Last week I spent 3 days with my business coach and a group of women entrepreneurs at our MasterMind. We meet every quarter to talk about what’s working in our business, share strategy, and support each other’s celebrations and fears. Because business will bring up all the fears you try to run from [PSA from your truth-telling, opinionated friend] ;)
Here’s us on the last day:
As an entrepreneur and introvert, I never miss the chance to connect with women who aren’t afraid to turn big vision into reality. I always leave feeling super-charged, supported, and ready to take myself to the next level. In just those 3 days, I decided:
- My business strategy for the rest of 2014 and 2015
- What projects I’ll focus on and what I WON’T focus on (more important!)
- I know when I’ll run my programs, launches, and vacation (most important!)
- I feel way more grounded, powerful and connected to my business.
Over the course of the 3 days, we also taught the group something that’s worked in our business to get major results. No matter how different your business model is, you can always learn what’s working from your peers and discern if it applies to your business. Open-mindedness leads to innovation.
I want to share with you what I taught – it’s increased my productivity and directly led to more revenue and clients. I feel more calm and centered as a business owner, not worried.
Impact and revenue will come from doing tasks that lead to impact and revenue, not chasing what makes you feel “busy” but doesn’t have much importance. Experiment in your business; Both my clients and I have had success with this, so it’s worth testing out.
Create a “Leads List” or Follow Up System for Potential Clients
Sales and getting clients is the #1 way to bring revenue into your business. But it’s also the scariest, most confronting part for an entrepreneur. It’s scary to ask people if they want your service, to talk about money, scary to reach out to someone who said “No” before. Business owners don’t know what to do with a “No” or how to funnel people they’ve met at networking events. That’s why many people stay in confusion around this or skip it entirely!
But these aren’t real options, people! Especially if you actually want to feel good about your business and stay in business. The truth is, if you hide from this part of your business – from sales – you’ll never stay in business.
There is a way out, and that’s to create a follow-up system for every person who walks into your business – literally if you own a store or “digitally” if you run an online business. Creating a simple, systematic follow-up system takes the emotion out of hearing “No’s” and operates under the beautiful premise that you take your business seriously. You know that not everyone is a good fit for your services immediately and you’re okay with that.
Most times in business, someone who’s not a good fit right away is actually a perfect fit 3 months from now. Or 9 months from now. Entrepreneurs freak out when they hear “No” simply because they’re not hearing it enough. I’ll say that again: You need to hear MORE “No’s.” You need to fill your pipeline with more people, risk a lot more rejection, and then see that every “No” is palatable. You actually see it leading you to more “Yes’s.”
It’s the sustainable, responsible way to run your business and get the right clients. Build a system and engage with people repeatedly until they trust and like you.
To follow-up with people who “walk” into your business, you need to understand two things:
How to Gauge Their Temperature
“Leads” or potential clients are hot, warm, or cold when they come into your business. Hot leads are people who know you, have followed you for a while, and are almost ready to work with you. Maybe a client’s friend emails you because they’ve seen their friend’s business results. They’re aware of the quality of your work and the results you help people get. Or they saw you at a speaking event and trust you. They’re excited to move forward now or soon. Hot leads say, “Yep, I’m in. You don’t need to go through the rest, just send me the paperwork.” It’s divine when hot leads come in the door, because it means you’ve been helping a lot of people and others have heard about. Hot leads happen when you’ve done it for a while, you’re good at what you do, and you’re vocal about what you do.
Warm leads are a little less enthused than hot leads, but they’re still interested. If you’ve just started in business, most leads will be warm or cold, which is 100% normal. They’ve followed your blog for a while, like you, but aren’t ready to work with you right away. Warm leads may become your ideal clients later on, but not yet. Warm leads in my business, are people who love what I write, know they need to make money and take their business to the next level, but they’re not ready to take action right now.
This isn’t a bad thing. Everyone needs their own time and motivation in their business. If someone isn’t right for you right now, doesn’t mean they won’t be right in 6 months. That’s why following-up is important. 70% of my clients come from follow-up – that is NOT a small number. Often, someone I spoke to four months ago who wasn’t ready, will email me “Now’s the time.” When you stop taking things personally and respect people’s timelines, you’ll see a lot more influx of good stuff come in the door.
Logically then, cold leads are people who aren’t right for your business or who’ve said “No” to you explicitly. In my business, cold leads don’t have the right energy or mindset for me to want to work with. Or their business is something I genuinely can’t help with. Someone says, “I want to start and monetize a TV show.” I say, “That’s fantastic, but I can’t help you.” Just like you can’t date everyone (would you really want to anyway?), look for the right fit of clients and people for you and your business.
Create an Intuitive, Simple, Follow-Up System.
Once you’ve gauged someone’s temperature, you need to follow-up with them via email or phone. Put your hot, warm, and cold leads into an Excel file with the following columns: Name, source (how they found me), date spoken to, next action to take, and notes. Enter this information for each person into your spreadsheet and create your follow up system.
For Ishita Gupta Media, I reach out to hot leads every 30 days, warm leads every 45 days, and cold leads every 60-90 days. The length of time I reach out to them depends on when we last talked, what we talked about, and how viable I think they are as a client. Then I know when and how specifically to follow up with them. My team sends me a list of names on the 1st and 2nd Monday of the month. I reach out to people early in the month and set up conversations throughout the month, talking with them about their business needs.
It is a stellar, simple, easy to follow system. I’m proud of myself for creating and learning to manage this part of my business, since it’s the one part that used to confound & overwhelm me. “Necessity is the mother of invention” is very true. Now I teach it to others and it helps them skyrocket their business. It’s brilliant what happens when you’re committed to not remaining confused and get into action. Things get better. :) :) :)
If you haven’t figured out this part of your business – client acquisition and leads – start now. Remaining confused isn’t an option; Now you have a solution that may work for you.