The anatomy of creating an offer your potential customers can’t refuse

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by Tom Watson on August 15, 2011

Want to take a guess as to what the two most important parts of any marketing or advertising copy are?

The first one is pretty easy to figure out. It’s the headline. After all, if the reader doesn’t like the headline, they don’t bother reading the rest of the copy.

Now that we know why the headline is key, lets discuss what comes in a close second in overall importance. This part of a marketing piece is much tougher for most to nail down.

This is because unless you’ve studied the art of copy writing, you’d be hard pressed to figure it out. Yet this lack of knowledge can make or break your entire promotion.

Ready? The second most important part of your marketing and advertising is the offer itself. Take a moment and think about it.

If you want to have loads of cleaning accounts, you really have to make people an offer they can’t refuse. This is because even the most powerful call to action won’t work unless your offer is too good to pass up.

I think the best way to drive this home is through an example. For arguments sake we’ll discuss an offer for a house cleaning service. With that said, here we go.

Which one is the better offer?

Offer # 1

Call us today to get a $10.00 coupon you can use on your first cleaning visit.
(I see this type offer all the time)

Offer # 2

Be one of the first 10 homeowners to call Healthy Home Housecleaning at 555-5555 and receive 50% off your very first housecleaning PLUS another 50% off coupon you can give to a family member or a friend. Healthy Home Housecleaning is insured and bonded and has the areas only 100% Money Back Guarantee. Call 555-5555 today!

The first offer wouldn’t motivate a rabbit to eat lettuce let alone a homeowner to call your cleaning company. So I think it’s pretty clear that offer # 2 was the big winner.

I know some of you will be hesitant to make such a bold offer. Some will argue that the discount is too steep while other will say people will just use your service for one time to get the discount. Both arguments are dead wrong.

First off, the coupon for 50% off their first cleaning is a small price to pay to get a customer to say yes to you. If you think of just how much it costs to actually land a good customer, you see the value in this approach.

Secondly once someone goes through the trouble to change cleaning services and they are happy with you, odds are they won’t go back to the last cleaning service. My experiences running a cleaning company says this very rarely happens.

In addition this doesn’t even take into account the possibility of making this one customer so happy that they tell all their friends, family and neighbors about your great service and pass along your coupon to boot.

As you can see, one customer can turn into two or three if you play your cards right. So now lets dig in some more and break down the process of creating an offer the customer can’t refuse.

No matter what you’re selling (even if you’re giving something away) there are four things that go into creating a really effective head turning offer. If the offer doesn’t have any one of these elements, chances are it’s not going to generate the results you’re after.

 1 – You need to offer something your client wants.

This is not something you think they need or something that’s easy for you to offer them. You do want to keep in mind that what people want and what they need are rarely the same thing.

 2 – Prospects must understand immediately why they would want it.

This is what is commonly referred as What’s In It For Me? This “what’s in it for me” factor is what direct marketers talk about all the time.

After all, if there’s no clear benefit to them, why would they bother taking the time or spending the money? The answer is they won’t!

That’s why just offering a free consultation or a simple coupon isn’t very effective anymore. We’re all far too busy to go for those watered down offers. You need to promise something more compelling (and something your completion can’t or won’t offer).

Besides, these days the majority of people think “free consultation” means “a waste of time sales pitch” anyway and a coupon for a few bucks off just doesn’t excite people enough to act (not in a timely manner anyway).

 3 – It has to have more value then risk.

Part of this is price of course, but this is also where money back guarantees and no long-term contracts come in also. They either add value or reduce the risk in some way, and they’re all part of the offer.

 4 – They need a good reason to take action now.

People are super busy nowadays so if they don’t take action right away, they’re likely to procrastinate then forget all about your offer. That means you need to give people incentive to act immediately.

This is where you may want to create some kind of limited availability. You do this by placing a time frame on the offer. Make it for a “limited time” only (act in the next 48 hours). This emphasizes why waiting would cause them to “miss out”.

A classic example of a highly effective offer would be those old “Ginsu” knives commercials. Those knives seemed like a pretty good deal all on their own didn’t they?

The offer became irresistible when they added…

“But wait…there’s more. For one low price you also get the knife holder, the sharpener and the instant chopper as well. And if you act right now, we’ll even throw in a salad spinner as a bonus”.

Wow…what an offer! But the amazing part was they weren’t done (as if that wasn’t enough to convince you), they also included a money-back guarantee.

Now that’s a lot of value for very little risk, and a good reason to “act right now” to boot. If you were in the market for a new set of kitchen knives how could you possibly resist that offer?

Many couldn’t, as approximately three million sets were sold over a 6 year period. So next time you get ready to promote your cleaning service, don’t just stick your phone number in there and hope for the best. Make them an offer they can’t refuse!

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to our RSS feed and get loads more by clicking here. If you need detailed instructions on how to start your own cleaning business, then check out my value packed course by clicking here. If you are badly in need of a first class website to take your cleaning business to the next level then click here.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nabil Atallah January 19, 2012 at 6:21 am

We spoke before, I am having hard time hiring a good sales Pearson and a quality control Pearson.

I have been in business about 25 years we are doing ok, my question how can i take my business to the next level, and how to hire the right management staff, sales, etc. and at what level or when to hire them and how to pay them.

Do you have any materials, classes or consulting one on one service to help take my business to the next level.

Thank you
Nabil Atallah
American Building Corp.
ABC Stay Clean

2 Tom Watson January 22, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Hi Nabil!

I’ll call you in a day or two, talk to you then!

3 Adriana October 17, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I have a gazillion questions as I am just starting, can you help?

4 Tom Watson October 17, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Hi Adriana!

Of course I can help. Post a question here or on my contact page (

5 Jacolby Sanders January 13, 2017 at 1:36 pm


I have been thinking about opening an small vacant apartment cleaning company. Im just not sure exactly where to start. I have read over your information listed above, which was very useful btw, but im still not sure where exactly do I start ?

6 Tom Watson January 15, 2017 at 11:43 am

Hi Jacolby! Your goal would be to send out a marketing letter and flyer (with business card) to all apartment complexes near you. (Atten: office managers). Check out these posts…

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