Want to know why some businesses have a long list of clients clamouring to work with them? Or how they can charge a much higher rate for their products/services even though they're doing the same thing as you? Answer: They promise and deliver results. Want to do the same? A signature program is going to help you achieve that.
If you look more closely, you'll see that these businesses don't try and appeal to anyone and everyone. And they don't try and help their clients in 27 different ways. These businesses are seen as experts and figures of authority in their chosen niche.
One of the best ways to build your authority and be seen as an expert in your niche is by creating a signature program.
What is a signature program?
A signature program or service can be a combination of the following:
- A "how to" system that helps your clients achieve a set of predefined outcomes
- A solution based on your own life experience (for example, lessons learned while overcoming personal or professional challenges)
- A process based on the knowledge and expertise you've gained over years of working in your field
One essential hallmark of a signature program is that it has "you" written all over it. It's your unique way of providing a solution to a problem. It reflects the type of person you are, your philosophies, and the values you pump into your business.
Why create a signature service?
Creating a signature program takes some time and dedication, but it's well worth it. Here's why:
Stand out from the crowd
Having a signature program is one of the best ways to eliminate competition. As long as you produce results, it won't matter that others are doing similar things as you, because only you can deliver your program you way.
Attract your ideal clients more easily
If you've been following my blog at all, you'll know that I'm big on focus and clarity. That's why I love helping my clients create signature programs.
The essence of a signature program is that you help your clients solve one single problem. Now that's what I call focus! This narrow focus will draw in those clients who have the exact problem you help solve. When they see your offer, they'll feel like you're addressing them directly and can't help but stop and listen. Put simply, a signature program helps you zoom in on your ideal clients.
Generate Increased revenue in a shorter time span
Signature programs are all about delivering desired outcomes. And when you can confidently and expertly help your clients achieve results, you'll get paid for results, not your time or the number of modules. You'll also start getting referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations. Loyal clients emerge, relationships are made and you keep on growing, more quickly.
Strengthen your credibility & visibility
A signature program that embodies focus and clarity helps create a strong sense of credibility. People will recognise your expertise and the authority of your message. Remember that people more more likely to share something that has a crisp and confident message, not something that's vague and generic.
Enhanced business sustainability
Once you've mastered the process of creating a signature program, you can use it to create another, and another. You are now cultivating a vital business process that lets you create new streams of income.
De-clutter your business processes
As you go through the process of creating a signature program, you'll develop a framework to organise your whole collection of ideas, knowledge, expertise and offers. You will start to identify exactly who you serve and what results you deliver. This is a transformative process that will leave you with a strong sense of clarity and focus. You can say goodbye to vague and general, and become authority in something that's specific and specialised.
When you start to help clients achieve pre-defined outcomes, you'll realise how much of an impact you're making to your clients' lives. This will give you a huge dose of confidence boost, something that will help propel you forward if you're relatively new in business and are still trying to find you feet. There's nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than knowing that what you do helps change lives.
The 7 steps to creating a signature program that sells
Now that you know the benefits of creating a signature program, let's talk about how to actually create one.
1. Define Your Ideal Clients
As an entrepreneur, your main focus should be on your potential clients. And identifying your ideal client is the first step every successful entrepreneur needs to get right. Maybe not at the first try, but that's okay. Even seasoned entrepreneurs need time to hone in and refine their ideal clients as their businesses grow and evolve.
Don't focus soley on demographics such as age group, job, income level, etc. Those are useful pieces of information but I encourage you to dig deeper and delve into the challenges your ideal clients are facing. Get as specific as your can.
Generic: Women in their 40s.
Specific: Women in their 40s, married with young children, with high earnings, very busy, short of time, would love to cook healthy food for their families but have no time or know-how, feels guilty about serving ready meals all the time.
Now that's a very specific niche that would be ideal for someone creating a signature program (or online course) that helps that group of women learn how to cook healthy meal in 30 minutes and plan meals for the whole week ahead in the same amount of time!
2. Pinpoint the Transformation
What exactly is your signature program going to help your clients achieve? What will it do for them? What problems does it solve for your customers? How does it improve their lives? What will they be able to do after working with you that they couldn't do before?
What's the one single transformation your program will deliver?
This is where you may protest and think: "But I can help my clients with A, B, C, D & E! I don't want to limit to one thing."
And I get it. But trying to help your clients with 5 different things will mean that you are not actually serving them as best you could. In fact, your clients may find such a broad program overwhelming and confusing, preventing them from taking action and getting results.
Using the example above, the transformation may be this...
Before: Stressed, unprepared and overwhelmed when it comes to meal time. Feel guitly for feeding family unhealthy food. Feel inadequate as a mum.
After: Chilled and relaxed about meal times. Meals planned a week ahead. Fridge full of healthy food. A collection of healthy recipes that take less than 30 minutes to make. Sense of pride and contentment as a mum.
3. Define the Pain Points and Results
It's vital that you understand and clearly identify the specific issues and obstacles facing your ideal clients. As related to the transformation you identifiyed in step 2, what are the key areas where they are struggling? How can you help them overcome their problems? Think about all the pain points, fears, secret wishes, desires and goals your clients have.
Be as specific as you can. "I want to be healthier" is too vague.
It is important to learn the language of your target clients. What words and phrases do they use to describe their struggles? If you can use their own language, your program will feel much more impactful and compelling to your target paying clients.
To do this, you can ask your target clients to describe their problems. Or you can listen to what they're saying in places your target clients congregate. These techniques will show you how your target clients articulate their problems. If you speak their language by mirroring those words and phrases, your marketing and content will resonate with them so much more.
4. Outline the Process
With a signature program, you'll know exactly what you're selling. You're not selling your time. You're not selling coaching or consultation sessions with no particular end points. You're selling a transformation.
Your potential clients need to know how you're going to deliver that transformation. This is why you need to organise and outline the actual processes you're going to take your clients through.
How are you going to use your expertise, experience and knowledge to guide your clients from start to finish? What are the specific steps? What can you do for them, with them or provide for them to help them overcome their challenges?
Your processes and steps don't have to be complicated, but they do need to be clear, specific and concrete.
5. Determine the Duration
How long will your signature program be? This is vital information that your target clients will want to know before signing up to your program.
There's no right or wrong answer to how long your program should be. It depends on your niche, your target clients, your processes and the way you do things. But ask yourself how long will it realistically take your clients to achieve the transformation they're aiming for.
Be sure you can confidently deliver the transformation in the time frame you specify. But don't let that hold you back for now. Just pick a rough estimate. You can fine-tune the time scale when you've taken a few clients through the whole program.
6. Give It a Results-Focused Name
First impressions matter, big time. Sure, you can't judge a book by its cover, but today's noisy online world does mean that you have to grab attention quickly.
Having said that, I want to stress that the quality and effectiveness of your program matters more than its name. But, all else being equal, a catchy name will certainly help position your program and make it stand out.
The best program names are those that promise results. A name that sounds catchy and promises a result at the same time is a sure winner.
Avoid using a name so clever that nobody knows what it means. People are busy, and they're lazy. If they have to expend energy to work out what you mean, they'll pass your program by.
In my online course Nail Your Signature Program, I show you how to come up with a results-focused name that will make your potential pay attention and get them excited to sign up.
7. Show Testimonials
One of the best ways to show how you help clients achieve a transformation is by using testimonials. Nothing speaks more volume than actual people who have gone through your program and achieved the results they desired.
Compelling testimonials give your signature program credibility and authority, and enhance your reputation as an expert in your niche.
If you're relatively new to business and don't have testimonials to show, consider taking a handful of clients through the program for free. This will not only allow you to gather testimonials for your program, it'll also be a perfect opportunity for you to fine-tune your processes and steps and make it even more effective.
Now that you know the framework for creating a signature program that sells, it's over to you. You have two options: (1) Continue being vague and generic and doing the same thing others in your niche are doing, or (2) Focus on a specific problem that you can solve in your own unique way build a signature program around it.
Don't be afraid to pour your heart and mind into the program. The winning combination of your expertise, experience and personal story will resonate with more people than you might think. It's called signature for a reason.
Need help creating your signature program?
If you'd like to follow a step-by-step process to create your signature program, check out my online course Nail Your Signature Program. You can also use this course to help you create a signature service, or your very own online course!