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Product Splintering: How to make it easier to buy from you

Let’s say your product is a $25,000 software or service, or a $4,000 monthly retainer. That’s what you want you prospects to buy from you, right?

Even though you’ve outlined the sales and marketing speak, it’s still a very high wall for most of your leads and prospects to be climbing. If someone has just visited your website for the first time, or just talked to your Inside Sales Manager, they’re not likely going to spend $25,000 with you. It happens, yes. But it’s very rare. Unfortunately, we are used to that “rare moments in sales” and have accepted it. You are definitely missing out on those who are just at the beginning of their buyers journey.

Here’s some ideas how to make it easier for them to buy from you.

The Core Problem … With Your Core Product

All profit oriented organizations have a core product – even if the product is a service. Ideally this evolves over time with the markets they play in, but at any given time, there tends to be a core product that generates the required revenue and profit for the company. Sales is totally focused to sell the core product or service.

Here’s my point: Let’s assume our core product in life is “ Marriage”. 91% of all 21- 35 yrs old confirm that they want to get married. Definitely there’s a huge market and you might be a perfect husband. But do we ask for marriage at the first date? No. But we do ask for the 2nd date which can be a dinner or a movie. Those appointments all create value on their own but also lead seamlessly to the next step. Why don’t we apply this in business?

However, your core product is great. Your customers love it. Even your prospects like it. So you can get people to it, despite the price tag. What you need to do is provide a ladder upwards to the core product and above & beyond. Especially when you have a high ticket product/service.

This is sometimes called “product splintering” and it typically evolves over four steps:

  1. A lead magnet
  2. A trip wire
  3. The core product
  4. Up-sells and cross-sells

Many services businesses are at a place right now where they’re similar to SaaS. SaaS has been playing the freemium/webinar style game for a decade. More services businesses need to think like that. Here are some examples.

Lead Magnets

In simplest terms: A small chunk of value you offer for free in exchange for a person’s information so that they’ve officially entered your funnel.

Examples:

  • Reports/Guides
  • Toolkit/Resource ListQuiz/Survey
  • Software Download/Trial Period
  • Cheat Sheet
  • Checklist

Some important things to keep in mind about lead magnets:

Specific: The best ones are the most specific. Think about it this way: someone may have downloaded it from you because their boss is screaming at them abou a specific problem in their business. Is your lead magnet going to help them fix that problem, or move towards a fix? Good. Now they have a degree of loyalty to you.

Short: Attention spans are dropping. No one really cares about a 10,000-word eBook or a 20 weeks training program – even if totally free. People want something they can consume in five minutes or so.

To the point: A lot of businesses use multi-day email courses as a lead magnet. This is folly. Business is based on stuff getting done immediately. No one has time for that nonsense. Get in, get out, give them something of value, and …

Valuable: A lead magnet must be perceived as high valuable and it actually also needs to provide high value just by consuming (reading, hearing, experiencing) it.

Shift the relationship: You should move someone from “I vaguely kinda know what this company does but I need a solution now so I’ll give my info” to “Hmm, they have cool stuff, I’d be interested in doing more with this crew…” The best lead magnets shift the relationship.

Trip Wires

Simplest terms: usually the first interaction a prospect/customer has with you where he shows commitment (small money or his valuable time), so it’s an appealing, cheap-but-professional option that advances them down the funnel.

Examples:

  • Paid Webinar
  • Book
  • Software/Plugin
  • Physical Premium (“wanted but not needed” or “needed but not sexy”)
  • Attendance at a speech/show/event
  • Ala carte service (maybe the first workshop of your core consulting)

Some things to keep in mind about trip wires:

Gum: They should be like that pack of gum in the grocery stuff — appealing and priced to the point of impulse buy and irresistable.

Incomplete at core: You need to trip them upwards to the core product, so the best trip wires are, affordable at low risk, useful, provide upfront value and … are somehow incomplete. A piece (next step, detailed view, other important area, …) has to be missing so that they see the value but want to do more business with you to get that final piece.

High value: This is why trip wires are tricky — they need to be incomplete and cheap-ish, but they need to deliver a high value because the prospect did spend some money or time on them. If there’s no self sustaining value of your trip wire, they’re out of your funnel. It’s a hard line to walk but it’s doable. Paid webinars or plugins are typically two of the easiest models.

Hint: A meeting with an account executive, even consultative selling, is NOT considered as a good trip wire.

Core Product

To quote the rap song Black and Yellow: “Uh huh, you know what it is.”

This is what you live and breathe in your organization. We don’t need to give you tips on this part. (Right?)

Up-sells and cross-sells (so called profit maximizers)

This is how you maximize profit. The core product is doing well, so people are willing to consider a different package (think of “done for you” services).

Consider: a SaaS company has one central customer service option. As they scale, they tier that into three groups — say, Silver/Gold/Platinum. The silver is basically what everyone already had, so they can stay there if they want. The gold gets you a faster turnaround on issues and installs, let’s say. The Platinum gets you dedicated support staff 24/7 via email/phone/etc. Obviously the Platinum is an up-sell, but if the core product is valuable to customers, they might splurge on it, even though it’s likely a lot more per month than their old “silver” package. Companies do this all the time.

The other model is core product + three or four “add-ons” to the product that make it bigger, better, faster, and stronger. Those are all cross-sells and up-sells. Very common as well.

The No. 1 thing to keep in mind with an up-sell is that you’re asking for more money. As a result, the value needs to be immediately clear to the person writing the check. Many companies are extremely cost-averse. They’re only going to drop more dime on something if the value is totally clear. If you use a “ski mask up-sell,” i.e. “Well we upped the price but all the features are the same and now ya gotta pay,” that’s a good way to lose big at renewal time.

Value drives everything — that matters at the top of the funnel with lead magnets and the bottom with up-sells.

If you want to experiment with some of these ideas relative to your business model, contact us today.

Final pro tip:

The best working trip wires and lead magnets are the ones that are directly splintered off from your core product. They seamlessly and logically transition to each other: A lead magnet leads to a trip wire and a trip wire leads to the core product and the core product facilitates your upsell potential.

Ted Bauer
About the author

I help companies to market their content in the most effective way.

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