When I was at university, we had a visit from a US company recruiting students to work for them over the summer.
The pitch was that they’d fly you out to some small town and you’d stay there for six weeks, selling encyclopedias door-to-door.
Yes, encyclopedias! Even back then (mid-1990s) it felt like something from another era. A plotline from Happy Days.
I guess they’d discovered that a British accent paired with a bit of youthful “fish out of water” awkwardness was a strong formula for charming folks into investing their hard-earned dollars in some serious shelf candy.
I didn’t sign up but I did seriously consider it.
And looking back at it now, there’s a wonderful simplicity to that business model:
- The product is clear — a set of encyclopedias.
- The prospects are clear — anyone whose door is within walking distance.
- The sales process is clear — talk about the joy of learning, show the encyclopedias, ask for the sale.
But when you’re selling online, everything’s more fuzzy:
- The product — well, it’s anything you care to build!
- The prospects — well, they could be anywhere in the world and there’s no obvious “door” to knock on.
- The process — well, that seems like part-science, part-art, part-witchcraft!
So to simplify things, I like to think about entry points and end points.
Entry points how people enter your “world”.
(In encyclopedia-land they do it by answering the door and engaging in a conversation.)
Here are some examples from the digital world:
- They sign up for a freebie on your website
- They book a free discovery call via your online calendar
- They connect with you on LinkedIn (or accept a LinkedIn connection from you)
End points on the other hand are the places you ultimately want to get people to.
In the small town example, it’s buying a set of encyclopedias.
In the digital world it could be buying an online course (just to pick a random example 😉).
Here are some other digital end points for prospects:
- Hiring you to work with them 1:1
- Paying to attend a virtual workshop you’re running
- Subscribing to a paid community that you manage
Take it from me, thinking about your entry points and end points will dramatically reduce the fuzziness you feel when you think about how your business works (or should work) online.
Of course, to be truly effective, everything needs to line up, and so I’ll be going deeper on that next week.
See you soon,
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