Before you build your cohort-based course, build your ladder of trust

Varun Balsara
3 min readSep 5, 2022

A common tragedy

Many are flocking to building their cohort base courses. Typically, they have an idea, build content to support that idea and then go and sell their course. Only to find they do not get many sales.

Why does this happen?

In a previous article, I argued that knowing what your audience wants, before making a course helps you sell your course radically better. However, this still relies on the instructor building a community of followers eager to learn from them.

The misconception

A common misconception is the number of followers = easy sales on courses. The thought is: I have a ton of followers/my follower count is growing I will sell out my course quickly and easily.

Flipping this back to the instructor: if you follow someone online, like their content, but then all of a sudden approach you with a high ticket coaching or cohort-based course, what will you say or think?

Most likely something along the lines of: “While I love your content, I’m not sure I can trust you with this high ticket offer. Hence I am not going to part with my money and time”.

The ladder of trust.

Every creator who has been able to sell high ticket offerings has done it because their audience trusts them.

One of Let’s Level Up’s top instructors Ashley Leeds (who teaches people how to use LinkedIn in 15 mins/day) has a famous quote:

“People buy from people they like and trust”

So what is this ladder?

Imagine a ladder. And, each rung of that ladder represents a different information product. Example: an ebook, pre-recorded course, cohort-based course and 1:1 Coaching.

The goal of each of these products is to:
(1) Add value by giving away valuable content for no/low cost
(2) Build trust by sharing more valuable content at a lower cost
(3) Upsell higher ticket offerings

Here is a diagram representing this:

Diagram representing a typical ladder of trust

How does one get started

(1) Build awareness. Post valuable content on social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or newsletter)

(2) Free Tier. Use your (1) to drive traffic to a squeeze page- i.e. a landing page that will share a simple information product (e.g. workbook, worksheet) at no/low cost in exchange for their emails.

Send regular, high-value emails that they would receive. You can share advice, tips and tricks, and key learnings surrounding your journey. After >5 emails you can then sell your first offer.

(3) Low Ticket: Low ticket offering such as an e-book or a pre-recorded course. The ones that take this are most likely quite interested in what you are offering. This means you can reach out to them for your higher ticket offer.

(4) High Ticket: This is your highest upsell which could be a cohort-based course or a 1:1 coaching programme. By this point, a person has gone through your various product, and trust you enough to part with their time and money.

To Conclude

So, there you have it! Instead of being swayed by trends, build a ladder of trust. This will lay a solid foundation for you as a creator to build various products and get a steady stream of people to interact with your various low and high-ticket product offerings.

Pssst... If you are interested in building your product ladder or need personalised support in setting up one email me at: varun@letslevelup.io I would be happy to assist.

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