I’m sitting on a flight from Philadelphia to Miami after a conference – which seems like it will be a common occurrence from now on, but more on that later.
I see people around me working on their laptops. At a glance I can see two guys working on excel, so dreadful.
Could that be more important than relaxing on their first class seats? Seems to me like a brutal waste. But isn’t that the meaning of it all though? People are living their own lives, having their own set of problems and aspirations.
Ironically however, instead of “enjoying” my flight, I am writing this very short essay. So just maybe, working on the plane isn’t such a weird thing after all.
It’s a new year and with this new year we all evaluate our lives and decide what we can do better. Some people want to get in shape, others want to put an end to those unhealthy vices. This year, we at Launchsolid resolve to evolve our platform. What does this mean for you, our listeners?
We plan to speak to founders in Miami, a new hotbed for amazing entrepreneurship opportunities. We plan on releasing different types of content, including video. We also plan to focus more on Product Management. We aren’t perfect, but we can at least strive to be.
In the past couple of months, I’ve seen a pattern with most of the people that come to me for help. This is how the conversation goes:
So, your product is finally built.
How long has it been? At least 4-5 months right? Worse of all you first started thinking this would be a 4-week project right?
But it’s not all bad. During this time, you learned like you’ve never learned before. You stumbled across a bunch of books you had to read. You learned about lean, and customer development, even managed to get your product to be built. Seriously, congratulations, it’s not an easy feat.
But you know there’s something wrong. You have no customers. So, now what?
Well, in a perfect world. You’d launch using THE Mythical launch sequence. Of course, it would be on a Tuesday, you’ve read that Tuesdays are the best days to release or launch anything.
You’d have everything planned.
- Tech Crunch Article
- Inc. Magazine Article
- Interviews with major blogs ready to go
- Hacker News Post with an optimized Title
- Product Hunt Submission ready to go
- You have an email blast ready to go out to 5k people
- You’ve bought 20k worth of TV ads on cable and network channels
After all this goes out, you should be set right?
I’ve said it before – Launching is a Myth. Instead, let me propose the idea of launching to one customer at a time, and how you can grow an empire by doing it in this way.
Let’s start at the beginning
Like Cesar Millan says, I rehabilitate dogs, and I train people.
It’s the same thing with your product. We have to change your mentality first.
OK so, think of this for a second. Read the next paragraph and just sit.
How do you convert an anonymous visitor into someone who trusts you – and – is willing to give you money in exchange for your product or service?
First of all you need to start with that anonymous someone. Then get them to trust you before they are willing to exchange money for what you have to offer.
So, let’s start right at the top.
At the top of the funnel
Your most important job is to get people to the top of your funnel at its widest point. A small percentage of those people will go through your ‘funnels journey’ as you gain their trust, and money, in exchange for value.
So you can see that understanding what people are looking for, is possibly the most important phase of the funnel. This is how you lure that anonymous person to the top of the funnel.
This is why when a user lands on your website, you need to ask yourself, a few questions.
- How did that person land on my website
- What is their motivation (what do they want, what are they looking for?)
- Does my website immediately satisfy that motivation?
I want to give you a specific example of someone who does extremely well. If you’re a consultant or freelancer, you’ve probably heard of him. His name is Brennan Dunn.
He doesn’t know I’m writing this article thinking of his methods, but I think everyone, including people building tech products, can follow in his footsteps.
People are interested in having their problems solved
Think about this, and always keep it in mind. People don’t care about your agenda. They only care about theirs.
This may sound like a negative thing, but it’s a good thing. At the very top of the funnel, Brennan creates articles that are actual solutions to his reader’s issues. They are getting their questions answered, and problems solved. Brennan is appealing directly to THEIR agenda. Not his.
But to do this, he has to understand his audience deeply. But seriously, pay attention, when I say, the *key*, I mean it. This is the key. He knows exactly – down to the wording – what his audience wants to read, or better said, information they *need*, want and *hint*would even pay for *hint*.
That’s his magic. This is how he does such a good job of getting so many people to the top of his funnel.
So, let’s recap.
This random person lands on Brennan’s article, one that is actionable and aims to solve a specific pain.
What is our goal now? To build that trust up.
It’s like dating. You don’t go from meeting to marriage and kids in one go. It’s a process that takes time.
So let’s say this random person finds on of Brennan’s articles titled “how to get more clients”. After spending 2-3 minutes reading it, they are now armed with ideas on how to land more customers for their freelancing business.
Can you see the transaction that just occurred? The random visitor is giving Brennan his attention and time in exchange of his advice.
If Brennan could solve this particular problem for free, and then what else can Brennan help with?
Down the rabbit hole
So what now? Sell your course, book, web app subscription?
No. Not yet.
Think of it this way. What is the least they can give you, in exchange for more help? Something that is extremely valuable to you but may not seem like a lot to them.
Perhaps something you can use to build their trust further?
Yes. Their email Email. This is where email marketing comes in.
Voila. The person signs up for Brennan’s newsletter or one of his free email courses where he continues to deliver value.
Going for the pitch
I can’t tell you exactly when you should offer your first pitch.
You have to nurture this relationship enough so that you can ask for a sale. And it goes without saying, that the more expensive your product is, the more nurturing you will have to do.
But what works for most people is something like 80% giving, 20% asking.
If not, imagine Brennan immediately offering that random person who’s just read 1 article, a $2000 course. A bit too fast, right?
Low risk pitch
Brennan’s first offer is his course – which is called Double your freelancing rate. Go google it after you’re done with this article.
This course is relatively inexpensive, I think it starts at $50 and goes all the way up to a few hundred dollars.
But think of it this way, has Brennan earned the visitor’s trust already?
The visitor has read a bunch of emails from Brennan and has gotten a lot of value out of the relationship already. Applying the free advice he’s been getting landing more customers. So a $50 premium product that will help him even further doesn’t sound that bad.
Let the pitching begin
Well, that’s where this goes.
After a certain point, Brennan will not only pitch you the first course, but also will reveal a second course called The Blueprint. Then there’s Freelancers Guild, and at a certain point, you’ll be offered his SAAS Planscope.
But it doesn’t end there.
A few times a year Brennan offers the Consultancy Masterclass, which is an actual live course and its 2-3k. Let me tell you, he sells out of those in no time. I’ve taken the course, so I know.
Do you think it ends there?
Brennan continues to offers a $5k /mo coaching for high-end consultants, getting on a few hours per month on the phone to help out his clients on a 1-1 basis. Once again, he’s fully booked on this.
Why it works for Brennan
Well, as I said in the beginning, Brennan is extremely good at understanding what people need, and he provides it to them. He’s figured out how to systematically add people to the top of the funnel. Last time we spoke, he was adding 9% of his visitors to his funnel (That’s a great number, by the way).
Let me just add though, he does it by providing REAL value, not only in his paid courses but in his free courses as well.
Rinse and repeat
Brennan’s example is one that I like a lot, hell I’ve gone through that entire rabbit hole, all the way down to the coaching.
Brennan has been able to build a real multi-million dollar product empire, all while working on his own terms.
This is this is exactly what launching to one user at a time means.
Before we finish, though, I want to leave you with some homework. Research some of these sites and see if you can spot the same framework.
- Smart Passive Income
- Social Triggers
- I will teach you to be Rich
- Nathan Barry
- Conversion XL
and many more.
Can you apply this?
Tell me your thoughts about this approach to getting new customers. Can you replicate it? Leave a comment, Yes or No and why.
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I’m giving up on my nespresso. You know, the one you put in a capsule and you’re done…
It all started last week when I was at this local tech meetup in Miami Beach. I was chatting with a group of founders, and as my usual nosy self, I was very interested in knowing what their biggest challenges were, etc.
Guy 1 said he can’t find good talent, and I asked him why he felt this way. He said it took him longer than it would have taken if he were based out of NYC. When I asked him what he was doing to find talent, he said he was posting on job boards… That’s it? I asked him. He was perplexed. He didn’t get it. Just posting on a few job boards is enough, isn’t it?
Guy 2 said he wanted his product built faster. He estimated his team would take 6 months to build the major phase of the product roadmap. When I asked him why, he revealed that it was an enterprise HIPPA compliant product, and they had a pilot customer already who was paying the bills. So I asked him, well, what’s the team size, and background of each person? Is there a project manager, scrum master? Another perplexed look. He said his tech co-founder was tasked with doing all that by himself, called it sweat equity. Come on man, seriously?
Guy 3 said that he wasn’t getting enough signups. He mused that he’s getting some traffic, but doesn’t really know where they’re coming from, and complained that they are not ‘buying.’ When I asked him a bit more, he revealed that his product was in the $500 range, and his number #1 source of traffic was Facebook ads. So wait… He’s expecting someone who just saw his site from Facebook – to buy? On their first visit? A $500 product? Without building any trust with that lead?
Come on people…
A Results Culture
Do you see the glaring issue at hand? Their whole motivation was the result. They were not paying attention to how they got the results, other than to complain that the results were not coming in. They want a 1-button solution, they’ve fallen prey to our culture of instant gratification.
I understand this, we all want the end result too. Hell, I wish I had more customers, and more employees and more everything. But isn’t that the common denominator? We all want that. Too often, we are blinded by ‘wanting’ results, instead of paying attention to the craft, the process.
The Importance of the Craft
A famous example of someone who paid extreme attention to the craft was the late Steve Jobs. In his biography, the author explains how Jobs was absolutely obsessed over the design of an internal circuit board. It had to be beautifully designed and implemented. Mind you, no one could see this board.
Turns out, that the design and the careful attention to detail to craft were what made Apple conquer the likes of Microsoft.
When you are working on a particular goal, say… getting more customers, are you paying attention to the details people won’t see? How does that affect the outcome? If you paid attention to those pieces of the system no one would ever see, would the end result be better?
For Guy 1 who is having a hard time finding good developers. How about if you get to know developers, what they want, how they work. What if you build a network of developers by creating events specifically for them? How does your company culture help attract them as talent? How do you compete against those companies who lure in great talent because they provide more freedom, benefits, better pay, etc.
Even something as simple as hiring people is an art form, which requires a strategy and execution plan.
For Guy 2, who’s having his tech-cofounder build the product all by himself. What is your role? How can you help your partner on a daily basis? Have you researched how to help him by alleviating him from tasks he should be doing? How about hiring someone to help him – you do have one paying customer. If you cut down on traveling to conferences, you could build a small team and focus on the craft of creating software. What’s the QA and testing process? Is there a set of roadmap goals to hit by certain dates?
For Guy 3, the one who’s having problems converting customers. Have you considered the fact that people don’t just buy a $500 dollar product just because they saw it on a Facebook ad. Have you considered your target customer’s buying process? Is your pricing in line with the level of trust you have generated? What is your email marketing process? How many of these leads are you adding on to an email funnel? Have you been testing different copy on different landing pages and identifying which perform better?
Understanding vs. Solving
As you can see, all these problems are real. We all have them. We all need more speed on delivering our roadmaps, we need more customers, and want better hires.
But how do you get there? What are the smaller components that make it possible? That’s what you need to always be asking yourself every time you start wishing for a result, start working on what activities will get you there. Ask yourself, am I expecting instant gratification?
What’s your craft?
If you have read between the lines, you now know why I’m giving up on my nespresso. I want to embrace the craft itself.
So, as a founder, what areas of your execution are lagging behind, and how can you take a manual approach to each?
Remember taking upon a passion for the craft itself, will always yield better results.
Let’s get started
In the past few weeks I’ve been working on a new marketing strategy and execution plan for Gistia Labs.
I have been exploring everything from what we do as a company, all the way out to how we present ourselves, and questioning it all.
For example, every time someone asks me what we do, I say, “Gistia is a software consultancy,” and they nod and stare. Next thing I know we’re talking about the weather. Nice.
Just thinking of this, has made me question it all. How does the way I describe my business, affects us? My growth, of course, depends on sales – and sales depends on convincing clients to buy from us.
To convince them though, I need to be thinking about what they want. Right? So, what are our clients’ motivations? Why do they hire us? What do they want out of this?
Why am I describing what we do in relation to our self-image and not our customers?
I’m not talking about a sales or elevator pitch. It’s about truly aligning yourself to what your customer wants, not what you want.
It all starts with knowing your customer. Let’s dig in.