“I’ve never been good with money.”
“I hate budgets.”
“I’ll never be a 6-figure earner.”
“My market won’t pay premium prices.”
If you’ve ever heard these statements come out of your mouth—or even in your head—then you’re engaging in a damaging habit known as negative self-talk. By telling yourself these lies (and yes, they are lies) you’re reinforcing the beliefs that go along with them.
What you visualize and believe is what becomes true.
Tell yourself that you’re not good with money, and you won’t be. Believe that budgets are horrible chores to be reviled, and you’ll resist creating one. Convince yourself that you can’t earn a 6-figure income, and you won’t.
It’s not “the secret.” It’s a scientific fact. Known as a self-fulfilling prophecy, this kind of self-talk results in poor performance simply because we act as if it’s already true.
If you tell yourself that you’ll never be a 6-figure earner, you will not do the things that 6-figure business owners do. You won’t work to grow your mailing list (“No one reads my emails anyway”), you won’t increase your hourly rates (“It’s not like I’m some top-earning professional”), and you won’t build a brand worthy of a 6-figure income (“A beautiful brand isn’t necessary at this income level”).
By contrast, if you act and think as if you already are a 6-figure earner, you’ll approach your business quite differently. Your confidence level will increase. You’ll present a very different brand to your prospective clients. You’ll go out of your way to connect with those who can and will afford to pay your higher rates.
How to Combat Negative Self Talk
The first step toward changing your negative self-talk is to simply acknowledge that you do it. Tick a mental checkbox every time you catch yourself making negative statements, whether out loud or in your head.
Make a note of the ones that come up most often for you, and identify their origin if you can. For example, if your ex-husband continually berated you for your spending habits, chances are your “I’m no good with money” mantra can be laid right at his feet. It’s time to turn that thinking around.
The next time you catch yourself saying “I’m no good with money,” take a minute to recall 5 instances where you were good with money. Maybe you paid off your credit cards or saved for a house or built an emergency fund. Rephrase your self-talk to, “I used to be bad with money [if that’s true], but now I make smart choices to achieve my goals.”
Just as negative self-talk becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, so does positive self-talk. Re-frame your thinking, and your business finances will certainly improve.
How do you talk to yourself? Are you kind to yourself? Do you say things to yourself you would never say to anyone else? Share in the comments below, Success Trainer Deb
Think all a farmer has to do is wait until fall to harvest truckloads of delicious tomatoes or corn or squash? Think again! That farmer has worked hard all year long to prepare for that week or two of reward.
He prepared the ground following last year’s harvest.
He planted seeds in the spring.
He watered and fertilized and protected his fragile crops from pests and drought and poor weather.
And finally, after months of work, he enjoys the results.
Your business works the same way, and if you take a page from the farmer’s playbook, you’ll soon be reaping the rewards, too.
Preparing the Ground
This is your brand, your voice, your very presence in your market. If you’re just starting out—like that farmer after his harvest—you’ll spend your time simply becoming known.
Hang out with other professionals in your niche. Join forums where your ideal clients spend their time. Build a website and start your mailing list. This is the prep work that will form the foundation of a solid business in the future.
Planting the Seeds
Your seeds are your content and products. With each blog post you write, every product you create, you’re planting a seed you can harvest later. But unlike the farmer, your seeds will produce over and over again, endlessly.
In fact, you’ll likely find that blog posts you wrote years ago will continue to bring in new clients year after year, with no further help from you. Products can be sold over and over again, or reworked into new offers. Podcasts, videos, ebooks and more all continue to work for you, month after month, year after year.
When you think about it that way, it’s easy to see that planting seeds is a critical part of every business.
Nurturing Your Crop
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just “set it and forget it”? Unfortunately, that style of business rarely works.
Instead, you must spend time nurturing.
It doesn’t take much effort to update your blog posts or tweak your products, and the rewards can be fantastic.
Of course, being a farmer is a long-term investment. The work you do today may not pay off for weeks or months to come. But with a strong history of consistent “farming” in your business, you’ll soon see that those long-term rewards are paying off consistently as well.
Tell us how you are nurturing your business, Nameste Deb
We’ve all lost clients. Sometimes it’s our fault. Sometimes it’s theirs. Sometimes it’s out of everyone’s control.
But no matter the reason, there is something to be learned from a lost client. A system to review lost clients will help keep your business improving and growing.
Typically done when you leave a job, an exit interview is also a great way to review what went right—and what went wrong—during your relationship. You’ll want to review:
This is not the time to get defensive. Be open to her criticism (if there is any) and use the information to genuinely improve your business.
Be Honest With Yourself
One of the most common reasons for client loss is that the customer is simply not a good fit. Maybe you suspected it when she signed up, or maybe not, but now that she has moved on, ask yourself:
If you can identify a bad client match from the start and decline the work (or better still, refer her to another professional who is a good fit) you’ll find you have a lot less stress in your day-to-day business.
Sometimes, client loss is as simple as a lack of understanding on your client’s part. Do you clearly state:
Do you also have a system for staying in touch with a client who has gone quiet? Sometimes all it takes is a phone call to get your wayward client back on track. Many client relationships have been salvaged with a simple phone call or email, so if you haven’t heard from a client in a while, pick up the phone.
Here’s the bottom line: Client loss happens. But if you can learn from each client, and use that intel to improve your business, then even a lost client can be turned into new profits.
Share your stories of lessons learned from lost clients, Coach Deb
At one point, every business owner will find herself in a troubling situation. Revenue is down. New clients are scarce. Profits are falling, and a peek at the financials is enough to bring on a full-fledged anxiety attack.
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, chances are you’ve experienced that sinking feeling of a business that’s trending downward, too. But how you handle it can mean the difference between continued success and business-killing burnout.
Here’s where a lot of entrepreneurs get it wrong. They start to worry about money, and that worry leads to poor decisions that ultimately have a negative impact not just on finances, but—maybe more importantly—on morale, too. Maybe you know what I’m talking about.
You Take On The Wrong Client
When business is down, it can be tough to keep your ideal client avatar in mind. Instead, you jump at the chance to work with anyone who comes along. The trouble with this scenario is you can find yourself with a roster full of clients who:
You Stop Creating
And who can blame you? With profits down, you have to pull back. You can’t afford to spend time and money creating new programs, so you recycle the ones you’ve already produced.
Now, this would be ideal if you were re-purposing with a positive intent. Turning your ebook into a group course or a seminar? Perfect! But that’s not what your fearful brain is telling you.
Your fearful self is saying, “Just re-release this same product again, so I don’t have to have new sales copy written or record new videos.”
And while this might help bring in a bit of cash short-term, it won’t do anything for your reputation or your self-esteem.
Yikes! That’s no way to operate a business, but that’s just what a fear-based mindset can do to you. Better (much better) to hold out for that perfect client. And while you’re waiting, take what you’ve learned from your drop in sales and create the killer program or product your audience is clamoring for!
Share your tips for overcoming fear based business decisions below, Coach Deb
The web pages that make up your sales or opt-in funnel are only the beginning. To truly encourage sales, you need to stay in contact with your readers. The easiest way to do that is through your email manager, by sending periodic emails with various related offers.
Let’s take a look at a typical follow-up sequence for a free opt-in series. In this case, your reader has attended a free webinar that promoted a high-ticket training program. In the days that follow, you’ll want to stay in contact with an autoresponder sequence that automatically sends email at specific intervals.
Email 1: This is going to be the first email that goes out after they confirm. It should give the reader access to your free webinar, so that can be a link to the replay, or that instructions to join you for the live event. You will likely also want to include a couple of reminder emails if they event is live.
Email 2: This is the replay email for a live event, or the first follow-up if the original was a replay. In this email, it’s a good idea to offer few bullet points of what they learned, encouragement to watch the replay (if you can legitimately say it’s only available for the next XX days, even better), plus an offer to purchase the training program.
Email 3: A few days later, you’ll want to follow-up again. This time, consider including a case study of someone who used your training program. When combined with a great offer, reading about the results someone else achieved can be a powerful motivator.
Email 4: Use this follow-up message to remind readers that the replay is going away (if it is), and also to answer any objections. For example, you might list some FAQs or even questions you’ve received about your refund policy, who the program is for, or payment options. Remind them about the offer.
Email 5: This is your final reminder that the offer is going away soon. At this point, you may want to encourage the reader to email you with questions (if you have the systems in place to manage a lot of email, that is).
Email 6 and beyond: If your reader reaches this point without buying, then it may be that your product is just not right for her. From this point forward, you should continue to stay in contact by offering great information, case studies, tips and other interesting content, but also to offer other products that might be of interest.
One important thing to remember about this email sequence: if your reader buys your program at any point, you must remove her from this sequence. It will make no sense for her to get email #5 with that final offer reminder if she purchased your program after email #3. Most autoresponder services, such as AWeber, have automation built in that allows you to move subscribers from one list to another based on their actions, so be sure to set that up as you’re building your funnel emails.
This kind of hand’s off approach to email marketing is what will help you build a true passive sales funnel, so look for opportunities to use this system as you build your business.
Tell us, what do you think? Coach Deb
Ready to start building out your sales funnels? There are just a few things you need before you can get started. Here are some of the most popular options when it comes to putting together both free and paid funnels:
Lead Pages--when it comes to building opt-in pages, LeadPages.net is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. They’ve tracked and tested a variety of page styles to determine which ones convert best, and they make it easy for you to build similar pages for your funnel.
It does come with a monthly fee, though, so before investing, you’ll want to be sure you can recoup your investment.
Instabuilder—similar to LeadPages, but without the monthly investment. Instabuilder is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to create your own funnels. It includes several funnel templates and a drag-and-drop page builder that makes it easy to get just the look you want.
AWeber—Probably the easiest email manager on the market today, AWeber is the choice for many small business owners, not only because it’s simple to use, but because it’s also economical. Starting at less than $20 per month for up to 500 subscribers, AWeber offers both autoresponders and broadcast emails, list automation, and segmenting, so you can send emails exactly when—and to whom—you want.
AW Pro Tools—an add-on to AWeber, AW Pro Tools gives you added control over your list management by automatically removing unsubscribes, moving subscribers from one list to another based on the link they click, and other useful automations.
PayPal—The simplest of all payment processors, PayPal allows you to take payments online for a very reasonable fee. It will also act as a simple shopping cart.
Ontraport—Another email manager, Ontraport offers shopping cart functionality as well, so you can create powerful funnels that are fully integrated with your sales process. The benefit here is that you don’t have to try to synch your cart with your email system, since it’s completely self-contained.
Infusionsoft—Probably the top tool for any business model, Infusionsoft is an all-in-one solution for customer management, funnel setup, mailing list, and even membership sites. It’s priced at the high end, but if you can (and will) use all its power, then Infusionsoft is well worth the investment.
You can see that you have a lot of options when it comes to building out your sales funnels, but what are the must-have items? At the most basic level, you must have:
A way to create web pages. A simple website will fill this need, with a little bit of work. LeadPages or Instabuilder are nice to have, but not essential, especially if you’re just getting started.
A way to capture email addresses. AWeber is definitely the top choice here, but others include MailChimp, Constant Contact, ConvertKit and iContact.
A shopping cart. PayPal is as easy as it gets when it comes to shopping carts, but other options include 1 Shopping Cart, Woo Commerce, Infusionsoft, and aMember.
I recommend you start small. Build the funnel framework as simply as you can, using tools that don’t cost a fortune. Once you have a few funnels up and running, you will be able to see where they can use improvement, and how the tools available to you can help make your funnels convert better and work more efficiently.
What is your favorite tool for building your sales funnel? Coach Deb
Some of us like to fly by the seat of our pants. We “go with the flow,” and relish the flexibility our online, self-employed status gives us. I get it.
But when you’re planning your VIP day, freeform flexibility is the kiss of death. Your VIP day has a goal, and in order to reach it, you have to stay on track. And that, of course, requires careful planning.
Make an Appointment Schedule
Every minute of your day should be planned out, from when and where you’ll be having breakfast, to the exact minute of departure. By leaving nothing to chance, you’ll eliminate the possibility of running overtime, and never have to worry about missing an important lesson or learning opportunity.
In addition, your attendees will know exactly what to expect as well, so they can be prepared ahead of time and make the most of your day together.
A page from any appointment calendar will work for mapping out your day. Begin with the non-negotiables:
Next, fill in other must-have times:
If your VIP day is actually two or three days, then you’ll also want to include time away from the main location.
This may seem like very little time is left for actual one on one time, but if you keep your VIP day focused on a single outcome, it’s more than enough to give all your attendees the attention they deserve.
Publish Your Schedule
Don’t forget to share your schedule with your VIPs. Having this document in hand before they arrive will help them prepare for the event. They’ll know ahead of time what questions they want to be sure to ask, what documents or other information they should bring with them, and even what to pack.
Not only that, but planning your VIP day well in advance leaves no room for rabbit trails and other unproductive time. You want to be sure your attendees get great value from their day with you, so keeping everyone on track is important, and will make you a superstar.
What tools do you use to organize your VIP days? Coach Deb
Ask anyone who has ever offered coaching, training, or other professional services before and they’ll tell you that a certain percentage of clients simply will not (or can not) do the work. Sure, they love the idea of having a professional coach, field expert or trainer. They might know a good coach is the secret to business and life success. But for some reason, they just aren’t ready.
Maybe they aren’t as advanced as they think they are, and they choose the wrong program.
Maybe they’re simply professional students, who never intend to build a business, but instead just like to learn about it.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important that you eliminate these people from your potential VIP client pool.
This is especially critical if you are hosting a group event. It will be uncomfortable for everyone if you have 4 clients attending, and 3 of them are advanced students while one is just starting out. In addition, if you only work with clients who have reached a certain level of success, you’ll need to eliminate those who simply aren’t a good fit for you.
Pro tip: The ability to pay is not a good indicator of success. Many people have (and spend) lots of money on training without ever doing the work required to get a business off the ground.
Design Your Application Process to Self-Select the Best Candidates
The easiest way to avoid clients who aren’t a good fit is to require an application before payment. This can be as simple as a PDF or email questionnaire with just a few questions. You can ask things such as:
These will all give you a feel for the applicant, and allow you to know ahead of time if she’ll be a good fit.
But you can help eliminate applicants who aren’t a good match simply by changing some of the language on your application. For example, you might ask about the applicant’s current income, but rather than allowing her to write in any answer, give her a list of choices. If you only work with people who are earning six figures and up, then a conspicuous lack of those lower income brackets will be enough to make someone who’s just starting out think twice about applying.
You can do the same thing with language on other questions. If you only want to work with people who have a positive attitude about coaching, then you might ask, “Tell me about the best coaching experience you’ve had and what you loved about it.” Negative Nancys will have a difficult time answering that one, and you’ll be able to spot them immediately.
Even if you only invite current clients to VIP days (so you already know and like them) it’s still a good idea to have some kind of application process. After all, VIP days are far more intense than a monthly coaching program, so you want to be sure all applicants know what to expect. And the best way to do that is through a formal application.
What do you think? Do you screen your VIP day participants? Coach Deb
Unlike a 3-day conference or tele-summit, VIP days are generally tightly focused with a single goal. You want your client to walk away having solved her biggest problem (or at least one that’s been holding her back for some time) and be able to jump back into work with a sense of accomplishment.
You don’t want her to go home with a head full of ideas and a notebook full of half-finished thoughts that she’ll never take action on.
Keeping your VIP day tightly focused is beneficial to you as well. Chances are you’re the go-to person in your market for one (or maybe two) things. Perhaps you’re known for helping clients break through their money issues to earn more than they ever thought possible. Or maybe you’re a genius at building an affiliate marketing empire. Or you might be the 4-hour workweek type, able to set up systems and processes that get your clients out of the office while still growing their income.
Whatever your area of expertise, by offering a VIP day centered around it, you’ll be able to command a much higher rate than a general “coach with me” kind of day where anything goes. After all, you’re the expert, so it’s time to show off your stuff.
You’ll find that attracting your ideal client is easier when your day has a strict focus as well. It might seem counter-intuitive, but when you offer buyers lots of choices, they’ll often become confused, and end up buying nothing. The same is true for coaching. When faced with many ideas and potential programs, there’s a tendency to become overwhelmed.
By remaining focused, you have the opportunity to show potential clients exactly what you can help them accomplish, rather than using vague words and empty promises such as “take your business to the next level” or “overcome your roadblocks to success.”
Instead, your clients will know that after their VIP day with you, they can look forward to having a “step-by-step personalized action plan for becoming a super affiliate” or a “new attitude towards money and how it can work for you.”
Focus makes your sales page easier to write, ad targeting clearer, and testimonials more powerful, too.
Of course, all that means that you really do have to have the focus (and have enough expertise) to teach for an entire day on a single subject. If you don’t feel you can pull that off, consider bringing in a guest expert who can speak about a related topic. For example, if your VIP day is all about money mindset, then a brief meeting with someone who can offer tips on budgeting would be a perfect fit.
Here’s the bottom line. The more focused your goal for your VIP clients, the more they will get out of your event. And the more value they receive, the more raving fans you’ll have, who will happily share you and your programs with their friends and colleagues.
Have you been part of a VIP day? Did the event you attended have a single focus? Coach Deb
How many hours per day do you spend on the phone with clients?
If you’re like most consultants, the answer is often “more than I want to.”
Let’s face it, consulting can be exhausting. Sure, you love working with different clients, and you get a real charge out of being able to help someone overcome their issues and achieve their goals.
But it’s still taxing to be on the phone all day, every day. And add to that the need to constantly be looking for new clients, and you’ve got a recipe for burnout.
That’s why so many consultants are beginning to offer VIP days. Simply put, a VIP day is a whole day spent with a single client (or maybe two or three, depending on your preferences). Rather than jumping from call to call and trying to keep up with multiple clients and their various issues, you can simply focus on a single client and a single goal.
Even better, with consultants routinely charging as much as $10,000 for a VIP day, you can see that scheduling just 4 clients per month can bring in more than a whole week’s worth of one-on-one calls.
Here’s how VIP days work: Typically, clients will travel to your location. You might choose to meet in your home, in a rented meeting space, or in a hotel. You can also host virtual VIP days via Skype or phone, if you prefer.
Your VIP day will be tightly focused and have a single goal. If your market is online business owners and you are a genius at book writing, your VIP days might be designed to get a client to plan, outline, and begin writing her first book. If you work with working moms in search of balance in their lives, you might focus your day around creating a workable schedule for the family, with planners and other organizational tools created by the end of the day.
Your VIP clients receive the benefit of your expertise, your undivided attention (no texting with the kids during a VIP day!), and a day spent simply focusing on the task at hand. It’s a powerful way to get things done, and unlike conferences and other training programs, it encourages clients to actually do the work on site, rather than going home with a notebook full of ideas she’ll never implement.
VIP days also make for a great opportunity to upsell your client into an ongoing group consulting program. After all, she’ll likely need support after she gets back home, and regular sessions with other VIP clients is a great way to get the support she needs to continue working towards her goals.
Ready to offer your own VIP days? Start by asking your current clients if it’s something they’d be interested in. Chances are they’ll give you an enthusiastic thumbs up, and you’ll be ready to start putting together a plan to offer powerful, focused VIP day
Are you ready to start offering VIP days? Comment below, Coach Deb
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