Introducing the “Are You Sure?” Page

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 7.09.21 PMHere’s an idea I’ve had for about two years and finally got around to/found a place for in my upcoming 30 day cashflow challenge for hippies – The Meantime.

It’s the idea of an ‘Are You Sure?’ page.

Here’s the idea: putting a page in between them click ‘buy’ and allowing them to buy. And having that step be to slow them down and make sure that they really want to buy – that it’s really a fit for them.

This idea is the weaving together of the notion that the role of marketing is not to get people to say ‘yes’ but (among other things) to help them see if it’s a fit plus the notion of slow marketing.

The problems this is designed to address are varied but can be summed up as, ‘making sure that people who aren’t a fit for your programs never sign up for your programs.’ When they do, you have drama. On your end: you likely get requests for refunds, you get a difficult participant, you get bad word of mouth and maybe called a liar for misleading them into buying. It’s draining. On their end, they spend money on a program they might never use and end up feeling burned and jaded.

One of my colleagues Maya wrote in the comments below,

I wish that some business/marketing coaches had done this for me because it would have saved me a lot of money. Back before I knew enough to read through over-hyped sales letters I took programs that were the wrong fit for me and now I have a bad taste in my mouth about those coaches. I deeply regretted wasting thousands of dollars at a time when money was tight for me. As a result, not only do I not recommend. Those coaches and programs but if asked the best I can do is to say something like “It didn’t work for me” or “I didn’t get what I expected”. And I know people can feel the distrust and negativity underneath those statements. I am sure I discourage many people from taking those classes. What was worse was when I took the classes I learned the exact techniques they had used to get me to buy and used them to sell one of my earlier programs. I followed the manipulative “script” and knew there were a couple of people who were the wrong fit for my program but had been sold the whole “Even if it’s the wrong fit for them you never know what other life lesson they are learning by taking a program that is wrong for them,” (Ick) so I didn’t say anything. Not only were they the most high-maintenance people in the program but I realized I had made them feel the same way I had felt when I bought a program that was wrong for me. I felt *awful*! I love that this page is a way to make sure I am never doing that to someone again as I start my new business. It feels like a way to balance out the necessary marketing with integrity. This kind of safeguard puts the “conscious” back into “conscious business”.

Carol shared this:

Thanks Tad. I knew I wanted to take the cash flow challenge and I’m that person who takes on too many programs and either doesn’t finish or lives in constant overload and financial regret. Your letter made me stop and take a moment to reflect on the questions you asked for consideration before committing. I was thankful you have another course running again and that took the pressure of ‘I have to, or else I’ll never have the opportunity again’. I really appreciated your insight and thoughtfulness of your potential client. It speaks so highly of you and how you walk your talk and I for one will be following your lead in my own business and I hope others will also follow suit. Thank you and bravo!

Claudia wrote:

This is the only ethical practice. I work with families who are desperate for assistance, but they need to hear that my approach is not the only one, and that how I work is not right for every family. And I am tired of meeting potential clients who have tried other clinicians who didn’t make sure their style fit the family, and who now feel betrayed by everyone in helping professions. Telling people, “hey, this other person might fit you better,” is a wonderful way to truly help someone, too.

The ‘Are You Sure?’ Page Plays Three Roles:

  • Role #1: it intentionally interrupts the buying process (blasphemy!). When they click on the ‘Purchase’ button, instead of taking directly to the place they can buy, it directs them to a page that does role #2…
  • Role #2: gives them the best information you can provide to help them see if it’s going to be a fit (information that they might have missed in your incredibly persuasive and compelling sales letter).  This page is explicitly not trying to sell them into the program or out of it. It’s just trying to do the heavy lifting of helping them sort out whether it really is the best thing for them or not. The info you’ll see on my Are Your Sure page was gathered over two years of leading this program and figuring out who it’s for and who it’s not for. It was gathered from a few refund situations where those I refunded kindly gave me candid feedback around what would have needed to be in the sales letter to make sure they would not have a bought (imagine that! someone not buying from you could be success).
  • Role #3: asks them to pause and really check in with themselves as to whether this is the right thing for them in this moment

Examples of Are You Sure? Pages:

You can see an example of what such a page might look like here.

My colleague, a film maker, Carolien Oosterhoff, inspired by this post came up with one too.

If you look on her ‘About You‘ page you can buy right away or click the ‘Before You Say Yes’ button which takes you to her version of the ‘Are You Sure?’ page. She said this about it: “last week I met a real ‘old fashioned’ gold smith (I am going to portray her) and she said she had read it all, and really understood me. So, it worked. And for those where it did not work and who leave … they saved me a lot of stress. I am too sensitive to stress, and want to do as much as I can to prevent me + my customer for becoming disappointed, angry .. or worse.”

UPDATE – SEPT 25th, 2015: I asked the people who had signed up for my Meantime program and, thus, had to contend with this page to share their reflections on how it was for them? Here’s what they said,

I loved that! It showed respect for your audience. I plan to use that as well in some of my marketing material.

The impression grew that you are standing being what you do. And I took this time to engage for my own sake and really want to focus on this 30days!

I appreciated this page. spoke of quality and care in who you are, what you offer and how you support others. asked me to be true to myself an dneeds at this time. what i need to move forward in vibrant and supportive ways of sustainable growth. thank you

it made me laugh, pause and I appreciated being given that space to doubt.

I like the opportunity to check out if it really is the right thing for me. I think it shows great integrity on your part to offer that chance to slow down and take a closer look to see if it truly is a fit for the buyer.

Initially it was a real surprise because I had hit the button and made the commitment to pay and here you were asking me to reconsider – this is not the norm. Infant, I’ve never experienced that before. I read through the information again to see if I was a good fit and it made me feel more sure I wanted to do the program. The pause also deepened the level of trust I had for you and it made me smile.

I thought “great, he knows what he’s talking about”. I first heard of this with Marie Forleo, that I really like and respect. So I knew you were part of this no BS tribe. It was even easier to trust you.

Really loved that page and the integrity of being asked that, both for you and for me.

I loved it! It made me really pause, check in with myself, ask a whole pile of “What if” questions and then really commit rather than rote commit (if that distinction makes sense).

Thank you for your very clear marketing page about “The Meantime” program. Through reading it, I became clear that, although it looks like a wonderful program, it is not for me. Why? This rang so clearly for me as a “no” that I knew I shouldn’t waste my time or yours in considering it further. I hope that in the future, I might find your work useful for me. I have heard your name often, through Mark and through a HOB buddy of mine. I wish you the very best in this program and in all your offerings. May someone who is really ready to take the plunge into this program take “my” place instead and do wonders with it!

Note: This kind of approach presumes that you’ve clarified your niche, have come up with a solid and compelling offer that works to solve a real problem and that your sales copy is good. If you’re missing these things and try to dump this into the mix I suspect it won’t go well for you.

I think this is a pretty great idea. What do you think?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this and how it might be done even better in the comments below.

Here’s another example of an Are You Sure? page from herbalist Lisa Akers’ sales letter.

 

About Tad

  • I think this is very wise and will save you and that person some serious pain and agony.

    My worst customers and the biggest complainers are INVARIABLY the people I have given a deal to or for whom I have dropped the price for some reason. It never fails. So now, I don’t do it. I figure that if I want to give them some money back after they have paid up front, I can decide to do that later.

  • amen! this is such a common experience.

  • Buttergon

    I saw what you did there (and it’s brilliant!).

  • thanks so much :-) why do you think it’s brilliant? i’d love to hear your take on it.

  • Pamela

    I believe I do this in my own way. My husband used to think I was crazy since he works in sales and the mantra is, “once they say ‘yes’, stop talking.” Thanks for naming something for me so that I can do it with more awareness, and for encouraging entrepreneurs to be courageous enough to go for the best fit rather than than the quick sale.

  • Carol

    Thanks Tad. Love it, I actually read your page when it came in my inbox 3x! I knew I wanted to take the cash flow challenge and I’m that person who takes on too many programs and either doesn’t finish or lives in constant overload and financial regret. Your letter made me stop and take a moment to reflect on the questions you asked for consideration before committing, I was thankful you have another course running again and that took the pressure of I have to,or else I’ll never have the opportunity again . I really appreciated your insight and thoughtfulness of your potential client. It speaks so highly of you and how you walk your talk and I for one will be following your lead in my own business and I hope others will also follow suit . Thank you and bravo!

  • Justin Bonnet

    I love heresy. Thankyou Tad!!! :D

  • David Jurasek

    I LOVE it. Been thinking about how to slow down the whole learn about this offer and buy a spot now process. I love that it’s a separate page. I want to break down the process of preparation to take action and change your life (what the offer helps with) into as many distinct and conscious steps as possible and then walk folks through them. So much more honouring and powerful I suspect this might be.

  • Lorna Stewart

    Tad, I love this ‘Are You Sure?’ page! Currently most of my marketing is done one-to-one, not online, and it’s similar, although far more time consuming. When I’m talking to people who are interested in the training course I lead, I ask quite a few questions to support the person to get a true sense of whether or not the program is a good fit for them, and several times, I’ve actively tried to talk them out of doing it, and/or suggested a different program (someone else’s) that I believe is more suited to their needs. This is the approach that resonates most deeply with me, and which matches my core values. I also love that you call it ‘slow marketing’, because I’ve come to understand that in building professional relationships I’m more a ‘slow burn’ than a ‘quick ignite’!

  • Maya Gangadharan

    I wish that some business/marketing coaches had done this for me because it would have saved me a lot of money. Back before I knew enough to read through over-hyped sales letters I took programs that were the wrong fit for me and now I have a bad taste
    in my mouth about those coaches. I deeply regretted wasting thousands of dollars at a time when money was tight for me. As a result, not only do I not recommend
    those coaches and programs but if asked the best I can do is to say something like “It didn’t work for me” or “I didn’t get what I expected”. And I know people can feel the distrust and negativity underneath those statements. I am sure I discourage many people from taking those classes. What was worse was when I took the classes I learned the exact techniques they had used to get me to buy and used them to sell one of my earlier programs. I followed the manipulative “script” and knew there were a couple of people who were the wrong fit for my program but had been sold the whole “Even if it’s the wrong fit for them you never know what other life lesson they are learning by taking a program that is wrong for them,” (Ick) so I didn’t say anything. Not only were they the most high-maintenance people in the program but I realized I had made them feel the same way I had felt when I bought a program that was wrong for me. I felt *awful*! I love that this page is a way to make sure I am never doing that to someone again as I start my new business. It feels like a way to balance out the necessary marketing with integrity. This kind of safeguard puts the “conscious” back into “conscious business”.

  • Claudia Neely

    This is the only ethical practice. I work with families who are desperate for assistance, but they need to hear that my approach is not the only one, and that how I work is not right for every family. And I am tired of meeting potential clients who have tried other clinicians who didn’t make sure their style fit the family, and who now feel betrayed by everyone in helping professions. Telling people, “hey, this other person might fit you better,” is a wonderful way to truly help someone, too.

  • Vladi Jordan

    Interesting idea.

    I speak from experience (as a customer), but the only time I’ve took a step back to rethink my buying decision, was when the offer was backed up by a conditional guarantee.
    (the kind of “show me some prove of implementation”, if you ask for refund)

    Such “are you sure” page drives me nuts (probably, because has it roots in the “take away” sales technique), and makes me click on the “Buy” button even faster ;)

    Please let us know how it worked for you.

  • russell scott

    I think this is a great approach, it actually establishes more trust in you and lessens the buyers remorse that often sets in after a purchase. I would think you would have less of this after they enroll. It also gives you a chance to emphasize once again what you are offering. I would also think that this page would mostly be read versus many sales letters that people just skip through. Actually I’d suggest that you emphasize in this letter that people need to read the full content of the letter before they enroll. Another suggestion is to indicate at the end of the letter that now that they have read the letter there is no refund once they have enrolled. I do this sort of approach for my more expensive retreats but only in a phone interview. I make sure they know everything about the retreat and what they want from it and if it is a fit. Rarely do I get people asking for a refund. Russell Scott

  • I LOVE this idea Tad! Thanks so much for sharing it! My partner and I sell in-person workshops around the world both online and in-person during preview events. Question for you: Any thoughts on adding in how to best incorporate what is learned after the workshop, so people take responsibility for continuing the work and that it’s truly up to them? For us, people can go through the workshop and have a profound experience and for many people that’s where they stop. Those that continue to benefit are the ones that practice what they learn on their own and with other members of our group ongoing to a weekly to monthly frequency of their choosing. Maybe you wouldn’t add this in for your program because it sounds like you have a workshop and then a set structure with calls for two months after that. For us we have the workshop and then a private facebook group and local hosts that invite people over to practice but of course most people don’t show up. I’d love to hear your thoughts and apologize for being a bit long-winded ;)

  • lisamanyon

    I love this on so many levels. Being in business is about being of service and doing business with the right people. Sharing information, guiding people with compassion and doing all that we can do to ensure it’s a good fit is just good business. Bravo.

  • thanks lisa :-)

  • that is a great question. It’s a whole blog post of its own I think. It’s not something I have focused on much but yes, it is certainly a reality. I’m going to sit with this.

  • “Actually I’d suggest that you emphasize in this letter that people need to read the full content of the letter before they enroll” gold. Just wove that in.

  • interesting. I’d never even heard of the ‘take away’ sales technique before. Wasn’t a part of my training. I can see how this might seem like that and I’m clear it’s not coming from that place at all. i’ll be sure to keep you all posted on how this works.

  • amen.

  • oh man. i feel you. I’ve been there on every side of that equation and none of it felt anything but terrible. I like the notion of this as a safe guard. yes.

  • lorna, “I’ve actively tried to talk them out of doing it, and/or suggested a different program (someone else’s) that I believe is more suited to their needs” – that’s where it’s at. that also frees you to talk up your own program when it really IS a fit.

  • thanks david :-)

  • I’m so glad to hear Carol! Hope to see you in the next one if the timing is right :-)

  • to me if they say ‘yes’ and it feels right to both of you in your hearts, wonderful. But if you’re sitting there and something feels off, then I think it’s worthy of checking in to make sure it’s really a fit.

  • Thanks Tad. You are a very thoughtful guy and I like the way you are constantly exploring (my take from reading some of your emails and blog posts). It’s a big topic we all face as workshop leaders because what we’re really doing is trying to give our students information to incorporate into their life… we’re not intending to give them a two-day experience Only. I’ll be thinking more about this too and what you shared :)

  • Tad, I love this idea and it does take someone like you to make it work. Not only are you clear about your niche and your offering, but you also have a very clear POV so the buyers know exactly why they are seeing that page, reinforcing your personalty and perspective. I really respect the way you run your business. I would love a sequel on this post, and have you share the stats and outcome of adding this page to the sales process.

  • hey you. thank you. sharing stats would assume that I ever measure anything ever which… i don’t…

  • LOL, that just reduced my “guilt” 10x!
    I think after doing this for so long your gut can give you metrics as good as, if not better than, just straight up numbers alone. So, still would love to see a sequel :D

  • Jess Ripley

    Tad, my experience as a potential buyer with your “are you sure” page for the meantime was actually a bit mixed. I read your whole sales letter, and then when I got to the are you sure page, I had a strong reaction to it – who is this guy, what is he doing, is there some kind of glamor here, is this an extended front…? I ended up listening to / reading more of your material, and in the end felt better about who you are. I ultimately decided to do the Foundations course with Heart of Business, because even tho I do need cash, I also really need a long-term structure plan that incorporates some new visions and pieces. I suppose that I could do both.. but that’s not realistic. Maybe I will take your class in the future, to be honest I read/listen to more of your material than I do the Heart of business material. But I also met Mark Silver in person last year here in Portland… anyway! It’s so complicated, isn’t it? Making decisions?
    The are you sure page won’t be helpful for me in my current business, but in the new aspects I’m working to implement this year, it could be perfect. Thanks for all your writing!

  • hey there jess, I’m so glad you ended up feeling better. and i’m so glad you found something else that felt better for you. You are in the bes tof hands with Mark Silver.

  • Anastasia Semerok

    Hi Melissa, this is the core of my business (I help experts to create their own training programs) so I hope you won’t mind me pitching in.
    The short answer: one-off workshops and training sessions simply do not work. The rate of implementation is catastrophically low, somewhere around 10%. You are definitely not alone in experiencing this.
    Why don’t people implement what they’ve learnt and continue to benefit? In a nutshell: the environment (the only thing that changes after a workshop is some new information in their head), the lack of external urgency, and people simply get stuck or lost along the way.
    What’s the solution? Any training program that offers a structured and mandatory continuity aspect: homework assignments, buddy system, coaching, etc. In my experience, the implementation rates jump to 90% and higher. Such a system can be set up both live and online.
    I’ve joined Tad’s “The Meantime” at the beginning of this year, and it offers this exact same continuity. That’s why it works :-)
    I hope you’ll find this information helpful. This is the core of my work, so I can talk about this for days and days ;-) If you would like to know more, please feel free to contact me.

  • Anastasia Semerok

    What I love about this is the explicit moment of reflection and commitment you are offering to your potential clients. Yes, this will filter out those who are not a fit. Perhaps even more importantly: it will solidify the commitment and enthusiasm of those who are are fit. With your approach, people will enter your program that much more engaged and ready to work. What a wonderful benefit for your clients and for the whole group!

  • The best idea in ages and it will bring much more then you hoped for, I am sure. I believe we all have problem with rushing, making quick decisions, learning fast, making everything fast. It’s consciousness in today’s world. When you slow down you can see how everything is still fine, nothing is broken and with the help of everyday meditation(saved my life), you are heading in right direction. I love your blog and all writings and read them all, which is not the case with other sites (just skim parts I am interested in). I learned so much from you already, but never bought anything from you and thank you for it.