How to Craft an Offer That Can’t Be Refused

How to Craft an Offer That Can’t Be Refused

Reader Comments (38)

  1. “An offer you can’t refuse may apply subtle pressure, but nobody likes a hard sell.”
    Great point! No one wants to feel like they are being pushed around by a sales guy. It makes everyone look for “catch” or think someone is trying to convince them to buy something they don’t need.

  2. Great points Chris.

    Getting to “that point” where your offer “unlocks the car door” so you can get your keys out… and charging $50 for that service (were YOU going to unlock the door?) is the critical part of the offer IMO.

    Most offers fall far short of this.

  3. This will sound like a fictitious situation, but when it comes to IP, it is not:

    What are the main objections to the offer?

    1. I can get it for free with a simple Google search
    2. I do not realize (or care) that I am stealing when I find it for free
    3. I do not care that the author/artist does not get paid, because I get it for free.

    What compelling argument is there for making “Buy This Book” an offer that can’t be refused?

    • Sure thing, that comes up a lot.

      Whether you’re talking about music, ebooks, or any other form of paid content, your best defense is a relationship with your audience.

      I’ve found that some people will steal content no matter how cheap it is, and some people will pay for it no matter how expensive. But even people who routinely steal content (say on music sharing sites, torrent, etc.), can sometimes become paid customers if they understand that the copyright holder is a real person who has a living to make.

      Sometimes you can also add an element that can’t be stolen because it can’t readily be duplicated. For example, an ebook or other premium content can include access to a private membership community where questions are answered and the buyer has additional access to the content creator. Or even something as simple as some free Q&A sessions held once a month or so for buyers. A musician’s version of that could be a site with interviews and private live virtual “concerts.”

    • I’m glad you asked that question. I sell music, and I find it hard to come up with a compelling offer when someone can stream the song that they want to hear (or rip it right from a site) that someone illegally uploaded at YouTube. It’s a bit frustrating.

      • I think the response is “if you could steal from your neighbor and be 100% sure you’d get away with it, would you do it?” Everyone knows that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Most people aren’t scumbags who would step over their own grandmother to get a freebie, they just don’t connect streaming something illegally with an actual harm to a real person. Something like this would probably work: ‘Guys, I work hard to produce the music you enjoy. Give a girl some sugar and cough up the 99 cents. You know you should.’

  4. Loved the storytelling interjected in your writing. A non-profit I belong to runs a duathlon fundraiser. We have plenty of donuts and oranges. ! :):)
    “Mulling it over, I realized that the way we make purchasing decisions isn’t always rational.” — We’re talking about emotions role here. Great research has been done support the fact that over 50% of all our buying decisions are based on emotions.

    Again great content….love your writing style. bg

  5. Loved this post, Chris! Especially the formula for crafting “THE” offer. And it really is true that our logic behind pinning a value to the services we buy often defies all logic. Very important to keep in mind when thinking through the value proposition of our own services!

  6. Hilarious.
    My Dad was a locksmith and I can remember one time us going on a service call.
    He got there, pulled out his tool, popped the guys door open in 5 seconds and asked for $30 (this was a long time ago).
    The guy was shocked that my Dad would ask him for $30 for a 5 second job. He said, “What!? That’s robbery!
    So my Dad, without saying a word, locked the door a closed it back up and started walking back to his car until the customer begged him to come back.
    Thanks for reminding me of this story!

  7. This article was masterfully done: succinct, concise, thorough & insightful. However, as a fellow writer, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out a writing/ spelling error 101. Perceived, is your cross here. Pardon the pox. Thankyou.write on.

  8. Excellent post. People don’t like being sold to but they loving buying.

    This post relates to a recent post you wrote about Four Sales Page Elements That
    Get People To Buy Now

    As a former athlete i also know that some people always feel like they’re running a marathon so they’ll probably never feel like a Donut and always want orange.

  9. Great points here Chris…

    And a couple of really good examples of ‘everyday incident’ story-telling in there that really illuminate your message.

    Thanks for the post,


  10. Nice article, and it makes a lot of sense. But even when we understand what you’re saying, what do we DO about it? Intentionally take longer than necessary to provide a service in order to increase its perceived value? Add more detail to our invoices in an effort to help the customer understand what he’s really paying for? (I.e., “Unlocking your car: $5; arriving within 3 minutes, $20; giving you access to your vehicle without smashing a window, $25”). Some real-world examples to overcoming objections would be helpful.

    • Lynn, how would you do it?

      I would probably advise the locksmith to set expectations — “There’s a $50 minimum for rush service, does that work for you?”

  11. Great Post Guys,

    I have found that Mark Hoverson’s Info Marketing Blueprint was very helpful indeed for me to get products up and running. So I agree with you guys it is key to longterm sustained success online to become a creator and build that list.

    Keep Rockin!

  12. Hi Sonia – Sure, but that’s not the same thing at all as creating an irresistible offer. That’s simply developing a brand and a relationship. I was presuming that work had been done and was asking specifically about terms that make the offer irresistible.

    • Without knowing specifics, it’s hard to answer in the abstract. But in general, I’ve found that who is making the offer is very much a part of how “irresistible” it is.

      If, as you say, the objection is “I could just steal it,” then the answer to that objection is to improve the relationship you have with the audience.

    • To reiterate my suggestion from the first comment, we include non-copyable elements (access to the course creators) as part of our offer for products like Third Tribe and Teaching Sells.

  13. Great information! I like that you added the “Offer Construction Project” section as well.

  14. This was a REALLY good post. Just ordered Chris’ book over at Barnes and Nobles. That’s the way it works, right: a little exposure, some great content and a book sale to wrap things up. Well, maybe it’s not always that fast, but that’s how good the post was for me. 🙂

  15. The offer formula is brilliant, but what I found especially helpful was the question, “What else can I offer?” How do you best frame this without using the cheesey “But wait! There’s more …” line?

  16. This article was excellent! I really appreciate the list of items we need to consider when crafting our offer. This is the kind of quality information I think of when I tell my readers to provide value. Thanks!

  17. I don’t understand the point about perceived value. Or rather, I don’t get the point about the point about perceived value. Chris got that subjective value isn’t the same as actual value. So you must understand what customers value (subjectively).

    So what do you tell people who think $25 is too much for 25 pages? Or do you rewrite the book so that it’s 300 pages? I’m not getting what the final outcome is supposed to be once you understand that your customers’ perceived value isn’t matching up with your intended value for your product. You’re saying then it’s all about selling the actual value? Or about creating more value? Or about switching who you’re selling to?

    And while your examples are great compelling offers for the customers, I don’t see how they benefit the sellers — in fact, they don’t. Those are both charitable offers with no expectations of reward for the “sellers.” That’s easy to do. Giving people stuff they don’t have to pay for is easy. It’s very difficult to get it wrong (like donuts in the middle of a race). But getting people to buy something they may or may not think they need is, imho, quite another problem.

    So while I see the individual points of your essay, I don’t see how they connect here. Show me real world examples of failures and how they can be turned around. That’s useful.

  18. I really enjoyed this article – thanks for going out of your way to write it for us 🙂

    It reminds me of the saying “we buy on emotion and then justify the decision with logic” …

    I also enjoyed your storytelling – now *that* reminds me that I must include more of it in my own work!

    Smiles and best wishes from Julie in New Zealand

  19. What if you do not make an offer at all? You simply embed a product in a bigger action plan. Let’s say you write an article to climb Mt. Everest in the shortest possible time and within that article you provide links for people to buy mountain climbing ropes, shoes, etc.

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