Intro to Value Stacking

Value Stacking is a powerful marketing technique to help a buyer understand the value of your offer, but so many do it wrong!

Our job when selling something is to make sure the value the buyer gets is higher than or equal to how much you've charged them. Otherwise, you're ripping them off.

The tricky part is that value is subjective. It’s decided by the buyer, based on their own method of judgement - and we have no idea what that is.

In sales meetings, we ask questions to help figure it out. But when you're doing marketing stuff like writing a sales page, or creating a brochure, you can't really do that.

So I figured I'd run through a technique to boost value when when you can't ask questions.

What is value stacking?

Value stacking is when you break an offer into parts, assign a value to each of those parts, and then have a total which you use to compare against your price. 

It’s a way for YOU to try and set the value of your offer, rather than rely on the buyer to figure it out themselves.

And this is something you've probably seen before if you ever stay up late watching TV.

But wait.. there’s more!

Ever seen an infomercial? Or watched the TV shopping channel?

You'll see value stacking in action when they start running through all the extra shit you get when you buy whatever it is they're selling.

"Buy now and you’ll get an extra one for free (yay, that’s already double the value). But wait… you also get the smaller, more portable version too. But wait… if you’re one of the first 500 callers you also get the free accessory kit. But wait… there’s more! And more! And more!"

They come up with a list of freebies which makes the purchase of the initial product seem WAY more valuable. Then when a buyer is looking at it, it seems like an amazing deal… so they buy it.

Value stacking in online marketing

Value stacking became super popular in online marketing when Russell Brunson, founder of Click Funnels, ran through it in his book Expert Secrets.

The book is actually pretty great, and teaches you a lot about how people think and how to frame your stuff and position yourself to get your message across. But it does raise some ideas throughout that I disagree with (and I’ll run the issues with how they view value stacking later in this article).

Basically, a value stack looks something like this:

The Stack Slide - Russell Brunson
The Stack Slide - Image from Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson

It's when you break down a list of things the buyer will get, add a figure for the value, and tally it up.

In the case of a course, the extra "things" might be coaching sessions, access to premium tools, templates and guides, some sort of a community, or maybe some bonus videos. Anything you could think of that buyers could value.

With what I do in web design, it could be associated services like SEO, time saving measures, extra integrations, training - again, anything that the buyer could value.

Overall, you’re showing that what they GET is way more than they might think, so your deal is AMAZING! A lot like the AB Blaster 2000.

Problems with Value Stacking

Value stacking sounds like a pretty smart thing to do, right? 

You showcase what people get by buying your stuff, and this helps them understand the value in what you’re offering.

But there are some issues that come up, particularly when you’re offering premium services as an authority.

1. People lie about value

One of my biggest frustrations are seeing people blatantly lie in their value stack. 

I am not referring to people charging high dollar amounts for things that might seem quick or easy for them to do. I firmly believe in charging based on value to the buyer, which has zero connection to the time it takes the seller. You charge $500 for 10 minutes work? As long as people are willing to buy, more power to ya!

No, the lie is that the value they’ve attributed to the bonus is way higher than the actual value.

Even though it’s called a VALUE stack, and we’re talking about what the VALUE of an item is, the value still needs to make sense for the buyer.

So if you offer coaching sessions for $200 an hour, and someone gets one for free - the value is $200 cause that's what it would cost them otherwise. Using $2,000 would be a great old fucking lie and any person with even HALF a brain will tell you to get lost.

2. You can turn yourself into a commodity

My other problem area that comes up with the traditional value stack, is how easily it turns your offer into a commodity. 

Instead of focusing on the outcomes and making sure there is clear value to the buyer in the product alone, you’re giving them a shopping list to compare against other options. Quality is no longer a factor.

"Oh look, this one includes the same stuff, but is $500 cheaper. Let's buy that."

You’re focusing on the price and what people get rather than the problem you will solve and what that’s worth. You’re not positioning as the person who will help them the most, you’re positioning as the person who gives them the most “stuff” for their money.

3. It Leaves you open to hagglers

When you offer a service and you break that service down into a to do list, and then show a client, there’s a chance they’re going to come back and try to haggle down. 

It’s a simple concept; they see something on that list they think they don’t need, and ask you to remove it in an attempt to lower the price.

"Oh dude don't worry about optimising my site for SEO. Can you knock $500 off?"

Congratulations, they are no longer thinking about you solving their problem. They’re now picking and choosing from the shopping list you gave them.

How to value stack for premium services

This doesn’t mean you can’t use value stacking in your marketing, you just need to cover your bases effectively to still come across premium (and not do anything unethical).

1. Focus on the Solution

Think about the core things you will provide as part of your solution, and list them. Then, rather than giving them a dollar value, describe them based on the benefit they will give.

Rather than “Responsive Website Design” with a price tag, you might try “Premium website designed to appeal to your ideal customer and generate more enquiries.” 

It doesn’t even need a “valued at” figure for this.

2. Benefits over Bonuses

Rather than coming up with extras you could include, think about the little things you do that take it beyond the core service.

For example, if your core service is a new website, you might do things like tailor the dashboard to make it easy for them to update their site content. Or perhaps you set up their analytics system. Or maybe you give them training videos. 

None of this is a new website, so you could (and probably should) list these things as “bonuses,” but outline the benefits these things bring rather than giving them some arbitrary value. 

3. Use Real Prices

Disclaimer: controversial opinion time.

In the book, Russell refers to the values in the value stack in this way: 

“Think of it not as the value you’d sell it for, but the value they get from it.”

My approach and advice almost always goes against this (I’d say sorry Russell, but I doubt he gives a shit what I think). It’s just WAY too easy for it to go wrong when you try to calculate value yourself. I mean, it’s always going to be incorrect anyway because value is determined by the buyer.

Realistically, the main reason Russell said that was so people would have an excuse to bump the numbers up (and the higher the number, the more value you're showing).

I know people will argue with this, especially because if I’m right it could mean they’re doing something wrong, but I'll stand by my stance - at least until someone can convince me otherwise.

If you do need to list a value for items in your value stack, the easiest and safest option is to use whatever it would cost them to buy that item separately (aka. Market Value).

If you offer a speed optimisation package for $500 and want to include it as a bonus, it’s worth $500 so the “value” is $500. Don’t try to figure out what a faster website is worth, because it's different for everyone. 

If you have something you don’t actually sell separately, the same principle applies. Think about how much you would realistically charge someone if they wanted to buy it, and use that price. 

Recap

Value stacking is when you list out what people will receive by purchasing your offer, in an attempt to increase its perceived value. It can be very useful in online marketing, but we really want to be careful that we don’t cross the line into manipulation, and to avoid turning into a price driven commodity.

To do this right; focus on the outcomes you deliver, the extra items that go beyond the core service you offer, and use actual market values.

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