Shifting from working in an office to working from home, remotely, is an adjustment. Some people transition easily while others struggle to find a balance. Can you handle working alone? Do you need interaction from others throughout the day? How will you work when the housework is calling from the other room?
You Do It!
It is 9 p.m. on a Friday night and you get an alert - it's an urgent message from your highest paying client - they need you ASAP. You aren't home, your date night has been interrupted. Yes, you have your phone on, in case a family emergency arises, not this. They know you have read it - there is no way to disguise this fact. So, now what do you do?
You continue your date night without worry. But, How? Easy - you have established business practices that explain how you handle such issues.
Yes, establishing clear boundaries of your working hours, and after-hours contact is part of running a successful business. There are times where emergencies do come about in business, and you need to have an action plan in place. Just because you work virtually and at non-traditional hours, sometimes, does not mean you are on call.
Last time I talked about how important it is to effectively communicate with your clients. Providing tips on how to establish communication methods is great, but offering HOW to put those methods into action is even better.
I have found there are certain apps and programs allow me to meet those communication expectations easier and more effectively. Starting my business as a side gig, funds weren't easy to come by, so these are FREE, at least a the lowest level, and provide great service.
We have all seen those ads for a product that just seems to miss the mark and flops. Why does that happen? Why do some ideas grow while others, that on the surface seem good, fail miserably?
It is vital to the success of your business/your product to research your intended audience. What are they looking for? How does your offer meet their need(s)? Do you offer solutions to a problem? Are you targeting the right audience?
Taking the time to complete market research provides the information necessary to create products and offers with the highest success rate. You don't want to take the time to create an offer and launch it to find out you missed the mark. Make the most of your time and efforts.
Way to Go! You are getting new clients and need to get them on board and running up to speed as quickly as possible. However, you find yourself stumbling over the entire process which in turn diminishes your level of expertise. Getting new clients up to speed effectively and efficiently is key to better time management in a professional atmosphere. Don't leave those people excited to get going stuck in a vicious cycle of asking for more and more pieces of info that could've been gathered all at once in the beginning.
Create an On-Boarding Workbook
Ok – Business Card and Elevator Speech in Use, Now What?
After careful planning and decision making on your part, you have implemented a clear Elevator Speech and got your “Snazzy” business cards in potential clients’ hands, now what?
This is what will make or break you. You have hit a few with your elevator speech and passed out your card left and right, so you have taken the first steps. The outcome of those hits is determined based on what you do to follow-up with the connections you’ve made.
Hitting the ball out of the park is timely and effective communication.
You want to follow up quickly after you’ve made a connection and piqued someone’s interest. Keep you and your business in the forefront of their thoughts. Doing so, within a day or two of your initial introduction, you set the groundwork to signing them as clients. You should include a Call-to-Action in that follow up.
What is a Call-to-Action and how do I present it to them?
Your call-to-action should be clear and provide steps to follow. Offering a link to a lead page for a course you offer; providing a strategy session to set up a service package to meet their needs; or sending them an assessment to see if you can effectively collaborate together are great ways to start.
You want to show them the benefit of your business, your services. Allow the value of your services or offer to shine through. Present yourself in a manner that shows your skills while offering potential clients’ a means to meet their needs. Do Not turn into the run-of-the-mill “Salesy” cliche.
The benefits met through using your service is the BEST way to gain clients.
By telling someone what you do, you simply offer a crap sales pitch. However, if you listen and learn how to meet their needs, you turn into a problem solver. BINGO – you have a client. You then continue to show them how your services meet their needs. This is not a once and done process. It is how you build value in your continued service. If you love what you do, then it will be a snap.
Do Not get sloppy – it will show.
Don’t start off with the gusto of gale strength winds to mill around and keep going like a gentle summer breeze. the gusto is what gets them to find you a worthwhile expense. Don’t reward that with the enthusiasm of a wet mop after they say yes. You have to live and do what your benefits present. You can’t say one thing to get them in the door and then not deliver. You will quickly lose clients and credibility if you don’t follow through on your word. Earning the trust and respect of new clients should keep you showing up day in and day out. Each day is a new opportunity to knock their socks off. It is not the time to slack off and get complacent thinking they will stay no matter what.
Remember, you are not the only person who is offering these services.
There is a reason they chose to work with you. Remind them of that reason every chance you get. Remind them why they should stick with you to keep growing their business and meet their needs.
If you have a great idea and aren’t sure of the next step – sign up for a free strategy session so we can discuss how to gain that next new client.
Whether you want to admit it or not, once you connect with someone in person, your business card becomes your calling card – the image/note that triggers a receiver’s memory of you.
What does your card say about you? Do you even have one?
If you don’t have one, you NEED one. Yes, NEED! When you network and connect with someone new, how else will they stay connected with you? It is your responsibility to make sure they have the means to reach you, by the most convenient methods, while giving them some eye candy.
Your business card serves as the first line of marketing. How do you market yourself and/or your business?
Are you bland and just run-of-the-mill when it comes to the info on your business card? Is your business card an usual shape and size that you believe is what makes you stand out?
Well, there are always two sides to every coin. Unique cards that stand out are great eye candy, but that round business card or extra tiny card doesn’t necessarily fit in card holders or folios. Be mindful of how the receiver will store your card. Will it be convenient or get lost as a result of being too unique?
Make the information relevant, not overbearing. You don’t need to include every stitch of info about you and/or your business. Make sure everything there is relevant and necessary. White space can be your friend in making information easily accessible. Trying to find a number or email address in a sea of other information can be a waste of time. Considering the number of business cards you can accumulate at a networking event, it doesn’t take much to cast one off when there are 20 more to take its place. Making your card impressive and useful is KEY to the success of having such a quick, simple marketing tool.
Is there a unique identifier to make sure you are the one who stands out in the sea of cards?
Does it maybe include your picture, a call to action, or give a quick solution to a problem? If so, great. Does it support your elevator pitch? Even better. Having it support what you share about your business is key to tying it all together. You want it to be a building block to build your business, your relationship, with potential new clients. It also provides them all the means to reach you and obtain the most information about you and your business.
Allow the white space to serve a purpose. It gives new connections a place to take note of where they met you, something that stood out to them, or to help them remember you. Having a glossy card is basically commonplace now, but having the back matte can offer an easier writing surface. Not spelling everything out by going into massive detail on both front and back can give new connections the chance to write what mattered to them. Not everyone considers the same information important.
Spending the money on a business card is an expense you CANNOT afford to forego.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to provide your potential clients with a card that can WOW them. There are many companies who
provide inexpensive business cards that you can select the card stock, fonts and colors. So, take advantage of first-time customer specials with companies such as Vistaprint, Moo, or even Staples or OfficeMax. Having a polished, professional business card can make the difference between landing that next client or not.
Don’t skimp. Make the most of this simple, expected marketing piece in your Networking B.O.B!
Networking – a term a lot of people have come to despise while others can’t wait for the next event. Me, I am somewhere in between. Networking is great when it is done with people who possess the traits and skills I want to learn about or grow within myself. However, events with less than par attendees leave me drained and weary. Regardless, I do my best to make the most of all events I attend.
I have come to realize that Networking Preparedness is vital to success. Attend any event unprepared without marketing materials and you can come across as unorganized and unprofessional. Also, being able to summarize what you do and why it matters is a key component to success when networking.
I have come up with a Networking Preparedness Challenge that offers you the chance to create your own Networking B.O.B.
A Networking B.O.B. – it is a networking bug out bag. What is a bug out bag you ask? Well, it is a survival kit. So, I have created a Networking B.O.B. that contains everything you should have to be prepared at any time to network and build your business.
You never know where your next BIG client will turn up – maybe at that soccer game or band concert. Sitting at your local restaurant eating dinner, someone may overhear you comment about your business and BOOM, you have a discovery call scheduled. Whenever and wherever, you need to be prepared.
After watching numerous people fall short in this area, I learned early on how vital it is to be able to share your business at a moment’s notice. Be prepared at all times. Your grandma may have warned you to always wear clean underwear, but I’m sure your business-minded grandfather was sure to keep you on your toes about your business endeavors, regardless of where or for whom you worked. You may have gotten annoyed by both types of inquiries and recommendations, but both were coming from a place of love and concern.
You want your business to shine at all times. Make sure you can exemplify what you want your clients to learn from you. It doesn’t matter if you want to work with a number crunching auditor or the free-spirited artist, they will all take notice if you aren’t prepared.
Are you up for the Networking Preparedness Challenge? Let's find out!