was exactly what my prospects wanted to see in me. When I started speaking with more certainty and enthusiasm instead of trying to hold it back, my ability to close deals, start sales conversations and even make friends benefited immediately.
This is the most important one. Proof is what makes your prospects feel safe about making the decision to work with you. If you’re providing a service as opposed to a physical product, there is MUCH higher perceived risk. A productized service reduces this somewhat, but your prospects will feel inside that there is a good chance that you’ll just disappear with their money and screw them over. Proof is how you reduce that anxiety. I plan on writing an entire article on this in the next few weeks, but in the meantime, I’d recommend reading this HubSpot article from 2021.
Week 2: Systematizing your offer’s fulfillment
This is where the money comes from. At the very beginning, I would spend about 60-100 hours on a full-custom website. This included everything from the initial planning to building the website and taking it live. I did everything from scratch, built it myself page by page, and had a lot of fun doing it. However, it greatly limited the amount of money I could make.
As I got better and better at my job, a few things happened. One, I started to work a lot faster. Having done the basic tasks over and over again hundreds of times, I got very good at them and could execute with greater speed and precision. Two, I started to re-use basic components. I built “starter packs” for new websites that allowed me to do the basic housekeeping tasks once and re-use them on new projects. This saved huge amounts of time and effort.
But the real change happened when I discovered the enormous power of one thing: systems.
Airplanes are very complex machines. There are hundreds or even thousands of moving parts. There are intricate electrical systems and delicately balanced instruments. If one component fails in flight, it can lead to a crash that will almost certainly be fatal to the pilot, passengers and anybody on the crash site. In order to mitigate these risks, it’s critical that nothing be forgotten when it comes to maintaining and operating the aircraft.
Pilots ensure that nothing is forgotten by using checklists.
There are checklists for every phase of flight:
- Pre-flight inspection
- Before starting the engine
- Cold-starting the engine
- Starting the engine if it’s already warm
- Immediately after starting the engine
- Taxiing to the runway
- Preparing to take off
- Taking off
- Climbing after taking off
- Descending for landing
- Taxiing after landing
- After shutting down the engine
That might sound exhausting and overwhelming, but surprisingly enough… Well, it is. But only at the beginning. After you’ve logged about 20 hours at the stick, it becomes second nature. You know exactly where your checklists are. You know exactly what color the required checklist is. You know exactly the order the steps come in, and you barely even have to look at it.
But you do anyway, because that’s how you make sure nothing gets forgotten and that your flight doesn’t make the evening news.
The most impactful thing you can do for your offer is to make systems and checklists for every phase of fulfilling it. That way, you always know exactly what you’re doing, what just got done, and what needs to be done next. The power of always knowing where you are on the road to completing the project cannot be overstated. Not only does it make it a breeze for you to fulfill your own work, but it makes it much more achievable to hire it out down the road.
If you have comprehensive enough systems and adequate documentation that explains them, you can hand pretty much any part of your fulfillment process to a VA (virtual assistant) for less than $10 an hour and get decent work out of them. They won’t do it as fast as you will, and they won’t do it as well. But it will definitely make your life easier.
Week 3: Testing Your Offer
Once you’ve got your offer nailed down and a solid system for fulfilling it, it’s time to put it to the test.
Start by approaching your audience again. Go back to the people you went to previously for advice and input, and show them what you’ve created. Ask them if they see the value in the results you promise. Ask them if they feel reasonably confident that you could deliver on such a promise. Finally, ask them if they would be willing to put down their credit card and pay for it.
Sometimes, you’ll get people who will say yes and hire you on the spot, despite not having been directly asked. If this happens, you can be reasonably confident that there is real potential in your offer. But if this doesn’t happen, don’t worry.
Offer to implement your offer for 3-5 people for free or on commission (if applicable). Practice your skills and get damn good at fulfilling your offer. Get a feeling for what roadblocks and challenges you’ll likely encounter in future jobs, and create systems for handling them.
Get reviews, testimonials and kind words to use as social proof. Don’t be the least bit shy about asking for these right up front before you even do work. You’re going to be working for free and it’s appropriate to ask for this as compensation. “I don’t want you to pay me for this, but I’ll need you to give me a glowing five star review afterwards and refer me to some of your friends if I kick ass. Fair?”
Don’t assume that praise is validation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to someone with a business idea and heard them tell me it was great, only to waffle and stutter once I asked them to buy it. The only valuable vote of confidence you’ll ever get is one that begins with a dollar sign.
Don’t allow people to just support you blindly, either. Give your associates permission to tell you what they really think. I asked an employee for his opinion on an idea once, and he responded with a vague but positive assessment. I could tell he was patronizing me because I was his boss. Here’s how I solved the problem: I told him to call me stupid. He really didn’t want to, but I made him do it anyway. I then told him to call me a gross, ugly moron. And finally, a brain-dead piece of shit. We couldn’t stop laughing the entire conversation, and afterwards he felt safe enough to give me his honest opinion without worrying about insulting me or risking his job. He gave me some really solid input that helped make a lot of money for the business.
Repeat your tests multiple times
This is a sequence you might have to repeat a few times, but it’s worth every extra second that you put into it. If you’re getting solid responses from your test audience, try like hell to make it better. Make it even more valuable, even more exclusive, even more irresistible. And if you’re not getting good results, keep tweaking things one at a time until you find something that works.
This isn’t something that happens quickly or easily. If it were easy, everybody would be a millionaire. It’s hard to find an offer that’s compelling enough to convince someone to swipe their credit card and give you their money. But once you get there, you’ll have created a cornerstone of your business that will have the potential to set you free for the rest of your life. And you’ll find that it gets a little bit easier each time.
Once you’ve got your offer tested and ready to release, it’ll be time to market it. We’ll talk about that next week.
BONUS: Build a website
The purpose of a website for a service-based business is to take traffic and turn it into phone calls. The power of a website to do this lies in your ability to anticipate your customer’s objections.
When you’re advertising, you’re in a position of weakness by default. Your website can’t listen to your prospect, it can only talk to them. This means that you have no power to persuade them except by anticipating what their objections will be.
When people see an advertisement for a product or service they might want, they’ll almost always want to learn more about it before buying it. The only time this won’t be the case is if it’s a product they already know about. Many advertisements give their audience a way to get the information they need by calling a phone number. Other advertisements provide this learning opportunity by giving them a URL to visit. (Hint: In my experience, the most successful advertisements do both).
What most companies fail to realize is that people don’t want to talk to them. People don’t want to call a phone number and talk to a stranger and risk an awkward sales conversation. You have to make them WANT to talk to you, and with short form advertising, there’s rarely enough room to create that desire.
That’s where the website comes in.
The website is where you host information about your company, yes. But the main purpose of the website is to function as a salesperson. Here’s what a good salesperson does:
- Identify a problem
- Offer a solution
- Increase their emotions
- Ask them to buy
- Address their objections
- Help them through the buying process
And that’s exactly what your website should do too. I’ll be writing considerably more on this in the coming weeks, but for now, here is the basic order of operations:
- Identify the problem your customers are facing.
- Introduce your solution, positioning yourself as the guide and your customer as the hero (read Don Miller’s book “Hero On A Mission” for more about this)
- Make them emotional by painting a picture of their future life without the pain in question
- Show your solution in more detail, showing the customer exactly how it will move them away from their pain
- Address common objections in order of most common to least common
- Use different forms of proof throughout the page
- Ask them to buy periodically (Usually with a call to action button)
Plug: If you want some help going through this process or even for me to build a website like this for you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your website doesn’t have to be super fancy or well designed. In fact, it’s sometimes better if it isn’t. But your content absolutely has to be on point. If you fulfill these objectives and make your customer feel like they’re moving from where they are now to where they want to be, you’ll have a powerful website that will make them WANT to contact you.
See you next Sunday when we go over how to market your new offer.