Skip to main content

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

0
  8398 Hits

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.

You Might Be as Well

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:

Continue reading
0
  5949 Hits

Who [or What] is Your God ::: Transcending Religiosity Through Spiral Dynamics

Who or What do You Worship? The purpose of this writing is to lay out different “gods” or objects of worship as an outgrowth and/or expression of the mimetic stage [meme codes within values spheres] of individuals and groups using a rough sketch of the Spiral Dynamics model.

Be forewarned ::: this is serious personal evolution geek stuff.

I am also going to make the unusual move of saying the very premise of what I am about to lay out is inaccurate. That’s right. I am beginning by saying I am wrong in my assertion that there is an individual relationship between mimetic stage and what one “worships”. Why? Because we experience / interpret through and emotionally react from our stage of development—and an individual can therefore have an experience of a particular spirituality or spiritual expression that is the same religion and same “god” as another at a radically different stage and therefore experience it differently. However, I have noticed cultural clumps that gives us enough evidence to make these generalizations below for the purpose of engaging in this thought experiment. To understand some of what I will say in this writing, one must have an at least basic grasp of the Spiral Dynamics model. There are two summaries attached for your downloading HERE and HERE. Source ::: LINK. Review those before reading further.

My favorite way of representing Spiral Dynamics comes from Dr. Claire Graves himself: The memes are “degrees of activation of the nervous system”. These are not types of people but rather ways of thinking that are holarchically emergent within people. Having established all of the above as our foundation...

The status of the world today is precarious.

All we need to do is turn on the television or spend a day reading the New York Times, WaPo, The Wall Street Journal, Instapundit, or google news, to see some article about humans attempting to force their value system—often expressed through religiosity—onto others. Whether you are a Israeli having to worry about your existential existence while others in the name of Allah want to push you to the sea, or a secular humanist fearful of the Christian Right in America and some Nation States in Europe, or you are a secular Jew shaking your head at the expansion of settlements deeper into “Palestine”…or you were a New York Resident who watched the twin towers fall you are probably--to varying degrees—aware of and worried about religious fundamentalism and its perilous impact on the global web of life.

But there are other forms that are not as obvious and are more popularly accepted and advocated in today’s media and the latest social mimetic in vogue.

Regardless of which belief system you call your own, the dangers of religious fundamentalism are undeniable. In all likelihood, you just think it is the fundamentalism of the Other that is dangerous. But what of your own? You may or may not worship a traditional god, but there is a 98% chance you worship something—and have your own attachment and identification to it. Who or what do you worship? It may not be a god, a goddess, or a Great Spirit but it is something. Is it success, achievement, or the all-mighty dollar? Is it Gaia, Mother Earth, the biosphere? Is it the Nation State, government, or the democratic process? What do you surrender your mind to? What are you an activist for? Put your worship into? Become irrational over or about? Deny evidence to the contrary for/of? Once someone says anything is a settled matter—and are closed to debate or dialogue—and go so far as to say that those who do not agree should be tried and hanged, that, my friends, is religious fundamentalism regardless of the form of the deity. In fact, here is an organization advocating Nuremburg-Style Trials for Global Warming Skeptics. Lovely. Lovely example of fundamentalism, that is. Gaia as God/dess. Apparently we are going back to burning people at the stake for being heretics. Only the deity has changed.

 

Now that I have your attention, the rest of this piece will be a geek-out session of personal evolution and the emergent in spiral dynamics coupled with cultural clumps and the waves a particular god/dess or “deity” is most inclined towards.

Purple or “magic/mythic” will worship nature and the spirits in nature. The trees talk to Purple. So does the wind. They may worship the great Spirit or the Directions and their elements. Red worships power, respect, might, and most notably, blows things up in the name of Allah. Their “gods” may be the gang, the dictator, the Authoritarian State and so on. Blue/Conventional is likely to worship a Christian/Judeo god in a fundamentalist way—taking the bible or the Torah literally. Orange will worship the all-mighty dollar, success, status, and achievement, and/or hard science. Green will worship Gaia or Community or Multiculturalism and "Diversity" with great fervor and no regard for real-world results.

And thus ends Tier 1, where the “Momentous Leap”, as Dr Claire Graves called it, emerges and occurs. At Yellow, or Integral—the first stage in Tier 2, there is little or no “worship”, but rather an appreciation of all forms of worship and all metaphors [yes I said it] for the highest form of consciousness; what some refer to as “God” or Goddess”.

Having said all that, it is possible for someone to rise through these emergent stages in one of any of the religions or forms of worship listed above—but the way they interpret it moves from maniacal and fervent to literal to obedient to questioning to rejecting to appreciating it for its metaphorical value--yet having choice around it. And as one rises through those waves, stages, or levels of development in relationship to it, its grasp and its “Truth-ness” becomes less and less rigid and less and less fundamentalist and therefore less and less violent both physically and metaphorically. We hold our beliefs less rigidly and in relationship with them, our beliefs do not hold onto us quite so rigidly either. They lose their grip on us.

So…who—or what—do you worship? Each memetic stage in the evolution of values [another way of thinking about and representing SD] has its own fixation and spiritual expression. Is it God? Jehovah? Allah? Is it the Market? is it Gaia? Is it Community or the State?

Consider this ::: your view, while accurate and valid, is incomplete. It is partial. It must be. They all are. I look forward to a day when we can all truly appreciate the value and beauty in all beliefs while creating a stable and sustainable dialogue between all of them as we transcend our fundamentalism in all forms and create an Integral and integrated world.

0
  8128 Hits

Mistakes Practitioners Make [and their solutions] Part 3 | Target Markets

One of the biggest mistakes practitioners and solo business people make is marketing to themselves. That is to say their marketing and their marketing materials speak to their own sensibilities--but may or may not speak to the sensibilities of the ideal clientele they want to reach.

0
  3 Hits

The Top 6 Mistakes Coaches and Practitioners Make [and Their Solutions] (Part 1)

It is amazing how many coaches, solopreneurs, massage therapists, lawyers, etc. are competent at what they do--yet suffer financially. They are doing good, but they are not doing well--that is, they are struggling financially, mentally, and emotionally.

 

There are reasons for this. I have identified the top 6 reasons--and their solutions-that I have found in my experience in my own business as well as observing those who still have a "practice".

 

The first 3 are presented to you below. The next three will be in Part 2 in a couple of weeks.

 

Mistake #1:  Thinking "Money and Spirituality are in Conflict"

 

For some, "capitalism" is a bad word. Which makes sense. "Capitalism" was a phrase coined by the biggest enemy of the free market and free enterprise to ever live--Karl Marx. Yet, we keep that inaccurate and pejorative moniker. We were taught for thousands of years that to profit was bad--and then this meme was punctuated by the evils of capitalism laid out by a failed mathematician who had no foresight into the services industry--never mind respect for private property and Natural Law and was therefore essentially a thief on a grand scale. Even though with the rise of capitalism in the mid-1800s, our standard of living has more than trebled, never mind that our life expectancy has doubled in a short time as a result...it...is...bad.

 

While there was a a time when one could only profit by exploitation and manipulation or by inheritance or plunder, this has not been accurate for nearly 300 years.

 

[Before commenting on this, please read my series of articles on Spiritual Capitalism, found here: Read First || Read Second || Read Third.]

 

Maybe we should consider throwing off the chains of thinking birthed centuries before the Enlightenment and even before the founding of this Country and came to a head--and have been proven to be inaccurate, ineffective, and fundamentally broken in the last Century.

 

The truth is, it is not only possible to come from service and contribution in a "for profit" environment--that is to live a purpose-filled life--but also to profit well from it and to live prosperously. It takes some personal work--being mindful of your thinking, cleaning out your unconscious imprints of guilt and shame, and to constantly be of service while having sufficient esteem for your self to recognize the value you are bringing to another's life and to have them provide that value monetarily in exchange. It takes a lack of attachment to "closing that deal" and being more focused on service and "opening relationships"--and much more.

 

Actually, I have found what can be provided to our clients lives is priceless to them. Fees are insignificant when weighed against what the work we do in their lives will make possible. It is not a commodity. It is a gateway to greater freedom and happiness. We can live a spiritually oriented life--and integrate free-market, service-based principles into that.

 

By doing so, we integrate our spiritual and our financial life. This frees us from guilt, shame, and allows us to flourish spiritually while prospering financially.

 

Mistake #2: Underdeveloped Skill: Sales, Marketing, and Ethical Influence

 

We have all had negative experience with sales people. Not sales professionals, but sales people--that is, people who want to "close a deal" rather than open a relationship. And most sales trainers teach techniques with little regard for a philosophical base or grounding. I do not support that.

 

I used to think sales was a dirty word. That was until I realized that until I could influence people to take action in their lives--leverage them beyond their limitations--I could never really do much good in the world. You can only be a positive agent for change if you can inspire others to move beyond their current thinking--the thinking that has them in their current life situation and has stopped them from being fully free and thriving.

 

Therefore--if you truly want to do good in the world, it becomes your duty--yes, your duty--to assist others in overcoming their limitations. That means learning to sell and market your services in a compelling way that comes from service and contribution while combining that with powerful tool of influence.

 

You must gain those skills if you want to make a difference and be prosperous.

 

While it may be hard to swallow at first [took me years to accept] you must be a sales person first--that is you must be able to enroll others in a vision--to live your purpose and prosper.

 

Mistake #3: A Lack of Structure: Service, Sustainability, and Packages

 

One you are coming from service and contribution, you begin to consider what would best serve the client. Most practitioners have session-by-session practices or monthly packages, but they do not have comprehensive packages that have stages and phases in them. How many people out there have dabbled here and dabbled there and never really bucked down and did the deep work to reveal greater depths within themselves? I have found most clients approach their personal development this way. "Well, I have tried this and I have tried that...", [but I never really got what I needed that was deeper].

 

The best thing you can do as a coach or a practitioner is to find a way to create a compelling 3-stage or 3-phase offering that allows the client to reveal greater and greater depths or to attain greater and greater heights. For a massage therapist, this may mean something like:

  • Healing
  • Activating
  • Opening
For a Coach it may mean something like:
  • Clarity
  • Tool Gathering/Education
  • Purpose/Action
I am just pulling these out of my pocket and tossing them out there. The point is that if you truly want to be of service to your clients, you will develop a phased program so that they finally make a deep commitment to themselves--and they finally achieve that elusive transformation--mentally, emotionally, and perhaps spiritually, they have been looking for for years. In the process, you create a sustainable practice with monthly payments coming in--and you get to then relax and be certain you are always acting with integrity and acting ethically. People only get slimy when they are desperate. You owe it to your clients to create a deep compelling offer that is only offered with integrity--and you owe it to your self to be prosperous as a purpose driven helper. Everyone wins. And wouldn't you like to be in a position to say to to a prospect you really do not want to work with? Of course you would. Wouldn't you like to always operate with full integrity and ethics intact coming from service and contribution? Of course you would. Wouldn't you like to provide comprehensive solutions to your clients so you can make a deep and lasting positive impact on their lives? [The next 3 top problems/errors and solutions will be handled in part 2]

0
  9343 Hits