Notes from Eben Pagan's "Advanced Digital Product Creation" course.

Customers don't pay for products, they pay for results. And ultimately, for value. So what is this value?

"The economic value of a good or service has puzzled economists since the beginning of the discipline." -Wikipedia 

So what is value?

"Value" is a nominalization. That is, it is a word which is not a noun, being used as a noun. In reality, it is something humans do: we value things. It is a process. A verb. If we look at how we do the evaluation process, it gets easier.

The model called the triune brain" is an oversimplification of the human brain, yet helpful to is in this discussion. It states that we have three brains: the reptilian brain (survival), the limbic system (emotions), and the neocortex (speech, logic, higher thinking).

Each "brain" has two modes of motivation: Towards and away from. We can think of them as "carrot and stick." Or "pleasure and pain."

The reptilian brain's pleasure: life, sex, physical pleasures.

The reptilian brain's pain: death, physical pain. These are the most potent motivators.


The limbic system's pleasure: Feeling good, being loved.

The limbic system's pain: Feeling rejected, guilty, ashamed.


The neocortex's pleasure: Being in control

The neocortex's pain: Not being in control


Pain is the stronger one. Death, rejection, not controlling your life.

Add urgency to pain, and you have a potent motivator.


What we really want is to avoid pain and to have pleasure at all three levels of the brain. But we cannot sell to that pain or that want, because it is subconscious, and we do not recognize it as such.

We are "results focused", we have pictures in our head of what would have to happen for all our problems to melt away. We want to see that picture happen.

If you want to lose weight, "you'll feel better" might surely be true, but you can't take a picture of it.

"You'll be able to go play with your kids in backyard" is a stronger motivator, it is a result you can take a picture of.

So to sell, you need to find the result that represents success in the customer's mind, and paint the picture of how your solution, your book, your course, your information, will make that picture come real.

If they believe you, they will feel like they have to get your product.


We started by asking "what is value", and quickly realized we have to talk about how we value. We value by looking at the results we believe we will get. When those results line up with powerful motivational triggers in the reptilian brain, the limbic system, or the neocortex, we act.

Thus, your job as a solution creator, is not to take all your knowledge about a certain topic and spew it all into a book or a video course.

Your job is to first find out what result your customer wants, and then pour all of your genius into creating a way for the customer to get from where they are now, to the result they want. The photo finish. Really, ask yourself: Could I literally take a picture of the customer having succeeded, and everybody could look at the picture and agree that they had?

Now, figure out all the results the customer wants (5-10 of them with the highest emotional value), and you can create an empire.

"If you can a describe another person's problem better than they can, they automatically and subconsciously assume you know the solution."

When you focus on those "high-value moments", that might seem trivial to you as an expert, that's when your prospect says "that's what I want, that's what I need."

"Apply knowledge to needs, not needs to knowledge."


What is your customer's biggest need right now?

Parent: Feels insecure for child's financial future. Needs to feel s/he has done what they can to help the kid be successful in tomorrow's world. 5000 parents wants for their children:

  • Be happy in life
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle
  • Earn enough to enjoy a comfortable life
  • Be successful in their career
  • Fulfill their potential 

Brainstorm how each of the different things you've learned as an expert in your life ... and in this area ... applies to this ONE need that your customer has:

Programming will be one of the last jobs -- automation creates enormous value, and can only be done by a human even in the far future. Great salaries, possible to create your own app, company, destiny. It is a lot of fun, it is creation.

Story of how my dad bought me a computer when I was seven, he had seen the future, and that changed my life completely. 

How I discovered my powers through drawing with a turtle ("Logo"), and was hooked. <-- That moment. Create that feeling of exhilaration in your child, give them the tools to create a good life for themselves. 

Spewing a lot of programming theory on a child will not help them love programming. Being able to control something, that immediate satisfaction of seeing the effects, will. Like when you first started driving a car. You could control that whole thing! What a rush!

Potential Perspectives: The parents, the child, the fears, the kid's friends.  Conceptual, theoretical, practical, emotional.


Questions To Ask

Ask three (prospective) customers a day:

What is your biggest fear?

What is your biggest frustration?

What worries you?

What do you worry about coming about? What could happen?

What do you secretly worry about? What do you secretly want?


Two formats:

1. A (free) 30 minute consultation. At least half of the time just ask questions.

If they say "I worry about security", you say "What does security mean to you? Specifically, what has to occur for you to feel secure?"

What happens out here in reality that is the indicator that you've got security? We're looking for tangible, concrete results in the real world, that represent security to them. Something you could take a picture of, and everybody would agree that it is there.

This symbolizes to them what they really want, and they think that "if I have that, everything would be fine."

Maybe they say "money". You ask "how much? when?" ... If they say "a lot, I want to be rich", you say "great, how much do you have to have to be rich?"

2. A coching sessions that you charge for (60 - 90 minutes), you can do it on the phone

The best book on this is Co-Active Coaching. (+ Spin selling)


What is the problem you're facing right now?

What makes the problem worse?

What makes it better?

When did it start?



Situation, Problem, Implication, Need Pay-off

S questions: What's your situation right now? 

P questions: What's the problem you're facing?

I questions: What are the implications that that problem is causing

N questions: What's the pay-off if you get the problem solved?

(When you read them back the notes from SPIN, you help them zoom out and see the bigger picture, and that is of great value.)

Ask questions for 20-25 minutes, at the end give them ONE action step (no selling in this scenario).

If you are going to sell something: Qs for 15 minutes, ONE action step for 5 minutes, and then 10 minutes to explain how the all the stuff they want to go away, and all the stuff they want (using their words that they gave you during the first 15 minutes), is stuff that you can give them if they work with you or they buy your product.

When someone feels it was made all for them, they "own" it.