Evolutionary Blog

Distinctions to accelerate your personal and professional evolution

How to Avoid Wasting Marketing Dollars

Every successful business person is a marketer and a salesperson first. If you want to be successful, you should consider that as your primary organizing principle. If you want to thrive, rather than just survive, then your primary focus needs to be on generating business and leads—and then opening those relationships.

  • Are your marketing dollars working for you? How do you know?

One of the biggest mistakes a small businessperson can make is not being able to track their marketing dollars. That ad you placed—did it get any response or not? How do you know? That yellow page placement-is it increasing your business traffic? How do you know? Are your dollars well placed with the print advertising, TV spots, radio, or other form? How can you know? Did it even pay for itself? The key words you purchased on google or yahoo search—are they effective? Are they garnering traffic?

That person you are paying 10$ an hour to stand on a street corner and pass out fliers—are they even asking any questions, or just silently trying to thrust the paper into people’s hands to get rid of the fliers--bacause, you know, you pay them for how many they pass out, not how many leads you get from it.

What are you paying per lead generated with these methods? How do you track the efficacy of your advertisement and marketing and therefore make informed choices as to whether or not your dollars are well placed?

There are several ways:

  • Place a landing page.
    • In the age of the internet, you simply MUST have a “landing page”. A landing page is a web page accessible to only those who would have seen a specific marketing piece. An example would be: http://YOURDOMAIN.com/magazine-name-where-the-ad-is-placed.html and the like. In this way, you can look at the referral logs of your web traffic counter and see just how many hits and clicks you are getting as a result of a specific ad placement or marketing prong.
      • Site Meter is a good one, as is Google Analytics, and if you are running google adwords campaigns, you may want to have all of those resources in one place
    • You can also set up a specific toll-free number to take messages specific to that marketing piece
  • Test your ad copy. Just because you did not get as much response as you would have liked does not mean the venue in which you placed the ad is ineffective. It may be your ad copy, or often more importantly—the headline of the ad—that could be more effective.
  • Use a tracking code. If you have someone handing out fliers, put some sort of tracking code on the flier so you can use that number, or landing page, or phone number to track your dollars to leads ratio.

The worst example I have recently seen of wasted marketing dollars was for a chiropractic clinic. They had people handing out fliers—but you would never have known what it was for. The flier distributor was standing on a busy financial district street corner—a location where there were probably plenty of prospects who could use an adjustment. However the person hired to hand the fliers out was simply attempting to thrust them into people’s hands. No engagement. No rapport. No questions or offers. No return on invested marketing dollars.

How much were they being paid by the clinic? How much more effective could those marketing dollars have been if they simply asked: “would you like to relieve your stress more effectively?” or some variant, and ONLY hand the fliers to those who said yes. How many people who needed the service walked on by because they simply did not want an unknown piece of pink paper in their hands?

We will never know—and neither will the clinic that hired them. What we do know is that there were plenty of wasted marketing dollars in that marketing endeavor.

Be sure to avoid their mistakes. Stop flushing your marketing dollars down the toilet. Begin now by following the simple steps above to make the most of your marketing dollars.

Another huge mistake people make is marketing to themselves. What would motivate them is often not what would motivate their target market or their ideal clientele. Buut that is another article for another time.

In Service,

Jason

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How to Determine Your Fees and Get Paid What You Are Worth [Part 1]

One of the challenges I see so many coaches and solopreneurs struggle with is what they should charge for their services. Most do not know what they should charge. Many charge what they think they can get. Some charge whatever the next coach or practitioner charges. That is--"the going rate". Many charge what they would be willing to pay themselves. Most charge less than they are worth--while improving the lives of others dramatically.

But why? And what are the solutions to this travesty of value?

There are three primary reasons:

  • Mistakingly thinking they are actually trading time for money, and/or that their services are a commodity. A thing to purchase
  • Limiting beliefs; usually about themselves or the value they bring at their very core-and what they or their services are worth, what the prospective client would be willing to pay, or about money in general
  • A lack of sales skill; they do not know how to create accurate yet inspiring value perceptions in the prospective client that make the fees irrelevant or appear minimal in comparison to what they are getting through the service.

How the heck do you determine or set your rate?

What are your services and/or your offering actually worth?

There are two answers to "how do you determine the rate?", or "what should I charge?":

  • 20% more than you feel comfortable asking for
  • Whatever the market can bear: whatever you can consistently get in return for your services or product

I have never met a solopreneur or some other type of small business person, who was in their first 5 years in business, who I have not advised to raise their rates. After understanding what they do, I examined their rates, and told every single one of them to raise them about 10% to 20%. They were all dramatically undervalued and undervaluing their offering.

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There is fear around raising rates for most people. They think they will see less clients, and as a result, have trouble with their financial obligations, they fear people will not pay that rate, and ultimately they either lack confidence in themselves and their offering, or they themselves are making the mistake of confused value perceptions; they do not see the true value for themselves.

So especially if you are just starting out or you are in the first few years of building your business, as a general rule of thumb, you should add 10% to 20%. Not so much that you are anxious about it, but enough to expand your beliefs about your value.

What can the market bare? In other words, charge whatever people are willing to pay. Ultimately, the consumers of your services set the rates. If your conversion rates of prospects to clients is too low [and I say it is too low if you can not reasonably count on them signing up], then your rate may need to be adjusted down. However, where you look first, is your ability to sell or enroll others in your services. Be careful to look there first. Anyone can get better at anything. Lowering your rates serves no one--least of all the client.

Clients who pay more are more serious about the work--and they get more accomplished in a shorter period of time. AND you show up at an ever grater level of excellence at a higher rate, multiplying this exponentially.

This is why I do not allow friends or family to subsidize a clients work for them with me.

They can borrow the money--they will take that seriously--but they may not be gifted any number of sessions. It is for the clients own good. And in the case of their borrowing it, I usually conduct my due diligence in making sure my work with them relieves more stress than it creates, so if there are underlying issues around money in their relationship, I may still decline that, not wanting to exacerbate them.

Additionally, if you told me you were unable to get the rate you wanted, I would ask a few questions

  • Can't get it from whom? Which market? There is always someone somewhere who can afford you and will see the value in it. The higher the rates, the smaller the pool of prospective clients as a matter of financial and numerical fact, but you can get it from the right target market
  • How confident and relaxed are you when they review the agreement and see the fees? Do you communicate worth and confidence? Or do you communicate an opening for a negotiation? Do you communicate uncertainty? Or--god forbid--do you ask them if it is too high as you project your own unresolved issues around money onto them? [The client has enough of their own limitations--they do not need you to add yours]
  • Are you selling from vision and possibility and creating more accurate and inspiring value perceptions in the prospect--or are you trading time for money?
  • How effective are you at inspiring, enrolling, and re-framing concerns?
  • Where do you need to gain additional skill?

No matter how good you are, you can ALWAYS improve your sales and communication skills.

Those are the questions we explore first to be an Evolutionary Professional--to be constantly improving our efficacy at leveraging others beyond their limitations to have the life they dream of. There is always something you could have done to make a difference in the process. Examine that and only that. After that inquiry is exhausted, then you can indulge in examining how the client X,Y or Z. And it is, in fact, an egoic indulgence unless you are clarifying what a "qualified" prospect is.

You also need to look at what your intake process and your behavior is telling the client and yourself about what are you selling and offering? What are you offering? How clear are you when you communicate that? Do you communicate competence? Where do you come from or what platform do you stand on? What does your approach and your behavior presuppose as organizing principles. Not espoused beliefs or platitudes, but rather--integrated and aligned behavior.

One of the organizing principles I shared with my Apprentices and Evolutionary Professional clients and I will share with you now is this: You are not selling them on your service or product. It is a mistake to think so no only for your relationship to your own fees, the client's relationship to your fees--their investment--but also your level of fulfillment. If you try to sell them on how great your product or service is, you run the risk of some dynamics that will be set you up to less effective.

What you are selling them is a solution to a problem, or an access--a gateway--to the vision they have for themselves. Therefore:

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How to Get Clients and Testimonials Today

A question I hear often is this:

"What is the quickest way to get new clients."

It is a good question and since I have heard it so many times recently, I thought I would give you all the strategy I recommend. If you use this simple approach, you can get new clients and testimonials today.

1. Call up clients you have worked with in the past to see how they are doing.

2. When they start talking about what a great experience it was to work with you and the results they experienced in their life ask them if you can quote them on that. Type it up and send it to them for their approval. This takes the one obstacle out of the way for them--the time and energy it would take to write it up.

And of course ::: ALWAYS make sure they have approved of the testimonial before publishing it anywhere.

3. Once they have told you exactly how great it was to work with you ask them if they know anyone else who might enjoy that kind of experience. Of course they will.

4. Ask them to get that person's permission to give you their contact information. That way, you can be proactive and again, if you are truly being of service, you will take the variable out of the equation.

Which variable?

They may forget--they may lose your information. They may get scared. If you use a passive approach by waiting for them to call not only has their life not been served, but you have lost business. 

I can not count the number of times a prospective client told me that they had simply forgotten to call me and they were grateful I had called.

Four simple steps and you have either a testimonial, or a referral--or both. I hope this makes a difference in your business and in your life today.

In Service,

Jason

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How to Get Clients and Testimonials In 10 Days

After the last piece on how to get clients and testimonials the same day, I had a few people ask me how to get clients if they had few or none in the past. In other words: what is the second fastest way to get clients.

The short answer is: give a talk or an evening intro to your work.

However, there are several structures you will need to have in place to make this an effective event for client acquisition.

  • Give people no less than 10 days notice, but no more than 2 weeks notice about your event. This falls in the window of them making sure they schedule it, without being so far out in the future that they wait and forget.
  • Give a cap to how many people will be there [limit it to 8 or 10 or 12] and require an RSVP. This does several things:
    • It creates more urgency for them to RSVP
    • It gives you [if you are not used to speaking in front of a large group] a manageable-sized audience so you can become comfortable with the whole affair
    • It allows you to then publish how many spots are left for the evening in a follow up email [and really, 1 email is never enough and 4 is likely too many in 2 weeks]
  • Make sure you open with the fact that you are obviously there for 2 reasons [say this in the first 1 minute of your talk]:
    • To provide value such that their lives are improved whether you see each other again or not
    • "obviously" to market your services [at the end]
    • At the end, let them know what is available, but simply pass around an interest sheet that lets them opt in to a free exploratory session, or your email newsletter. Low commitment level makes it easier.
    • When you open in this manner it does 3 things:
      • it sets context and appropriately sets expectations
      • it is honest and direct and also takes away the objection they will have at the end that they were not expecting a sales pitch--tell them to expect it
      • gives them an opportunity to walk out if the do not want that experience
  • Bear in mind, you have 48 hours before the prospective clients lead begins to cool off--they become less clear on what they were inspired by or moved by to ask you to contact them
  • Do not waste your time or money on letting them take your card [or even having them, really, or brochures for that matter]. If you truly want to be of service, then get their permission to contact them and take the guess work and variables out of it.
  • If you are publishing to multiple lists/target markets, you can do this ever two weeks, however, if you are publishing the same type of event to the same list, be aware that what happens is that if you do it more that once ever 6 weeks they will begin to take you for granted--"Oh, s/he'll be doing this in a couple weeks...so" and they won't come.

I hope this makes a difference in your life and in your business today.

In Service,

Jason

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Financial Sustainability | Package Offerings

Because we are dedicated to helping coaches and practitioners reach "financial sustainability" as well as their clients maintaining "sustainability of change", nothing can be more important than putting together an offering for clients that is 3-dimensional and saying no to a session-by-session weekly commitment model.

What that means is designing a package where the offering is coherent, cogent, and comprehensive. Where the client is moving through stages or phases that logically fit together in a holarchical way--each stage building on the previous stage or phase.

But recently, nascent practitioners have been asking me essentially this questions: "what if I am not yet clear about my offering? How can I figure out what to offer them when I am so unclear yet about my deepest gifts?" I want to answer this very important question because I have noticed that requiring the apprentices to come up with a full offering can be overwhelming and does not assist them in professional evolution, but has them contract and regress.

So, backing up to more fundamental ways to build your practice when you are new:

  • Go ahead and work session by session at first. Schedule that single session
  • Let them know at the beginning of the session, that once they experience you, at the end of the session, you will offer them an opportunity to sign up for more--then drop the subject and focus on their needs and outcomes
    • This has them know what to expect and takes away any objection to you offering it--and gives the client a smoother more integrated experience
  • At the end of the session ask them what they liked about it
  • Ask them if they want more of that
  • Provided you were effective, they will say yes 
  • Offer them a package of 4 or 6 session with a discount if they buy them all now. For instance--buy 6 get 1 free or some such offer.

All too often I have seen practitioners say some version of "if they liked the work..." or worse, "if it is meant to be then they will ask for more".  Not necessarily. Sometimes they just need you to ask. Sometimes they get distracted. And even if true, I have found it is all too often a gussied-up way to avoid what is realling going on--fear and anxiety about selling--while pretending to have a "accept whatever happens" orientation to life.

Rarely, do I sense it is an authentic developmental stage they have reached.

Most importantly, if you truly want to be successful, you need to integrate the fact that no matter how good you are or effective at your craft, you are the locus of responsibility to make things happen.

That, and if you really care about your clients having permanent sustainable change you will offer them a package. Would you go to the gym once and expect to be able to compete in weight lifting? Would you go once and think you have reached a new level of fitness?

Hardly.

So it is with the muscles of your [and your clients'] internal experience. Help them get the exercise they need so they can attain a new level of mental and emotional fitness--a new baseline of success and fulfillment in their life, and you get financial sustainability in the process.  Together, we all create a better world.

Now that is a true win-win-win.

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