Want to make more money? Afraid it’s going to take a lot of time to create something new or devise a fresh offer so you can do it?
It doesn’t have to. An important concept we work with Quiet Power Strategy™ clients on is reworking what you’ve got to make it easier to sell. We also show our clients how to develop sales cycles that sell those offers throughout the year–and how to plan those sales cycles so you always know where your next dollar is coming from.
Last week, I heard from Lacy Boggs about a big success she had with very little work. It’s exactly the kind of result I like seeing from clients because it means they’ve developed a process they can use time and again to make more money. Here’s her case study:
In January 2015, I made my Blogstorm course (my lowest priced, introductory offering) evergreen after doing the revenue planning exercise in Quiet Power Strategy. I had realized that launching and running the course live was waaaaay too much work for the amount of revenue I was generating from it, so something needed to change.
I saw a nice spike in sales when I made the evergreen announcement, and since then I generally get 1 or 2 sales a month without doing anything, which is fine by me. When I mention it in a blog or newsletter, I usually get 1 or 2 more.
Since the course helps entrepreneurs get 6 months of blogs planned in an editorial calendar, I was inspired by a random comment on Facebook about the year being almost half over to do a “launch” push for June. I decided to offer a value add of going through it “live” with me in the Facebook group. And I made the decision to do this “launch” about a week before June 1st!
Note from Tara: This is what we call a sales cycle. It’s the same type of content, pitch, and follow-up you’d use in a launch, but it’s used to boost sales of an existing or evergreen product or service offering. Normally, I recommend using our Revenue Planning tool to forecast these sales cycles. But the power of an unplanned sales cycle to boost your revenue unexpectedly–and pleasantly–can’t be overstated!
But, I’ve had great success! I sent one dedicated email to my list, and wrote a blog post promoting it using Tara’s CEAD content framework (it’s usually spread out over four posts or emails, but I didn’t have time).
I also had my message fresh in my mind from working on it with Tara and Brigitte at the Quiet Power Strategy™ retreat, and tried to really drive home what I want to be known for in both the blog post and the email—no more being polite about my opinions, no holds barred. Since the email went out on Monday (the Memorial Day holiday, no less) I’ve sold 20 courses and made about $1200 in unplanned income five days later.
That’s more than double my last “live” launch in 2014!
By tweaking my sales message for this course based on the work I did in Quiet Power Strategy™, I realized I don’t have to run a lengthy, all-consuming “launch,” but rather focus on giving people what they really want. The course hasn’t changed, even my “value add” is the same as when I ran it live, but my message made a huge difference.
At this point, it’s like the best of both worlds. I have the trickle of income from the evergreen product, but I can run it “live” as a value add—with my newly improved messaging—twice a year for a healthy boost in sales without all the DRAMA of a big launch. Just one more example of Quiet Power Strategy™ giving me the guts and permission to do things my way, and having it pay off almost immediately.
Let me recapped what worked so well here for Lacy:
- She created fresh messaging for an old product to make sure it was obvious it’s exactly what her customers need.
- She reinvigorated her sales by creating content for a sales cycle and publishing it to her blog and list.
- She planned for the future by incorporating new sales cycles for this product in her overall Revenue Plan instead of just waiting for sales to come.
These are all things we create strategies for in Quiet Power Strategy™ and these strategies are something that Lacy can use over and over again for other products and new offers. It’s timeless, effective, make-more-money technique.
Put this to work for yourself. Look for a product that you know you could sell more of. Create messaging that ties that product to a problem or goal your customers are regularly talking about. Then create content that supports that messaging and send it out to the people most likely to buy from you. Finally, make a plan to do this throughout the year.
In the mean time, you can find out more about Lacy Boggs, the Content Direction Agency, and how to get more from your blogging effort: get instant access to her resource library.
Have you ever crafted the perfect offer, put a perfectly reasonable price tag on it, sent it out to all the right people, and still come up empty-handed in the sales department?
I know I have.
One technique you’ll hear over and over again for combatting this problem is to address your customers’ objections. Are they worried about the time commitment? Show them how to fit it in. Are they concerned that your product is right for the kind of person they are? Explain why it’ll work for them, too. Are they concerned about price? Demonstrate what kind of return on investment they could get.
But the biggest sales objection I’ve run into over the years—and from conversations with our Quiet Power Strategy™ strategists-in-training last week, I’m in good company—has been an objection that’s exceedingly difficult to combat.
But not trusting you. The biggest objection to buying is trusting themselves.
As providers, makers, and marketers, we spend an exorbitant amount of time helping our prospects trust us. We share personal stories, create valuable free content, and demonstrate through testimonials that we can be trusted.
But many times your “ask” doesn’t require any more trust in you and requires your customer to trust their own ability to get the kind of results you know you can deliver.
Getting value out of a product or service requires personal responsibility. Unless you’re a snake oil salesperson, you’re not saying that your product is the magic formula. You’re not the kind of marketer that promises that “one weird trick” is going to reduce the number on the scale by 20lbs or that this secret formula will result in triple the sales.
Even if you design clothing or make jewelry or create paintings, your customers need to feel that they can put your work to good use in order to buy it. People generally don’t buy things they don’t have the confidence to wear or put things in their homes they don’t have the attitude to match.
Let’s look at an example: Amy is a career coach. She knows she can help people manage career transition, discover a new path, or land a big promotion. She’s done it many times.
On her website, she talks about the clients she’s worked with, the successes they’ve had, and spells out specific outcomes new clients can expect when working with her. She doesn’t make promises—she knows better than that—but she does clearly articulate what she can coach you to if you’re willing to put in the work.
Amy’s practice sustains her own career but it’s not thriving the way she would like it to be. She has a hard time closing new clients. They start with long drawn out emails, they evolve to long initial consultations. They come back and ask more questions. Maybe then she can close the deal.
Yet, her existing clients rave about her. They keep coming back to her even after their initial packages complete. They ask her advice (and pay her) on the little bumps in their careers.
So why don’t more new prospects sign on the dotted line? And why can’t she, for the life of her, get people to sign up for the awesome career change program she put together?
As a potential client, when you’ve had some career missteps, maybe a bad boss or a difficult-to-work-for company, you’re hopeful but cautious. That caution leads to the long sales conversation Amy is having to have to land each new client. It also means that even those who feel like she’s the right person for the job won’t pull the trigger. It’s them, not her.
And if they’re not willing to trust themselves enough to get results from working with her 1:1, they’re not going to trust themselves enough to get results working with her in a program.
Again, it’s them, not her. (It might be them, not you.)
This Sales Objection is Also a Question of Risk
We are exceedingly bad at understanding risk. And a majority of your prospective customers think they themselves are a sizable risk to their own futures when it comes to spending money on goals that can’t be guaranteed. Every time you make an attractive offer, your customers are weighing the risk that they won’t be able to put it to use.
We, of course, think they’re considering whether it will be good enough or not, whether we’re smart enough or not, or whether we’re experienced enough or not. And that may be the case, but it’s far likelier that they’re asking themselves whether they are good enough, smart enough, or experienced enough to get the results they really want out of what you’re offering.
Breanne Dyck, who started this conversation on our Quiet Power Strategy strategist training call last week, explains that to help people feel more comfortable with perceived risks, you need to help them gather more information. More information comes from experimentation (action), not from more data (inputs).
Most of your marketing strategy to this point is about data. Blog post after blog post you’re explaining concepts, telling stories, and sharing experiences. But it’s all just data until someone takes action on it. The result of their experiment becomes true information that allows them to better understand and predict future outcomes. It allows them to better assess their own personal risk and increases their level of personal trust.
That means that in order to combat this stickiest of sales objections, you need to build action and experimentation into your business model—not just data.
Knowing is not enough. Knowing too much can encourage us to procrastinate. There’s a certain point when continuing to know at the expense of doing allows the mess to grow further.
— Abby Covert, How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody
The best way to ask your prospects to act is to ask for a commitment.
Trust (and True Information) Comes from Commitments
Think about the way you develop a romantic relationship. If you meet your special someone online (as I did), you start with committing to email them—it’s an initial experiment. This is about as low of a commitment as you can go. Then, hopefully, you commit to a first date. It’s probably just a coffee or drink date. Then, maybe you do a dinner date. And then a day hike.
Yes, this is a process of learning to trust the other person. To suss out whether they’re the one for you or not. But it’s also a process of learning to trust yourself. Do I like myself when I’m around them? Do I trust myself enough in this relationship to know I won’t make stupid decisions or follow them blindly?
Each commitment helps you learn to trust yourself as much as it does the other person.
As you’re building your business the same process needs to apply.
People generally don’t jump from discovery to purchase—especially not high-end products or services. You need to establish a series of commitments first.
Here are some commitments you might ask for:
- Like your page on Facebook
- Join a webinar
- Exchange an email address for a welcome gift
- Share a post with their friends
- Regularly open emails and read content
- Attend a workshop
- Buy a book
- Read a detailed case study
- Visit your booth at a show
- Purchase an entry-level product
- Engage in an initial consultation
- Book a short-term, project-based package
If you want to seriously combat this huge sales objection and dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes you to close a prospect, don’t pick one or two of these. Pick 3, 4, 5, or more of these smaller commitments. Create systems around them. Build them into your marketing calendar.
Relentlessly ask for small and escalating commitments so that when you’re ready to make a much larger offer, your prospect trusts herself enough to say yes.
Now you might be asking, “Isn’t this why I’m blogging every week?”
Sort of. The thing is, blogging isn’t enough. Content strategy is huge, don’t get me wrong. But marketers who are only blogging (even blogging and sending it out through email) aren’t establishing that trust spiral that allows their readers to get closer and closer to feeling really good about making a purchase.
In my own business, I’ve built action and experimentation into all levels of my marketing:
- I write ebooks that have built-in workbooks. The action is both the purchase and the results.
- I host webinars that promise results during the call. The action is decision-making and discovery.
- I teach workshops that build action steps into strategic concepts. The experiment is committing to watching and doing the homework.
- I offer Goal Discovery sessions as part of my on-boarding process. The experiment is vulnerability and commitment.
Together, these pieces work together so that I don’t have to worry about the “trusting myself” sales objection. If you’ve made it that far in my business model and still don’t trust yourself, you’re probably not a good fit for my programs.
Remember our career coach Amy? I would ask Amy to think of 3 common scenarios that send people looking for career help. They probably don’t know they need a coach yet (and maybe they don’t), but they know they need to consult Google, a friend, or the network to get an answer. Those 3 common scenarios are:
- I’m bored at work. I want a new challenge. I’m ready for a promotion.
- I’m tired of this career. I want a new one. I’m ready to figure out a new direction.
- I’m not making enough money. I want a raise. I’m ready to ask for one.
Then, I’d ask Amy to create a commitment trigger for each of those scenarios. Maybe she has a free ebook on asking for a raise, a free audio & workbook that helps you pinpoint your interest so you can figure out a new direction, and a checklist for preparing for a promotion. Each of those she puts behind an email wall. The “ask” is for an email address.
Now, let’s follow the free ebook on asking for a raise. The ebook shares exactly how to put together your pitch. The prospect finds that extremely helpful–but now she has a new problem. She needs to combat the fear of asking for a raise. Amy knows this, so she’s got a free webinar that she invites people who downloaded the raise ebook to. It’s all about getting over the 3 biggest fears you face when you ask for a raise.
Of course, asking for a raise is personal. So every month, she leaves 5 spots open on her calendar for a free initial consultation. Once a month, she asks this same group who is ready to work with her privately and invites them to this no-hassle consultation. She books all 5 appointments effortlessly. On that 30 minute call, she equips the prospect with at least one tactic they can use to suss out the possibility of getting a raise.
Finally, she follows up and asks if they’d like to book her Get That Raise coaching package. She offers to guide them through the next 6 weeks so that they’ve got a helping hand for each part of the process. She can’t guarantee a raise, but she can guarantee they’ll feel really good about the procedure.
Each part of Amy’s process has helped to build the prospects’ trust in herself. She’s taken action and already gotten results. Now it’s just an easy assessment of risk (what risk?!) to determine whether the information she has makes her feel good about working with Amy. Does she trust herself enough to really make use of this? Of course! She already has.
Now it’s your turn.
How will you ask your audience to act, experiment, and commit in order to build their trust in themselves? There’s likely something you could do today. So do it!
Need to make more money? Generate some revenue? It’s as easy as creating a new offer, right?
Not so fast. True, being an entrepreneur means that, even if money doesn’t grow on trees, it’s not so hard to find something to sell when you need a few extra dollars.
But creating a new product, program, or offer every time you want to generate revenue isn’t a good plan. In fact, it’s not a plan at all. It’s a reaction to a need.
When you’re just starting out, most of what you do is react. And that’s okay. But you’re really ready for something a little more proactive now, aren’t you?
My story starts no differently than yours. I “got” the entrepreneurial money mindset—that you can create revenue whenever you need it—well before I “got” planning for steady, predictable revenue growth. When I wanted to make some money, I’d make something new. I’d write a book, create a program, make a new coaching offer.
Of course, launching all the time, creating products all the time (even when you’re an idea person like me!), and selling all the time is exhausting.
Beyond that, it’s not building a legacy for your business. It doesn’t give your prospects something to remember your business for.
But most importantly, always creating new offers doesn’t set you up for making more money in the long run.
Every time you launch a new product or program, you’re only tapping into a very small segment of your potential customer base (the Early Adopters). If you stop there, other customers might trickle in over time but most people won’t even know you have that offer available.
That just puts your business back in the position of needing to generate revenue with another new product. It’s a vicious cycle.
Instead of a vicious cycle, your business needs a system for marketing, launching, and selling your best offers over & over again. And when that system also includes products that work together to create more value for your customers and your business than they could alone, it’s a Business Model.
When your business has that kind of system in place, revenue becomes predictable and more consistent. At the very least, you know when it’s coming. Best of all, you’ll find that your offers start to generate more and more revenue each time you enter a sales cycle because your customers are expecting them, planning for them, and eager to buy them.
It’s so much easier to sell to a prospect who is already aware of your product. It’s even easier when your prospect knows people who have purchased and loved your product already. That’s easy to accomplish when your business has regular sales cycles for your best offers.
My business now has two main offers: Kick Start Labs and Quiet Power Strategy. And with just those two offers, my business is on track to do $100,000 more in revenue than it did last year—and possibly much more. Instead of generating new offers over the last 2 years, I’ve focused on making those offers better and better, more predictable, and more familiar.
To get really specific, that means that my interest list for an offer like 10ThousandFeet has gone from 20 to 50 to 150 to 250 to many, many more without much promotion. When I enter a sales cycle with that group, they’re there because they’re truly eager to find out more about the program. They’ve probably heard about it from a past client and they want to get similar results.
Each time I launch the program, it’s easier and easier to sell and I’m more confident about its ability to sell out.
That’s how a blockbuster product is born.
It doesn’t happen all it once. It builds over time. When you design your whole business model that way, you’ve got the makings of a blockbuster business.
This is a great time of year to step back and examine the offers your business currently has, how they’re working together (or not), and how you could plan a system for revenue growth based on those existing offers. Your Next Big Thing might be something you’re already selling.