There’s a line in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams that’s often misquoted as: “If you build it, they will come.” (It’s actually he, not they. But it doesn’t matter for our purposes.)
I see so many online business owners who seem to be taking this line from a movie as golden business advice.
They think: “If I have a great offer and build a fancy sales funnel, the sales will flood in!”
Wrong. That’s not how it works. (It’s not entirely impossible, but your chances of winning the lottery are about as good.)
When creating an offer, you start with the end in mind. The end = a customer buying your offer.
BEFORE you start on that sales funnel, or create a single asset for your offer, you must VALIDATE your offer.
Does anyone want to buy it?
Instead of investing months, or even years, in creating your offer, building a sales funnel, and assuming people will buy it…
Make sure there is a desire or demand for your offer.
Make sure you’re solving a specific problem.
The key to validating your offer is to know your audience! There’s absolutely no substitute for getting inside the head of your ideal client.
Two Simple Ways to Validate Your Offer Before You Go All-In
Talk to people
I know. You may have recoiled at the thought of talking to people. But like I said, there’s no substitute for KNOWING your potential buyer.
So, get clear on WHO your buyer is and figure out where to find them. Ideally, you’re already connected with them through your 1:1 work, your email list, or various social media groups.
Approach them via email, or a post and invite them to a virtual chat. Be transparent about what you’re doing:
- Tell them you’re doing research for your specific type of offer
- You’re looking for a specific type of person to answer questions and give feedback
- Absolutely NO sales pitch involved (if they ask for more info, you can give it to them, but don’t pitch)
- Would they be available for a 15-20 minute chat?
Write out your questions in advance. What do you want to know? Here are a few questions to get you started:
- What are they struggling with when it comes to your offer/niche?
- How do they describe the challenges?
- What types of solutions have they tried and what were their results?
- What’s stopping them from getting the results they want?
- What do they want to happen/change in their life in relation to your offer?
Make careful notes of exactly what they say. If you can record the call, even better, just make sure you ask for their permission first.
Survey your list
Alternatively, if you have a decent email list, you can create a survey with multiple choice answers and/or open answers.
You’ll want to put a deadline on survey responses. And you might want to incentivize survey completion to get more participation. (Gift cards, or free access to a low-priced offer work well.)
Although, you can ask more questions if the answers are multiple choice, don’t go overboard. Asking for 2-5 minutes of someone’s time for a survey is reasonable.
Be sure to send a reminder or two before your survey closes.
If there’s not a demand for your offer, you can go back to the drawing board armed with more knowledge about your ideal customer’s problems and desires.
If there is a demand, congratulations! That’s a green light to go forward with creating your offer and funnel. And huge bonsu: You can revisit your treasure trove of customer research when it’s time to write your copy.
Ready to set up your funnel? Check out my Sales Funnel Prep Workbook to get everything you need to plan your first sales funnel — all in one guide.