That’s about all you get to capture the mind of your prospects.

They’re bombarded by messages day in and day out and thus are forced to make quick evaluations.

The success or failure of businesses everywhere boils down to those three little seconds. And the most effective way to use them is to present an Irresistible Offer.

Your Prospects’ Big Four Questions

During any sales process, an inner dialogue takes place in your prospects’ minds. The process of making a buying decision requires that four questions are satisfactorily answered:

1. What are you trying to sell me?

2. What’s in it for me?

3. How much?

4. Why should I believe you?

Your offer must address these four questions and must do it quickly. In order to do it most effectively, you don’t want just any offer…you want an Irresistible Offer.

What is that and how do you create one?

Read on.

Creating Your Irresistible Offer

In order to really succeed, you business will need an Irresistible Offer. An Irresistible Offer is composed of three elements:

1. A High ROI Offer

2. A Touchstone

3. Believability

Let’s look at each of these components separately.

A High ROI Offer

The core imperative of business is make an offer. Quid pro quo. I give you this, you give me that. Simple yet many businesses stray from this and fail to create a real offer that stands on its own.

“ROI” refers to “return on investment.” Every purchase we make is essentially an investment–an expenditure of money with the expectations of profits, whether that profit is in terms of money, enjoyment or whatever.

We must feel that we are getting something that we perceive is at least equal in value to what we are investing, but we prefer to receive something back that we feel is greater in value than our investment. When a business provides a product or service that is a negative investment, it won’t be doing business for very long.

When you simply offer an honest-to-goodness great deal, marketing becomes a hell of a lot easier. Businesses that stray from this have to use all kinds of marketing and sales trickery to make up for it.

If you can’t just snap your fingers and turn your product into a great one, then add something that makes it great. Add an experience, service, feature, or benefit that will make it truly a great deal for the customer.

And don’t think lowering your prices is the best way to create a High ROI Offer. The business graveyards are full of companies that priced themselves out of existence. You should always look to how you can add value without sacrificing profit margins.

The Touchstone

As every marketing book tells us, we are constantly bombarded with advertisements and marketing messages–TV ads, radio ads, direct mail, billboards, Internet ads, e-mail…the list goes on and on.

What makes certain companies stand out in our minds amongst the rest? How do we cut through all the static?

We create a good Touchstone.

No, I’m not talking about the black stone used to test the quality of gold or a silver..a touchstone in marketing terms is a statement that addresses as many of the following points as possible:

  • Here’s what we are selling.
  • Here’s how much it will cost.
  • Here’s what’s in it for you.
  • Here’s why you should trust us.
  • And last but not least, the Touchstone must say: Here’s a great offer. Here’s a deal for you so great that you’d be a fool to pass it up.

Now, before you run off and write a Touchstone based on those things, realize that just communicating them bluntly is not, in itself, enough. It’s not a grocery list. You must communicate them in a particular way for them to have the desired effect on your customers.

Consider the following points when writing your touchstone:


Don’t make your customers have to try to interpret what you’re saying. They won’t bother.


There’s enough complexity in the world. Your customers aren’t looking for more, and especially not from someone who’s trying to sell them something.


Everyone is in a hurry. Respect that and keep it short. A single, crisp eyeful at most.


Your Touchstone needs to cut right to the chase. You’re not “selling” your product; you’re simply laying out the facts and letting the customer see the value for himself. If your offer is strong enough, you don’t have to “pitch” it. The customer will either want it or he won’t.

One of the greatest Touchstones in history is the old Domino’s Pizza line: “Pizza hot and fresh to your door in 30 minutes…or less…or it’s free.”

1. Here’s what we’re selling: fast pizza.

2. Here’s what’s in it for you: pizza rushed to you when you’re hungry or it’s free.

3. Here’s why you should trust us: if we don’t keep our promise, you get a free dinner.

4. Here’s the price: $10 (or whatever it was back then)

Now, Domino’s didn’t quite have a High ROI Offer because their pizza was terrible in the beginning, but that didn’t matter. Their Touchstone was the spark that got the fire started. They eventually improved their pizza and that fanned the flames.

The classic Columbia House Touchstone of “10 CDs for 1 Cent” is pretty good too. It’s been copied many times over by other CD and book clubs and is still used today.

1. Here’s what we’re selling: cheap CDs.

2. Here’s what it will cost: one penny.

3. Here’s what’s in it for you: cheap music.

4. Here’s why you should trust us: what do you have to lose? (This leaves prospects skeptical, but many take the leap of faith anyways.)

Of course there’s a catch as everyone expects–you have to agree to buy more CDs at higher prices, but in the end, you actually do end up getting a pretty good deal.


The bigger and bolder your Touchstone, the harder you have to work to sell your believability and credibility.

There are ways to do this though.


You can offer social proof that shows how other people are benefiting from it. This is usually testimonials and generally speaking, video is best, then audio, then written with picture, then written with name. Anyone can make up written material and prospects are justifiably skeptical of anyone trying to sell them something.

You can offer technical proof if your product has been scientifically validated in some way. If your product or service has been proven in tests, share them but do so in a believable way so it helps, not harms, your believability.

And sometimes there’s just factual proof. Do you have any research that shows how the value or popularity of comparable products have increased over time?


This is all about you.

Can you be trusted? What makes you an expert, an authority? Why should people listen to you over your competitors?

High Profile Customers

If you can say that IBM or Microsoft uses your products, this goes far in establishing believability.

When you land someone who has achieved an “opinion leader” status with your prospects, use it to build credibility.


Almost every profession or career field has some association or organization that certifies the quality of its member’s work.

Look into that and don’t forget to cite any relevant degrees or credits that speak to your expertise and knowledge.

Awards and Recognition

Has your work been given any kind of awards or has it been given any special notice? If not, what awards could you work toward getting?

People tend to gravitate toward winning products and services.


Don’t underestimate the power of appealing to your prospect’s logical thinking.

As you make your offer, their mind is already running. How, they’re asking themselves, can you make such a great offer? If you can give them a logical answer, you’ll move them closer to a buying decision.


Don’t underestimate the power of an Irresistible Offer. If you look at the leading businesses in any field or industry, you’ll often find that their power over consumers comes from Irresistible Offers.

If you feel your current offers can be improved, put your thinking cap on, go back through this article, and give it a go!