One Sales Strategy You Can't Afford To Skip

Ever had a BIG business idea that you want to bring to life?  Or want to launch something you *know* you’re called to, and *know* that it can help a lot of people?  But you have questions, wondering, “Do people really need/want this?  Will they buy it?  How can I clearly communicate the VALUE of it?”  

You’re searching for clarity on whether or not creating this service will be worth your time, energy, and expertise.  The best way to find out the answers to your questions is to ASK!  In order words, when you ask your audience about their needs, challenges, and feedback on your proposed solution, you get more data, feedback, and confirmation on whether or not your idea will serve them (and therefore lead to more clients and more money in the bank).  

The pre-validation process is probably one of the most POWERFUL yet under talked about tools for your sales process.  So it’s time to let the “secret” out so you can get more clarity on your business ideas.  

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This week, I’ll share with you my process of pre-validating my ideas and my favorite go-to questions to ask so you you’re equipped with creating a method that works for you.  

The reason why most people skip right over this step is because they get an inspired idea and want to implement it, like yesterday.  Or, they have a vague idea of what they’d like to create and it feels scary to ask people for feedback before it's fully formalized.  

Remember: the purpose of pre-validation is not to sell (yet), but it’s to get super curious about your prospect’s world and to confirm whether or not creating this service is worth pursuing.  

A “real world” example of pre-validation would be figuring out what to give my husband for Christmas.  When I assume I know what he wants or have an idea of what I think he needs, my gifts tend to flop (despite the amount of time, money, and energy I spent creating it).  But when I take the time to find out what he wants, what would be helpful, and even asking for a wish list, my gifts truly meets his needs and ultimately serves him (which makes me a happy wife).  

So where do you even start?  

A simple and effective way is to create a survey through Google Forms or Typeform, or to conduct market research calls.   For my 1:1 services, I prefer to conduct market research calls so I can ask people follow-up questions on the spot.

Keep in mind: DO NOT ASK friends and family.  You may be tempted because it feels like scary, but unless they are your target demographic, they will either tell you it’s a good idea because they want to be nice (when they don’t fully understand what you’re doing), or tell you why it’ll flop (when they don’t fully understand what you’re doing).  Neither is helpful at this point.  

Instead, you could review questionnaires from your past clients, or you could post it in Facebook groups of people with your ideal clients, ask friend/family for referrals, or attend meet ups to build relationships with people who you could talk to.  Starting with people you know and building out from there would be a great place to start.  

1. Ask to Understand Your Client’s Needs and Challenges

To kick off, it’s important to understand what your prospect’s biggest needs and challenges are when it comes to your area of expertise.  Sometimes we’re too close to what we do, or get stuck speaking industry language.  These questions allow you to truly empathize with where they are by understanding what they’re dealing with.  

Here are some of my favorites questions:
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to [your area of expertise here]?
What do you *wish* you knew about [your area of expertise here]?
What is your biggest [your area of expertise] goal?  Why is that important to you?  

I like to keep it conversational and my questions open-ended to let my prospects share what’s on their minds.  

2. Asking to Understand Past Experiences

Sometimes it’s hard for people to clearly articulate what they want (…too many choices!), but it’s easy for people to talk about their past experiences and what they liked and didn’t like.  

So these types of questions help uncover their thoughts on services and products they’ve used in the past.  This information is valuable because they can key in on what’s important to them, and perhaps if there’s a gap or differentiator that you could potentially create.  

Here’s some of my favorite questions to ask:

What have you tried in the past to help solve your [area of expertise] challenge?
What did you like about it?  
If you were to do it again, what would you like to do differently?  

I just like to get super curious (and non-judgmental) so I can understand where they are coming from.  

3. Asking to Validate YOUR proposed solution

Sometimes ideas sound good in our heads, but when we ask people want their specific feedback is on it, their outside perspective is super valuable.  

Here are some of my go-to questions around validating my idea:

After hearing what I’d like to create, what are you thoughts around [this feature]?  
What are questions/concerns/feedback you have about [this solution]?
Would you buy this?  How much would you pay for something like this?  

Being straightforward that I value their opinion and want to create something that *truly* meets their needs, I open up the conversation to allow them to share their thoughts.  

After going through the pre-validation process, you’re better equipped to make more informed decision on how to proceed with your business idea.  I love to stay in touch with the people I talk to (and even offer them bonus incentives like a free coaching session, or discounts on the service I end up creating), because I couldn’t do it without their input.  At the end of the day, my business exists to serve them so I want to make sure that my services and products are things that will ultimately help them build a business and life they desire.  

If you would like a more deep dive resource for the pre-validation process, I recommend the resource, “Ask” by Ryan Levesque.  He has a thorough and step-by-step process of helping you ask the right questions and what to do with it.  

As always, feel free to reach out to let me know what your biggest takeaway is!  

With joy,

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Win Over Your Clients with an Incredible Onboarding Process

You’ve connected with your DREAM client, and she decides to work with you.  YAY!  What an exciting feeling when someone knows, likes, and trusts you to hire you to do what you do best.  

The next steps are critical.  The onboarding process (the steps you take to formally start working with someone) is important to setting up a healthy, empowered, and productive professional relationship.  It’s the steps, systems, and processes you share with your client to let them know they’re in good hands.  

As the expert, you can lead your client through your process by being clear about what's needed and what's next to create an incredible client experience.  

So this week, we’ll be taking a look at how we’re communicating expectations to make sure they are serving our clients AND protecting the integrity of our work and boundaries, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.  

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1. Clarify each person’s role and responsibility.

The agreement that you have with your client is a working RELATIONSHIP, and the best, mutually beneficial relationships are ones where both people know and understand what is expected and how they can support each other.  

That’s why it’s important to clarify your responsibilities as the service provider AND your client’s responsibilities in working with you.  

Here are some questions to consider: 

1. What conditions allow you to do your BEST work?  
2. What does your client need to know to set BOTH of you up for success? 

The answers to these questions will help you define a process for payment, communication, feedback, timelines, and to-dos. 

2. Set Expectations In Your Contract

Contracts and agreements are a legal way to communicate each person’s responsibility in a working relationship.  

Contracts can outline terms for payment and refunds, liability protection, policies and procedures, timelines, and deliverables.   

I know that legal things can be intimidating or confusing, but having a clear contract will get the working relationship off on the right foot to prevent legal action down the road.  

3. Create a Welcome Packet + Give Client Pre-Work

After the contract is reviewed and signed, and the deposit is paid, I send over a welcome packet to my client.  

The purpose of my welcome packet is to give my client resources that will help her get STARTED on her business goals and make the most out of our coaching partnership.

You can definitely get creative here, but my welcome packet is a branded PDF that includes: 

1. A welcome letter describing my role and what to expect (sensing a theme here?) 
2. Copy of our agreement with helpful links to my scheduler, and Basecamp for communication and feedback.   
3. Copy of a Business Review to help set the right goals we’ll work on achieving together 

Yes, I can my clients homework BEFORE our first session so they can reflect on what’s working and not working.  That way, we can dive right in to dreaming, planning, and execution portion during our work together.  

What do you need from your client BEFORE you start working together?  

4. Ask your client about their needs in an initial session.

During our first coaching session, I set aside extra time to go over “housekeeping” items and reiterate things like how we will communicate through Asana, filling out a pre-session questionnaire, and my typical office hours.  I also ask my client how they feel best supported so I can tailor my coaching to their needs.  

Even though my client has seen things written down, I like to have an open dialogue on what the dynamic of our relationship will be like.  Because of the personal relationship of my work and the fact that every client is different, this allows me to get to know my client’s deeper motivations, personality, and preferences to help make the experience unique to them.  

What are some ways you like to tailor your services to meet the needs of your clients?  

5. Continue to communicate throughout your working relationship.

You can continue to communicate and evolve as your working relationship progresses.  

If your client crossed a boundary, a friendly reminder may do the trick to get you back on track.  For example, one time I received a message from a client really late at night.  The following day, I reminded her of my regular office hours and my typical response time and she understood how to proceed.  

You can also ask for feedback during your work together.  For example, I like to check-in at the halfway mark to see what’s working, not working, and what can be better.  

At the end of the day, we’re here to lead AND serve our clients.  By being clear on our roles and responsibilities and communicating them frequently and openly, we create an experience that builds rapport and trust with our clients, and has the power to turn them into forever fans.

Let me know in the comments below, what's YOUR onboarding process like?  How do you like communicate roles and responsibilities with your clients?  

With Joy,  

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[Featured: Sass Magazine] 4 Things No One Tells You About Being a Girl Boss

Empowering women.  Telling the truth.  Collaborations.  

These are a few of my favorite things.  That's why it was super enlightening to guest blog for Sass Magazine -- a digital resource for the authentic, well-informed women professional.  I share the common themes that I see in my clients' (and my) journey into entrepreneurship being a lady and being a leader.  From gaining confidence to finding your work/life balance (is this even real?), I highlight the good and the challenges of things that No One Told You About Being a Girl Boss...until now.  

Read the "4 Things No One Tells You About Being a Girl Boss" over on Sass Magazine

 

With joy, 

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How to Find Your Pricing Sweet Spot

When it comes to pricing your services, online gurus will tell you to “charge what you’re worth.”  

Now, I understand that the intentions behind this phrase is to keep you from undercharging.  But sometimes the idea that your worth = your pricing can really mess with your mindset, especially if you’re just starting out or launching a new service.    

The thing is, your worth has nothing to do with what you charge.  Your worth is inherently given to you as a human with specific and precious gifts, talents, and resources.  

But PRICING your services can be more about placing a value on what you provide to your clients. There’s a few different factors that can help you determine this.  If you price your services too high, you may not book clients.  If you price too low, you could not be taken seriously or run the risk of burning out.  

So this week, we’ll dive into “Finding Your Pricing Sweet Spot” and learn more about the art and science of pricing your services so they’re compassionate for your clients AND profitable for your bank account.

  1. Get clear on your offer.  

Not all services are created equal.  Depending of the service you’re providing as it relate to your client’s journey, you could be offering an affordable and accessible service that solves one problem, or a premium and all-inclusive service that takes care of a lot of problems.  

So, naturally, your pricing can reflect the type of service you’re providing.  

Getting clear on your offer could mean brainstorming:

From start to finish, what does the process look like?  
How long will it take?
What will the format be?  Product?  Workshop? Small Group Setting?  1:1 service?
What kind of communication will be have?  
What features would be helpful?  

2. Consider your confidence and competence level.  

When we talk about finding YOUR pricing sweet spot, this comes down to your CONFIDENCE and your COMPETENCE in delivering the service or sharing your expertise.  Because if you don’t feel confident in stating your price or in your ability to provide results, it will be much harder to sell your services.  

So, I think it’s okay to start at a lower price point (but still profitable) as you build up your portfolio, gain experience, and gather testimonials and social proof.  You can even communicate this to your clients as an “introductory rate” so everyone knows it’s for a limited time and for the purpose of growing your experience.  

The “science” or psychology behind this is to allow you to WIN by working with real clients and getting real feedback.  If you’re curious about what clients are willing to pay for your services, you can just ask during market research calls or polls!  Of course, this is just to give you an idea of a ballpark range or confirmation of if your services will be well received.

3. Count your costs.  

In order to create profitable packages and services, let’s get real about your numbers and take a look at your costs!  Here’s where you can take a look at your expenses.  Write down everything you pay for when it comes to running your business.  

• Remember: fixed costs are expenses that are the same every time you book a client.  For example, if you’re an executive coach, a fixed cost may be the cost of a DISC assessment that you give to your client at the beginning of your work together.  

• Variable costs are expenses that may be a one time expense, like office supplies, or the amount of gas you need to drive to events.

Getting a sense of your expenses gives you a better idea of how much profit you’ll make, because at the end of the day, it’s not about how much money your business brings in, but how much money you can take home.  Don’t forget to include taxes!

4. Price yourself for growth.  

So, when can you reasonably raise your rates?  When there’s a demand for them.  

Since you’re selling a service that’s dependent on your limited time, as you get better at your craft, grow an engaged audience, refine your brand, and streamline your process, you’ll be able to increase your rates accordingly.  

One way to do this is to decide ahead of time when you’ll give yourself a raise.  For example, you could challenge yourself to raise your rates by $300 every time you book 3 clients until you reach your sweet spot pricing.  This will keep you engaged and allow you to price yourself for growth.    

Ultimately, pricing your services is striking a happy medium between you and your clients.  Once you know the specifics like the features of your offer, your costs, and even a hourly rate, you can play around with what feels aligned to you.  Your services require your time, your energy, and your expertise so take care of yourself (and your bottom line) to set your rates at a price that gets you excited to do your BEST work and create life-changing results for your clients.  

If you’d like help to help you dream big, plan accordingly, and execute on your personalized strategy, then check out my 1:1 coaching programs and book a discovery call to talk about working together.  

How Giving Back is Good For Your Profits + Purpose

Ever struggle with feeling like you have to choose between making a profit and living on purpose?  

Well, you don’t have to choose.  You can have both.

When I first started life and business coaching, I pretty much operated like a ministry.  It came naturally to me, I was impacting people, and didn’t mind doing it for free.  At least in the beginning.  

But when I decided to turn this passion into a business, I made the mindset shift to operate my coaching practice as a business with a mission that allowed me to be both strategic AND generous.  

So this week’s letter, we’ll be talking about GIVING BACK in your business, and how that’s good for your purpose + profits.  

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1. Choose a cause you care about to motivate you to do more with your business.

A SUSTAINABLE business model is one that both motivates you with a cause you care about and generates income that allows you to continue to do business.  When you focus on making more money so you have the margin to give more away (of your time, talent, and resources), it creates accountability to operate your business to be more effective and impactful.   

To help you figure out what cause you care about, here are some questions to think about:

What’s a cause that gets you fired up?
What values does your business stand for, and what’s another organization or non-profit that shares a similar vision and mission?  
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?  

The answers may reveal what underlying causes you care about, and can be a starting point of helping you find a mission you can get behind.  

2. Donate a portion of your profits.

Money can be a resource that can do so much good.  When you commit to donating a portion of your profits to charity, you’re committing to creating more opportunity for abundance for yourself, your team, and those you are giving to.  

Every month, our family sponsors a child in Kenya to provide him with food, water, and education.  I LOVE receiving letters hearing about his school adventures and newly formed friendships.  Even when my business’ income has ebbs and flows, my commitment to giving gives me perspective of what’s important and reminds me to be obediant and intentional with my money.  I know that our money is making a difference in this child’s life, and therefore, making a difference in his local community.  

3. Donate your expertise to those in need.

Sometimes what’s worth even more than money is donating your services as a scholarship to someone who has more hustle than money in the bank.  Or, you could donate your time and talent to those in need.  Your expertise is super valuable so when you offer someone a scholarship (free or affordable cost version of your services), it helps them get a result and helps you to gain more experience.  

For example, if you’re a business coach, you could help a non-profit with a VIP day of visioning and strategizing so they can become more effective.  If you’re a photographer, you could offer a photo session to a family whose mom is dealing with a terminal illness so they can have a memento of their time together.  

Think about this: How can you “pay it forward” (big or small) to someone in your business today? 

4. Give your feedback to a team member or intern.

Your presence and leadership is a gift in itself.  When you take the time to give your team member or intern positive feedback, constructive criticism, or a word of encouragement, you build rapport, loyalty, and show that you care.  

A “fringe benefit” of running a business is possibly employing and working with contractors/vendors.  Taking the time to notice good work and help develop others is a great chance to impact someone to pursue their calling.  

Ultimately, it’s important to create plenty of margin so you can give back your time, talent, and money to those who need it.  I’ve found that by focusing on doing what’s BEST for my business and what’s RIGHT for my clients, I’m able to marry purpose and profits to make a difference in my community as well as my family.  

If you’re interested in working together to help grow your business to impact more people, then book a discovery call today to talk about how I can support your business growth!  

With joy,

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