Did you know that having an online business has lots of advantages for you? Online business owners can save a ton of money on gas, and they don’t have to worry about dressing a certain way for work. All that is needed is to designate work time for your business. They can even take their work with them anywhere they go, as long as an internet connection is available.
But every type of business has its pitfalls, and online businesses are no exception.
One of the biggest challenges that online business owners face is staying on task. The internet is a big place, so to speak, and it is full of distractions. There are forums, chatrooms, and blog conversations to participate in. Then there are friends and family to send instant messages to. And don’t forget about those emails to check! The list goes on and on. And I’m sure you have a big checklist of things to do for your clients as well!
It’s very easy to get sidetracked when you work online. But it is important not to let distractions affect your productivity. Even if you’re not getting paid by the hour, time is still money.
So how do you designate work time for your business? Do you set aside so many hours a day, so many hours a week or do you just play it by ear? This last one gets you nowhere by the way!
Set Hours and Stick to Them
One of the advantages of being your own boss is the ability to set your own hours. This is particularly true when you have an online business because you don’t necessarily have to keep hours that are convenient to your customers. But it is important to actually set working hours instead of just working when the mood strikes you.
During designated work time, avoid using the internet for non-work-related activities as this is essential to your productivity.
Here are some ways you can help yourself do that:
Segregate your email
Use one address for personal correspondence and another for business purposes. Set your email program up to automatically check the business one only.
Write notes to yourself
If something pops into your head that you must attend to online, don’t let it interrupt your work. Write it down and take care of it during non-work hours. A good app for that is Keep and you can get that right in your Gmail account.
Are You Open or Closed?
Write yourself a note reminding yourself that work time is for work only, or put up an “Open” sign. It can serve as a gentle reminder that business is the only thing that should be taking place.
Use Flexibility Wisely
Another great thing about working online is flexibility. If something comes up and you need to attend to it right away, you can drop what you’re doing and attend to it. But it’s crucial to only use that privilege when absolutely necessary.
When you have an unexpected interruption, you lose working hours. If you were working at a regular job, you would have to either take sick or vacation time or lose pay. When you work for yourself, you can make the hours up at a time that is convenient for you. It is, however, important to make them up at some point.
An online business is one of the most convenient and flexible ways to work from home. It also presents more opportunities for distraction than many people imagine.
Online business success requires a lot of discipline, but the rewards are many.
One thing that works really well is to have a daily schedule you can look at to make sure you’re on track for your day. So here’s one you can use to keep you on track.
Come on, let’s be real here. Do you ever find yourself on the word vomit train when attempting to sell anything? Yes? No? Well, today’s topic of discussion is how to get clients even if you hate selling and pitching. That’s right, let’s get with it!
So, you know the place that makes zero stops and is stationed in TimBuckTwo? The one where you’re chatting with a potential client and you find yourself having an out-of-body experience where you hear yourself doing things like…
Overly explaining what it is that you do to justify your service
Adding on additional promises because you don’t think they’re convinced of the value
Filling silences with discounts or amendments to the process just so they say something
Feel like you’re a fraud because what you offer isn’t all that special when you say it out loud
Yeah, been there, done that!
If you find yourself doing any (or all) of that, there’s a huge disconnect in your selling process. You know it and your client knows it too!
So, you convince yourself that you’re just not good at selling.
Or that your market can’t afford to pay you what you need to run your business.
That you’ll never be able to convince your prospects why they need to hire you.
If you had a tried and true approach to “selling” your service, you wouldn’t have to be in this position. No more Conductor status of the Word Vomit Train.
No more feeling icky or slimy or like you’re tricking your clients into hiring you.
Without a reliable selling strategy, you’re likely leaving thousands of dollars on the table. But more importantly, it’s leaving you feeling inadequate about your service and it will 100% be the reason why you end up quitting.
So how do you fix it?
Understand your results
Use this formula to close the deal
No, not this one, it’s much too complicated!!
UNDERSTAND YOUR RESULTS
Before you can even begin to serve, you need to know the exact role your service plays in your client’s life. Most people sell their service like a product. When in reality it needs to be sold as a result.
Most service-based business owners will hype up the features of what their service provides. For example, a web designer might spend more time talking about how many pages they offer in the package, the optimization of those pages, etc. Basically, what your client gets out of it all.
Successful business owners tap into the emotional results of their service. What will life look like after your client experiences your service? What will change? What will be better? What will they have?
As soon as you can create an emotional relationship for your client with your service you’re off to the races.
So How Do You Use This Method?
Now that you understand the true purpose of your service, it’s time to start talking serious business with your connections. We’ve already taught you how to get in front of warm and qualified leads.
If you haven’t spent time doing that piece yet, go back and work on that first. I want you knocking this out of the ballpark, and it works best on leads that already know, like, and trust you.
This method, when used on warm and qualified leads, will be your secret weapon to closing clients faster and confidently. Just imagine a world where you don’t have to send another awkward follow-up email asking if someone wants to actually work with you or not.
The steps within this method are all played out in a single conversation, ideally in this order. Before sitting down in this meeting, you need to be prepared. If we’re wanting to avoid those awkward follow-up emails you need to come ready to close the deal in this meeting. Be sure to print out and have a copy of your contract and proposal handy.
Most service-based business owners make a crucial mistake by only relying on follow-up conversations to close the deal. This method shifts this way of doing business so you can close more deals on the spot (and get paid faster).
The Steps to the Process
STEP ONE: PROVE THAT WHAT YOU HAVE IS WHAT THEY NEED
This is where your skills of talking about your service as a result instead of a product truly come in. You don’t need decades of experience, a beefy portfolio, or to even be the expert at what you offer.
You simply need to believe in the power of your service.
Try framing this conversation using phrases that assume you’ll be hired. Let them know how their life is going to be different once they start working with you.
Try using a phrase like this:
“…After working together you’ll have…”
This is called “The Assumptive Close” and it’s a tactic that works time and time again. If you’ve played your part well up to this point this specific piece will play a huge part in, you are landing this client.
STEP TWO: REITERATE THEIR WORDS BACK TO THEM
What you’ll want to weave in next is the fact that you understand and hear their needs. This not only helps you understand where your role in serving them truly is, but it secures confidence from your client early on.
Try using phrases like:
“…So, what I’m hearing you say is…”
“…Based on what you told me…”
After working with many people myself, I know that great communication is one of (if not the) biggest factors in the relationship. Showing them that you understand their desire and need for hiring you on Day 1 is crucial.
This isn’t just a “sales tactic”, my friends! Letting your potential client feel heard and understood goes an incredibly long way in starting out your work together on the right foot and sets the stage for a more connected and long-term relationship.
STEP THREE: TALK THEM THROUGH YOUR PROCESS
At this point, you’ve established that you’re the woman for the job and made it clear you understand what they need and why. Now, it’s time to walk them through how this all works.
This is, personally, one of my favorite parts of this process. It enables you to get in your zone of genius, geeking out on your process. This is another crucial place to use assumption wording. Remember, they’re going to absolutely decide to work with you, so talk like it!
Try using phrases like:
“Once we get started next week this will be our first step…”
“After you get your documents back, we’ll be able to move on to this part of the process…”
You’re accomplishing two very important things at this step:
Get the client in a world where they’ve already said yes to working with you
Get the client total understanding of every step of the process
At this point your client should be grinning ear to ear, nodding along, and agreeing with your statements – clearly excited and ready to get started. If this is happening your final two steps of this process will be a breeze.
STEP FOUR: CLARIFY THE CONTRACT AND NEXT STEPS
You think you might be heading into boring or uncomfortable territory, but trust me, this part is just as crucial as the rest. Outlining clear parts of your contract not only protect your client, but it protects you. Both of you need to be on the same page from the start.
I suggest having an actual contract to show them that’s ready to sign, you can send this out to them digitally. Once you’ve outlined your terms it’s important for you to cover the very next step for your client. Even though you outlined the entire process above, it’s time to take it back to the beginning.
It’s important to use clear language here, like:
“These are the important details of the contract I wanted to point out and here’s what they mean. Once you sign, I can take your payment today, we can get started right away. So let’s look at the calendar to schedule our first meeting, alright?”
STEP FIVE: HERE’S THE PRICE
Let me say a quick word about pricing before I outline this step. I believe in pricing transparency with every client. That means, no client should get this far into the process without having some idea of a range of what it’s going to cost to work with you.
It does a disservice to your client to not share expectations early on and it can be a huge waste of your time if you don’t. This could look differently depending on your business model, but I’ve added a single item on my pricing page, and it’s done the trick.
“Pricing starts at…under each process.”
Dealing with sticker shock is a killer to closing client deals for both you and the client. It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable and it makes both people feel inadequate.
Ok, I’ll rest my case for pricing transparency (for now).
Alright, so you’re at this part of the process. And it’s one where, in the past, you might have tripped over your tongue somewhat. It’s okay. We’re going to fix that.
However long you think this conversation should be…cut it in half. Seriously.
Your only role at this step is to state the price and then be quiet.
The desire to keep talking after stating the price is because you’re uncomfortable, which I totally get. However, your client deserves this time to process and go through her own mental checklist before you chime in.
Try practicing this until you become comfortable with it. lt will drastically increase the number of clients you land and your confidence in the process. This, like so many things in business, takes a bit of practice to perfect. But by following this method you’ll have a step-by-step system to rely on the next time you’re talking to a client.
By utilizing these steps, you’ll be able to craft an amazing experience for you and your client.
Remember, at the end of the day, you’re here to serve your clients. And of course, to make a profit!
Today’s article is about conducting target market research. What am I talking about? Market research, that’s what. So what is target market research? Every business should be doing it, but unfortunately, they either aren’t doing it at all or aren’t doing it effectively. Without conducting detailed research about your target market, your business won’t reach its potential and will more than likely meet its demise. Oh oh, you say!
What is Market Research?
In order to tell you HOW to conduct market research, you must know what market research is. In a nutshell, market research is research that you do in order to determine what it is that makes your customers buy. Because for goodness sake, that’s why you’re in business. To make money right?
Here is a great list of things that you can do to conduct market research that will tell you what your customers want and need so that you can make more sales and grow your business. This is YOUR business purpose!
First, find the question or questions you want answers to. Be as specific as possible so that you have the answers you need. Going too broad may not really get to the answers you are really in search of. For instance, if you are thinking of adding a product to your line, is it something your target market is in need or want of? What would they most likely spend on a product or service such as the one you are asking about?
Methods of Research
Take the questions and get your answers by doing the following:
– Conduct a survey of current and potential customers. – Visit online forums and groups that include members of your market. Remember to build relationships in these groups. Don’t just go to the forums and post your survey or question. – Interview other business owners in your market. – Monitor business trends in your market by reading and watching various media outlets. – Research your competition by being a customer and/or inquiring about their products or services. – Mail or telephone interviews. – For those with online businesses, set up a test page revolving around the product or service you are thinking of offering. Give plenty of time to test the page and the traffic and activity of the visitors.
These are only a few of the ways you can conduct research for your target market. The key isn’t what research you do, it’s the fact that you are doing something to learn more about the habits of that market.
By taking the time to find out more about the people you are targeting, you’ll come to realize that knowing those in your market is one of the best things you can do for your business.
If you a struggling with how to figure this out, book a call with me, and let’s work on it together. Book Now
Today’s article is about, you guessed it, do I really need a business plan and why do I need one? Many people who start a business never take the time to write out a business plan. And that is a big mistake in my opinion.
A business plan can greatly increase your chances of success. And I’m assuming that you want your business to be a success, am I right?
The following are some reasons why every business needs to put a business plan into writing.
It helps to map out your future
If you have decided you are ready to start a business, your first step should be to write out your plans for what you want to do with the business and where you see the business going in the future. You have probably heard the old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” That is very true when it comes to your business. The more planning you do in the beginning, the greater success you will see in the future.
To secure financing
If you decide to take your home business to the next level, a business plan can help you secure financing. A financial institution will want to see, in writing, the reasons that they should loan you money. Simply walking in and telling them why you know you’ll be a success isn’t good enough. However, if you can hand your lender a document that states your business idea, your business goals, a list of steps you plan to take in order to reach your goals, as well as your estimated earnings, you will be seen as a professional and the lender will take you more seriously.
Determines your Action Plan
Your plan will also help you determine your action plan. Your action plan consists of the steps you plan on taking in order to achieve your goals. This is another task that people usually sidestep. Instead of “just kind of knowing” or “having the ideas in your head”, you should take the time to put them on paper. The reason this part of the business plan is so important is that it literally walks you from point A to point B. While your business plan, in general, serves as a map, your action plan is the “turn-by-turn directions.”
Having a business plan to present to your spouse or partner can also help them to realize your business idea is more than just a passing amusement. This can really help you, especially if they are skeptical. They can see that you are serious and will become more helpful and more encouraging. Having the support of your spouse or partner can really motivate you and help you find success. And that’s what you want your business to be, successful!
Need help with planning this out? I would be happy to help you. Book a call with me here – Free Appointment
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