Building a Scalable Brand with Programs (Even if Your Work is Completely Custom)Jul 29, 2023
I get it sister – your work is different for everyone. You don’t want to offer just another cookie cutter program that blends into the background and completely misses the magic of your custom work.
With an overwhelming number of businesses adopting a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, offering a completely custom experience can give you a unique edge. But how do you structure such an open-ended, bespoke service into a program that is both scalable and appealing to potential clients? Why is it even something you should consider in your business?
We’ll get more into all the reasons for creating a signature program soon (there’s a lot!), but before we do, let’s answer this important question:
What is a signature program?
A signature program takes what you do (your tools and techniques) and transforms them into a highly desirable program that takes your clients from the pain of their current situation to the outcome they desire.
This typically happens through a step-by-step process you create based on your own journey or from the knowledge you’ve gained over the years working with clients ... or, ideally, both!
I’ve been teaching my clients how to build signature programs for years, and one of the most common objections I hear in the beginning is they don’t think they can do it because the work they do is completely custom for each client they work with.
In this blog post, I’ll break down why the truth is actually exactly the opposite of that idea, and we'll explore how to structure a completely custom offering into a program that your potential clients can easily understand and value. We'll delve into the importance of creating a program and how you can transform your custom service into an easily digestible and scalable package.
Why Should You Build a Program?
At its core, a program is a structured plan of action that is tailored to an individual client's unique needs and goals. It serves as a 'container' or a framework within which your services unfold and the transformation takes place. A program helps your clients visualize the journey from their current state to their desired outcome, providing them with a roadmap that guides them through the transformative process.
I find thinking of it this way helpful: when you don’t have a program, there are no boundaries to what you do, it’s more of an “anything goes” situation. This makes it very difficult for your potential clients to see what the transformation will actually look like. Rather than just “coaching for six weeks,” the container of your program makes it easier for clients to concretely understand what they’re getting from working with you, and makes them feel more inspired to hire you!
Building a sustainable and successful brand isn't just about offering an outstanding product or service; it's about how you deliver and package your offerings. To help you feel a little more inspired, here are just a few benefits of building a program even if your work is completely custom:
- By building a brand based on programs, you can scale your offers to serve more clients, and ultimately increase your income.
- Your program transforms what you do into a step-by-step system that shows your potential clients exactly how you can help them solve their problem.This makes it much easier for clients to say “yes” to working with you, because they can visualize and understand what they’re investing in.
- Because programs typically sell at a higher price-point, you can make more income faster, even without a big team and huge email list.
- Instead of randomly helping anyone with anything, your program allows you to systematize your approach and save time (and YES – we’re talking about doing this all while maintaining the magic of your custom work).
- Your program helps you become better at what you do because it requires you to deep-dive into your process with client after client. You’re no longer skimming the surface of your work. You’ll gain deep familiarity and wisdom as you hone in your skills with each client.
- If you have a lot of tools in your tool box, your signature program will help bring them together in a way that makes sense to potential clients. Instead of trying to sell your individual tools by going on and on about how awesome they are as you watch your potential client’s eye glaze over, you’ll learn to lead with the biggest results those tools will help your clients achieve inside your program.
- Truthfully there are so many more benefits – but let’s leave this list here so we can talk about how you’re actually going to make this happen!
Creating a program doesn't mean losing the 'custom' aspect of your service. In contrast, it allows you to showcase your service in a more organized, easily understandable (and easily sellable) format. It reassures your clients that, despite the personalized nature of your service, you have a clear process in place, which helps build trust, enhances your credibility, and, ultimately, helps you scale your business.
How to Turn Your Custom Service into a Successful Program
Even if you pride yourself on offering a unique experience to each client, chances are you already have a process in place. You may not be aware of it, or it may not be formalized – but there’s likely some things you do with each client throughout the work you do together.
Here's an example of how you can translate your custom service into a structured program:
- Initial Assessment – Every client starts with an initial assessment or a kickoff session. In this stage, you understand where your client is right now and where they want to go. Even though this stage is open-ended, it's similar for everyone and sets the stage for the rest of the journey. You may have questions you always ask, or information you always share.
- Development of an Action Plan – After the initial assessment, you devise an action plan to bridge the gap between the client's current state and their desired outcome. This plan includes resources, accountability measures, and different parts tailored to the individual client. Even though the work you do in this step is custom, the step is the structure of your program.
- Implementation – The implementation stage spans over several weeks or months, depending on the complexity of the plan and program you offer. During this stage, your client takes action, starts working towards their goals, and encounters various challenges. In the implementation phase, you meet for regular coaching calls to provide feedback, guidance and support through any roadblocks your client may face.
- Review and Next Steps – Once the program is completed, you’re likely going to review your client's progress, celebrate their wins, and plan the next steps. This could mean wrapping up the coaching or moving on to a more advanced stage, depending on the client's progress and goals.
Everything in this framework is open-ended enough so that the brilliance of your custom creations can shine through, but structured in a way that makes what you do easy for your ideal clients to understand, and allows them to see what you will help them achieve through your work.
Once you outline your process, it’s time to decide what to include in your program. This is where you’ll build your program out into a clear package that can include things like coaching sessions, VIP Days, email support and more.
How to Sell Your Program
Having a custom program is one thing; selling it effectively is another. It's essential to understand your specific clients and highlight the different outcomes they can achieve through your program.
You cover a lot of great stuff in your program, but why should your potential clients care? They’ll care when you relate all that awesome stuff back to “what’s in it for them.” This is where your sales page comes in.
On your sales page, you’re going to want to list the potential outcomes, but keep it open-ended enough to highlight the custom nature of your service.
Another option is to list out the main 3 (or so) things that you can help clients with, and elaborate on a different path or outcome for each.
Actually, many of my clients find it easier to write an impactful sales page for programs rather than the one-off coaching services they offered before. When you have a program, you can speak directly to one person and highlight their desires and the transformation they want to achieve. You can speak broader and bigger because this is where you’re talking about the complete transformation you can help them achieve.
Remember, you're not just selling a service; you're selling a transformation.
Whether you're a coach, a consultant, or service provider, creating a program around your service can completely change the game for your business's scalability and success.
The combination of custom service within a structured program is a powerful blend that provides the best of both worlds – for you, and for your clients. It not only allows your clients to enjoy a personalized service but also offers them a clear pathway to transformation.
So, sit down, think through your process, formalize it, and watch how it changes your business. With a custom program in place, you're ready to scale your brand sustainably and successfully to build the life you want to live.
And if you want to take this deeper with step-by-step guidance on exactly how to create your signature program, then check out my program, The Power of Programs – inside my Impact Tribe membership!