How to Define Your Offer & Make Sales Easier

If your marketing efforts aren’t working out as you’d hoped, it may be a sign your audience needs to fully understand what they’re getting. This blog will tell you how to develop an offer, how to define what exactly you’re selling and make it irresistible to buyers. 

An offer (sometimes called “an offering”) is something you plan to sell. It can be one specific product or service, or it can be the menu, so to speak, for your business as a whole.   At Create That, we developed what we call the “What-What-How-How” method to help our clients define an offer. I’m going to teach it to you now and give you a FREE tool so you can do it yourself.

Why Define an Offer?

The reason we take the time to define our offer is that it makes it easier to sell. This is especially true for service-based businesses.

That’s because selling a product is easier than selling a service. By shaping your services as a packaged offer, your audience can easily understand what they get for what they spend, and you can charge a premium fee. You can see what I mean in the following examples.

A dietitian offers a” Meal Makeover” plan for $450 as opposed to offering her services for 3 hours, even though both are the exact same process.

  •  An accountant offers a $2000 Financial Clean-Up program for small businesses to get their books in order, instead of 20 hours of their services for $80/hour, during which they would accomplish the same tasks.
  •  A dog and cat care company offers a series of Pampered Pup Spa services for $250 each instead of a bath for $80, a haircut for $100 and nail clipping for $20. 

How to Define an Offer

We have created a step-by-step process to define an offer. It’s called the “What-What-How-How” method. It helps you decide how to frame what you sell and has the added benefit of assisting you with copywriting when it’s time to describe your offer to the audience.

  1. What need does your offer meet?
  2. What is your solution to meeting this need?
  3. How is it delivered? What’s in the box, and what does the box look like?
  4. How much does it cost?

What #1 – The Need

The first “what” is to define what your audience needs.

No one embarks on a buying journey if they are perfectly content in every way. If they need a product or a service, it’s because something isn’t perfect. 

 Even if they’re only looking to buy something to help them celebrate their perfect life, it means they have an unmet need: life isn’t celebrate-y enough. Let’s all shed a tear for these folks.

Our Brains Need Clarity

Our brains need to grasp what need a product will meet almost immediately in order to focus and dedicate the mental energy it takes to buy. 

 That’s because the part of our brain that passively evaluates incoming information is driving the decision process at this point. This part of the brain isn’t great with details, follows emotion blindly and is pretty self-centred. At this early part of the buying journey, we can’t afford to confuse our audience or, frankly, require much thinking.

Your marketing materials and verbal descriptions should immediately give voice to something the audience members are struggling with. Don’t give them details in this first sentence; just acknowledge the need you fill. In the examples below, you’ll notice the “say this” column immediately hones in on the audience’s need. The “not this” column instead focuses on what you do and sometimes even involves work for the audience. It’s not time for that yet.

Say ThisNot This
Run up the stairs without puffing.Increase your cardio fitness.
Never lose your keys again.Get organized easily.
Eat mouthwatering food fast.Get our food delivered to your door.

What #2 – Your Solution

The second “what” is the solution you are offering to meet the need we defined in What #1. You can’t get into detail yet; you want them to be able to anchor the problem that has been nagging them to an innovative response they have yet to consider. 

They need to understand, broadly speaking, what they’re hearing/reading about in order to categorize it into the realm of “viable options.” This neuronal process is an example of what’s called “pattern completion,” and it occurs in a specific region of the brain called the dentate gyrus.

The pattern completion process just teaches someone that your solution pairs well with their unmet need. You aren’t trying to engage logic by giving them details yet; you are just introducing them to exactly what product or service will provide them with the solution to their problem.

It should be new, unique and transformational.

The downside of meeting a universal need, at least one your audience finds universal, is that they’ve tried a bunch of things already.

Before you hit them with the steps to meet their need, they need to feel reassured that your solution is credible and possible, as well as innovative and new.

In What #1, you didn’t want to scare off the audience by telling them how much work they’re going to have to do. From here on in, each step reveals a bit more about how they’ll get results as their brain becomes ready for that information.

What #1: ProblemWhat #2: Solution
Run up the stairs without puffing.You’ll feel motivated and powerful with our 15-minute workout programs you can do at home or in the gym.
Never lose your keys again.You can transform your entire life by reading this book and implementing our 10 organization strategies.

How #1 – The Box

Now it’s time for the details. I call this “The Box” because it defines both how your wares are presented and what exactly they entail. If your audience has made it past the first two elements and is continuing to read, it means they’re ready to digest these details. 

So if it’s a body of knowledge, how exactly will you give them the knowledge? If it’s a chair, what is unique about the chair? The audience members need to feel comfortable that they have all the information.

Has anyone ever tried to sell you something you don’t understand? A problem that has plagued sellers, from financial planners to software developers, is that a large portion of the population doesn’t understand their offer.

People may occasionally buy things they don’t understand, but they do not and cannot trust something they don’t understand. Trying to sell to an untrusting audience is far more difficult than trying to sell to an audience that feels sure and safe.

I call How #1 “The Box” because it’s helpful to think of your offer as a gift. The person who receives a gift box wants to know what’s inside, and they use the packaging to help them guess. Both the contents and the package of your offer give your audience information.

What’s in a Name?

An essential element we get from a product’s box is the name of your offer. Imagine if the Chia Pet was named “the ceramic novelty item that sprouts chia seeds.” Not exactly catchy.

Naming your offer helps you charge a premium price, especially if you have a limited number of offerings, and it’s easy for your audience to understand how they relate to each other. Limiting the number and giving your offers corresponding names helps people decide. 

There was an interesting experiment by Columbia University psychologists that set up a grocery display of 24 jams and later set up a display of six jams. The display with fewer choices sold a whopping 90% more jam.

This makes sense instinctively. Imagine you went to Starbucks, and there were no named beverages, just a list of all the possible add-ins and ingredients. It would take people a year to figure out what they want, and many more people would probably just get an Americano to make it easy.

In the following example, this personal trainer has decided to offer 3 different packages, all named after 80s hit songs. 

What #1: ProblemWhat #2: Solution
Run up the stairs without puffing.You’ll feel motivated and powerful with our 15-minute workout programs you can do at home or in the gym.
How #1: The Box
The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Package: 8-week exercise plan PDF

The “Eye of the Tiger” Package: 8-week exercise plan PDF App that demonstrates exercises

The “Push It” Package: 8-week menu PDF 8-week exercise plan PDF App that demonstrates exercises

How #2 – The Price

Pricing strategy is so complex even the largest organizations struggle with it. Unless you are already very tuned in to your competition, you will need to research your market before setting a price. In my experience, most small business owners find it easiest to decide the annual income they need or want to earn first. (I) 

Divide that between how many offers you expect to sell annually (S), using past numbers if you have them. Then, add the amount it costs to deliver the offer (COGS), and you’ll know the per-unit price (PUP) you must charge.

[I ÷ S] + COGS = PUP

If your market research doesn’t support charging this amount, you have to consider reducing one of your variables; either pay yourself less or lower your costs.

Your price tells them more than your price.

Your price tells your audience a lot about your offer. It doesn’t just tell them how much money they’ll have to part with. It tells them who you are and who you think you are. If I show you a pair of jeans from 50 meters away, you won’t know if they’re Chanel or Old Navy. (Frankly, you might not know from 50 centimetres away, but that’s another marketing story.) 

If I tell you the jeans cost $1500, you know there must be more to them than just a metre or two of denim; the jeans’ label clearly has some cachet to their audience. Similarly, if I tell you the jeans are $14.99, you know the price point is probably one of the main selling features. Price is dependent on many things, so make sure before you set one, you’ve factored in everything from your supply chain to your technical needs to what your audience can afford to spend.

What #1: ProblemWhat #2: Solution
Run up the stairs without puffing.You’ll feel motivated and powerful with our 15-minute workout programs you can do at home or in the gym.
How #1: The BoxHow #2: Price
The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Package: 8-week exercise plan PDF

The “Eye of the Tiger” Package:

The “Push It” Package: 8-week menu PDF 8-week exercise plan PDF App that demonstrates exercises
The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” Package: $250

The “Eye of the Tiger” Package: $250 + $15/month

The “Push It” Package: $500 + $13/ month*   *so if they upgrade from GJWTHF package to the Push It package, they get a discount on the app subscription.

This can seem a little complicated (I mean, you have to do MATH), but it’s worth the effort. Every minute you put into making your offer easy to understand is a minute your audience doesn’t have to, and everyone loves saving effort. 

If you’d like to go through this exercise for your business, we make it easy. Download our fillable PDF, the Ultimate Guide for How to Define and Offer. 

picture of author bridget brown