How to Create an Irresistible Offer by Surveying Your Audience on LinkedIn

The free four-step process to developing a valuable service offering that solves high-impact problems.

learn more about Terry Rice

By Terry Rice

fizkes | Getty Images

Here's one of the most common challenges I see among coaches, consultants and other service providers: creating solutions that nobody wants.

Or, at least a solution that doesn't solve a big enough problem for their audience to buy it. On the flip side, if you want to create an irresistible offer, all you have to do is solve a challenging problem. Want to increase your revenue too? Solve an expensive problem.

So, how do you know what problem to solve? Ask your audience. Now, these days that may feel challenging because of time constraints and decreased opportunities to interact in-person. However, I discovered and implemented a simple but effective approach to getting this valuable information; surveying your audience on LinkedIn.

And you might be thinking, "I'm too busy to do research, I need to make money". Well, if revenue generation is your goal, you can't afford not to spend time creating a service people actually want to buy. Beyond that, you can leverage the same information to spruce up your marketing and sales process.

So, let's get to it.

Identify your target audience on LinkedIn

Start by searching for your target audience on LinkedIn. For example, if you offer solutions for HR professionals you could simply search for "Human Resource Managers" under the "People" section of the search bar, and enter any additional criteria that makes sense for you. Maybe you only want to target people in a specific industry, or you're looking for professionals that live in a particular area. You can do a basic search with the free version of LinkedIn, if you want to get more granular, you'd need to upgrade to a paid membership. The lowest tier will cost you around $30/mo and there's usually some sort of deal being offered. Currently, you can try a premium option for 30 days at no cost.

You might have a more niche audience, such as moms who are entrepreneurs. In this case, you'll have better luck looking for hashtags they interact with. For example, #mompreneur.

Related: The 7 Deadly LinkedIn Sins

Create your survey in Google forms

To keep things simple, I suggest creating your survey using Google Forms. It's free, and the familiar name may help eliminate some hesitation in regard to responding. As for the content in your survey, if you don't ask the right questions, you won't get impactful answers. For background, I help coaches and consultants grow their brand and revenue. Below, you'll find the questions I asked when I was building my group coaching program. You know your audience and industry better than I do, so adjust your questions as needed, but this will get you off to a great start.

  1. What is the most difficult hurdle you are dealing with on a daily basis when it comes to starting or scaling a business?

  2. What would life look like after you overcame that hurdle, how would your personal and professional life be better?

  3. What's blocking you right now from overcoming that hurdle?

  4. If you had a magic wand and could create the perfect solution to overcome that hurdle what would it be?

  5. If someone created that perfect solution for you, how much would you be willing to pay for it?

  6. Do you have any questions around growing your business that I can answer now?

  7. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Now, you might be hesitant to ask how much someone would pay for your service, but their response serves as an excellent filter. In the previous questions, they state how impactful solving this problem would be, and exactly what the solution would look like. When asked how much they'd be willing to pay for this service if they say something along the lines of "Umm, I dunno, $200-$300? " that's a clear indication they aren't in your target audience or aren't actually serious about solving this problem. As a result, you should consider tossing out their other responses.

On a brighter note, the remaining responses will tell you exactly how to build an irresistible service offer. You'll just need to find the overlap between what your audience needs and what you're capable of offering. Remember, you don't need to solve all their problems, so just stick to what you're good at.

Related: 10 Ways to Learn About Your Target Audience

Crafting your outreach message and sending the survey

How do you reach out to random people and ask for their time? Well, for starters, acknowledge the randomness and be upfront about why you're reaching out. Beyond that, this is certainly going to be a numbers game. You should aim to get around 60 responses, so you may need to reach out to hundreds of people. If you have access to these individuals in your personal network, start there. If not, just roll up your sleeves and remember this is the part where other people give up. So, if you want to be successful, all you need to do is keep going.

You're going to send this message as a note included in a connection request, so make sure your profile looks presentable. If you want to increase the chances of getting a response, post relevant and valuable content on LinkedIn before sending your outreach message. It will boost your credibility and prove you contribute to the industry.

To get you started, here's the outreach message I used.

"Hey [name] I see you're a consultant and I'm wondering if I can ask you a few questions about your daily challenges, and potential solutions, for a coaching program I'm working on. If you're able to help I'll pass along a brief survey, which should take 5 minutes to complete. Thanks!"

I made a few tweaks along the way, but this one got the highest response rate.

To save yourself time, create a text shortcut on your Android or iOS device. It took me about six hours to send off 200 requests, which netted me 45 responses in less than a week. I should note, I sent these requests while also binge-watching Netflix, otherwise I would have used my laptop as well. To get additional responses, I repeated the same process.

Related: Grow Your Side Hustle With Instagram Direct Messaging

Compile the results, make your program and share it with your audience.

If you follow these steps you'll have enough information to create your irresistible offer. Initially, focus on responses to the question "If you had a magic wand and could create the perfect solution to overcome that hurdle what would it be?"

Look for themes that keep recurring and be sure to include them in your service offer.

When crafting your sales and marketing messaging, this part is super important; avoid the pitfall of talking about every little detail while ignoring the transformation your audience is searching for. Their response to "What would life look like after you overcame that hurdle, how would your personal and professional life be better?" should form the foundation of your value proposition.

Along with gaining all this information, you've also made many connections within your target audience. Once you create your program, I strongly recommend sharing it with them in a non-salesy way. You may find some people will inquire about your service, but don't end the relationship before it starts by projecting lack and scarcity.

Again, here's a script you can reference.

"Thanks again for your time. Based on your feedback, I've created the following solution. And, here's a tip on solving one of the challenges you referenced . . ."

From there, you can continue the conversation in a meaningful and impactful way.

Was this helpful? Have any questions? Reach out to me on LinkedIn.

Terry Rice

Entrepreneur Staff

Business Development Expert-in-Residence

Terry Rice is the Business Development Expert-in-Residence at Entrepreneur and host of the podcast Launch Your Business, which provides emerging entrepreneurs with the critical guidance needed to start a business. As the founder of Terry Rice Consulting he helps entrepreneurs make more money, save time and avoid burnout. He writes a newsletter about how to build your revenue and personal brand in just 5 minutes per week.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.


5 Things I Learned as the CEO of a Fully Remote Company

As the CEO of a company that was an early adopter of a fully distributed workplace model, here are five important lessons I've learned from the experience.


Want Your Self-Published Book in Bookstores? Here are 3 Major Tips On How to Make It Happen.

As a publisher for over eight years, here are some of my best tips for how to self-publish a book in a way that will increase your chances of seeing it in bookstores.

Starting a Business

A Founder Who Bootstrapped Her Jewelry Business with Just $1,000 Now Sees 7-Figure Revenue Because She Knew Something About Her Customers Nobody Else Did

Meg Strachan, founder and CEO of lab-grown jewelry company Dorsey, personally packed and shipped every order until she hit $1 million in sales.

Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.