Ever measure the gap between how much you make and how much you’d like to earn? Your money deserves attention. Research states 82% of businesses fail because of cash flow problems.
Don’t simply consider production costs, your competitors rates or an arbitrary hourly rate when setting your prices. These pricing models can significantly lower your profits.
You deserve to be well-paid for your services. Unlike the traditional pricing methods, value based pricing highlights your expertise. Because this model focuses on your knowledge, it’s possible to earn many times more than your hourly rate.
How does that happen? First you need to figure out why your clients want to hire you. What do they value? That insight influences how much you charge.
Sandy does tax preparation for wineries, but never considered the end value from her services. She could easily outline the workflow. But, she was uncertain about the end value.
You deserve to be well-paid for your services. Unlike the traditional pricing methods, value based pricing highlights your expertise. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
So we rolled up our sleeves to figure out three key deliverables.
She reduces the tax bill for wineries.
Her clients receive peace of mind that everything’s accurate.
A very small percentage of her clients get audited. She stands behind her work and represents her clients at audits.
We discussed the 6 value based pricing factors.
Economy – People spend more money during a strong economy. They’re more likely to outsource their taxes when business is good. During a downturn, they may do their own taxes to save some money.
Seasonality – Sandy’s phone rings off the hook during tax season. January to April includes many long days with few days off. Of course, she makes most of her money at that time.
Pricing Limit – Some clients may highly value your service, but unable to afford your fees. Sandy’s fees attracted price sensitive clients. Targeting higher income clients is one strategy that would increase her income.
Urgency – A handful of clients always procrastinate. Then they panic right before the filing deadline. I showed Sandy how to adjust her prices, similar to airline tickets. Early birds get the best rates. Procrastinators pay a premium fee.
Scarcity – As the go-to expert for wineries, she doesn’t have much competition.
Quality – Sandy looks out for her clients all year long. Her perceived value has grown along with her solid reputation. It’s now time for her pricing to reflect her value.
Evaluation of Value Based Pricing
Value based pricing isn’t something she’ll calculate once and forget. Her rates evolves with time and need constant re-evaluation.
Stop leaving money on the table. Charging by the hour or calculating according to your costs undervalues your expertise. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Here are some ways Sandy started to understand her value:
Surveys: Once tax season was over, Sandy sent out a survey to her clients asking about the client experience.
Feedback: Sandy took several of her best clients to lunch. Much of the conversation focused on their needs and specific desires. Several suggestions were immediately implemented.
High-value Clients: The price-sensitive clients were time consuming. As a result, Sandy is now choosy about who she takes on as a client. The wineries who value quality over price are a better fit for her.
Offer Variety: Of course, client needs vary. Startups don’t have the same needs as more established wineries. It’s not one size fits all. Her packages reflect their unique needs.
Ideal Client Evaluation
Who is your ideal client? What’s their biggest challenge? Do you know exactly why they value your service?
Consistently re-evaluate your ideal client. As your business grows, your ideal client changes. Stay ahead of your clients wants and needs with value based pricing.
Value Based Pricing Conclusion
Stop leaving money on the table. Charging by the hour or calculating according to your costs undervalues your expertise.
To charge higher prices, it is crucial to understand what your clients need and value in your services. Value pricing is a paradigm shift.
Shifting to value based pricing isn’t easy. Follow these recommendations for a business to be successful, and grow while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to create value based pricing.
Closing the sale. That term rubs me the wrong way. It turns a decision into a transaction, removing the human aspect.
People buy because of their human side; not in spite of it. With that in mind, I prefer to enroll new clients, rather than close a sale.
Your ideal client is smart. So, you need to be, too. Consider how the various psychological pricing strategies apply to your services. Take into account the significant hidden factors which determine whether, or not, they invest with you.
More is not always better. Although people claim they want a wide variety of options, research proves that’s not true. Our human brains don’t like complexity. It’s overwhelming.
The Center Stage Effect
Too many options cause your brain to feel paralyzed. When that occurs, you increase the odds of making a decision which goes against your own self-interest.
The center stage effect simplifies the decision. Rather than consider all the choices equally, you search out the middle item.
Now consider the options you offer clients. Which options are your most popular? Consider how to narrow what you offer. Then place the ideal choice in the middle of the list.
The center stage effect has a cousin called the compromise effect. With three options stacked next to each other, we avoid picking the items on the left or right. Those end options feel risky while the middle item feels safe.
Many entrepreneurs now offer packages, where they bundle various services together. Ideally, you want to offer three options.
Many entrepreneurs now offer packages, where they bundle various services together. Ideally, you want to offer three options. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
You will be surprised at how most clients choose the middle-priced package.
The Price Spread
Now that you know about the way people choose, let’s discuss how to apply psychological pricing to your options.
The attraction effect focuses on pricing. When you offer three packages, price your middle option closer to the more expensive package. Once again, most people choose the middle price. It’s that simple.
Starbucks applies this pricing strategy to their coffee menu. Of course, most of their customers select the middle or large option.
Let’s say the Latte at Starbucks is priced as follows:
Starbucks coffee drinkers face a difficult decision. Either they limit the amount of coffee they get or shell out more money for the size they want. Starbucks knows their loyal followers will happily spend more than reduce the amount of coffee in their cup.
Decision making includes conscious and subconscious factors. As you consider psychological pricing, you don’t want to overlook visual information.
Decision making includes conscious and subconscious factors. As you consider psychological pricing, you don’t want to overlook visual information. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Ever go to an upscale restaurant where they didn’t use a dollar sign on their menu? The dollar sign symbolizes loss rather than gain. Customers end up spending more money when the dollar sign isn’t present.
Your mind attaches to the first number you see. That number becomes a frame of reference, or anchor, when deciding whether to sign on with you. Consider the specific service you want to sell. Then place it next to your highest priced service. This increases the perceived value.
Focus on High Value
Free webinars and free courses are readily available online. Basically, clients want to experience what you offer before they buy your program. So forget the fluff. Share something of high value before you ask them to invest in your service.
Weave in information about any special or innovative features that your service offers. As you educate them about what it’s like to work with you, vividly paint the picture about the benefits they’ll receive. Share stories and case studies which reinforce those outcomes.
Other people’s words can tip the decision in your favor. Sprinkle in testimonials and reviews on your page to add credibility.
Here’s where it’s okay to brag. Educate potential clients about the recommendations or awards you’ve received. Or, share where you’ve been featured in an interview, podcast or publication. These noteworthy items belong on your sales pages.
Psychological Pricing Insights
Psychological pricing helps you figure out your pricing strategy. This keeps you mindful about how your clients think when deciding to work with you. Remember, buying is an emotional decision which is justified with logic.
Psychological pricing keeps you mindful about how your clients think when deciding to work with you. Buying is an emotional decision which is justified with logic. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Before they invest in your high ticket services, they need to trust that you can deliver on your promise.
Psychological pricing eases the decision for new clients. Rather than wonder if they want to work with you, they now decide how to work with you. This pricing strategy can boost your sales and increase how much you earn.
Follow these pricing strategies for a business to be successful, and grow while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to create value based pricing.
No two clients are alike. Some face simple challenges while others are more complex. Because of that, placing the same price tag on their needs doesn’t make sense.
You have so much to offer. In fact, your service is probably superior to your competitors. Then why compete on price?
Posting your rates on your website highlights how much your time is worth, but it hides your expertise.
This leaves their biggest question unanswered – do you possess the solution to their problem?
When you sell low ticket items, like a product or a class, post your prices. Services, however, are different. Especially, when you work privately with your clients.
People Buy on Emotion
We believe price is the first consideration. That’s simply not true.
Harvard research proves that buying decisions are rarely based upon logic. Emotions drive our decisions. Then logic justifies those choices.
As the legendary copywriter Joseph Sugarman states, people buy Mercedes for status rather than features. The decision’s emotional, not logical.
What’s Your Preference?
Out of curiosity, I posed this question to my followers: What do you think about posting your prices on your website?
Immediately after the post went live, responses flew in.
Transparency was the primary reason for rates to be posted on a website. They want potential clients to be fully informed about their fees before contacting them.
Some felt this pre-qualified a potential client. Others don’t enjoy discussing their rates.
Now if you value price your service, then you lean away from posting your rates. This pricing strategy emphasizes outcomes. Since it’s not time based, a price cannot be determined before you assess the need. It’s similar to a doctor. Surgery would never be prescribed prior to the exam.
The Downside to Posting Your Rates on Your Website
Our brains influence all of our decisions. When someone comes to your website and finds your pricing page, this creates an anchor. Basically, they connect your value to that number. This has disadvantages.
Listed prices create preconceived expectations and false assumptions. Many times I’ve heard of entrepreneurs who found out a potential client worked with someone else that had higher prices. You value your time more than your clients do.
When you mention a price that’s higher than what’s listed on your website, this creates suspicion. Don’t do anything that risks your integrity.
Mentioning any price makes the client fixate on price. Naturally, they’ll compare your prices with other services online. As a result, you lose their attention.
Things Clients Actually Want
Price is not the only factor that ideal clients consider. Are you a good fit for them and are they a good fit for you? Three primary factors influence their decision.
Price. Can they afford your services? How do you differ from lower priced alternatives? Are your prices so low that a potential client questions your credibility?
Client Experience. How well defined is the client experience? Can they reach you in-between scheduled appointments? How quickly do you respond to their concerns?
Delivery. Does your business actually fulfill its promises?
Selling value differs from competing on price. This approach emphasizes what matters to them. Then they discover how your service resolves their concern. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Selling value differs from competing on price. This approach emphasizes what matters to them. Then they discover how your service resolves their concern.
The Ideal Pricing Strategy
If you’re selling time, and you value transparency, then list your prices on your website. Either your rate fits into their pre-conceived notion of what your service is worth, or they move on.
Don’t list rates when you value price your services. Offer a free consultation. Then focus on their needs. When done correctly, they’ll naturally ask you “how does this work?”
By the way, value pricing actually prices the clients rather than your services. Unlike the traditional hourly rate, it’s not one rate for all clients.
You can actually adjust your prices up or down – depending on the complexity of the client.
So leaving the pricing for later allows you to match different clients to their corresponding prices. Since you quote a set price, time is irrelevant.
Posting prices on your website undermines your value. Clients who value your solution will happily pay more than your hourly rate to fully solve their problem. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet Final Thoughts to Posting Your Rates on Your Website
Posting prices on your website undermines your value. Your ideal clients want proof that your services can effectively solve their problems. Offer a consultation that highlights their concerns. Clients who value your solution will happily pay more than your hourly rate to fully solve their problem.
Follow these recommendations for a business to be successful, and grow while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to create value based pricing.
Google’s filled with lists offering expert advice about how to grow a profitable business. However, only an exceptional few actually succeed.
You want to constantly test various options to determine your best growth strategy. It’s not a simple one-size-fits-all. Are you up for the challenge?
Check out these four tips to grow a profitable business that were tested by growth-minded entrepreneurs.
1. Develop Profitable Partnerships
Entrepreneurs are lone rangers. We do everything, especially in the beginning.
Your reach; however, only extends so far.
Leverage solves that problem. Access your connections to reach more people without doing it all yourself. Search for a complimentary business that will happily introduce you to their client base.
This strategy emphasizes collaboration, not competition. Basically, everyone wins.
I’ve formed relationships with several business that serve similar clients. One company is LeanLaw, a SaaS (software as a service) company. Accounting professionals who niche with attorneys use their QuickBooks app.
They wanted to add value to their clients and reached out to me. Since then, we collaborated on a series of business development webinars for their clients.
What resource can you share that another business would happily offer to their clients? Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
How would you develop a similar strategic relationship? Start to search for complimentary businesses. Remember, both sides need to bring value to the table. What resource can you share that another business would happily offer to their clients?
2. Create a Remarkable Experience
All of your people count. This includes clients, employees and vendors.
Feedback is golden. Start conversations with former clients and vendors. Discover where your service excels. Remember to also ask for honest input about the gaps.
Don’t simply store this information away. Use these valuable insights to elevate your business and strengthen your brand.
The Oregon-based tax firm, Amcom, is a great example. The ladies in this office work hard to serve their clients, especially during tax season. The business owners, Pam and Laurie, realize the long days, without a break, are exhausting. After their busy tax season was over, they closed up shop and treated their entire staff to a cruise.
Don’t dismiss your relationships. Take care of your people. Find ways to let them know you value them.
3. Simplify Choices
Ever look at a restaurant menu that offered six pages of options? The variety feels overwhelming.
Too many choices stir up confusion; this complicates the decision. Your long list of options may sabotage someone’s decision to work with you. That’s the opposite of what you want.
Here’s the solution. Many service-oriented businesses now offer three-tier pricing to avoid overwhelm.
Consider ways you can simplify the options you offer. Rather than list ala-carte services, develop service packages.
Communication companies masterfully bundle several services together. Their value package combines internet, cable TV and phone.
Consider the needs and wants of your clients. Then bundle your services together in one package. Remember to lead with quality, not quantity.
Polymath, a consulting firm, serves businesses in the adventure travel industry. They serve a very specific niche market. Rather than build a long list of ala carte services, they created a three-package model to simplify the “ways to work together” decision.
You can’t grow a profitable business without trust. Here are the 6 things that build trust. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Share your experiences: People appreciate transparency. As a highly private person, that’s a challenge. It took me awhile to get comfortable sharing my setbacks and mistakes. I now realize they serve an important purpose.
Share Information: Share information about your processes and services. Your clients want to know about your system. This gives them confidence that you can deliver on your promise.
Stories: Include testimonials and case studies. Someone else’s experience about your work together can influence a potential client who’s on the fence about whether, or not, to hire you.
Speak: Speaking to an audience gives you instant credibility. Be a featured guest on podcasts. Speak on stages such as TedX. Get out there and generously share your knowledge.
Share Content: Create content, including blogs and videos, which solve your client’s biggest problems. This is one more way to let people know you’re a subject matter expert.
Straight Talk: Be straight-forward while conducting business. Whether you are educating your team, networking with referral sources or explaining your services to your clients – say what you mean. People appreciate a direct approach.
Final Thoughts to Grow a Profitable Business
Like a house, your business needs a solid foundation. Develop a growth strategy, build a strong company culture and align your mission with your core values. Of course, trust is critical.
Consistently seek ways to reach more people. Develop partnerships with like-minded companies. Speak on established platforms. Share your content in a variety of ways.
Follow these recommendations to grow a profitable business while keeping your passion alive. Are you tired of doing work for free because you don’t know how to charge for it? Discover how to get paid what you are worth and attract clients who understand your value. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to create value based pricing.
Yes, you need new clients for ongoing growth. But, don’t turn your back on your current clients. They are golden since they already know, like and trust you. So, strategically develop ways to increase the value of your current clients. It’s easier than you think.
Do you know the value of your average client? If not, then set time aside to figure this out.
On average, how much money do you earn from one client?
Increase the Value of Your Current Clients
Rather than work with someone a single time, imagine working with that same client over a lifetime. Repeat clients cost 6-7 times less than new clients. Plus, they refer others to you which makes them even more valuable.
I outlined five distinct ways for Stacey to increase the value of her current bookkeeping clients. Here’s the strategy she followed:
Sell more per client
She gradually added complimentary services that her current clients’ desire.
Rather than work with someone a single time, imagine working with that same client over a lifetime. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Cross-Sell. Over the past year she added complimentary services to her business. She now offers tax advisory and payroll services. So now they receive all of these services in one place, rather than splitting it up with two or three different vendors.
Up-sell. Airlines repeatedly offer upgrades. You purchase a coach seat, then during check out they entice you with more legroom once you upgrade to Business Class. Similar to the airlines, Stacey offered an upgrade to advisory services. Some clients immediately chose the package that includes additional consulting.
Down-sell. We discussed how client needs vary over time. She closely supported one client through a difficult separation from a business partner. Now that the separations complete, this business owner doesn’t need the same level of advisory services. So, that client transitioned to a lower package.
Retain Clients Longer
A study by Gartner group states 80 percent of your future revenue stems from 20 percent of your existing clients. That reinforces the time Stacey devotes to keep her current clients happy.
Stacey decided on several specific ways to add value.
Personalization. Stacey cares deeply about her clients. Now she finds ways to connect with them, even in-between client meetings. Time is blocked on her schedule to respond to their Facebook posts or send personalized emails with something of interest to them.
Exclusive Resources. Stacey believes education empowers her clients. She hosts monthly Facebook live trainings and uploads resources to her private group page. A specific core group of clients regularly show up for these trainings, and even request specific topics.
Track Your Profits. Money likes being paid attention to. Stacey reviewed which services are the most profitable and which don’t pull their weight. Next, she identified her most profitable, ideal clients. Then, we developed a plan to attract similar clients.
Social Proof. Testimonials and social proof are excellent influencers. When it is appropriate, she shares them to emphasize the value of upgrading to a higher package.
Lower Costs by Creating Systems
Check this out: businesses with 40% repeat clients generate nearly 50% more revenue than similar businesses with only 10% repeat clients. Systems, like McDonald’s way to make your burger, focuses on the process rather than the person. Training a lower-level employee to do the task frees her up for higher level work.
Stacey routinely reviews her daily operations. She consistently aims to increase effectiveness, improve efficiency and lower costs. Some activities are now automated. Others became a system.
Value pricing rewards efficiency while an hourly rate penalizes you for it. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Of course this led to my favorite topic: value pricing. An hourly rate cuts into her profits. That’s because she’d earn less for the same outcome. On the other hand, value pricing immediately drives up her profits. Basically, value pricing rewards efficiency while an hourly rate penalizes her for it.
Stand out From Competitors
How does she stand out and get noticed? Like many businesses, she isn’t creating something entirely new. Instead, she’s figuring out how to capitalize on the inefficiencies of most bookkeeping services by improving the client experience.
Amazon did this exact thing. Their system made online purchasing more convenient. Over time, they expanded their offerings beyond books. You can now shop for almost anything 24/7.
Stacey’s bookkeeping business stands out by elevating the client experience and resolving her ideal client’s specific concerns.
Consider this example. Your favorite, local coffee shop recently released an app where you order and pay for your morning coffee before you leave the house. Once you arrive, you skip the line, pick up your order and then you’re quickly out the door. Because they addressed the morning rush hour time crunch, and they serve high quality coffee, they’ve attracted a loyal following.
Stacey consistently refines the services, resources and experience that her clients highly value.
Be a Connector
Aim for exceptional. Stacey created a culture that highlights the client experience. She first identified the additional services that her clients crave. Then she stepped into an advisory role as their “go-to” referral source.
When it’s appropriate, she introduces her clients to others within her network. She consistently seeks opportunities to connect people. Just recently she introduced a client to a podcast host. Because of that simple introduction, that client’s now booked for an interview.
When you’re remarkable, and add value, your clients stick around longer. Adding value is a win-win.
Bring it All Together
Increase the value of your current clients as a way to grow your bottom line. Remember to appreciate your clients. Find ways to make them happy, show you care and keep them engaged.
Don’t overlook the value of systems. They significantly lower costs and free up your precious time. Of course, value-based pricing attracts quality clients and rewards efficiency.
Consistently strive to increase client loyalty. Position yourself as a trusted advisor. Then go the extra mile by opening up your rolodex to strategically introduce your clients to the right people.
Are you ready to increase profits, but concerned about your time? Then let’s talk. I offer a complimentary strategy session where we define how to increase the value of your current clients and grow a profitable business without compromising other parts of your life.
Do you love rollercoaster rides? Building a thriving business, with its ups and downs, can feel like one. Especially in the early stages before momentum develops. Adding a niche marketing strategy to everything else on your plate often causes overwhelm.
Most training programs don’t offer marketing or sales in their course offerings. So when you decide to go out on your own, rather than remain employed, you’re left to figure this out. You then wonder where to start – pricing, demographics, budget, time, competition or something else. Can you be sure that your efforts won’t go to waste?
That is one reason why you want to narrow your focus on a market niche.
The transition to a niche appears complicated. Doubtful thoughts start to surface as you dwell on the transition and all its steps. Concerns about limiting your reach, and in turn, limiting your clientele flare up.
Don’t Wait for Confidence
The primary underlying fear is “what if it doesn’t work out in the end?” The thought of failure stops you in your tracks. If you’re concerned about others judging you, then that adds another layer of complexity to the decision.
Your decision to develop a niche market requires courage. I believe courage matters more than confidence. The confidence appears later.
Right now choosing a niche seems like a permanent commitment – until forever do you part. Fortunately, that’s a choice. Just like you’ve grown so much since you first started this journey, your niche market transforms over time. As your business grows, your niche market becomes more defined.
Fear keeps you stuck, unable to make a decision. I’d like to reduce some of your concerns. Let’s empower you with the steps to develop a solid niche marketing strategy.
1. Define the Niche You Don’t Want
The first step in building a niche marketing strategy is to clearly define your people. This gradually develops over several years.
Defining a non-ideal client occurs first. I quickly realized negative people who don’t desire change as well as entrepreneurs who care more about making money than helping their clients aren’t my ideal clients.
Do you love rollercoaster rides? Building a thriving business, with its ups and downs, can feel like one. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
The accounting industry affectionately calls troublesome clients PITA (pain in the ass) clients. You know who they are. They never follow through, they’re unresponsive, make a ton of excuses or blame you rather than take personal responsibility.
After I started to define my non-ideal client, then I subtracted the specific business models which weren’t an ideal fit for my services. This was pretty easy. The list included all businesses that were not service based.
2. Find Your Patterns
I find patterns fascinating. Your work resolves a specific set of challenges. Like habits that you unknowingly develop, some patterns remain hidden. Over time obvious patterns emerge; although, you may not be aware of them.
Some patterns I’ve noticed with my clients include:
Mindset qualities, like over-thinking, perfectionism and avoiding risk, interfere with work flow.
Unsure how to raise rates and charge for value rather than time.
Too much time spent working takes a personal toll.
This insight is like hidden gold. As you deal with a specific set of concerns over and over again, you unknowingly develop a system. It’s true with all of my clients.
We first define your system. Your system then influences your niche marketing strategy. This rich information gets re-purposed in a variety of ways.
3. Develop Your Niche Marketing Strategy
Expect to receive referrals as your niche develops. They’re great for your business and they validate your work.
Many businesses rely solely on referrals. But, that’s like placing your business growth in someone else’s hands. Sometimes your source suddenly dries up. Then what?
Diversity. Develop your game plan. Some marketing efforts achieve quick results while others lead to long term results. Then there’s the wild card. These efforts deliver different results than you expected.
Test. How does your ideal client find you? Often it seems like throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. A strategic marketing plan actually involves a lot of testing. Expect some trial and error.
Three legged stool. Some entrepreneurs appear everywhere. However, they didn’t start out that way.
Think of a three legged stool. Decide how you want to market. Is it in-person, media or virtual? Once you find the most effective channels, then consider adding another one. Aim for three strong channels, these are your legs. The legs support the seat, which is your business.
Marketing is a long-term strategy. So, avoid spreading your resources too thin. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Your niche marketing strategy is a long-term strategy. So, avoid spreading your resources too thin.
4. What do you talk about?
Focus on the few, rather than attempt to cover everything. Once again, stay in your lane. We previously discussed patterns. Did you identify some patterns with your clients?
If so, then start there.
Start to ask yourself:
Which common concerns do your ideal clients share?
What do you do for almost all of your ideal clients?
What exact results do they receive?
Yes, I want you to stick with a few select topics. But, you want your strategy to include variety, that’s because people respond to information differently. You may find case studies get your attention. Some of your ideal clients prefer facts. Whereas others hunger for the “how to” tactical steps.
5. Develop a Funnel
The next step is to build your sales funnel – a series of steps – which transforms visitors into clients. Your funnel is a long term strategy. Some clients; however, quickly move through your funnel to your highest level service.
Simply because someone learned about you and your services, they aren’t all in the same stage of the buying cycle. People in the awareness stage seek different information than ones in the research or action stage.
Your funnel serves two purposes.
You elegantly move people from one stage to the next.
By the time they request a consultation, they’re highly qualified.
For example, an online business sales funnel includes:
Attraction. Attract visitors to your website. Your marketing efforts are free, paid, or some combination of both.
Gather. Collect email information. Typically, you offer a lead magnet, where you give them a resource, in exchange for their email address.
Educate. Start to host webinars, offer assessments and discuss case studies.
Sample. Can people work with you in a variety of different ways? Some people may want a sample of your services before they make a larger, long term commitment. Classes and workshops are a great option for those who like a trial first.
Ask. The right people will be ready to work with you. Provide an opportunity for them to speak with you or someone on your team.
Build your funnel over time. In the beginning only work with clients privately.
When the demand to work with you exceeds your available hours, consider ways to expand your offering. You can add group programs into your business model. They’re highly lucrative since you earn more money in less time.
Then as your business grows, and you systematize your program, train someone else to lead the group.
An effective niche marketing strategy puts your clients first. You attract them with a specific message. Then you nurture the relationship with high quality information. Finally, you extend an invitation for your ideal client to schedule a consultation with you
It continually evolves, changing over time. The key is to pay attention to your client’s needs.
If you are facing overwhelm, schedule a strategy session to discuss your niche marketing strategy.
More doesn’t always equate to better. This is especially true with your business. We commonly believe it’s important to serve a wide variety of clients and to offer a vast range of services. This approach; however, spreads your resources too thin.
What appeals to some clients will turn off others. You’re unable to be all things to all people. Not only does this dilute your service; it’s draining.
Like most entrepreneurs, I didn’t start out with a traditional niche business. Instead, I focused on the psychographics. My ideal client shared specific qualities and characteristics. Over the years, I narrowed down to a specific profession.
Developing a specialty took even longer. Although I had a very specific niche when I co-owned my counseling agency with Steve, my current specialty wasn’t immediately obvious to me. And when I look back, it was there all along. I simply couldn’t recognize that.
The old adage that less is more applies to your business. Like most entrepreneurs, you excel at a select few things. Go ahead and start out as a generalist. You’ll gain insight about your ideal client and their needs. Eventually you’ll get to a point where you can cherry-pick your clients.
Basically, a business niche highlights the services you do best and attracts your ideal client. Even Richard Branson focused the first thirteen years on the music industry before Virgin ventured into other areas.
Here’s why you’ll benefit from a business niche:Better Client Experience
Specialists are more attractive than generalists. I may save some money up front with a generalist. But, I often pay more in the long run. Either, it takes more time to solve the problem. Or, the generalist made things even worse and now I need to hire a specialist to undo everything.
Yes, specialists charge higher fees for their services. On the other hand, the client experience is usually superior. Not only am I investing in a solution, I’m confident that they’ll deliver on their promises. Overall, specialists save time and reduce frustration.
Focus your passion and attention on your strengths. A business niche positions you as an expert. Clients come to you because of your in-depth knowledge and experience. Competing for business is no longer necessary.
A business niche positions you as an expert. Competing for business is no longer necessary. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
One of the accounting firms that I worked with didn’t want to compete for services. Similar to other firms, she offers bookkeeping and taxes services. We discussed how a niche strategy works. As we reviewed her client list, she realized several of her favorite clients are attorneys. Plus, only a select few accounting firms specialize in attorneys.
She began to develop knowledge about the legal field that expands beyond accounting. This positions her as a resource for her clients. Those busy attorneys reach out to her, even when they need something that’s not directly related to taxes. Attorneys, like many other professions, are a close knit group. Because of that, her client referrals have skyrocketed.
Although a niche takes awhile to develop, it’s highly lucrative. Specialists charge higher fees than generalists. Rather than trading dollars for hours, you now charge for your expertise.
Value pricing benefits you and your clients. That’s because they’re paying you for a solution rather than time. As you gain expertise, you naturally become faster at solving the specific problem your clients experience. Value pricing, unlike an hourly rate, doesn’t penalize speed and efficiency. In fact, your clients actually value the fact that you can quickly solve their problems.
As a specialist, you set the rules about how you work, when you work and who you work with.
The best referrals are client referrals. When you excel at your service, your clients brag about you to their peers. By the time a client referral reaches out to you, they’re ready to engage your services.
When I’m looking for a service provider, I’m not going to the phone book. In fact, I no longer own a phone book. Either I ask the people I trust who are in my network or I ask for a referral on Facebook.
But don’t stop there. That’s because you’ll miss out on an entire source of hot referrals.
Let me explain this advanced move. It’s common belief that the people in your inner circle, known as strong links, will give you the most referrals. Research reveals that’s not true.
Don’t overlook your weakest links. These are the people who you occasionally connect with. Although it’s counter-intuitive, they’re a better source of referrals than your strong links. It’s why networking groups and industry conferences can lead to new clients.
Stand Out and Get Noticed
With no specific target market, your business gets lost among the hundreds of other businesses offering the same service. Whereas, a business niche that solves a very specific problem for a select group gets you noticed. This positions you as a trusted advisor.
Periodically I’ll land on a website that lists 25 specialties. That tells me this entrepreneur’s a generalist and reluctant to choose a single area of focus.
The one-size-fits-all approach solves superficial problems. It’s like preferring one-size-fits-all clothing to custom made clothes. They’re too baggy on some and too tight on others. Only a select few really look good in those clothes. Or, you need to adapt the clothes to fit you correctly.
The one-size-fits-all approach solves superficial problems. It’s like preferring one-size-fits-all clothing to custom made clothes. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Selecting a specific niche is a perfect fit for your ideal clients. You get you noticed by the right people and they value your service.
Research the Market
Sometimes you may offer a fantastic service. But, end up marketing it to the wrong niche. That’s exactly what happened with one software company. They developed a fantastic software product for medical practices.
They promoted their service to physicians, but ended up getting poor results. That’s because they mistakenly targeted the wrong market. Physicians weren’t the users and didn’t truly understand their value.
Rather than throw in the towel, they reviewed their strategy and shifted their focus. They started to market to the medical billers. That’s because physicians hire medical billers to file their claims. Once this software company targeted the correct user, they’re business quickly grew.
Sometimes you offer a good service; however, you’re targeting the wrong market. That’s when you want to change your audience rather than change your act.
Get really clear about who you serve and what you offer. People will try to lead you astray, doing things that extend beyond your area of expertise. And, you will be tempted to veer off rather than stick in your lane.
I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs who strayed away from their specialty. As a result, they spend too many hours doing work they don’t truly enjoy. When you dilute your focus, and do things you don’t savor, this turns your business into a grind.
Since it’s your business, you choose what you want to do and who you want to serve. Set a boundary that allow you to cherry pick your clients. Expect to say “no” to non-ideal clients or turn down work that’s outside of your area.
Stay in Your Lane
Sticking to your specialty saves you from difficult decisions later on when you realize that you’re spending too much time doing work you don’t like or wondering how to fire non-ideal clients.
A million businesses exist that offer one-size-fits-all solutions. Don’t follow the masses. Enjoy the rewards of a highly specialized niche business. At the end of the day, the trust and respect you gain is well worth it.
Developing a niche business is easier said than done. If you are unsure about whether you have the experience to call yourself a specialist, book a strategy session with me. Together we’ll uncover your value and the path to a highly lucrative business!
As an entrepreneur, you devote countless hours to your business. Can you even remember the last time you enjoyed a work-free weekend? If you’re making those personal sacrifices, then let’s ensure your efforts move your business in the right direction.
At some point in the growth phase, you’ll wonder whether you ought to pick a niche. Wondering which specialty to pursue can be overwhelming. Although so many options exist you eventually want to narrow down your selection.
Follow these strategies to pick a niche for your business.
Identify Client Problems and Needs
Start to research the various market needs that you can solve. Along the way, you’ll gain awareness about your ideal clients specific wants, needs and desires. This avoids the mistake of creating a product that your market doesn’t want.
Write a list of all the problems you solve. Then consider the unmet needs your best clients struggle with?
Uber followed this guideline. Ever attempt to hail a taxi in New York or Paris? It can be highly frustrating. Kalanick and Camp, Uber’s founders, solved the taxi dilemma. People worldwide now hail a ride with a couple clicks. Knowing who’s picking you up and when they’ll arrive added peace of mind to the car for hire service.
Research your competition
Most entrepreneurs believe they developed a better way. It’s part of why they go into business rather than get a job.
Check out your competition. What services and products do they provide? What ideas do you have to improve the service or the client experience? Creating an entirely new niche isn’t necessary. Instead, identify the gaps.Then build a better service. For example, is your industry tarnished because of poor customer service? Then, fix the problem. Make your clients feel important.
Highly disruptive companies aren’t typically the first to market with a product. The digital music player was already available before Apple introduced the ipod. They removed the MP3 flaws and added unique features which made it user friendly.
People love Apple’s innovation and extraordinary design.
Lean towards your passions
Don’t dilute your expertise. As you define your niche, consider your specialty. Where do you stand out? Sift through your passions. Explore which part of your work is highly satisfying. An accounting firm, for example, has a clientele of software developers. This firm helps their clients improve their cash flow, pay off debt and turn a profit.
Rather than work with a variety of businesses, take your passion to a whole new level. Define and develop your #niche. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Rather than work with a variety of businesses, take your passion to a whole new level.
Once you gather some ideas for your niche, then assess its profitability. Ideas can be great, but if you are going to develop them, you want them to be profitable.
Start with a simple Google search on some of the services and products within your industry. Is the niche your considering filled with similar services and products as yours? If that’s the case, then narrow down the ways you can serve that niche.
Look for a gap in the market. Consider a segment of the population within that niche which is underserved and hungry for someone who understands their unique needs.
Once you gather some ideas for your #niche, then assess its #profitability. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Let’s say you offer sales training to business owners. Rather than work with all business owners, you solely train businesses in the trades that offer home improvement services. Because of that, you spend your resources of time, money and effort on developing that market.
Deliver the product or service in a unique way
Learn from the top companies in your field. What do they do differently? Once again, start to explore the gaps in their service. Where is there room for improvement?
Think about ways you can solve your clients biggest challenges. If you run a video production company, then teach your clients how to create great videos without a studio and what’s possible with a smartphone. If you’re an accounting firm, then offer strategic advisory sessions to your clients. Meet with them quarterly for a 90 day growth plan session.
Test your niche
As you gather information about your competition, pricing, and profitability, start to test your niche products and services. Offer a quick trial of your services to your target clients to see their response and receive feedback.
Tips to develop your niche.
Create a landing page to build your email list. Check out this example.
Connect with your ideal clients through social media.
Join relevant groups or forums. Then answer questions which are related to your expertise.
Be brave and host live video to answer questions that your clients experience.
Eventually, you may want to run paid marketing campaigns at a small budget to test your message. Ads are an advanced move. They offer immediate feedback about how well your message and offer connect with your ideal audience.
A niche is right when it aligns with your interests and with market needs. The idea is to capitalize on market gaps and serve an unmet need.
Once you have some ideas, start to experiment and grow. Even a saturated niche can be highly profitable. It’s simply about finding how to combine your expertise with your ideal clients needs.
Wondering how to pick a niche and what to offer? But unsure where to start? Then let’s talk. Book a strategy session to discuss how this benefits your business.
A difference exists between interest and commitment. When you’re interested, you stick with activities and pursue projects within your comfort zone. If you’re committed, then you accept opportunities which challenge you’re current capabilities.
Either category is acceptable; there’s no right or wrong answer. Take an honest assessment about where you stand regarding your business.
Some entrepreneurs state they are committed; however, their actions don’t support their claim. Ever notice the person who agrees, but makes excuses? That person is actually interested rather than committed.
Two forms of growth
Consider your outlook as the gateway to your success. It influences everything you do, or don’t do.
A strong purpose inspires you to step up, even when it’s uncomfortable. So, expect to say “yes” to opportunities that stretch beyond your current capabilities.
By the way, no one person is fully committed all the time. That’s not sustainable. Instead, review which areas of your business deserve your full commitment. These areas are aligned with your purpose and will advance your business forward.
Growth doesn’t occur in isolation. Start to surround yourself with people who align with your vision. This can be employees, contract workers and a referral network.
Hire people to remove lower level activities off of your plate. This way you primarily focus on the activities which you do best.
Growth occurs in two distinct ways, you grow and your business grows. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet Here’s what you may notice when someone is not fully committed to their business:
Ego. Concerns about others opinion or approval.
External. Emphasizes outer circumstances rather than personal responsibility.
Explains. Identifies specific reasons why something isn’t possible right now.
Constantly being on guard in this manner is draining. Attempting to satisfy everyone limits your potential and alters your vision.
Successful entrepreneurs create opportunitiesIf you’re seeking a stronger commitment, then here are five steps to turn it around.
Emphasis. Rather than emphasize external circumstances, focus on activities within your control. Take personal responsibility for your actions. Notice how your mindset influences your decision.
Mirror. Sometimes you’ll find there’s something you don’t like about another person. Often it’s a reflection of a similar quality you possess which you don’t like about yourself. If that’s true, then view this as an opportunity to look in the mirror and decide whether you want to change it, or not.
Empower. Discover ways to uplevel your mindset. Does the solution lie in changing your focus, developing a new skill or improving self care? Identify one or two new behaviors that will raise your level of commitment.
Shift. Instead of seeking fault, identify strengths. This applies to you, as well as to others.
Open-minded. Decide to do something new. Challenge your thinking and explore alternative perspectives. You never know where your next opportunity lies. By the way, opportunities which take your business to the next level often appear in unexpected ways. Either it’s from someone that you didn’t consider as a resource or from a project that stretches your skill set.
Raising your level of commitment is a game-changer. Energy that was once used to avoid discomfort is now available to grow your business. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Raising your level of commitment is a game-changer. As you change your perception, your actions change, too. Energy that was once used to avoid discomfort now fuels your business.
Start to soar
Notice how the obstacles gradually disappear. As your level of commitment increases, you identify new opportunities.
Your transformed perspective creates a no-excuses approach, which fuels your purpose and business growth. Things you previously avoided doing before, now appear as a new opportunity. A strong commitment fuels you to do whatever it takes. One by one the excuses melt away.
Liberate your potential
Common belief encourages you to add something in to strengthen your commitment. That’s not necessarily true. It’s more about release. The distractions and the worries bog you down. Do the work to liberate yourself from those concerns.
As your commitment deepens, a paradigm shift occurs. Successful entrepreneurs create opportunities where others see obstacles. Each challenge moves you closer to your goal.
Raise your commitment
Review the five steps which raise your level of commitment. Then choose one or two action steps that you’re ready to accept now. It’s normal to periodically slip back into old patterns of behavior or thoughts, especially when you’re under pressure. Once you catch yourself doing that, refocus your attention to the positive. Anything new requires practice and patience. With time, the new behavior becomes familiar and comfortable.
Do you believe something is holding you back, but unsure what it is? Over-thinking delays your momentum and distracts your focus. As that persists, the motivation to grow your business gradually dwindles. Your business starts to feel like a job, rather than a purpose.
Successful entrepreneurs create opportunities. If you’re ready to renew your enthusiasm and build a business you love, then get in touch with Loren for a complimentary strategy session.
Alignment rules! When your thoughts, emotions and actions work together, then you’re on fire. During those times high productivity times, a ton of action items get crossed off of your to-do list.
Unexpected challenges, however, can put the brakes on your productivity. Suddenly, your flow turns sluggish. Naturally, you attempt to push through it. As the challenges continue to drag on, your frustration rises.
According to neuroscience, whatever you focus on expands. Ever attempt to remove productivity blocks? It’s like quicksand. The more you attempt to fight your way out, the deeper you sink into the pit. Focusing on the negative tends to reinforce the challenge.
It’s similar to an athlete who makes an error and is unable to move on. That isolated mistake dwells on her mind, replaying itself over and over again. Because she’s now afraid to repeat that mistake, she’s desperate to avoid it. As a result, an isolated error turns into a performance slump.
Notice your symptoms
Those nasty blocks serve a purpose. Consider them a symptom, like a fever that indicates sickness, rather than the primary problem.
When my clients experience blocks, we work on mindset. Basically, a disconnect between their values and their goals exist. Plus, some negative self-talk surfaces. Once we isolate the disconnect, then we can resolve the core concern.
Reflect on the last time you felt stuck. As you’re remembering that moment, check in with yourself. Notice what feels “off” to you. Pay close attention to any subtle feelings of discomfort. Identify the exact thoughts going through your head. Then, name your emotions.
Be more specific than good, fine, great or okay. If you’re angry, do a little detective work to discover what additional emotion is also present. That’s because anger is a “catch-all” emotion that overshadows other difficult emotions.
Productivity blocks offer clues that a breakdown exists between your thoughts, values and action plan. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Even if you don’t really know where the breakdown exists between your values, beliefs and goals, a shift in perspective relieves most productivity blocks.
Discover the clues to your productivity block
What are your specific goals? What causes you to get stuck? Your mindset either inspires you to move forward or to hold you back. Productivity blocks leave clues about what’s truly going on under the surface.
Matt’s bravely shifting from hourly billing to value based pricing. He’s raised his fees over the years, but this is different than a simple rate increase.
The leap to value based pricing is intimidating. Several underlying concerns exist about charging those rates for his service. He admits some doubt about whether clients will pay those fees. Does he possess the experience to call himself an expert?
As Matt expresses his concerns, we discover an underlying belief. He likes getting “A’s.” Anything less than perfection is failing. That’s a ton of pressure to shoulder.
Perfection isn’t your friend
He didn’t realize perfectionism has this much influence over his productivity. That’s partly why he continues to research and fine-tune his plan. The ongoing research serves a purpose; to postpone doing something uncomfortable.
Growth minded entrepreneurs discover how to turn a negative into a positive. Read the full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet
Turning a negative into a positive is the solution. It isn’t necessary to dig around in his past for the reasons. His productivity block prevents him from putting this into place. As a result, this affects his income. The solution is mission alignment!
Follow the ABC’s to remove productivity blocks:
Alignment. Perfectionism slows down Matt’s productivity and income. First, we identify the values which don’t support his goals.
Beliefs. It’s a zero-sum game. Matt’s either succeeding or failing. We start to isolate which thoughts cause resistance. Basically, resistance is an internal process.
Consider. Matt needs to feel in control and reduce risk. Rather than focus on the numbers, we emphasize his actions. This shifts his attention from something that is beyond his control (the numbers) to something within his control (his effort).
Detour. Like most entrepreneurs, Matt intuitively resisted following a plan that conflicts with his core beliefs. We reviewed his pricing plan to highlight it’s value. A couple minor adjustments removed his resistance.
Explore. Matt started to journal, noting positive steps as he made the transition from hourly billing to value pricing. Innovation, doing something new, creates a pattern disrupt. His mindset affects his actions. Focusing on excellence rather than perfection has released some of his self-imposed pressure to be perfect.
Remove performance blocks
The shift in focus removes resistance. Matt now realizes there’s a difference between his perfection mentality and his “effort” mindset. Productivity improves when he tunes into the effort. He now pays attention to actions within his control. The perfection mindset crops up with decreasing frequency. Although he is in the early stages, he is more relaxed, enjoying the transition and recognizes his value.
Follow the Block Busting Formulato remove productivity blocks.
Identify your top five core values. Core values set the foundation for everything you do.
List the exact outcomes that you want to achieve.
Then identify the activities. What action items will help you achieve that outcome? Be very specific about the actions.
This exercise is designed to highlight your core values, identify outcomes which compliment your values and define the necessary actions you need to take. This is an easy way to map out your plan.
Do you have a BIG vision, but you’re unsure how to achieve it? Because of that, you haven’t made much progress. The decision to finally get started with something you’ve been postponing is liberating. If you know that now is your time and your ready to remove productivity blocks, then let’s talk during a complimentary strategy session.