Start with the end in sight

By  •  Updated: 09/21/22 •  4 min read

I’m going to kick off this new newsletter with a way of thinking about your product that has the potential to solve the biggest and most common issue I see in any of my funnel reviews.

That is, you’re too focussed on your product and not where it takes the customer.

No one wants to sit in a plane. Everyone likes going on holiday.

How to think differently about training “products”

You’re not selling a product.

You’re not even selling a skill that someone will learn from that product.

You’re selling an outcome.

Until you get clear on what that outcome is and why your prospect wants it so badly, your sales will always be weak.

When you think about product, you’re in a paradigm of “more product = more value”, but we’re not selling breakfast cereal, we’re selling a journey.

When you think about what you’re selling as a destination, not a product, the way people value it changes.

Why do you pay more for a train than a coach?

Because it gets you there faster.

People will also pay significantly more for the experience during the journey (take a look at coach vs first class prices), because they want to arrive feeling happy and refreshed, not frazzled and mistreated.

The examples

Here’s two examples to show the difference:

1) BetterSheets

First I’m going to throw my friend Dave Kamphey under the bus.

He has a great course, it sells pretty well, but he almost NEVER answers the question “why do I need this?”

He obviously has great fun finding clever things to do with Google Sheets, but a lot of it is creating products without thinking about who needs it, or why.

[click here to see the annotated landing page – too long for this email]

Contrast this our 2nd example;

2) Beginner to Pro in Excel: Financial Modeling and Valuation

This course has over 42,000. reviews, which usually means about 5x that number actually took it.


Because it kills a painful problem for a very specific audience.

It’s a great example of seeing a market and solving a problem for them.

Look at the promise made in the subtitle:
“Walk into a job and be a rockstar from day one!”

This content works because it starts with the market it’s aimed at, which does half the job of defining what the problem is that it solves.

Tools to help

Knowing what problem your market really wants to solve isn’t something you can just point software at and have it done for you, but there are ways of doing it faster and better than just asking random people.

The first resource is this quick list I got from Paul Metcalfe who is looking for ideas for a new newsletter project:

Beyond this list, you really need to start talking 1:1 with people in the market.

From spending about $20,000 on user tests and focus groups on big budget projects here are 3 tips that will at least double your chances of a successful launch:

1) Only talk to people who have bought in your category.

What people claim they’d do is fantasy, What they actually did is fact.

2) Ask them about what life was like before they bought.

Move forward from there to why they bought, but get them telling stories, early.

3) Ask what was missing or why they failed.

This is your golden goose when it comes to creating new offers. If you can find a high-selling offer and fix one of its flaws, you probably have a winner.

If there’s a secret recipe, it’s probably the customer call cheatsheets from Katelyn Bourgoin at Customer Camp. I’ve used these on numerous research calls and having a routine for your calls means you’ll see patterns with a LOT fewer calls than you would from a free-wheeling conversation.

Until next week, keep your eyes on the outcome.

Stephen Pratley

I build email lists, that grow into one-man businesses.