Making your product a part of your customer's life with Keith Perhac

I've always marveled at Ramit Sethi's automated sales machine over at I Will Teach You To Be Rich. How does he sell infoproducts at such a personal level, at scale? Well, I just discovered the brains behind his marketing technology, Keith Perhac.

I first heard about Keith in an interview with Patrick McKenzie about using concierge onboarding to increase conversions and decrease churn of SaaS businesses, among other topics.

Who's this guy?? I had to find out more. That's why I'm so happy to share with you my interview with Keith Perhac. You'll learn about:

and more. Enjoy.

Making your product a part of your customer's life with Keith Perhac

Breaking from the get-more-prospects mentality

One of the problems info product and SaaS people run into is that they are lead generation-focused.

We tend to obsess over how many people sign up for the trial. Or how many people give us their credit card.

It helps to constantly be getting new leads... But to stay in the long game, you need to focus on revenue and churn.

Real churn starts after the trial starts. Most people don't look at it.

How long are people going to stay? How do you give them value so they stay in your product longer?

To do this, you need leads to go through a good experience, especially at the beginning.

The first month is when people decide whether they like your product or not. If you get them up to speed in an effective way, your product becomes a part of their life. That's when they really get value out of it.

The main thing you need to look at: What main pain point does your software solve? There's usually ONE major pain point.

During demos and concierge onboarding, I see people DO EVERYTHING. They don't want to leave any stone unturned.

That doesn't work.

The key to effective demos and concierge onboarding

You need to help them accomplish the number one thing that will eliminate that pain for them.

How do you use that one feature that scratches the itch? The thing that made them want to get the app in the first place.

Example: Gmail

I’ve never set up an email server since I started using Gmail. All I have to do is buy a domain name and point to their servers. I don’t worry about my inbox being hacked, going offline, etc. Email is really hard to set up and use for normal people… That’s the number one pain point. Gmail makes it as easy as possible.

What if you don't know what that feature is? Ask your users: What is the number one thing that solves the problem?

Then you can create automated emails, a concierge program, or even a landing page telling people: this is the pain point we solve.

There’s always one major pain point.

Focus and optimize your onboarding to solve it well.

Optimizing intelligently

A lot of people do cargo cult optimization. They do split tests and best practices... But they don’t test, they just believe it works.

Years ago, an ebook came out talking about the 50 split tests on your sales page you have to do today. Things like making your background color blue converts 10% more.

As a consultant, I optimize my clients' lead generation, and internal and software processes. We optimize based on data, so we tested it. It made the page look like crap and conversion dropped.

Other people followed this book exactly. They didn't look at data. They just took the info and used it.

For Summit Evergreen (it’s a product targeted to info marketers), that means we give customers all the data they need to make smart choices. How many people finish a course? Finish a homework? What type of improvements can you do to create engagement?

What if you don't have mountains of data?

If your traffic is low, you can't do small things like change your background color. But if you're only getting 100 or 200 people... what you can do is test big things.

For our clients who get 20,000 hits/day, we do split tests at a rapid pace. A small difference results in huge gains very quickly.

But Summit Evergeen doesn't get a thousand sign ups a day. If we made the background blue, we would not have seen a significant difference. So we tested including a demo video. We very quickly saw huge gains in sign ups. It was significant because it was such a big change.

Concierge: The evolution from onboarding to paid consulting, and beyond

Speaking of Summit Evergreen, during the first six months, we did concierge onboarding for people doing a trial.

The first six months

We imported content for people. And we found they needed a lot more than our free services. They wanted content loaded. And then styled. We'd do all this extra stuff for them.

Doing concierge onboarding is a huge learning experience, especially when you're just launching. The more information you can get, the better your product is going to be. But you don’t want to do it with everyone. I'm talking about high touch concierge service, not a 10-minute demo.

We don't regret it, of course. It made us understand how people use our product in a way we otherwise wouldn't have.

But it's not something you can do for free for long, especially without a long term contract.

From concierge onboarding to consulting

We now have paid, tiered concierge service.

Now when you sign up for Summit Evergeen, we ask if you want to do it yourself for free (we'll send you sample content). Or if you want us to import your existing content, you can get a full package, including design, etc.

Usually, people are interested in services surrounding a product.

Infusionsoft does this well. They charge a $2000 fee for consulting and concierge onboarding.

Continuous concierge onboarding to get new feature ideas

We continue to do concierge with bigger customers. They turn into a lot of feature ideas.

They ask for features and systems not yet in Summit Evergeen, that other customers tend to want later. Now we have things like required homework, subscription support, continuing monthly programs, and lots of integrations.

Scaling concierge onboarding

Generally, people kicking tires aren't willing to pay for concierge onboarding.

People who are serious are. They know how to start. They'll be on trial for a bit, then ask for concierge. By the time they ask for concierge, we know they'll become our best customers.

For other customers, we still do standard email concierge. They also go through systemized onboarding through lifecycle emails. They get a lot of free information on how to solve initial pain points.

Why do most lifecycle emails suck?

I stop looking at them when they become irrelevant to me. Make sure you don't overwhelm people.

What you email users should be directly beneficial to them.

You shouldn't be distracting people, but helping them achieve goals.

Most people do the opposite -- For example, when I signed up for LeadPages, I got 2 emails a day on A/B testing.

Even if I go gung ho and spend all day on them... There's no way I'm going to accomplish everything they sent me.

So I archived them for later. You don't want that. You want users to look at your emails and take action on them.

Writing lifecycle and transactional emails that don't suck

A common lifecycle email is:

We haven't seen you in a while! Come back!

That doesn't work for me. Because I don't care. You're coming at it from a me, me, me perpsective. We’re so important, we need to get them to come back.

Look at Facebook. They're not telling you, "Hey, what are you doing? You're not visiting us, what's wrong with you?"

But John liked your post. It makes you want to go back in. For Summit Evergeen, we send messages like, "Hey, did you know 10 people saw your site?

Why would the customer want to log back in? It's not come back!, but here are the benefits you'll get if you spend time getting back into the system.

Why do so many lifecycle emails suck? Simple. Because most businesses talk from their perspective, not from the customer’s.

Want more? Check out Keith's SaaS company, Summit Evergeen. Or find out more about Keith at

What the heck is Concierge Onboarding? Learn how SaaS founders, product marketers, and Customer Success VPs are doing it to increase trial-to-paid conversions and reduce churn in our free concierge onboarding course.

Photo credit: Keith Perhac