Selling Group Programs Without Early Bird Discounting


Selling Group Programs Without Early Bird Discounting

What if you could fill your group programs without countdown timers, early bird pricing, fast action bonus or any discounting strategies?

You may never have considered this question. I certainly hadn’t until about nine months ago when I experienced somewhat of a conscious business awakening. Like you I’ve been a keen student of marketing. I’ve watched, taken note and applied the strategies that have led to success for others. And yes, offering early bird discounts have resulted in more sales for me, but at what cost?

There are two types of costs I’m referring to here. One is the cost to the student, and the other is the cost to us as authentic business owners.

When people are presented with truckloads of incentives aimed at tipping them over the edge to ‘buy now’; the fear of missing out (FOMO) is activated. Normal rational thought evaporates, and they are more susceptible to purchase, even if they are not ready or don’t need the training. This can flip people into ‘buyers regret’; they panic because they already have so much on their plate or they simply move on to something else and then feel disappointed in themselves.

The other cost to us as business owners is that stacking on the discounts does not tend to call in our most ideal clients, and those who buy at discounted prices can often be the most demanding.

This got me thinking about my best and favourite clients. None of them had enrolled in my offers via any kind of ‘special offer’. They had simply decided to work with me when they were ready and in their own time.

The case for not discounting started to stack up! Slowly I pulled further and further away from discounting or fake scarcity strategies to see what would happen. This decision scared the hell out of me because I felt like I’d taken away the ‘motivation’ to buy.

A big affirmation of this choice came when I was able to sell out my two VIP mastermind groups a few weeks before they were due to start without countdown timers, price slashing or bonus stacking. Each person made a very conscious choice about being ready and enrolling.

So, how could you go about selling group programs without discounting yourself?

1. Begin by consistently sharing helpful, relevant and digestible content that your ideal audience can access.

Make this content accessible without them having to hand over their email address. This is how I’ve been building my audience, building goodwill, while also bringing people back to my website where they can find out about my offerings.

2. Make sure your message is hitting the mark with your ideal clients.

If there is no two-way conversation happening when you share your content, then chances are it’s not interesting enough for people to engage with it. Doing proper market research can be helpful for this.

3. Set spacious time frames!

I gave myself three-months lead-up time to the start date of the program. This helped me feel calm instead of desperate, and I didn’t spend any money on Facebook Ads. Traditional launches can churn through thousands of dollars in promotions and then struggle to break even!

4. Take a risk and trust.

Trust that your most aligned clients will come to you when they are ready and that you won’t need to tip them over the edge to ‘buy now’.

This approach is not going to be ideal for all businesses or for all offerings, especially if you have a low-priced course you want to fill. But if you are a coach, consultant, therapist or similar with a group program that is $1,000 or more per person, then this may work very nicely for you and make launches way less stressful.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

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  • Renee Hasseldine

    Fabulous insight, Danielle. Whenever I’ve run an online program, I think I’ve fallen into the habit of doing what everyone else was doing in offering an early bird discount. But this article has given me food for thought!

    • Danielle Gardner

      Hey there Renee! Yes this happens. We follow suit with what others are doing don’t we. Thanks for sharing that this post has given you something to think about. ✨

  • Vatsala Shukla

    Thank you for sharing your insights, Danielle. I gave up the ‘herd mentality’ some time back when I realized it wasn’t working for me and especially in the online world where there are sales and discounts galore. Instead, I’ve focused on building trust and encouraging my subscribers to try out high value entry level offers with quick wins and where they could also get feedback from me to build the KLT factor. My private clients are usually by referral so having a strategy that allows people who find me online get to know me leads to better business results in the long run and allows me to stay in integrity.

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