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How to create a 5 Step Offer Formula

What we are going to do  …

The five step formula we are going to show you here is one that has been developed by some of the best minds in the business, and we have used it with great success over a number of years. It has a wide range of applications, and has been used for sales scripts, landing page design, email marketing templates, face-to-face conversations, video design …

…  in fact, any situation where the aim is to convey the value of a solution to a person with a specific problem or need and get them to take action on it.

NOTE: the examples in italics are one line summary suggestions for a project management agency example, in the implementation guide we will work through you creating your own structured argument based on your business’s approach to solving your customer’s problems.

Step One: What’s The Problem?

Most sales situations, whether they occur online or off-line, are usually based on solving a problem. In copywriting circles this initial need is known as the three P’s: pain, problem, or predicament.

In this stage, we resonate with the problem or need that the person has, in such a way that they feel that we are talking about them specifically. Stephen Covey rightly pointed out that the greatest need of the human soul is the need to be understood, so our job before we do anything else is to make sure that the person we are dealing with knows that we “get” them. if we are in anyway hazy about what the person’s problem or need is, then that is a good sign that we need to refine our target market.

 e.g.: Doesn’t it massively frustrate you that you have so many great ideas that never seem to get delivered? That you and your organisation have so much potential and opportunity going to waste …

Step Two: Why Hasn’t It Been Solved?

This is the point at which we look at other steps that the person has either taken, or may be considering. Again, the rationale here is that we are establishing a rapport with them, and also trying to save them time by preventing them from going down dead-end alleys when it comes to finding an answer to their particular problem or need. 

e.g.: for some reason, no matter what books you try, or training programs you put people on, or best intentions you start out with, things just seem to fizzle and die over time and never come to fruition.

Step Three: What’s Possible? 

During this stage, we paint a picture of what life will be like once they have achieved their ends. This should be described in such way that appeals to all of the senses, and should be described in present tense to make it as real as possible. It’s not just about the solution; it’s what the solution will enable them to do, or who the solution will enable them to be. We need to connect with what it is they are really looking for. This then becomes our dramatic promise, and it contrasts with the painful situation and the ‘no way out’ illustration of the previous two sections.

e.g.: but instead, imagine this: your stress is gone, and everything is on track. People are calling in to congratulate you on yet another successful delivery. You can relax, and actually make it home on time for once, comfortable in the knowledge that now you have a team that works with you to deliver all of your ideas, using your internal teams and also high quality cost-effective experts in other fields. All you need to do is communicate your idea, and they make it happen, on time every time. All you need tomorrow, is have another amazing idea!

Step Four: What’s Different Now 

Our job here is to explain the key points of difference which defines the right answer to the question, which again, resets their buying criteria to what we know is important. These key points of difference, should be your key points of difference. This section emphasises why our solution is the only door that does not lead down a rabbit hole of the type that they have been warned about in step two, but are absolutely the right path to get to the glorious “some day” described in step three. 

e.g.: we are experts in the field of making your ideas happen. Our people, systems and partners are simply unmatched in terms of experience and capability, and more importantly we are experts in helping you define exactly what your idea should look like, saving you time and money and pain when it comes to delivering exactly what you need.

Step Five: What You Should Do Now 

This is a call to action, where we tell them exactly what they need to do, and how this will unfold. This removes any uncertainty or nervousness on their part. 

e.g.: contact us today to book a consultation with one of our chief project officers, and we will be able to tell you exactly what we can do to make your ideas happen.

Essentials to remember: 

  • Use simple emotional language: dry prose with lots of long words loses the vast majority of the audience very quickly, as the brain can’t picture it. Keep it simple, and keep it relatable, and you will keep their attention. 

Use testimonials in conjunction with the above template: a powerful source of social proof and credibility building, these tend to be used when it’s a printed or broadcast piece of material, such as a flyer, landing page, video etc. What you might want to consider is getting people to give you testimonials in such a way that they can be broken down and used to reinforce each particular section. For instance, you could ask people giving a testimonial to describe their experience of the problem, and then use a number of those during step one. (note: make sure that your testimonials are themselves a credibility builder, i.e. that the person giving the  testimonial is somebody that the potential buyer would trust to make a good decision).

Peter Cameron-Burnett

The founder of AgileOS, Peter has over 25 years experience in business and technology. As well as running multi-million pound projects and events, he has written a number of books on business and has run training courses and workshops for business owners and entrepreneurs in countries around the world. He is also the founder of DeliverAid, an initiative that helps disadvantaged children in impoverished areas by providing educational materials and low cost computers such as the Raspberry Pi.

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