What makes a good lead offering?

Have you ever stood in front of the ice cream display case of your grocery store, wondering for far too long which flavor to buy? Or in the cereal aisle? Or staring at a full service restaurant menu?

You’re there because you have a need (or desire, in my case with ice cream), yet the sheer number of options can create inaction and sometimes outright abandonment.

Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as overchoice. We like the idea of having options to choose from, but when too many are presented, they can create a form of decision fatigue.

The same thing may be happening when people visit your website. 

Out of fear of missing an opportunity, many firms are reluctant to narrow their markets. In the same vein, they also present too many offerings. Let’s put more lines in the water and see what bites. Inadvertently, they create an overchoice conundrum, and just like the perplexed visitor to the cereal aisle, prospects who visit their websites scratch their heads at all of the offerings and then click away.

If you have multiple products and/or services, you can avoid the problem of overchoice by prioritizing a lead offering. A good lead offering can provide several advantages:

  • You’ll get your prospects to engage faster. When you have a single, prominent offering, you can create more powerful calls-to-action (CTAs) to support it, rather than watering down your CTAs to the least common denominator of “Contact Us.” A clear lead offering is going to increase conversion rates and engagement with your sales team.
  • You’ll present greater clarity about your company’s value. First-time visitors to your website want to know what you do and — most importantly — how you can help them. They want to know what you’re really good at, and they want to know that you’ll bring your A-game to their problem, not just merely dip a toe in the water and hope it's helpful. A good lead offering is the strongest signal of the value you can bring to them.
  • You’ll deliver a stronger sales nurturing process. Your marketing assets, nurturing emails, and sales engagement will all benefit from the focus that a primary offering brings. And because your sales team becomes more proficient and more persuasive, they will close deals faster. 

So, what makes a good lead offering?

Before I answer that, it’s important to keep in mind that your best lead offering may not already exist — at least not in the form that it should.

Let me explain.

Years ago, a client asked me to help them understand why their software offering wasn’t selling as well as it should. By all accounts, it should have been a barnstormer. It was feature-rich and had an amazing return on investment.

Yet, for some reason, they just couldn’t get sales traction with it.

To understand why, I conducted a few focus groups among their ideal market prospects. The fact that the company had made a valuable product was immediately evident when I started talking about it. Nearly everyone wanted to know more and nearly everyone wrote down the name of the company so they could look it up later. To put it mildly, they were blown away.

So, I asked, “If this product is so appealing, why didn’t you know about it or search for something similar?”

The consensus answer was, “Because we didn’t know that this problem could be solved.” They had grown so used to doing something a certain way, that they hadn’t stopped to consider if there might be an alternative approach.

“So, what problems are you searching to find the answers for?” I asked. 

Their answer to that question became my client’s new lead offering. As it turns out, it was an easy adaptation since the very problem they were actively looking for help with was, in fact, a subset of the larger offering my client had trouble selling.

That feature subset became the hook – their new lead offering – from which they could upsell their entire software suite.

And, therein, is the first of three attributes of a good lead offer:

  1. It must solve a known and compelling need. Of course, you’d like to think that all of your products and services solve a need. But not all needs are created equal. Find the need that has the most persistent economic consequence for your prospect and align a lead offering to that need.
  1. It must advance your brand promise. A good lead offering enhances the brand promise of your company. Your customer’s perceptions of what they can expect from you should be affirmed every time they interact with you or your offering. Substandard product quality or spotty service performance is death to your brand.
  1. It must provide a growth path. Your lead offering should be an opportunity to upsell your other products or services. Deciding on your lead offering can bring additional internal clarity about how your other products and services support your customer’s growth and provide new ways to communicate that value to them.  

Think of your lead offering as your prospect’s “start here” sign. Decluttering the presentation of your other products and services to highlight your lead offering doesn’t diminish them; it makes it easier for your customer to experience the entire range of value you deliver.

After all, that’s what it’s about: leaving them with an increasingly rich and rewarding experience.

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