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The Purposeful Entrepreneur

How to decide What To Offer (or Sell) Next?

April 14, 2020

By Mariana

It’s rare for an entrepreneur to go through the entire lifespan of their business with only one offer.

Unless, of course, they tried an initial offer and promptly gave up.

You’re not giving up, and you’re thinking about putting together a new offer.

If you’re just in it for the cash, then this may not be the right article for you.

You need to be profitable to have a sustainable business, but I believe an offer should do more than line your bank account with dollar bills.

Why?

Because when you provide value and serve the buyer, they will keep coming back for more and refer others to you.

Sure, that may not be as tangible as a wad of cash, but is invaluable to the longterm growth of your business.

In the last article, we covered the difference between selling and offering. You can read that here.

Whether you prefer to sell or offer, you need something to present to buyers, and that’s what we’re talking about here.

The goal is to pick the best next offer and get it out there. Let’s explore a couple of critical questions to consider when deciding what to offer (or sell) next.

Who?

If you already have an audience and best-fit client, check in to make sure that these are still the best people for you to serve right now. 

If you’re new or connecting with a new-to-you audience, try to drill down to the people you can best serve.

Trying to be everything to everyone makes you the best-fit for no one. 

Once you feel confident, you know who this offer will serve, consider their ability to buy.

Ever spend time trying to sell something to people who aren’t buying?

Yeah, it’s not fun.

You need to take the time to make sure that there are the desire and ability to pay.

We can stoke desire like a fire, but the ability to pay is more of a no-or-go.

For example, trying to pitch a $25,000 program to brand new business owners who have yet to turn a profit is going to be tough. Offering a proposal workshop to this same group for $97 could sell like hotcakes.

What do people need?

When you’re confident that you have your buyers, brainstorm what they are struggling with right now. 

These problems or struggles are often referred to as pain points.

Go wide. 

Think about different areas of their business, health, family, or any other buckets that come up and are relevant for you.

Look over what just came up when considering this group of people. What do they need right now?

If you’re a web designer, you might think they need to update their website. That’s a good start.

Now dig a little deeper and dig down another level. 

What would be the best way to solve this problem?

Offer creation often misses this step, but it’s an important one.

There are a lot of ways to package up a solution. Using our web designer above, they could create a workbook, group program, coaching, done-for-you, course…

Ugh. So many options. 

Before you go any further… STOP!

Make sure you aren’t assuming you know what people need right now.

Talk to your customers and your broader audience of best-fit future clients. 

Questions for customer research.

Want a PDF version of these questions? Download yours here.

    It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but you do need to invest some time to validate what you think people need.

    What do people want?

    Another often overlooked piece of the offer puzzle that can make all the difference.

    There’s a classic sales and marketing adage, “Sell them what they want, give them what they need.”

    This can be a hard one to wrap your head around, but the difference can make or break your offer.

    It’s what’s behind coming home with a bag of chips instead of a salad. They know they need vegetables, but they want the greasy goodness of potato chips.

    Ah, the human brain. So complex.

    Essentially, when you look at your offer, is it something they will want to buy?

    You need to deliver what they need but wrap it up, so it speaks to what they want.

    Too many offer options?

    It’s not uncommon to come out of the questions above with a few options you could create.

    Now it’s time to figure out which one you’re going to put together and present first.

    Here are three questions to consider when whittling down your potential offers:

    1. Which will be the easiest for you to put together?

    The mantra I’ve been sharing with a lot of entrepreneurs lately is Quick & Dirty.

    Most of us are working in less than ideal environments right now, so give yourself permission to focus on and launch “good enough.”

    Perfection is not only unattainable, but it often keeps us stuck and prevents us from putting the thing out in the world that could make a difference.

    Why quick?

    Somebody needs what you have so, let’s get it out there.

    N-O-W!

    As Marie Forleo would say, “The key to success is to start before you’re ready.”

    The key to success is to start before you’re ready.

    There will always be more time to optimize and perfect once it’s out there.

    2. Which offer aligns with the support and mode of learning people need right now?

    It’s not about you.

    Ouch.

    We often create what we want to create or what we think we’d like. 

    If this offer is for you, fine.

    If you’re hoping to have other people pay you for it, then you must ensure it’s what they need and want right now.

    The money and hours that have been spent on courses that nobody will buy are mindboggling. 

    It’s worth repeating.

    Make sure you are creating the thing people need, want and will purchase.

    3. How are you going to present the offer?

    Are you going to run ads, send out promotional emails, talk it up on Facebook, etc

    Which option will be best for you depends a lot on your existing business model, customer base and audience.

    Start with your warmest and most engaged group. For example, this may be your Instagram audience or your email list. 

    These are often the people who are most likely to buy from you. 

    I say “often” because your audience may not be the right audience for this offer, as mentioned above. 

    Don’t assume the people who have always bought from you before will show up the same way now.

    A safe way to test the waters is to offer a beta to test it out.

    In general, a beta offer is when you test a new program, product, or solution with a small group before opening it up to the general public.

    You get feedback and the opportunity to fine-tune it a little more before pushing it out to a broader audience.

    Other offer considerations

    Here are a few final things to consider.

    Pricing and payment options

    You don’t necessarily have to price low, but now more than ever, it needs to be a no brainer at whatever price point you choose.

    Make sure there’s lots of value, and it’s clear that whatever you’re offering will get them further away from their struggle and closer to success. ASAP.

    Consider extending payment options, even for lower-priced solutions. 

    With uncertainty around how long it will take for things to return to “normal,” there can be an understandable hesitation to invest. Even if they know they need it. 

    If you offer a 6-month payment option, consider adding a 12-month option. 

    It may feel risky but potentially puts more money in your pockets now than if they walk away entirely.

    Also, if things turn around more quickly, you could offer a discount for paying off in a lump sum in the future.

    Don’t be afraid to be creative and flexible with pricing and payment options.

    Mindset

    Mindset is a biggie.

    Where’s your head at right now?

    You aren’t going to be successful with an offer if you don’t feel good about it or are carrying around some deadweight limiting beliefs about making money right now.

    Seriously.

    If you need some help with this, let me know, and I’ll point you in the right direction. 

    Also, consider the mindset of the people to whom you’ll be offering your solution.

    You may need to adjust your copy and position to meet them where they are and take them to the place where they’ll be ready to invest with you.

    There is always a journey we take with our customers, but it potentially looks a little different right now. 

    The more mindful you can be of this, the better.

    I’m rooting for you and your business.

    Offers involve a lot of testing and tweaking, so try to view it all as an experiment. 

    Keep going.

    Hi, I'm Mariana.

    Hi, I'm Mariana.

    As you've probably guessed already, I'm the heart and brains behind The Purposeful Entrepreneur.

    Supporting entrepreneurs and business owners while teaching and sharing lessons learned brings me joy.

    I love family time and do what I can to make the world a better place.

    I'm very fond of coffee and puns. I strive to live life to its fullest, grow a little bit every single day, and inspire others along the way.

    Let's explore how I can help you.

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