How to build a Value Ladder for your Service Business?

A Value Ladder will help you to build trust with your prospective clients and make it easier to sell your services.

What if you could talk more often to better leads? What if you could structure the way you deliver your services and your messages that made selling easier?

Today, you probably answer to many leads shopping around for a proposal and waste a lot of time.

Or you craft a proposal but they don’t buy, they’re not ready for such an investment yet (though they asked you for…).

There is never a magic formula, but I’ve got something for you that will help you immensely on how to think about your offers.

In this post, you’ll discover what is a Value Ladder and how to build one for your services business making it way easier for a visitor to become interested, a lead and eventually a client.

The Basic Idea of a Value Ladder

Value Ladder Service Business

A typical Value Ladder

The concept of the value ladder has been popularized by online marketers such as the Clickfunnels guru, Russell Brunson.

The simple premise is to create a list of products sold in ascending order of price.

  1. 10$ - Ebook
  2. 100$ - Online Course
  3. 1'000$ - 12 weeks program

Each offer is a step to help at the current situation and a relatively low-level of trust needed to make a buying decision. You make it non-risky to work with you.

Why it makes sense for your business?

I’ll just list three big reasons that should make you think about your own value ladder or simply put, what is the customer journey?

  1. You’re a risk. It’s risky to hire you, what if you s*”&k? What if you don’t deliver, waste time and money. The small business owner doesn’t want to take on this risk and the manager doesn’t want her boss to scream at her for making a stupid and risky decision.But what if you could reduce the risk of working with you. What if you offered free and lower tier of your services so that people could actually try you out before taking the leap?It would be great, wouldn’t it? Coming back to the example above, if I buy a 10$ ebook and get 100$ worth of value, how much would I get if I bought your course? Trust is built.
  2. You can build a customer journey. If you think about it, the 10$ ebook buyer will probably be more educated and be a better client for the next steps, being less needy and trusting the process much more. He will be educated.You actually get paid to educate your ideal client to work with you on the higher ticket stages of your ladder.
  3. You offer a different level of service to respond to different needs. Some people might be fine with the 10$ ebook while others want the full experience. Thinking about it, the ladder helps you sell more and create a higher LTV (LifeTime Value of your client) without getting more clients (which it helps doing as well, as you read in points 1&2!).

Now, it’s all nice, but you don’t sell a 10$ ebook, you sell high ticket services! How can you achieve the same outcome and create a value ladder for your professional services?

The Professional Service Provider Value Ladder

Let’s think strategically on how to build your ideal client while actually helping him at each stage. You want to educate him while minimizing risk for him to slowly (well not so slowly) build trust.

Oh, and an important note. You can’t afford to spend much time with a non-paying client. So you want to make it as streamlined and automated as possible so that you only spend time with qualified and educated leads.

Actionable Great Content (FREE)

You want to create free actionable content that helps your ideal customer and solve an important and urgent problem. You should see this actionable content as educational pieces around your IP (don’t build great content around something that isn’t related to what you sell) and actually help the visitor.

The content can be articles, videos or audio depending on your strengths.

Lead Magnet / Freebie Offering (FREE but gated)

A lead magnet is self-explanatory and at the same time a horrible word. But here the goal is to offer something of value to the visitor in exchange for his email address.

You should think about your ideal client and what he should know before working with you. The goal is probably not only information and education if you sell services but a demonstration of your IP (process), some calculations to see if it’s worth it. Examples:

  • A FREE 5 days email course (Brennan Dunn is the master at this)It could be a text-based email course or a video-based email course, one email per day.
  • A Video Demonstration of your services followed up with an email sequence.
  • An Automated Webinar showing your IP. . It will self-select great leads and educate in record-time your ideal buyer.

FREE Consultation

Here, you have the occasion to talk to someone who read your post and consumed your Lead Magnet. He knows your IP and trusts you and the call becomes suddenly easier. You can answer questions but shouldn’t have to do much selling.

The FREE Consultation is some kind of second Lead Magnet, as it’s free and is the only time you actually spend non-paid time 1-1 in the whole Value Ladder I present.

But you can automate the process to schedule the call and get information about the leads!

Initial Service Offering

If we come back to the big picture, a mistake here could be to pitch directly a high ticket service. The whole goal is to get a competitive advantage and remove friction.

What if someone could try working with you for a low price? What if by doing that you could actually gain a competitive advantage while serving your new client better?

Brennan Dunn of Double Your Freelancing (and marketing and automation wizard) introduced me to the idea of paid discovery session. The idea here is to do a paid roadmapping/audit where you assess the situation, make recommendations and pitch (or not pitch) your next level of service.

Main Project

Here you either provide your signature service (specialized and eventually productized) or the recommendations you made to your clients in the initial service offerings.

It's your main business, yet the one you master so no need to spend too much time thinking about it here.


Once someone became a client and you implemented something, you can propose them a continuity program or retainer.

It could be advising, maintenance, improvement, any continual services or a mix of the three. The goal here is to help them use what you implemented the best they possibly can.


While we don’t always think about it, our best source of new clients is a happy client. It makes sense to count it in the value ladder as it definitely adds up in the LifeTime Value of a client.

A system for getting referrals (eg: an automated email 3 months after a successful project and providing a template to make it easy for the client to craft a great testimonial and bring on referrals) can do wonder!

A simple way to do this is to set up a tag in your Marketing Automation Software that sends an email a few months after the end of a project or simply a reminder.

Don’t do it all at once though… Your goal is to start with the big wins!

Start with:

  1. Your Main Offer
  2. A Lead Magnet
  3. A FREE Consultation

This is your MVF (Minimum Viable Funnel).

And the only things you need to create from scratch now is your Lead Magnet!

How does it all fit into a marketing and sales engine?

By this point, you created a system and a client journey. You bring him on an adventure and let him move up the ladder at his own pace while paradoxically leading him.

You will slowly only talk to qualified and educated leads who don’t shop around. They took 3-4 steps before talking to you (read your articles, consumed your Lead Magnet and scheduled a call). They are intentional, educated and know what they are getting into.

You have been extremely respectful and started giving a lot of value before asking for the sale.

You created assets for your business, build once, reap the benefits:

  • Great evergreen content is an asset that works for you 24/7. You can share it, boost it, it helps with SEO and the content itself sells you and your solution.
  • A lead magnet is another asset, especially a good email course, video demo or webinar. They do the selling for you and are built once and works (kinda) forever.
  • You created a referral engine. You potential source of referral is no more the past clients and friends but every single person who read a great article and even more every single person that is on your mailing list after having asked for your lead magnet (even if they never buy).

From now on, the only thing you promote is your articles and your lead magnets (online or offline) and you let the system ant the logical progression do the work for you.

Promotion of Content and Lead Magnet only

What to do from here?

Building a Minimum Viable Value Ladder can simplify your marketing and sales effort. You don't’ have to change much (besides creating a lead magnet) but just need to restructure the way you present your offerings and be ruthless about not accepting to work differently.