Isn’t it frustrating when you have a slump and can’t see why nobody is booking? Of course, there can be many factors at play such as tech issues, weather, time of year, time of month etc.
So what things can you do to maximise your chances of getting clients either interested in your services or better still booking your services (or buying your stuff if you sell things).
Here are 10 things you could do to maximise your chances of success:
1. Money-back guarantee.
I know, I know! A money-back guarantee sounds really frightening and it’s not always appropriate to all businesses, but if you can find some way of offering money-security for your clients then it will make it all the easier for them to book you. After all, if they don’t like the service or it’s not for them they can at least get their money back. It’s rare that people actually use a money-back guarantee, which is why a lot of companies use this as a way to help you purchase items, particularly if you’re buying online. You have to be very careful how you manage this in order to avoid people taking the mickey, but if you can do it or some part of it, it could be very beneficial to you and your business
2. Attractive payment terms.
The logical follow on from a money-back guarantee is to have attractive payment terms. If the thing that you offer is something that people find expensive or may have difficulty paying for upfront then you might want to offer a way for them to pay it off in instalments. In the UK if you go over 12 months you may have to get a Creditor Licence (you would need to check this out for sure). As far as I know, so long as you’re not charging interest and you’re literally just spreading the payments over a short period of time you can set it up. Make sure that everything is put in a contract if you do decide to do payment terms. It’s also worth making sure that there’s something that you hold on to until they’ve paid in full. When you are offering service this can be more difficult. Perhaps a taster session only until payment is complete could work for you. Do what is best for your particular business.
3. Talk about the investment
When you are talking about the money you charge, frame it as an investment instead of costs or fees. And particularly if you’re in the well-being business it’s something that your customers are looking for. They’re investing in their own health, investing in themselves and giving themselves an opportunity to feel better. Talking about costs can have negative connotations for some people, particularly if they’re from a mindset of ‘lack’. It’s worth putting it in terms of what they are going to gain, rather than how much they’re going to lose.
4. Ditch the elevator pitch!
“As with most lift rides, they only go one-way”. What you really need is a cuppa and a proper chat! The idea of ditching the elevator pitch is something I read somewhere (and for the life is me now I can’t remember where so I apologise for not being able to give credit where credit is due here when I find it I will update). In marketing, we are told to have an ‘elevator pitch, something where we can tell people about our products and or services within a very short period of time.
For HSP’s (Highly Sensitive People) who are in a service-based industry, this can be really difficult as so often the things that you offer are bespoke or depend on the client’s particular needs. Instead, make sure that you can arrange to meet that person (without them being out of pocket). I absolutely think that free consultation or a meeting in a coffee shop with a cuppa can relax your client and let them get to know you a little bit (and for you to know them too) because at the end of the day, you probably both need to ‘click’. You can save a lot of time and money only by working with people who are right for your business from the get-go.
5. Creating a dialogue: what do you do? What interests you? What frustrates you? Who is your hero? What would you change about your business if you could?
As people who are on social media have now figured out that it’s best not to talk at people but instead to create some sort of dialogue, to get a conversation going. Talk to your potential customers in some way whether it be online, in groups on the internet or meeting face-to-face. If you’re just starting out it’s really hard to know where your potential clients hang out which is why it’s really important to do some exercise to find out who your ideal client is first. Then go there and strike up a conversation.
For the introverts out there this isn’t going to be easy, and I will cover this in later posts. For those that are confident enough it’s definitely worth doing because if people can get to know you a little bit they will buy from you. People-like-people, not adverts.
6. Ask for your customer’s help.
This one is a little less well-known and is quite unusual. A good idea is to put something online asking for advice from your potential clients/current clients.
People really do like to offer their advice and this can sometimes introduce you to the kind of people you’d like to meet up and do business with.
For example, I might ask my clients what area of business that they most need to help with. I could put a poll out and give them options. Multiple choice always works very well as you don’t want your answers to be too wacky or off-subject.
7. Be convenient.
This one’s always a bit difficult when you work on your own because as a ‘one-man bandwagon’ it can be hard to be in all places at all times. Make sure that you have a good answering machine service, a good autoresponder on your email and wherever possible make sure you’re available to answer your clients fast.
Under promise and over deliver, for example, if you say you will get back to somebody within 24 hours, make sure to do it within 6 or 12. If you’re charging for services online have a convenient way for people to pay. Accept various methods of payment and make sure the checkout is smooth.
Check-in with the admin aspect of your business every day and set clear boundaries for when you are and are not available so that people don’t bother you when you’re having precious time to yourself.
8. Encourage an easy ‘yes’.
It can be really easy for clients to ask to ‘go and think about it’. Depending on what service you offer can be a really good idea to put this idea in their head first! For example “I suggest you go and speak to several other therapists first and see who ‘clicks’ with you best. If that’s me then great, I will be here for you”. This makes your client feel at ease and not pressured.
However you really do need to make money, you’ve got bills to pay too. So wherever possible make it as easy for them to say yes NOW. You can you could do a little deal, offer payment terms or some sort of money-back guarantee just for that client, only if they book now. Make them feel special and make it a fair offer. Depending on how your business works whatever you do make it easy for them to say yes!
9. Create ideas that stick.
I once read an excellent marketing book called ‘Made to Stick’ and I think it’s absolutely brilliant (you can purchase it here if you want to). Basically, this means that the marketing that you do and the things that you talk about will have certain factors that will make them stick in the person’s mind.
Sticky ideas should be simple, it shouldn’t be difficult to get the concept. It should have something unexpected so it looks like it’s going to be yet another boring advert. It should be concrete. A Long-lasting concept. It should be credible (not fake). Ideas that stick should also have some sort of emotion attached. Generally, those ideas that create an emotional response tend to be the ones that we remember the most (and share the most). Last but not least they should tell a story. It’s easier to remember a funny or emotional story that you share with a friend than it is to recall an advert that you saw in the back of a newspaper.
10. Get out of the curse of knowledge.
Ever feel like you can’t see the wood for the trees when it comes to marketing your own services? When you look at somebody else’s you think ‘God why are they not mentioning that it seems so obvious. In marketing, this is called the ‘Curse of knowledge’.
Once you’re an expert in your field or you’ve learned all about your job, you can no longer remember what it was like to not know those things. It’s really hard to imagine yourself being ‘unlearned’ again. This means when it comes to selling your services, making putting marketing together can be really difficult. It can be easy to miss the obvious things that you should be stating.
Have against a good friend or business colleague look it over so we can ask advice. Ask if what you are saying makes sense. It can be really surprising the ideas that other people have.
Bonus item! Be Confident:
And last but not least item number 11, which is your bonus item, and probably the most important one of all. Have confidence! do whatever it takes to try and find confidence in what you do and what you sell.
Stand up straight and proud. Really tell people why you believe in what you’re selling. You’ve done an awful lot of training and learning and are probably an expert in your field. It’s very British not to ‘blow your own trumpet’ but if you’re not confident in yourself then how can you sell what you’re doing?
Have you ever tried any of these techniques? Did they work well for you?
Do you have any techniques that I haven’t mentioned?
Let’s me know in the comments below.
Love, Claire XX