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In our book, ‘The Go-To Expert’ (click on the link for a free chapter) – Jon and I talked about the need for professionals to have a product ladder. In this blog post we will discuss what we mean by a product ladder and how it will help you generate more business by referral.

What is a product ladder?

A product ladder is where you offer different services for the different budgets that your prospects may have. Typically new clients will be ‘testing’ you by using one of your more lower priced products or services. Very often people will have some ‘entry level’ products and services. For example, have you ever tested out a printer or a graphic designer by getting them to sort you out some business cards? Business cards are a typical ‘entry level’ product for a printer or graphic designer. If they do a good job with your business cards, then you may ask them to help you with further work and projects of a more complex level. I.e. products and services which are up a few rungs of the ladder. For a graphic designer this could be a suite of templates for all your visual requirements.

As the Go-To Expert you want to make sure that you have identified your product ladder. Whilst you may not have all the products or services on the product ladder available, your aim is to at least have decide on what should go into the product ladder.

Why do networkers need entry level services and products?

Typically buyers of professional services, and more general businesses want to de-risk any purchase they make. In other words the lower your credibility and relationship strength the less likely they will want to buy something from further up your product ladder. Consequently, you want to have some entry level products which ease them into becoming a new client. After you have, hopefully, delighted your new client with the entry level product or service, you can then convert them into a higher fee paying client by tempting them with your products and services which are higher up your product ladder.

Let me give you an example of how we use this. 70+% of our clients end up working with us for over 12 months at a fee rate of £300+ a month. If you tot up the numbers that is a big purchase – particularly if you don’t know whether we really will help you fix your lead generation and sales problems. As a result, we have an entry level service called an MOT. This is where we sit down with our new clients, for a one-off cost of normally £500. They leave this session with tangible outcomes and a clear idea of what they need to do to fulfil their business ambitions. 3 out of 4 people who do an MOT with us, then go onto work with us for over 12 months. When we are out networking and meeting people we only tend to talk about our MOT service. After all, we don’t want to frighten any potential clients away before they have even bought from us!

Often people when networking will do a deal on their entry level service to tempt in potential new clients. Probably the best example of this is the printer again. If you shop around enough, or network regularly you will always find a printer who has a deal on for business cards. Once again, this is an example of a networker potentially running a loss leader in order to get your onto the client list, and start the process of strengthening your relationship with them.

Keeps things simple and more memorable

By only talking about the entry level product or service you keep it very simple for both a potential client but also a potential introducer. There are less details to forget and you are only telling people about the potential product or service they were likely to buy any way!

In summary,

Before you head out the door to your next networking event, identify what would be a great entry level product or service for you and your business.