How To Get Great Testimonials (Without Pressuring or Badgering)

I’m often asked, “How do you get good testimonials?”

Of course, the truest answer is, “Do good work.”

Without that, nothing I am about to say holds much water.

But, if we don’t acknowledge that it’s possible to do wonderful work and not be furnished with written testimonials from the very people you served, well… then my advice wouldn’t hold much water either.

There is a fear that underwrites this question: a deep concern about not wanting to burden, pressure or bother people with the request.

It’s a noble, if misguided sentiment.

The assumption that underwrites these concerns is that ‘we have to ask everyone’.

And so, having said all of that, I’d like to offer an approach to getting testimonials that I have used over the years, that feels good to me and that seems to result in the appearance of fine words of endorsement on my site.

Step 1) Deliver your product or service. There are four levels at which this can happen.

Step 2) Ask for feedback. This is the main secret. After most programs or after offering any new service for which testimonials would be useful, I ask people these two questions:

Question 1: How would you rate this from 1-10? (1 being low and 10 being high).

Question 2: If this wasn’t a 10, what would it have needed to be a 10?

Those two questions tell you a great deal.

Question 1 will give you a realistic sense of the value people are receiving from your product or service.

Question 2 will give you incredibly useful feedback on what was missing that should have been there or what was absent that should have been.

But… Question 1 also does something very important you might not have considered: it tells you from whom you should asking for testimonials.

My rule: If I get an 8/10 or above I ask for a testimonial. A 7/10 or below and I don’t.

If I get a seven or below, I will focus on getting more feedback if it seems there’s feedback to be had and use that feedback to make my products or services better.

If it’s an eight or above I’ll ask for a testimonial. If they gave it an eight or above they’re almost universally happy to be asked. If you ask someone to write you some kind words for your website and they rated your offerings a four out of ten, they may resent your asking.

Five Questions That Can Get You Good Testimonials?

So often people, even though they love your work, will report feeling stymied on exactly what words to write. Someone can love your work and feel too daunted to write you a testimonial or write a well-intentioned but piss poor testimonial.

The key is to ask good questions.

What follows are my favourite questions to ask (of course these can and should be modified from ‘buying’ to ‘signing up’, ‘attending’ or whatever word fits for your scenario).

1) What did I honestly think of this before buying?

I love this question because it makes whatever testimonial they write more credible and relatable. There’s a heavy chance that whoever might read their words in the future will have the same prejudices about your product or service before signing up.

When I used to run workshops for high schools I’d ask them this question and they’d tell me, “Before I came to this workshop I thought it was going to be lame with some old white guy standing at the front of the room giving motivational speeches all day…” I must have read basically those same words a dozen times.

So, when I put those testimonials in the sales letter for the program and teachers and students would read it, they’d think, “Wow. Those people had the same fears about it as me but it turned out okay. Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea.”

But also, when you see the same patterns of perception over and over, the same fears and concerns, this can actually become incredible content for your sales copy.

It can be turned into headlines, subheadlines, taglines etc.

You can speak to the risks, fears and doubts you know that folks are likely to have about your work immediately and directly. That builds an immense amount of trust and credibility. It tells people that you ‘get it’. It meets them with empathy.

2) What was holding me back from buying?

This might give the same answer as above but it also might yield new information. Their answer to this will both help you see your offers through the eyes of the client but also make the testimonials read as more grounded and realistic. Someone newer to your work will read them and think, “Ah! I’m not the only one who had the same concern about buying.”

And, of course, the feedback might help you actually structurally change your offer. For example, if they say, “I was scared to sign up because I wasn’t sure it would make me money” you might offer an iron clad money-back guarantee or a ‘double your money back’ guarantee. You might offer more free content up front to assuage their fear.

You might offer it on a pay what you want basis. You might gather more case studies of clients you’ve helped and the money you made them. You might double down on making your process better so that people are more likely to make money (or get whatever the relevant result or benefit is).

3) What turned your decision around?

Their answer to this question can help walk a potential client through the logic they need to sign up. It might highlight a part of your offer or sales letter that they hadn’t noticed before. But it also tells you what’s working in your sales copy that you can expand on, develop further and make more prominent.

4) What was the most important positive outcome you experienced as a result of buying?

This is huge. This is what I call Island B. Their answer to this question tells you what you are actually selling. I recall a financial advisor who mostly worked with couples being shocked to realize that his work was, for many of his clients, actually marriage counselling. Couples were waiting to have their financial conversations until he was in the room.

It took me a while to realize that the core of my Marketing for Hippies 101 daylong workshop was that it helped people find a way to market themselves that felt good. It seemed too simple but I heard it over and over and it helped me actually structure my day around this central theme that ‘marketing can feel good’.

Again, the answer to this makes the testimonial more compelling because it tells people that they might be able to get that result they’re craving by working with you but it also gives you great information for your headlines and subheadlines in your sales copy.

5) What do you think of this product/service now?

This is the bookend. The testimonial began with their likely not entirely flattering set of fears and assumptions about your work and now it ends with this new appraisal. This is immensely comforting to those who are on the fence. And it lets you know how your business is seen by those you have helped.

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Testimonials are a powerful way to build trust. If you’re interested in a deeper dive into my thoughts on building trust, you might want to check out my “Deep Trust” package.

Facebook Marketing with George Kao

To get your Facebook posts seen by your ideal audience — reliably — it’s become increasingly necessary to use Facebook Ads to spread your message or offerings. You don’t have to spend a lot. Just $30 per month on targeted FB ads will go a long way.

In this video, we discuss the 3 steps for doing Facebook Marketing and Ads effectively.

For those who want to go deeper than this free conversation, and access a comprehensive online course that offers step-by-step training, check out the Facebook Marketing course. Only $45: www.GeorgeKao.com/TadHargrave

Guest Post: Ten Basic Pieces of Tech Worth Tackling by Molly Mandelberg

Coming from a long line of teachers, preachers, artists and writers, the tech world never sang to me. At least not until I started my own business and realized what was available, if I were to master a few key ingredients.

This is where my nerdy researching took flight. I dove head first into studying all the tools I could find to make running my business (hypnotherapy at the time) easier in any way I could. I started launching online courses, building out elaborate sales funnels and futzing around with email sequences until I finally found my calling. Turns out my writer background and engineering brain LOVES to build and connect these valuable strategic business systems laced with boatloads of content.

I’m talking about automation: for some it’s passive income, for others it’s a lighter load in their email inbox. Whatever it looks like, the point is that technology can make life a heck of a lot easier, if we just take the time to set it up.

“We are the Jetson’s!” We are living in a time where it couldn’t be easier to share your message on a large scale.

But Where the F do we start?

NOTE: These are useful tools to implement, but by NO means necessary to the growth of your business. You can always go without, it just gets easier when you have some systems to support you.

# 1 Online Scheduler – (and a digital personal Calendar to sync with)

This one can be the biggest immediate game-changer. Imagine how things are to begin with: Someone makes it to your website, they realize they want to learn more, and you have them ‘contact’ you in a simple form which leads to an email correspondence. That leads to three or four more emails to find a mutually good time to meet and after a good 30-45 minutes of your life has been spent organizing, you eventually have the appointment.

What if instead, a person made it to your website, and decided they wanted to talk to you and (with or without the filtration step of an application or survey of some kind) they book themselves directly onto your calendar for a consultation. !!!! Time saved. Potential client relationship starting off with a bang.

My favorite tool for this is Acuity Scheduling as it does custom appointments, allows for automated email reminders, syncs with your personal calendar, takes payment, and even allows you to host classes and sell packages. Here’s my affiliate link: bit.ly/wildheartsacuity or a direct link: https://acuityscheduling.com/

Online scheduler’s can be a hassle so I made a quick checklist to help people set Acuity up, if you’d like a copy of that you can find it here: https://wildheartsriseup.mykajabi.com/p/acuity-checklist

The added step of syncing this calendar with your personal appointments depends on your use of a digital calendar such as Google Calendar, iCal, Outlook or the like. Not necessary, but really nice for avoiding the dreaded ’double-booking’.

Look for: Payment processing, calendar syncing, email reminders and a nice user interface. Free is not always better in this case.

#2 Autoresponder –

I LOOOOOVE this tool. This might be my nerdiest love affair of them all. This is what people refer to when they ask about your ‘list’. Basically, an autoresponder allows you to automatically, or manually, email your entire following of subscribers (I hate that term too) anytime you like.

I’ll set the scene again: (Although this has likely happened to you on the receiving end, many times.)

Imagine you invite someone to a workshop, or to partake in your free gift, or someone makes it to your website and wants to receive updates from your blog or something… They plug their email into a little box, click submit, and KAPOW! They get a message right away! That immediate delivery happens from an autoresponder. Again, lots of amazing tools out there, but in my nerdy poking around on the inter-webs, and after trying out at least 3 for myself, my hands-down favorite is Active Campaign.

I get a little heart flutter excited every time I share about it.

Affiliate link: bit.ly/wildactive or direct link: https://www.activecampaign.com

Here’s what you want to look for: (and what Active Campaign of course excels at)

  • Does it include automation for the introductory price?” Mailchimp is a great introductory tool, but won’t take you as far as other programs that allow for tagging and better organization of your list.
  • Is it easy to segment the list? This may not come into play for you at first, but at some point you are going to want to send a message to your whole following except for your current clients and your moon circle friends (maybe that’s just me?) and that is NOT simple, segmentation I mean, on some of the platforms out there. Active Campaign uses tags and it may sound fancy but you get the hang of it pretty quick. i.e. Send to everyone except ‘x’ tag, and… done.
  • Can the user experience be catered to their interactions with your emails? In AC, you can actually tag someone when they click a link, or become a client and they will immediately stop receiving a series of emails encouraging them to schedule with you or ‘check out this thing’. I find that when we only send messages to people based on their interests, we not only hit the nail on the head for them offering-wise, but we can feel a whole lot better about what we’re sending because we know it actually applies to who it’s going out to.

PRO TIP: Always, always, ALWAYS write emails in a document first and copy them into your autoresponder later. This is to minimize loss and frustration in the writing and sending phase as well as the migration to a new system phase. Keep that stuff organized for extra brownie points. You will thank you later.

#3 A Business Building Website –

WTF is that? There are two kinds of small biz sites out there:

1. A Brochure Website: Gives information, talks a lot about your services, links to a bunch of things, maybe has a contact form.

2. A Business Building Website: Builds a relationship with your people, speaks directly to their heart, offers value up front and allows the visitor many ways to get in touch or receive more from you. Free gifts, opt in forms, scheduling links etc. Brings them down the path from viewer to friend.

My favorite tool for this: WordPress.org

PRO TIP: This process begins with purchasing a ‘hosting’ package through one of the many Hosting companies out there. SKIP GoDaddy, they suck for more than one reason. I use Bluehost, and also recommend HostGator as a trusted source with good customer service. Once you purchase hosting, they will help you ‘install’ WordPress onto your fancy new domain name.

(Note: .com is highly recommended over .org or .biz if possible when choosing your domain)

I hate seeing people get stuck on this step. The truth is you DO NOT need a website to get your business up and running.

But, I know for some there is a feeling of legitimacy that comes with a website, so if you want to go the WordPress route and want some help setting it up, reach out. Someone in your network, or Tad or I can recommend someone. I even built a mini course to walk people through building sites on WordPress because I was tired of seeing my friends spend $5k on a website they didn’t like.

#4 Surveys, Questionnaires, Quizzes –

One of the greatest ways to know what your people want is to….. ASK THEM! Yep, to actually get their input on how they think about their issues, what they desire most and what kinds of solutions they are looking for. (There’s a great book on how to do this called “Ask” by Ryan Levesque.)

You can use a free system like Google Forms or Typeform and create a quick survey that asks them a couple key things.

  • What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing right now?
  • What have you already tried?
  • What do you want instead?
  • What kind of support are you looking for?

….and so on.

PRO TIPS on this: Keep the number of questions low and make most of them multiple choice. The one you really want their exact words on is how they’d describe their biggest challenge when it comes to (the problem you solve). Surveys work better when you make their personal info optional, or don’t ask for it at all. This is an info-gathering phase, not a list-building phase.

Quizzes are awesome ways to both get to know your people and add some value. It’s human nature to want to know about ourselves, if we can provide insights like that, while also learning about the needs of our audience, awesome! I use Thrive Quiz Builder on WordPress, but have heard good things about Qzzr as well.

#5 Content Delivery Platform –

Do you have a Blog? Podcast? Youtube Channel? Meetup Group?

Are you sending out emails, pdf’s, checklists and blueprints? There are countless platforms to assist you in delivering your message to your people. My recommendation matches Tad’s, start where you feel like starting. Play to your strengths.

Whatever you do, start doing it and sharing it with your people. Your unique point of view is what sets you apart from every other practitioner.

Yes, the world needs your message.

There are people out there literally waiting for your refreshing take on this wild ride called life.

Share it.

Ring the bell.

Shake the dust.

#6 Social Media Biz Presence –

This could be a Business Page on Facebook, a Professional Profile on LinkedIn or even an Instagram account, the point is to figure out where your people are hanging out and show up there. Many kinds of people hang out on Facebook, but sometimes it’s easier for a jeweller or photographer to get found on Instagram, as it’s more imagery based. Likewise, corporate or traditional business folks might be more inclined to seek resources on LinkedIn.

I encourage people to begin with a media presences that feels light to you. If you are a writer, write. If you are a speaker, live stream some videos. If you are better in some other format, start there. I have personally gained a lot by pushing myself to expand to new frontiers of visibility, but I started with words on a page. That’s what I knew how to do.

#7 Social Media Scheduler –

One of the biggest game changers in my business growth was when I started batching my creative output. Rather than worry about how I was going to be ‘visible’ on social media, or to my list, or in the world on a daily basis, I started tackling that stuff in big batches.

So I’d sit down and write 20 inspiring posts, or a months worth of Blog entries, or pull a bunch of quotes from past talks and videos. I started mining past articles I’d written for what I like to call ‘nuggets of glory’ and then using those quotes on an amazing website called Canva.com where you can easily put images and text together in a fancy way. (Without having to learn the ins and outs of photoshop.)

Then, I would, and still do, take this chunk of juicy content bits and use Hootsuite.com to schedule them out into the future on my various social media pages. Don’t put it off forever, it goes quicker than you expect.

#8 CRM or Follow Up System –

I don’t personally use a CRM (Client Relationship Management Software) but the idea is that with a good tracking system, following up is easier to do. When you meet someone and they express interest in your work, or you do a consult and someone says “Yes, but let’s start next month.” You want to have a solid way to track that information so you don’t forget to follow up because when you follow up, you generally end up with more clients.

I use a project management tool called Trello.com which syncs to my phone and allows me to set due dates and make notes about people I’ve spoken to. (More on this below.) You can also set a reminder in your actual calendar to call them back. Whatever you use, make sure you’ll keep up with it. The best plan of action is one you will actually take action on.

#9 Content/Project Management –

Tad talks (“TadTalks”) about tracking things like the ‘Hubs’ for your niche, and organizing your brilliant ideas as they come to you. I found after a few years of great ideas and personal connections, I was overwhelmed with pieces of paper and ‘important notes’. So this tech tool tip is to find a project management, or idea organization system that works for you and USE it!

Here are my favorites:

Trello.com: I use this to create new projects, to organize what I delegate to my VA’s, to track my work with my clients, what they’re working on, how many sessions they have left etc. I even use it to keep all my To Do lists organized in one place. FREE I have like 30 separate project boards and still haven’t paid a dime.

Evernote.com: This is where my brilliant strikes of inspiration go first, into special organized note folders until I know what they’re for or what project they associate with in Trello. Lists like Books to read, Links to remember, Groceries to buy, and Gift Ideas for Mom and Dad usually end up in Evernote. FREE

Scrivener: This one is really more for writers, but I’m mentioning it here because I love it. I’m actually writing this in Scrivener right now. Easily create folders and subfolders for different parts of a project. Great for keeping good track of ALL your content without going hunting for it, or for managing the development of a book. $40 software.

#10 Shopping Cart –

This is a key element when it comes time to sell a product, course, program or service. If it’s a class or appointment, you can use Acuity, or whatever scheduler you chose that hopefully takes payment. If it’s something larger, you can get started on PayPal, Stripe or Square. All charge roughly 3% to process payments. When you move into an online learning platform, they will often include secure checkout pages also linked to you via PayPal, Stripe or Square. Don’t feel like you need to go out and get a “Shopping Cart,” you’ll know there’s a need when the time comes.

The fact that you’re reading this means you are on to big things. I love that about you!

I’ll leave you with two last reminders:

1. You do not need all of this, especially not all at once.

2. You do not have to do it alone. If you need support, get it. If not me or Tad, someone else you have access to. It can be daunting to take new systems on but I promise you it is worth it in the long run.

To infinity and beyond!

Xo Molly Mandelberg

About Molly:

Having studied with masters, traveled the world and applied the great teachings to her own life, Molly Mandelberg is uniquely qualified to help launch you from where you are now, to the next level of your business. Molly has an unusual combination of spiritual/visionary and high tech/practical/business savvy. She is an artist, a globe trotter, a writer, a speaker, a facilitator and a leader.

Whether you are stuck in procrastination, confusion or things just aren’t moving fast enough for you toward your goals, having empowering, kickass support may be just what you need. From content and design through streamlined global delivery systems, Molly Mandelberg may be the answer you’ve been looking for. You can learn more about her at: www.WildHeartsRiseUp.com 

Guest Post: How to Teach a Rockin’ Intro Class That Isn’t a Scripted, Sales-y, Cheesy, Waste-of-Time Webinar

By Julie Wolk

Oops, you caught me . . .  I’m a webinar voyeur.

I love watching what other business coaches are doing . . .  both to learn what to do and, of course, what NOT to do (and then write lengthy blog posts about it).

So I saw an ad this morning on Facebook that enticed coaches into creating a consistent flow of clients into their practice (resulting, of course, in a 6-figure coaching business, because well, what would an FB ad be without a 6-figure promise?).

It was actually a decent ad . . .  casually written, not too sales-y, and it named very clearly the challenges that new coaches face when attempting to grow a business.

So I clicked (I mean, I was going to click anyways, cuz I’m a voyeur, but whatever).

There was a nice, simple landing page that told me that I was going to learn a 3-step system to generate 2, 5 or even 10 more clients each month.

Still ok. Clear, if totally unoriginal.

I signed up.

And . . .  It went downhill from there.

When I hopped on the (pre-recorded) webinar, I was immediately talked at for 15 minutes about my problems.

Wait.

Don’t I know my problems already? Didn’t your ad very clearly identify them and didn’t I already click on it and sign up?

If I weren’t just being a webinar voyeur, I would have shut the thing off after 3 minutes of that crap.

(But instead, I suffered through it, because I really wanted to dramatize this blog post).

And then there was the power point – with the exact words he was saying. Super engaging (not).

And of course, the script. And we all know it’s a script, because there are all these other coaches out there selling the “exact webinar script I used to earn 5 million dollars in 5 weeks.”

It honestly makes me want to scream:

“DO YOU TAKE ME FOR AN IDIOT?”

I know, calm down, Julie.

Finally I got approximately 5 minutes on the actual 3-step system to get 2, 5 or even 10 more clients each month, and was then subjected to 20 minutes of, wait for it . . .

The Sales Pitch.

Can we say waste of time?

Ok, so we know what we don’t like.

But here’s the thing.

Intro classes (whether you teach them live, on the phone, or as a webinar) can be an incredibly effective, authentic and FUN way to get new clients and fill your workshops and programs.

But if even the word “webinar” makes you roll your eyes, then keep reading for a different way to do it.

A Natural, Non-salesy Approach to Intro Classes that Relies on Your Wisdom, Not on Gimmicks, Scripts, or Ridiculous Sales Pitches.

You’ve got wisdom to share. Yes?

You’ve got a niche and a great package, retreat or group program. And now you want to sell it to people. To sell it, you need to market it first (I think you already know that).

But people don’t usually just jump in and buy a high-level program, package or retreat when they know nothing about you.

I can tell you from direct experience that if you just post on Facebook about your amazing 6-month coaching package, people won’t buy it. They probably won’t even get on the phone with you for a free consult most of the time.

But if they get an hour or two live with you?

And you share your wisdom, your analysis, your vision, your approach, your method . . .  if you show them the possibility of change and you stir up excitement and answer burning questions and bring your full, passionate self?

Well then . . .  they might sign up for that 6-month coaching engagement (or at least hop on the phone for that free consultation).

An intro class is the perfect low-risk, low-cost, low-commitment marketing strategy to help people get to know, like and trust you and what you do so they feel comfortable buying your higher-value program.

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When Do I Create An Intro Class?

If you have clarified your niche, established your point of view, and created a package or program, then you are ripe to create a rockin,’ high-value, intro class.

And remember, the point of your intro isn’t to make loads of money, it’s to introduce people to your work so they might eventually purchase your services. They are usually low-cost ($15-$25).

In other words, your intro class is the top of your sales funnel (or client pathway if you prefer). Simply put, here it is:

Low-Cost Intro Class –> Free Private Consultation –> Purchase of Package/Program

Seriously. That’s it. This could be your entire business.

And the best part is, you can teach this same class over and over again to different people (you really don’t need to create a bunch of different classes).

Your business could literally be one two-hour class, free consultations, and a high-value package. That’s ALL YOU NEED. Imagine that.

(I know, you have 20 other things you want to offer. But just consider it . . .  especially if you’re into growing a financially sustainable business in an organic, streamlined way, and not burning out. You can always add more stuff later).

I filled my 1-1 coaching practice in a little over a year teaching intro classes every couple months, plus doing some strategic hub marketing (aka networking).

When you need new clients, instead of just praying those referrals come through, all you do is teach your intro class (and I’m all about praying, but peeps, you gotta take action too).

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So What Do I Teach In Said Intro Class?

If you want in-depth instructions on how to design the entire intro class based on the cycles of nature (yep, it’s super cool), check out my previous post here. But here, I’ll focus on the content you’re teaching specifically.

First, here are three general tips:

  • Be transparent in your marketing for this class. There is no need to fool people into joining your class so you can sell them something. Heck, you can even tell people beforehand on your sales page, like I do, “In addition to being a content-rich, value-packed class, this is also a great way to get to know me and see if private coaching/my fall course/my cool retreat is right for you.”
  • Let your wisdom sell itself. This is an opportunity for you to provide real value to people and for people to see that you’ve got some street cred. Don’t worry about selling your program. If you design the content of your intro class to naturally lead people to want to explore working more deeply with you, then you don’t need to spend 30 minutes on a sales pitch. Intrigued people will want more.
  • Be real. People want to know YOU. Use an outline and bullet points, not a word-for-word script. Take deep breaths and don’t worry about being perfect.

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How Do I Structure My Intro Class?

In your intro class, you’re basically going to give people a map or overview of what you do to help them solve the problems they have. You’re going to give them great information and useful tips they could take home and start to implement – but they’re not going to figure out all their issues and solve all their problems at this class (that happens in the in-depth workshop or coaching program you’re selling).

You’re simply going to tell them why things are the way they are and how to make them work better according to your point of view and methodology. You’re going to show them what’s possible.

People worry about giving away too much. Here’s what I think: Give it away.

If your students are super smart and precocious, they’ll try to do it themselves (and could probably make some decent progress if they’re disciplined, because after all, you’re going to give them a really good map). Take this as a compliment.

But for most people, they’re going to need some additional help actually implementing. And that’s the point.

If you’re a healer, they’re not going to get healed during this class. If you’re a business coach, they’re not going to start making more money on this call.

They’re going to get a map, and if they dig your map, then they can hire you to help them implement it.

Here’s a format you can use for the main content of your class:

1. Define the Presenting Problem. This is a brief section to acknowledge the problems or challenges the people in your class have and to energetically bring everyone together. It can be just a couple minutes (not like the guy this morning that told me about how awful my life was for 15 minutes). You’re basically saying, “Here’s what I see as the challenge you’re facing. Do y’all vibe with this? Well, OK, glad we’re on the same page here, let’s dive in and figure this out.” One key here is that at this point, you are not analyzing the problem nor telling them what YOU think their real problem is, you’re acknowledging the outward problems or symptoms they are presenting (you’ll get to that analysis later!).

2. Offer the Alternative Possibility. This is another brief couple minutes to clarify that in fact, things can be different, and you’ll be teaching them just how they can be different starting very shortly, yay! This is also known as the “big promise” of your class, or you could also call it an intention. What do you hope people receive by the end of this class? Announce it here so they know where you’re going with all this and can get excited about it (people like to be told what’s gonna happen).

3. Explain Your Point of View on the Situation. Now we get to the meat of it. This section is all about context and credibility. They need to understand where you’re coming from and that you have an important analysis or diagnosis of their situation and challenges and what to do about it. Now you start to tell them what you see as the true cause of their problems.

Your point of view tells people how you see the world, how you see their problems, and how just maybe, they’ve been going about solving them in a way that might not be working so well for them (and this is not to shame and blame them, it’s to help them). Perhaps they’re challenged because society’s set up in a screwy way that doesn’t support it. Or maybe it’s because everyone else in the industry seems to think there’s a simple band-aid approach. Or maybe it’s because they’re getting in their own way. Of course your point of view will be unique.

After you’ve analyzed the problem, it’s a good moment to offer your unique take on the solution, which is different from everyone else’s way of solving the problem. Because if the problem is actually about X (as you stated above), then you’re going to need a different approach to solve it: “Well here’s my approach . . .”

4. Lay Out Your Methodology. This is the heart of your intro class. In this section, you’re going to lay out your map to the solution. This is where you get to share those 3 tips or 5 steps or whatever it is your solution consists of. And I do recommend numbering and naming them, because it’s way easier for people to grasp and remember. In my intro class, I teach the definition of a Natural Business, the 4 Principles of a Natural Business, and the 8 Stages of the Natural Business Cycle in my intro class.

This is likely the longest part of your class. Each of your points may have several sub-points. If you’re doing the class live, you might have people do an exercise, a dyad, or journal. Just make sure your thoughts are organized into an outline in advance. Make a goal for what 3-5 things you most want people to walk away remembering.

5. Weave in Some Stories.  Include a few real-life client stories, examples, or case studies. They should be about people in your target audience specifically. This will help your students relate in a more real way to your work and show them what’s possible. 

After all this, for those who feel a resonance with you, your point of view and methodology, there will be a natural inclination to want to go further and to create this for themselves.

The natural next step is to offer that to them.

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How to Make an Offer (Not a Sales Pitch)

Offer. Just like it sounds. I’m offering you something. You don’t have to take it. I’m just offering it.

With a pitch, you literally need to catch it or jump out of the way so you don’t get hit.

But you do need to let people know what you have available for them; they won’t magically just get in touch because they think you’re cool (well a couple really eager ones might actually, but don’t bank on this).

If you’ve given over solid information, the offer is simple,  all you need to say is something like this:

If this all sounds resonant/compelling/fun/exciting to you, and you want help actually implementing it and making these kinds of changes in your own life, then I’d love to talk to you about it.

I’m sending around a sign-up sheet now so you can choose a time to talk to me if you’d like.

It’s simply a 30-minute, no-pressure consultation call to see if you’re a good fit for my program/retreat/course.

And, I believe you’ll find the call itself very clarifying/powerful/insightful/inspiring, whether or not we end up working together.

Thanks so much!

That’s not so bad, right? You can do that!

So take a crack at your first intro class. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Teach it to 5 people. Just give it a shot.

Want some help? Get in touch.

JulieWolk_Hollyhock15Julie Wolk helps coaches, consultants, and healers grow niche-rooted, burnout-free, blossoming businesses by modeling them after the way nature works. She’s a firm believer that if we step off the hamster wheel, and tune into nature’s rhythms, we can grow more sustainable lives, businesses and even — gasp! — a better world. A lifelong nature freak, she has over 15 years of experience turning vision into reality, and would love to help you create a simpler, more enjoyable, nature-led life and business. You can find her at www.juliewolkcoaching.com.

Three Marketing Lessons to Pull From Rebecca Tracey’s Uncage Your Business Launch

IMG_7407Rebecca Tracey has just launched her Uncage Your Business program and there are three lessons I think it’s worth taking from it that might be able to help you in your next launch.

1) Use Case Studies: Rebecca did three case study interviews with past UYB Grads. You can watch those here.

Whether you sign up or not, you might consider the power of what she’s done as a marketing technique with these case studies by interviewing people a while after they took the course, so you can really see the results they have gotten over the long term (and not just that post-course glow that most testimonials have).

They show an accurate portrait or what someone can expect with her course – real results for a new business owner. Things like getting your first few paying clients, stopping working hourly and creating leveraged programs instead, and finally having the confidence to tell people what you’re doing in your business.

It’s something you might want to consider doing with your own programs to market them.

Note: Case studies like this are so much more powerful than testimonials because they tell a story. Also, I find that Rebecca’s conversational style in these has them land as more real and authentic that something that’s very well produced. The approach is free (just get on Skype and record it) and down to Earth. Testimonials carry 10% of the impact of these.

Another excellent example of this was done by Verge Permaculture who, instead of making a promo video about themselves made a bunch about the grads of their programs. You can watch them here.

2) Let People Spread Out Their Payments. Rebecca just opened up the possibility of a six-pay, meaning you will be able to pay for the program over six installments rather than all at once. You can take advantage of that here.

So many people don’t offer this up to their people and yet, by offering it, you can get a much stronger response. Try it in the next launch of a program you run – give people the opportunity to pay in terms and you may find that you get a lot more sales than you might have.

3) Provide Pink Spoon Content: You can learn more about Rebecca and her take on things in a blog post I just wrote entitled Eight Business Building Thoughts from Rebecca Tracey. This blog post is full of smaller pieces of content that Rebecca has been releasing throughout the launch as a way for people to get to know her without a huge time investment. This is a solid idea.

Another example of this was created on the fly last month, when I recorded a 12-minute walk-and-talk video with Rebecca while I was visiting in Toronto. Click on the image below to see it. It’s entitled “Summer Tour: Day Two – A Late Night Walk With Rebecca Tracey of TheUncagedife.com”

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If people have never heard about you before, it’s foolish to expect them to sign up for your program and spend hundreds of dollars with you. Safety is vital in marketing. The more ways you can give for people to safely check you out from a distance the better.

Of course, there are many ways to be strategic about this. Danny Iny has some brilliant ideas about this that you can watch in the video below.

*

If you’ve been struggling to get yourself out of the gates in your business, Becca’s Uncage Your Business program closes on Friday. You can learn more about it at the link below:

theuncagedlife.com/uncageyourbusiness/ref/22 

Note: The link above for her program is an affiliate link. That means that, if you click on it and then sign up, I will get some money for that. It’s a part of what helps sustain my business and allows me to keep offering my live workshops on a pay-what-you-can basis at this point. I’m grateful for it. And I know the uneasy feelings that people have about affiliate deals. If you’d like to learn more about my approach to affiliate deals, you can read that here.

If you click on the link below, it won’t be tracked and I’ll receive no money if you sign up. Either way is fine. I hope you’ll check it out regardless.

theuncagedlife.com/uncageyourbusiness

Eight Business Building Thoughts from Rebecca Tracey

Rebecca_9202_Cropped_SmallRebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life (pictured right) is one of my dearest colleagues. She’s produced solid, reliable content with an attitude and personality that is unique to her.

She’s getting ready to launch her program Uncage Your Business in a few days and I wanted to do the best possible job at introducing her and her content.

So here are eight, big business-building thoughts from her.

The first six are quick, straight-to-the-bottom-line blog posts (I’ve included some teaser text for each of them but you can click on the links to read more).

The last two are videos that require (and are worth) an email opt-in.

Thought #1: Don’t Make A Website for Your Business Until Your Read This

“Unless your business is super solid and you are crystal clear on what you do, who you work with, and how you do it, any efforts to build a website or come up with a great logo are a massive waste of your time.”

Thought #2: 3 Reason You Need to Be Selling Packages

“If you’re a coach or any other kind of solopreneur who wants to be able to work online, you might have heard me bang on and on about how to create your packages for your business. But after chatting with some people in my free Facebook community, I realized that the idea of packages may be new to you, and not entirely clear.”

Thought #3: Why Choosing A Niche is So Hard (and how to make it easier)

“My take on niche is simple. Forget avatars. Forget ideal client. Forget age ranges and demographics. Focus on PROBLEMS.”

Thought #4: Your Message And Why It Matters

“The only way you will get clients is if they can understand what you do and see that it’s something they need. If you can’t describe it or get all wordy and stay with the higher level stuff, no one will get it and their eyes will gloss over and they will head for the drink table before you even finish your 5 min rambling elevator pitch.”

Thought #5: The Best Way to Get More Clients Quickly

“I’m all about the slow build and taking the time to build something solid and sustainable – but I’m also all about paying your rent and being able to eat and stuff. So here’s what I recommend for getting clients right NOW in your business, while you work on the more sustainable methods in the meantime.”

Thought #6: 3 Ways to Sell More

“We have all seen it (and let’s be honest, we’re all sick of it). The vague, wishy washy, “sounds nice but I’d never buy it” kind of offers. The ones promising you authenticity, your best life and business, that promise to help you thrive, or raise your vibration, or find vitality, or claiming they will help you leap over the hurdles in your business (and life!), help give you energy for new possibilities. And so on. Hell, you might even be sick of your OWN packages and descriptions of your services (you wouldn’t be the only person reading this who feels that way). And being sick of your own work is NOT good for business. So how to we clear away all the clutter and actually create packages that offer results, and then sell those packages in a way that actually speaks to people?”

Thought #7 (12-min video): Why you’re not making any money in your business

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Thought #8 (20 min video): How I Grew My Business Quickly

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If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out her Uncage Your Business program.

How Do I Fill Up My Weekend Workshop or Retreat Last Minute? 21 Practical Ideas

Greetings!

This post has been turned into a much expanded new eBook called The Art of the Full House which you can check out at the link below:

The Art of the Full House

 

Protected: Case Study: Making The Offer

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Chat Transcript: Asking People to Come to Your Workshops

invitation_envelopeA few weeks ago, I was trying to fill up a marketing workshop I was hosting in Edmonton with my colleague Mark Silver.

Numbers were lower than I wanted and so, instead of just relying on the facebook event, email lists and such, I decided to do some personal outreach to key people I thought might want to come. Honestly, I tend to avoid this because it can take so much time. If I can fill a workshop by sending out a few emails, I’d rather do that. But, in this case, it wasn’t happening. One of the people I messaged on facebook was someone we’ll call Jane Doe. I wanted to share the conversation we had (irrelevant bits deleted) because I thought it was telling. It shows how a very direct approach to marketing and sales can actually feel really good.

Sometimes an old fashioned, personal invitation goes a long way.

Tad: Jane, can you come to this? i think you might dig it and I would personally love it if you were there. not 100% sure its a fit for your situation but i think it might be. https://marketingforhippies.com/mrx/ – The Mr. X Experience a one time only, three part experience for conscious entrepreneurs serious about growing their businesses Hey there, On Sept 23-24th, 2014 in Edmonton, I will be hosting the most unusual marketing workshop I’ve ever hosted. And, before you decide if you want to come, I’m go…

Jane: you might be right…i will have a look

Tad: coooool

Jane: it’s s tuesday-wednesday thing? I’m just checking to see if i can get someone else to get my kid to footballtues-wed are practice days

Tad: Mr. X is Mark Silver. Have you heard of him?

Jane: no but even his name feels good and i feel good about you, Tad. one of my friends took one of your marketing for hippies courses and really liked where you were coming from she said you were very real and it was a great workshop

Tad: so glad check out his site! i think you’d love him so much

Jane: thanks Tad, I’m going to recommend this to my co-workers one of them is just starting her business so its perfect timing

Tad: thanks so much!

Jane: k. i signed up. thanks for the heads up. see. this is what i like about you…you can send a message selling something…and it doesn’t feel like pressure…it feels like you are doing mefavourvor…thats how i want my marketing to feel

Tad: I’m glad it felt good. and so happy you can make it. is there anyone else you can think of who should be there? i feel like i’ve invited all of the usual suspects but i know there are scenes within scenes i know nothing about.

Jane: i will spread the word to ppl i know will be interested

Tad: thank you so much! huge help. oh boy. so excited. it’s mark and my first time meeting in person. so many skypes. and now i get to introduce him to my community who i love so much.

Jane: by the sounds of it…the community loves you back

Tad: #mutualadmirationsociety

Jane: :-)

Guest Post: What Your Business Isn’t Telling You – The Eightfold Path of Tracking

by Tim Emerson of KwanYinHealing.com

gI_135471_tim-emersonA few months back, Tad asked me, along with other Niching for Hippies alumni, for feedback on “The Niching Spiral,” and what other suggestions we might have.

I shared that I liked the spiral imagery. 

In my experience at least, a niche isn’t a one time decision, but rather, a process of continually self-discovery and how that relates to your Big Circle (assuming you’ve given up trying to help absolutely everyone as an unworkable fantasy). Part of this journey is uncovering who shows up—for Tad, this was holistic practitioners in his workshops and then, later, permaculture practitioners;  for me, it was recognizing that alternative/socially-conscious entrepreneurs were my primary clients, even though I’m not a business coach (and don’t want to be).  Part of this was trying things to see how they worked—my early “Healing for Healers” program was met with great enthusiasm . . . and little investment.  It’s why we “date” niches instead of asking them to marry us immediately.   Some relationship we repair and heal.  Some we end, moving on.

Along these lines, I suggested Tad include tracking as a niching tool.  Tad is always curious and searchingly pointed about new ideas, and after an interesting conversation, asked me to share.   So here I am, but beyond niching, I’m here to make this key point:


If you aren’t tracking, you don’t know your own business. 

 

And this is true of even the smallest businesses, the ones where of course you know. 

I get that this reads like a bold statement.  Let me share my experience. 

Kwan Yin Healing is a boutique business.   I work with spiritually-conscious people, open to the idea of energy healing, who are struggling with healing needs in a broad context, from physical pain to life path confusion, and who are ready to move forward on a comprehensive map to peace.   For me, that means programs that really delve into working together to successfully resolve problems.  And that means higher end offers with fewer clients than a high-volume/low-cost model.   So in my first few years in business, that added up to a few hundred clients from half a dozen countries.   Not too difficult to keep straight in my head, right?

Still . . . the tax man likes to see numbers, and prefers these numbers based on reality.   So, I sat down to list my clients, what they bought, who was coming back for additional programs, who was referring people, and what everybody spent (including the free sessions I gave away), just to see (since I had to do it to get an accurate income figure anyway).  And, I thought maybe I could see going into the future something helpful in regard to the 80/20 rule.   Just being proactive, I thought. 

What I learned is that I had been clueless.   And I wish I’d known what I learned months earlier.  It really would have helped. 

1) I had no idea who my real clients were.

Turns out, the 80/20 rule was a joke.  Try 95/5.  Yup—95% of my income (vs. my business time) came from just 5% of my clients.   Those 5% were also 100% of my referral sources.    Nearly 100% of my repeat business too. And incidentally, these 5% continually showed up on my free teleseminars, called in when I did radio interviews, participated in surveys and on social media.  

These people are my Tribe.   They like me.  They follow me.  They talk about me to friends.  But all my marketing and outreach efforts were geared to the 95% that was showing me little love.  No wonder building my business was so excruciatingly slow!

I kicked myself.  Then changed course immediately. 

2) I didn’t know what my real work was.

Very early in my business, I went after this idea that “some people get healing, some don’t.”  The standard “maybe they weren’t ready” wasn’t enough for me—it begs the question.  WHY aren’t they ready?  What would they need to get ready?  Why don’t they have it now?

Tracking brought the first answers.  I looked at the many rows of free sessions—and I didn’t mind doing those sessions, and had no high expectations they would lead anywhere.  But I noticed something interesting – these people weren’t getting the results other clients were getting.   I was intrigued by this because other clients were sometimes getting spectacular results from the first session—one client who had been seeing a chiropractor weekly for a year after an auto accident was told that he didn’t know why, but her C1 vertebrae had moved back into place, that her high blood pressure had dropped to normal, and she didn’t need to come anymore.   I noticed, though, that these first session successes were almost all from clients who had signed on for a longer commitment (working through other issues beyond physical symptoms). 

Another client found relief from his tortured back and from the nerve damage in his foot—and went on to deeper work, and had significant realizations about where he was in life and why.  Yet he never followed up and made changes . . . and after a time, the pain returned.   Meanwhile another client, who kept going to the chiropractor for tightness in his back that kept him from practicing martial arts, felt it tightening again on his way home after each visit, until we worked together and brought lasting relief.  

It was following through with each client’s commitment that I discovered the Four Pillars of healing:  Clarity, Connection, Coherence, and Change.  With all four, clients got results.  If one or more was missing, results suffered or vanished.    I never would have seen this (or would have taken much longer to uncover it) had I not been tracking.  These Four Pillars are now the cornerstone of all my work.

3) I got an unquestionable lesson on the quality of my systems.

If you’ve never read Sam Carpenter’s book, “Work the System,” you should. Systems are the difference between struggling and succeeding, between the feast or famine cycle and sustainability.  

Fortunately, evaluating my systems didn’t take long at all—my tracking experience revealed that I clearly didn’t have any.  I only thought I did. 

So how would I track my systems?  First I’d have to decide what I needed to measure, and then, I’d have to set up the systems for achieve those things reliably. 

In short, I realized just what a mess my business model really was.  And how to fix it.

4) I had no idea I was so fiscally irresponsible.

I’ve always held some criticism for those “bean counters” in organizations looking at the bottom line, those perceived as myopic, heartless, soul-less vision-killers.   And now I openly apologize to them, and recommend every organization run out and get some.

The second year, I had promised myself not to let tracking go so long again.  And—once again, found myself doing it the week before my accountant needed the information (see #3 regarding no systems—those systems were clearly going to need some system for accountability). 

Well, I knew my clients and their situations better now.  What I didn’t realize was how much money I had made.  I stared in amazement, and reran the figures, thinking I must have made a mistake.   Then I wondered—if I made that much, what did I do with it???

Then I ran expenses.  I knew I had spent more than I’d have liked, and had hung on too long with a campaign.   But when I had the figures in front of me, I wished I’d had them months earlier, because I would have pulled the plug 2/3 sooner than I did.   And there were a number of categories that totaled much more than I would have guessed.

Just as the bean counters warned – you can increase your profits just by paying attention to income and expenses.   I wish I had started doing this sooner.

5) I didn’t even know what I knew.

My most successful marketing to date has been teleseminars.  They always have generated new clients, and they’ve generated nearly all of my high end clients.  

I promoted these primarily through Facebook (a third of my email list found me there).  But Facebook keeps changing the rules of the game, and a series of these changes turned a lucrative strategy into a worthless one.  Now what?

Enter tracking.   My teleseminar strategy isn’t necessarily dead—only one part of it.  I have good data on how many people will sign up, how many of those will be on the call, how many of those will convert.  I can go back and add the missing data—how many people did I need to reach to get those sign ups.   Since the rest of this is solid, all that’s missing are new paths to the teleseminar sign-up.    The rest I already know—and know well—from tracking.

6) I didn’t know which were the weak links in my marketing.

Once I finally got the message that tracking was important, I started to pay attention to other things as well.  

A lot of activities and options sound cool, but are they helping the bottom line (See my new-found kinship with the bean counters?  I’m already learning the lingo)?

I have a press release package – do clients find me that way?  Do they click over from social media?  Do they click the links from guest blog posts?  

Not that the bottom line has to rule everything – but now I can make the choice.  Am I investing wisely in paid marketing?   What’s the return?  Are my activities worth the time and trouble (and if I just flat out enjoy them, that counts too)?  To what degree? 

Point is, I don’t have to guess.  I *know* what’s working and what’s not, and can move to deciding what to fix, what to adjust, and what to abandon.

7) I didn’t have any way to know how to make my business sustainable.

Without tracking, I had no way to plan.   That left me with no strategies for getting there.

But once I know here’s the financial goal, here’s how many clients that would take under different options, here’s what I have to do to meet that many clients, here’s how many people I need to engage to meet that many clients, here’s how I’ll need to do that, here’s what those activities would take in terms of planning and time, and suddenly, I have a calendar and business plan. 

Just like that.  And I can track it to see how it’s working.

8) I didn’t realize I was mistaken about my niche—or why. 

Tracking keeps me honest about who I think I help.  Because if I’m going to track this, I need something to track.

Remember my Big Circle?  I help spiritually-conscious people who are nonetheless struggling with life path or health.   They’ve taken the yoga and T’ai Chi classes, they mediate, they attend the right seminars, read the right books, eat the right granola – and yet things are coming together for them.  

Great!  So where do these people hang out?  And to address what particular need?

Hmmm…see the problem?  This is too vague to name—and hence track.  But I *can* start naming sub-sets within that Big Circle.  All of these are possible Little Circles, and potential niches, complete with people looking for that help, places to find them:

  • people who suffer chronic pain, are open to energy healing, and want to find relief 
  • small business owners who want to authentically walk with their divine selves in daily life
  • people making the transition from corporate jobs to more spiritual entrepreneurship
  • people working through emotional challenges—stress, overwhelm, trauma, divorce…
  • people in an awkward time in their lives, not really knowing what they want to do 
  • people looking to deepen their connection to and awareness of their spiritual selves 

Now, what’s trackable here?   Notice some of these are clearer than others.   And to find hubs, clarity will be essential.

The clearest of these is the first one – suffering chronic pain, looking for relief.  It’s simple, it’s straight-forward, it’s something people actually say about themselves and actually seek. 

So let’s test it (Wow!  Now I have an R&D department, all from tracking!).   

Do you (or someone you know) suffer from chronic pain?  How would you describe that pain, on a scale of 1-10, ten being unbearable, 1 being barely noticeable?  See how we’re going to track that progress?

If you’re open to the idea of energy healing, and are ready to find relief without medication, then visit to http://kwanyinhealing.com , drop me a note, and we’ll set up a free phone consult to discuss it.   In this consult, you’ll (1) gain clarity about your health and what’s possible for you, (2) identify key milestones and key obstacles to a pain-free life, and (3) leave the session feeling renewed, inspired, and re-energized.   

I’ll be tracking the results.

Tim Emerson
Kwan Yin Healing