Monthly Archives: June 2010

3 Steps to Filling Your Pipeline with Eager Clients and Customers

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If your primary source of business revenue is selling services, there is no worse feeling than having an empty pipeline (especially when you’re completing projects with your current clients).

So how do you keep a full pipeline with eager clients and customers? Let me share 3 steps to get you started:

Step 1 — Know who your ideal client is. If you don’t know who you’re trying to put into your pipeline it’s going to be pretty hard to get them in there.

But this is deeper than just taking on anyone who waves a check in front of your face. If you want to fill your pipeline with clients who are EAGER to do business with you, you want to attract your IDEAL clients.

So what is your ideal client? Your ideal clients are the ones who you love to work with. They’re the ones who are a perfect fit for what you offer. They are NOT “women between the ages of 20 and 50 who are married with 2 children and trying to start a home-based business.” That’s a target market and that’s different from ideal client. Ideal clients are about an attitude, a shared vision or goal. An ideal client description would look more like this: “mothers who have been stay-at-home mothers but their children are now starting school and they’re ready to start working. But they don’t want a job, they want something they can do at home and have flexible hours so they can still put their kids first.”

See the difference in the description?

Now, you might be someone whose pipeline is empty and you REALLY need the cash flow, so while an ideal client is nice, you’d be happy with anyone who waves a check in front of your face.

First off, I get it. I’ve been there myself. However, as I know you know, taking on those less-than-ideal-clients while might be necessary for financial reasons, usually turn into a bigger headache than what you signed up for. I know you sometimes have to do this, but wouldn’t it be better to NOT have to? Start now focusing on attracting your ideal clients into your pipeline. Will a non-ideal client slip in from time to time? Of course. And if you so choose, you can take the on as a client. But start it off right by building that solid foundation first.

Step 2 — go where your ideal clients are. Now that you know who they are, it’s time to hang out where they’re hanging out. Don’t know where they are? Then go back to step 1 and do more digging. If you really know your ideal clients, you’ll know where to find them. Then you can focus your lead generating activities in the places where they are.

Step 3 — nurture your leads. Once you have your leads in the door, now it’s time to build a relationship with them. The best way to do this is through a consistent follow-up system, such as an ezine and/or direct mail piece. If you have a weekly ezine or something that goes out regularly to your leads, you don’t have to worry about remembering to contact them.

It takes AT LEAST 7-13 touches to turn a prospect into a client. In this “new economy” this number is even higher (I’ve found you need to be a little more aggressive to get the same level of sales as you would have a few years ago.) So if you have an easy and automatic way to stay in touch with your prospects, you’ll find building that relationship with your prospects that much simpler.

3 Simple Steps To Taking a Quantum Leap in Your Biz

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If you want to grow your business, there are 2 ways you can go about it.

Slow and fast.

Most people end up growing their business slowly. Now there’s nothing wrong with slow. It’s not easy to grow your business period, so even growing your business slowly is better than what a lot of entrepreneurs do.

So let’s talk about fast. Another way to view growing your business quickly is by taking a quantum leap, which basically means you leap frog ahead versus taking your growth one step at a time.

Taking a quantum leap means transforming your business quickly. It means going from $200,000 to a million in a year. It means seeing opportunities fly to you effortlessly.

So if you want a quantum leap, how do you get one? Here are 3 steps to get you started:

1. Think big. Taking a quantum leap isn’t going to work if you’re thinking small. So the first thing you need to do is make sure you’re thinking big. And, maybe even more than that, make sure you’re READY for your business to BECOME big. If you’re not comfortable or if there’s some blocks or obstacles around you growing your business to its fullest potential, you’ll never have a quantum leap.

2. Invest in yourself. There are different ways to invest in yourself. Do you need to build a team? Hire a consultant? Maybe you need to take time to go through a program or information product. Or you need to hire a coach or get into a coaching or mentorship program to move yourself ahead.

Money is a form of energy. And when you invest in a program or hiring a team, that could be the catalyst you need to move you forward in a big way. Because now you’ve put your money where your mouth is (so to speak). You’re taking yourself and your business seriously by investing in yourself.

So how do you know what you need to invest in? You know. You know right now what you need to invest in to grow your business. Whether or not you do it is another story.

3. Failures means you’re moving in the right direction. What?? I can hear you all saying. Here’s the thing. If you design your life and/or your business around never making a mistake, do you REALLY think you’re stepping outside your comfort zone? If you’re trying to never make mistakes, then there’s no possible way you can ever have a quantum leap. Quantum leaps require you to think differently than you have before, to try something you never have. And when you do that, you may end up having a failure or two (or ten) along the way.

Successful people don’t like failure anymore than you do. But they know if they don’t get out there in big way and try new things, they won’t be as successful overall, even though that means risking failure as well. It’s a choice they make because they know the payoff is worth it.

One way to deal with failure is to look beyond it. Focus on the end goal, where you want to end up. Then, when the failures happen, you’re not as concerned with them because you’re looking past them to the where you want to be.

But the biggest part of taking a quantum leap is just to do it. Take a deep breath and jump. And believe the net will appear.

How to get it all done

I’m writing to you from sunny San Diego (which is FINALLY sunny). First I was at Nancy Marmolejo’s I Heart My Biz event, then I walked the San Diego half marathon yesterday, recovering today and tomorrow then off to Lisa Sasevich’s Invisible Close Speak-to-Sell Bootcamp. (If any of you want to join me “virtually” I’ve arranged for you to get a backstage pass to Lisa’s event here: http://tinyurl.com/mejmxs )

Whew.

So while I don’t have time to give you a full article this week, I still wanted to share some tips I learned from Sandra Martini, Business Optimization Specialist, www.SandraMartini.com, about getting things done. (Seemed timely with everything I know I have going on and my guess is you have the same challenges.)

Sandy spoke at Nancy’s event, and she was the perfect Saturday morning speaker because it was about taking all the great ideas we got during the event and turning them into reality.

Below is a quick summary of what she spoke about so you too can start implementing her suggestions and getting more things done.

What Sandy recommends is to create a daily “action” list with no more than 7 items on it. (Yes, I know. Only 7. I’m having trouble with that one too.)

Create a new list every day and do the tasks in the order you write them down in. Lastly, accept the fact you may not get everything done. It’s okay. You’re an entrepreneur. You’re NEVER going to be done unless you’re dead or your business is dead.

This is why it’s crucial to prioritize what you need to be doing every day and only do what’s MOST important of all the important tasks on your list.

But what about the rest? Well, this is where delegating comes in. Start building a team, even if you can only afford a bookkeeper or one virtual assistant right now. You need to start outsourcing all those tasks that need to be done but you don’t need to be the one doing them.

You also need to learn how to say “no” to things that don’t fit YOUR goals. Be brutal. The more you can get things off your plate the faster your business is going to grow.

Once you have your list, get your calendar out and start scheduling for the week. Make sure you schedule EVERYTHING you REALLY want to get done. Put those “big” rocks in first (i.e. meetings, phone calls, blocks of time for working on a big project, etc.) then fill in the rest. And don’t forget about scheduling self-care time or you’ll end up falling apart, which isn’t going to help anyone (much less your business).

The next step? Actually doing it. I challenge all of you to take the next 5 or 10 minutes and plan out your day and your week RIGHT NOW. I know that’s what I’m going to do.