Let’s tackle the conventional wisdom about how you plan your program and product offerings. This is typically presented as a “product funnel” — like this …
You’ll see that it has products and programs at different investment levels from free (the things that you give away, to get people interested in you in the first place) … all the way up to high-end groups, private clients, and ongoing consulting (which is where the real money is for most solo practitioners and small firms).
But there’s a big pitfall in this way of thinking — and I want to make sure you know about it, so you don’t fall in!
Here’s the thing: People start to think that they have to step through all of these levels before they can offer the high-end, high-dollar programs that will actually make you the most money. So they spend a lot of time creating $47 e-books or $97 webinars and only then might start to focus on their higher-level offerings.
They get going too slowly because they’re taking the funnel model too literally. (And undervaluing what they have to offer, but that’s a topic for another day.)
Especially if you have a relatively small following, it’s nearly impossible to get any traction if you rely on low-dollar programs.
Here’s an example: Recently I was talking with someone who had spent hundreds and hundreds of hours, months and months of work, on putting together some very excellent high-quality webinars. She was offering them at a few hundred dollars a piece — and they were great value at that.
But she was having a terrible time getting traction in her business. She just didn’t have the numbers of people it would take to make the webinars a significant source of income.
And because she’d focused all her attention on the webinars, she was in a tight spot financially.
So I suggested that she consider focusing on the high-dollar part of the funnel — especially private clients and ongoing consulting — to start getting some quick wins and significant cash flow.
Then later on she could return to the lower-investment programs, if she wanted to use them to enhance her credibility and give people a low-risk way to start investing with her. (Not always necessary, but sometimes useful as your business model evolves.)
This is what we teach in our business development programs at The GSCA: If you want to get traction quickly, especially in a consulting or coaching business, start with something free as your way of bringing people in.
And do that in a very limited and strategic way, tightly focused on reaching ideal clients as directly as possible. It can be as simple as arranging some one-on-one conversations, or speaking to groups and following up systematically.
(By the way, to get this going you don’t need a web site or business cards, much less a book, a blog, or a “social media presence.” It can be fast and simple.)
Then you skip all the other levels of the product funnel and offer just the high-level programs. Go straight to the top, so you have real revenue coming in. And then maybe someday you’ll fill in the other pieces of the funnel.
P.S. This is exactly why we teach “how to design and deliver high-value programs” as the first module in our business development program for change agents. It’s that important.