AMY PORTERFIELD: Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield and today we are talking about saving sales and rescuing refunds.
Before we get into the strategies, insights, and tips that I prepared for you today to help you keep more profit in your business, I want to tell you a quick story. Sometimes in your business you’ve got to get scrappy.
I mean roll up your sleeves, get your hands in the dirt kind of scrappy. When push comes to shove sometimes you need to leave your ego at the door and do whatever it takes.
For those of you who have just started your online business, maybe you’ve been at it a year or two, you’re laughing at me right now thinking your middle name is scrappy. That’s all you do every single day. You get in the trenches and do whatever it takes.
Believe me, I remember those days and I totally get it. For those of you who have been at it for a while, I’m sure you too can remember those early years when you just had to get scrappy. I bet even if you’ve been in business for four, five, or six years like me, you also have those moments where you still have to do whatever it takes.
Something happens, it’s not going as planned, and you’ve just got to roll up your sleeves and get scrappy. That’s exactly what my good friend, Jasmine Star recently did.
In this episode I’m not actually interviewing Jasmine, I just want to tell you a quick story about her. If you don’t know Jasmine, she was actually on my show a little while back when we talked about attracting and repelling your ideal customer avatar using social media. It’s one of my favorite episodes ever, I’m going to link to it in the show notes if you missed it.
I wanted to bring Jasmine up because since that episode we have become really good friends, the kind of friends who talk every single week. We actually don’t talk, we voice text. I know it’s kind of weird, but that’s our thing. We literally have hour-long conversations back and forth and we are voice texting the whole time.
The thing about Jasmine is that she is a very fast talker. She is the fastest talker I’ve ever met. She’s animated and kind of dramatic in a really fun way so every time she leaves me a voice text I’m so excited to listen to it.
I was in the kitchen a few weeks back and she had left me a voice text. I don’t even remember what it was about. It was either about her amazing eyelashes, her recent launch, or her dog, Polo,. I don’t remember but we talk about it all.
I pressed “play” and I was listening to her talk a mile a minute, totally animated, and my husband, Hobie, walked in the kitchen and hadn’t met Jasmine yet. He said, “Who is that crazy person talking?”
Of course I just had to laugh. I told Jasmine he said this and she said, “Don’t let him listen to my voice texts. I’m sure he thinks I’m crazy when he hears those.”
They are really fun to listen to and she recently did a launch for her program, Path to Profitability. I was excited for her to go into this launch because she had worked really hard on the content and on the actual launch assets.
She created a three-part video series, put tons of time, energy, and money into the launch. She was really going full out and I love that. I knew the content was exceptional so I told her it would be her best launch ever.
I got to watch the launch videos ahead of time. I loved every second of them and was really excited for her. The three-part video series came out and then the cart opened and I called her the next day and asked how it was going.
She voice texted back and said, “Not so well.” I could hear it in her voice. She said it felt like her launch opened to crickets and no one was listening. She had some sales but nothing like she thought would happen.
The next day I checked in and she said it still wasn’t going so well. I thought I would let her come to me. I didn’t want to keep texting her and asking how it was going. So I hadn’t heard from her for a few days and I got really worried.
I finally called her and asked her to give me an update. She said things had turned around, “Thank God.” I thought, “Oh gosh” because I thought it was all going downhill. I asked what she had done and as she told me what she did I realized Jasmine and her husband, J.D., her business partner got scrappy.
Things weren’t going well in the first few days and they weren’t really sure why. They decided to personally answer every single question, comment, objective, and worry that was related to their launch sequence.
When someone posted on social media they would answer back personally and give a really insightful response to that person. When someone wrote in to their support desk Jasmine or J.D. would answer every single email. It wasn’t their VA or their team, they got in the trenches for a full week.
She said there were days the never left their family room. All they did was answer questions, thousands of questions, one on one to people. When she told me this I thought it was really what is probably missing in most people’s live launches, they aren’t personally getting into the trenches.
We talk so much about automation. Heck, I do. I’m moving so much of my business to automated launches but that doesn’t mean I can’t be live in the trenches, especially when my students or potential students need that extra helps.
For a week they answered every single question that was posted anywhere during the live launch. They did that personally.
I’m happy to say that when they closed the cart they were way over their goal. They hit it out of the park and then some. Things didn’t look like that in those early few days of the launch.
Jasmine and J.D. had a choice. They could just say the launch wasn’t going as planned. They could just chalk it up to a big mistake and say they didn’t know what went wrong and that it just didn’t produce the kind of results they thought. Instead, they just got scrappy and did whatever it took and made that launch a success.
I’m telling you this story because I want to talk to you about what you can do to save the sale and what you can also do to rescue your own refunds. This is a crazy number, but the average refund rate for an online training program in our industry is about 20%.
That is crazy! I don’t want you to even be anywhere near this. I remember in my early days around the time I was still launching the Profit Lab I would be so fixated on returns for 30 days or 60 days, whatever it was at the time, before the refund policy ended.
I had a system where my assistant had to track every single refund that came in and try to get a reason for why people wanted a refund. I would count them up and realize all of the money I was losing. I would look at the refunds and wonder what I did wrong. I wondered why I was getting refunds.
At the time it was about 12%. I had a 12% refund rate and I was devastated by it. It was almost like I couldn’t breathe until the refund policy had ended. Then I could look at how much profit I brought in and figure out where I went wrong with all of the refunds.
What if I told you that today my average refund rate between all three of my online training programs is a little less than 3%? It is less than 3%. I’m not bragging because, again, I know what it felt like to have that a whole lot higher than 3%.
But I figured out some strategies that work really well to insure that people never even think about asking for a refund. I’m going to get into those in this episode, for sure.
Before we get into all of the insights and strategies I have a lot to cover. I want you to use these strategies the next time you do a live launch. Heck, you can use a lot of them for automated launches because I’m using all of these in automation and with live launches.
Because I’m going to cover a lot of ground, I created a two-page PDF where I list out each strategy and give you a little commentary about both so that you can decide if the strategy is right for you and your business. I want you to use this the next time you launch. All you need to do is go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/158download.
You can download it, save it to your computer and the next time you launch you can get it out, look over each strategy, and decide if you’re going to implement it for your next launch. If you like to text you can text the phrase 158download to 33444 and it is all yours.
Let’s dive in.
Saving the Sale
First I want to talk about why people don’t buy during your promotion. I actually want to get a little more specific and ask the question, why do people stay on the fence? It’s common for someone who’s actually interested in your program or service to stay on the fence during your promo and even when you are closing the cart.
When it’s time to close the cart if questions go unanswered or your potential customer doesn’t feel they are sure if they are the right fit or not they will just stay on the fence. That means they never buy. Potential buyers are always looking for reasons why they are not the right fit, especially because there’s a little skepticism when it comes to buying an online training program.
There are some slimy people in our industry who might give this a bad name, give the online training course industry a bad name. Some people are a little weary. They wonder if they are really going to get what is being promised. Are you really going to deliver these results?
They are looking for reasons they should not buy. That means throughout your promo you want to stay focused on the top objections. I always say to look for the top three objections and then talk about them in any which way you need to talk about them.
Talk about them in your Facebook Live videos. Talk about them on social media. Talk about them in your webinars or in your three-part video series. Relate back to them when you are responding to a support email. Just make sure your potential customers know you understand what the objections are and you are addressing them with stories, examples, experiences, insights, strategies, or whatever it might take.
It’s your job to help them decide if they are going to jump in or jump out. We all know your program is not right for everybody. I want to make sure you do a good job of explaining who your program is right for and who it is not right for. That way you can attract your perfect, ideal customer avatar to your program.
Speaking of Jasmine, just one more thing that just came to mind. When I finally talked to her when it was all over one thing she said that I absolutely loved hearing, she said she has the most amazing, engaged group of students in her program.
I could tell she was overly excited. This was the best group she had ever attracted to one of her online training programs. That’s going to happen when you get in the trenches and get scrappy like her and JD actually got during the launch. You find your perfect, ideal customers and you love them beyond anything you ever imagined.
We all know, as educators, when we love our students it just makes our life and our business so much more fun to be in every single day.
I’m going to give you five strategies to save a sale. When your cart is open, when the promotion is happening, these are things you can do to make sure nobody is left on the fence when you close down your promotion. The overall theme is less automation, more one on one.
You want to show them that you care and that they are heard. Believe me, coming from a girl that’s moving more to automation with her launches, I know it’s not always easy but I have done every single one of these strategies that I’m going to share with you. You don’t need to do them all at once. I didn’t necessarily do all of these every single time I launched but I chose the ones that made the most sense to where my business was at the time.
Everybody should have a live chat on their sales page. I use a tool called SnapEngage. SnapEngage allows a live chat feature on my sales page. You guys have seen this on so many sales pages, I’m sure. It says, “Hey, do you want to talk to somebody right now? Click here.”
My team will get a notification that pops up on their computer that somebody wants to talk. During my live launches I have been on that live chat many times. I have told the team to log me in and help me get access to these people.
If we have a lot of questions, usually right before the cart closes, my team is answering questions and I’m answering questions. In this case, this is where Jasmine and J.D. answered all of the questions. They wanted their potential students to know they were in it with them. They were there. The more you can do of this the better.
Remember, I’m not talking about 365 days of the year that you have to do this. We’re talking about during a very short concentrated period of time when you’ve got to clear the calendar and be totally available during that time to answer the questions.
I love the idea of a live chat on a sales page. I love the tool, SnapEngage, because you get a beep on your computer (if you want it) so that you can go about your day doing what you’re doing inside your business but then you get a notification when someone has a question.
Answer every single support email, personally if you can. But, of course, get your team involved as well. I will usually have my team elevate questions to me that they feel if the answer came from me it would make a really big difference.
On my team we talk about the kind of questions that would be elevated to me. I know during that period I’m going to get into Rhino support and answer specific questions my team has pulled out for me to answer.
One thing I had to get used to is that it is very timely. I didn’t want people to wait hours and hours for me to respond so I was doing this really regularly. In addition, I also create an FAQ for my support team.
Nowadays my project manager, Chloe, does this. Back in the day I used to do it. I would think of every single possible question that would come up about my program during the launch. I would list the question and I would answer it.
My team could see exactly how I would answer these questions and they could copy and paste and kind of tweak it a little bit to make sure it’s personal to that person. But if you go into a launch without an FAQ Google.doc for your team you are really leaving a lot of sales on the fence, for sure.
You want to empower every single person on your team to answer the questions. Then, of course, they are looking for the questions they can elevate to you that just makes that person feel extra special to be hearing from the course creator.
FB Lives on your Facebook page and in any groups you might have. During a launch I think it is paramount to do Facebook Lives. That’s what’s working right now and I don’t think you should do any live launches without a few Facebook Lives.
You can use Facebook Lives on your Facebook page as a mini training and then move people over to your webinar. That’s one way to use a Facebook Live. But you can also use Facebook Live when the cart is open for FAQs.
You get on and say, “The cart’s closing in 48 hours. I don’t want you to miss out. I want you to tell me every single reason you’re hesitant to join and then I’ll do my best to tell you if that’s a valid reason or if there is another way to look at it.”
You want to let them know you’re not there to just talk them into buying your program. You are there to really figure out if they are a right fit. I always love to talk about my FAQs in that way. I want to help you decide if you are right for the program. I will be there for the next hour and any question goes. Then I ask them to fire away.
If you have a small audience you might want to have a list of questions prepared that you just start out with. If there are no questions to begin with you already have some things to talk about. Believe me, I’ve been there in my early years. I wasn’t on Facebook Live because it actually didn’t even exist when I started out.
However, I’ve been in FAQs where I’ve started out with my list of questions that I came to the table with. It’s totally acceptable and I encourage it.
Another thing that is really popular, and what I’ve been talking about a lot, is to create mini Facebook pop-up groups that you have going during a live launch. You definitely want to do Facebook Lives there regularly. It’s important they see your face, they hear from you, they get their questions answered by you.
If you have a Facebook group attached to your launch you should be doing Facebook Lives a few times a week during the launch. Then a lot of you have Facebook group communities that you’ve created around a general topic. Those groups are great to use during a launch to do you Facebook Lives as well.
Any kind of group, as long as you’re not overly salesy or overly aggressive inside the group, but instead you are there as a support to make sure they know what your program is all about, the results you are promising, and who is right for the program and you’re there to answer questions. I think that is a must.
If you can answer a question, by all means, do so. You’re doing live webinars a lot of times my students (I get in the trenches with my students in my webinars course and I know this happens) want to sail through the Q&A as fast as humanly possible. It makes them nervous. They are concerned no one’s going to ask questions or are concerned they won’t be able to answer the questions.
They don’t necessarily love dealing with the technology Q&A when they’re really new at webinars. I tell them they are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with people that are on the fence. So I believe the biggest fence sitters are those, during a webinar, that are still there during your Q&A and may or may not be asking questions but are listening intently. Hopefully they’re asking questions.
I have learned that when I’m doing a webinar during a live launch, I’ve already sold my program during the end portion of the webinar, I’m getting in to the Q&A, there have been times I’ve stayed a full hour during the Q&A just to answer every single question that comes through.
When I’m answering questions I’m always relating it back to the program, who the program is right for, who it’s not right for, I tell stories during Q&A if one of the questions spurs on a story that might be relatable to those listening, I just stay as long as it’s needed.
There have been times I haven’t. I have definitely seen a correlation between me staying during the Q&A to the very last question and me jumping off early. We see a significant difference in sales.
I know that some of you doing webinars don’t have a big audience on the webinar so you don’t have an hour worth of Q&A. That’s okay. But if people are asking questions you need to stay and answer those questions.
Imagine if you’re thinking about buying a program and you have a question and you are on a live webinar with somebody and you ask the question but they don’t answer it. It kind of makes you think that if you’re not going to get your question answered here you sure as heck aren’t going to get it answered inside the program so maybe you’re not a right fit for this.
Remember, people are always looking for reasons they shouldn’t join. If you can answer those questions, by all means do so.
We created a 1-800 number and allowed people to call in to us. Number five is something I don’t do anymore because my audience has gotten too big for this. I know that’s a quality problem. But I did it even when my audience was still pretty big.
Let me talk about the strategy. It worked like gangbusters and I highly recommend it. This was one of the ideas that my business partner, Devin Duncan, came up with right when we first started working together. I was a little skeptical at first but I tried it and it worked really well.
We would use Google Voice and we got a phone number. At the end of the webinar, after I went through everything, I talked about all the free content and then I sold the program, I answered some questions, I would then say, “If you feel like you really want to talk to somebody, if you feel you’ve got one very specific question that you would love to chat with somebody about before you make the decision to join the program, I have a 1-800 number.”
One of my team members would take the calls. At one point it was a gal named Gina and then Trivinia, my assistant at the time, was the person that took over that role – two people that knew my program really well and knew my ideal customer avatar really well. They were good listeners and good problem solvers.
They were two people that were perfect for this role. I would actually show their picture on a slide on a webinar and I would say, “Trivinia is more than happy to talk to you. She knows my audience well. She knows who is perfect for this program. She knows the content well. Although I can’t answer all of these calls personally, Trivinia has agreed to do so for me.”
I would then tell them to call the 1-800 number and leave a message so that Trivinia could call back within 24 hours. I told them to be patient because, “She will get back with you. But give her a call and she will be happy to talk with you just to make sure you feel totally comfortable before you join the program.”
Remember, this isn’t something I offered right away. It was after I had answered a few questions. If you’re still on the fence and really just want to talk to somebody Trivinia was happy to do so. They saw her picture, they heard me talk about her, and then one more thing happened.
I would record the greeting on that 1-800 number before they left a message. I had a great idea. I’m going to add the script that I wrote for the 1-800 call to the freebie for this week. If you go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/158download I am going to include a third page with the script I used for the 1-800 number.
We worked a long time on the script to make sure it covered all of the bases. So, if you want to see exactly what I said in the script, believe me, you’re going to find that valuable if you ever want to do the 1-800 number strategy. You can get it with the freebie.
I won’t give it all away here for the sake of time. But basically it was very strategic in the sense that I reviewed the refund policy. I answered some of the most frequently asked questions and I made sure they heard from me and connected with me through the greeting before they left a message.
A lot of times, once they heard the greeting from me, they didn’t need to ask any more questions. They felt supported and they didn’t leave a message. However, if they still wanted to leave a message I told them exactly how to do so.
I thought it was really cool they heard from me first and I answered some frequently asked questions so Trivinia wouldn’t get every single question. I could actually answer them before they even had to leave her a message. See how that works?
Again, grab the freebie and you can read my entire script and use it for your own. Just put in your information and it’s all yours.
I will tell you, because obviously I’m talking about this strategy, Trivinia and Gina both converted so many people. I think they just needed to feel heard and actually connect with someone to build that little last link of trust they needed.
Again, when you are saving a sale and getting people off the fence there are so many things you can do. But the theme I wanted to focus on for these five strategies is less automation and more one on one during your live launches.
I put all five of these strategies, with a little more commentary to each of them, in the freebie for this week so that you can review them one more time before you’re ready to take action with your next launch.
I will say there are a few ways to go the extra mile. When we’re talking about saving a sale, things you can do beyond what I’ve suggested to make sure people feel they are going to get your attention when they buy is things like adding Voxer voice texting for all of your students.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I want you to go back and listen to Episode #153 with Victoria Gibson. She talked about ways to make your online training program even more personal to your students to go the extra mile and stand out from all of your competition.
She talked about this thing where you allow your students (obviously a small group of students) to voice text you, kind of like what I talked about with Jasmine being the fast talker, they can voice text you and you can voice text them back. It’s a way to offer support while they are going through your program.
Another thing you can do is offer live Skype calls. I’ve talked about this before, but when my audience was smaller and had 30 people in my program, I would do a live Skype call with them individually in the beginning to get them going and at the end to give them their marching orders now that the program was over. Offering Skype calls made the program more personal.
Marie Forleo also does something called Office Hours. She will actually get on a call with the entire group. They get to hear from her throughout the program via these Office Hours that, of course, are always recorded. She would do them regularly during her eight-week program.
It was just another way for them to connect with her. She would connect with them in the Facebook group but would also offer Office Hours. I love that idea as well.
I am bringing these things up to go the extra mile because when you are promoting your program if they hear, as part of the offer, that they get to connect with you (imagine if you told them they get to voice text you – use that one sparingly, of course, for an exclusive level of your program that only ten people get access to), if you offer more of you and you talk about that in the messaging, on the sales page, when you’re answering questions, telling them these are the ways you are going to support them, going the extra mile makes a huge difference.
If your business is still small, take advantage of the stuff I actually can’t do anymore. I wish I did more of it but I did enough of it that I think that’s why I am where I am today. The more you offer yourself, especially when your business is small, that’s how you grow into a bigger business. That’s one of the components you want to think about.
Going the extra mile can make a world of difference to getting those people that are on the fence off the fence and into your program.
Now we are going to move into rescuing potential refunds. We went over the five strategies. I put all five strategies in your freebie for this week so you don’t forget any of them. But now we’re going to get into seven strategies (two extras) to rescue a potential refund.
Before we get there, let’s talk about refunds. What does it mean to rescue a refund? In my world and what I’ve noticed over and over again with my students, buyer’s remorse is real, especially in the online course world.
Once you buy, a day or two later that buy high (you are high on the excitement of buying a new program) can wear off really quickly. It can really wear off when someone has a spouse that asks, “Are you crazy? You just spent $1,000 on a program from somebody you don’t even know and you get it all digitally. Really? That’s crazy.”
If you have someone telling you your decision was crazy that is really going to give you buyer’s remorse. You were excited in the moment but now all of the launch videos and Facebook Lives and social media buzz has gone away because the launch is over. You are wondering if you made the right decision.
People will usually start to doubt themselves and decide after they buy that they may not be a good fit. This one’s really popular, I don’t think I’m ready. We get those. Someone buys and then two days later they feel they have jumped the gun and aren’t ready for it.
When somebody wants to change something in their lives they are likely starting out with really low confidence in their ability to do so. Or they are thinking of all of the past stories of all of the times they have messed up before.
I recently interviewed Russell Brunson. I talked about this book he has call Expert Secrets. I want everybody to get this book. You can get it for free. All you have to do is pay shipping and handling. I want you to get it because he actually talks about the issue of people wanting to buy but they think about all of the ways they have failed to get the result they want.
That screws you up when they are ready to buy your product. He has a solution around it. Just go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/secrets to get the book for free just by paying $7.95 shipping and handling. I read the book and absolutely love it. I highly recommend it.
That was a total side note. But there are so many great strategies in that book that relate to so much of what I teach in the podcast so I thought it would be a good compliment to what we talk about here.
Getting back to the idea of people having buyer’s remorse. Since it’s so easy to talk ourselves out of something even after we bought, I want you to be very aware that is happening. Why do people refund? We just talked about the fact that people have buyer’s remorse.
Let’s talk about the actual concrete specifics of why people refund. It usually has to do with confusion. When they get in your program and the navigation is confusing or if they feel they aren’t hearing from you enough or aren’t really sure what to do or when to do it, that confusion really sets in and they think it’s not right for them.
If they feel right from the get go that they aren’t going to be heard is also bad. That is why I love the ideas of building in more communication inside of your program, like getting on Skype with you or going the extra mile with the voice texting. Those are crazy strategies that everyone isn’t going to do. But they are going to get heard.
If they have a question and wonder if it’s will get answered that won’t be an issue if you go that extra mile.
A few other reasons people refund are that they aren’t getting their questions answered, they feel stuck, they feel lost, they’re not making progress fast enough and their expectations are unrealistic. If people say it’s too expensive that is actually not an issue to me. Instead, you are not communicating the value in the way you need to be communicating it. You’re not talking about moving them forward and getting results in a way that feels realistic to them.
They just revert back to thinking it is too expensive. If you think about it, if someone promises results in an area you really, really, really, need and want to see results in then price really doesn’t become an issue. We figure out how to pay for it.
Anytime someone says that any of my stuff is too expensive I know it has something to do with these other things, confusion, not being heard, not getting their questions answered, feeling stuck or lost, not getting the momentum or progress or results fast enough because their expectations are unrealistic.
I always go back to those areas and I think of how I can communicate in a different way so that I take all of those issues away so that they aren’t even thinking about refunding. That’s my goal with this episode and in my own business. I want to set things up so they’re not even considering a refund, they would never want their money back because they want to be a part of my community.
Let’s talk about these seven strategies to rescue a potential refund, someone that might think about a refund, these are ways to rescue that refund before it even happens.
Get clear on your refund policy before you launch. I have made mistakes in this area so let’s talk about this. I think the refund policy is the #1 reason I have less than 3% across all three programs (we’re talking about programs that have made me multi millions so we are talking about a lot of students) I finally figured out the refund policy that makes the most sense for me and my business and those going through my program.
First, I’ve talked about this on the show before so I will just briefly talk about it. For my programs I have a 60-day refund policy. I will give you a full refund. However, you have to show your work. You have to actually do the work and after you’ve done the work and have literally gone through the program and implemented, if you’re still not satisfied, then I give a refund.
I started to do this because if someone gets in my program it’s a lot. I do a lot of step by step, a lot of in the trenches work with them, if they don’t do that I can never get them results. If they’re asking for a refund before they do the work it’s just not fair.
I can’t deliver on my promise if you don’t get in there and do the work. So, once I realized there is a flaw I made it really specific. Here’s where I messed up. In my early days when I decided to make sure that people had to do the work I wasn’t incredibly specific about what work they needed to do.
My assistant at the time, Trivinia, said we were having a problem. If people were asking for a refund she would tell them they had to do the work but she felt she needed to show them exactly what work they needed to do.
We were a little vague on what “do the work” meant. Now we totally spell it out. We tell them exactly, based on what I teach in the program, what they have to do and what they have to show us and how they are going to show us.
We actually have a system set up where they email us all of their work so we can review it. We had to go the extra mile and put all of this in place before we expected people to jump through all of these hoops before they were able to get a refund. We had to do some work on our end to make it more clear.
Since I have done that, one thing that’s really important in that I tell everybody before they buy that I have a very strict refund policy. It’s not easy to get a refund in my program. I tell them why, the fact that I can’t get them any of the results they want if they don’t do the work.
I then tell them they can read about my refund policy but I tell them what it is in a nut shell. I talk about it on the webinar. I talk about it if someone is going to buy on a Facebook Live and have discussed the program. I definitely talk about my strict refund policy. It’s very clear before anybody buys.
Moving on from my own refund policy, my friend, Marie Forleo of B-School, has a refund policy of two weeks. This is a question I get asked a lot. How long should a refund policy be? 30 days? 60 days? 90 days?
Marie Forleo has two weeks. She allows you to basically try out the program for two weeks and you decide if it’s right for you. I’ve noticed that over the years she has gone through a few different refund policies to try out different things. She has stuck with this one for a while so it is obviously working well.
She allows you to go through it just a little bit, just enough to know if it’s right for you. That means you get at least 10 training videos before the two weeks are up. Plus you get tons of worksheets that she put together. You get access to a lot. By two weeks you should know if you’re in it or not.
I don’t know all of the particulars around that two weeks because I didn’t look into it that deep. But I wanted to explain it to you here because you don’t have to do 30 days or 60 days. You just have to decide what is enough time for your students to get a really good taste about what the program is and how they can implement it.
Marie and I have different philosophies. I want someone to go through the whole thing and implement and then decide. I feel if you go through my whole program and implement you will get results, even small results, if you’re struggling in the beginning. I always struggle in the beginning so I’m sensitive to that.
Even if you get a little taste of it you can see the potential. Marie’s is a little different. She’s going to let you in for two weeks and you decide after two weeks if you’re in it and you want to continue or not. Her refund policy is tiny. I’m going to guess…I know just enough because I’m a partner, I will guess it’s less than mine.
If mine is a little less than 3% I think hers is even lower. I know that because I’ve sold a lot of her program and I rarely ever get a refund. It’s not because of her refund policy. I think it’s because the program is stellar. Those first two weeks will knock your socks off.
There is another reason I think her refund policy is so small and I’m going to get to that in the next strategy. We will get to that in a second. 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, that’s usually what we see. But I have a friend who has a zero refund policy, at least she did a year ago when I went through one of her programs. That’s Nikki Elledge Brown.
Nikki has a program about copywriting. It’s exceptional. I love Nikki. When I heard that she actually doesn’t give refunds I thought that was ballsy. But I loved it. I don’t care what your refund policy is, the magic in a refund policy and the success that comes from it is how you explain it.
You have to communicate it in a way that your audience gets it. Whether you don’t offer a refund policy or it’s 90 days, I don’t care what it is, you have to explain it so that people understand why you’re offering what you’re offering. That’s the most important thing.
If you’re like me and like to do research, the greatest thing is to read other people’s refund policies. See what they’re doing. When someone offers a new program dig as little deeper and see what that policy looks like. That will help you decide what’s going to work for you.
You can always change your policy once you do another launch. You can change the refund policy for the new students. I think it’s so important that you figure out what works best for you. If you don’t want to do 90 days because it will freak you out and you will worry about it for 90 days then don’t do 90 days.
I always like to remind myself and my students, and quite honestly my husband, Hobie, reminds me of this all the time, “Babe, it’s your business. You’re the boss. You get to decide what you’re going to do.”
Whenever I’m complaining about something in my business he reminds me that I get to do this business every single day and I get to make the decisions. Just make sure you feel good about the decision you make and that you feel really solid in the refund policy decision.
Whether you have a service, program, or product, everybody doing business online should have a new member onboarding email sequence. This is a big one. Actually, this might be even better than the whole conversation around the refund policy although we needed to start there.
I’ve talked about all of this stuff throughout my entire podcast. I just haven’t talked about it this much in one place and that’s why I wanted to hit home with it. The new member onboarding email sequence changed my business.
It is an email sequence that you created, usually in advance, but the first few times I did it I was literally writing my emails the night before they went out. Be patient with yourself, you’ll get there.
The minute someone buys you should send them a welcome email. I love a welcome email that says, “Welcome to the program. You’ve made a great decision.” Then it tells why and what to do next. If you can put the link to your member site and the specific login details for that person in the welcome email that is the best experience you can give them.
I know not everybody can do that based on the platform you are using for your member site. It took us a while to figure it out. It is basically a weird import that we had to do with Infusionsoft and I think Wishlist member and one other tool. It wasn’t the easiest thing we’ve ever done but we figured it out and now when you join my program you get an email that gives login details.
I love doing it that way. If you can figure it out it’s worth the time and effort to figure that out. The other way people do it is to use the platform you’re using (i.e. Wishlist Member). Wishlist Member will send an email to your student with the login details.
I hate those emails. They are impersonal and I don’t think they set you up from Day 1 in a good position to be their leader. I am biased and can get on my high horse about that one but that’s how I feel.
You start the email sequence off with the welcome email. Then you basically look at how long it’s going to take someone to go through your program. I think you should be sending them an email every single week. Those weekly emails, as they are going through your program, do three things.
They encourage your students to keep moving forward, they inspire your students to know this is doable and that they can do it, and they inform your students. If they need to know anything, if they need an update, whatever, these emails will do that.
I typically love to use stories and examples to inspire and encourage along the way. I make them really personal. I let my personality shine through. I make them casual. Really, the message with the new member email sequence is that you are with them on the journey and that they are not alone. Doing anything on business can feel really lonely. You are telling them they are not alone.
I believe my new member onboarding sequences are stellar. Some of them are ten weeks long because I know it’s going to take people a significant amount of time to start implementing and getting things up and running. They go out once a week and they have definitely decreased my refund rate.
Once I implemented these I saw a significant decline in refunds. So I think everybody should have them. Again, what I mentioned earlier, so that you understand, is that when I first started doing these I wasn’t ready with a new member onboarding sequence.
Every Sunday I was literally writing them and they would go out every Monday. They are really important when you’re dripping content. We will talk about the idea of dripping content versus giving it all at once. I’m going to wrap up this episode with that conversation. But if you’re dripping content you have to have an email every single week that says the new module is ready.
That’s a great opportunity to then give a story or example. If you can, with every single email you send, say “Just to make it easy for you, here’s the URL to your member site and here are your login details” in the P.S. I love that. How many times have you searched for login details of a program.
Imagine if every week you were getting a new email encouraging you to keep moving forward and your login details just to make it easy. I love it.
One thing Marie did really well during B-School is that on one of her very final emails during the new member onboarding sequence she told a story of when she was a Nike dancer (forgive me Marie, I don’t know what to call it). She was on the Nike team and they would do big fitness expos. She would be on stage doing workouts and dancing and all this stuff.
I totally did not do that justice and I apology. But that’s not the point of my story. The point of my story is that she put herself in the email to tell a story about being at one of the Nike experiences when she was dead tired. She was exhausted and had zero left in her. Then she thought that she needed to finish strong.
She felt she had to get the energy to do it. She talked about that experience and the whole thing was about being at the very end and not giving up. See how the stories make it so much more fun to talk about moving your students to the finish line?
I want us all to think about those stories that we can take from our own lives or students’ lives and encourage others to get to the finish line. You know the number one challenge with an online training course is that people don’t finish it.
The new member onboarding sequence can definitely help get your students to the finish line. You decide how many emails you want to send and how often but I just wanted to give you a taste of what that would look like.
A members only Facebook group. Heck, I don’t even need to talk about this. I will link to the episode where I talk about my experience with paid groups. I basically call them paid Facebook groups because if you pay to be in one of my programs you get access to a private Facebook group for members only.
This is a game changer. I cannot do any more programs without having a Facebook group. If, for some reason, Facebook groups aren’t popular a year from now I’ll find another way to do this. But I love that they have a community and I love that I do Facebook Lives in the groups.
Here’s a little hint, if you are a member of my program List-Builder’s Lab, we are updating the program this summer. If you are already a member you get all of the new stuff. I’m going to be more active in your private Facebook group.
Right now I am only active in Courses That Convert and Webinars That Convert and then, of course, my B-School Bonus group. I am in there all the time doing videos every single week and answering questions. My List-Builder’s Lab is a lower price-point product so I have a community manager in there.
We did a survey and that’s the #1 thing you all want so you will definitely see me more in the group. I’ll give you more details this summer but I’m coming for you.
A private Facebook group for members only is a game changer. It is Episode #146. I talk about this at length so you’ve got to do it.
Build in action items. This is one that most people don’t talk about because I think there are a lot of courses on how to create a course. There aren’t a lot of courses that get into the content you should be creating inside your course. Inside my program, Courses That Convert, I talk a lot about the content creation.
One little tip I give to my students, that I’m going to give to all of you, is to build in action items to your content, into your actual course. For my Courses That Convert members, on Day 1 I ask them to declare their completion date. When will the course be up and running. I tell them to look at the calendar and be realistic then choose the date.
Then I tell them to go into the private Facebook group and post the date. I ask them to publicly tell everybody that’s also going through the program when they will complete the program. It’s important to get them to commit and take action so that they are really doing something.
Inside my Webinars That Convert program I have my students choose their “game on” song. I ask them to choose the song they are going to play for themselves in their ear buds to get them in state and ready to crush the webinar. Mine is Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. I think most of you know that but I never go into a live webinar without hearing that in my ear buds first so that I can get ready for the webinar.
I have my students make little decisions and big decisions like this but I have them make decisions to move them forward in my program. Those are two little simple ones but you can do bigger action items that you want them to do as well. Create action items inside your content to move your students forward.
All of these are in the PDF freebie today so you do not need to take notes. We’ve also added a little extra so that you can decide which one’s best for your business.
Prepare your customer support with the details they need to save the refund. This is very similar to what I talked about in customer support during the launch. You need to make sure your customer support can answer a bunch of questions about your product when you’re launching.
On the flip side of that, now that they’ve purchased, your customer support is going to be the first people that will get the email that says, “I don’t think I’m right for this. I think I bought it a little bit too early.” They might also say, “I don’t see this and this in the program. I thought she’d teach it differently. I would like a refund.”
Even when I have a solid refund policy we still get these emails. We don’t honor them because that’s not inside of the policy. But we still get these emails. We’re not going to write back and say, “Sorry Charlie! You do not get a refund. You didn’t read our policy.”
We’re never, ever going to do that. I make sure my team has the information they need to beat out these objections. Really, they are fears. When the fears and lack of confidence and the feeling that they aren’t right for the program, it’s too early, or any other excuse they could give usually comes back to being freaked out that they can’t do it.
I make sure my support team has the responses they need and the information they need, in general, to support these people so that even though I’m not going to give them a refund they aren’t just going to feel they lost out on $1,000 and abandon the program.
I want them back in the program, reenergized, believing in themselves that they can do it and actually getting the work done. That is a whole different conversation.
For you it might be different than my situation where we aren’t going to give the refund but will encourage them to get back into the program and giving them the tools and mindset they need to do so. For you it might be that you really need to just save the refund.
Does your customer support team have the information, responses they need, the tools they need to save a refund? If they don’t, sit down and work on that. Talk to your customer support team. It might just be one person. For me it’s Kate.
I would talk to Kate and ask what she is hearing. Why are people asking for a refund? I then need to sit and craft some responses and teach Kate what she needs to tell them when “this” question or concern comes up.
I want to do it out of integrity so I really want to make sure she knows what the real issue is and how to address it. That’s a big one that I think most of us are not taking advantage of. You can save that refund if you give that person the time to be heard and you give them the information they need to jump back into the program and feel supported.
Create a refund survey. I did this. I actually show the survey inside of my Courses That Convert program. When somebody asks for a refund and you honor it you really want to make sure they know there are no hard feelings. You understand if the program’s not right for them you don’t want to take their money.
But let them know you would love it if they would give a few minutes to help make your program better and help make sure you are attracting the right people to the program. If they would give you three to five minutes it would be good to hear their feedback. It would be incredibly valuable.
If you approach it in that way people will likely fill out a really short survey. Don’t ask too many questions. Make sure there are one or two open-ended questions so you actually hear from them in their own words. But then have a few multiple choice. You could learn so much.
I have actually changed my Profit Lab program years ago based on the responses from my refund survey. It’s incredibly insightful.
You have to deliver on your promises. Finally, the last one, #7, to wrap up the rescuing refund strategies is an easy one to listen to but I don’t think everyone does it. If you are promising specific bonuses, are you delivering them? In the timeframe you promised you would deliver them? Are you doing your Q&A calls?
I have a friend that recently launched a program. She didn’t have that many people join the program so she was kind of feeling defeated anyway. She then said she got a refund request. She was devastated. She hardly had anyone in the program and now someone wanted a refund.
We asked if she had delivered on her promises. Had she given all of the bonuses? Had she done her weekly Q&As? No she hadn’t because of this or that and there weren’t that many people even paying attention. That is unacceptable.
You’ve got to deliver on everything you promise, and by the time you promised it. Let’s say you can’t. I recently had a situation where one of my B-School bonuses that I promised (the Profit Plan Reality Check) was promised on a certain date.
Not everyone of my B-School members got it because it was a 48-hour bonus that you had to purchase by a certain time and get the extra bonus. I promised it at a certain time and then I realized I wanted to make the bonus better.
I had gotten an idea and really wanted to add it. It would completely enhance the bonus but I needed some time to work on it. We basically went out to my B-School bonus members and said we needed a little bit more time for the bonus. Instead of the promised date we told them we would deliver on “this” date. We promised it would be extra good.
I hated doing that. But at the same time I knew if I communicated with them, and they had tons of other content they still needed to get to so I didn’t feel that bad and knew they were inundated with the B-School program. As long as I communicated with them I felt good about it.
That’s what’s important. Overall, it’s the communication, setting expectations, and delivering on your promises. You’ve got to do it. Before you launch, it helps if you make sure you have on your calendar when you are going to complete everything and deliver everything.
A lot of times when I promise on bonuses during B-School I actually create them after B-School has launched. I make them really personal and redo them every single year. We have all of the due dates on my calendar so I know I’m spending probably a full month delivering, creating, and putting together all of the B-School bonuses.
If I didn’t have those dates on my calendar I would miss every single one of the deadlines. You’ve got to deliver on your promises because that’s when word of mouth becomes really strong. When I hear people say, “Amy delivered on every single promise,” I am beaming.
I have heard that many times and it’s one of the things I am most proud about. I want that for you as well. It’s all about integrity, of course, and I’m sure you’ve got a lot of it. You probably have that one in the bag.
Before we wrap up, we are into the final stretch, I want to talk to you about the concept of dripping your content versus not dripping your content and giving it all away at once. This definitely does affect saving the sale. People will jump in and jump out when they learn how you are going to deliver the content.
Even more so, it affects refunds. First of all, when you drip the content that means you are giving content away week by week. Each week you are likely releasing a new module and this gives you the opportunity to email your students to let them know a new module has been released and what they can expect, what you want them to do, things to keep in mind.
You can inspire and educate. Your new member onboarding sequence basically becomes notification of a new module coming out and then some extra information.
You could give it all at once and then people can go at their own pace. There are pros and cons to both of these. I’ll talk about that in just a moment. But I think you basically need to experiment with both. I do believe dripping your content is probably the smartest decision.
When somebody gets into your program and sees all of your videos and all of your cheat sheets and checklists, everything, it could feel like they are instantly drinking from a fire hose. Remember, confusion and overwhelm lead to people feeling a program is not right for them.
It is easy to overwhelm your students when you give it all at once. Marie Forleo, with B-School, drips the content every single week. A new module comes out every week. I think Jeff Walker, with his program, I have heard him talk about dripping content and I think he drips his as well.
He mentioned that it’s like you are in a college class and you are showing up to class every single week with advanced content. You don’t want to ingest it all at once but you want to tackle it piece by piece. I really do believe that content creators and educators are doing a huge service to their students by dripping the content and following them on the journey.
When you’re doing live launches this makes the most sense. You always know where your students are in the program because you’ve only released a certain amount of content. I also makes sense with the refund policy. When you’re dripping the content, like for B-School, Marie has only released the first two modules and the refund policy is for the first two weeks.
After you get the first two weeks you decide if you’re in or you’re out. But you haven’t seen any of the other content so it’s all protected from those people that will eventually ask for a refund. I like that whole concept. I love the idea of dripping from a course creator’s standpoint.
However, I don’t drip my content. If you are my student you know this. My reason is that I have dripped my content in the early years. I got so much feedback from my students. I got tons of feedback that they just want it all at once because they want to go at their own pace.
As a course creator that makes me nervous because I know some of you get into my program and see all of the videos and all of the cheat sheets and checklists and you are like, “Holy cow. This is a lot.”
Right away, if you feel that overwhelm I am thinking in my head that is why I wanted to drip it. But because so many of you want to go at your own pace I want to have that available for you. To tell you, quite honestly, I like when I am going through a program to get the whole thing as well.
I recently joined a program totally unrelated to online marketing. It was more about eating clean. They drip the content. As a course creator I love that and they communicated really well about when the content was going to be created. But when I bought it I was ready to dive in.
I had the time to focus on it. I had a two-week period that was a little bit of a slower time for me. I was ready. The content didn’t actually even get going for two weeks. Once they started to drip it I was deep into another project, I had lost focus on what I had purchased, and I haven’t even gone through the content yet.
I hate to admit that but it’s true. The good news is I have it on my calendar when I get to go through it and actually focus on it so I had to schedule it to make it real. I just lost the window so there is something to be said about someone just joining. They are super excited so get them going when they are excited.
Thinking about B-School, I know I use that as an example a lot here because it is just ending at the time of this recording. Marie does a great job of giving you some bonus content, getting you in the course from Day 1. That’s important.
If you’re going to drip make sure there is something they get to go through that’s valuable. Not your intro videos of who you are and what you’re about. Not the welcome video. I mean bonus content they can sink their teeth into so they feel like they are making progress on Day 1 when they are most excited.
I just wanted to share that with you because I do not drip my content. I see the benefits of dripping your content. But if you don’t drip your content and you give it all at once you have to do an exceptional job of making sure people know how to navigate, making sure you have an easy-to-use member site, you have a welcome video, the welcome email explains where to start, and you do a very good job of not letting them get overwhelmed.
Talk about the overwhelm. Squash the objections and fears and make sure they feel supported along the way. Quite honestly, I think making sure they feel supported along the way is important for either dripped content or not dripped content.
There are pros and cons. I wanted to explain why I do what I do and talk to you about why I love the whole idea of drip. I think you should experiment. Do one launch where you drip and do another one where you don’t drip. See which one works best for you and your students. That’s so very important.
We’re going to go ahead and wrap up. This was a long one. I had a lot to cover. Bec ause o f that y ou are going t o lo v e the freebie at http:// www.amyporterfield.com/158download or text the phrase 158download to 33444. Either way it will take you right to the freebie.
Sign up, grab it, save it on your computer, and when you’re ready to launch the next time I want you to choose two or three of these strategies and implement them inside of your team to save the sale and rescue the refund.
I think, my friends, it is time for you to get scrappy in the trenches. Do whatever it takes to make sure you are supported in your business and your students are supported as well. I cannot wait to see you again next week. I’ve got so much good content coming your way.
We’ve been planning and planning with my entire podcast team. We are so excited for what’s to come. I will see you again next week. Bye for now.