How to build a sales process and close more deals with Leah Neaderthal

If you’re a coach, consultant or service provider of any kind, you may falsely believe that you have to accept a life of feast or famine. I mean, you never know when or if your next client will land on your doorstep, right? How can you possibly PLAN to reach your revenue number each quarter?

Easy. Create a sales process and build a sales pipeline for a consistent flow of new clients who pay you what you’re worth.


Today I’m interviewing sales coach Leah Neaderthal.  Leah is the founder of Smart Gets Paid and a business coach for women (but guys, you’ll want to tune in, too, if you want to close more deals).  I adore her so much, I can’t sand it.

Her signature course, SIGNED, teaches you how to build a repeatable sales process, get paid what they’re worth, negotiate better and close more deals (I’ve taken the course and it’s been a game-changer…more on how you can get a special discount below!)

Grab a pen and take notes. Seriously. That is, if you want to book more clients at higher rates. If you don’t, you can go binge watch Game of Thrones.

But…if you want to build a healthy sales pipeline so you can stop worrying about revenue, have better sales conversations, and book more of the right clients (so you make more money. not do more work), please click below to watch the interview!

YouTube video

Highlights include:

* What holds people back in business, especially women (2:26)
* 2 reasons why talented, smart people struggle with making sales (6:22)
* Top myths holding you back from closing more deals and getting paid more (9:36)
* What is a sales process and why do you absolutely need one (12:30)
* Why you must “lead the client” because they don’t know how to buy from you (13:30)
* What she says to those who say they don’t “need” a sales process – so good! (15:55)
* How to manage your sales pipeline and why you need “pipeline coverage” (17:34)
* No active deals currently in your pipeline? Here’s where to start! (20:04)
* How to get paid what you’re worth and protect your price in the sales process (26:41)
* How value-based pricing creates a better client relationship (29:10)
* How to protect your price during tense negotiations  (31:40)
* The single best antidote to protecting your price (36:36)
* The 2 crucial tools you need to effectively manage your sales process (38:05)

Don’t fear sales. Not everyone is born being good at it, but it can be learned. As Leah says so well,

“If your work creates value and people can benefit from it, it’s your responsibility to share it” (TWEET THIS!)

Learn more about Leah on her websiteor connect with her on LinkedIn

PS: Want to learn more about SIGNED to close more deals with better clients?

Just contact me, and I’ll introduce you two. Leah doesn’t accept everyone into the course, so jump on a call with her to discuss your goals and see if it’s the right fit for you.  


After taking SIGNED, I used Leah’s techniques and templates to craft a strong proposal and boldly DOUBLE my engagement price by adding more value without adding more work. The client agreed without blinking an eye. Scouts honor. – Me!

Money is Not a Dirty Word

Please run, don’t walk and see the film Equity if you can. It’s on limited release, fresh off of Sundance Film Festival. The writer is a dear friend of a dear friend but that’s not why it’s a great movie. It’s a financial thriller billed as “the first female-driven Wall Street film.”

The movie opens on our successful investment banker heroine, speaking on a panel to ambitious young women. She’s asked, “What makes you get up in the morning?” Smiling, she says, “I think the simplest answer is, I like money.”

She goes on to say, ”I am so glad that it’s finally acceptable for women to talk about success.”


But whether you’re female or male, the point here is that you run a business. Ergo it needs to make money, or it’s just a hobby. Hobbies are totally awesome. Just stop calling them businesses.

And it’s acceptable to want to make a living doing what you love.

Passion and profit (or as I like to always say, cash flow and creativity, are not mutually exclusive (Tweet this!)

In almost 9 years (eek!) of consulting, I have seen too many brilliant and passionate entrepreneurs completely fall apart when the M-word comes up. They set their prices too low. They don’t know what metrics to track or how to set budgets. They lose money on projects, just to be nice and serve others. They have no idea what cash flow means.

Now, this is all from the gal who HATES numbers, ran up over $30K in credit card debt in my late 20’s and who pays big money every year to let my accountant worry about taxes because the IRS terrifies me.

But what I know as a brand strategist is that one of the most important brand decisions you can make is price. It creates a value impression,  defines who you will attract and symbolizes where you play in the market.

Money is not a dirty word! It enables you to do more good in the world and have more impact. 

Whether you’re a coach, consultant, boutique owner or massage therapist, pricing right is the key to financial success. But how do you decide? Where do you start? How do you know if you’ll meet your financial goals? What metrics should you care about?

Well, I’m so glad you asked….this topic is so important, I’m hosting a FREE teleseminar on November 16 with my good friend,  cash flow efficiency expert and business coach Debbie Page Whitlock.

How to Price Right + Conquer Cash Flow

A FREE teleseminar to help you with pricing, budgeting, cash flow…and all the other financial stuff you hate!

Wednesday November 16, 2016

11 am to Noon Pacific Time/2 to 3 pm Eastern Time


During this free (+ fun) jam session, you will finally discover:

  • Why brand success and pricing go hand-in-hand
  • How to set prices for your offerings to attract the right people
  • How to set realistic budgets and yearly financial goals
  • What are the Five Financial Factors you need to increase revenue and profit in your business. HINT: Focusing on small adjustments here can have a big impact!
  • How to understand cash flow and make it easy

Debbie is equally as feisty and tough-love as me, so you KNOW this is going to be a great training.

Register now and reserve your spot. Can’t wait to “see” you on the line!

Image Credit via Flickr

How to Spread the Word About Your Business

You open that coffee shop you’ve been dreaming about for ten years.

You start that consulting business based on your long, successful career in Corporate America.

You start writing that blog you’ve been told to start a thousand times.

But where is everybody?????!!! (cry-face emoji)

They are living their lives, that’s where they are!

We can talk about marketing, brand strategy, social media, blah, blah, blah all day long. In fact, we do quite a bit around here. But at the end of the day, what any entrepreneur, author, or artist really wants to know is:

How do I spread the word about my business, project or big idea?

Of course, that’s why marketing exists. You need a clear brand strategy that outlines who you target, what value you offer them and how you want to present yourself to the world. From there, you build a marketing plan to reach the right people with the right message at the right time.

But what can you do right now, today?

Here are six Macgyver-style tips to spread the word about what your business. Doesn’t mean you get to skip the strategy and planning part! Just some creative ideas to get your juices flowing:

  1. Start building your email list: Like, now, today. You can’t do all this awareness-building on your own. You need an army. Create an audience of raving fans who support you and share some goodies with them every now and then. Until you get your ongoing content marketing plan together, just START BUILDING THE TRIBE! Install a simple MailChimp, Constant Contact or other email platform widget on your website and start building that list. For now, just offer them a one-time incentive for signing up: a tip sheet, a discount coupon, a free eBook. Whatever you can quickly and easily create to stop delaying doing this important step! You can always change it later.
  2. Notify everyone you know about what you’re doing. Seriously. Everyone. Every friend, relative, past or present colleague, your Moms club, your poker buddies, your Facebook friends. EVE-RY-ONE. People know people. I’m always shocked when I find out friends of mine have published a book or started a business and they never bothered to tell me! If you’ve been going for a while, then send them a personalized, “Here’s what’s new in my world” email and let them know what’s going on. This may seem “Duh!” to you, but 90% of my clients completely miss this step. Oh, and while you’re at it, if they are the right customers for you, invite them to join your email list (#1) so they can stay in the loop on more goodies and events.
  3. Host a Party: Interpret this however you want, but live events are powerful things. Nothing fancy, nothing super expensive. Hold a holiday shopping party at your boutique and promote it in the local paper, or post flyers in coffee shops and community centers around town and by telling all your friends to tell their friends. Invite a group of ideal clients over to your office for a wine and cheese social with a discussion topic and a guest speaker. Partner up with a few other colleagues who do something complementary and host a free workshop. For example, if you’re a marketing consultant, invite a web designer, a copywriter and a stylist to hold a “Build the Perfect Image” seminar for new business owners. You all promote the event, you all get great leads and, yes, you start spreading the word.
  4. Network: You have to get out there. Sorry introverts!  You don’t have to join every group but find two or three that fit your style and attract the right audience for you. If you’re a life coach, find a business owners group or coaching mastermind in your area so people now about you. Networking with peer groups puts you in the mix to get referrals. But also join groups that attract your target buyer: clubs, meetups or professional associations. You can even search online on LinkedIn or Facebook and get into the conversations. Not just to push your stuff, but to connect and genuinely add value. Nothing spreads the word faster than building a personal reputation as a knowledgeable, generous resource! People will want to support you and know what you’re up to.
  5. Sponsor Community Events: Is there an appropriate local event that you can sponsor which aligns with your brand and attracts the right people you seek? A new coffee shop could sponsor the neighborhood fair. An online baby-clothing company and mom blog could sponsor a Moms Club event. A fitness coach could sponsor the city marathon. Make sure if you go this route, the event really and truly attracts your ideal customer or you’re just wasting your time and money. This is a great way to get the word out on a mass scale.
  6. Get Social: Social media is wonderful for getting your name out there, IF you use it correctly. If you’re just starting out, try picking one social network you enjoy using and building an audience base there. Post consistently. Don’t just “sell” but provide useful or interesting information. Interact with your fans and followers.

For all of these quick-hit tactics, you want to make sure you give people a reason to reach out to OTHER people to tell the world about you. Offer a coupon or incentive that rewards them and one that requires them to share it with a friend. If you’re a service business, create a referral program and give them 10% of whatever their contacts book with you. Hold a series of events or workshops that enable them to invite other people the next time.

If you’re a local brick and mortar business, you’ve got to pound the pavement a bit.  Post flyers. Make friends with local press and pitch them article ideas that relate to your business but are of interest to their readers.  Invite the community to your location in some way, shape or form. Hold creative events such as “Free Coffee for Police Day” or “Halloween Costume Party: Get 15% off if you dress up!” or “Mom’s Spa Day: $25 credit on any massage or facial.” And then make sure to promote those specials or events to the right groups of people via email, a personalized letter or even a phone call!

You can’t just build it and expect people to come. You’ve got to reach out and tell them about it! (Tweet this!)

Image credit via Flickr

Why (and How) to Trust Your Gut

Why (and How) to Trust Your Gut

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. 

So said William Bruce Cameron (or Albert Einstein, depending on your source)

Business owners and marketers count a lot these days: Twitter followers, site visits, conversion rates, email opens, CPM. All great data that leads to insight and action.

But not everything that counts can be counted. You need to learn how to listen to your intuition. (Tweet this!)

Now, I’m not getting all woo woo here. I’m talking about sound business sense. If you have any life experience whatsoever and you have expertise in your field, you can sometimes smell a rat or spot an opportunity without really knowing why.

Knowing is in your head. Knowing is facts, data and experience.

Intuition is your “Spidey Sense”. It’s knowing without really knowing WHY – it just IS.

And I submit to you that your intuition or “gut feel” is often based on the collective facts, data and experience you already have. But it expresses itself through your heart.

Of course, there will be business decisions you need to make based on solid facts. But my good friend, Andrea Rae coaches many entrepreneurs that listening to your body is just as important as logically thinking through tough decisions.

So where do you start?

Andrea teaches that the first step is to discern your Inner Yes and No.

You already do this: When you look at a restaurant menu, you peruse it and think about what you’d like to eat and usually go with what you ‘feel’ like having.

The way to listen to your intuition is by tuning into your body. “When we tune into the sensations in our bodies,” says Andrea, “we might notice a tightening in the chest or stomach, a contracted feeling indicating we really don’t like that choice, or that the choice is not resonating. Or we might get a calm, peaceful even excited feeling in the body when we think about that option. ”

When you’re faced with a decision, close your eyes and get into your heart space. Breathe. Shut off your monkey mind for a minute. Then, turn your decision into a “yes” or “no” question and tune into your body, taking notice of how your body reacts. Does you chest or stomach tighten or do your muscles constrict?  Or do you feel calm, lightness or excitement?

Some examples of how to apply this to your business:

  • Should I take on this client? If someone is unorganized, late, and high-maintenance from the very first interaction, how does that make you feel? My motto is that, unless there are extreme circumstances, most things finish as they start. Pay attention if your gut is telling you to let this one go.
  • Should I partner with this company? If a potential partnership keeps you awake at night, wondering if you’re getting “screwed” or you just don’t trust something in their voice and demeanor, pay attention. Your subconscious could be trying to remind you of a past similar that ended badly.
  • Should I do this? If you are constantly putting off a marketing or business task, such as blogging or networking, and the thought of it makes your stomach hurt, explore this resistance.  Yes, it could be because you’re outside of your comfort zone but look deeper. Will it actually move you toward your goals? Is it really that important? I find that if I keep putting something off, it’s for a reason. So I either face the challenge, take it off my to-do list or outsource it. At least you will move the ball forward!
  • Do I want to invest? If a sales pitch or webinar invitation makes you feel “icky,” pay attention to this reaction. I get this feeling when I see ads for “Secrets to a Six-Figure Business!” or “Manifest Your Ideal Clients NOW!” Is this really the right style and approach for you? Can you trust this person? Maybe someone else who comes at this from a different angle would serve you better.

Andrea shares 3 tips to get better at tuning in to your intuition:

  1. Spend some time in meditation, connecting to the heart, body and energetic boundaries, and practicing your yes and no response with simple questions to which you already know the answer. Focus on the body sensations. Observe, don’t think and analyze.
  1. Journal about the areas in your life where you honor your inner communication and where you do not. What are your blocks to listening to inner guidance? Download this free guided meditation. 
  1. Find time during the day to stop before automatically doing something. Stop and ask yourself if this is what you want to do. Notice the information that reveals itself. Ask yourself questions. Your body sensations will communicate simple yes and no answers if you just pay attention

Yes, gather all the data and information you can to make a good decision. But at the end of the day, you have to feel good about making that decision.

Image Credit via Flickr

Yes, You Can Ask!

09.13.16 Ask (blog)

Sitting in a coffee shop, I overheard two professional photographers comparing marketing notes.

They talked about pricing, contracts, packaging and how to create additional service offerings for new target markets. One seemed to be coaching the other based on his success, which was cool to see. It was lovely to see such mentoring and collaboration.

But this exchange stopped me in my eavesdropping tracks:

Him: You need to ask your past or current clients to refer business to you. This is how you generate word-of-mouth.

Her: Really? Just “ask them?” I thought word-of-mouth meant that you just do good work for people and hope they recommend you. I didn’t know I could ask them to refer me.

Him: If you deliver value for people, they will want to refer you! It’s your obligation to share the good work you do with people who need it.

“I didn’t know I could ask them to refer me.”

We are sometimes so afraid of the word “sales” that we deem any request for business as pushy, slimy or in-your-face.

Being “pushy” is an attitude, a tone of voice. It’s not the act of asking that’s pushy. It’s how you do it.

If you deliver honest work that gives great value to your clients or customers, then this guy is right: you have an obligation to ensure others who need what you’ve got can find you.

Don’t rest referral responsibility solely on the shoulders of your clients’ goodwill. We all mean well, but we get busy. We forget. We don’t post that stunning Yelp review or think about how your services might be perfect for a friend of ours.

Sometimes, you have to ask. Lovingly. Kindly. Confidently. (Tweet this!)

Here’s one way to ask a client for a referral at the end of an engagement:

“I’m so glad you’re happy with my work. It’s been great working with you, and I’m looking to help more clients just like you achieve results. If you have any friends or colleagues who could benefit from my work, could you please send them my way? If they end up becoming a client, I’d love to offer you a (discount/gift card/free session) as a thank you!”

One way to ask a colleague for a referral:

“Our services are really complementary and I noticed that those who work with you first get a lot more out of our work together . If you’re game, would you like to refer more clients my way (and vice versa) and perhaps we can do a 10% referral commission together?

One way to ask an existing customer for a referral:

“We love that you dig our style! We noticed you buy gifts and accessories from us every month and we wanted to say thank you. If you’d like to share the secrets of your gift-giving superpowers with friends or family, please send them our way with this code xxxxx. If they end up loving us as much as you do and spend $100 or more, we’ll reward you with 25% off your next purchase plus a free bonus gift. On us!

None of us can grow our business alone. Don’t be afraid to ask. Especially from those who already know the caliber of your work.

What will you do today to get your happy clients or customers to refer you? Book a 90-minute Brand Booster session with me and let’s figure out a gameplan!

Image via Flickr


How to Attract Quality Clients and Customers

08.09.16 Attract Quality (Blog)

How much time do you waste fielding inquiries from, preparing long proposals for, or haggling endlessly with people who will never buy from you? Or worse, people with whom it’s, quite frankly, a nightmare to work?

While you can create your ideal client personas and build your brand with intention, there is one extra step you can take to attract the right people into your orbit.

Define, articulate and share your unique philosophy.

What differentiates you is not just what you do, but how you do it. I wrote about this last week.

But, remember, while you get to choose your ideal customers and clients… your ideal fans also get to choose YOU. (Tweet This!)

So make it super easy for them to self-select and say, “Yes! I want to join your party!”

Publish your philosophy right on your website. Post it to a page, such as:

Need some examples and inspiration?

Here’s one we crafted with my amazing client, Renee Metty of With PAUSE.

Here’s another from a client, Karen Ross and her fabulous coaching firm Start With You

And an awe-inspiring one for my client, Souldust.

When you take a stand and say, “This is how I roll!” you invite people in to either join your tribe or say, “Meh, this is just not for me. Thanks.”

And that’s okay. Because you will never create a strong, connective and beloved brand if you try to please everyone.  The best, most successful brands such as Apple, Starbucks and Virgin don’t claim to be right for everyone, so why do you think that would work for you?

Take a stand. Be bold. Share your philosophy and approach.  It may not be right for some people, but wouldn’t you rather spend your precious time and energy engaging with more of the right people, more often? It’s not just an easier sales process, it’s just more fun!

Photo Credit via Flickr

4 Warm Ways to Welcome New Email Subscribers

4 Ways to Welcome Folks to Your Email Party

Last year, we threw a holiday party at our house. As with all my entertaining escapades, I bought too much food and stressed out right until the first guests arrived – and I had a drink in my hand.

While I’m no Martha Stewart, I wanted to delight my guests with a signature cocktail. My husband played around and came up with a gin gimlet with lime cordial, creating a lovely green concoction.

Being…well, me, I had to brand the evening’s special: We called it The Merry Grinch. **BONUS: Recipe below!

Our guests clapped with glee when they walked in and saw the drink “advertised” at the bar. They lit up. My husband spent most of the night filling orders.

Unexpected touches can delight and welcome your guests. Same holds true for your email list.

Your email subscribers have signed up for your party. Now it’s time to be a good host. (TWEET THIS!)

Right now, what do your subscribers get as soon as they sign up? A robotic auto-responder? Nothing? Yawn.

Just as a good host, you need to welcome people into your tribe. Delight them. Show them around. Tempt them with treats. Make them excited that they came and leave them wanting more.

Here are four ways to warmly welcome your email guests–and get them talking about you:

  1. Give them a gift: Offer a useful and entertaining free gift just for signing up, such as a tip sheet, eBook, video series, or worksheet. Or something “on brand” for your personality. A fitness trainer offers the ultimate workout playlist. A coffee shop offers a free scone with purchase. An online store offers free shipping and a perfume gift sample on your first order. A leadership coach offers a video on how to be a more commanding speaker.
  2. Personalize your auto-responder: These folks have raised their hands to hear from you and allowed you into your inbox. Don’t waste that mindshare! Personalize your auto-responder to further welcome them, or show off your brand personality. Act like you’re welcoming a friend over for dinner and remind then of what’s on the menu that they will love.
  3. Give them a short tour: A few days after they first sign up, schedule a follow-up message to welcome them (again) and show them around. Point them to three of your most popular blog posts, link them to your core offering, remind them to follow you on social media. They’re new around there, so don’t assume they know how to navigate your wonderful world.
  4. Ask them a question! Derek Halpern of Social Triggers shared this tip and I LOVE IT! You can engage a new subscriber and get valuable intel at the same time by asking one or two questions What would they like to see? What are they struggling with? If you’re a trainer, ask them if they have a big fitness goal or what they hate the most about exercising. If you’re a life coach, ask them what coaching style they prefer or if they’ve ever worked with one before.

When people subscribe to my list, they get an auto-responder with a free guide and are then invited to hit REPLY to answer two questions: What is your business and what one brand-building wish would you ask your Fairy Godmother to grant?

Of course not everyone responds, but those who do are super engaged and also give me great information that can add more value. Some folks have even tweeted about my auto-responders because they stand out.

Your email subscribers have signed up to come to your party. Pour the champagne, set out the chocolate-covered strawberries, and welcome them warmly so that you get not just new subscribers but engaged fans who will remember you and spread the word.

Oh, and enjoy the cocktail…..!

The Merry Grinch

2 shots gin

2 shots lime cordial

Couple of splashes of celery bitters

Shake over ice in cocktail shaker

Serve ii a martini glass

Optional: Add a cherry!

Image Credit via Flickr

Three Strategies for Dealing with Problem Clients or Customers

3 Strategies to Handle “Problem” Clients

My two-year old son is my heart, my joy and my life.

His can also be a pain in the butt.

A friend once said that dealing with toddlers is like dealing with drunk people. They can be the happiest, most joyful people one minute and turn into a nasty, crying, incoherent mess the next. Sounds about right.

I’ve seen some parallels between toddler behavior and challenging clients. And I realized that some of the coping strategies we use with my son are actually pretty good tips for working with a “problem child” client or customer. (TWEET THIS!)

Here are three reasons why challenging clients or customers can behave like toddlers – and what you can do about it. And, PS, these apply to both product and service businesses:

  1. They don’t respect boundaries – because boundaries were never set: My tussles with my son are often because he simply does not know where the line is. If you’ve never tried dive-bombing off the couch onto hardwood floor before, you would also be surprised if all of the sudden you ended up in Time Out. It’s my responsibility to set clear boundaries of what is and is not okay.

Same holds true with your clients or customers. They can’t read your mind.

What you can do:

  • Draft a clear contract that outlines exactly what you will deliver and what is not included. If a particular clause or section needs their attention (no refunds, payment plans, etc.) make them initial that section.
  • Set boundaries on when you are reachable and how to best get in touch with you (email, mobile phone, not on weekends, etc.)
  • Firmly but kindly say “no” when asked to do something out of scope, or better yet, refer them to someone who can help them.
  • Post simple-to-understand (and easy to find) policies on your website, in your store or on your sales page so there are no surprises.
  1. They make irrational demands: My toddler has requested, at one time or another, to run around with a sharp knife, play outside right before bedtime, or that I make him something and then, once made, he refuses to eat it. These demands are maddening. The tantrums that follow even more so.

Certain clients or customers ask for the sun, moon and stars, make wacky requests or behave irrationally, which could result in emotional meltdowns that would even impress my toddler (Yes, a client has yelled at me and my team before. He was not a client for long!)

What you can do:

  • Set clear boundaries upfront: See above.
  • Acknowledge the request: “I can see that your boss is demanding the work earlier than expected. You’re trying to see if we can move up the timeline we agreed to upfront and still include everything you asked for, correct?”
  • Empathize and mirror their concern. Only then will they be receptive to what you have to say next: “That’s a rough spot for you to be in! I can see why you’re so frustrated.”
  • Get to the root of the demand and offer an alternative, if you can. “Can you share what’s causing this issue and maybe we can find another solution?” Or, “We can try to deliver that to you ahead of time, but then your final deliverable will not include x, y and z. Are you okay with that?”
  • If there is no alternative other than an outright “No”, offer a referral or resource. “I really want you to get the help you need, and unfortunately, I don’t do that type of work. May I recommend so-and-so?”
  • These ideas work even if you have a product or retail business. Acknowledge, empathize, find alternate solutions or refer them out.
  1. They don’t listen: No matter how many times I ask him to not do something, my son sometimes never learns. “I’m telling you that if you put your hand on that pot you will burn yourself. NO TOUCH!” And he slowly stares me down as he stretches his hand toward the forbidden item, as if to say, “Are you watching?!”

Clients and customers always have the final say. It’s their money. But it can be hard, especially for services professionals, when some clients refuse to listen, things go sideways and then they might blame you. It’s sort of like talking to my two-year old: “I TOLD you not to touch the stove and you did it anyway!”

What you can do:

  • Back up your recommendations with data, a similar experience or a recent article.
  • Share both the upsides and downsides of all options to show you’ve considered everything.
  • Gently remind them they are paying you for your expertise, not to “yes” them to death (unless they are….?) or lead them to failure. It’s your responsibility to at least voice concerns by making a clear and professional case – but don’t harp on this if they continue to say no. In the end, it is their money and decision.
  • If they still won’t listen, document your recommendations in email or more formally. You can even say, “We are committed to helping you move forward, however, we’d like to officially document our concerns one last time.” Trust me on this.
  • If this is not a path you can morally, ethically or intellectually get behind, break ties. Do so gracefully by focusing on their needs and what would be the best value for them. Offer a refund only if that’s appropriate.

Now…..hang on……here’s your WHIPLASH moment:

Are YOU a “problem child” for someone else, or are you a good client or customer? Think about your web designer, copywriter or social media strategist. Hmmm…..well, um…yikes.

If you want to make sure you’re being a good client to your own vendors and consultants, here’s a FREE GUIDE I made for you: How to Play Nice with Consultants. Enjoy!

Image Credit via Flickr

Two Tips to Score More Corporate Clients

How-To-Get-More-Corporate-ClientsMany of my clients do amazing work for individuals. They are coaches, consultants, designers, or health and wellness professionals who have transformed the lives of those they serve.

But sometimes, they want bigger things.

They want to expand their client base to include corporate clients and get hired by organizations to do workshops, seminars or just be their go-to (fill in the blank) for the employees. Frankly, there’s just more money there!

But their brand has a problem: they are speaking the language of individuals and not understanding the way the corporate machine works.

See, I’ve been on the corporate side. For a long time. Vendors used to pitch me about their services and talents and I knew exactly what the world of the director or executive was like. I had to say “no” to people I would have loved to work with, simply because this was not a priority or I could not prove the value to the organization well enough.

It’s not enough to stick with the brand benefits you’ve been touting to individuals:

Reduce stress! Stay focused! Increase your self-esteem! Unlock your creativity!

When it comes to selling into large organizations of any kind, you have to bear these two important tips in mind:

  • In some cases, the buyer may not be your end client, which means selling them on what you can do to make them successful.
  • The buyer has to unlock corporate budget, which means tying your work back to corporate value.

The Buyer May Not Be The End Client

The buyer is often in charge of finding people like you, but may not be the person you will serve. For example, you might offer leadership coaching, but you’re being hired by the VP of Human Resources or Talent Development to serve their constituents.

This is important because the benefits you cite are not about the person you’re talking to, but what you can do for their “customers,” so to speak.

Who are they responsible for? What needs do they have to fill for those people?

It’s a subtle shift, but it’s about proving value to a third party. You are serving someone else, but the VP gets to make the decision. What are her goals? What are her success metrics?

Taking our leadership coach as an example: if Claire at Acme Company is responsible for employee retention, satisfaction and management capability, then chances are she needs you. She is responsible for employee success, performance, growth and succession planning. Claire is charged with grooming new leadership. Bingo! In addition to talking about what you bring to her employees, you need to make sure Claire understands how you will help her succeed in her job. Slightly tailored message that needs to be developed, but many of my clients have failed to think about Claire’s world before pitching their services.

The Buyer Must Unlock Corporate Budget

When selling to individuals, or even solopreneurs or start-up founders, they are making the ultimate decision and in many cases, using their own funds to do so.

Not so with corporate clients.

They are spending corporate budgets and need approval. Which means the client must justify how your work benefits the organization at large. It’s not enough to say how much happier, more creative, more mindful, more focused their employees will be from working with you.

You have to tie your work into benefitting the company’s growth or bottom line. (Tweet this!)

This just means taking an extra step or two with your messaging. What does all that great individual work buy the company? If you enable people to handle stress better, then the company can reduce sick days and burnout, which reduces costs and increases productivity. Can you cite any statistics or numbers? That would be insanely effective to convince the powers-that-be to loosen the purse strings.

Or maybe your work is about getting people to think more creativity or trust their intuition. How does this translate to a company benefit? Maybe you’ve seen it in action. Does it improve workplace relationships and foster better internal communications? Does it yield more innovation and employee satisfaction, which in turn helps the company not only stand out in the marketplace but attract the best talent?

Yes, many companies want to do right by their employees simply because it’s the right thing to do. They want them to be happier, to grow, to communicate more effectively, to be healthier. But the dark truth is that while the intentions are good, the bottom-line motives still exist: the expense has to benefit the company at large in some way, such as increasing revenue, lowering costs, decreasing turnover, or even attracting better talent.

The good news is that there are many simple ways to connect the dots when pitching such clients. You just have to remember the world your corporate clients live in and the challenges they face and adjust your message to be relevant.

Photo credit: Benjamin Child, Unsplash

Are YOU Your Ideal Customer?

ideal-customerLast week, I had the thrill of speaking on the world-record-breaking Authority Super Summit. It was 100+ speakers providing content-rich strategies for how to build an authority brand. People I adore such as Dorie Clark, Michelle Lederman and more were all a part of it.

One of the questions I got in my session was, “When creating our ideal client profiles, is it okay if one of them is based on me?” My short answer was yes, this usually happens with solopreneur businesses, as one often starts a business because of a need he or she may personally have.

But let me expand on this, now that we have time.

Yes, in creating your two to three ideal customer or client profiles, someone just like you could possibly be one of your segments. But be careful how you approach this.

If you sell something that is not necessarily something you yourself would use, then no, you would not be one of your segments. For example, let’s say you are a psychologist who specializes in domestic violence survivors. You yourself may not have experienced this and therefore, it would be dangerous to assume you know their wants and needs firsthand. Or let’s say you sell skateboarding gear to teens but you are in your 50’s. Not to say you couldn’t do this, of course, but I wouldn’t assume that your target audience’s needs, wants, pain points–and even sense of humor–would be identical to yours. Lastly, let’s say you are a female leadership coach and you specialize in helping alpha male C-level executives increase their emotional intelligence. Again, you can see why basing one of the segments completely on you would be a mistake.

With my own business, I target solopreneurs who crave more knowledge and confidence in their brand and marketing efforts. They may not be sure where to start or what to do next. But I do, which is why they come to me! From this standpoint, I can’t make assumptions that they know the same things I know. I have to take a step back and explain fundamentals and terminology.


Behaviorally, my ideal solopreneur client is indeed like me in many ways. We have the same ambitions, need to create impact, and drive to do something good in the world. We both balance work with making time for the joys in life. We might both like drinking red wine or watching Game of Thrones or even appreciate the same sense of humor. In those areas, I can base some of the profile on myself. And same holds true for my corporate segment ideal client, progressive marketing leaders in small to midsized growth companies who embrace what brand can do for their marketing effectiveness.

So my ideal clients are like me in some ways, but not in others. If they were too much like me in terms of their needs around my area of expertise, they potentially would not ever need my services.

It’s all about the blend. (TWEET THIS!)

I invite you to look at both where your ideal customers are different from you (where you can add the most value to them) and where they are the same (where you can create a brand voice and vibe to which they can relate). This blend of both is the sweet spot for attracting and delighting the right people, but more importantly, converting them to buyers and loyal fans.

Want to work with me on your ideal customer segments and exactly who you should be targeting? Let’s spend 90 minutes together in a Brand Booster Session to hash it out!