SFR 158: The Pre-Purchase – Stephen Larsen

SFR 158: The Pre-Purchase

Jul 20th, 2018 anchorwave

My focus is shifting from, “what should I have customers do post-purchase” to “what should they do pre-purchase?”

Cue drum roll, cue lights; it’s time to grab that tux and dig out that little black dress because – TODAY, your product’s sales process is about to get the Hollywood Treatment.

Hollywood Movie

I’m about to drop some gold here – so settle down and take notes 😉


Recently I’ve been focusing on the small tweaks that you can make in your customer experience to create BIG effects.

There this time that I built 86 funnels (x 2) for a promotion that Russell was doing for one of Stu McLaren’s products called Tribe.

When somebody purchases Tribe, they are given a step by step path to help them go through the program without overwhelming.

Let’s think about that for a moment…

Have you ever bought an online course and been so overwhelmed by the amount of content that you didn’t know where to start… or even worse, decided to ask for a refund?

Providing a massive amount of content often makes us feel great because we feel like we’re over-delivering. However, bombarding a customer with too much information can actually freak them out – causing them to utter the dreaded “refund” word. (*gasp*)

I can't stop dropping this gold

Your customer is not looking to be overwhelmed; they’re looking for a solution.

Since I launched my product, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of onboarding and success paths. I’ve been trying to figure out the most effective ways to hand-hold your customers into being successful.

There was a membership area that I built. It was by far the best members area I’ve ever created in my entire life. The problem was that it contained 200 hours of content. It was packed with value, but it was just too much for most people to handle.

Businessman overwhelmed by problems at work

People were coming up to me saying: “I gotta quit my job to watch this! I’ll never get through it.” It was way too much stuff.

People felt so stressed that they started asking for refunds. If they didn’t have time to consume all the content – they wouldn’t get the result – so they asked for their money back. Not good, right?


So I started to create success paths that show customers exactly where they should start and what they should do if they want to achieve a certain result.

Your kind of giving your customer permission to focus on just one thing and holding their hand along the journey.

Successful path

Creating a Success Path is a super effective way to increase customer satisfaction and reduce refund requests

We’ve just talked about the importance of a post-purchase success path for your customers… but what about before they purchase? What happens there?

Is it possible to create a pre-purchase success path to help you increase sales? The answer is a definite YES!


Think about how Hollywood releases previews way before the movie gets released.

Coming soon

Can imagine what would happen if Hollywood didn’t release previews? I mean, think about that. Our brains wouldn’t be pre-framed and loaded with anticipation. We wouldn’t look forward to the release dates and arrange to go to the movies with friends. A movie release would just slip out without much of an event.

It’s like being really excited to go to a party or vacation. Sometimes, the most exciting bit is the anticipation and planning beforehand.


A 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, found that planning or anticipating your holiday often makes you happier than actually taking it.

The happiest part of your vacation actually happens before you even begin your holiday

Young couple planning a travel

How does this work?

I have a favorite story that explains what’s going on in our brains when this happens, so let me share it with you quickly…


University Students Using Digital Tablet And Laptop In Class

There was a college class who were told that they would have a substitute teacher for the day.

Right before the substitute teacher came in to teach, the students were handed a biography of the teacher. However, there were two versions of the biography.

Both versions were completely identical except for one word.

One version said that most students found the new teacher to be a very “warm” person,” The second version said that, most people him to be a very “cold” person.

The biographies were split equally between the students – Half the students were pre-framed to expect the teacher to be warm and friendly, while the other half expected him to be cold and aloof.

What happened next was fascinating…

At the end of the class, they surveyed the students to see if the professor should continue teaching.

The students who were pre-framed with the “warm” biography said that he was incredible and that they enjoyed the class.

Conversely, the students who were given the “cold” biography answered that they didn’t enjoy the class and didn’t want the professor to continue to teach.

It was exactly the same person teaching exactly the same lecture – but students the responses were wildly different depending on how they’d been pre-framed!

That’s nuts, right? On the surface, the students were in the same room having the exact same experience, but how positively they responded depended on the pre-frame that existed in their head.

Isn’t that interesting?

As a marketer, I started to ask the question:

What can I put in place to pre-frame and build positive anticipation for the purchase of my product?

I started to look for a way to boost levels of anticipation and to create “an event” around the purchase of my product?

So here’s what I’ve been doing…


Spotlight theatre stage

  1. Before people attend my webinar, I have a product that they can purchase which helps me to recoup my ad cost. As soon as somebody buys that mini product – I have a system set up that sends a message to my phone telling me who it is and I send them a quick, personalized message.

    Bloop. It sends straight back over to their email, and they get a personal message from me inviting them to come and watch the webinar. It’s super effective.

  2. We have a program on my funnel called “Deadline Funnel,” and when somebody doesn’t purchase within a certain window of time, it removes their ability to buy. Next, we ask them if, “they want to join the waiting list?”The people who join the waiting list are super pre-framed to buy the next time the purchase window opens – because they don’t know when they’ll get another opportunity. BAM! It’s sooo effective.

What I’m trying to illustrate is that the way a customer is pre-sold your product drastically affects the likelihood of them buying

happy or sad

So start focusing on the question:

How can I pre-frame my customers brain to help them make a purchase, and to make the purchasing experience better?


There are a group of people who purchased one of my main products who did not go through a success path. It’s the same product, and yet they have a different experience.

Nothing has changed in the product. However, the way they were pre-framed and what happened after they purchased was different.

You guys know how to create value, but if the lead up to the purchase doesn’t create enough anticipation and the post-purchase success path doesn’t do the right amount of hand-holding afterward; then you are making your life (and the experience of your customers) harder than it needs to be.

With some great pre-framing and an effective success path – the same product can produce a vastly different experience for your customer.

Woman happy

Start thinking about, how you can create a positive pre-purchase experience and a supportive success path post-purchase.

For a long time, I was only thinking about post-purchase, but once I started thinking about pre-purchase too, my results went wild.

Getting people excited to buy, then finding ways to “reduce overwhelm” post-purchase is one of the keys things that you can do.

Most people spend too much time running around asking, “Is my product good enough?” The answer is “Yeah, it usually is.”

There’s just not enough of a pre-frame. You’re literally sending your potential customers straight to an order page or a sales message.

You need to put something in place that will actually get them in the mood to buy. Start thinking of how you can create an event for someone who is thinking of buying your product – think of it as a Hollywood preview that builds anticipation for your product.

Red Carpet Festival Glamour Scene

Ask yourself:

How can I create a Red Carpet experience for my customers?

Answering that question will pay you back tenfold.

Until next time – Keep Crushing It!

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