We’ve recently become big fans of Jonathan Stark, aka ‘the ditching hourly guy’ (be sure to check out his excellent podcast and newsletter). His main ‘mission’ is to help agencies and freelancers ditch hourly billing and sell their expertise instead of their time. He suggests one way to do this is by adding more value to their product or services proposition.

Stark recently sent an intriguing email on how you can add more value to the sales pitch for a fairly common product. He used firewood as an example, but his methods can easily be applied to training companies selling online courses and got us thinking.

We’ve applied Stark’s methods of differentiating your product/service to selling leadership training as an example. He suggests there are three potential routes to boosting the proposition – these are messaging, products and services. Let’s have a look at these in turn:

1) Messaging

Stark advocates building a story into your marketing message as a meaningful way of connecting with potential buyers.

He suggests your story could tap into their fears or their ideas about themselves and the world:

  • Worldview (e.g. ‘The world needs leaders who are going to change things for the better’)
  • Personal status (e.g. ‘Only for those with a high growth mindset’)
  • Fears (e.g. ‘Avoid your career going nowhere fast’)

2) Products

Stark recommends bundling low-cost products into your existing offering to add additional value.

So, alongside your online course, you could offer:

  • Supplementary online micro-courses
  • An online workbook
  • Online badges or credentials
  • An optional certificate
  • Downloadable resources
  • Exclusive alumni status
  • Opportunities to access exclusive resources

3) Services

In a similar vein, bundling in free services can help your audience see your offering as more valuable.

Perhaps you could offer the following alongside your online course:

  • A follow-up coaching session
  • Exclusive online webinars
  • Access to a specific WhatsApp or LinkedIn group
  • A CV review service
  • Hot leadership job vacancy notifications
  • Introductions to top companies seeking qualified leaders

With all these suggestions, a strong understanding of your customers is key. You may find it useful to create several personas to help you ‘walk in their footsteps’, but the best way is to talk to them and get their opinions!

We hope this gives you some useful suggestions you can use on your online learning products. If you need more help with enhancing the value proposition for your online courses and resources, simply get in touch or check out these blogs.

Andy Jack
Andy works with training providers of all shapes and sizes to help them unlock the potential in their business. If not online, he'll usually be found up a mountain!

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