Happy New Year, and welcome to episode 1203 of AskPat 2.0! At the end of last year, you might remember we shared a whole bunch of “Where are they now?” episodes. Well, we have another one today—even if the episode title doesn't reflect it. In fact, today we're featuring someone who's been an AskPat 2.0 guest not once, but twice before. That's Sam Gavis-Hughson of Byte-by-Byte.com, a company that helps people get their dream jobs as software engineers.
The way Sam's business has progressed since we first talked to him has been really incredible, going from a single low-end product under $100 to now charging thousands of dollars for a single client. What does Sam's business look like now? How did he pull that off? That's what we'll unpack today.
We're going to explore how Sam went from a $37 course to creating and successfully selling a nearly $4,000 program. Not surprisingly, there's a lot that goes into making that shift, from how you approach sales conversations and even the copy you write on your sales pages. This episode could be a great one if you're considering how you might take something you created and turn it into a high-ticket item that serves fewer people, but does so more deeply and makes you more money.
AP 1203: How Do I Sell a High-Ticket Product Authentically?
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to episode 1,203, and also happy New Year to you. At the end of last year, you might remember that we had a whole bunch of where are they now episodes. Well, I have one extra and I wanted to start the year off with this one, because this is from Sam Gavis-Hughson, who has been on the show actually a couple times before in episode, 1047. He also was originally in 1004. And Sam has a company at byte-by-byte.com. That's B-Y-T-E dash B-Y dash B-Y-T-E. And he helps people with getting jobs as software engineers, and in the tech space. And the way that his business has progressed over time has been really incredible to go from a low-end product that is under $100 to now, as you'll hear, charging thousands of dollars for a single client. What does that business look like?
Pat Flynn: How did he do that? Well, we'll unpack that today. So, although this is a "where are they now?" episode, it's definitely a conversation about how he went from this low-end product to this high-end product and the sales mechanism for him to do that. I dive into that. I actually have a lot of questions about that, that I want you to listen to because this could be a great way for you to consider how you might take this thing that you started with and turn it into a high-ticket item and how you might actually sell a higher-ticket item and serve less people, but even more deeply and make even more money. So Sam Gavis-Hughson is with us today and I'm excited because we're going to start this conversation right now. Here we go.
Pat Flynn: Sam, welcome back for a fourth time, I think, on AskPat. Welcome in. Thanks for being here.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Yeah. Thanks for having me, Pat.
Pat Flynn: So we had you on AskPat 1.0, to ask a question, which was in the 500's and then we've had you on at the beginning of AskPat 2.0, and then back again for a where are they now in episode 1,047, I think. And here we are in the 1200s now. So it's been a while.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: It has been quite a while. I think it's been about four years since... The first time on AskPat 2.0, so 1,004.
Pat Flynn: So Byte-By-Byte, tell us for those of us who hadn't yet heard those episodes. What is Byte-By-Byte? Where were you when we last chatted and what has happened since?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Byte-By-Byte, we help software engineers prepare for their job interviews. Our experience has been that software engineers, the interview process is really kind of a unique process and it's very challenging because it doesn't quite use the skills that people are using in their everyday jobs. So we help people to learn that process and prepare so that they can really go in and land those top tech jobs. The first time when we spoke on AskPat 2.0 for 1,004, I think I was about six months into leaving my job. So I had been doing it for about a year. I had been running Byte-By-Byte for about a year, had left my job about six months prior to that. And I was just about to launch my first course for $37. And I was thinking about what a good title would be for your podcast episode here. And I was like, "How Sam 100'Xed his prices in four years" because literally now we are selling our program for $3,800. So it is quite the leap from where we were before.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. So is it the same thing that you were offering for-
Sam Gavis-Hughson: No, it is not.
Pat Flynn: Okay. Good. I was wondering.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: It's a much more involved program. I think that's been kind of the big change from when we talked last time, I was really focused on these niche within a niche kind of course, where it was one specific topic within this one specific topic. Obviously, I knew from the beginning that eventually I was going to need to create a more fully featured offering of some sort, but I think I was not there in the business to feel I was able to do that. And so that's really been the big progression since then, has been building team around me, building those support systems, building my own skills and my own comfort level at charging higher prices so that we could work to where we are now, where we are selling that $3,800 program, which is really everything that people need for their interview prep.
Pat Flynn: That's incredible. Now was that an incremental increase from the to 37 to 3,800, and when did that begin? What were you feeling when you started to increase your price because oftentimes that really scares a lot of people to charge more? Sometimes a lot of people don't feel they're worth that higher price. What was going through your mind?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: In that first episode, when we talked, you said, "Sam, you need to raise your prices." And so it has been a incremental increase since then. So originally I sold my program for $37 as kind of a beta test. And then I think I upped that to $67 shortly thereafter. Then from there I created a larger program. So I think when I was back for the where they now episode that we did the last time, on that one I was just beta testing what ended up being a $300 program.
Pat Flynn: Okay. It's a good price increase.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Yeah. So it was $60, actually the $60 program also then ultimately became... It's now $100. That one took incremental increases, but within that sort of same range. And then so with that $300 program that was really... Each step of the way I learned what I needed to do to sell at that price point, because it's partially just confidence in charging the price, but it's also partially there are actual skills that change. The copywriting skill that is required to get people to pull out their wallet and give you $300, it's completely different than the copywriting skill that's required to get them to hand you $37. Taking those incremental changes, that was in 2018, I believe, we launched $300 course. And then summer of 2019, we launched what was the initial beta version of our $3,800 program that we have now, which was a thousand dollars at the time.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: And even that was a huge step up and a huge change in how we were selling. That was the first time I ever did a webinar. So I moved to from just doing a launch to an email list to actually having these more things. And now that has made incremental prices and we've added stuff. We went in studio and recorded a full new version of that program and launched that in October here and added a bunch of additional stuff. And now we're selling that via sales calls. There it's even a different step even further in terms of what that process looks like.
Pat Flynn: And do you get on the sales calls or do you have a team that helps you with that?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Yeah. So I've been on the sales calls for the last couple months here. It's definitely been a unique challenge because I'm very much the engineering introvert type. And so it's been interesting getting on the calls. I think it's been an incredible learning experience and I definitely can talk more about... Now having done it, I would recommend everyone do it, but we just, in the last week or two, hired a sales rep. So we're just ramping him up now and hoping to... Right now my capacity is so limited. That's the struggle with doing sales calls is I can either do sales calls or I can run everything else in my business.
Pat Flynn: Right. I think it's smart that you hired a rep to come and serve you and help you with that. I'd love to ask you about that going into sales calls. We can see the progression, right? a $37 online course, pretty passive, not really much involved. And like you said, you can pitch it in an email and make some sales because it solves a very specific problem and niche in a niche situation. But when you get to the $300 or the multiple a hundred dollars, people need a little bit more in understanding, "Well, who is this person? What is this going to do for me?"
Pat Flynn: There's a lot more to lose if a person were to invest that money, but a lot more to gain as well when a person makes that investment. So a webinar is a perfect way to do that. And you know that we at team SPI do that as well. We haven't yet gotten to the sales calls sort of situation yet, but I'd love to know how did you learn how to do that or did you just literally just jump right in and just kind of see what happens?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: With the sales calls, this is something that we've been thinking about for a long time. We were running, basically, an evergreen funnel for our course. We were for the evergreen webinar funnel, I think, we were selling it at $1,500. So it was a reasonable price point. That ran for, I guess, about two years. So we did that from basically, summer to end of 2019 until this summer. And what I was realizing was sort of two things, is one that we were getting declining numbers overall. And part of that was just that we were running the same webinar. It was getting tired, but also the more that I did it, the more I realized that you're not getting positive engagement with people in the same way that you do when you're on a sales call. So what I mean by that is that to get people to buy on a webinar, we had to send a lot of emails, especially at that price point. At one point, I think, our sequence had 30 emails over three or four weeks.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: We maxed that out. And that was where we got to in terms of this was the balance for where we're getting the best return, not the best for our students as is probably obvious to everyone listening. With the sales calls and the reason that I wanted to move this way, is that by creating this personalized experience, we can actually charge a lot more and we did add more stuff to the course. So it's not just charging more, but we can personalize that experience. We get more people to buy and they're actually way happier after all that. So far, the refund rates have been way less because I can speak with people and be like, "This either is a good fit for you or it's not a good fit for you." I think I learned about this model from Sam Evans who has some, I think, really good programs on higher level, I think, if you're further along in your business.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: I resisted this idea for a long time, but then over the summer and into this fall, I've just really been working on honing that. So I've been working through a program specifically on sales training and dialing and that skill as well. I mean, it's something that I just got on the call, did it terribly and have now done 100 plus of these in the last couple of months. So I am now slightly less bad at it. I wouldn't say I'm good at it, but I'm improving.
Pat Flynn: Good. I think the sales call thing... I mean, it obviously makes sense, a more personalized experience. You can really, like you said, see if it's a good fit or not. But I think that when people consider getting on the phone to sell something to somebody, it sounds just, Ugh, it sounds kind of icky. How do you not make it icky and how do you actually use that time to not either... I mean, I know people would be worried about either embarrassing themselves or even just upsetting people. How did you approach it so that you could do it?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Actually, that's interesting, embarrassing yourself or that kind of thing because I definitely felt that way. And there's a point, I think, whatever you're doing in business where you just have to say, "I'm going to do it. I know this is the right thing to do. And so I'm just going to do it regardless of how I feel about doing it." That fear has gone away in a large part just from doing it a lot. But in terms of the actual process, I think that my feeling is that there's a spectrum of, you can really push people hard to buy or you can let people come and make their completely own decision. So there's a spectrum of I'm leading you down a specific path and I'm basically quote-unquote forcing you to buy. And there's the I'm just putting the information out there and letting you make a decision.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Now, we don't really want to be on either of those extremes. We want to be somewhere in the middle. We want to guide them towards making a decision, but we don't want to be that aggressive, sleazy, used car salesman. And so my feeling on the sales calls was actually that I'm moving a bit back towards the letting them make their own decision by getting on the sales call with them because what I'm doing is, I'm just guiding. I'm doing a lot of asking questions and learning about their situation, understanding them, helping them understand themselves because a lot of times people haven't thought about... They know kind of, "I want to do something, I want to start a business." A lot of people haven't thought beyond maybe I want to make more money or something. They haven't thought deeply about what is it that I really want from this thing?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Why am I doing this and why am I going to commit the time and energy that it takes to actually be successful? Because if they're not really serious about it, they're not going to commit the time. They're not going to commit the energy and they're not going to see the results. The sales call, there is a pitching component, but more than half of that sales call is discovery and helping them understand themselves. And then if it is a good fit, asking their permission or getting their permission on that call to then share what you are offering. And I should also back up even a step further, is that everyone coming on these calls has said, "I want to get on this call and speak with you." I'm not doing cold calling. I'm not trying to force people on the call. They've gone through a process already where they raised their hand and said, "I want to do this."
Sam Gavis-Hughson: And I don't pretend it's not going to be a sales call. I don't pretend this is going to be just an hour of free coaching. I tell them this is going to be a strategy session. I say at the very beginning, "Hey, I want to learn a bit more about you. We're going to figure out what you're struggling with and then if it seems a good fit, I can share more about how we work with people and how I could help you." So I think there are a lot of these things where it's framing the call and going in with the idea that you're just helping them to make the right decision for them. It's the same as a sales page too. It's just that you're there in person, and so it does definitely bring up a lot of those emotions and a lot of that anxiety that I experience too. And if you decide that this is the direction you want to go, you just have to realize you're going to feel that way and that's not a reason not to do it.
Pat Flynn: I mean, the opposite of them saying no, or potentially feeling upset about a pitch is they get the exact program they need and you've helped them and served them and their lives are changed as a result.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: And that's exactly it, right?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, exactly. And I love the way you framed it. It really felt a weight lifted off of our shoulders when you said you're not going to just sell the whole time. In fact, the sell is just the conclusion to understanding that there's a good fit here. Like you said, it's a discovery call, and I absolutely love that. How do you start as soon as you get on the call? Imagine that I filled out an application or I am in your niche and I knew that this call was going to happen and we get on the call, my phone's ringing or Zoom, or... Actually, how are you getting on the call first?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Yeah, I do them on Zoom, but usually they're audio only. So most people don't turn on their camera and I just follow their leads. So if they turn on their camera, I turn on my camera. But if not, it's usually audio only.
Pat Flynn: I like that. Okay. So we're on a call, Hey Sam, nice to see you.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Hey, pat, how are you doing?
Pat Flynn: I'm doing good.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: So where are you calling in from today?
Pat Flynn: I'm in San Diego in my home office.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Oh, very cool. I've been to San Diego a couple times. Once for FlynnCon.
Pat Flynn: Nice. I heard about that.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: My plan for the call is what I've found to work best is that I'd love to learn a little bit more about you. I took a look at your application and had a few questions about that. And then if it seems a good fit, we can talk more about next steps, what that might look to work together. Does that work for you?
Pat Flynn: Yeah, that sounds great. I love that start by the way. Here's what's going to happen. That's so key.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: You just set it up, right? That way there's no false pretenses and they agreed to that.
Pat Flynn: That's great.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: And then I usually go to like, "Why did you decide to get on this call today?" That's kind of the first question because that just uncovers a lot of-
Pat Flynn: Yeah. Yeah. How do you know it's a good fit for me? At what point do you understand, okay, Yes. I'm going to move forward and also, have you ever said like, I don't think this is going to be a good fit for you?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Absolutely. I think that for me there are a couple specific things I'm looking for in terms of their skill level and commitment to the process. So I think there's some people who will get on calls with me, where they're actually not really looking for software engineering roles, they're really looking for something adjacent. And so there a lot of times, I'll give them some tips and coaching and then let them on their way because it's usually doesn't make sense. Usually it's either around timeline where it's like they want to get this done really quick, and I'm like, "You're not going to see results in that amount of time. Or sometimes it's like, "Okay, they're so beginner that I don't think they're going to get results." But those are kind of the main ones and then I honestly err on the side of letting them make the decision.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: So I err on the side of, I don't want to tell people it's a bad fit. If I think that it could work for them, I usually am like, "Okay, Hey, I will share with them what we do and they will decide whether it makes sense for them." So if I'm on the fence about it and I might say that, I've said that to people where it's like, "Hey, I don't know if this is a good fit for you, but let me share with you how we do this, and you tell me what you think." There's always that easy out. You never have to make a sale. You never have to do anything and you're never forcing them to do anything. Usually the worst that happens is people just leave it at like, "Hey, I need to think about it." That's how people say no. I don't think anyone's ever said no to my face. So even in the worst case scenario, it's all this very kind of polite, passive conversation.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. That's cool. And that's also very reassuring. And when a person leaves the call and they have yet to make a decision, first question is. What percentage of those people actually do convert, if any?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: I'm still figuring this out too. So don't take anything that I say as set in stone but what I've been trying to do is schedule people for a follow-up call. So that's really what I'll do is if they're not ready to make a decision on the call, I'll tell them, "Hey, I want you to be able to think about it." If that's in their best interest, that's what I want for them. And so I'll send you over a couple things to take a look at. I have some sample videos and other things they can review. And then we'll schedule a follow-up call for later that week, beginning of the next week. And then it's a mixed bag. Some of them sign up, some of them don't, but more than maybe of the people that I've done that with maybe 25% of people do end up signing up.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: I can usually tell from how they say it on the original call, whether they're going to sign up or not. But there's also, I think, there's opportunity for long-term follow-up and other things that now that we have a sales rep on, he can kind of specialize more and really focus on, "Okay, well let me reach out to these people who we spoke to a couple months ago and maybe it wasn't a good time then, or for whatever reason, it didn't work out. Let's follow up and just see where they're at. See if it makes more sense now
Pat Flynn: That makes sense. This is an amazing 101 on sales calls. And I know that you are still working through it, but that's what's beautiful about this. You're sharing as you go, what's working for you and what's not. And I really love that final question here is with relation to the sales rep, where did you find him? And what's your story about, "Well, this person is not me," but there's selling your program and could there be a disconnect there? How are you making sure they're providing the right information and all that kind of stuff?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Yeah. So this is something that we are very much figuring out right now. His first week was this week. So we are in the thick of it.
Pat Flynn: There's training involved, right?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Yeah. Yeah. It's the first week of training. So the way that we found him was we worked with a company called Closer.io. The guy's name is Cole Gordon, and I would highly recommend his stuff if people are looking for sales training or looking for help hiring a sales rep. They've been fantastic. And they basically found us some candidates and then we interviewed them and ended up with the guy that we ended up hiring. So that was how we found the person. And in terms of the training and the mindset around that, I think there's a couple things. So I've been really focused on dialing in the process myself so that I can hand off to him what it is that I've been doing. What's been working for me and also finding resources again, working with a team, whoever it is who has experienced training sales reps. They're helping train him in addition to me training him. So there's a lot of support for him.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Now in terms of handing that off, I think that's a challenge. This is, I think again, one of those things where I know it's the right thing that has to happen, but it's still uncomfortable. I cannot scale this by doing the sales calls myself. And by doing the sales calls myself, I'm actually hurting the existing students because I'm spending a lot more time selling than I am making the program better and figuring out how to help them. And so it's in everyone's best interest for us to make this work. Now, in terms of framing that, my feeling is as long as he understands the product, the whole point of how we help people is through the product.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: It's helping them understand the problem, which he has sales experience. So he's very good at already. And then it's helping them understand if the product is right for them. So he can do that. And then this also opens up my time, for example, to do one-on-one onboarding calls with everyone who signs up. So that's something that I'm planning on doing where, "Okay, maybe they didn't talk with me through the sales process, but I'm able to be more present for them when they actually sign up." Again. It's just a mindset shift about what doing these sales calls means and what that process looks like and why we're doing it.
Pat Flynn: That makes sense. And the one on ones for onboarding for people who sign up to make a great first impression, great experience, make sure they know they're being taken care of and that's worth your time because of the higher price point and the other things that you include in the product. This is awesome. Sam, I love the update. You are leveling up for sure and I can't wait for the fifth opportunity to chat with you here on AskPat in the future, because this is really inspirational. So Sam, where can people go to find more of your stuff and follow along in the journey?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: If people want to check us out, it's Byte-By-Byte.com, it's byte-by-byte. All our stuff's there. So you can check it out and definitely if one's a software engineer, knows any software engineers and is looking for help with interviews, come check us out.
Pat Flynn: That's awesome. Sam, have you helped anybody land a job at say for example, Tesla or anything like that?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: We actually did have someone land a job at Tesla. Got a very cushy offer from Tesla. If you're interested in Tesla, they definitely pay well.
Pat Flynn: Yeah. And so go check out Sam, if you are interested in Tesla?
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Yes.
Pat Flynn: Awesome. Thanks man. Appreciate it and keep up the good work.
Sam Gavis-Hughson: Awesome. Thanks Pat.
Pat Flynn: All right. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Sam. A great catch up and again, just he's been on the show. He reminded me that he was on one of the original versions of AskPat where he asked a question and just to continue to hear his journey. I'm sure it's not going to be the last time we hear from him because I don't know, what's next? We'll see what happens, but it's just so incredible. And this idea of getting on a call with somebody and making it not feel a sleazy sort of sales call like we see in the movie sometimes ABC always be closing kind of thing, but really having a conversation and seeing if it's a right fit.
Pat Flynn: That's exactly what we're doing here. And I love that Sam brought that and gave us some insight on what that might look from his perspective. So we can all learn from that. So Sam, thank you so much again, Byte-By-Byte.com and Sam Gavis-Hughson. Amazing way to start the year. I'm looking forward to conversations and helping out. And as you might have heard, we are going to be initiating this smart bar here on this very feed. It's going to be happening later in the year, but very shortly here where we utilize, not just my own knowledge to help you, but the knowledge of my network and the team here at SPI and many other people within SPI Pro, here to help and serve you out as you grow your business too.
Pat Flynn: And if you'd to learn more about SPI Pro, lot of amazing things are happening within SPI Pro, our premium community for entrepreneurs this year, hundreds of members, and it's just so active and so much fun. In fact, the best feedback I've ever received from anything that I've ever created, you could check it out at smartpassiveincome.com/pro, and you might be able to get into the next enrollment period. So again, smartpassiveincome.com/pro, and happy New Year to you. Let's make it an awesome year. I'm looking forward to working with you here and we'll keep on, keep it on. Here we go. Peace out, and as always team Flynn for the win.
Pat Flynn: Thanks for listening to AskPat at askpat.com. I'm your host, Pat Flynn. Our senior producer is Sara Jane Hess. Our series producer is David Grabowski and our executive producer is Matt Gartland. Sound editing by Duncan Brown AskPat is a production of SPI Media. We'll catch you in the next session.