by Tom Buford
OK . . . I’ve been hearing a LOT of talk about the economy lately. Who am I kidding; I’ve felt its effects as well, but I made a few quick tweaks to my business and marketing and now I’m right back on track. I’m going to share three of those tweaks with you in just a minute.
There’s no getting around that some people out there are being directly hit by the slowing economy and others are petrified that they’re next.
Well, this doesn’t mean that you have to throw your arms up in the air and close shop. Remember, that now is the time that people need consulting, mentoring and coaching more than ever! This is the time that they need their business and life to flow more effortlessly.
People don’t typically seek solutions until they’re aware of the problem. This may seem obvious, but think about it. We SHOULD be putting solutions in place BEFORE the problem rears its ugly head. Unfortunately that’s not the typical behavior.
It’s akin to the way we here in America use our medical system. We go to a doctor when we get sick. But how many of us seek guidance to help us avoid getting sick?! As a former student of nutritional consulting I know the answer is alarmingly low. And this is our HEALTH we’re talking about.
This problem is even more rampant when it comes to business. Don’t worry; I’m not trying to claim innocence here Man, have I ever waited until the last minute to bail myself out of business frustrations.
But this “problem” actually presents an opportunity for you and your market. You offer something that other people need and want, don’t you?
I’m going to share with you 3 tips that will help your business prosper in a slowing economy. Even if business is great right now, make sure to read this article. Then print it out and keep it handy. You NEVER know when things might change.
1. Think and network GLOBALLY as well as locally. By “globally” I mean anywhere outside of where you’re currently networking. Things aren’t bad everywhere. I talk to people every day who are making more money now than ever before and they aren’t seeing any end in sight. If you’re networking locally and feeling the crunch then start spreading out. Begin creating client solutions that can be done over the phone, e-mail, etc.
One of the best ways to begin networking globally is using the power of social media sites. My personal favorite is Facebook. I find the business community to be receptive and responsive.
Other sites you might like: LinkedIn.com Twitter.com Ryze.com
You can find a pretty exhaustive list of more social and business networking sites here: http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=Ei91C&m=1cuGKjexvinbnf&b=crlGnNeQjABGugg0VJq4xQ
Scan through and find “general” or “business” sites and see if any of them connect with you.
2. Bring the focus to what it costs your prospects NOT to work with you. If you’re selling an ethical and beneficial service, it’s your obligation to share this perspective with your prospects.
When you shift FROM what it costs to work with you and focus on what is lost by NOT working with you, the idea of “price” becomes secondary. Your prospect’s budget isn’t the issue at hand. Now the conversation is about what they might lose by not moving forward with you and how valuable your services are to them.
3. Offer “next steps” for your current clients
One of the biggest problems people face in slowing economic times is losing faith in people and businesses. They feel that everyone’s out to get their money. And in many cases, they’re absolutely correct.
Hopefully, your current clients already know, like and trust you. They’re not worried that you’re trying to rip them off so they’re receptive to new solutions that you have for their problems.
Clients are much harder to obtain than they are to keep as long as you have a history of providing them with value. And many of your clients are sitting there waiting for you to offer them the next step. It’s not their job to ask, but it’s yours to offer.
Again, assuming you offer a service or product that is truly valuable to your market, this is an ethical step for you to put into place.
What could some next steps be? * Group coaching or mentoring * Packages not previously offered * Affiliate products and services of other known and trusted professionals * Platinum level programs whereby they get more hands-on with you
One of my favorites is group coaching and tele-classes. You can keep the investment relatively low while delivering a tremendous amount of practical information and solutions because you gather several people on a call. This is a win/win. You get paid what you’re worth for your time and they receive incredible value.
1. Find at least one social/business networking site that you can join. Then become an active community member. Don’t get too wrapped up here though. You can spend hours on these sites. I have a countdown timer on my desk and I set it for 30 minutes when I get on Facebook. When the time’s up I’m gone. Social networking is only ONE aspect of running a successful business.
2. Think of at least 3 critical reasons your prospects would want to work with you. Focus on what they lose or miss out on by NOT working with you. Begin communicating these ideas in your sales conversations and marketing material.
3. Create 2 logical “next steps” for your current clients. If you have a difficult time coming up with something then just ask. You can ask your clients the next time you talk with them or send a survey to your client list. Trust me, they will appreciate that you are thinking of them and asking for their feedback before randomly creating solutions that may or may not work for them.
A great site for creating quick and easy surveys is http://www.surveymonkey.com/
You can start creating very cool surveys for free. This is a great resource that you should get used to using in your business.
Cheers and Success
Tom Buford “The Fee-Setting Go-To Guy”
by Tom Buford
Nobody likes to hear the word “NO”. We will do about anything to avoid it; including lowering our fees until we hear a “yes”. The problem is that this habit will put you out of business about as fast as anything else. It will also cause you to resent your clients and that’s no way to run a business.
So how do you handle price objections? Here are a few effective solutions.
1. Clearly establish value before discussing your fees
In your conversations, on your website, and in any other written form it’s important to always establish the value that you are offering your clients. You have to be clear on this before they can be.
When talking with your prospects don’t let the conversation get to pricing too soon. Make certain that they are clear on the value of working with you before you discuss your fees. It’s a great idea to get them to say out loud what your service is worth to them.
Here’s an example:
“If we were to work together and you were able to accomplish the things that we discussed within the time frame that we discussed, what would that be worth to you?”
It doesn’t get much simpler or more powerful than that.
Obviously, there is much more that goes into the sales conversation than one simple question, but this is where you want to take it before you start mentioning specific fees.
2. Don’t reduce your fees without removing value
There’s no need to feel pressured to reduce your fees just because somebody tells you that you are too expensive. The funny thing is that as soon as you tell a prospect that you are willing to reduce your fees but because of the lower price you’re going to have to remove “x” and “y” from the package you will see just how fast they find value in the entire package.
3. Offer multiple solutions for your clients’ problems
When it’s really a matter of affordability for your clients you are able to help by offering them multiple solutions. If they aren’t ready to invest in your private coaching, then they can sign up for your newsletter and join your next workshop.
Having multiple packages to offer your prospects makes the entire sales process much easier. Regardless of their objections, you have somewhere to put them.
4. Understand that sometimes you need to say “NEXT” and move on.
Don’t be cocky, but be willing to walk away. This takes a ton of pressure off of you just by having the mindset that whoever it is you’re talking to isn’t the last prospect on the planet. Remember, they need you every bit as much as you need them. There are about 5 billion fish in the proverbial sea. Don’t get hung up on one.
Sometimes you’re just not the right fit with your prospect. Never be offended or offensive. Just move on.
This is actually a powerful way to close a sale. People can’t stand scarcity. They insist on having things that they think they can’t have. It’s crazy, isn’t it? But you know it’s true.
When somebody sees that you’re willing to walk away and move on they suddenly see more value in you. You aren’t somebody who is begging for their business. You know that there is somebody waiting around the corner that’s dying to work with you.
When you allow people to push you into lowering your fees you are filling your business up with clients that you will soon resent. This is unhealthy and completely avoidable.
I know that it can be very scary, but take a deep breath, look them in the eyes and say, “It’s been a pleasure talking with you!” Then say to yourself, “Next!”
by Tom Buford
Increasing the value of your business is a quick ticket to more profits. One of the fastest ways to begin charging what you deserve is to improve your self-confidence and when you perceive the value of your business increasing, it becomes much easier for you to ask for the fees that you deserve.
Here are 4 ways that you can add value, both real and perceived, to your business that will also save you time and earn you more money.
1. Create a content-rich ezine or newsletter
Writing a regular newsletter or ezine (e-magazine or online newsletter) is a great way to stay in contact with prospects and clients. By offering useful information for your subscribers, you are immediately adding value to your business.
Create a FREE report or some other “tasty” offer that would be of interest to your prospects. In exchange for the report, prospects opt-in by leaving their name and e-mail address. Now you can continue to offer them great, useful information and announce any product or service offers that you have through your newsletter.
2. Hire a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant, or VA, is a work-from-home service professional that will handle administrative and office work for a variety of different clients. Because they work with several clients at a time, you don’t have to be responsible for 40 hours a week worth of work to make them happy. To start with, you may hire a VA for 4-6 hours a month, but the return on investment is wonderful.
This is a great way to save time and effort on tasks that you shouldn’t be putting your energy into. They will do the job better and more efficiently. This in turn helps you to build a more valuable business.
3. Create a group program or tele-seminar series
Adding a group program is as easy as holding a series of tele-seminars or workshops. This allows clients that wouldn’t normally pay for the more expensive one on one time a chance to learn from you. It doesn’t matter whether you are a coach, consultant, speaker or a private chef. There is SO much information that people need to learn that you have in your head, any service professional can put together a group coaching/mentoring program.
4. Interview known experts
Imagine all of the great content and information that you can pass on to clients and prospects that you learned first hand from experts in or around your industry.
So, how do you go about getting an interview with an expert?
Do you have e-mail? Do you have a telephone? They probably do too. Remember, all of the “experts” out there started somewhere. Be persistent and don’t be shy. What’s the worst that can happen by asking for a ten minute phone interview? They can say “No”. That’s the absolute worst thing that can happen.
Use the 6-degrees of separation principle. Ask your friends and colleagues who they know that they could introduce you to. This has worked with AMAZING success for me.
So, what do you do now?! I suggest sitting down with a pen and paper and mapping out exactly how you want to achieve at least two of the steps above. Be clear on your purpose. You want to create additional value for your clients.
Also, start thinking of other ways that you can increase the value of your business.
|I mention four in this article but I go into much more depth in my Charge What You Deserve Coach in a Book which can be found on my website.
Until next time.
Cheers and Success
by Tom Buford
Most of us get a little nervous when discussing our fees. Some of us get VERY nervous. A little case of the nerves is always fine, but when it gets to the point that you try to avoid the subject of your fees altogether it becomes damaging to your business. Many of you reading this have probably been in that situation at least once. I know I have!
Here are some tips to help you manage your nerves when discussing your fees with prospects.
1. Say it until you can say it with a straight face
Literally repeat your fees to yourself until it becomes a reflex. Say it out loud. In the mirror, while you’re in the shower, while you’re driving down the road, whenever. Just keep saying it until you take yourself seriously. If you can’t take yourself seriously when it comes to what you charge then don’t expect your prospects to.
2. Offer multiple pricing options so you don’t have to discuss specific fees too soon
If you offer multiple solutions for your clients’ problems, then you can honestly tell prospects that you have several levels of services and products and you would like to get more information about their needs first. This allows you time to build a stronger rapport with your prospects as well.
3. Emphasize value and not process when talking with prospects
This is critical. Nobody wakes up one day and says, “Wow, I’d really like some coaching or consulting today.” In the simplest terms, what they want is out of pain and into pleasure. Period. Always emphasize the value that your service offers, not how many times a month you will meet and how long each meeting will last. When you develop the habit of discussing value, you will begin to recognize more and more how much your service is really worth and you will stop being hesitant about discussing your fees.
Remember. Set your fees based on value and with integrity. The business will follow.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
by Tom Buford
Owning a coaching business can be very rewarding and lucrative. Unfortunately, too many coaches turn their businesses into struggling headaches. One of the key components to being a successful coach is knowing what to charge and how to get it.
There are many talented coaches out there who are constantly undervaluing their services and facing the ugly reality of going out of business. I don’t care whether you’re a business, executive, family, relationship, life, or any other style of coach-you need to take a good hard look at what you’re charging before it’s too late and you’re forced to find another way to earn a living.
Raising your fees not only helps make YOU more prosperous and fulfilled, it can help make your CLIENTS more prosperous and fulfilled.
I’ve identified three critical reasons why you should raise your coaching fees.
1. Your clients will get more value out of their coaching relationship with you.
Perceived value is a powerful concept. It’s been ingrained into our heads that you get what you pay for. Charging too little for a valuable service such as coaching is a lose/lose situation for client and coach. Here are just a few reasons why your clients are losing out:
They have a low perceived value of the coaching relationship
They will “go through the motions” because they are not truly invested
They can come to their sessions with the wrong energy
They may not use the “gifts” that coaching has to offer
Here’s an example of how it works-one I experienced myself. I recently met a coach who was having business issues. She wanted to start cranking out a newsletter and get her website up and running, but she didn’t know where to start. While I was going through my coaching certification program, I noticed many coaches were having a difficult time getting the basics of their business set up, so I wrote the e-book “From Lazy to Loaded: Business Success Blueprint for Coaches and Consultants”
Because she didn’t know where to start, I wanted to help this particular coach out, so I sent her the e-book for free. It had all the answers to her problems and I thought that I was doing her a favor by not charging her for the book. A couple weeks later she called and said she was having problems getting her newsletter started. I asked if she read the e-book and she said that she hadn’t, and she wasn’t even sure where to find it on her computer so I sent her another copy. Two weeks later the same thing happened. I kid you not! I couldn’t believe my ears. She was asking me questions about the exact same problems and once again I asked if she had read the e-book and again the answer was “NO.”
I would bet dollars to doughnuts that if she had paid $500 for the book that I sell for only $49 she would have gotten thousands of dollars of information out of it. This is the way most human beings operate. If you don’t pay for it or if it comes too cheap, it must not be very valuable. The information doesn’t have to be any different, but the clients receive the information on completely different levels.
2. You will be perceived as a more high-powered coach.
Raising your fees is one of the quickest ways to be perceived as an expert in your field. Let’s face it. You never want your clients running around saying, “Yeah, my coach is really cheap.” I had a conversation with a coach the other day who has been having trouble picking up new clients-and she’s stressed out because the clients she does have are driving her crazy.
This coach thought I was nuts when I told her that the last thing she needs to do is lower her fees to pick up new clients. I explained to her that all she will be doing is devaluing her service (which reflects on the entire coaching industry) and the clients that she does attract will stress her out even more than those she is working with presently.
Would you consider hiring a coach that was only charging $50 a month? Probably not. Yet when you see a coach who’s charging $1000 per month and beyond, you probably think they are an expert and you are eager to learn more about them. For all intents and purposes this could be the same coach, but now you have a completely different perception of them.
So, how do YOU want to be perceived?
3. You want to differentiate yourself from your peers.
Raising your fees is a fantastic and FUN way to stand out from the “competition.” I can’t think of anything more exciting than making more money and lowering my blood pressure at the same time.
When you are charging the same as all of your peers, you might as well just have your name thrown in a hat with the names of all the other coaches, and your prospects just reach in to see who they pick. You blend right in with everybody else. To be a successful coach you do NOT want to blend in. You want to be noticed.
When prospects see that you aren’t charging the “same old same old,” they WILL take notice. They will begin thinking that you have something the other coaches don’t and that they can get more value out their relationship with you. And if that’s what they believe, then that’s exactly what will happen.
Here are a few ideas to think about:
Give yourself permission to raise your fees.
Recognize that your clients are OK with it and will, in fact, benefit.
Overcome the emotional barriers that are preventing you from creating a prosperous coaching practice.
Become comfortable with communicating your new fees.
Learn how to retain your existing clients when raising your fees.
Although it may take a little while to change the way you look at your fee structure, it’s definitely worth considering now instead of later. The fact is, you’re not doing yourself or your clients any favors by not charging what you’re worth. By offering a “discount” or “waiting until the client is established” to charge what you deserve, you’re de-valuing the important work that you do. Instead, consider the value you provide your clients and think about how you can create a fee structure that not only works for you and your client, but benefits the both of you.
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