Tommi Wolfe, CEO of Top 6 Business Coach, runs an international network of passionate, talented entrepreneurial Top 6 Coaches. She specializes in providing savvy support to the world's smartest solo-preneurs.
In our Ask the Expert series, we will share with you real questions asked by our solopreneur clients, and how we answered them.
This week, we’re looking at how to collect contact information from the stage for the purpose of scheduling Breakthrough Sessions (you may also call these sales calls, strategy sessions, getting acquainted sessions – they are all basically the enrollment conversation to move a prospect into client status by getting an order). This is a vital MUST HAVE skill for an entrepreneur!
I have an opportunity to be a presenter at a Women’s Empowerment Conference. I will be on stage the last day for 30 minutes. My question is this:
What are the most effective ways to
make an offer/invitation for a Breakthrough Session in this time frame,
collect contact/email addresses from attendees,
and what kind of marketing materials are best to bring and share with attendees?
I absolutely love speaking opportunities! This is one of the easiest ways to attract attention and get clients. Also, speaking on the last day is great. People tend to forget the middle and remember the beginning and the end. So, congratulations to you on this opportunity.
Because this is the last day, and last presentation, you have a perfect time slot. However, regardless of your time slot… you really need to ensure that your presentation grabs their attention and is absolutely amazing. You absolutely must have high-value content. Meaning, you need to be able to provide so much value in 30 minutes that they walk away in awe of all the amazing insights, tips and tricks you’ve given them.
Remember, 30 minutes is just enough time to make some impact. It’s not really enough time to make a sales pitch. Given that you haven’t asked about that, my assumption is that you aren’t planning on giving one. Which is great.
That said, here’s the simple format I use to collect contact information and invite these people to a Breakthrough Session:
Give your amazing talk
Transition to your Offer/Invite (see sample script below)
Provide a Breakthrough session form (attached to your presentation printed in 3 up handouts and color)
Sounds simple, right? Well, in many ways it is. The ability to make this simple formula work is in the details. Below is a sample script for the Offer and a downloadable template for the Breakthrough Session form.
Sample Offer Script
Well guys, we’ve covered points 1, 2, and 3. I can see that some of you can’t wait to get started and are furiously taking notes.
And I would love to be able to talk to each and every one of you. about how this material affects your business personally. I wish I could do that, but it’s simply not possible, there is only one of me!
However, as a huge thank you to our host, Jane, for having me here today, I have opened up my calendar next Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. I’d love to talk to as many of you as possible.
If you think that would be helpful to you, then please fill out the form attached at the back of your handout. Let’s turn to that now. Answer the questions I have there, and I will choose the people I believe I can help the most. If you have no need to meet with me, but would like to stay connected, just fill out the bottom section.
Then make sure to return these to my staff before I leave. There’s our table at the back of the room (Sam, can you please stand up and wave your hand? Thank you). Make sure before you leave today that we have your form and I’ll let you know before Friday if you were selected for one of these sessions next week.
Thank you so much for having me everyone. Goodbye!
Go ahead and download the Breakthrough Session Application Form Here:
Download a copy of the “Breakthrough Session Application Form” Here!
In our Ask the Expert series, we will share with you real questions asked by our solopreneur clients, and how we answered them.
This week, we’re looking at the all too common desire to run workshops while still in the early stages of business building. In this case, the client is still refining her niche.
“As I am working on re-defining my niche, I am trying to fill a 6-week workshop to help people begin their writing journey. I don’t have a particular crowd of people I’m looking for (hence redefining my niche), so how do I sell my workshop then?
When I talk about it, I say,
“This workshop is designed to help you move forward in your writing journey. If you’ve ever wondered, ‘How do I get started writing? Telling me to write isn’t good enough!’ Then this workshop is for you.”
I will mention 2-3 things we will be discussing through the workshop to give people an idea on what to expect if they enrolled. I also tell them that it’s to help them begin their writing journey because we’re going to flush out the first chapter of their book.
I am just wondering how I can sell it as I am redefining my niche.”
I love this question. This is such a common issue among early stage entrepreneurs. Most solopreneurs would love to run workshops.
I don’t know for certain what stage your business is in, but based on the fact that your niche is not certain yet, my assumption is that this is a relatively new business.
First, let’s be clear, filling and selling workshops is DIFFICULT! This is true for most entrepreneurs, even mature ones. I get it! Every entrepreneur wants to sell and fill workshops so they can get their business earning more money quickly. However, it requires far more effort than most new business owners think it does.
Here’s where things get tough: if you haven’t gotten clear yet on your niche, you’re an early stage entrepreneur. This means:
You are still clarifying who your ideal client is, and how to speak compellingly to them
You likely haven’t yet figured out the client attraction thing yet
You have yet to build your KLT (Know, Like, Trust) Factor
You have yet to build a tribe of interested potential clients
This means it’s going to make it very difficult for you to fill a workshop at this stage of your business.
As someone who’s been filling workshops for a long time, there are MANY ways to do it. We teach a 2-day workshop on all the ways to do this in July each year, see Lucrative Live Events.
But let me share my top favorite method for filling workshops here. I have to:
Have a system for generating enough speaking gigs, preferably locally in your city
Create a compelling talk that will rock the stage and sell tickets to the workshop
Get on the speaking circuit fairly frequently (like twice a month) in front of other people’s audiences.
All of this is not beginner entrepreneurship! Filling workshops easily doesn’t happen until your niche is clear.
In my Ten Steps to a Bulging Bank Account, I’ve outlined the steps that are required for a business owner to be successful, in the right order. I would suggest you introduce workshops as soon as you have mastered the step of successfully signing clients. I believe it is premature before then because it will be too difficult to fill.
Go ahead and download the full 10 Steps to a bulging bank account poster here:
Download a copy of the “10 Steps To A Bulging Bank Account” Here!
As you can see, it’s a fairly simple set of steps. Not necessarily easy, but simple. The problem with many people is that they get these steps out of order, and jump to the later steps without first focusing on the initial, basic steps that will set up all of the others.
These steps aren’t rocket science and I guarantee that entrepreneurs have heard of all of these steps before. However, the magic happens when you do these steps in the right order. Doing these steps in the wrong order is what’s getting in the way of sales. And in the case of this entrepreneur’s question, filling and running workshops before you know your niche is simply not doing things in the right order.
The number one goal of all business owners is to have a successful business. While that may seem obvious, there are still a substantial amount of businesses that fail within the first 2 years of opening. Those first couple of years set the tone of how your business will run, and in order to succeed, you must plan for it! Here are a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.
Find your niche market
One of the first steps you need to take on your road to business ownership is to find your niche market. Your niche market, also known as a target audience, is your customer. These are the people buying from your business and keeping your doors open, which is why this is one of the most critical steps in planning a business.
A common mistake many business owners make is thinking that they can sell their product or service to everyone. Believing that everyone is a potential customer for your business is extremely unrealistic, and it could actually cost you your entire business. You need to identify who it is that needs your product or service and doesn’t mind spending money to get it. For example, it’s not enough to say your target audience is women. Delve deeper. Imagine the kind of woman that you want buying from you. Is she married? Does she work? Is she a mother? How does she spend her free time? What age group is she in? This may seem like a lot, but the more you narrow down your audience, the more well received your marketing efforts will be.
Creating an online presence is an easy way to reach out to your market, and these days you don’t have to be a professional to make your own website for your business. Tailor your branding and outreach to the specific niche you’ve selected, and don’t get too caught up in the idea of attracting everyone. Always remember that no matter what, there are some people out there who do not want or need your services. Directing your marketing efforts to include the people that won’t be buying from you will be a costly mistake.
Do a financial projection
As a business owner, it is a must that you have a document that outlines what your business is and how it will grow in the future. This document is called a business plan, and included in that business plan, should be a well-thought out financial projection. A financial projection is a forecast of future revenues and expenses. Many business fail because the owners do a poor job of monitoring what is going out and how much is coming in. If you are looking for investors, your financial projection will be the first thing they want to see because they want to know that you have a detailed plan in place to return their investment.
Every expense that your business will incur (excluding unforeseen costs) should be in your financial projection. This includes rent, utilities and the cost of supplies. A detailed financial projection will allow you to see how much money is being spent, how much revenue is coming in, where you will break even, and where you will begin to make a profit. Because this is just a projection, everything will not be completely accurate, however you will at least get the gist of how your business will survive.
Making the decision to start a business comes with a lot of emotions. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed and even afraid, but you must be persistent. The best way to guarantee your success as a business owner is to be prepared. Remember to relax and enjoy the journey into entrepreneurship!
After many years of coaching solo-preneurs I can assure you that feeling financially broke does NOT work well when building a business. There is something about desperately needing sales that scares every potential client away instantly.
Yet, in the early years of any new business, cash flow is likely to be very tight, and sometimes non-existent. What? Nobody warned you? Even when your revenues are great, those first few years are often characterized by bootstrapping, reinvesting revenues back into the business instead of taking out a decent owner’s paycheck.
So this begs the question, what about credit? Is it OK for businesses to use credit? This is a complex question and no one answer. Here are my thoughts, in no particular order.
If you can survive without credit, it is always going to be a better route for you. Interest adds up.
If you have a history of managing your own credit cards poorly, then this might be dangerous for you.
I do not believe business debt can be equated with personal debt. Personal debt is never a great thing, but they are different animals. Here is why. You can leverage debt in a business. If you already know that for every $1 of investment you make, you can output $1.50, then borrowing to invest in this model is good business.
Conversely, if that $1.00 investment might not make a return or is risky return, then borrowing can magnify your mistake and make it worse. Now you have debt, interest, and a mistake!
If you need a serious angel or venture capital investors for your business, realize that this can be a full-time job for a year or two to make this happen.
Don’t underestimate what you can do with crowd-sourcing if you need significant funding for your business. It is worth considering.
I believe the perfect situation is to have credit available to you if you ever need it, and then hopefully never need it. I also believe that using credit to smooth over monthly fluctuations in earnings is fine, as long as you can pay the balance off each month in full.
If you need a larger loan for a significant investment in your business, don’t use your credit card, the interest rate is too high. It is better to get a business line of credit through your bank, or a loan through the Small Business Development Center due to the lower interest rates.
Don’t forget about some of the newer crowd-lending sites like Prosper.com as a source of getting much-needed credit. The sums you can borrow are not vast, but they are useful, and these sites are often more willing than banks and credit card companies to lend you money when you have poor credit.
Here is a graphical representation of best practices to follow for credit card success, especially if you are young and just starting out.
As a budding solopreneur, the advice you often receive is to do what you love or find a topic that you are highly interested in when thinking of starting your business. Although this is great advice in principle, in practice there may be hundreds (or even thousands) of people who already have that area covered, so what do you do then?
Focus on the 1%
Remember that a general industry which might be worth billions of dollars in revenue can often be broken down into smaller sections or niches. When thinking about your solopreneurship, you don’t have to try and claim the whole pie, just a small slice of it for yourself. By focusing on the niche area, you are likely to have less competition and more success. 1% of a market might not seem like much in principle, but what if it’s a billion-dollar market? Then it doesn’t seem so small!
The following niches are all examples of industries worth billions, where a small, focused niche market could do extremely well. Just remember that these are ideas – things are constantly growing and changing. In todays’ digital world what is a small niche one day could explode overnight with competition; equally, new niches are evolving all the time. Use keyword research tools to find niches which have a high search volume, but that you might be able to find a new angle on.
Nootropics and Brain Supplements: The US supplement industry could be worth an estimated $37 billon. Nootropics are certain types of brain supplement that people take to improve cognitive function, are believed to sharpen your focus or improve your creativity. They’re growing in popularity, and offer a great potential market as people are emotionally attached to the outcome. Studies show that when people are spending with their emotions rather than logic, they tend to spend more money than they would otherwise.
Dieting and Weight Loss: This industry is huge – more than $64 billion in annual revenue and is expected to grow by 10% into a $120 billion worldwide market over the next 10 years. It contains multiple sectors, with a huge number of products – gaining only a very small percentage of the market could potentially net you millions! Historically, the market has targeted women more than men, with fewer products and programs aimed at them – so there’s plenty of untapped potential.
Survival and Outdoor Living: A niche which is driven by emotion makes it easy to appeal to a consumer if you can create a high-quality product which delivers a solution. The survivalist and prepper industries are primarily driven by fear, and in today’s world pretty much any news broadcast contains something (change of government, terrorist attacks, threat of war) to drive a purchase. This means that there’s plenty of opportunity to create content and products which are directly related to current events. Products often don’t just appeal to preppers though – a lot of families want to put simple things in place to ensure their safety in the event of a natural disaster for example.
Healthy Cooking: Most people want to eat healthily, but a high percentage have no idea where to start – just look at the amount of junk food the average American consumes in a year! This area generates more than $143 billion a year, and is continuing to grow as more and more people recognize the benefits of eating healthier. With many different revenue streams, from recipes and cookbooks, nutrition, timesaving gadgets, to subscription and coaching services, the opportunities are endless, and often offer the chance for a repeat transaction – once people are convinced that healthy living is right for them they often spend hundreds of dollars on it in a single month.
“Jocelyn is a professional freelancer writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelancing and the versatility it allows her in covering many different topics and themes. When not at work she enjoys running, hikes in the country and making the most of family time.”
In working with solo-preneurs, I’ve noticed how difficult it can be to Stay Positive. This is especially true early in your business when you are still struggling with your messaging, pricing, etc. and are repeatedly hearing “No / No thank you” to your sales pitch. It’s difficult to adjust to this and keep a positive attitude.
That’s why this week, I’m answering a question from our solo-preneurs related to Staying Positive.
Are there any “tried & true” things I can do to help get ”unstuck” when I get tired of the daily grind, rejection, and hard work it takes to grow my business?
First and foremost, YOU own the desire to be an Entrepreneur. Is this something you really want to do, yes or no? If the answer is a resounding yes, then great!
If you have the desire to be an Entrepreneur, and you’re struggling with the daily grind, rejection and hard work, it’s highly likely that you are having an issue in how you look at Sales.
Too often Entrepreneurs get stuck focusing on sales. They don’t like feeling as if they “have to” sell, and sell at lot, to bring in the money they need to keep their business afloat. They are stuck in the Mindset that “to be successful at sales, I need to be a pushy high pressure sales person”.
This is so far from the truth.
Always remember, desperation doesn’t attract clients. If you are tired and stuck, it’s highly likely that you need to focus on taking a step back, for a moment, and making yourself top priority for a while.
Self-care is critical for all Entrepreneurs. This is especially true, when you are feeling stuck and burnt out, yet still have a strong desire and why that motivates you to continue to do what you love.
As part of your self-care, you need to consider:
Who should you be partnering with? Who can you establish a relationship with that would form a Win-Win? Who can really help you catapult your business forward in a big way?
What are your two or three stretch goals that can really move your business forward. No more than three. Focus ONLY on those.
I hope you found this Mindset Q&A of benefit. If you’re interested in finding out how we here at Top 6 Business Coach might be able to assist you further, click here to schedule some time to talk.
In working with our entrepreneurial clients, it’s become incredibly clear to me that Mindset can be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome. How you think has a significant impact on how you behave, and how your potential clients see you.
This week, I’ve pulled together a commonly asked question from our entrepreneurial clients related to Sales Mindset.
I have been told that it takes an average of 7 touches to engage a potential new client or potential Power Partner.
Recently I have noticed that I am reluctant to continue to reach out repeatedly to businesses or industry professionals that I would like to offer workshops, my expertise or something of value to. I notice that shame and embarrassment surface after the 3rd attempt at reaching out to them.
These “touches” are all done in-person by going to their place of business.
Do you have any insight or encouragement of mindset that may help create a new context for me around the repeated reaching out?
First of all, I’d like to congratulate you on your amazing courage and reaching out to these potential clients / Power Partners in-person and face-to-face! That is absolutely the most efficient and effective way to do what you are trying to do.
If you’re doing the same thing every time, it’s absolutely normal to feel as if you are being a “pain in the bottom” by about the third time around. No one wants to be seen as a pest.
The best advice I can provide you is: find a different reason to go back to visit them each time. Where possible, you should have 7-12 different things that you can be following up with. Consider Gary Vaynerchuk principal of – Give, Give, Give, Ask.
For example, let’s say you are in the health care industry and are interested in working with nutritionists, health clubs, etc. You might try something like I have outlined below.
The first time you go to see them, you might say something along the lines of: “I’ve heard amazing things about your company and I’d very much like to meet the manager and I’ve brought a coffee/tea/juice (whatever is appropriate for the business) card. Maybe we could get together and some time.”
The second time you visit, you might want to offer them something a bit more. “I was in the area and I thought you might be interested in trying some of the juice blends I offer and I’ve brought you a few free samples.”
Somewhere around your third or fourth visit, might be a good time for the Ask. You might mention that you have some flyers about an upcoming workshop and ask if it would be alright to post them.
The key here is to go in with the Mindset of “What can I do for them or their clients” vs “What can they do for me”.
I hope you found this Sales Mindset Q&A of benefit. If you would like to speak to one of our expert Top 6 coaches about your business, click here to schedule some time to talk.
It’s probably obvious, but let’s start by saying why it is a bad idea to take on free clients.
One, you won’t make any money—>which is, of course, an essential outcome of any business. Even taking on a handful of free clients alongside paying ones (aside from raising questions of justice) will dilute your energy for no monetary outcome.
Two, it diminishes the value. Peoples’ first reaction to a free good is often, what’s wrong with it? Even if nothing is wrong with it, people will never value a product more than we ourselves value it. And perhaps most importantly, clients must be invested in your product for it to work; nothing cultivates a sense of investment more than a sacrifice, monetary or otherwise.
It slows your business growth. Until you find clients willing to pay for your services, you will never know if you have a viable business model.
Is there ever a time to take on non-paying clients?
Yes, we believe so. But it needs to be done purposefully, cautiously and on a limited basis. We call them Beta-clients; their value is not in money, but rather in their feedback, testing your offerings, getting referrals and boosting early stage entrepreneur’s confidence.
When you are just starting out, it can be difficult to market your product at full value, because you know it isn’t perfect yet (which doesn’t actually matter), but this will affect your confidence and pricing, which does matter! It will hurt your sales.
This is why it can be a good idea to take on Beta clients—recruiting them with the understanding that your product is not yet perfect and you are relying on them for feedback and testimonials to help get your product off the ground.
[TIP: Whom you select as a Beta-client is important. It is tempting to use family and friends, but this is not a good idea. You want someone who is unbiased. You also want someone who is part of your target market, which your friends and family may or may not be. But you do want someone who will be thorough, honest, and invested; ultimately, using a Beta-client is about creating a relationship of mutual help. The client gets to use your product, but will also work closely with you to improve it. It may be a good idea to create an application for prospective Beta clients, to ensure that people are truly interested in your product and to assess the level of detail and care they take in the application.]
Limit your free clients!
It is very important to limit the number of Beta clients you use, we notice so many entrepreneurs giving away their services for free. Don’t do this!
Two beta clients are a reasonable number for a start-up entrepreneur. This will allow you to focus your energy on delivering the best version of your product, pay thorough attention to the feedback, and go on to feel confident about selling your product at full value.
Here is a cheat sheet to help you recruit useful beta-clients:
Have you ever read a story that changed you, forever? I have one of those stories that I want to share with you. It sure changed how I look at things. What we tell ourselves, the tapes in our head, are such a powerful influence on how we build our business and our lives. And, often we are not even conscious of them.
This little story helped me keep my thinking powerful and I hope it does the same for you. Enjoy!
(Oh – and if you have your own inspiring stories, please share them with me.)
A Grandfather from the Cherokee Nation was talking with his grandson…
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves.”
The young grandson listened intently. “One wolf is evil, unhappy, and ugly: He is anger, envy, greed, selfishness, sorrow, regret, guilt, resentment and arrogance. He spreads lies, deceit, fear, hatred, blame, scarcity, poverty, and divisiveness.”
“The other wolf is beautiful and good: He is friendly, joyful, loving, worthy, serene, humble, kind, fair, empathetic, generous, honest, compassionate, grateful, brave, and inspiring. He rests wholeheartedly in deep vision beyond ordinary wisdom.”
The grandson paused in deep reflection of what his grandfather had just said. Then he exclaimed; “Oyee! (in recognition). Grandfather continued; “This same fight is going on inside you, and inside all human beings as well.” The grandson paused in deep reflection and recognition of what his grandfather had just said. Then he finally cried out deeply; “Oyee! Grandfather, which wolf will win this horrific war?”
The elder Cherokee replied, “The wolf that you feed. That wolf will surely win!”
After years of coaching entrepreneurs to build 6 figure businesses, I am very aware of how many entrepreneurs get discouraged, frequently to a point of giving up. Here are my top tips for overcoming discouragement.
Here is what absolutely does work
Remember it is not personal. So many entrepreneurs feel stupid or helpless. Or worse, like something is the matter with them. That is not it! All entrepreneurs go through this. You are just on a journey, the same one all successful entrepreneurs have walked before you. When you start out, and each time you are ready for the next big breakthrough, you will get discouraged. This is a normal part of figuring out what you don’t yet know. Embrace it – you are on your way to the next successful stage of your entrepreneurial journey.
Understand that fear and doubt are normal. In fact, they are mandatory for building a business. If you wanted normal, then you wouldn’t have tried to start a business right? This journey will be filled with fear, and doubt and excitement. Instead of feeling discouraged, try congratulating yourself on getting out of your comfort zone. You are not trying to be ordinary, and the road to extraordinary is paved with fear and doubt.
Don’t work alone. Join other groups of entrepreneurs, especially successful or positive ones. Having worked with thousands of entrepreneurs, and run year long mastermind programs for entrepreneurs for many years now, I am a huge believer in the value of a positive support network for getting entrepreneurs out of their negative self-talk. Staying connected gets you out of playing head games with yourself. This is one of the reasons our Mastermind programs work so well. If you would like to find out more about our mastermind groups, click here.
Stay in Action. Action gets results. Massive action gets massive results. However, even poor action or wrong works well. This is because you will quickly receive feedback that it is not working, and can readjust. You will be better off for all action. Inaction teaches you nothing. The best method is, of course, a well thought out strategic action.
Stop measuring your results in financial terms. Newer companies take time to get the dollars flowing in. Stay positive and focused on progress by measuring accomplishments and not just dollars.
Look after YOU. Healthy food, enough sleep, regular exercise, and plenty of love will all keep your tank full enough to keep you motivated and positive.
Learn from the masters in your field. They have probably conquered the obstacles facing you. Study what they do and what makes them successful. Model it.
How do YOU cope when you get discouraged.
I would love to hear your tips. Please share them below.
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