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How to Generate Leads from Your Website

how to generate leads from your website

Let me ask you a question: What is your website for? 

Is it just ‘brochureware’ (a place to learn more about your business) or are you aiming for it to be something more, such as a way of generating a consistent pipeline of new leads?

The answer is that it should be the latter.

So in this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast,I share my thoughts around some of the fundamental do’s and don't about getting your website to work more effectively for you and also some key strategies to consistently generate leads from it.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[1:09] 

Why you should make sure your website isn’t full of ‘we’!!

[2:01] 

The importance of quickly building empathy with your readers

[2:46] 

What is the anatomy of a successful website, what does a great website look like?

[5:03] 

Tips on how to drive traffic to your website

[8:58] 

How to convert leads

[9:23] 

Four stages to drive traffic to your website

[10:51] 

Tips in creating your ‘killer content’

[11:46] 

Killer content Myth #1: ‘I need lots of gated content on my website’

[12:14] 

Killer content Myth #2: ‘It needs to be long to deliver value.’

Quotations

“..remember that your ultimate goal with your website is to generate leads. The way you're going to generate leads is by getting people to sign up to your email list, and then you're going to nurture them through the buyer's journey.” - Rob Da Costa

“..drive traffic from all your different channels, where your target audience hangs out, to your website and then, once they are there, get them to take action, which means them giving you their email address (in return for your killer content).” - Rob Da Costa

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 Full Episode Transcription

Let me start this episode of the podcast by asking you a question and that question is: ‘What is your website for? Is it just brochure-ware, so somewhere or someone can learn more about your business or you’re aiming it to be something more, such as a lead generation machine?’ 

Well, firstly, it definitely should be that something more. But there are some fundamental do’s and don't about getting your website right and also some key strategies to making it generate leads for you. So that's what I am going to cover in today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. 

Now, this is a super action-packed episode, and I'm going to be covering a lot of bases. So go and grab yourself a pen and paper. Or, if you're like me, you're remarkable to take notes so that you can leave with an action plan from this episode. But without further ado, let's get on with today's show. 

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips and value-added interviews with your host agency owner and coach, Rob da Costa. 

So the first thing I want to talk about is making sure that your website isn't full of wee. Yes, you heard me, right. Making sure your website isn't full of wee. What I mean by that is so many websites start off by saying we do this and we do that. As we were founded in 1974 wherein we have these amazing, great clients, this is what we've done for them, and this is what they say about us. But fundamentally, when your reader arrives at your website, they just don't care about that. You haven't built any no, like and trust yet. 

Then, your first job is to start building empathy with your reader, and you're not going to do that. If you start off by telling them all about you. What you need to do is show them that you understand them and you understand some of the challenges they have, so that you immediately starting building some rapport and empathy because then the reader sits there and thinks ‘this is interesting, tell me more,’ and that tells me more translates into the action of them scrolling down the page or clicking on some links and digging deeper into your website. And as they dig deeper, that's when they're going to be interested to learn more about you.

So that homepage, that starting point when someone arrives at your site has to be about them, you have to show them very, very quickly that you understand them and the challenges they face day in and day out. Now bear in mind, someone might have found your website via Google, and therefore they would have found thousands of other websites as well. They'll be quickly scrolling in, and you've got to stop them from scrolling on to the next search option and stay with you. Then, you're going to do that by showing them that you understand them.

Let's just spend a few minutes talking about the anatomy of a great website, and it starts by getting the above the fold part right now. What I mean by above the fold, if you're not clear about that terminology is everything that they see before they scroll down. You need to be mindful about what they'll see on a mobile device as much as a desktop device. In that above the fold real estate, you have a matter of seconds to get someone's attention, so show them you understand them and build start building empathy and then also in the above the fold section, you need to offer them some value. You want to be really clear about what action you want them to take, and I'll talk more about that in a moment. 

So, the first part of the website needs to identify the challenges and pains that they have, and then you can offer them some value to start to solve that pain or challenge. Then as they scroll further down, you want some social proof. This is who you've worked with so that they want to align themselves with some of these great names that you've already worked with.

If you have some names that will be recognisable to your potential reader, then list them, put their logos on and so on. Then a bit further down the page, you're going to start to detail more about yourself and also more about the services that you offer. Lastly, at the bottom of the page, you're going to have the next action steps that you want them to take. 

Of course, you're going to have other pages, such as an about us page, the services you offer, how they can contact you and so on. But let me just kind of contradict myself a bit here. Because if you have an about us page, well, guess what it's all about you. It's not about them. So rather than having about us, I often say to people, why don't you list something like how we can help you as the reader. Again, you're making about them. Then, you're gonna have those typical pages and I'm not going to dive into them too much today. 

What I really want to focus on is how you're going to generate leads from your website. If you get that initial homepage design right, then it's gonna make your website sticky, wherein someone's going to want to learn more, read on and click on the other links as well. So those are the key kind of anatomies that you want to focus on on your home page. 

The next thing you need to think about is how you are going to drive traffic to your website because it actually doesn't matter whether you have an amazing website or a terrible website. If you're not driving traffic there. No one's going to see it anyway, so having a great website is one part of the journey. But of course, the other part is driving your ideal target customers to your website, and obviously, you want to make sure that you have optimised it for all the search terms that your ideal target customer will type into Google. You might invest in some SEO services so that you are driving that traffic, and I would highly recommend people at least have an SEO specialist look at your website to make sure it's optimised, even if you're not working with them on an ongoing basis. 

You may also choose to run some ads, will that be Facebook or Google or YouTube Ads to drive traffic to your website. You're going to use social media, so when you're posting on your social media platforms, make sure that you are driving traffic back to your website because you want people to take action. 

A really important point here that I've talked about many times is to remember that your ultimate goal with your website is to generate leads. The way you're going to generate leads is by getting people to sign up to your email list, and then you're going to nurture them through your list.

And one of the key reasons for doing this is because you own all of those names on your list. Whereas if you're just relying on social media to generate leads and drive traffic to your website, you need to remember that you don't own those social media contacts, you're renting them if you like, and they can be taken away from you at any time. 

I've told the story before about a client who had I don't know what it was. 10,000 followers on Instagram and then their account got hacked. So Instagram's policy was to shut them down and say, create a new account. Then, of course, recently Donald Trump had I think about 90 million followers on Twitter, then he had his account closed down, and he immediately lost those 90 million followers. Now, if we'd been smart enough to try and encourage them to join his mailing list, then he'd have been in control of that list. 

So social media is a fantastic platform. You want to drive traffic from all your different channels where your target audience hangs out, drive them to your website, get them to take action when they get to your website, which will mean giving you their email address so you can then continue to nurture them through your email list.

Now, another way to drive traffic back to your website is through partnerships. So it could be that you are a guest on a podcast like this. Or it could be that you writing a guest blog for someone. Or it could be that you've got some kind of agreed freebie swap with somebody. But if you have partners that are targeting the same audience as you but with a different offer, then that is your ideal partner. If that partner happens to have a much bigger audience than you, then they're even more of an ideal partner. If you can get them to put you in front of their audience by offering their audience and value, such as being a great guest on the podcast and actually teaching something of value. Then that's how you will drive traffic back to your website and when they get to your website of course because you've got the design of it right. You're going to be really clear about what next step you want them to take. 

So that's just a few ideas in a really quick nutshell to give you some thoughts around how you can drive traffic to your website. Of course, you want to be doing all of these things, and you want to be doing them on a continual basis. Everything I talk about that every solid marketing platform takes time, and you have to be committed to doing it on a regular basis. If you want to see results. As there are very few kinds of getting rich quick schemes where you just do a little bit of marketing and suddenly you want to get loads of these. It just doesn't work like that, despite what some people might try and lead you to believe. 

Now, in Episode 79 of the podcast just a few episodes ago, I talked about how to create a lead magnet to generate new subscribers to your list, then I'm not going to go into that in too much detail because you can go back and listen to that episode. But obviously one of the key ways that you are going to convert website visitors into leads and then convert those leads into prospects and clients is by having a piece of killer content a lead magnet, which I'll talk more about in a moment that you can offer your audience on your website in return for them giving you their email address, which then goes into your email automation system and you nurture them through that.

So there are four stages you want to focus on with your website, first of all, driving traffic to your website. Second of all, once they're there, build empathy with your readers so that they want to stay on your website and learn more. Then number three, you're going to offer them a piece of killer content, a lead magnet that they are going to download, and then that puts them in your email list. And the fourth stage is to nurture them through your email list so that you can convert them into a prospect and then a client.

Now, talking about understanding the conversion process for you, I have a really good talk all the time about conversion tools. I'm going to put a link in the show notes, and you can grab a copy of this, and this will basically help you analyse how long it takes a lead to come into your world. I someone who's just found about you, visited your website, downloaded something, and you nurture them to the point of them becoming a client. ‘What is that time to conversion?’ And you'll often be surprised at how long it takes.

I've done this work for myself, and it takes on average, about 12 months for someone learning about me to buying from me. It's really useful to know what that time to conversion is for you so that you can make sure that you have to nurture content to help move people along that buyer’s journey. With that, I'm going to put a link in the show notes to a time to conversion tool that you can download and do some analysis and work out what that length of time is for you so you can make sure you have a really good marketing content that will nurture people along with the sales funnel.

So let's just focus on the third point I mentioned in that four-step process, which is producing a piece of killer content. Now, if you really know your audience and you've done your work on defining your customer avatar your customer persona again, I'm going to put a link to my e-book on that. So you haven't done that. Go grab a copy of it and go and create your customer avatar, because it will be really helpful, and you will understand the pains that they suffer from the challenges they have. That piece of killer content that lead magnet you're going to create and you're going to promote it on the above the fold part of your website is going to address one of the core pain points that they have. And so you're going to create this e-book, this guide, this cheat sheet. There's top tips, this video training, whatever is something that your audience is going to digest and something that you feel comfortable creating. That's your piece of killer content. 

Now let me dispel two myths at this stage. First of all, you only need one piece of great killer content. When I created my website, I created loads and loads of pieces of killer content, ebooks and guides that you can download. In fact, if you go on my website, you'll see there are probably 20 different things that you can download, but you don't need 20 things. You need one piece of content, so that's myth number one. Like I said, if you understand your audience, then this piece of content will address one of their core pain points. 

While the second myth I want to dispel is that it doesn't have to be long. I think what puts a lot of people off is that they think it needs to be the best thing since sliced bread and needs to be 20 pages long or 40 pages long because people would judge me based on how big this thing is. Actually, the opposite is true because most of our target customers, i.e. people like you for me are time-poor, so they don't have time to read a 20-page thing, and they won't be judging how good it is based on the length they'll be judging it on the quality of it. Does it help them solve one of their core pain points? And that's the second myth. It doesn't have to be long. In fact, it could just be one page. It could be top tips on optimising your website or top 10 tips on how to implement your own SEO or top tips of what a journalist is looking for in a good press release. So doesn't have to be long. It just has to be good and address some of their killer points 

Now, kind of a bonus thing here is that you probably think I need to create something that's truly original. Yes, of course, you should definitely not played your eyes. And if you can create something that hasn't been done before, then brilliant. But the chances of the thing that you're going to create, not existing in some form or another on the Internet already is very remote. 

So your goal is to package it up in a way that your ideal target customer will find really easy to digest. Those are the two myths I just wanted to spell about your killer content, so you're going to create this piece of content. You can make it look pretty by outsourcing it to a designer or designing it yourself and then you're going to embed it on your website now. The key here is that they have to give you their email address in order to get it's like this transaction. I'm going to pay for this thing with my email address, and I'm going to tick a box that confirms I'm happy to receive emails from you in the future so that your GDP is compliant. And in return, I'm going to give you this piece of great content.

Then, that's the deal that you are making with your reader. Now, once they have given your email address, it's going to go into your email automation system. I've talked about email before Episode 55 so you can go back and listen to that so I'm not going to go into picking an email automation system. But a really key point here, really good tip is to make sure that you deliver your killer content to your lead magnet via the first email that you send the subscriber. Don't deliver it on your website. The reason for that is because if you deliver on your website, I could just put any old bad email address in. I still get access to it, whereas if you deliver it via the first email, then the reader has to give you a good email address, and you want to make it clear that in your form that they fill in that you want to ask them to give you their best email address, so you will deliver the lead magnet via an email. 

So that's a tip that's worth noting and something that I see a lot of people get wrong where they just embed the fact file of the ebook onto their website. Don't do that, deliver it via your email system. Then, once you've got them in your email, you're going to create a sequence of nurturing emails that dig into the guide a bit more or talk about some other things, and your goal is to get them to take the next step on the buyer's journey. But again, I don't want to go into that into much detail today. I've got other episodes about that because today the focus is on making your website work for you and how to generate leads from your website. That's the purpose. 

Anyway, create the content, deliver it by your email system and nurture your reader through your email system. You will start moving them from cold lead to warm lead to prospect to customer to raving fan, which is obviously your goal. If you've done your time to conversion, you know how long that journey takes typically, you'll be then thinking about well if it takes me 12 months. ‘What kind of content can I use to nurture people, keep building that no like and trust with them to the point that I'm still in their face when they're ready to buy because humans are kind of like sieves’. If we don't constantly stay in front of mind with them, they'll forget about us and they'll buy from someone else. 

This all starts with your website. I always view my website as the centre of my universe, and I want to drive traffic through all the different means that I've talked about today to my website, then when I get my reader to my website. I want to quickly build empathy with them by showing I understand them and then get them to take action. 

Now, this takes action needs to be on that top of above the folding stuff. You can't afford to have it buried somewhere deep in your website on the assumption that your reader will actually ever get to that page. Because, remember, as I said earlier, they might just be searching on Google. You might be one of the thousands of results they've come up with, they quickly visiting your website, then you have literally a few seconds to grab their attention, and it's not clear what you want them to do next. Then they will probably leave and remember that to do the next action is to get them to download your lead magnet or your killer content, and that has to evidently very quickly demonstrate that it has some value to them.

So those are my tips about making sure that your website is generating leads for you, making sure that it's not full of we, i.e. it's not just about you, but it's about your reader. Then as they dig into your website and they're thinking, tell me more. That's where you start talking about you, who you are, what you do, how long you've been around, who you've done it for sharing some testimonial sharing, some case studies and so on. But that needs to be further into your website once your reader has got some connection with you, so I hope those tips are useful.

As I said, this is a bit of an action-packed episode. I hope you've taken some notes. I hope that gives you an action plan of things that you might want to review your website or get changed. Or maybe some ideas on creating that lead magnet, that killer content for your website and also perhaps working out exactly who your ideal target customer is if you're not clear about that.

I hope that was useful as ever. Please make sure you've hit the subscribe button. I would love you to leave a review on Apple podcasts because, as you know, that helps the algorithms show me to more agency owners just like you. But other than that, I hope you have a fantastic rest of your week, and I will see you next Thursday for the next episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast

Creating an Online Programme with David Miles

Have you ever dreamt about earning passive income, (i.e. earning money that isn't directly connected to selling your time)?

Have you ever thought about taking what you deliver for your clients and turning it into an online programme, a course, or a membership site?

A number of my clients have so I thought it would be a great topic for a podcast.

In this episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast, I am joined by David Miles, CEO of The PPC Machine.

The PPC Machine is an agency that helps mortgage brokers generate high-quality leads from their website using PPC and website optimisation. 

David shares how he's taken his PPC services and developed an online membership programme. We explore why he choose a membership programme over other online models, we look at some of the tech he has in place to run his membership, and the challenges and pitfalls he experienced as he developed his programme.

Here’s a glance at this episode…

[2:37] 

What was the catalyst to begin exploring and creating an online programme?

[4:43] 

How to explore different online models- from membership programme to one off courses. 

[5:37] 

The reasons for choosing membership model over a standard course 

[8:05] 

Understanding the structure of an overall online programme

[13:04] 

How to encourage members to take action for online learning success

[14:04] 

What is the current status of David Miles’ PPC online programme?

[14:50] 

The biggest challenge in creating an online programme

[17:40] 

The component parts and tech tools that best work for The PPC Machine

[21:06] 

Tips in selling membership programme

[23:38] 

What advice to give to the listeners who plan to take their business online?

[27:21] 

Tips in pre-selling an online programme

[29:20] 

What are the things that David Miles would have done differently if he were to start over again?

[30:41] 

How to determine the pricing for an online programme

[34:16] 

What would David Miles’ advice be to his younger self?

Quotations

"Moving your 1-2-1 services to an online programme makes your business more scalable. You can reach more people." - David Miles

“I think a really good bit of advice that you don't need to have everything ready at launch. In fact, if you're launching a programme yourself, you need to create a minimum viable offer..“ - Rob DaCosta

“..no one is going to judge how good your programme is by the quantity of content. You don't need content about everything. You just need to have good quality content.” - Rob DaCosta

“Launch with a minimum viable product so that don't don't feel you've got to spend six months or a year creating something huge before you launch, because the big risk if you do that you might be creating something that nobody wants and then you've wasted a year of your life, so decide what your minimum viable product is.” - David Miles

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Scroll to the bottom, tap to rate with five stars, and select “Write a Review.” Then be sure to let me know what you loved most about the episode!

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 Full Episode Transcription

If you've ever dreamt about earning passive income by money that isn't directly connected to selling your time, then this episode's gonna be one that you don't want to miss. Now, if you've ever thought about taking what you deliver for your clients and turning it into an online programme, or course, or a membership site, then that's what we're talking about today. I'm excited to have David Miles from The PPC Machine, who is actually our second repeat guest, and we're talking all about how he's taken his PPC services and turned them into an online membership programme. We'll talk about why he decided to do this, why he picked a membership programme over a different model, and some of the tech and things that he's had to get in place in order to make sure that he can run the programme and talk about how he launched on how successful he's been in some of the pitfalls on some of the things that he would do differently if he were starting again. So, as I say, if you've ever thought about taking what you teach and turning it into an online programme, then this episode is one that you won't want to miss.So, let's get on with the show. 

Accelerate your agency's profitable growth with tools, tips, and value added interviews with your host agency owner and coach, Rob DaCosta. So, welcome to today's episode of The Agency Accelerator Podcast. I'm really excited to have back with me; in fact, David Miles from the PPC. David is a long standing client of mine, and he runs, as I said, the PPC Machine, an agency that helps mortgage brokers generate high quality leads from their website using PPC and website optimisation.

Now David was actually one of my first guests on the podcast in episode 6, where we talked about niching, and David shared the benefits he's seen since niching into the mortgage broker sector. So welcome, David. Welcome back David. Is there anything else you wanted to add to my introduction? No, I think you already know me quite well up to something, something a lot quite nicely. So, good to be back. Excellent. Well, it's well, it's good to have you back. Now, you've been running your agency for a number of years in its current form and today we're talking about taking kind of like the bricks and mortar work that we do and moving it into some kind of online programme. So I was really interested to hear from you what the catalyst was for you to begin exploring creating some kind of online programme, online community for your audience. Yeah, I know this is one of those things I'd I'd talked about I thought about doing for years and lots of people said to me over the years, or you should take your training and, you know, move it online. It's more scalable. You can reach more people and all that kind of thing. And, I suppose, as with a lot of people, the catalyst for doing something that you've talked about for a long while was when the pandemic hit last year. Because obviously that two things firstly, in that initial for six weeks, when the business world just kind of stopped, you know, regardless of what kind of business you're in, everyone seemed to stop and now want to commit to anything in the world ground to a hole that always he gave people like me a lot more time to think about.

Okay, well, now I've got the time to do it. X once said that I've talked about for years. Um, because the other thing was, I physically couldn't deliver one-to-one  training to people anymore, which, you know, that wasn't solely what business was about. It was a significant part of it. So those things together really gave me the opportunity and the kick up the bum, to actually get on and start thinking like, how can I take what I've been doing in training rooms and one-to-one with people over the years and turn that into an online offering.

Yeah, I guess it's a soft panacea that many people see with an online programme in that they are limited by their time when they're doing what you and I do, which is typically one-to-one work with clients, whether that be training or coaching. Actually doing the work for them is a consultant like you do when you're running a PPC campaign for a client. And if we take it online than this promise of kind of making money in your sleep and, you know, being much more scalable And I guess you and I both know that promise a bit of a misnomer really. So I think the first thing I would say to people to our listeners is that if you've ever dreamt about creating online programme that absolutely go for air but realise that you know, it's a different kind of effort and work that you need to put in to get the revenue as opposed to the one-to-one work. So now you settled on a membership model in the end. So I'm interested to know why that was on what other models you explored. Because I guess if someone is thinking about taking their consultative what they do and creating online programme, then they will be thinking about these different models. So, how did you explore and conclude that a membership model was the right thing for you? Yes. Obviously there's two ways you can. You can sell online training on my courses. Yet that's the selling is a one of thing. Here's my course, give me £1000, have my course all this the membership model, which is what I went for. But as you know, Rob, you initially I went down, the more traditional sell it as a stand alone course. And a few reasons for our transition to the membership model ready. Firstly, the biggest reason I think is it. But a membership model allows me to offer more support and ongoing help to the people who buy by the court or by what is now programme that includes for courses is one of its elements. And the reason why I think that's so important is one thing I learned very early on when I was doing face-to-face training and you know if mining public training courses, where on things like Google Ads and social media and staff, and we have 10 to 20 delegates on each call. And the busiest point in the day for me is the training on a full day course was always the lunch break, because the lunch break was when the people who had a question that perhaps they were too sharply to ask in front of walls or, you know, they have reflected on something while they were having their sandwiches. Actually, I didn't understand that bit. That will be when they all come over and want to talk to the trainer. So you know, if anyone listen to this is ever run public training, you're now as well as I do. You don't really get to eat lunch. That's your full on part of the day. You can relax when you get back into the training room. Well, that's something that the online courses, you know that it doesn't exist. But lunch break doesn't happen. And so what I didn't want people to buy a course on, then never do it or never finish it because, you know, I suppose you could argue. Either way, I've got their money. So why do I care? Well, actually, because my reason for doing this is I want to actually have people learn new skills and be able to do this stuff themselves, and so I actually want people to finish. But yes, I want the money, but I want to finish the course as well. And that's why if I turn into a membership, then I can offer that ongoing support, hand holding, and coaching to help them through the courses. That was one reason for it and the other reason was I felt if I sell it as a standalone course, it's kind of set in stone that this is what you get. Whereas I know that the nature of what I trained on your traditional marketing world is always changing, involving and new things are coming along. So I wanted to be able to say, Well, this is This is the training you get as a bare minimum, but I'll be adding new stuff as time goes on as new things happen and I learn new things and new things come out. Whatever. Because that only works if people are gonna membership model club, just giving people new content for free or time. Yeah, that were reasons.

And to share with the listeners the sort of structure of your overall programme. So when someone signs up, what do they get? What are the various component parts? Yeah, so is aimed at mortgage brokers and financial advisors who want to generate more enquiries, more leads from their own websites basically. So, when someone first joins the programme, they get what I call a road mapping call with me where it's a half hour call to work out. You know where they're at the moment. That's the other thing. People joined the programme. You know, some have done no on my marketing. Some have done a fair bit. And that's why again, with the membership, you can flex it around what fits each individual. So I helped him work out, whether at the moment, what their priority should be. And then they've got access to a whole library of online courses covering all the different things on the road. Mapping core allows me to recommend to them you should start with this course or that course, because I don't expect people to work through from course number one to course number 20 whatever necessary in that order, it might be. But I talked to one person, and it's clear that they don't have a good value proposition on their website. So I would say things like going to do the course on value propositions. Or maybe, you know, they've got a great website, but they're trying to run some Google Ads also right, going to start with this course. I'm glad so I can point people in different directions. They got that whole live your courses. But the most important thing is that they get us apart. The programme is once a fortnight. They get a group coaching call on line with me and the other brokers, and the idea of that is, each time, their hour long call. And each time I have a sort of start to topic. But I talk about for 20-25 minutes about live training. So, like the one we did a week or so ago, I was talking about how to use email marketing. A couple weeks before that, we were talking about how to write a better copy for your website, and then the second half are the People asking questions either on what I've just spoken about or whatever they're working on that moment. So, you know, we had someone recall last time who had been setting up some Google Ads campaigns wasn't getting as much traffic from it as I thought they should do, and I looked at it, live on air with them and said, Right, if you change this and this and this gives you all the others are learning from that as well, and that's what I think sets it apart from just paying £1000 from online course, and there's a community is, well online community who can ask questions, get support and answers from me and other brokers and everything.

Yeah, good structure and obviously that's a similar structure to my coaching programme, the self running agency. I think people buy courses and people buy books with great intention of reading them all, completing the course. And then life gets in the way and they never do. And there's this whole group of kind of course collectors that probably you and I have both been guilty of. And I know lots of listeners will relate to that. And so whatever we can do to encourage people to actually, you know, follow the content, and implement the content, and participate in the forums and the group cause and so on the better.Because at the end of the day, this is about, you know, like you save people, making a difference in their business route, content you that you offer. The way I do it is, if you've got those fortnightly coaching calls, if all you do as the bare minimum is come to those at least means once a fortnight. You're spending an hour working on your business and working on your marketing. But, you know, so having much life gets in the way, you've got that kind of lock in the diary and often you only have to do one  thing. We did a coaching called a couple months ago about the importance of social proof and online reviews. One of the guys on the call. One idea that I've given I actually went away, implemented it and got an extra 80 old reviews on his Google reviews within 24 hours, you know? So where if he hadn't come to that call, he could have done that at any time, and the idea I gave wasn't rocket science, but if he hadn't come to that call, he'd never have never gotten around to doing that.

Yeah, that's fantastic. And of course, you know, we do this like you say. We want to make money, but we do what we want to make a difference. And we know that we can help people. You know that for me, the catalyst of creating my courses self running agency implementation group was because I was having so many of the same conversations over and over again with my private coaching clients that I thought, Is there a way we can expedite this? And we can actually save some time on our private calls by me saying that I should go watch module three lesson for, because that you can dig into that in your own time at your own pace.

There's lots of associative downloads, so that was my catalyst and I call my group and implementation group because it is all about doing. It's not just about watching that. I don't want people to watch these programmes, Mehta said. Because a lot of people do watch courses. For what Mehta said, they have great intentions of implementing what they've learned and then they don't implement it. So I'm much more like watch a 10 minute less and get stopped, go implement it, and then we go on to the next thing. So tell me so you've launched this, so I go on, you know that that's not unique to be online world.I get back to the days when I vanished, additional training company. We found something that people would come on a cause, and they would leave with all good intentions. But they would have what we call F.T.I,I failure to implement on one of the things actually there to try to address that was I would be doing it with a Google Ads course and saying like, you come on, if you come on my full day good glance training calls. If you want, you can upgrade and come back for a half day implementation workshop a few days later, a week and that people found that really useful because they turned up to our offices with the laptop and I spent half an hour putting into practise what we learn. You did two things that made them got that time blocked out to do. If it also crucially, I and the other trainers were on hand, so if they got stuff we needed reminding something you could do it. And that's kind of what I'm finding recreate here really in the online world.

Yeah, that's great. I think you know anything we can do to encourage people to take action not just learn is really good. So now I think you've been running this programme for about what, six months now. So tell us how it's going. Yes, we launched beginning of November and it's going really want the numbers of the numbers, members growing months by months with no as yet done huge amounts of marketing around. I'm just starting have a bit more because I pushed to get more people on board, but primarily the people who've joined so far being people who were already aware of and when I do, we're already on my emailing list, comes out my free Facebook lives and stuff like that. And yet the people have said Yes, we you know, we'd like more of this basically So they're the ones who've joined right. And what would you say by reflecting back on the last six months? What would you say the hardest part of putting this kind of programme together, launching it and then marketing is? Funny enough, I don't think creating the content is the hardest part, even though that 40 what most people you have people listen to this thinking of doing this. I bet the thing was putting them off is thinking, Oh, my God, I've got a whole lot online courses. I can't possibly do that. I don't have the skills at the time. I don't have whatever. Um, I don't think that is the hardest part again. Another beauty of the membership, you don't have to launch with everything completely finished if you've got your core offering of course is there, and again if it's a membership like mine. But it's not all about the courses. It's more about the fortnightly coaching. Then you don't need to have this huge finished product before you launch. So I think that's one of the other is the thing I thought would be the biggest challenge for the biggest hurdle that she wasn't. I would say that the hardest thing is probably, you know, it's getting people to engage, getting themselves, joining the community, and come to the things because I know that those who do turn up to the coaching, I love it and get great value for it. But as we always think, there's always some who you know, unable to make it or don't turn up and you know, that's the hardest thing is you could take a horse to water. And I know from completing preach owners they have similar problems. 

So yeah, I completely agree. I mean, it always makes me laugh that the hardest thing the way I run my programme is like people have to submit the questions in advance of our group calls, and it's sometimes like getting blood out, always get the questions and they always come in at the last minute. But sometimes they're literally coming in and nine o'clock when the cause of 10, even though I stopped sort reminding everybody the week before, I think a really good bit of advice that you just shared there is that you don't need to have everything ready. In fact, if you're launching a programme yourself, you need to create a minimum viable offer, which is something that you can start selling and is the bare bones of your programme. Because the input you get from your members is really gonna help you shape what the future of it is and what new content you need to create. So like you said, a lot of people will be thinking I've gotta create this massive compendium of 80 said of will. This content is gonna take me months and months and months and therefore they never get going. But the truth of it is you don't need to have everything ready. And actually, you know my programme isn't a membership programme. It's sort of like a nine month programme. And, I still imagine content and I've been running my programme for a year and a half now and are still adding new content as I feel it's relevant. I think another piece of advice I would give is that no one is going to judge how good your programme is by the quantity of content. You don't need content about everything. You just need to have good quality content. 

Talk to us a little bit about the tech because I think the other thing that puts a lot of people off is all of the component parts that they need to put in place to make this work. So tell us a little bit about the tech that you're using and what you explored. You know, I think that can be because there's somebody from choices of tech that I think part of the problem can be is not even getting your head around how to use it. It's that potential overwhelm off. There's just too much, too much choice. The system that I'm using is probably not the most straightforward, to be honest, because I'm one of those people who likes to kind of take the best bit of software for this job and combine it with the best bit of software for this job. I liken it. To back, back in the days when, when before MPs reason, people listen to music and proper for a high five. But there were some people who would like to go out and just buy the Amstrad all in one system because it was simply plug in that worked on. Then there were others like me who would like to go out by, you know, the Marantz CD player in the name and per normative and then connected altogether and similar with software. So my set up is not the most simple, but it works for me, so I use a system called Thrive Apprentice, because part of the Thrive suite of products that my whole website is built on. So Thrive Apprentice, is their module for creating online courses. All my courses created on that I I use Vimeo for my video hosting. So if I want to create a cause, basically I create the PowerPoint slide deck to go with it like you would for a real world training course, and I go through that screen recording it. I use a philosophical Screencast-O-Matic for doing the screen recording. She's really great. It's a low costing. It cost me. I don't know, something like £70 a year, I think if I had to guess. But it is not a significant amount of money, and that does all the screen recording it's got video editor built into afterwards. After, if you could take the recording you've done you can tap and tail it, you can edit out the arms and the ours. If you've, I screwed up a bit, and you could recall innovation over the bit that you've messed up. It's dead easy to use. It's not got tonnes of video editing features, but that's nice, because then it's not confusing. It's got all the ones you need for doing a course creation. I then under that video, and then I could create my lesson in. So I've apprentice and saying, Pull this video in.I can put the lesson notes in there. So that's what I used to creating that kind of online content. My group coaching calls, no fancy tech involved there. It's a paid Zoom account. I set up the Zoom meeting and the link out on the agenda is people beforehand and may join the call, and what I do with all of those coaching calls is because they themselves are, you know, whenever growing library of useful stuff. So I record them all via Zooms record function, and I just turned those into a video but available to the members afterward, and for my community I use platform called Mighty Networks, which is kind of like is basically where you can create your own private version of Facebook really. And yes, I use that to host the community. So that's sort of how I did with all different components, better on the other. The other main component is to actually sell the membership and take people's monthly payments. I use Strivve Card and my plug in forward press that runs the member database is called WishList Member. That's what it's called. So I'm using different bits of everything I know. I know, the other extreme. But I know you use Kartra, which basically has almost components all in one package.

So if people like fiddling with the tech, you know, then you could do what I have done. If you just want an off the shelf, thinks I'm in a car trouble. I've heard people speak highly of MemberMouse as another thing, but kind does the whole lot. Um, But one of the one of the things I did, you know early on, was quite a reading member of membership systems and then I think that's it's important to get that right, migrating for one membership system for another is quite a pain. So I would definitely get that right. But with the other stuff, you know, if I suddenly decided I didn't like video anymore or I wanted to put my courses are different thing. It wouldn't be that difficult to move the videos from one platform to another or something like that. But moving all your members off one check out system one member into another. That's a bit more of a headache. So put the time and effort into getting that. 

Yeah, good advice and I will put links in the show notes to all of the tools that David just mentioned. In case you want to look at them, and as David said, you know, I think we both went through a fairly thorough assessment. In fact, prior to me moving to Kartra, I used to host some in the individual training courses on Teachable, which is a specific of course platforms. That's a really good platform for taking payments and delivering the content. But it didn't do enough from membership perspective, I guess. So. I decided to move to Kartra and as David said, cultures and all in one platform. So I host my videos. There are hosts of my course programmes there. I will take all the payments there. I have more female marketing's hosted in one platform. The advantage of that is it integrates really well and it's more straightforward. The disadvantage is it's not as flexible, so the way what David ,so talk about was like picking best of breed tools and then collecting together on what I do is making the connection piece really easy, but perhaps compromising in some aspects. Although place things like Kartra getting better all the time.

And as you said, there's other tools, like MemberMouse and Kajabi is another well known to all. So what advice would you give to somebody else if they were thinking about their listening to this and they're listening because they thought about how can I stop selling one toe, one work? How can I take what I know and put it online? What advice would you give them? 

There were two things I would say. One you've touched on already is go with the minimum viable products that don't don't feel you've got to spend six months or a year creating something huge before you launch, because the big risk if you do that, if you might create something that nobody wants and then you've wasted a year of your life, so decide what your minimum viable product is for launch, and commit to launching when you have that level of product that level of membership available. And the second thing I would say it's really important is create a waiting list and this is something that I did when I launched mine. If I were going back in time, I would maybe spend longer launching the waiting list. But I'm impatient, so I didn't but the beauty how you're waiting it is so wonderful about here. If you start telling people you know, people on your existing mailing list PPL existing clients contacts, prospect whatever your database of contact is, you start telling them this is what I'm visible I'm working on, this is coming. Are you interested? You want to join the weight of this? And I I did that. It's totally an obligation I have said to people for a number of occasions I'm creating this programme. This is the outline of what it's gonna look like, what the components and if you're interested in being one of the first to know when it launches, you know, and getting in a special founder, members price and all that kind of thing. Then just click here. And that added on the waiting list on that meant that at the time when I actually launched, I forget how many I had on the waiting list. But it wasn't a vast number was up 50 to 100 people. Maybe it meant I had that call of people who basically already committed. Then you did it by new rough. It was gonna be in the programme. May knew what it was gonna cost them. And so I said anything that the same, right? It's launching on this date, and that was like a week beforehand. So you're building up the anticipation and when I actually opened the doors that was right. This is it. I, you know, got me my 1st 10 sign ups, like within the first hour. And beyond, that is what you know. It's good from the commercial point of view, but it gets some money coming in for the membership straightaway. But more important in that it immediately validates that you've done something good because you've told you what it is you're gonna be selling. Okay? Not part of the money yet, but they've said we're on the weight of this. We will do as soon as you launch it, and then a decent percentage of those actually do. Do it when the time comes. You think? Yes, I have got something here, which is why I've got a viable product and that gives you the impetus of inside right now. Interface of how to do. How to grow membership, how will get more people into it. You know, whatever. I think it's really important that we don't want is a membership where you've got two members. But if you're doing things like group coaching calls or whatever because no, it doesn't hurt that much energy does it. If actually it's only hit you and two people. 

Yeah, I'm really good advice that I think the thing I would say to anybody that's thinking about doing this is do your research and do your validation and the only way you really validate that programme is by someone buying it because someone might tell you that they're interested. But telling you they're interested in parting with their cash are two different things. So, as part of your research and your validation, you need to pre-sell your programme using a minimum viable offer. And at that stage, you probably don't have any content created, you just mapped out what it will look like. I'm gonna put a link in the show notes to guide that I've created on validation and research to help people go through those steps because, you know I've launched at least seven programmes in the past without doing this, and they've all been failing to one degree or another. So it was only after literally seven courses here over the last probably 6-7 years that I realised I needed to do this validation properly before I launch. Of course, there's a big difference between you thinking you know what your audience wants and your audience actually wanting something, so I think that's really good advice. 

So, I think something else to say is that, that validation idea isn't unique to just memberships. So if you were doing the more traditional launching of one online calls, you can still do that validation and at minimum viable product. So if you say you were doing, you know, of course, that was ultimately going to have 30 lessons in it. You could launch it and start selling it when you've created, say, the first 5 or 10 lessons. And you decide to most people, you know, the other lessons will be delivered over the next two months or something. Because again, that means you can actually, you know, test out the actual idea about getting some people onboard and if you know, if you've created your first 10 lessons and you're starting to flag a bit and think it always is hard work for nothing motivates you like having a load of people who've paid for the other 20 lessons and who are waiting to receive them. So don't don't think about those things as just applying for membership to be transferred to ordinary one of the courses as well. 

Yeah, for sure. And like you say, there's nothing like putting something in life to motivate you to get stuff done. Is there anything you would do differently if you were going to start again? Would you do anything differently that you've done so far? I think the thing I said about making the waiting list period a bit longer. Probably would really do that differently next time, and I suppose another thing I would do would do differently by the one thing that might I suppose I did try and create. This is a one off course and then transitioned into a membership. So, knowing what I know now, I would have done it as a membership from day one on. That would automatically have made the waiting list period longer because the waiting list would have been building up while I was creating Well, all the courses and scratch. Whereas by the time I did my waiting yes, I already got a lot of the stuff I needed ready to launch. So, yeah, I think extending that phase would be something I would do differently. But other than that, no, I think that that's the main thing, that's the beauty remembers you could. You could tweak it and change it as you go through. You know, it's something that you've got members saying, Oh, be really nice. If the programme included this or, you know, this hasn't happened to me But if people said, Oh, we'd rather only have a coaching called once a month once a fortnight or you can make those changes as you go. So I don't think you have to have everything set in stone like from day one.

Yeah. No, absolutely. Let me ask you a massive question and see if you can answer in one minute. Just I’m concious of time. One blast. And maybe this is a separate poor castle together. But one aspect that we haven't discussed is pricing. Like, how on earth do you work out? How much to charge, whether it be a one off fee, several payment fee like I have in my programme or monthly recurring membership fee? How did he start figuring out the pricing? 

I've no idea. This's a short answer.It's a a massive, massive question. And, I've read so many different theories on pricing and what you should do, it shouldn't do with it. The route I've gone for with it is to try and keep it as something where it's a low monthly amount because: a) I don't want people to be thinking too hard about whether to join in the first place, or b) whether to keep their membership going. I don't want price to be a barrier to them, to them coming on board. What I would say is, don't get obsessed with what each individual person is paying. Because if I looked at you know what someone on my membership gets for the monthly membership they pay, I'm setting myself way too cheap. What I do instead is look at what is my total revenue from the membership on DH there? Actually, we had that work. So you know, when I look at the time it takes me to go and do to group coaching calls per month, for example, I think, Yeah, that's actually I'm content with that as an hourly rate or whatever, you know, whatever you want to call it. So I would say, price it such that people don't have to think too hard about joining and don't have to think too hard about staying. Think about the value that they're getting for it. But the problem with that is you have memberships cover a huge range of things. Some people run memberships and online courses where what you're teaching someone is somebody with their hobby, you know? So maybe you've got a membership about how to play the guitar better. Well, that's mostly only gonna be their hobby. Will never get a return on that investment. Other than the pleasure I get from playing the guitar better with something like my membership, I can price it at the higher end because if you're a mortgage broker joining this, if it gets you just one extra client per month from what you learn from this, you know that's put another £1000 a month on your on your bottom line. So I think that's what you think. You're pricing thing. What's the actual value to the kind of people are joining this? How much could it change their business or change their life and therefore, what will be willing to pay for it? But I would rather than you have a lot of people paying a low amount of money than have you know, 10 people paying me £500 a month because I want that, I think. I guess I grew that. 

And of course, one of the ways you can and get some sense of pricing for whatever your programme is going to be in whatever topic it's gonna be for whatever market is, just to do some research and find out what other people are charging. That's a good starting point. I also think in the early days, I know both you and I did this is that you have assault founders rate and you almost use that as a way to get people through the door early because you tell them the price is going up. And, what you need to do is start a low rate and then increase the price until you reach a point where you've hit that soft, sweet spot, which is the right fee for you and the right fee for your market as well. So, like so it was probably an unfair question to ask you right at the end, but I just wanted to get that one in. 

So as you know, the last question, I ask all my guests, and I deliberately asked David not to go back and listen to episode 6 to see what he said before but I'll do that after this. If you could go back in time and give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be? Well, I haven't been back and checked, but there are actually two bits of advice because I think since you asked me that in episode 6, I think I got asked on someone else's podcast and gave a different answer. So I'm going to give both okay. Advice I would give to my younger business self are niche your business because I didn't do that until about six years ago, and I wish I'd done it sooner. And the second piece of advice would be start building your email list because again, that's something that I only really started focusing heavily on a few years ago. If I'd started doing that 10-20 years ago, I'd have an even bigger at me. My email list is a massive asset, and, like I said, it was where the majority of my members have come from for my membership programme. Imagine if I started building that 15 years ago, it would have been even bigger and better. So start building a list, too. 

Yeah, two great piece of advice and, you know, my listeners will know that I bang on the drum about both of those. And sometimes it's really hard to get people to figure out that you're building your email list is gonna be one of your most valuable assets, and it'll be one of the most valuable asset. So if you want to sell your agency and it's certainly going to be the sort of pool that you swim in and fishing and if you can make that pool's biggest possible. And of course, as we all know, nitching your agency means high price is easy if your clients to find you and easier to look different to your competitors. So good piece of advice. I will go back and check out what you said on episode 6 to see if it's the same works on a different. But I'm not sure if I don't think we've ever had either of those two piece of it as advice before.

That's always great, David. It's people listening to this, and they want to find out more about you and particularly check out your programme, where would they go? If you go to the website, which is ThePPCMachine.co.uk. Always stuff said if they specifically about the programme. It's ThePPCmachine.co.uk/PPP  because the programme is called the Predictable Part Mind Programme (PPP). And obviously they want to connect me, I'm on LinkedIn and Twitter was updated miles, you know, all the usual places. Yes. 

So we are scribing this down, we will add all those links into the show notes, so people can check out what we've been talking about today. See what yourselves page your programme looks like get some other ideas but wanted to thank you today for joining us David, this has been a topic that I haven't talked about before. But it's interesting. And I think like you said, the catalyst has been the pandemic that more people are starting to think about taking their agency work and moving it online in some form. But they often don't know where to start. I feel such a huge task. So I hope that the advice you shared with people today will help them make that journey a little bit more pain free for them. Hopefully, thank you very much. for has been a pleasure chatting to you as always. And, yeah, I hope it's giving people some useful advice. We'll see you again soon. Bye!

Understanding your customer journey

customer journey

We all understand that in order to grow our business we need to turn contacts (i.e. target customers who don’t know us today) into customers. It’s tempting to assume that one piece of marketing or one contact will be enough to convert these contacts but in truth, it’s much more complex than that.  In order to create engaging content, you need to understand the customer journey.

Your customer personas

There are a number of stages we need to follow in order to truly understand our customers and therefore ‘speak their language’. Firstly, we need to understand who our target customer is. Sounds obvious right? You’d be surprised how few companies have identified their target customer groups (maybe 3-4 different types) and therefore can map their typical behaviours, challenges and needs of each group onto their product/service. If you do this as step one then you can start to produce sales and marketing messages that resonate with each group. Take me for example, as a business coach and mentor, 2 of my (3) customer personas are HR managers of mid-sized businesses and Owner/Managers of small businesses. Do you think they have the same needs when looking for a coach? No, they don’t. If I understand their specific and unique requirements then I can start to ‘talk their language’ when marketing to them.

Understand your customer’s journey

Now you understand your client types you can start to map the journey they will take as they look to buy your solution and move through your sales funnel. What are the various stages they go through as the convert from contact to warm lead to prospect to hot prospect and finally customer (and then repeat customer)? And what can you do at each stage to ‘encourage ‘ them to move through this process? It will certainly be different messages at each stage; your communications will get more detailed and sophisticated the further they move through the funnel.

Sound intriguing?

If not and you want to find out more, download my FREE ebook on developing your customer personas.

Earn money in your sleep – my ventures into the online selling world

Passive income

You might have noticed that I haven’t written a blog in a while.  During August (a traditionally quieter month for my face to face coaching work), I launched myself head first into further developing and marketing my online courses.  That has meant shooting videos, webinars and Facebook lives, creating landing pages, new eBooks and using advertising.  Phew!

It’s been an interesting journey, frustrating at times but most enlightening and I have learned a ton. I am still ploughing on and applying all I am learning to more effectively engage with my target audience.

In case you are thinking about venturing into the world of online sales and courses, here are my 5 top learnings, that I thought I would share with you…

5 key learnings

  1. There is no such thing as passive income

“Earn 6-figure sums in your sleep” they claimed.  The allure of earning passive income (i.e. income that isn’t earned by selling your time) is very tempting but the truth is that for every £ you earn you will be initially spending £££.  The stories you read about people making a lot of money are either the 0.01% or a lot of rubbish!

  1. There is a lot of rubbish and overhyped promises made online

Following on from point 1 – the online world is full of a lot of hype and people claiming they have made a fortune and they can teach you how to.  Don’t believe a word of it.  At times it reads like pyramid selling.  Any promise that seems too good to be true – almost always is (too good to be true)! The truth is you have to work super hard, and those that are successful have a team of people supporting them and are consistently working at it.

  1. Facebook is potentially a great business tool

Whether you like it or not, Facebook is a great tool to reach your target audience (2.27 billon active users).  I worked with a coach this summer and he was keen for me to use Facebook as my main channel to market.  At first, I was very resistant (after all I use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and watch videos of people’s pets doing silly things!) but I slowly came around to the idea of Facebook as a business tool and found many groups that contain my target audience. I even created my own closed group (you can join here).

  1. Facebook advertising is expensive!

Once you get your head around using Facebook as a business development tool you will then start considering how to use Facebook advertising.  My caution here though is that you need to know what you are doing if you are going to start advertising. It is super sophisticated and can easily suck up a lot of money.  There are 2 things you need to get right:

  1. Your offer and ad need to be spot on: are you going to use a video or static image? If you use video, make sure you add subtitles (rev.com is great and cheap for this) because many of your audience will view your ad on mobile with no volume.  What are you offering?  Is it unique?  Remember running an ad the first thing you need to offer some value before you try and sell something (a key mistake many make – selling online follows the traditional sales funnel: build awareness, build empathy, build credibility, build trust and then sell)
  1. Point 2 is that unless you know how to monitor your ad (using Facebook ad manager) and identify your target audiences then you will spend a lot of money researching what doesn’t work in order to find out what does. So, hang out in target groups and find out what your audiences pain points are before you start advertising
  1. The online world is super crowded

So, I admit it, I am fairly late to the game with marketing online and the truth is there are a million and one people already doing it (well actually more!) so you have to find a way to cut through the hype and noise.  The best way to do this is to be clear about your niche and the value you are offering that niche.  Try and be different and not look like everyone else (and that can be hard) and truly offer some value to your audience – that way they will want to follow you and as you build you audience you can then offer more value and ultimately sell to them.  This is a long game and not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.  So, if you venture into it, then be prepared to stick at it!

I hope this doesn’t paint too bleak a picture.  I wanted to share a candid view of my experiences thus far.  All these learnings have not deterred me from continuing on. On the contrary – I am just focused on doing it better. I am working on a new mega course right now (“The Agency Mastermind Programme – start, grow and scale (and sell) your agency”) and also adding new content to my best selling course on client and account management.  I am also reviewing my landing pages and ads, and also revisiting my own website – so lots going on.

I know this is a topic that many are interested in, so if you want to have a chat then get in touch.

The best sales closing technique: How to sell more without actually selling!

selling

Picture this – it’s 7am and you are at a networking event.  It’s too early and you just want a coffee and a bacon sandwhich.  However between you and your breakfast is someone who starts a sales conversation “So what do you do?”  “I’m in marketing and I help companies like yours blah blah blah…….”.  Now you really don’t want to engage in this conversation so already before you have even introduced yourself you are plotting your escape!  Sound familiar?

The mistake people make in any kind sales/networking situation is that they approach them with tunnel vision of  ‘I must sell, I must sell!” Needless to say, there are many things wrong with this approach:

  1. If you go with a mindset of selling you will miss other opportunities (e.g. to build partnerships, to get referrals, to meet genuinely nice people!)
  2. You turn people off of you before you have even started and perpetuate the myth of networking not being fun
  3. You do the opposite of buiding strong relationships!
  4. You put a lot of pressure on yourself to sell

So I tell my client that the best way to approach a sales meeting or a networking event is to just have a conversation with the other person.  Be interested in them, ask them questions about their business, life, challenges etc. and then it will quickly become apparent if there is any synergy to take the conversation further.  If you ask them about their business and their challenges first then when you do talk about how you can help them, you can speak specifically to the challenges they told you about rather than generally how wonderful you and your business is!

I take this approach in any kind of sales environment/interaction.  Start out in ‘fact find mode’ and ask lots of questions.  If there is any mutal connection then tell them about yourself based on the points they made.  If that generates further discussions then arrange a 1-2-1 follow up meeting.

If you see selling as just having a conversation then you take the pressure off yourself and who knows, you might even enjoy the next networking event you go to!

 

 

 

Why is it so hard to get the sales function right?

sales

This blog post is aimed at the small to mid sized business. It’s a conversation I have often, so thought I would write about it: Why is it so hard to get the sales function in a (small) business right?

As business leaders and owners, we need to be good at 3 things:

  1. Be good at running the business
  2. Be great at delivering our business
  3. Be consistent at looking for future business

I want to focus on number 3. We all want the ‘magic bullet’ solution to getting sales. Despite the many online promises of ‘get rich schemes’ and ‘5 steps to sales success’, the truth is there isn’t an easy option.

I say this often to clients but sadly I have seen and heard about many failed attempts to hire a sales person. By definition they come across great at the interview stage – with impressive CVs and even more impressive sales records. Yet when they begin working, the truth soon emerges that they are not quite as good as they sold themselves to be! Now before I get lynched, I acknowledge that this isn’t always the case and there are some great sales people out there but in my experience they are few and fair between.

So you hire a sales person. That means you have ticked number 3 off your list and can focus on other things, right? However, you soon realise that they aren’t turning out to be all they promised, but you persevere – after all you invested a lot of time and money recruiting this person. After a few months, with them giving you lots of excuses including your product/service being difficult to sell in this market place, you give up and let them go. Back to the drawing board – maybe this time you should hire a junior telesales person instead of the senior person we had before? Nope, this won’t work either.

The truth of it is that YOU, the owner or leader of your SME business, are the best person to ‘sell’ your products/services and I put the word ‘sell’ in quotes because I believe a great sales person doesn’t sell at all but merely has a conversation with right person at the right time, talks with passion about their product/service and if there is a need, the sale happens naturally (yes, of course you still need to close the deal but the discussion feels more like a conversation than a sales pitch).

Where you need to invest your time an energy (in number 3) is getting your marketing right and understanding your sales funnel so you know what marketing and sales tools to develop at each stage of your sales funnel (have a read of my whitepaper on this very topic). Get your marketing right and qualified leads will drop out of the sales funnel, ready for you to go and have that conversation with them. The more thorough and methodical about this approach you are, the more successful your sales will be.

As I said earlier, this is a topic I have had many times so if you want to discuss your sales and marketing then get in touch and let’s have a conversation.

What’s it worth? A story of selling on value rather than time

Selling

I went to a gallery this weekend where a friend of mine was exhibiting. By day he is a driver but his real passion is photography and this was his first exhibition.

He was displaying framed prints of his work as well as unframed prints and cards. We were chatting after a very successful weekend for him and he commented that he couldn’t believe people wanted to buy his pictures and he felt a bit of a fraud charging for his work since he was making 100% mark up on his framed photos.

So I asked him what he thought his was selling? The cost of the frame and the price to print the photograph (worth £12) or the time, skill, knowledge and creativity to set the picture up and take the picture in the artistic way he had? (Worth a lot more than double £12!)? I told him I thought he was underselling the photos, not over selling. I think he got the point!

This is a familiar conversation I have with clients when working out how to price their product or service. What is the right price point? What’s it worth?

Many companies merely look at their competition and try to differentiate by being cheaper (basically discounting) or promise exceptional levels of service (over servicing) – both lead to unprofitable businesses (unless you are truly set up to be a low cost provider).

The key is to stand in your customer’s shoes and think about what they are really buying and then value that. Consider:

  • The skill involved to do what you do
    The amount of training and time you have invested in developing your skill
  • The strategic insight and creativity you bring
  • But NOT solely the time it has taken you to make/do what you do

I explained to my friend that there was no way I could take a picture like he had and I was buying the thought and skill involved in the photography and didn’t even consider what the material costs were! We need to get our mindsets right in the first place otherwise we are in danger of undercharging to get customers which makes it very hard to increase prices as a later date.

You can read more on this subject by downloading my whitepaper on value selling.

The over-servicing epidemic!

Over-servicing

Many companies believe the only way to keep a client is by over-servicing them, and because the client gets used to this level of service, it becomes a vicious circle.  This is especially true in the service sector – the area I predominantly work in.

During a recession, over-servicing becomes standard practice (the customer knows they can demand more) and as we came out of recession it is hard to pull back from this.  Over-servicing occurs on 2 occasions:

Firstly, in order to win a new piece of business, the supplier ‘promises the earth’ without calculating how long it will really take you to deliver it.  They win the project but have already set service level expectations high so over-servicing begins from day 1. Those delivering the service either do a bad job, work through the weekends, or gain reputations as slow workers. The client’s expectations are rarely met.

The second type of over-servicing is where clients put pressure on the executives delivering their project to put in more time, and where those executives agree to do so and are not stopped by their employers. Partly this is a problem of management information systems. After all, it is usually the most conscientious and ambitious executives who are so keen to keep their clients happy. It is up to their managers to keep a close eye on their activities and to rein in any over-servicing.

So how do you stop over-servicing?

There is no one easy answer however, the most important thing is to sell on value not on time (have a read of my whitepaper on this very subject). When negotiating with your customer you have to be super confident on the quality of your work, and therefore expect your client to pay a fair price for it and not be willing to discount (bear in mind that the minute you discount your client starts to devalue the work you do).  Put the issue in the language your customer will understand “if you went to a buy a glass of wine, would you expect them to give you the bottle for the same price”?

Implement good time recording systems – OK no one likes this but you have to do it!  It helps you get your quoting right.  It helps you manage capacity.  It helps you identify if there is an internal training issue (i.e. if someone takes too long doing a task) and when push comes to shove, it helps you justify yourself to your client (not that I recommend sharing time-sheets with a client).

Get super clear at the outset of what you are delivering (and what you are not) and finally, if you do make a strategic decision to over-service, make sure the client is aware of it and alert them to how much it would normally cost to do this (and therefore how much it will cost them next time they ask for it).

Most businesses would be staggered to realise how much money they lose due to over-servicing.  If your business could reign this back in to reasonable levels (+/- 10%), how much more profitable would they be?

This is one of the most common conversations and areas I work on with my clients.  If it’s an issue for you let’s talk!

The sales funnel

Many businesses expect contacts to be marketed to once and to drop out of the sales funnel as a customer.  Which when you think about it, is a little ridiculous.  Why would someone buy from you when they don’t know you?

To turn a ‘cold contact’ into a repeat customer, you first have to build credibility with them.  Then build trust.  Then reach them when they have a need for your product or service. So do you understand the sales funnel for your business?

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 16.03.40What are the various stages they go through as the convert from contact to warm lead to prospect to hot prospect and finally customer (and then repeat customer)?

And what can you do at each stage to ‘encourage ‘ them to move through this process? It will certainly be different messages at each stage; your communications will get more detailed and sophisticated the further they move through the funnel.

Finally once they are a customer, what is your strategy to turn them into repeat business?

Want some help with this? Then get in touch.  You can also download my latest whitepaper which is on this very topic.

 

Selling on value rather than time

Whilst I have written an ebook on this topic, I thought it was worth revisiting because it crops up time and again for me.  I was with a prospect on Friday and we were discussing his goals for using a business coach; we defined 3 clear outcomes.  I explained how I was going to help him achieve these desired outcomes and how I estimated it would take 7 x 3-hour coaching sessions for a fee of £x.  He was definitely interested but struggled to get his head around the fact that another coach (he was seeing 3) had already quoted 7 days to do the same work for a similar fee.

When faced with this kind of objection, I need to get the client to focus on the value at the end of the project and not the time it takes.  I often tell this dentist story:

It’s about a woman who had her wisdom teeth removed. When she received the bill, she was shocked at the cost; over £300 per tooth. When she returned for the follow-up visit the next week, she mentioned the bill to the dentist.  “It seems like a lot of money,” she exclaimed. “Why it only took you about 15 minutes per tooth.”  The dentist smiled and said, “That is exactly what you are paying for. If you want me to take an hour or more to remove each tooth, I can do that. In fact, most anyone can do that. But there is value in a 15-minute extraction.

I explained to my prospect that I believed I could deliver what he was looking for in 7 x 3-hour coaching sessions – this means we are achieving his outcome much more rapidly, being less intrusive on his ‘day job’ and helping him drive his business forward more quickly. I think at this point the light bulb went on and he started to assess things not in terms of time but more in terms of how pain-free the process would be and how quickly we can achieve the results he is looking for.

So does your business sell on time or on the outcomes and value it provides?  I would be interested to hear your experiences, so please leave a comment or get in touch.

Value Selling

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