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“Begin with the end in mind.” Stephen Covey probably wasn’t the first person to say it, but that “habit” has always stuck with me.

In fact, whenever I’m writing sales copy for a client or building a sales funnel, I always work backwards.

  • Call to action
  • Bonuses
  • Guarantee
  • Offer
  • Etc…

Following this process ensures that whether it’s a sales letter or a sales funnel, from beginning to end everything is pointed toward the same goal: conversions.

all converting offers have three key elements

It All Begins With The Offer

Actually, the above list is slightly out of order: I always start with the offer, then work backwards from the Call To Action.

Why is this important?

Easy… Because you need to know what you’re selling.

Everything else builds from there.

That’s it.

“So we’re done, right Brian?”

“You can end the post here and not make this another 2,800-word affair, right?”


Avoid These Offer-Conversion Keys At Your Peril…

I constantly monitor the campaigns of my clients, as well as the campaigns of other marketers to track how they’re getting conversions, and without exception there are three keys every successful product launch has in its offer.

But before I get to those, let’s work through a few questions.

What Do You Do When Someone Asks You For A Bite?

I make amazing burgers.

My kids crave them…

My wife loves them…

And my neighbors hate them–a delicious reminder of their inferior grill skills that causes jealous food-rage wherever the smell drifts.

But there’s one problem…

I assemble my burgers in the most delicious way, and my wife always asks me for a bite.

On the surface that isn’t a problem, right? I mean, what’s the big deal?

Here’s the rub…

Sometimes she asks right away, but more often than not she doesn’t ask until the burger’s almost gone.

Let me ask you a question:

Do you think I’m more likely to feel good about giving her a bite when I first get the burger, or when it’s almost gone?

Without question: it’s most painful to give her a bite when the burger’s almost gone.

It hurts, I tell you… and it makes no sense.

Why The Last Bite Of A Burger Is The Most Valuable

When you stop to think about it, the “pain” is kinda crazy.

Let’s say her bite consumes 10% of the burger (I’d argue it’s more like 30% 🙂 ). Whether she takes the bite at the beginning or the end, I’m still getting 90% of the burger.

In fact, if she waits until the end (she always does) and there’s 20% left, I’ve enjoyed 80% of it–and I still get to have 10% when she’s done.

So why all the pain?

What’s the big deal?

Is it just that I don’t like sharing?

Actually, it’s science.

Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman says our fear of loss is roughly 2x more powerful than the enjoyment of gain.

So even though I’ve already enjoyed 80% of the burger by the time she asks for 10% of it, my brain processes that I’m being asked for half of what’s left.

According to Dr. Kahneman, giving up 10% of the remaining 20% of the burger causes the same mental “anguish” as giving up all of it. 

(You might think I’m petty for making such a big deal about giving up a bite of these burgers–but that’s because you haven’t had one 🙂 )

What Does This Have To Do With Crafting An Offer?


You have a product that will deliver amazing value to your future clients.

But you have one problem: they have to give up something to get it.

They have to give up money.

If the product is something that must be learned to maximize its use, then they’re also giving up time.

Plus they’re giving up everything else they could spend their money and time on instead.

Given what we learned from Dr. Kahneman, that’s a stacked deck against any action at all.

That’s where these three keys come in, and that’s where we turn the human brain’s natural abhorrence of loss on it head.

The 3 Keys That Conquer The Fear Of Loss And Drive Conversions

The keys are simple:

  1. Value
  2. Scarcity
  3. Urgency

Key 1: Value

Remember that a customer has to give up three things to acquire your product or service:

  1. Money
  2. Time
  3. Everything else they could spend their money and time on

In order to get the prospect’s attention, you must demonstrate that the value of your product is 10x the value of their time and money.

If you can demonstrate the value, you’re basically selling money at a discount. And it’s difficult for anything else to compete.

But that’s not enough…

Key 2: Scarcity

It’s not enough to demonstrate value though… that’s just the first key. The second key is demonstrating that what you have to offer is a scarce resource.

Let’s talk about scarcity.

My son loves Ferraris.

Whenever we see one, he almost breaks his neck craning his head to look at the car… and you know what else? He’s almost as interested in who drives the car as he is in the car itself.

But what if owning a Ferrari were as common as owning a Toyota Camry?

Do you think seeing one in the parking lot would generate the nearly neck-braking whiplash that it does now?

At a more practical level: would Ferrari be able to command as high a price if they were mass-produced in the same quantities as Toyota, Ford, and other common cars?

No and no.

Now, imagine my son was a little older and was offered a new Ferrari at a price that was a stretch for him, but was a price he could figure out?

He’d be crazy to pass it up, wouldn’t he?

Do you think he’d do everything he could (ethically and within reason–he is being raised right, of course :)) to buy the car?

Of course! Deals like that don’t come around every day.

And that’s the same principle with any offer that incorporates these 3 keys.

They have a chance to get in on a scarce resource that not everybody gets to enjoy. (Unless they don’t act… then it’s a resource they can’t enjoy!)

If you sell business coaching, you might be selling small businesses the exclusive, limited opportunity to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors.

If you sell jewelry, you might be offering an invitation to a private party where famous designers will be talking about their latest pieces, with the 10 rarest pieces available for sale to attendees only.

When you create scarcity, you give the prospect an opportunity to join an exclusive club–and the fear of being shut out… stuck on the outside looking in.

Key 3: Urgency

Let’s face it: most people are lazy.

I don’t know why it is, but unless people believe something of value will be taken away from them, they won’t act.

Think about it: why is Black Friday so effective?

Because there are amazing sales and door busters that are only offered that day. (I know that Black Friday is actually a 3-day event for some stores, but the principle is the same.)

If the customer wants one of the door busters, but doesn’t get around to shopping until the following Tuesday–or even later Friday afternoon–there is a chance that door buster deal will be gone forever.

Don’t underestimate the power of only offering a deal for a limited period of time… done correctly, you’ll often do as much business in the closing hours of the sale as you did in the opening days.

Wrapping Up

Even when people think highly of an offer, they think more highly of what they have to give up to get it.

That’s where these three keys come in:

  1. Value
  2. Scarcity
  3. Urgency

These keys turn the powerful habit of human nature on its head, and make it work in your favor by planting the fear of loss of the value, exclusivity, and benefits your product or service will transfer to them.

Whether through urgency (“buy before midnight tonight, or this deal is gone–maybe forever”)…

Or through scarcity (“only 1 exclusive service contract is available in your area, and I’ve sent this offer to all your competitors”).

These are the keys to shaking the rust off your customers’ “consumer engines”, oiling the gears, and turning the crank to generate buying motion.

How will these keys change how you present your offers?


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