Here’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!
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.