How to Make Your Intangible Products Easier to Sell

When you are in the business of selling intellectual property—books, courses, speeches—you have to work hard to make the product tangible to your prospect. You have to help them see what they are buying.

A Glowing Mystery Box - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #5705952

Photo courtesy of ©

This is why, for example, publishers produce the book jacket or cover months before the book is manufactured and oftentimes before it is even written. Increasingly, publishers render these in 3-D images to make them look even more real.

Recently, I was thinking about this in regard to speeches. As a professional speaker, that is essentially what I am selling—a public presentation on a specific topic. Historically, booking agents and speakers bureaus have sold speakers on the basis of the speaker’s reputation and perhaps a demo video.

That got me to thinking. What if I packaged my speeches, just like I would package a book, a course, or any other intangible product? My goal was to help event planners envision exactly what they are buying.

To do this, I took seven steps:

  1. Identify my products. In my case, I have six basic speeches that I give. (I learned how to identify my products at the Launch conference. A speech is only one kind of product, but this is where it starts.) I do custom speeches, but these are the presentations that are requested over and over.
  2. Fine-tune the titles. Just like a book title, I needed a strong, catchy title and a subtitle. I came up with the following:
    • Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World
    • Life Plan: Designing the Life You’ve Always Wanted
    • Shift: Leading in Turbulent Times
    • More Margin: How to Shave 10 Hours Off Your Work Week
    • Authentic Leadership: The 5 Characteristics of Effective Leaders
    • The Leader’s Heart: Unleashing the Most Important Leadership Tool You Have
  3. Create packaging for each product. How do you package something as intangible as a speech? I decided that the “cover” was essentially the first slide in deck for each speech. (Professional speakers often refer to a collection of slides as a deck, as in “deck of cards.”) Here’s the cover for my “Platform” presentation:

    Platform Title Slide Example

    You can view all six here.

  4. Create a summary of each speech. I basically took what I teach in my book Platform about creating an elevator pitch (Chapter 11) and applied it here. For example, here’s the summary for my “Platform” speech:

    In today’s hyper-noisy world, it is hard to get anyone’s attention. You need a platform to be seen and heard. Thankfully, it’s never been easier. In this presentation, I share how to use social media to build your brand, decrease your marketing costs, and increase your impact.

    You can view all six here.

  5. Depict the product in its environment. If you are selling a car, you show people driving it. If you are selling an Amazon Kindle, you show people reading it at the beach.

    In my case, I had a designer build a “frame” of an audience viewing my title slide, as though I were about to walk onto the stage and make the presentation. Here’s what the “Platform” speech looks like in its frame:

    Platform Title Slide in Frame Example

    The purpose here is to help the event planner envision the product he is buying.

  6. Write copy describing the product. In the publishing world, this is one of the first things that must happen before the marketing process begins. Why should it be any different in the speaking world?

    I decided to write sales copy for each speech, consisting of six sections:

    • Quick Summary: This is the exact same copy I provided in the summary above.
    • Presentation Outline: Like a table of contents, I want to explain exactly what I cover in the speech. This gives a sense of the flow and how I develop each talk.
    • Target Audience: I want to make it clear who this presentation is for. I also provide a list of the types of audiences I have made this presentation to in the past.
    • Possible Formats: I explain how I can deliver this presentation—keynote, workshop, or seminar. I also talk about the ideal length.
    • Intended Outcomes: This is really what the event planner is buying. He or she is not buying the content per se, but the impact the content will have on the audience. I explain exactly what audience members will get as a result of my presentation.
    • Topic Authority: This section is intended to answer the question, “Why are you qualified to speak on this topic?” I list the relevant points from my resume that apply to this topic.
  7. Create a sales page for each product. I always create a landing page for each product. (Here’s one for my Platform book and another one for my e-books.) Why should a speech be any different?

    A landing page is something that my booking agents at Premiere Speakers Bureau can use when talking with event planners. It is also something I can use when people ask for the details related to a specific speech. I often refer to it in my pre-event phone call with the sponsor.

    I describe the components of effective landing pages in my book, Platform (see Chapter 30). I created a landing page for each speech, using those guidelines. Here are the six finished landing pages:

    I didn’t include some elements like the offer, because these are typically handled by my booking agents over the phone.

If you are a public speaker—or want to become one—this might provide some ideas for you to make your “product” more tangible. If you are not a public speaker but are in the business of selling intangible property, perhaps this will provide an example that will inspire you in your particular field.

If you want to find out more about booking me for your special event, you can check out my full speaking page.

Question: How can you make your intellectual property or service more tangible to your prospects? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Get My New, 3-Part Video Series—FREE! Ready to accomplish more of what matters? 2015 can be your best year ever. In my new video series, I show you exactly how to set goals that work. Click here to get started. It’s free—but only until Monday, December 8th.

Get my FREE video series now!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Joe Abraham

    This well-detailed post is a sure help to make one’s product more visible, tangible and marketable! 
    I am thinking of another way to do this. Why not give a promo DVD (video) of one’s product to the prospective clients? I plan to do this for my training program.

    Greatly helpful post, Michael.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I have thought about this too. I don’t think I would give the whole presentation, but perhaps a montage of few sound bytes. I think you have to careful here, so that you leave some mystique in the process.
      I am in the process of gathering these videos now. In fact, I have been working hard on this for the past year. The challenge is to find those clips where you deliver great content and the production value of the video is great too. Thanks.

      • Joe Abraham

        Yes, I agree! Montage is the best option here provided it is creative, cutting-edge, concise and captivating. 

      • Michele Cushatt

        I agree. The idea is to provide a taste without delivering the whole meal. You want them “hungry” enough to ask for more.

        • Joe Abraham

          That’s a great way to describe it, Michele!

          • Michele Cushatt

            Thanks, Joe.

    • kimanzi constable

      If you do create DVD’s there’s a great Print on Demand options which eliminate all the pain of shipping and storage. Here’s one of the best: very affordable too.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Interesting thoughts on how to package an intangible product. Something I’d never thought about. But I really like the concept. Now we just need the 3D image of you. (-;

    • Michael Hyatt

      I’m thinking a holograph might be nice. ;-)

      • Joy Groblebe

        I’m on it…one holograph coming up.  :)

        • Joe Lalonde

           Will you do it like Star Wars and have a robot project the holograph?

          • Joy Groblebe

            I will now….  :)  GREAT idea!

  • Christin

    While this post was certainly helpful in narrowing in on my focus, I am still trying to discover the best way to help people visualize the value of a blog consultation so they can make the most of their blog and push passed the walls. I think the biggest take away from what you shared here is creating a graphic that will help a prospective buyer visualize the service. Thanks, Michael!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think that is exactly right. Figure out how to package your product. Thanks.

    • Michele Cushatt

      I’m not sure if this will be helpful, but after reading your comment, I immediately pictured you with a client (even a “staged” client), dialoguing in front of a computer screen. Although I’m sure you do most of your consulting over the phone/Skype/email, an image of you face-to-face with someone would add a personal element, show that you invest enough time to give each client the personal attention they desire. Just a thought.

      • Christin

         You’re a genius Michele. I love this community! Thank you! :)

        • Michele Cushatt

          Glad it was helpful, Christin. You have a great service to offer, and one many people want/need.

      • Michael Hyatt

        I like that idea too. Excellent.

  • Thad Puckett

    Excellent detail on taking an intangible product and turning it in to something “visible” and “touchable”.  You use your speeches/presentations, but I would think the same process could be applied to out of the norm services as well.  Very stimulating!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think so—really any service.

  • Kim de Blecourt

    Such great content, Michael! I’ve never seen speaking topics presented this way before. I needed to read this. It is bookmarked for future use. Thank you for sharing.

    • Tim Peters

      Kim, I agree the presentation is great. 

  • Paul B Evans

    More tangible?

    Even thought it’s part of sales copy these two words should be part of each presentation as well…

    Results & Improvement

    Regardless of how intangible a product is, people want to know the personal impact it will have. They need to be able to see it, feel it, experience it in their mind before most will buy.

    Ex: Platform – people SEE themselves with a Hyatt type presence, community and impact. Not identical – but they see themselves in the mental movie.

    We all want to imagine the “before and after.” Before the product I am here _____. After the product I am here ________. And we help clients and customers fill in the blanks with our copy and our presentations. Providing physical results because of application is one of the easiest ways to do that.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Paul. Great thoughts.

    • Jasonpulley

      Good input Paul.  We do love to dream and let our imaginations run wild.

    • TorConstantino

      “….Hyatt-type presnce…” I love that phrase. Michael has achieved double-modifier, adjective status! 

  • Rita Montes Martin

    Michael great info.I am producing a TV show Sharing Gods Word, review of spiritual books, and don’t want to do too much yet enough so it is interesting and people want to come back for more. plus I have five books work in progress.  need to know MOE of your ideas.Thanks  so much   Rita  Montes  Martin

  • Kelly Combs

    For me, referrals have been the biggest benefit to making my speaking more tangible to a potential client.  I think a “sample” (short video on speaking page) is also a great tangible for clients to view.

    I love your ideas and will look into employing them on my speaking page as I revamp it early next year. 

    • Tim Peters

      Agree on video. What would be the content of video? 

      • Kelly Combs

        Tim, for me the content would either be an excerpt of one of my presentations (5-10 minutes worth), or either a “welcome” video, explaining my topics and my PASSION for what I am speaking on, and the benefits my audience will gain as a result of hearing my talk.

        • TorConstantino

          Fantastic advice Kelly – uber bloggers such as Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett agree with that tactic!

    • Michele Cushatt

       Endorsements based on a particular presentation are a great add.

  • Todd Liles

    This is well timed. One of the things we are doing to bring life to our intellectual property is capture the testimonials of clients at our speaking events. To clarify, after each one of our segments (there are ten) we capture a testimonial for the segment.

    This is timely, because we are starting a new seminar today.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Testimonials are great! I think I could improve mine by getting ones that are specific to the topic of my presentations.

  • Anthony

    Michael, excellent post and very creative landing pages. Do you think having some form of call to action at the bottom of each landing page would be more effective? At least a number, email or check my availability button for someone to make an inquiry in the moment? The more someone has to think to take action, the less likely they will.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Absolutely. Great catch. I actually thought of this yesterday and got sidetracked. I have buttons now near the bottom of each post. Thanks!

    • Tim Peters

      To some degree, he does have a call to action with the Check My Availability button. But I can see other call to actions as well.  

      • Michael Hyatt

        He was responding to the fact that I initially left that button off. After reading his comment, I added it. I think it really is important. I just missed it!

  • Graham Scharf

    Thanks, Michael, for this road map. You’re identified well what I need to do. Now to map it out . . .

    A quick question. Do you have a unique QR (for print materials at your talks) to bring folks reading print to your My Speaking page? Or are most folks finding this content when they’re already browsing online?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for you question. I do not use QR codes. In the industries where I work, they are rarely used. I have asked people in my audiences if they use them. I am lucky to get one hand.
      Most people find this content one of two ways, either from a link on my general speaking page or when my manager or booking agent sends the URL to them. Thanks.

  • Lincoln Parks

    At the moment I don’t and I need to go back and revamp allot based on what I see you have done. No, not exactly like yours but I like how its broken down into different talks and an Individual can choose which direction they want to go in and truly see what they are getting when they hire you. I have lots of work to do.

  • Tim Peters

    Michael – Phenomenal post. Great takeaways and practical examples.  

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Tim. I appreciate that.

  • John Richardson

    Very Helpful, Michael. You amaze me! Three conferences, six packaged speeches, a best selling book, multiple product launches, podcast, blog, web tutorials, in addition to 50 speaking engagements per year. My big question… What do you do in your spare time? :-)

    • Michele Cushatt

       Whew. I’m tired just reading this list. :)

      • John Richardson

        And you probably encourage him, Michele! :-)

        • Michele Cushatt

          Ha! Perhaps. ;)

    • Michael Hyatt

      Respond to comments. ;-) Thanks, John. I appreciate you.

    • Joy Groblebe

      Wow…that’s a crazy big list when you put it all in one place.  

      • Michael Hyatt

        I couldn’t do it without Joy, her partner, Brian, Michele and Tricia! It takes a village.

        • TorConstantino

          Now THAT is a strong village – I’d be happy just being the resident “idiot” ;-)

  • Dustin W. Stout

    Brilliantly thought out @mhyatt:disqus ! I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I tweak some of my products in development. While I’ve yet to develop my speaches, I have been brainstorming what this could look like for my clients who are authors/speakers. It’s like you read my mind!

  • Scott Kantner


    My initial reaction is that this might apply well to marketing mobile apps.  Any tweaks or modifications you would suggest?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think the same principles would apply. You might check out my landing page chapter in the book.

  • Dustin W. Stout

    Oh, and one thought I had about the “Depicting the product in it’s environment” — you could have a photographer take some shots of you on stage with the big screen in the background. A graphic designer would be able to take those photos and super-impose any slide you want on the screen– heck, it would be super simple to make a template out of it for any new speeches you develop. 

    I know I’ll definitely be using this.

    • John Tiller

      Great idea, Dustin!  This could be a template for all speaking presentations to help label a brand consistently throughout all presentations.  We would just have to be sure that it still clearly communicates that each presentation is separate and distinct from the others.

      • Dustin W. Stout

        Yes– my thought was that each speech would have a different photograph. This would require either a photo shoot to get each shot, or have a personal photographer capture an actual shot during a speech. 

        I think I’m going to call my photographer later today! lol

    • Michael Hyatt

      That is a great idea. Love it!

  • Cynthia Herron

    I’m not a professional speaker, but much of what I do involves being comfortable before an audience. Whatever one’s profession, I think reading Platform is an absolute must. Love, love, love it!

    Great thoughts here as always, and to say I’m looking forward to next week’s keynote is an understatement!

  • Marc Alan Schelske

    Yep.  Perfect timing.  I’m right in the thick of honing and focusing what I have to offer.  As a pastor who has researched and spoken on more topics than I can remember in 18 years of ministry, I need to be able to focus down on a couple things for my blog ( and the public speaking I do.  Thanks for this great example of how to dial in the focus.

    • Jim Martin

      Marc Alan, like you I have preached many, many sermons (34 years), given talks, speeches, etc.  I too am working on focusing on a few things instead of being scattered in so many directions.  This post was helpful for this.

  • Brandon Gilliland

    Great tips!

  • Andi-Roo

    I love that this information is so easily transferable to other “intangible” products besides speaking events. A blogger could use this to help define the blog’s intentions; freelance writers could use this to promote their skills; an author could use this as you pointed out (to sell the idea of the book before it’s even written). Definitely sharing this with my content manager to see how we can integrate your template into our content. Thanks for the freebie!

    • Jim Martin

      Andi-Roo, I had similar thoughts about how applicable this information intangible products other than one’s speaking.  I really found this post helpful.

  • Michael Hyatt

    Thanks, McNair. Great input.

    Yes, I would say 2-3 minutes, max. They probably should be memorable moments—just like movie trailers do.

  • Ngina Otiende

    Awesome insights Michael! As always clear and concise…can’t believe you give away these stuff for free :) You are a big blessing! I have been thinking and working on ways to package myself and what I offer and this provides a great way forward. Thank you.

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Ngina. I’m glad you are finding this kind of thing helpful.

  • 48DaysDan

    Michael – holy smokes!  This is an all-day workshop, not a blog post.  What an amazing overview of key elements for propelling our speaking forward.  I’m going to set aside a day to just absorb and implement what you’ve laid out here for my own speaking engagements.

    Thanks for being so generous with your experience (mistakes, failure, successes and wins) and consequent wisdom.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Dan. A workshop is probably a great idea. In my experience, speakers often have difficulty zeroing in on their products.

  • Alex Forrest

    This is good stuff, Michael. I’m wondering how one would apply this to selling “invisible” products in the financial industry. Food for thought, though, as usual. 

    • Jason Stambaugh

      Invisible products? Example?

  • Aaron Johnson

    Some thoughts on using video (from a video production guy :)

    1- Video is often expensive and time consuming, so decide if it’s really worth your time and money before jumping into it.

    2- Do it right or don’t do it at all. Michael mentioned that quality matters and it does, probably more than the content. Lighting is usually pretty bad in speaking venues, which makes this tough. My suggestion would be to get footage from a speaking engagement where the event had paid to have a production team come in and tape the conference. Ask for the rights to your talk when you sign the speaking contract.

    3- Focus on the audience (not so much on your content). Use a ton of cutaways or reaction shots of the audience responding to what you have said.

    4- Keep it short. I’d say 60 seconds – 90 seconds max.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your comment. This is very helpful.

    • Jim Martin

      Aaron, thanks so much for your comment.  Great to hear these suggestions from someone in video production.  Very helpful.

    • TorConstantino

      Good stuff Aaron – I think your recommendations are spot on. I used to work in TV news and I’d be curious to get your perspective on the rise of “citizen videography.”

      Specifically, amateur video of an explosion that’s not white balanced or soft focused is better than no video by a veteran photog – Yes, No or Depends?  Just curious (it’s the former reporter in my ;-)

      • Aaron Johnson

        Tor, thanks for the question. My take is “depends.” It depends on your audience. In general, audiences are much more forgiving with video. However, this specific clientele, those hiring speakers, are hoping for something polished, clear, and powerful. So, I’d aim for higher production quality. That said, if you aim to speak to younger audiences, you may want a more raw, less-produced, amateur feel. However, the person booking you is likely to be older, so I’d still lean towards a higher production quality. In the end, you want to be able to confidently say, “That video makes me look good!” :)

  • CheckeredOwl

    Thanks so much for this Michael! I work in the music industry and this has given me something to chew on…how can I physically represent the product (besides a picture of the CD which is great, but doesn’t really draw people in)…

    • Jeremy Statton

      Great application.

  • Kay

    Wow! Now that is some practical advice I will put into practice. I’m just starting to catch on to the importance of photos with my written work. Thanks for these great steps to giving some greater dimension to my very abstract products!

    • TorConstantino

      Isn’t it amazing how he addresses the entire vertical project proposition from abstract objectives down to gritty, actionable tactics? Awesome!

  • Stevemonahan777

    Brilliant….i’ve learned through the years applying a goog idea to smother product is easier than starting from scratch

  • Shannon Steffen

    Michael – Dare I say that you are an absolutely brilliant leader! I have never been so stricken with awe as I was with this post. This is the perfect motivation and outline needed for so many upcoming speakers – as well as seasoned ones. The information is outlined clearly with sectioned information to answer the who, what, when, where and how of your topic. Simply amazing!

    Thank you so much for sharing this with so many people. You continue to help others in ways that cannot even be measured – a true Godsend.

    • TorConstantino

      Shannon, I completely agree – the thing that makes Michael so special is his willingness to offer this level of actionable insight and information for free. He could make a fortune as an executive coach or personal consultant (ala Tony Robbins) but he continues to freely share his knowledge with us.

      • Shannon Steffen

         Tor – I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • Cory Geffre

    best blog post … ever!  I needed this.

    Thanks Michael for this post.

  • kimanzi constable

    I just spent the last four days learning all about this at Brendon Burchard’s Expert Academy. One thing we learned is that everything starts with frameworks, your core message. Then all the products you create come from that framework, the best thing to do is write out a strategy which includes a timeline for the products or services you want to create.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I really enjoy his work. I am going through his Product Launch Blueprint now.

      • kimanzi constable

        I attended his 10X Empire event earlier this year in New York. As a bonus he gave us the Product launch Blueprint and all his other products. A lot of information to go through! He gives tremendous value. I see you’re putting it to good use with your new product!

        • John Tiller

          Love this, Kimanzi! Sometimes the simple instructions are the most valuable!

  • Julie Sunne

    A few months ago I followed your nonfiction book proposal template to create a proposal for a book I’m writing. I was struck by how much easier it makes the writing of the book to have thought it through in such detailed steps.

    Your presentation landing pages remind me of the same thing. I will be using your template to more easily craft my presentations.

    Definitely worth bookmarking. Thanks, Michael!

  • Jim Martin

    Michael, thanks for this post.  The way you have broken this process down is very helpful.

  • Lisa Colón DeLay

    Great specifics!

    I think selling something intangible is tied to conveying a feeling too. (It’s not just that I’ve watched every Mad Men episode that this seems true.)

    Maybe it’s security, maybe prowess, maybe hope, but each thing we sell in this arena is meant to transform or transport someone into a new way of thinking and feeling. Yes?

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I agree.

  • Chris Crosby

    Hi Michael, thanks for the great tips here. We’re getting ready to launch a hosted software product for parents of teens on Facebook. Rather than take the traditional pure PR route, I’ve been studying successful launches of other types of products such as yours and Jeff Goins book launches. These types of posts are definitely useful. 

  • Chris Coussens

    I just finished my first keynote address. Yesterday. It went great, and as I’m thinking about next steps, I found this both informative and timely. I am curious, however, that you have limited yourself to those 6 topics. I thought you’d pretty much speak on anything. Are those the “main” topics you speak on? or are they really what you focus on and leave other topics to others? Also, I assume there is some range of variation within them?

    All the best,
    TheFieldGeneral, Chris Coussens.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I occasionally will do other topics, but this is my focus. I apply these talks to different audiences but the core of the message is the same. I leave other topics to others. Thasnk.

  • Phinehas Kinuthia

    Thank your Michael for a detailed post. I love that you not only tell us what to do but you always show us what you have done.

  • Chris Jeub

    This is an excellent how-to article, one of the many MH articles that I will apply step-by-step. Thanks, Michael!

    • Michael Hyatt

      You are welcome, Chris.

  • TorConstantino

    Dallon, I would build on your premise that Michael not only helps the potential buyer envision the product – he helps them see the actual benefit. 

    It’s easy to get caught up in a features discussion, but because Michael knows his audience is event planners – his framing exercise clearly conveys the direct benefit to those who hire him.

  • Margaret

    great tips! thank you for sharing these!

  • Kathy Brunner

    Thanks for an awesome post. I too think that making a promo DVD  as part of a media kit could be a real bonus. Obviously someone looking to book a speaker would remember having a “media sheet” for each presentation. Always appreciate your assistance in helping others achieve the next level

  • Pingback: Friday Faves - [IMG] Insert Image()

  • Walker

    Love this post. I’m in the process of creating some ideas and generating a list of possible audiences, this will help me develop my pitch more effectively. For starters! 

  • Pingback: Top 10 ed.3 | The Everlasting Fallout()

  • TheShef

    One thing that works very well for me is to insert the name of the industry in which I’m targeting into the subtitle. 

    For example: Blabvertising-The Art of Word of Mouth Advertising for (insert industry). 

    This small tweak in copy (usually in a cover letter, not in your one sheet) resonates well and many times results in a booking. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      Great suggestion.

  • Pingback: Wordpreneur Reader 09.18.2012 | Wordpreneur()

  • Jeff Diercks

    Great post Michael!  It got me thinking about how we could make our differing investment strategies more tangible and packaged.  I will also have to really think about how we might show our audience identifying with our solutions. 

    Thanks again for a great post!

  • Jen McDonough “The Iron Jen”

    When you are putting together clips, are you worried that they look like professionally done videos or do you think event coordinators appreciate “real” live videos done at real places. For example, for a new speaker, it may be at smaller venues at first.It probably isn’t going to look “very flashy” compared to speaking at a big conference. 


    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think you work with what you have. The clips don’t have to be long. Just find situation where you “sparkle.”

      • Jen McDonough “The Iron Jen”

        Thank you Michael!!! Sometimes the transition times to greatness takes leaping out and just working with what we have. (:

  • Herby

    Selling Intangible products is a big hassle sometimes. People are more comfortable to buy tangible products. These are some great tips thanks for sharing.

  • Pingback: Top 5 Blogs Every Passionate Entrepreneur Should Follow - Kumar Gauraw()