Category: Marketing

Are your prices dressed for success?

One of the most challenging things for service based business owners, solopreneurs and coaches is setting prices, and being comfortable talking about them.You can set them too low, and let resentment creep into your heart giving so much for less than you deserve.  Over time, that poisons your attitude and damages your ability to help your clients.On the other hand, you might set your prices at Read More
18 Sep

The power of results in marketing

The results of your work matter in your marketing.

It’s not enough to simply get great results in your work with clients. You have to know what the results are. Then you need to share this clearly with those interested in your services.

When people get out their wallet they want to know what they’ll get.  It might be a pair of jeans, a new pair of glasses, a new resume, completed tax return or a back adjustment. People don’t want to throw money into the air like it was confetti at a wedding.

Your skills, modalities and professional services are intangible. You need to make them tangible so people can understand what they’ll get (both on a practical level and on an internal emotional level).

The first step is knowing the results you consistently get with clients.

The next step is to go deeper into the results.  Besides the obvious things like a completed tax return or a clutter free home, what do you give your clients?  It could be anything from ease of mind about the risk of tax audits, to the way you answer questions in a complete but nonjudgmental way. Or it might be something unusual. For example, public relations consultant Joan Stewart shares dog jokes, quotes and funny videos in her weekly ezine, and even sells an ebook full of them.

If you’re just starting a new business, you may have to make some of it up, based upon the results you intend to get.  This isn’t about being deceptive, it’s simply about looking at what you are truly capable of based on your skills, training, and related experience. Based on that what are you planning to achieve? You can look at past experience where you used similar skills in a different setting, whether or not you were paid for it at the time.

Then go work with clients and take note of the results you get – in their words.  Build requests for feedback into your work with them. This can actually serve your clients by helping them to notice and celebrate the progress they are making.

Some of the results of your work – what people get from you – will be different than what you expect.  Adjust your marketing language according to what you learn that clients get from you.

If you’re just starting out, and you don’t have enough clients to find out what your results are, then you need to do whatever it takes to get those first few clients so you can figure this out.  Do pro bono or barter work is a great way to  get enough experience and confidence to speak convincingly about the results you get.

Taking the time to do pro bono or barter work may be discouraging, but, when you’re starting something new,  there are no shortcuts to stable and lasting success.

If you’re not getting consistent, meaningful results from your work with clients, privately or in groups, that should be a top priority problem to fix.

There are many things you can do to get better results.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Meet more often with clients.  If they don’t want to pay for the added time, be frank with them that they can’t expect to get results without it.
  • Be more flexible about contact between meetings
  • Give your clients “homework” – learning assignments to do on their own. Only work with clients willing to do the assignments.
  • Be more upfront with clients that results take time, and sell packages that have more sessions in them.
  • Be meticulous about writing down the results clients get, and what they say is important to them.  Take notes after every meeting or any time they mention progress. Organize the notes and look for common themes across clients.  Over time trends will emerge.
  • Take further education in your field or profession.
  • Meet regularly with a professional mentor or consultant to help you.

If you’re not getting results or you don’t know what they are, you’re building your business on a shaky foundation.

What results do you get from your work with clients?  Are you able to talk about them in a concrete, tangible way?  If not, what are you doing so you can start doing so?

Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

12 Sep
5 Sep

Tasty Testimonials that attract clients

“I like the way you approach the problem, and I’m looking forward to working with you,” Charlene* told me.

I had only met her, by phone, 30 minutes earlier. Before I had even tried to sell anything, Charlene had already asked about fees and decided to pay me a sizable amount for a business coaching package.

A key part of what made it so easy was having stories to tell (case studies) about my past clients, their challenges and wins.

Even if no one ever sees them, gathering testimonials and case studies is helpful because consistently asking for feedback boosts your confidence. People pick up on confidence, and they are more motivated to hire someone who’s confident in their ability to deliver results.

If you sell professional services, you need to be developing testimonials and case studies that show the value you deliver to clients.

Most independent professionals don’t do this, because they let some of these problems get in their way. See if you see yourself in them:

  • You don’t have the nerve to ask, because you’re not sure what to say
  • You’ve asked some past clients who you did amazing work with to give you testimonials. The testimonials they sent you were boring and not so helpful. Or worse, they promised to help but never got back to you.
  • The most important results of your work are intangible so it seems hard to get good testimonials.
  • You’re not sure about the results of your own work, so you lack confidence to ask for testimonials.

There are some simple processes you can use to overcome these obstacles.   The more you ask for feedback, the more you learn about the value people get from you. This helps you deliver even more value. The more you do this, the faster your confidence will grow.

The problem with most testimonials is they are bland and generic.

Boring.

So what if “she was helpful, friendly and had lots of good suggestions.” If someone spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on her services, she’d better do that-as a bare minimum.

To make matters worse, a lot of independent professionals and owners of small service businesses have no idea of the real deeper value clients get from them.

Consider my own experience: I was busy thinking about things like increased revenue and confidence for selling as the results of my work. I would not have thought to say that my business coaching and marketing consulting also helps reduce marital stress. However, since I asked for feedback I’ve heard Jenny and others tell me that it does.

You need testimonials and client stories (case studies) like those shared by Irene and Sharon, stories that go deeper into why people hired you and what they got out of it.

To help you learn the simple processes that will make your testimonials much more powerful, I’m pleased to host Grace Judson this week on the Marketing Cafe™ for ‘How to Get Tasty Testimonials That Attract Clients.’

Grace uses a process similar to one that I’ve used for several years in workshops and for private coaching, though she takes it to another level. When I discovered Grace, I hired her to help me put together the testimonials and case studies you can see under “Clients Speak” at the Authentic Business Growth website.  These were all based on real client feedback in their own words.  Grace compiled and edited the majority of them, I did some myself, and also had some help with two from business writing coach Candace Talmadge. (There are more testimonials than these, I simply haven’t had time to upload them all to the website.)

The best endorsement I can give is that I hired someone myself, as I did Grace. I’m looking forward to offering this no cost training on the Marketing Café™. I hope you’ll join us, it will be fun and full of insights, and there is no charge to you.

Sign up here.

P.S. Still not convinced that testimonials and case studies can be valuable and easily collected? Check out some of my client testimonials and if you want stories like that on your website, join us!

 

* we can learn from others, but names and identifying details are omitted for confidentiality reasons.

 

 

 

28 Aug

Write Your Way To Paying Clients

Flash back to early 2007, and picture a man working two jobs. He’s under a pile of debt with 6 children to support. On top of that he lives in an isolated country that’s not exactly thriving economically.

Now, a few short years later, Time Magazine has listed his website as one of the 50 best websites in the world and over 200,000 people follow him.  He is debt free, has a sizable emergency fund and has the money to move his large family to San Francisco, one of the most expensive cities in the United States.Read More