In the first blog post in this series, Ratcheting Up Your Revenue (Part 1): Power Strategies Every Smart Entrepreneur Needs to Know, we covered an overview of the only strategies a business can use to boost its revenue. Click here to read that post
In the second blog post in this series, Ratcheting Up Your Revenue (Part 2): Enticing Buyers to Buy More Often, we covered a less costly but highly effective revenue ratchet strategy: Enticing buyers to keep coming back for more. Click here to read that post
In this blog post, we’ll discuss ways to sell more to your buyers by encouraging them to buy more and/or higher-end products and services each time they buy.
A word of caution though: Don’t rush out and arbitrarily raise your rates. Instead, consider the following “power practices” and apply them thoughtfully as you go about increasing the size of each purchase.
Selling More: Power Practice #1: Give your buyers obvious and easy reasons to buy more with each purchase.
Let’s look at how you might do this. First, you have to understand their needs; how do you fulfill their needs? In other words, you want to ask the question, what’s the best way to solve your customer’s problems and fulfill their wishes and desires?
How do you figure what your buyers want? You have to ask them.
Here’s an instructive snippet from a conversation with a coaching client that illustrates this point:
Me: “What’s your value proposition?”
Client: “We make life easier for them. We help them make more money.”
Me: “How do you know this?
Client: “I’ve been in business for 15 years.”
Me: “Okay that’s great, but how do you know that these are the specific results, improvements, outcomes and experiences that you’re providing for your clients?
Client: Silence for a little while.
Me: “Would you be willing to directly start asking buyers why they bought from you and what they want more of? Call them up. When they make a purchase, ask them. Do a survey, formally or informally to understand and meet your customer’s needs.”
Client: “I’m having a flat-forehead moment.”
You may already be successfully providing a valuable service; yet, you still would do well to speak with your customers and clients and get feedback. Ask this simple question: “What would you like to buy from us that we are not currently offering and if we offered something else, what would you want to buy from us?”
What you think you’re providing and what your buyers say you’re providing may be two different things. Similarly, the reasons why you think your buyers purchase from you may be surprisingly different than what your buyers actually state as the reasons. The only way to find out is simply to ask them!
Selling More: Power Practice #2: Continually add value.
Value exists in the minds, hearts, and experiences of your buyers. Similar to Power Practice #1, ask your buying audience: “What else can I add that’s valuable?” and “Is what I’m offering still valuable to people?” Times change, things change, economies change, mindsets and wishes and desires and problems change.
It’s important for you as a business to be adaptable and flexible enough to be able to continue to add value on top of what you’re already offering. The most efficient and reliable to do that is to continually ask questions of your buying audience and to listen to what your buyers are saying they want and need from you. You have to provide what they want before they’ll buy what they need.
Be aware that what buyers say they want to buy isn’t necessarily the same as what they really need. That’s okay. Sell them what they want. After that, you can sell them what you as an expert know they really need.
Selling More: Power Practice #3: Reinforce the ultimate value that buyers get from the business solving their problems and fulfilling their desires and needs.
Businesses commonly overlook such opportunities. A simply way to reinforce that value is by asking customers to tell you why they’re using your products and services, why they chose to buy from you, and what they’ve gotten out of them.
You may not always get desirable feedback but it will be very instructive and, used properly, will make a significant difference if you apply that feedback to your business.
You can reinforce the value by capturing raving fan stories, success stories, and testimonials, then sharing them with your potential buyers and existing buyers. This is called “social proof.” For instance, if you go to my website you can watch videos where you hear from the voice of some of my success stories what they got out of working with me. Success Interviews and 6-Figure Success Stories
In instead of or in addition to a “Success Stories” section on your website, you can sprinkle testimonials across different pages on your website as well.
Simple reminders with ideas and tips about how to get the most out of their purchase also serve to reinforce the value of their purchase and encourage potential buyers to jump on-board. TechSmith, the creators of Snagit and Camtasia, does a fantastic job of doing this through their “Your TechSmith New You Can Use” electronic newsletter.
Selling More: Power Practice #4: Focus on value conscious buyers, not price-sensitive consumers.
Price-sensitive customers buy based on who offers the lowest price for what they believe are comparable goods and services. They very often buy at the lowest price at the cost of quality, features, benefits, durability, longer-term value, and overall results.
For you, the problem with price-sensitive customers is that they tend to be disloyal when it comes to buying from you again.
They also tend to be the toughest to please and the most likely to be easily dissatisfied.
Value-conscious customers, on the other hand, buy based on trust, relationships, quality, service, outcomes, and the ultimate experience they get from doing business with you. Over the long-term, you establish an ongoing relationship with these customers in which you’re both invested. As a result, they are more likely to be fiercely loyal and supportive of the longer-term success of your business. Though their expectations remain appropriately high, they are more understanding, patient, and forgiving when things don’t go as well as intended.
In general, buyers who are value-conscious will buy more from you at any one time than price-sensitive ones.
Selling More: Power Practice #5: Shift your mindset to set your product prices and service fees based on value.
The more common approach is to set fees based on hourly rates, on what the competition is charging, or on what you mistakenly fear is what customers can afford to pay.
For a lot of entrepreneurs, this is a very challenging subject. It takes a committed effort to shift existing habits and mindsets. I’ve worked with a lot of people on this. For many people, they just aren’t as confident about stating their fees. When it comes to setting fees, frequently there is this little voice that goes off in the back of our minds that says “You can’t do that.” “People won’t buy from you.” “You’ll lose all your customers.” “Your business will come to a screeching halt.” “It won’t work. It’ll be a disaster.” “You’re going to fail.” This comes from mistaken beliefs about yourself.
What is the number one reason that people don’t set their fees based on value?
The number one reason that people have a challenge in setting their fees based on value is self esteem. They have a weak relationship to themselves in understanding and appreciating who they are and the value that they provide to others.
When you alter your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings about who you are as a human being, you gain greater confidence in the value that you have to offer and in setting your fees based on value. This inquiry opens up a whole host of other things such as emotional feelings, emotions that are based in the past, typically from our childhoods.
Expanding and upgrading your mindset about the value you provide and setting fees and prices is an ongoing process. Engaging in this work is likely to boost your confidence in the value you provide with potential clients and reinforce that value for existing clients.
In Part 4 of this series, we’ll cover 5 more power practices for encouraging buyers to spend more each time they buy from you.
This is an age-old question and quandary for many service providers in all types of industries.
I’ve heard of people embracing the policy that the first two hours with a new potential are free. Wow! That is a lot of volunteer time that gets racked up over the course of a business career!
One of the problems with not charging an initial fee is that you’ll end up wasting a lot of time with “tire-kickers,” people who are just shopping around for the lowest price and/or using other less- than -desirable buying criteria.
I also understand the reticence to charge an initial fee. You may scare off a potentially good client. However, charging an initial fee does serve as a filtering mechanism; just make sure the client knows about the fee BEFORE you arrange to meet with them.
Having said that, I suggest a different approach:
- After a potential client has contacted you and expressed an interest in speaking/meeting with you, have them fill out a brief questionnaire that gives you background on their situation.
- Then after you have reviewed that questionnaire, schedule a time to speak BY PHONE for up to 20-30 minutes. Then share any suggestions and recommendations you might have.
- If appropriate after that, offer a fee-based strategic planning session as the next step in working with you.
This initial session coupled with a questionnaire is not only an efficient approach, it gives you the ability to assess whether this would be a good client for you, moving forward.
Once you get comfortable and confident with this approach, you can actually charge significant fees for an initial strategic session.
Here is an example…
One of the bookkeeping services that I suggested this approach to ramped up their business to $100k in the first 12 months of being in business. 5 years later, $1M.
Coincidentally, this very day, I happened to get an email from the owner thanking me. This is a snippet of what he wrote: “All of our time together years ago, especially around paid-consultative sessions, is coming to fruition in some fun and interesting ways this spring. Several large companies who want to work together with us have approved 10-15 hour blocks of time at $150/hour for us to scope out our work together, so that we can give them an accurate proposal. Thanks again for the great coaching and belief years ago!”
So this approach can and does work.
Chances are, you’ve been reading what I’ve written and spoken about recently related to creating a six-figure revenue stream in record-time. And perhaps you’ve been racking your brain about how to achieve these same results in your own business.
You know, there’s a lot of information out there about what you should do to build your business rapidly. But before you realize it, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and paralyzed before taking any action.
One of you even wrote to me: “[how do I deal with] information overload, too many experts saying different things?”
And I’d have to agree: Whatever strategies or tactics you’ve been hearing about, well, they all work… And they all don’t work.
You see, what works and what doesn’t work is highly individual. Your particular circumstances, strengths, weaknesses, motivators, and resources dictate what you can (or can not) do.
Ever Tried Cooking a Gourmet Meal with Whatever You Have in the Refrigerator Right Now?
Whatever resources you have to work with, whether you judge that to be a little or a lot, the best advice I can give is for you to work with what you have available right now.
If you’ll stop worrying about what you wish you had and start using what you’ve got right here, right now, you’ll stand a better chance of achieving those things that are most important in your business.
Admittedly, the challenge in applying what I just recommended is that you may not believe that you have enough to work with.
And while you may be right, there’s a better chance that you have more than you realize, more than enough with which to get started. You just might not recognize it. And maybe what you have just needs a little tweaking.
What if you DID have more than enough to work with and you simply don’t recognize it? What if, with just a little help, you were able to recognize it? Then what could you do with that?
Stop Trying to Figure Things Out on Your Own
If you haven’t done something before, it’s pretty hard to sort out what you should focus on, and how to apply advice that you cobble together from a lot of different sources.
Likewise, if you don’t already have experience in creating a six-figure revenue stream within, say 180 to 365 days, how are you going to feel confident about where to start, what to listen to, and what specifically to do?
I can help you.
Get on the Phone with Me for 30 Minutes for FREE
What, the king of the paid strategic sessions, offering free consultations? Must be a typo!
Nah. You see, if you’ve studied my approach, you know that I am NOT against free sessions; there are appropriate times and places for them. Like right now.
Lately, I’ve be exploring ways to contribute my expertise by paying things forward. I’ve been studying and plotting. Along the way, I stumbled upon what I think is a really cool idea:
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to gift somewhere between 10 and 15 telephone consultations. That’s right, complimentary consultations. My gift to you.
I’ll get on the phone with you for 30 minutes, and you can tell me what’s troubling you (holding you back) in terms of accelerating your revenue.
I’ll then give you advice specifically customized for your exact situation.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m going to do it absolutely for free? Well, sort of. Actually, I’m not asking you to pay ME anything.
But wait a second, another reader sent this comment to me recently:
“Actually I prefer to pay for training; however, cash flow being limited, I would like enough action steps to begin generating cash that would allow me to engage your services.”
Fair enough. So if you feel better paying something, I invite you to make a donation in the amount of your choosing to the Living Wisdom School of Seattle, the tiny school where my two boys attend. But it’s not a requirement. In case you’re curious, you can read more about the philosophy of the school here: www.livingwisdomschoolseattle.org
To get the ball rolling, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post, telling me your biggest frustration, problem, or challenge you have right now, related to building up your revenue quickly.
I’ll contact 10-15 of you by email, ask for a “snapshot” of your current situation, and then we’ll schedule a time to chat.
Then I’ll give you my ideas and insights about where I recommend you focus your attention, energy, time, and other resources. Sound good?
Great! Then together, we’ll get you pointed in the right direction in no time.
So start writing that comment below!
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written about the practical skills that any entrepreneur needs to develop, acquire, or hire into their business. Practical Entrepreneurship, Part 1 and Practical Entrepreneurship, Part 2. I wrote about the first six, which are listed below, and provided recommended resources. I’ve since refined that list and added one more: Turnkey Systemization.
- Time and Productivity Management
- Business Financial Management, including interpreting financial statements
- Verbal Presentation Skills
- Written Presentation Skills
- Visual Presentations Skills
- Lifelong Learning and Application Skills
- Team-Building, Collaboration, and Network Development Skills
- Turnkey Systemization
Today, I’m going to describe the remaining three critical skillsets:
- Lifelong Learning and Application Skills
- Team-Building, Collaboration, and Network Development Skills
- Turnkey Systemization
Lifelong Learning and Application Skills
Today, there are more resources than ever before in the history of mankind for obtaining information: the internet, Amazon, Audible.com, TED talks, and so on.
But all the information in the world has never made any difference. A few years ago, I wrote a blog called “Information Is Interesting, but…”
My point of the post is that information and knowledge are NOT power. That’s a myth. Information is, well, information. It’s what you do with the information that makes any difference at all.
Here’s my advice when it comes to reading books, listening to podcasts, viewing videos, and attending workshops, seminars, and trainings: Ask yourself, “How can I practically apply this information?” What do I need by way of resources to be able to apply this information?”
And if you are a provider of information, ask yourself: “How can I make the information, knowledge, and wisdom I have easier for others to learn and implement for themselves?” While I don’t have a specific resource for you here, try adopting this mantra:
“Information is interesting, but application means everything.”
Team-Building, Collaboration, and Network Development Skills
A lot has been written about “team-building,” “leadership,” and “networking.” But in this section, when I refer to “team-building, collaboration, and network development skills,” I’m referring to a new paradigm, one yet to be created and innovated.
A while back, I wrote an article called “The Collaborative Advantage.” In the article, I described how collaboration among kindergartens was more effective than the attempts of high schoolers to work together.
If you recall the adage that “necessity is the mother of invention,” we now have the presence of compelling necessity for mothering invention. And in the emerging “new global economy,” it’s the responsibility of entrepreneurs such as ourselves to innovate new solutions for solving the multi-faceted problems that we face today.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a practical recommendation for a resource that blends “team-building, collaboration, and network development.” But I’m currently involved in a collaborative project where we’re developing a program designed to catalyze various models of collaboration. If you’re interested in learning more as we progress, I invite you to add yourself to the Collaboration Catalyst Special Interest List
A lot of people, including “gurus” write and talk about business systems. But it’s a “wastebasket,” nebulous term that has lost its meaning.
I’m curious: What’s your own definition of a business system?
This is my working description of a business system:
A business system is a collection of steps, procedures, and processes. (In case you’re wondering, a procedure is a collection of steps and a process is a collection of procedures). In addition, a system provides a framework for producing reliable, repeatable results. A system must be documented with enough detail and clarity so that someone with a baseline level of experience, skill, knowledge, and expertise can follow the system and produce acceptable results. The system must be readily accessible and documented with sufficient detail that minimizes the effort required to learn the system and for developers to support the training on the system.
Still with me? So here’s the problem. When I ask most entrepreneurs what percentage of their business is systemized, they don’t really know, but a lot of them have told me it’s upwards of 50%. And when I’ve asked these numerous people where the system documentation resides, they sheepishly point to their heads. Enough said.
“Turnkey systemization” means that you’ve documented the critical aspects of your business – the areas that are most critical for the sustainability and profitability of your business.
I’ve read a lot of material about the theory and concepts of systemization. But I’ve rarely seen any programs that truly teach you the “how-to’s” of systemization. Unfortunately again, I don’t have a readily available resource to recommend here.
However, I’m currently involved in a collaborative endeavor where we are currently developing a “Turnkey Systemization Toolkit for Entrepreneurs.” If you’re interested in being one of the first to hear about it, once we’re ready to release it, put your name on the Special Interest list here:
In case you missed it, here are the links to “Practical Entrepreneurship, Part 1” and “Practical Entrepreneurship, Part 2.” I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on “Practical Entrepreneurship.” If you have any other areas that you think are practical skills that entrepreneurs need to develop, please post a comment and let’s share in our collective wisdom.
From today until the new year, will be inundated with sales and special offers from retailers. It’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of all the different deals.
When it comes to your business, it can be easy to rationalize purchases that you have either deferred or, perhaps, not even considered before. The problem is, you can end up with things that don’t serve your needs, because you didn’t put a lot of thought into the purchase.
Throughout the year, especially now, I use a decision-making matrix that I applied to business-related purchases, especially large ones.
Here’s how it works. I first ask myself the following questions:
Will this purchase…
- Directly increase revenue and profitability?
- Decrease expenses?
- Directly enhance productivity?
- Improve safety/avoid injury?
- Enhance professional satisfaction?
Now criteria #5 is a “soft” one; if this is the only criterion that my contemplated purchase meets, but I don’t make the purchase. But if the purchase needs one or more of the preceding four criteria, then the purchase gets a “green light.”
I found these criteria to be very helpful for keeping me from making an impulsive purchase and wasting a lot of time and money in the process.
You may have other criteria by which you make your purchases and investments in your business. I’d like to hear some of those; please leave them in your comments below.
In the meantime, if you apply the simple criteria to purchases you make today and moving forward, they’ll help to keep your business in the black.