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,
GlenIn the last newsletter, I talked about “entry points” and “end points” (via a story about encyclopedias…)
An entry point is a way for someone to step into your world plus an opportunity for you to start a conversation with them.
Example: a prospect gives you their email address in exchange for a freebie, then receives a series of trust-building emails.
An end point is a beneficial result you want to happen.
Example: a prospect purchases your online course.
Last week’s takeaway:
Thinking hard about your entry and end points will give you a ton of clarity about how you want your business to work online.
This week, we’ll look at how you actually do that…
The easiest approach is to start with an end point and work backwards towards the entry point.
So if you’re a coach, and your end point is a package of 12 coaching sessions, you’ll want to design your entry point to attract people who are likely to be a good fit for that package.
(After all, there’s no point in offering a download about anxiety if you coach people around productivity.)
Once you have an entry and end point, you can start thinking about what happens in the middle.
In other words, how do you move people from one point to the other?
Sticking with the coaching example, let’s say you offer a free coaching call as an entry point.
You could use that call to gather the information you need to decide if the person is a good fit for the full package.
If they are, you could mention your package at the end of the call and ask if they’re interested in signing up.
And you know what? If the timing is right, and you have good rapport, you may get a sale right away.
But it usually takes longer than that.
That’s why you need a way to keep people interested until they are ready to buy (or until they drop out of your world altogether.)
Here’s how that could look for the coaching example above…
At the end of the free call you make your offer, but the person says they’re not ready for the full package just yet.
You say, that’s cool, but can I sign you up for my weekly newsletter where I talk about some of the areas I usually cover in my coaching?
They agree and then once a week they receive a quick email insight from you and (critically) a gentle reminder (e.g., in the P.S. of the email) that you offer a coaching package.
So that’s your basic strategy:
You get people on a free call, offer the full package (if appropriate) and have your newsletter as a backup plan.
You then use that newsletter to demonstrate your value and to keep your coaching package in their mind.
But what if you’re selling a course?
In that case your entry point might be a freebie that tackles one small part of the problem your course solves.
Automatic follow-up emails could offer a limited time discount on your course.
And your backup plan could be a weekly newsletter that talks about related topics and reminds people about your course.
This week’s takeaway: 👇
Make sure everything “lines up” so that you have a solid plan for getting people from the entry point to the end point (whether that’s a course sale, a coaching package or something else).
Phew, I feel like that was a dense one. But hopefully valuable!
See you soon,
P.S. Next week I’ll wrap up this “mini-series” by talking about what has to happen outside of this little ecosystem to get everything working as effectively as possible.
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