Here’s a Business-Creating Secret that will Jump-Start Your Success

Every business has the frustration of somehow convincing customers to go forward and sign on the dotted line. If you’ve never had that issue, please click away right now and watch cat videos on Facebook.

Glad you stayed.

Quite often, their hesitation is due to one thing that you’re not giving them. And when I say one thing, I mean just that.

You need to sell what you do, as nearly as possible, as a thing.

Here’s the deal: nobody wants to part with money for something they don’t understand. High risk + feeling uncertain = no decision.

This is a particular challenge if your offerings are knowledge- (or technology-) based, or involve consulting, or scale up to potentially big-ticket price tags. A lot of us live and breathe in that less-concrete space.

TangiblesIn fact, most of the time we purchase things that have a size, a shape, a set of items, and a limited price tag. People like to buy tangibles. Preferably bite-sized, at first.

So, if you are a provider, one of your greatest opportunities is packaging what you do in a way that can be easily explained, easily grasped, and easily bought. Frame it. Thing-ify it.

For instance: let’s say that you’re a gifted remodeler. You come to my house based on a cold call and start waxing eloquent about the potential do a total makeover of my entire house and yard. You talk on and on about all the great stuff you’ve done, but all I’m sensing is a huge price tag with no clear boundaries in sight. Too much risk, and not enough definition.

Solution? You let me know that you can do the entire project if desired, but you pick one very tangible piece of low-hanging fruit – let’s say, a single bathroom. Limited, definable, and lower-risk. I’m much more inclined to pull the trigger. Do a great job there, and now I’m ready to talk about bigger packages.

I had to go through this “thingification” process with my own Clarity Therapy practice. What I do is help individuals and businesses discover their marketplace “fit” and articulate their go-to-market offerings and messages. I’m like a combination consultant/coach/branding agency/therapist. But you know what? That’s pretty abstract. How long does that take? What is the process? What can I expect to walk away with? What’s the pricing model? To help answer those questions, I came up with a 60-second e-book (a session takes less than a day; we come up with these defined word-packages; it has a fixed cost; plus I follow up with you for 2 weeks to tweak and refine).

You might be interested in ongoing consulting and coaching for a longer period, but one Clarity Therapy session is a well-defined start with borders and limits and – very important – a no-scope-creep price tag. It’s a thing.

I was talking to an entrepreneur last week and she was trying to decide how to approach her potential customers. I mentioned the Gold-Silver-Bronze analogy that I’ve often used with providers – have different offerings at different price levels, and make sure that the entry-level offering is a low-price, low-risk, easy-commitment package with a clear and tangible deliverable. You may very well have a great $100,000 offering, but new clients will make a much quicker decision on your $7,500 package – and if they love it, they’re much more inclined to trust you with the bigger stuff.

Remember – you understand what you do far more deeply than your client. They aren’t as certain. You do them (and yourself) a huge favor by making your foot-in-the-door service or product as concrete and clear as possible.


Also on the blog: How to Waste Thousands of Marketing Dollars with One Simple Trick

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  1. Nice write-up, Steve. I really like the direction you’re taking things, and your 60 second e-book is inspirational!

  2. Steve,

    This is really great advice, and something that took me a long while to actually get 😉

    I work on a variety of branding projects, and like you can be a consultant/coach/branding agency… or more. With individuals, I have an initial consultation, with companies I ask them to hire me on a one month retainer starting off, that’s it. Low risk for them, but usually they end up becoming paying clients for months if not years.

    • Craig – very smart structure. Recently, I got advice from multiple people to start with just a 3-month commitment for longer-term coaching/consulting. Makes it easier for everybody to have a try-on period!

  3. Andre Schnabl says:

    The staging of the value proposition with one’s tried and true, bread and butter core offerings first becomes a great lead-in towards the upgraded services that really make companies and individuals outperform.Thank you for reminding us of this Steve.

  4. That is some splendid advice. Add to that the requirement to deliver early on that foot-in-the-door product or project, and to put in some thought about how your ‘foot-in-the-door’ deliverable might fit in in the bigger picture. (Using the bathroom analogy: use colours that will combine nicely with your idea of how the entire house makeover should look. Else, when starting on the rest of the house, you’ll have to redo the bathroom. ;))

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