How to Design & Sell Your Core Offer

One of the things I teach in my $10M Case Study is the concept of a Core Offer.

The idea behind the Core Offer is that it’s the ONLY thing you offer on the front-end.

Whatever the core desire of your target audience…

The Core Offer should meet their needs like an oasis in the desert.

Here’s how it looks in the ecosystem:


But even if you understand the concept of a Core Offer, it can be hard to design for your own business.

So today, I’m going to show you how to do it…

So that you can nail the most important offer you’re probably ever create…

The offer that will define your business for years to come!

Let’s get into it…

Bridging Offers to the Real World

Here’s the big question I ask myself whenever I’m designing a Core Offer for a business…

What familiar ideas can we borrow from the real world?

It’s easy to forget that a lot of people are still quite uncomfortable buying stuff online.

And so, the more you can relate your online offering to something they’re already familiar with, the less resistance they’ll have.

A lot of business owners over-indulge on their creativity.

They create offers that are “innovative” and “disruptive”.

Unfortunately, “innovate and disruptive” can also mean “weird and confusing”.

And confusion will kill a sale faster than a fart in a fan factory.

  • Real world = more familiar
  • More familiar = easier to understand
  • Easy to understand = less resistance
  • Less resistance = an easier sale

Simple, right?

Designing a Core Offer

As I wrote about in the Case Study, I took years to learn this stuff.

StoryLearning didn’t become StoryLearning for 6+ years.

That whole time, I messed around with smaller bite-sized offers that were interesting, but not powerful.

There was no overall coherence to the business.

If you asked our students what we did, they would be like…

“Um… they make stuff about languages, I guess?”

When I finally went all-in on StoryLearning as a concept, and started building our Core Offer, I asked myself…

“If someone decided to learn a language out in the real world, what would they expect to find?”


The’d go to a language school, look at the courses, and see something like:

alliance francaise.

(take from the Alliance Francaise website)

Basically, it’s:

  • courses in levels
  • 6 weeks in length
  • £300
  • classes at specific times of day

This is what most people would EXPECT from a language school.

And so that’s exactly what I decided to mirror for my courses at StoryLearning:


There are 1 million ways to structure a language curriculum…

But I deliberately chose the format people already understand.

No messing around.

(No more than usual, anyway.)

But your inspiration from the real world doesn’t have to be limited to the design of your Core Offer.

It extends to the selling of it, too…

Selling a Core Offer

A few years a go, we launched a teacher certification programme.

This was new territory for me:

  • longer programme
  • higher ticket
  • high-touch delivery

I knew we wouldn’t be able to sell this in the passive/digital way we were used to.

So I started thinking about how these things sell in the real world…

Now, our certification is positioned essentially as a vocational alternative to a university degree. (Just waaaay cheaper.)

So how do universities sell their stuff?


Of course!

I started adding these elements to our sales process.

Prospective students were now able to “look through the shop window”, and we noticed they were more familiar with the programme by the time they got to sales calls.

But we didn’t stop there.

What other ways do schools use to attract students?

I had a lightbulb moment when I was talking to a parent at my daughter’s school.

“Next term we’re going to open days at three locals schools, to see which one we like.”

Open days!

I’ve been to my fair share of those in my life…

Why not do this for our certification too?

So now, every month, our Head of Teacher Training runs an “Open Day”, where interested students can just turn up, hear a bit about what goes on, and ask questions.


It’s just a simple webinar…

But the “Open Day” framing gives people that crucial ingredient…


And sure enough, we started making a bunch of sales directly off the Open Day.

I shared this recently in a discussion on cohort-based courses in Jay Clouse’s community, The Lab, and it struck a chord right away because the framing just makes sense:



When you’re building online, it can be tempting to feel like you’re all on your own, doing something that’s never been done before.

In reality, there’s very little that’s new.

Look to the real world for inspiration for creating and selling your core offers.


  • What would my students find if they went looking on the high street?
  • What steps would they go through to buy?

Model that as closely as possible…

And Bob’s your uncle!

Or not.

You can never really be sure.

But that’s the game we play.

I think the reason I like this approach so much is because of what I discovered about myself from the Kolbe A test.

I got very high on Quickstart

And very low on Fact Finder.

Basically, I have a massive bias towards action, and don’t always slow down and research as much as I could.

My business mentor took one look at this result and said: “You need to stop trying to reinvent the wheel, Olly.”

Since he said that, I’ve been constantly catching myself trying to reinvent the wheel, rather than looking to examples of how other people are successfully doing the thing…

And just modelling that.

Simple really.

But I’ve been making a lot less trouble for myself since he said that.

And making more money too.

In other news, our epic entrepreneur dinners continue in London…


If you’re a UK-based business owner and fancy joining us one day, hit me up on LinkedIn and make your case! 🙂

Until next week,


CASE STUDY: Blueprint Of A $10m Online Education Business:

  • Business model blueprint
  • Product ecosystem
  • Team structure
  • Evergreen sales strategy
  • And much more

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