Ideal Client, Profitability, Booked Out

How to Get Clients Even if You Hate Selling and Pitching

Do you ever find yourself on the word vomit train when attempting to sell anything? You know the one that makes zero stops and is stationed in Awkward Townsville? The one where you’re chatting with a potential client and you find yourself having the out of body experience where you hear yourself doing things like…

  • Overly explaining what it is that you do to justify your service

  • Adding on additional promises because you don’t think they’re convinced of the value

  • Filling silences with discounts or amendments to the process just so they say something

  • Feeling like you’re a fraud because what you offer isn’t all that special when you say it outloud

Yeah, been there.

If you find yourself doing any (or all) of that, there’s a huge disconnect in your selling process. You know it and your client knows it.

So you convince yourself that you’re just not good at selling.

Or that your market can’t afford to pay you what you need in order to run your business.

Or that you’ll never be able to convince your prospects why they need to hire you.

If you had a tried and true approach to “selling” your service you wouldn’t have to be in this position. No more Conductor status of the Word Vomit Train.

No more feeling icky or slimy or like you’re tricking your clients into hiring you.

Without a reliable selling strategy you're likely leaving thousands of dollars on the table. But more importantly it’s leaving you feeling inadequate about your service and it will 100% be the reason why you end up quitting.

So how do you fix it?

  1. Understand your results

  2. Use the PITCH formula to close the deal

Before you can even begin to serve you need to know the exact role your service plays in your client’s life. Most people sell their service like a product. When in reality it needs to be sold as a result.  |  BossProject.com

UNDERSTAND YOUR RESULTS

Before you can even begin to serve you need to know the exact role your service plays in your client’s life. Most people sell their service like a product. When in reality it needs to be sold as a result.

Most service based business owners will hype up the features of what their service provides. For example, a web designer might spend more time talking about how many pages they offer in the package, the optimization of those pages, etc. Basically, what your client gets out of it all.

Successful business owners tap into the emotional results of their service. What will life look like after your client experiences your service? What will change? What will be better? What will they have?

As soon as you can create an emotional relationship for your client with your service you’re off to the races.

PITCH

Now that we’re armed with the true purpose of our service it’s time to PITCH. We’ve already taught you how to get in front of warm and qualified leads.

If you haven’t spent time doing that piece yet, go back. We want you knocking this out of the ballpark and it works best on leads that already know, like and trust you.

P.I.T.C.H.

This method, when used on warm and qualified leads, will be your secret weapon to closing clients faster and confidently. Just imagine a world where you don’t have to send another awkward follow-up email asking if someone wants to actually work with you or not. *Dream*.

These steps within this method are all played out in a single conversation, ideally in this order. Before sitting down in this meeting you need to be prepared. If we’re wanting to avoid those awkward follow-up emails you need to come ready to close the deal in this meeting. Be sure to print out and bring a copy of your contract and proposal.

Most service based business owners make a crucial mistake by only relying on follow-up conversations to close the deal. The PITCH method shifts this way of doing business so you can close more deals on the spot (and get paid faster).

Step One: Prove That What You Have Is What They Need

This is where your skills of talking about your service as a result instead of a product truly comes in. You don’t need decades of experience, a beefy portfolio, or to even be the expert at what you offer.

You simply need to believe in the power of your service.

Try framing this conversation using phrases that assume you’ll be hired. Let them know how their life is going to be different once they start working with you. Try using a phrase like this:

“...After working together you’ll have…”

This is called “The Assumptive Close” and it’s a tactic that works time and time again. If you’ve played your part well up to this point this specific piece will play a huge part in you landing this client.

Step Two: Iterate Their Words Back to Them

What you’ll want to weave in next is the fact that you understand and hear their needs. This not only helps you understand where you’re role in serving them truly is, but it secures confidence from your client early on.

Try using phrases like:

“...So what I’m hearing you say is…”

“...Based on what you told me…”

After working with many clients ourselves, we know that great communication is one of (if not the) biggest factor in the relationship. Showing them that you understand their desire and need for hiring you on Day 1 is crucial.

This isn’t just a “sales tactic”, guys. Letting your potential client feel heard and understood goes and incredibly long way in starting out your work together on the right foot, and set the stage for a more connected and long-term relationship.

Step Three: Talk Them Through Your Process

At this point you’ve established that you’re the woman for the job and made it clear you understand what they need and why. Now, it’s time to walk them through how this all works.

This is, personally, one of my favorite parts of the PITCH process. It enables you to get in your zone of genius, geeking out on your process. This is another crucial place to use assumption wording. Remember, they’re going to absolutely decide to work with you, so talk like it! Try using phrases like

“Once we get started next week this will be our first step…”

“After you get your proofs back we’ll be able to move on to this part of the process…”

You’re accomplishing two very important things at this step:

  1. Get the client in a world where they’ve already said yes to working with you

  2. Get the client total understanding of every step of the process

At this point your client should be grinning ear to ear, nodding along and agreeing with your statements - clearly excited and ready to get started. If this is happening your final two steps of this process will be a breeze.

Step Four: Clarify The Contract and Next Steps

You think you might be heading into boring or uncomfortable territory, but trust me, this part is just as crucial as the rest. Outlining clear parts of your contract not only protect your client, but it protects you. Both of you need to be on the same page from the start.

We suggest having an actual contract with you that’s ready to sign (we prefer physical, but you can bring it along digitally). Once you’ve outlined your terms it’s important for you to cover the very next step for you client. Even though you outlined the entire process above it’s time to take it back to the beginning. It’s important to use clear language here, like:

“These are the important details of the contract I wanted to point out and here’s what they mean. Once you sign, I can take your deposit today, and here’s how the rest of your payments will process. With that deposit in hand we can get started right away, so let’s look at the calendar to schedule our first meeting.”

Step Five: Here’s The Price

Let me say a quick word about pricing before I outline this step. We believe in pricing transparency every time. That means, no client should get this far into the process without having some idea of a range of what it’s going to cost to work with you.

It does a disservice to your client to not share expectations early on and it can be a huge waste of your time if you don’t. This could look differently depending on your business, but we’ve added a single sentence to our inquiry page and it’s done the trick.

“Client should expect to spend between $XXX and $X,XXX when working with [Name of Business]”

Dealing with sticker shock is a killer to closing client deals for both you and the client. It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable and it makes both people feel inadequate.

Ok, I’ll rest my case for pricing transparency (for now).

Alright, so you’re at this part of the process. And it’s one where, in the past, you might have been Major of Awkward Townsville. It’s okay. We’re going to fix that.

However long you think this conversation should be...cut it in half. Seriously.

Your only role at this step is to state the price and hush it.

The desire to keep talking after stating the price is because you’re uncomfortable, which I totally get. However, your client deserves this time to process and go through her own mental checklist before you chime in.

Funny story: before I perfected the PITCH method I was trying to land a photography client. I said the price and felt the need to fill the silence with word vomit. I ended up offering her a discount before she even had a chance to open her mouth and say anything about the price simply because I was uncomfortable.


An improvement in your PITCH will drastically increase the amount of clients you land and your confidence in the process. This, like so many things in business, takes a bit of practice to perfect. But by following this method you’ll have a step-by-step system to rely on the next time you’re sitting in front of a client.

By utilizing the previous two steps, Focus and Attract, you’ll be able to craft an amazing experience for you and your client. Remember, at the end of the day, you’re here to serve. We know that’s at the heart of why you do what you do.

If you would like more assistance in getting booked out we’d love to help you in your journey over inside our private community, The Booked Out Creative. Hit the button below to apply to join.

Social Media, Profitability, Planning

How to Get People to Follow, Like & Buy from You

Sounds pretty dreamy right? Someone finds you online. They are interested in what you have to offer and learn to more about you. They like what you do, say, and sell and eventually buy. Well folks, to make this happen you really have to focus on a couple of key things.

Sounds pretty dreamy right? Someone finds you online. They are interested in what you have to offer and learn to more about you. They like what you do, say, and sell and eventually buy. Well folks, to make this happen you really have to focus on a couple of key things.  |  Think Creative Collective

Plan

Do you think any Fortune 500 company started growing without a plan in place? Seems totally obvious, but also extremely easy to skip. Here are a few of my best suggestions to help you put a plan in place:

Post

Next you must generate content both on and off your website that showcases your expert abilities, knowledge and crazy awesome skills. 

Authenticate

No one likes buying from any ordinary “company.” They like buying a story. They would much rather purchase a “persons” goods or services, instead of some mythical 3rd person. Make your brand personal. Use an authentic voice. 

Sell

I know what you are thinking. I am not a sales person. I just want to be creative. Can someone just pay me without me having to give them that icky sales pitch? You can skip all the slimy steps if you focus on getting your audience to know, like and trust you.

The Hard Lesson

What I learned the hard way was if I want my dreamiest of clients to find me, follow me, like me and later buy, I need to know who they are just as much as they need to know me. This meant I have to turn on the hyper focus switch to grow my email list! In 2 months, I quadrupled by list by implementing some simple strategies.

 


Join our party on Instagram!


Profitability, Instagram

How to Sell On Instagram Without Feeling Like a Slimy Cheeseball

If you’re a product-based business it’s probably no surprise to you that you can make sales from Instagram. You probably do it all the time and it feels natural. However, to those of you that are service based (with a potentially high dollar price range), selling on Instagram seems like a long shot. Who would’ve thought that after less than one year of being very intentional about our Instagram game that we’d see actual, real life, high-dollar clients from it? Well it happened for us, and it can happen for you too. Luckily, it’s not rocket science. 


We’re breaking down the three key areas that we KNOW have an effect on attracting the high-dollar client, and more importantly, how we closed the deal with them (in less than 72 hours!).

If you’re a product-based business it’s probably no surprise to you that you can make sales from Instagram. You probably do it all the time and it feels natural. However, to those of you that are service based (with a potentially high dollar price range), selling on Instagram seems like a long shot. Who would’ve thought that after less than one year of being very intentional about our Instagram game that we’d see actual, real life, high-dollar clients from it? Well it happened for us, and it can happen for you too. Luckily, it’s not rocket science.  |  Think Creative Colelctive

“Sell” Without Feeling Like A Slimy Cheeseball

First of all, as any type of business owner (whether service or product based) you have to make it clear that you have something for sale. Second of all, you have to make this clear in a way that feels authentic, non-spammy and approachable. We’ve learned that by telling a story, whether it be our own or the stories of our clients, it has a much higher impact on our audience. Instagram first captures its audience with a beautiful image, and then keeps them engaged with an enticing caption. 

We are big story tellers, so it usually comes naturally to us, but if you’re at a loss for words here are a few tips to get you going. Ask yourself:

  • How can this product or service change the lives of my clients?
  • How has this product or service impacted my own life?
  • Is there something unique about my product or service that I can brag about (such as it being handmade, 1:1, organic, some proceeds go to charity, et cetera)?
  • What’s the story of my business? Has it grown from my basement to a large warehouse? Did it start with just me and now I have a team?

When you tell these stories to your audience they get to hear about your business and the things you sell, but it’s structured in a way that’s giving. Your audience then wants to become a part of that story by purchasing what you offer. They want their lives changed in the same way in which yours was, or to be on the same level other people who buy your product are. They want “in” to the dream.

Stay Engaged With Your Audience

Ideally, once you begin storytelling you will have others sharing similar experiences on your feed. You can’t ignore these comments! Engage with your followers, ask them more questions, provide support, and share the love. If people are taking their own time to comment on your posts, they will feel so supported when you reciprocate. The more you are engaged with your current audience, the more it will grow! Instagram notices when certain posts get a lot of comments and moves it up in the line to show it to more people. 

To promote more engagement, consider asking open ended questions or give direct call to actions. Here are some examples.

  • “Tag your friends below if you know they would love this!”
  • “Share this with your friends who are trying to eat healthy!”
  • “What’s a wild and crazy goal of yours for 2016? We’d love to cheer you on!”
  • “About to binge on Netflix - what are your suggestions?”

We like to mix in business related call to actions with lifestyle call to actions so it doesn’t feel like we’re always surveying our audience. Just by being known that you ask questions and will engage in the comments is a big driver to build knowledge, goodwill and trust. This is the key that will convert your followers to buyers and brand advocates.

Reach Out and Follow Up

If you find that you have some “regulars” that often like or comment on your feed, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. If you are a product-based business, consider mailing them something small that you know they will share (and tag you in a post). If you are a service-based business, offer to set up a quick phone call to talk about your specialty.

Pro tip: always approach these relationships from a truly authentic place of giving. Don’t go into it prepared to ask for a sale or even hoping they will buy. Consider this thanking your VIP’s and passing out the love. Whether it turns into something like a purchase or booking is truly icing on the cake, not the end goal. 

We recently reached out to some of our active commenters who happened to be small biz owners, just to ask them how it was going. We wanted to know all about their biz, their struggles, and challenges, and what we could do to make it better. We got loads of ideas for future content just from one phone call! We want our audience (clients or not) to know that we are in their corner. 

Don’t feel nervous about reaching out! Most people love to put a face or voice to the name or brand that they love. 


CELEBRATE WITH US ON INSTAGRAM!


Social Media, Profitability, Instagram

How to Use Instagram Stories to Get More Sales

Instagram Stories debuted and our biggest complaint is that we don’t know what to call them. InstaSnaps? Instants? Snaps? Insta Stories? #TheStruggleisReal.

Besides that, we’re in love. 

We’re not here to debate whether Instagram stole SnapChat’s idea or any of that jazz. We love them, we use them and we know they’re going to help with engagement. If you want to figure out how to make actual sales from them then you’re in the right place. P.S. from here on out we’ll be referring to them as Story or Stories. You can call them whatever you want.

Instagram Stories debuted and our biggest complaint is that we don’t know what to call them. InstaSnaps? Instants? Snaps? Insta Stories? #TheStruggleisReal.  Besides that, we’re in love.  |  Think Creative Collective

We talk a lot about humanizing your brand and the power of putting you in front of your brand. Here’s what happens when people see a face attached to a brand. They:

  • Find ways to relate with you;
  • Are more forgiving of blunders;
  • Think of you as a person, and
  • Connect with you on a deeper level.

So what’s the combined, massive effect of all of those things?

Your clients and customers will spend more money and stick around longer (probably because they’re busy buying everything you offer).

Why? Because you showed yourself as a real life human freaking being.

Look, we know it’s hard to find that fine line of personal life + business life. We know a lot of you choose to not show certain aspects of your life (kids, where you live, no makeup, etc). That’s cool. We’re not asking you to upload your entire family reunion photos to Instagram.

But, maybe you could Story it? 

Maybe you could Story your morning coffee (the one that isn’t perfectly edited). Or your evening glass of wine. Or your family at the zoo.

Because the cool thing about the Stories on Instagram (similar to Snaps) is that they only last 24 hours. And no one can comment or like them. And no one can share them.

How cool is that?

Stories on Instagram are the perfect platform to showcase what you’re eating (because no one cares unless you’re an actual food photographer), where you are (without showing your address), and what you’re doing outside of work.

Once people get a glimpse of that (even just for 15 seconds), they feel connected. They see that they own the same living room rug as you, or enjoy extra butter on their popcorn like you do, or - just like you - have kids that throw themselves on the floor of Target.

This is brand relationships at its finest, y’all.

Another unique aspect of Instagram Stories (one that Snapchat failed at) is the ability to comment privately on the Story. Ever since Instagram Stories came out we’ve been getting DMs from people with whom we’ve never interacted before.

We were able to have actual conversations with potential customers (or past customers) and it was amazing. 

So, if you’ve been Grumpy McGrumperson about Instagram Stories lately, maybe it’s time to change your tune.

Consider the behind-the-scenes value you could add to your brand by participating. Brainstorm some scenarios where you could Story and consider making a list of what you absolutely don’t want to Story. 

Think outside the box. Live a little! Let us see what you ate for lunch today.


If you want to check out what we’ve put on our Story lately be sure to follow along with us on Instagram!


Profitability, Entrepreneur

Pricing Has Nothing To Do With Numbers (BONUS: FREE Download)

Pricing is our jam. Figuring out our worth so we can pay our bills, grow our business and have happy clients and customers is kind of our favorite. In fact, pricing is what brought this whole thing here at TCC together (meaning it’s how Emylee and Abagail met!). The very first program that we launched together was called “Pricing for Profit” (now known as The Money Making Creative). All that to say we’ve had the conversation about pricing with other creatives many a time, and you want to know a big fat spoiler? When it comes to mindset and “do you think they will pay $X?”, pricing has absolutely nothing to do with numbers.

The number one question that we receive from every small business owner is something along the lines of, “What should I charge for this?” As creatives, we all want there to be a magic number that we can charge for our services or products. A number that we could choose, and then automatically succeed. But by looking at just the numbers of your pricing strategy, you are leaving so much out of the equation.

Pricing is our jam. Figuring out our worth so we can pay our bills, grow our business and have happy clients and customers is kind of our favorite. In fact, pricing is what brought this whole thing here at TCC together (meaning it’s how Emylee and Abagail met!). The very first program that we launched together was called “Pricing for Profit” (now known as The Money Making Creative). All that to say we’ve had the conversation about pricing with other creatives many a time, and you want to know a big fat spoiler? When it comes to mindset and “do you think they will pay $X?”, pricing has absolutely nothing to do with numbers.  |  Think Creative Collective

So, first we’re going to burst your bubble and tell you that you just need to pick A number. You will never pick the right number the first time. There will most likely be price increases, package tweaks, new offerings, and offers taken off the table. The only way to get measurable results is just to just pick a number, any number, at first. However, here are a few guidelines that you should consider when calculating your pricing.

Pick a Number That Feels Right to You But Scares You a Little

If you constantly pick numbers with which you’re totally safe, you’ll probably never see the business results you’re dreaming about. The number you go with needs to make you feel just a little bit crazy-excited about the potential of your business, while also staying true to the authenticity of your biz brand.

Pro tip: If putting some math into it will help you take the emotion out of your pricing, then do that. Figure out how much you need to be making every single month to pay your bills, save for school, pay off your house or just to help with groceries. It doesn’t matter. If you know what number you’re hoping to get to, you can work backwards from there.

Add Value For Your Clients Instead of Slashing Prices

We understand that you want to create hype around your products or services, and the usual way of doing this is by having sales. But, depending on what you’re offering, a sale could actually hurt a client’s perception of value. So when you want to have a “sale”, think about keeping the price exactly the same, but add value. (Think: How can you add in more of your time? Can you create a quick and easy printable or download, can you add additional products if clients spend X amount, can you add in a bonus hour of your time, et cetera.) However, you definitely don’t want clients waiting around for your next sale before buying from you, so make sure you implement this strategically.

Showcase Your Offerings in Packages

There’s a specific psychology behind combining your offers inside packages. Your clients are able to see the value of a simple upgrade to the next package at a quick glance. Usually, the package you want clients to gravitate towards is your “middle of the road” package — it’s neither your cheapest, nor your most expensive. To your clients, it becomes the no-brainer package. Design your lowest and highest packages to highlight your middle package, and your clients will feel super confident in their decision. Your lowest package should cover the bare minimum of what you need to make from a client to make sure you’re making ends meet. Any upgrade from there is just icing on the cake!


As you can see in the strategies above, pricing involves far more than just picking the “right” number. It’s all about providing great value, charging what you’re worth and staying true to your brand.

We want you to be able to dive further into making your biz profitable. We want you to shake off the overwhelming thoughts that it’s “always about the numbers” and understand that there are distinct strategies that you can use to get there. But before you get there, you need a plan. Yes, an actual written down plan. Some might call it a business plan. We like to call it “Party in my Biz Pants, Because Now I Know What the Heck is Going On Plan”. Rolls right off the tongue, yeah?

We wouldn’t want you to head out to make this plan without some guidance. Heck, we don’t just want to give you guidance, we want to give you the freaking worksheet to make the plan. Oh, and it’s free. Happy day! We created The Easiest Business Plan Ever and you can grab your free copy by heading here.

Pop in your first name and email and we’ll send it right over. Here’s what we DON’T want you to do: please do not go download it and love it but let it die a slow death in your “Downloads” folder. It serves you no purpose there.

 

Instead, go download it and PRINT it off immediately. Even if you can’t fill it out right this second, at least have it sitting on your desk. Or taped to your fridge. Or the wine rack. Wherever you’ll see it the most and be reminded to do it.

Then just spend a half hour (seriously, don’t overthink this) and fill it out.

And then we want you to call us when shit starts to go down in your business, because we told you so. Really. If you don’t call us, at least email us. Heck, email us to call you and we will.

So stop reading this and get to printing. Right now. Tag us on Instagram (@ThinkCreativeCollective) in a shot of your blank piece of paper so we at least know you’ve printed it. Then we can hold you accountable.


SHOW US YOUR PLAN ON INSTAGRAM