So the kids made two big signs. One stood at the beginning of the street with one that said, “Officer with radar gun ahead! Speed trap!” The other went to the end of the street with the other sign that said: “Tips for saving you from a ticket!” Then they sat back and let the money pour in.

You have valuable information; it can probably even solve problems more valuable than avoiding a speeding ticket.

The trick is identifying the problem and designing the solution. Then, you, too, can sit back and let the money pour in.

I’ll bet you don’t even need signs.

Get the workbook.

Step 1: Identify your perfect customer and how they are incomplete.

People don’t buy because they are happy and complete in every way. If they were, what would be their motivation for buying?

We buy because we are unhappy; we are either running away from something (threats) or toward something (goals).

Not all unhappiness is profound. Often, when I talk about unhappiness, people go to fundamental, existential stuff. And sure, if someone who has cancer is not happy about having cancer. But yesterday, I was unhappy because I didn’t have apple pie. The other day, my daughter was unhappy because she had failed her driving test.

Everybody is always unhappy in some way, except maybe the Dalai Lama, but he’s an exception.

If you think of the kids with police knowledge, multiple groups might be interested in knowing about the speed trap. The city might like to know that the police are doing their job, a local reporter might find that interesting, and the anti-speed trap protest movement might want to know that drivers are directly affected.

Of those interested parties, the drivers feel the most impact. They are vulnerable out there, speeding along in their little world, and their day is about to worsen.

Technically, the drivers don’t even realize how incomplete they are… but they are about to find out.

So:

  • list everyone who could benefit from your knowledge,
  • identify the most immediately impacted and
  • pick one of those.

Call her Sam.

Step 2: How do you make your perfect customer complete? This is the problem you solve.

You know who and what they’re unhappy about (drivers about to get a ticket).

So the next question to ask is how do you make them complete?

Start with what they need to be completed and what it will take to get them there – delivering this is the problem you solve.

The drivers in our scenario want to avoid the speed trap. The kids needed to find a way to ensure the drivers got the information in time.

Think about Sam and what she needs. Since Sam is a human, she needs or wants a lot. You won’t be able to fix it all, so focus on the smallest meaningful action or solution that will make it complete somehow.

We’ll call this the problem you solve.

So:

  • What will it take for Sam to complete it?
  • pick the smallest meaningful action/solution you can deliver.

this is the problem you solve.

Step 3: Define the problem you solve into chunks

Mostly, even simple problems need a step-by-step solution. Boiling water requires:

  1. Find a pot.
  2. Fill it with water.
  3. Turn on the stove.
  4. Put the pot on the stove.
  5. Wait (but look somewhere else, or it’ll never boil.)

Et Voila, boiling water, step by step.

There’s a thing called problem awareness, which is how well Sam understands the problem. My boiling water example is not for a chef; it’s for a five-year-old (who probably shouldn’t be boiling water, but it’s a really simple problem).

Experienced drivers know exactly what a speed trap is, what they must do to avoid it, and if they are driving too fast. They know the problem, its solutions, and what actions to take.

The kids in our scenario could build another road or a bridge; they could flag drivers down and explain what has to happen next, but none of that is necessary: the simplest way to deliver the transformation is to provide the necessary information at the right time.

Consider Sam: how aware is she of her incompleteness and the solution? Is she like the five-year-old facing the need for boiling water? Or is she an experienced driver speeding into a trap?

Based on that information, come up with the simplest step-by-step plan you can to make her complete.

So:

  • how aware is Sam of the problem and solution.
  • based on that, what is the simplest step-by-step plan you can muster to make her complete?

This is your solution.

Step 4: Specify your actions for each chunk

For each chunk, define the tangible outcomes, what you will do to deliver those tangible outcomes, and the steps that you will take to deliver those outcomes.

Describe tangible outcomes

The more tangible you can make your solution, the easier it is for Sam to relate to it. Sam buys the transformation, but the tangible outcomes confirm that she’s on the right path.

Step one in boiling water is to find a pot. So, what is the tangible outcome? Sam with a pot in hand. (Yeah, this isn’t a great example.)

In the case of the kids, there’s really only one step: warn the drivers, and the outcome of that step is that they know a speed trap is coming.

What do you do to deliver these outcomes?

These are the actions you will take to deliver the outcomes. In the case of the pot, you might show Sam what a pot looks like, what kind of pot she needs, or where she can buy a pot. (Sigh, it’s worse and worse)

The boys on the street warned the drivers of the upcoming speed trap. Thye created signs and picked up a bucket for tips.

So, for each chunk:

  • What is the outcome?
  • What will you do to deliver the outcome?

5. Define your steps and timeframe

Based on what you captured above, what actions will you take? What is your plan?

The problem, transformation, and chunks are all parts of the solution that you will share with your prospects, but the steps and timeframe are for you to clarify for yourself what you must do. List each step and assess how long it will take you to deliver it.

The more detailed you can make this plan, the better. You will likely find, however, that you refine this list over time as you deliver for your clients. That’s fine; it’s called developing intellectual property. By doing something repeatedly you get better at it, your improvements lead to better results for less effort.

So:

  • break your delivery down into the steps you will take.
  • estimate the time each step will take.

use this as your plan that you improve over time.

6. Transformation

Remember, Sam’s buying transformation—in fact, that’s all she’s buying. So articulate that transformation. What is her before-incomplete state, and what will life be like when she is complete?

Transformation is different than the tangible outcomes we listed above. People buy transformation but need tangible outcomes (AKA benefits) to convince themselves to buy. So you need both a powerful transformation and specific outcomes.

You can define the transformation at the beginning, but I like going through the exercise of thinking through the full program before clarifying the transformation.

So:

  • What will the transformation look like?
  • What are the benefits?

This is the outcome.

7. Price

The last question is price; what will you charge?

The place to start with price is value: how much value does your transformation deliver? If they gain $10,000 a month in new sales that’s worth at least $120k a year.

Most people want to charge a very low price, they don’t charge enough and because they don’t charge enough they don’t get the results for themselves that they desire.

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