Last week a client wrote to me. He was amazed that we’d managed to sell an extremely high-priced course in a matter of 24 hours. He was curious. How is it possible to sell a course in fewer than 24 hours when the price tag is well over $2000?
And here’s what I wrote back to the client
Imagine a situation like this. You are going to meet a guest for dinner. But you know nothing about a guest. And you’re informed that this person you’re about to meet is a rude person. And so in your brain, you form a picture of the individual.
Now let's take the exact opposite. And let's say that you're told that the guest you're about to meet is wonderful, warm, etc. And is pretty famous and intelligent. Now again your brain forms a picture.
This picture is the simplest form of pre-sell. Where you haven't really seen the product/service but you are exposed to the concept long in advance.
So how did this pre-sell concept sell out in fewer than 24 hours?
The Article Writing Course, for instance, had just 25 seats. And we made one announcement to a tiny list of fewer than 400 people, and the first 17 seats were taken. We then went to another much larger list, made another announcement and the balance seats were taken in fewer than 24 hours. Okay so big deal. But what makes all of this so interesting?
Here’s what interesting about these statistics
1) All seats were filled in 24 hours.
2) The number of people who saw the sales page was an extremely tiny number. e.g. In the first 24 hours, fewer than 50 people saw the sales page, yet 17 seats were taken, despite a reasonably high price of over $2000 for the course.
3) There were no affiliates, no joint ventures, no adwords—no hoopla involved at all. And only two sales emails (yes, just two) were sent, and all the seats were taken. How's that possible? Is it just reputation and trust?
Yes there's a factor of reputation and trust
But hey, this didn't happen in the year 2005, or 2006, or 2007 or 2008, or 2009. So why did it happen from 2010 onwards? Because the pre-sell was far more detailed than any earlier years. Far more time and effort was put in the pre-sell. And we also had things like the prospectus (which didn't exist before).
What’s important is that we started the announcement for the Article Writing Course in our membership site of 5000bc.com, as far back as early October. And it continued right up to the launch date. So when you think about it, the client has had time to think about things; to ask questions; to evaluate their time and their budget; to think about it more; to gain more trust; to read the prospectus. And let's just stop here for a second.
Because the prospectus makes a huge difference.
You don't always understand what you're signing up for…
You have a feeling. You read the bullets, but all you do is read testimonials on a sales page. A prospectus is different. It gives you the methodology. And it gives you the experiences of people who've gone before you. This is more than just another ton of testimonials that you glaze over. No, this is about experiences.
They're persuasive stories that don't use persuasion, but persuade any way. Each of the experiences isn’t randomly placed in the prospectus. Each one is carefully chosen to reflect the objections of the client. Each one is chosen to highlight the importance of something. E.g. you may not like to work with forums.
And for the Article Writing Course the forum is of critical importance. So I can jump up and down all day and tell you how very important it is to work with the forum. Or I can send you a prospectus and you pre-qualify yourself.
Now here's the important thing about pre-qualification
If you're a coach, whom do you want on your team? A bunch of people who moan and groan about everything? Or those who know what they have to do, and are willing to do what it takes? Who do you want: Folks who say, “I didn't know this was all about the forum. I don't have this kind of time to spend every day.” Or do you want someone who knows what to expect because they've read the prospectus and are now pre-qualifying themselves?
And that's what top coaches do. They pick on winners in the first instance. So as you can see the pre-qualification helps in more ways than one.
But pre-sell isn't just about one course
Pre-sell is about everything you do before the sale. Every article plays its part. Every video. Every audio. Every email exchange. If you wrote to me and I didn't respond, or didn't respond with great detail, you may not think much of it. There are lots of people who don't respond.
“Everything” is everything
And pre-sell works for everything including products or services.
Apple spends enormous time pre-selling its products. They won't even tell you what the darned product is, and yet people spend months speculating. And Apple will announce the product—and you don't get the product in the stores for at least two-three months later.
Look at the time lag between the announcement of any of their products and the actual date you can get the product. Look at how they've already started to tom-tom their new operating system, and there's no operating system in sight for a while. Even an update of their operating system is pre-sold for weeks in advance.
Harry Potter does the same
So does every major movie that comes out from Hollywood. The PR machine goes into overdrive, pre-selling the “story” to the media. If Matt Damon is in a soon to be released movie, go and look at the newsstand. Almost all the magazines covers have Matt on the cover.
So he's in the gossip magazine, the film magazine, the health magazine. Waitasec? What's happening here? Why is Matt everywhere? He's everywhere, because that's pre-sell. Harry Potter does the same. Pre-sell. Wimbledon does the same. The Rugby World Cup isn't for a while. Doesn't matter. Pre-sell is in full swing.
So is pre-sell just a propagation of ideas? Or is it actually a sale?
Ideas are powerful things. Ideally, an idea is the way to go. Also, the problem is that customers aren't ready to buy when you're ready to sell. And we have to define clearly the concept of “buying” (at least in this context).
In this context, I mean “buying” as in “buying an idea”. Or to put it in a phrase: Customers “buy” before they “pay”. If you pre-sell an idea for a while and do it correctly, you will indeed find that the payment step is just a mere formality. But is it?
Not really and yes, really
So you still need to have a sales page. Every brand that sells like crazy teaches us that. Just because you pre-sell doesn't mean that the customer can do without the sales page. Just because you pre-sell doesn't mean you don't create urgency.
Just because you do all of this, doesn't mean you sit back and start sipping Piñacoladas. There's also the sales letter. The graphics play a role. The captions. The exact placement of testimonials. The clear barrier—you can't sign up for our courses until you've read The Brain Audit. All this and more is needed, and it's not just us that are pedantic about this level of detail. Every organisation that sells well goes into the same intricate detail.
Pre-sell is in the detail
Without pre-sell you need hoopla. And if you don't get hoopla, you don't get enough sign ups or sales—and this is the same for a product or a service.
Because pre-sell sets your brain in motion.
Just like it did when your friend told you what to expect when meeting the guest. In your brain, the wheels started turning long before you met the person.
And say goodbye to hoopla forever.
Article Writing Self Study Course: Why you need to get on the waiting list.
The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy And Why They Don't
5000bc: How to get answers to your specific business problems—not just more information.