Consequence Pricing: 1 dramatic change to improve your sales by 15x

What if I told you there was one thing you could do to improve your sales by 15x?

Would you do it?

I bet you won’t.

Today I’m going to share the strategy we used to improve sales by 15x, show you how to do it and challenge your thinking.

Strap up.


3 weeks ago we ran our first-ever customer success experiment.

We’ve run 100s of marketing experiments over the last 3 years but have never once run an experiment solely designed to increase the number of people who buy our course and get their desired end results. Which is sad.

Quick aside: If one of our primary goals is to help people succeed, why aren’t there entire conferences, blogs and podcasts dedicated to this subject?

Instead of endlessly talking about webinars, podcasts, launches and every micro-optimization strategy under the sun, what would happen if we started focusing on… I don’t know… creating successful students or users?


Kathy Sierra has talked about this extensively in her book. Read it. 

Earlier this year we made it our #1 goal as a company to help 10,000 people per year grow their email list to 1,000 subscribers and launch a product by December 31st, 2024. That’s 7 years. And that’s a gigantic goal.

The primary reason we picked that goal is because I’m 1,000% convinced that with 10,000 people per year taking the ideas they have in their heads, creating them and shipping them successfully, our world will drastically change for the better.

Better presidential candidates

Better solutions to problems like diabetes and heart disease.

Better solutions to big world problems like global warming and clean water.

The way we see it, right now, some of our smartest minds, the people who were born to solve these problems, are stuck in stupid jobs doing stupid work they don’t enjoy. But if we can reignite that spirit of experimentation, creativity and entrepreneurship in the minds of these people and in the minds of their 5-year-old kids, all of these big problems are solvable.

And the world is just more fun, peaceful and enjoyable when these things are solved.

To reach that goal of 10,000 successful students per year, we’re going to have to get a lot better at everything we do and we’re going to have to stay maniacally focused on that goal.

In order to help us stay focused, we filter every major decision we make through the Fancy Little Graph™.

This graph is important.

Why the Fancy Little Graph™ is really, really important

The journey to becoming one of our successful students is broken into three major milestones.

Milestone #1: Getting 100 subscribers

Milestone #2: Reaching 1,000 subscribers

Milestone #3: Creating and launching your first product

Those three milestones form the basis of our Fancy Little Graph™.

Most people start out on this graph in the lower left-hand corner.

Sometimes they have an idea about a cool product. Other times not.

They have no list and no basic idea how to go from bottom left to top right.

But they’re eager and ready to do something.

For people to the Success Line they have to go through 4 different phases.

Phase #1: Wantrepreneur: A whole lot of dreaming, but no clue what to do.

Phase #2: Have what it takes?: Not really sure they can actually do it

Phase #3: Legit potential: It’s getting hard but I think I can do this.

Phase #4: Successful student: BOOM! DID IT!

Each phase has its own unique challenges and struggles.

But a successful student will navigate all 4.

Here is where it gets tricky though.

Most people who start this journey will not complete it.

They won’t reach the Success Line.

Each phase has roadblocks and challenges that cause people to drop off and quit.

We call these the Moments of Doom.

For people in the <100 subscribers (Wantrepreneur) phase, those Moments of Doom look like…

  1. Deciding on their topic or niche
  2. Getting their website set up
  3. Getting their first 100 visitors to their website
  4. Writing their first blog post
  5. Picking our their email service provider

At any point, a person on their journey to the Success Line could reach one of these items and experience a Moment of Doom. If they do they’ll almost always quit.

If they get stumped on picking out the topic they’ll focus on, then they’ll never move forward, they’ll never get to 100 subscribers, then life will get in the way and shortly after they’ll quit.

Then they’ll never realize they have legit potential, they never run for president and we’re all left sitting here trying to decide between Trump and Clinton, all the while shaking our heads and wondering how on earth it got to this point.

I’ll tell you how…

The person who should have run experienced a Moment of Doom and quit.


Our job is to do a few things:

Thing #1: Figure out what the Success Line looks like for our users.
Thing #2: Know the major milestones our users have to pass in order to reach the Success Line.
Thing #3: Identify the Moments of Doom for each milestone.
Thing #4: Keep those Moments of Doom from causing our peeps to quit.

$60k in sales from 1 successful student

The best growth hack ever invented is a successful user.

Increasing the number of people who use your product and pass the Success Line is the best thing you can do to grow your business.


Successful users buy more things from you.
Successful users go out of their way to make sure people buy stuff from you.

Don’t believe me? This post is a living example of that. In the introduction I shared Kathy Sierra’s book Badass with you. (Click here to get it because it’s incredible.)

Why did I share it? Because it made me successful and I love looking smart by giving people suggestions on things they’ve never heard of before. And you do too. And your users do as well.

Successful students are the single best point of optimization in your business.

Create 1,000s of them and you’ll never have to market a day in your life.

Quick example…

The first time we launched our course Get 10,000 Subscribers, one of our customers was Cathryn Lavery.

She bought the course, went through it and successfully built a list and launched a product.

She got to 3k subs and did over $300k in sales. All within 90-ish days of buying the course.

You can read her entire story here.

Now she is consistently one of our #1 partners for the course. She’s sold over $60,000 of the course to her audience.


Successful students are the single best point of optimization in your business.

1 dramatic change to improve your online course sales by 15x

Alright, sorry for the long intro, but none of the rest of this would make sense if you didn’t first understand the lens through which we are running this business.

I started this article by telling you about 1 dramatic change to improve your online course sales by 15x.

That change revolves around this hypothesis:

If we can get people who are in the Wantrepreneur (< 100 subscribers) stage to experience a tiny amount of success and overcome one of the most common Moments of Doom, then they are more likely to buy stuff from us and reach the Success Line.

So, this is what we did…

First, we looked at the Moments of Doom for people in the first phase on the our Fancy Little Graph™.

Second, we chose the first Moment of Doom, “picking your topic,” and built a mini-course to help people quickly overcome this roadblock.

We called it the Decide Already Course.

Third, we gave the course away to everyone on our email list for free.

BUT there was one significant caveat.

In order to get the course, you had to choose a consequence for yourself if you didn’t successfully complete it.

The consequence choices were $10, $50 or $100.

So, if you completed the course, you got it for free and you successfully blew past the “pick your topic” Moment of Doom!


But if you didn’t do the work and successfully complete the course then you were charged for the amount you’d chosen for yourself.

(Note: I’ll give you a detailed rundown of the technical implementation of this in a minute.)

Here is were it gets absolutely fascinating…

Look at what happened to the success rate of students when they chose a monetary consequence for not finishing.

In the spring of this year we offered a free mini-course, Audience from Scratch. We offered it to the entire email list. There was a limited time to take the course (14 days), it was 99% video-based and it took less than 45 minutes to complete.

The success rate on that course was 12%.

Then we offered the Decide Already mini-course 3 weeks ago. It was free too, but you had to pick a monetary consequence. It had a limited time as well (10 days), it was 95% text-based and took 2 hours to complete.

The success rate on that course came to an average of 80%.

Here’s a breakdown of the results:

672 people signed up for the $10 consequence level. 474 of them successfully completed the course, for a 70.54% success rate.

69 people signed up for the $50 consequence level. 61 of them successfully completed the course, for a 88.41% success rate.

61 people signed up for the $100 consequence level. 55 of them successfully completed the course, for a 90.16% success rate.

Here is a fun graph version:

*mind = blown*


Let’s summarize real quick.

Simply by letting people choose a $10 consequence for not completing the mini-course, our success rate went from 12% to 70%!

This is incredible.

But it gets better.

Check this out: Students who successfully completed the Decide Already mini-course were 15x more likely to buy our product, 10ksubs, than those who didn’t take it at all.

I’m going to type that line again just in case you are skimming this article.

Check this out: Students who successfully completed the Decide Already mini-course were 15x more likely to buy our product, 10ksubs, than those who didn’t take it at all.


An argument could be made that these people would have bought anyway. Maybe. But people who successfully completed the course were 6x more likely to buy than those who took the course and didn’t successfully complete it.

In my estimation the point of successful completion is a critical inflection point at which someone becomes substantially more likely to buy than before.

Before we get into the how part of this article, here are my two major takeaways:

Takeaway #1: Consequence Pricing models can exponentially increase the success rate of your students.

Takeaway #2: Successful students are significantly (15x in this case) more likely to buy from you.

Conclusion: Creating more successful students = creating more revenue for your business

Here’s how we set everything up.

If by this point you aren’t convinced that creating successful users is really important, I’ve failed you.

But you’re smart and you get it.

So here is how we set up our Consequence Pricing program.

I’ll preface this by saying that we use Infusionsoft, which I am well aware that many of you don’t use. That’s why I’m going to lay out what we did, and then later on, I’ll share how you can do the same thing with a cheaper setup.

Step #1: Create a $0 order form.

This form is to capture the student’s information, including credit card information. We made the “purchase amount” $0, so we weren’t actually charging anything with the first official order.

Step #2: Once they completed the form, they were auto-registered for the course that we created in Teachable.

We used Zapier to create this auto-enrollment.


Step #3: On the back end, we put everyone who enrolled into the course on a “Wait” sequence in Infusionsoft. (More on this in a second.

Step #4: We then created a Google Form to act as a “Success Form” that they needed to fill out within ten days of the course opening and placed it in the last lesson of the course.

If they filled out the form by that date, then they would not be charged.

This was done by using Zapier to tag their account in Infusionsoft if they filled out the Google Form. This would remove them from the “wait” sequence so that their card would not be charged.

Here’s a snapshot of the simple Google Form we created:


Step #5: We announced the Decide Already course to the email list.

Since this was a first-time experiment, we didn’t promote it heavily.

We simply sent out one email (which you can see below) and added the information as a P.S. in a few subsequent emails.


How can you do the same thing?

Do you like this idea and want to try something similar for your own course?

You don’t have to have fancy software like Infusionsoft to do it.

It will take a bit more hands-on work, but it can totally be done with much cheaper tools.

Here is how you can run a similar setup with SamCart:

Step #1: Set up your $0 product in SamCart.


Step #2: Integrate the product with your Learning Management System (Teachable, Thinkific, Zippy Courses or whatever LMS your course is hosted on).

Step #3: Create your Success Form using Google Forms.

Step #4: Share the link to your Success Form in the last lesson of your course.


Step #5: Announce your course and tell everyone to enroll.

Step #6: Create 3 more products in SamCart: the $10, $50, and $100 consequence charges.


Step #7: Go through your Success Form submissions and see who didn’t complete the course. Add the correct product charge for the consequence they chose and charge them.



How we will use this going forward

Consequence Pricing gets me excited.


Because it creates more successful students who make the word better and generate more revenue for our business.

So, how we will use this going forward is…

In Q2 of 2017 we will be releasing a massive update to our course, 10ksubs.

In that update you will have the ability to start each module by selecting the time frame you want to complete the module within (we’ll give you a few suggestions) and a pick a small financial consequence for not hitting that goal.

We will also allow you to opt out of this if you’d prefer, but we’ll show students how much higher their likelihood of success will be by choosing this.

So… yay!!

Awesome successful customers are awesome for the world and awesome for you making money.

Your Action Items: Create a Fancy Little Graph™ for your customers, pay attention to top-of-the-funnel growth 10% less and start optimizing for the success of your existing clients 10% more. 

PS: What do you think about this experiment? Does it make you want to do something similar OR do you think it’s silly? Let me know in the comments below.