Building a High Ticket Program
- A "Behind the Scenes" View (Part 1) -
Thanks for signing up for my mini-series of articles on Building a High Ticket Program. The first article is below and I'll drop you an email with a link to each of the following articles in the series.
As you'll have read in my initial email, I'm currently working on creating a high ticket program for people who want the fastest route to becoming seen as an authority in their fields.
I'm being guided in the design of the program by Frank Bria's High Ticket Program Blueprint, along with some personal tips from Frank I've been getting.
Frank's just released a free high level version of his blueprint, and I thought that if you're interested in creating your own premium program, you might get value from seeing how I've used the principles in the blueprint to create my program and the thinking I've been through.
So in the next few emails and articles I'm going to be walking through Frank's blueprint step-by-step, going into details on my interpretation and some of the insights I've had from each step, and showing you how I've applied it.
First step though is to get a copy of Frank's blueprint for yourself to walk through as we go.
Click the link below to sign up for the blueprint. You'll also get free access to Frank's High Ticket Summit at which I'm a speaker (I'm doing a session on Marketing Automation).
The summit is a bit different to most summits. Rather than a random collection of experts on a topic, Frank has structured it as an actual training program based round his blueprint. So rather than having to synthesise everything you hear and put it together yourself, this summit will take you step-by-step through creating your high ticket program.
The summit runs from Jan 30th to Feb 6th (my session is on Feb 4th). You can watch all the interviews and training free during the summit, or buy a copy of the recordings to watch at any point afterwards. As usual, as a speaker, I get a commission on any recordings bought through my link.
Here's the link to get the blueprint and access to the summit:
OK - got your copy of the blueprint?
Great. Open it up and read the first section: "Find Your 6-Figure Problem".
For me, this is the most important step. Quite simply, if you can't find a problem (or opportunity) that's worth a lot to your potential clients then they won't pay a high ticket fee to get it solved.
Whenever I'm creating a product or program or bespoke piece of work, I always look for a 10x return on investment for my clients. I want to be super confident that if I work with a client, or they buy something from me, they'll get at least 10x their investment back within a year at most.
Now I know, some clients would be willing to buy with a much smaller return on investment. After all, your investments in the stock market or in a savings account return a pitiful few percentage points a year. And most other business investments would be lucky to generate a 2-3x ROI.
But I want the decision to buy from me to be a no-brainer. I want them to get so much value that they don't need to doubt themselves or second guess their decision. I want them to proceed with confidence and start making the changes that are going to get them the results they're looking for.
So if I'd like my high ticket program to cost $20K, that implies it has to deliver at least $200K of value to the client. For a $5K program it would be $50K of value.
Of course, for a high ticket program like this, the way to get a 10x return on investment is to increase the value you deliver, not cut the cost. And the easiest way to increase value is to focus on a big problem or opportunity and a set of clients for whom solving that problem is worth a lot.
Choose Your Clients Wisely
Something it took me a long time to figure out was that often, the value I deliver to people through my work is more about them than it is about anything I do.
Take a simple example. Let's say I was to create a program that taught businesses how to write better emails to get more sales.
That course is going to be much more valuable, in absolute terms, to an established business with an existing mailing list and great products to offer than it is to a new startup with no list and nothing much to sell yet.
That doesn't mean my program wouldn't be valuable to the startup. In relative terms it could be very important for them. But who's going to be in a better position to pay me a lot of money for that program? An established business who can use my advice on emails to immediately send out to their big subscriber list and get more sales of their products straight away, or one that would have to build a list from scratch and wouldn't have much to sell them initially?
High ticket programs are inherently more suitable for bigger clients with an existing business where your program provides "the final piece in the jigsaw" to enable them to get great results fast.
If you love working with smaller businesses or startups who have much further to go in their journey that's great. But it's going to be an uphill struggle to sell them a high ticket program because their journey to 10x ROI is going to be much longer and much less certain.
For me, there's a "sweet spot" of clients who are big enough that they're a good fit for a high ticket program, but not so big that I'd get tied down in bureaucracy and convoluted corporate decision making processes.
It's not just about size either. When I looked at what it would take for my potential clients to succeed at building authority in their field to win more clients it was immediately obvious that two key criteria were that they needed to have something unique and different about them - something to say. And they needed to be prepared to put in the work (at least half a day a week) to get the results.
If you're charging a lot for your program you need to make sure that the people you aim it at will get tremendous value from it, and that they're set up to succeed.
Who are the perfect clients for your high ticket program? What criteria do they need to meet?
Focus Your Program on a Specific, Defined Outcome
The decision to set out on a journey is much, much easier if you can see the destination.
Many consulting or coaching assignments begin open-ended or with a very vague idea of the end result. You then have an initial discovery session or meeting with the client where you ask questions and jointly decide what it is you're going to focus your work together on.
That's great, and results in a highly tailored program meeting the unique needs of the client. But it's much more difficult for most clients to buy that kind of program all at once.
To pay big money for an open ended-program, clients have to have a huge degree of trust in you that you'll be able to figure out what they need and then whatever comes up, to be able deliver it. It's a classic "pig in a poke" purchase.
And while there's a certain excitement in blazing new ground, most of us prefer to tread on well worn territory. Especially when it comes to solving the big problems in our business. We want to know that others have successfully been down this path. That's much easier to do if the path is clear and the outcome is defined.
There's an old marketing saying that "people don't want a drill, they want a hole".
That's great in theory, but from a practical perspective it's largely tosh. No one goes into a shop and asks for a hole. They ask for a drill. They know that others have used drills for decades to make holes just like the one they want to make, so they're confident a drill will get them what they want.
So in the real world, you're better off marketing a drill and showing people how well it makes holes than you are trying to market a service to make a hole where you have a discussion with the client first about the best ways of making a hole for them and then choosing a tailored method of hole-making just for them.
Now of course, in our sorts of businesses there will be plenty of people who don’t know they need a drill. Who just see the hole and wonder how to get it made.
Those are great potential clients to educate over time. To get your free lead magnet on "how to make a hole" and then your follow-up emails on hole-making tips. But they're unlikely to buy a high ticket program in the short term.
The people who are closer to buying want to see a specific outcome to give them confidence in what they're getting.
Starting open-ended with a discovery session is also very difficult to differentiate in the minds of clients too, as that's what a raft of other suppliers are offering. It's difficult to make your discovery session sound much different to someone else's as you're essentially asking questions to find out what the issue is. Whereas a specific outcome that's unique to you does sound different, and that helps you stand out.
That specific outcome also makes the program more repeatable for you. Every client's journey will be a bit different. But if you have a clearly defined outcome and specific steps to get there you can create a program that you can re-use rather than reinventing the wheel every time. Ultimately that means you have a better program that's easier for you to deliver. And one you could deliver to groups (because they're all following roughly the same path) rather than only to individuals.
In my case, I do lots of different things to help consultants, coaches and trainers to get more clients. But for a high ticket program that's far too nebulous. I need something concrete.
One of the reasons I chose to focus on becoming seen as an authority in your field (or in particular, creating a marketing system that will position you as an authority in your field) was that not only does it lead to a high ROI outcome (more clients), but the specific outcome of being seen as an authority is something that've valued in and of itself. It's much easier to sell something people already know they want than it is to sell something you think they need and try to convince them they want it.
Make Sure it's a "Close to the Jugular" Problem
Sounds a bit gory, but what I mean by that is that in many clients you'll find they have a lot of problems or challenges they could be focusing on. You might have found a six-figure or 10x problem that you think they need to solve. But if they have a dozen other big issues to work on, will they prioritise yours?
I remember when I worked in big consulting being frustrated by a senior colleague who just didn’t get this. He led many of our biggest analysis projects, but in his mind as long as we could show the client a strong business case for implementing our recommendations, that was all we needed. He just couldn't see that if the client had bigger issues on their plate then it didn't matter how solid our business case was, if they had other, bigger, problems then we'd never get our project implemented.
When it comes to your high ticket program, make sure the outcome you focus on is not only high ROI, but it's a top-of-mind issue for your ideal clients. Something they talk about often and worry about.
This is particularly important if your services aren't immediately money related.
It's pretty easy to come up with an ROI if you help clients get more sales or cut their costs. But if you work on issues like leadership, culture, teamwork or communication skills it can be much harder to make that direct connection.
You need to do what you can to emphasise the link between improvements in the areas your work on and the bottom-line. You can use examples from other clients, analysis of current problems caused and knock-on effects in this client. But at the end of the day, the further away from direct monetary impact your services are, the harder it is to sell them.
In this case it's even more vital that you focus on problems and opportunities that your clients already consider to be big priorities for them. If a client has already decided that improving their culture is vital to future success then there's less need for you to make the case. You just need to show them you can do it.
That means going back to your choice of target clients and focusing on those who - in the large - already appreciate the value of the outcome you're delivering.
R&D focused companies already appreciate the value of reducing time to market. Fast growth companies already appreciate the value of leadership skills for their newly promoted managers. Companies with high turnover already appreciate the value of effective recruitment.
You need to iterate between defining a clear outcome and finding a group of target clients who really value that outcome. Keep going round that loop until you have a good match.
In my case, becoming seen as an authority is, I believe, already a top-of-mind issue for very many of my clients. I know that from speaking to them directly and from the many surveys I've done over the years. And the link between becoming seen as an authority and higher fees and more sales is clear too. So I'm on pretty safe ground.
Finally, Make Sure This is Something You're Passionate About
Passion is a bit of an overused phrase these days.
But in this case it's apt. With a high ticket program you're going to be working intensely in an area time and time again with multiple clients during the course of the program.
If the thing you're working on isn't something you enjoy doing that stimulates you intellectually and creatively, then it's going to be a long, hard slog for you.
And since the client is paying top-dollar for this program, they deserve your best. Not just you "phoning it in".
So before finalising your "six figure problem" do a sanity check. Ask yourself "if I had to spend the next 3 months just working in this area, is it something I'd relish, or something I'd do begrudgingly?"
When you talk about this topic do you get excited? Do you find yourself ranting about the rights and wrongs and the best way to do things? Do you have a unique point of view about how to do this that disagrees with others in your field?
These are all good signs that this would be a good area for your high ticket program.
Of course, it needs that six-figure 10x ROI first and foremost. And it has to be a "close to the jugular" problem for the right client. It's no good you being passionate about something if no one else cares.
But as the final check, make sure this is something you'll love doing.
In my case, I've had a been in my bonnet about being seen as an authority since I wrote my first article on the topic over 6 years ago. it's something I actively work on for myself, and I've developed a pretty unique approach to the topic that contrasts with what most people teach about "become a go to expert" - so it definitely passes this test for me.
You've probably read this article in one sitting. Next, I suggest you go back through it and make notes.
If you haven't downloaded the blueprint yet you can get it here"
>> Get The High Ticket Program Blueprint <<
Brainstorm a few outcomes you can deliver with 10x ROI and think "who would be the ideal clients for this who would get great value from it and be able to succeed with it?". Select the one that seems to have the highest perceived value for an audience you could reach.
Make sure that it's an area you're enthusiastic about working it.
Then validate it. Call people you think would be good potential clients and get their feedback on your idea for program and the outcome you aim to deliver.
Make sure your hypothesis holds up in the real world.
In the next article we'll look at creating your "secret sauce", the content of the program itself.