Do you have a product or a business?

Rick McPartlin

Rick McPartlin founded The Revenue Game to help companies focus their organizations around the critical function of revenue generation. His columns are featured under the “Business Toolbox” tab on our website,

Somehow the world thinks if you have a “better mousetrap,” you will have a successful business. If we think any deeper, we know that someone has to build the product, someone has to sell the product, someone has to ship the product and so on.

If the thinking goes even further, there has to be people, a building, accounting, finance and some marketing to support the “better mousetrap.” The thinking and planning is about how to get the “better mousetrap” in front of buyers who will snatch it up and make the seller successful.

After declaring “great mousetrap” from the highest rooftop and investing time, money and passion into getting buyers to buy, the result is often a shocking disappointment. The shock is that almost no one buys the product, and the disappointment is the world is missing out on this great product. Why is it that great products don’t get to the market or the market makes a buy decision on something other than how “great” the product is (think VHS vs. Beta)?

The big secret is that no one can buy or sell a product (or service) until it becomes an offer, and the best offers are intentional and a result of revenue strategy.

A complete revenue strategy requires answering five questions in an aligned and deployable way:

  1. What is our brand promise?
  2. What’s the customer “problem” that we solve that no one else solves?
  3. What niche/s do or will we dominate?
  4. Who is our ideal customer?
  5. Which are our key offers for dominating the niche?

Once questions 1 through 4 are intentionally answered by your team, and your team knows what deployment needs to be, the question becomes “exactly what will we deploy?” Offers are what is deployed, and when done successfully, result in you dominating your niche by compelling the ideal customer to work with you to solve their problem.

Strategic offers are very specific and intentional for the purpose of compelling those ideal buyers to become your partner in an engagement that results in both parties receiving value that is greater than what they invest.

Notice the three key words “compel,” “engagement” and “value.” The purpose of an offer is to “compel” ideal buyers into a partnering “engagement” where both parties receive predictable “value” greater than all forms of investment.

While the ideal buyer is the person with the ability to buy, there are four other buyer mindsets that have “veto” power. The well-constructed offer not only compels the ideal buyer, but will deliver enough value to the other four buyer mindsets to avoid a “veto.”

The other buyer types represent:

  • The owner of implementing the offer
  • The technical representative who reviews the offer’s validity
  • The user(s) who the offer is intended to support or satisfy
  • The administrative buyer(s) charged with procurement and compliance

In addition to the expected value, offers are reviewed based on metrics (specifications, outcomes, cost, etc.) and more complex measurements like risk, opportunity, image, satisfaction, ease of use, etc.

Here is a way to look at an offer, which serves as a template to develop an “intentional offer” that is easy to sell and monetize. To create the offer details, there are five things that must be in place first:

  1. The foundation is a product or service
  2. Will the offer be consistent with the brand promise?
  3. Will this offer align to the problem you solve that no one else solves for the customer?
  4. Will the offer support one or more of the niche(s) you dominate?
  5. Will this offer compel your ideal buyer to engage with you?

Next apply a combination of the problem you are uniquely solving for the customer (that the customer is known to be passionate about) with known or assumed fears and motivators.

Fears and motivators are things like:

  • The engagement process
  • Price
  • Cost
  • ROI
  • Ease of implementation
  • Image
  • Quality

The power of an offer is the result of developing everything from the buyer’s frame of reference and being sure it is compelling. The offer should have five to 12 elements that compel the ideal buyer and provides enough value to the other four buyer types to avoid a veto. Your offer needs to be improved with every buyer contact for the life of the offer (intentional continuous improvement).

Intentional offers make it easy for your buyers and partners to make referrals because the offer is clear and repeatable. Other outcomes are attracting staff and partners who want to do the work, training is faster and easier, and when working with partners, everything is easier and more effective.

Sell more, make more money, and grow faster with intentional offers vs. just a cool mousetrap.

What do you think?

Rick McPartlin founded The Revenue Game to help companies focus their organizations around the critical function of revenue generation. He has held senior executive positions and consulted for many Fortune 500 firms and small companies alike, and he’s shared his passion for “revenue generation as a science” for more than 20 years. Read more of his columns on our website at

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