Did you connect with your clients today? Did you make them feel appreciated and cared for?
If not, you need to consider doing it right now.
Regardless of what type of business you have, customer service is the central theme behind any business. Your goal is to serve your clients while earning an income. The term client can mean many different things depending on your role and what sector you serve.
I have talked to people interested in seeing what it takes to become a Virtual Assistant and something I’ve heard over and over is, “I am just…” or “I just do…”. This is the wrong approach when brainstorming a business idea.
You are so much more than “just” anything - You are a Master, an Expert.
You have mastery and experience in some service skill - whether it is mailings or letter writing or customer service - you are GREAT at something. Don’t sell yourself short. Be honest about what you have mastered. Being an expert in a service will provide you with the tools necessary to help others and build your service-based business.
Undermining your skills is not an endearing quality revered by others. It comes across as though you lack the confidence it takes to be a success. You want to portray yourself with the confidence to lead others looking for help with your services. You aren’t out to be led but show that you have the capabilities to complete the work and take responsibility for the successful results.
I am proud of the work I do, the skills I have, and how I help others reach their goals.
Getting my business to this point - to where I am comfortable with the skill sets I have and how I can share those with others - has been a journey. It's been self-discovery and confidence building, with technical knowledge and trial and error thrown in for good measure.
As I continue to grow my business and evolve, I further define the work I love to do, that which I can do without, and where my vision and heart live. It's not all about putting in tons and tons of hours each day, but rather fine-tuning my skills to maximize my time and energy. Taking the time for personal development and surrounding myself with like-minded entrepreneurs and soul searchers moves me to work towards new goals and keeps me in the trenches of doing the work.
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.
Continuing growth in the world of E-Commerce makes it necessary for small businesses to focus on top notch service. It becomes more and more critical to have systems in place allowing the user experiences to exceed expectations. These systems are imperative to success.
One way to do this is to have automations in place that personalize the experiences while making them as time effective as possible. In a world where there is less personal interaction, customer service is made through online interactions where the user's needs are as important as if they were interacting one-on-one.
It is interesting to track what trends have arisen in the employment world. If we look at the CareerBuilder image summarizing the Harris Poll national survey results for 2017, you can see that 51% of the positions employers are adding are anticipated to be temporary or contract.
In the Virtual Assistant world, this is nothing but a positive for those of us looking to grow our experience and levels of aptitude. Reaching out to companies looking to further their goals through flexibility of contractors is a way to build a portfolio and make a VA more well rounded, and have the ability to streamline processes.
Finding your target market isn’t always easy and weeding through the vast array of ways to find them can be arduous. So, what is a budding entrepreneur to do when they don’t have days to spend hunting/researching/lurking to find niche areas? – Get fastidious in presenting expert level ideas and solutions for the issues facing your target market.
Determining how your knowledge and skills can answer the call of your niche is essential in growing your credibility and gaining clients. Start playing BIG and showcase those skills by presenting ideas and solutions to those you can offer guidance and support.
In growing your business, we all know how important each step can be – from blogging to building a portfolio and creating a substantial social media presence. But, what I recently learned from talking to an esteemed colleague, is that not everyone understands that each of those pieces can build upon one another to create an even bigger product or service.
In creating each piece, the creative graphics, the properly worded blog, the catchy caption, do you think about how to use it as a layer to something bigger? More than just “your brand”?
Maybe Not – If Not, You Should
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!