One of our favorite aspects of working with clients was getting to see them in-person while we talked about their project. We loved getting to visualize the end result with them, get them super pumped up about the outcome, and making them feel part of the entire process. So what did we do when we stopped taking on 1:1 clients and worked towards a “1:many” model with “clients” from all over the world?
How could we take our coffee shop client meeting of brainstorming and scheming to the virtual space?
We learned that it’s not that much different. The foundations of a successful sale and closing of the deal still relies on the same relationship building as we used to do. We just had to use different means to get there.
So, first let’s all get on the same page with what the heck “in-person sales” are. We’re certainly not the first to use in-person sales so this isn’t our brainchild. But here’s a glimpse into how IPS first started to teach us about closing the deal faster and making more money.
IPS is a concept that I used in my photography business in order to make my lifestyle photography business support me as a fulltime job. I realized that my clients needed a lot of handholding when it came to choosing a photographer and choosing physical products after the session. I learned quickly that if I didn’t step in and guide my clients, they wouldn’t spend as much and they weren’t as happy.
I had to stop expecting them to know what to buy. Sound familiar?
So I began doing in-person “session premiers” for my clients and realized I could make 20x the amount per session by not offering all inclusive packages (session + disc). Holy moly! I started to pay attention to the experience. I started paying attention to the post value I was adding for my clients.
In my photography business this was evident when I arrived at my client’s house with wine and cheesecakes, creating a beautiful slideshow set to music with their images, and me showing up with physical products for them to hold and see. It was evident as I walked around their house with a tape measure seeing where a gallery wall could fit. It was evident in the way I made decisions for them instead of putting the pressure on them. I made sure my clients didn’t have to think and in turn they were 100% confident in every decision they made with me.
Once Abagail and I met, I shared my IPS process with her and she tweaked it to fit her branding and web clients. She would meet them for coffee, pay for their order, and walk them through step-by-step of the process of working with her so no question was left unanswered.
HOW IN-PERSON SALES WORK VIRTUALLY
Once we stopped taking on 1:1 clients we had to shift how we did in-person sales. Mostly, because of the obvious - we were no longer in-person and we no longer had clients. We had students and they were from all over the world.
Here are the areas we began to focus on to recreate the same feeling that IPS did for our 1:1 businesses:
Our website (both copy and flow)
How we interact on social media
The value we added in our Facebook group
What we could give through our inbox
How we communicated with people when they signed up or bought something
How we could continue the relationship after a student bought
We definitely don’t have all of these areas to 100% so now that it’s okay for you to start slow and implement IPS where you can. In our opinion, it’s easiest to start in the areas where you already communicate and interact the most.
For you that may be social media or your newsletter, ask yourself: are you providing value? What’s your intent for being there? What questions can you answer on those platforms so your customer doesn’t even have to ask?
Show up 100% in these places so your customer can feel confident in the decision to follow along with you. Make them feel at home and safe to ask questions and interact.
Now, consider your website. Admittedly, this is where we currently need the most focus (we’re chatting with some great people to make this happen!). Does your website have a clear roadmap? Is it easy to navigate? Does your customer get all of their questions answered or are they left feeling more confused?
Once you have these foundation areas heading in the right direction, it’s time to pay attention to the biggest piece of the puzzle. Now, we’re taking the post-buying process.
What we’ve learned is that the virtual version of in-person sales tends to focus more on the post-purchase. We’re talking about how your customer or student is handled after they spend money with you.
Are you tending to them or leaving them out in the dust?
It’s so easy to focus on getting more and more people in the door instead of tending to people who have already bought. But the same idea that applies to 1:1 clients applies to virtual clients (it’s wayyyyyyyy easier to convert an existing client than it is to get a brand new one).
So consider the entire post process. What happens as soon as they buy? What about a few weeks after? We’ve set up a few automations for our students that you might want to consider adding into your mix, such as:
When someone buys they immediately get a thank you + confirmation email with all their purchase information
Two weeks later they get a “checking in” email asking how the progress is going and letting them know that we’re here if they have questions
Two to six weeks after the check in email we send a “make us cry” email asking for their story. We want to know anything and everything that’s happened with them since buying and how we can continue to serve them
A select group of students (our VIPs) get a physical package in the mail with a handwritten thank you note and a few goodies
The goal for integrating in-person sales into your virtual sales process is to build stronger relationships and better connections. It’s to make your customer feel heard and cared for.
You might consider mapping out your process and touch points to see where you might have holes. Could you add more information on your website? Maybe try adding some value and engagement on social media? What happens when someone purchases from you? How can you keep them around longer?