The world is a big place, and the Internet makes the world our marketplace. That’s a big market, and the promise of building a business where you deliver your products or services online is that you have access to that market. If you can just tap into that market you’re sure to deliver tons of value and make tons of money in the process, right?
But it’s not that easy. If you’ve ever tried doing this you will know that getting people to buy when all they have is a web page (and maybe some videos and testimonials) is tough. People check out your web page, download your free goodies but never buy.
It’s about trust
The Internet makes it so easy to offer our products online that we think it should be easy to sell our stuff. But easy access means easy access for everyone, and there are enough people out there who think they can make a quick buck from a hard sell that the Internet is a very noisy place.
That noise erodes trust. Even the most carefully crafted sales page is no longer enough; your potential customers are learning to take everything with a big dose of salt and they will check you out multiple times before they buy – if at all. You have to show up consistently to build trust with them, whether you’re writing articles or contributing on social media.
But even when you build up trust, people don’t seem to want to buy when you’re ready to sell.
It’s also about timing
Have you ever had someone knock on your door and try to sell you something? Any door-to-door salesman will tell you that it’s the most difficult job in the world; you get rejected most of the time (sometimes not very politely) and you have to take the customer on a very fast journey from problem to solution to sale.
But your customers are not ready to buy when you’re ready to sell.
To get someone to buy your product or service, they have to have a need. Good sales tactics will teach you to identify the need or highlight it – or sometimes even create it. But even then it’s a tough sell because the client may be in the middle of dinner, or having a tough month, or any of a thousand reasons why this is not a good time.
You need a product ladder
A product ladder is, quite simply, a range of products or services that start small and cost relatively little and go up from there in cost and size.
It’s much easier to get customers to buy something small and relatively cheap than it is to sell something big and expensive. Every time a customer buys from you they are taking a risk – and your sales process must overcome that risk.
The less your product costs the smaller the risk that your clients have to take. And the less it costs the easier it is for them to buy even when the timing is not perfect; their risk is smaller and they think that it will be worth spending a little bit of money to see if that entry-level product solves a problem for them.
Three steps up
Your product ladder should have at least 3 “steps”:
- The first step is called your Lead Magnets. You already know about these, right? A lead magnet is the free goodie that you can download in return for giving up an email address. My lead magnet is called the Beginner’s Guide to the Tornado Method.
- The next step up are your Entry-Level products or services. These are relatively inexpensive, small products or services designed to make it easy for your customers to buy from you the first time. Deliver great value here and you make it easier for them to move on to the next step.
- The third step contains your Flagship products or services. These are more expensive and larger – they cover a bigger scope, solve a bigger problem or take longer to implement.
Spoilt for choice
It’s easy to design a product ladder with lots of products and services (even if you haven’t built all of them yet). But the downside of having too many things on offer is that you end up confusing potential buyers.
When you have too many things on your product ladder your clients will find it more difficult to decide which one is right for them. And when they have too much trouble deciding they’re probably not going to buy.
What you have on your product ladder depends on what you’re selling. If you’re selling consulting services I encourage entrepreneurs to have one lead magnet, one or two entry-level products and one or two flagship products. Very often, the flagship products are just larger versions of the entry-level products.
If you sell info products you should still have one lead magnet, but you can have multiple entry-level and flagship products. You can still confuse your clients with too much choice, but info products are more like a buffet than a set menu; people can choose what they like when they need it.
Make it easy for them to buy
To sell effectively online or offline, you should have a product ladder to make it easier for customers to buy the first time so you can build trust. When you’ve established that trust they will more easily come back for more – when they’re ready.