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Highlights from this episode include:

  • Why cleaning up your room before you take a picture to post on social media costs you customers (3:39)
  • A brilliant offer strategy that sets you apart from everyone else when you’re competing for business (6:52)
  • A rock-solid way to ensure that you won’t waste your time and effort swapping services with another vendor (7:28)
  • The secret to confidently charging higher prices and still outselling your competition (13:23)
  • What your clients are afraid to tell you they want from you (18:49)
  • The Starbucks secret to running a business that people can’t stop throwing money at (21:13)
Read Full Transcript

There's two types of people who hear consensual sales in the first go, Oh, Eww, Shawna, that is not what you want to say. There are better words to use and the second type here, consensual sales and say, you know what? You're right. I don't want to talk my way into the sale. I don't want to memorize a script. You just want to work with clients who are excited to work with you. Now that's consensual sales.

So I have a little story to tell you guys, and it happened about three years ago. So there was a message in my inbox from a girl or a lady. And she was saying, Hey, I have this idea and I want to run it past you. And it ended up turning into a potential collaboration like that was her idea. And I loved it and we ran with it. And over the last three years, we became fast friends. We've shared business, we've bought from each other and she's actually here today. We are on a three day work-cation in Alabama, hanging out, getting work done. And we thought, what the heck? We might as well have her on here. And we can talk about consensual sales and what it's done for her and how she's using it to run her business. Right, Melissa?

(01:07): I was so excited. I can't believe this. How, I mean, it's a crazy story. How I was in Ohio, we met online. Fonda was an Alabama. And then like, what a year? Maybe two years later I moved down here and now we're like two hours away. It's so crazy. Yeah. So those of you who don't know, we connected sort of remember what I've always said is that you can connect with people based on shared experiences, shared values and shared sense of humor. And Melissa and I kind of connected on those shared experiences. And you want basically all three, to be honest with you, but she ended up having like four kids in five years, right? Four kids in four years, sorry, four kids. You have to, this lady had four kids in four years. And I had five kids in seven years. So as young moms, having lots of kids running our own business, we connected almost instantly.

(01:56): And this is one of the consensual sales principles is that you're perpetually aware of people that you connect with, like who you resonate with, whose work you respect, who you like have this sort of mutual experience. And in turn what's going to happen is you're going to naturally build a relationship. That's real that even if they didn't buy, you would still be friends with them. And as luck would have it, you'd eventually we'd eventually end up in the same state, two hours away, two hours away from each other. I feel so lucky. So crazy. Just some, a real quick note is like, when I was looking for people to reach out to you and collaborate with, as a busy mom, I don't have time to sit there on Facebook messenger. And like, do I feel like everybody tells you to do is like make friends with everybody at everybody.

(02:42): Yeah. And like, I just don't have the time nor do I have the energy to put into that. And when I saw Shauna, I instantly connected because she was like posting these pictures of her with her kids. And they weren't like the polished pictures. You know, it was like things you can relate to laundry in the background, dirty dishes in the sink, diapers on the floor. And like that vulnerability instantly connected me to her. And I was like, I have to reach out to her. And we became fast friends because we could relate on that. There's something to be said about when I'm pursuing, like when I'm just passing through the internet and I'm looking for like people to connect with and expand my network. A lot of times what you find is you find lots of like, well, meaning people who are doing like nice things, but there's nothing to like connect with them on, like, they're not sticky.

(03:30): Like there's nothing or edgy for you to like, grasp onto. They're just like, Oh, that's nice. And then you have to move on because there's no like talking off point. So I think there's something to be said about making sure that when you are, I don't know, like being an active, like when you're being visible online, that you actually give something for people to like, hang on to and get sticky to about you. Does that make sense? Yeah. Yeah. You aren't afraid. What I love about you is you're not afraid to put out stuff that most people want to like hide. People want to pick up their room before they take a picture. And I love that though. And I think it's not just me that connected with you over that. Like I know that people love you for that. See, and this is the part of the consensual sales framework that is really important is that like, even if this person doesn't buy, like this is somebody that you like, that you appreciate, you know what I mean?

(04:26): And so that makes your message relevant in my inbox, right? So like, people will always want to talk about what's important to them. And so when you can come at it with like a relevant and specific message showing up in your DMS might be a form of a love language might actually be like super appreciated. Okay. So not about me. This is like about you and like the consensual sales framework and how you're using it. So yeah. Maybe explain what you do. Okay. That's good. Okay. So I'm Melissa. I own triple M studios and we do brand and website design. But when I started out, I was getting a lot of just regular graphic design work, like PowerPoint design stuff that I really wasn't excited about. And I was getting a lot of brand design work, which I'm bike, but I knew I had potential to be a website designer.

(05:22): I had a minor in website design and I really wanted those higher end clients. And I knew getting into the website design world was that higher ticket offer, but I had no work to show. I had no websites done. And so it was like, how can I get people to trust me and hire me when I have no work to show besides my own website. So what ended up happening was after Shauna and I became fast friends, she was actually looking to rebrand and get a new website done. I think your business had evolved and you were just ready to freshen it up. So what ended up happening was, I think you were looking at multiple designers at the time and I knew I could do good work if she just let me in and do it, I knew my work would speak for itself. And so I was like, okay, I need help with sales. You need a new website. This is what I would charge for a website. Like, could we swap services? And you do something for that amount for me. And I crossed my fingers. She said, yes, she thanked me.

(06:34): And I still can't believe she did that. You said, cause I actually call him. Megan is listening. I actually called Megan. And I was like, do you think I should do this? Megan now that's so crazy

(06:49): Services. And that was like my, my foot in the website door. Okay. So I did the best of my capabilities for Shauna. I did my best work so that it could become a portfolio piece. And in hopes that she would spread the word about my services to her friends. So there is something to say about that. Like a quick note is if you're swapping services with someone, make sure it's someone who's serious about their business and has some sort of network because when Shawna singing my praise, I know it's people that are in the same realm as her that are going to be needing a website. And she actually had an audience like it. Wasn't just someone out of nowhere. Who's just starting up and they're going to quit their business in six months. So Shawna became like my most valuable asset because I did the work for her.

(07:47): I had a website to shell and then she had this network of people that could appreciate the work that I did for her. And then it just like, it was exponential growth. More clients came in through Shauna and Megan, if you're listening, you are one of those people. And then Megan spreading the word now, and then people are coming through Megan and then those people are spreading the word. And so it's just, if you want to be doing something, but you don't have the work to show for it, or you're not doing the work yet, but you want to be, I think there's something to say about just doing the work to get the work. And then the more you do the work, the more your confidence grows. And when your confidence grows, sales becomes so much easier because you know, you can do the work.

(08:39): And so when someone asks how much a website is, I can tell them with confidence knowing I'm going to overdeliver. Yeah. Confidence is really just it's based in facts, right? Like it's looking at the data and in confidence saying like with this is what I can, you said something that was super interesting, which is a shoot. What did you say? Oh, this is sort of bothers me in sort of the world in the internet where people are like, Oh, you like, don't, you dare show up in my DMS and pick my brain. It's like, no, actually, if there are people out there who are going to be stepping stones to help me get closer to my clients, you absolutely bet I want to help you. Right. Even if it's in a small capacity, even if it's just like a little nugget, there's something to be said about, like, you can absolutely hustle your way to your next client.

(09:22): As long as there are people who are going to help progress you further to the thing, like the end goal, which in your case was the web design. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean like, honestly, clients come through people. The biggest way my business has grown is just like word of mouth. And so if you think about people and relationships are money. Yeah. And so if you treat them right, and if you actually care about them, then you know, it might not be growing overnight. Like if you're running a ton of Facebook ads, but it's substantial growth. And it's something that you can count on. I've been this program right now where I was reading through the threads and somebody wanted to tweak like their landing page. And they said, all right, like if you took the landing page changes one thing and then throw money at it in the Facebook.

(10:11): And I'm saying throw money at it. But it's like putting the money in the ads and then wait 30 days to see how it performs. So when we're talking about building and making money, digital marketing is so slow. Like so slow that if you, we kind of, I feel like we kind of crap on the referrals and organic marketing, but it's like, I can't think of a faster way to grow because once you get past one, two, three, four clients, it exponentially takes off. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I can confidently say that after, I guess it was like after a year like that, I worked with Shawna. So it had been a year. She had, you know, spread the word. I had maybe worked with a few more clients. I have gotten to the point where I hired a VA. I am hiring out more stuff because I keep getting all these clients in my inbox.

(11:02): And like there were years. I mean, I've been doing this for six years. There were years of me always hoping that if I open up my inbox, there's going to be a client or there's going to be an inquiry. And it would just be like dead. I was like, I had, you know, subscription emails and stuff like that. But every day I probably have an inquiry and that's not a lie. Like it might be a soft one, like not warm lead. And that I can point all of these clients that I don't even know now back to a small handful of people. And Sean was one of them. That's really awesome. Well, and a testimony to your work. Like if you need web design, like, hello, go to her website, go ahead and rattle it off. So anybody who's listening can hear. Yeah. You can find me at triple M studios, design.com.

(11:51): And the other thing is like, if it's your first website or like, obviously not all of you are website designers, but if it's your first time coaching or your first time being a doula or whatever, as long as you're qualified to be doing that work, you know, that's fine, but you, I don't really think you should be charging what everybody else is in your field for your first job, because you haven't gone through the process yet. And part of that 5k package that those people are charging is the experience they have of walking clients through that process and tweaking it and making it, you know, so there's no hiccups and it's just a wonderful client experience. And I didn't have that. I knew I could make a good website, but now that I've worked with so many people making websites, I can confidently keep increasing my price.

(12:44): And so you don't have to just like throw out a number that everybody's charging to match them. I think when you're getting your foot in the door, it's okay to just do good work and to speak to that. You don't also have to go from like $500 to $10,000. You can go 500 to 700 or like to seven 50, like you can start incrementally, like increasing your prices. So you feel, you can have like that stabilized confidence rather than like, Oh, who am I to charge $5,000 for a website? You know? Like you can increase it over time. Yeah. And that's exactly what I've done. I'm still increasing slowly. Cause you have to be confident in what you're charging or else sales is going to feel really hard. Yeah. There has to be some, some level where you can like, Oh yeah. Like, well, some integrity in your pricing where you can just constantly roll it off your tongue, like no big deal.

(13:37): And you got to find that sweet spot for yourself. Right. And I feel like when you're first starting out, if you're doing the project and you're like, man, I'm getting paid all this money and it, like, it's not taking me that much time at all. This is easy. I would say that there's a problem with your pricing because it needs to be fair for both parties. And I never feel like I'm stealing from my clients. And I think that that also is just like integrity that they can see and they spread my name even more. There's something that I've been thinking about recently, which is this idea that high ticket clients are like created. So everybody wants like high ticket clients, people who are going to pay the most and lots of money. Right? Like who doesn't want those big paydays, but I'm sort of thinking it's less about finding those people and more about creating them because now like when you helped me now I have money to like pay you.

(14:36): And like, this is how things work. Like you can actually create those high ticket clients if you're invested in their success. Yeah. And then like, I did the website for you and now I do monthly work for you. Right. Yeah. And I'm sure that's going to too, the more and more that you take these websites where you, they buy one thing and then they're like, Hey, by the way I need this, this and this and this. And then that becomes like even more valuable. Right? Exactly. And that's something that you taught me too, is like how to get those retainer clients so that you can have, cause like website design is a really nice chunk of change when you get a website, but having retainer clients for me and the season of life that I'm in with four small children, it's been really nice to see how like X amount of money is going to be coming in on the first of every month.

(15:26): And those retainer clients are typically the people I have made websites for. And so they turn into consistent income learning as a mom, with little kids while working as a designer, what am I not learning? I feel like I'm learning to lower my expectations of how I want my day to go and just being present with them in the moment and like not having work on my mind 24 seven, and then just kind of hunkering down after they go to bed and getting it done and knowing that it's just a season dynamic and it's not going to be like that forever. How do you feel be more present with your kids when work is like on the back of your radar, knowing that it's like, they're waiting for you to get the fulfillment part. So I think I've had to limit the amount of work that I have taken on.

(16:25): And I've also hired out more recently. Like I just hired a bookkeeper and adjusting what I'm doing and what other people can be doing. So that way it's like tinkering kind of with like, take what you can actually do. Yeah. Yeah. Cause that way it's like, like I hate keeping so much. And so if that's on the back of my mind, I'm probably going to be grumpy with my kids a little bit more than if I knew I just need to go sit down and do what I love, which is designing. And that's like, I get to look forward to it. What would you say to somebody who feels like their clients don't quite understand what they do? That's a good point question. Like they already have the client. Yeah. Like let's say they have somebody who is interested in their service and they feel like they have to make sure that their client understands what they do or they just might not fully grasp what they're capable of.

(17:18): I would encourage you to try to have that conversation before they're even your client. And when you're on the phone call with them, when they're asking questions about like your packages or whatever, if it's a frequently misunderstood thing, you need to add it into your process of like, maybe you tweak your website copy, or you have the details in your package or you just like, it's you go over on your phone call if it's like frequently happening. And another thing is like, you just have to make, I've learned this after each project is you have to make your boundaries clear from the beginning. And you, people are looking at you to lead the project. They don't want to lead the project. They hired you for a service and they want to be told what to do. They're paying you to do that. You almost have to like draw out every step for them.

(18:16): Even if you think it's like something you shouldn't have to explain, there's sort of this idea in sales where it's like, you need to manage the expectations because nobody is going to go through the door unless they know what's behind it. So when you are like step by step one, step ahead, like managing the expectations. That's how people feel safe. And when people feel safe, they trust you. They're happy. Like they're satisfied. It just creates a really great dynamic with your client. If you can just say, you know what? Like I know that you might be confused about this, but here's what I need you to know. I'm going to take really good care of this through a, B and C. Right? And like, if you can facilitate that conversation in that way, where it's, it's managing the expectations, it's, they're going to be happy to pay what you, you are charging.

(19:01): Yeah. They're paying for an experience too. Not just what you're delivering. But one thing that I always keep like in the front of my mind, cause I learned from you is just say the most honest thing that you can say. So like, if that's a frequent misunderstanding or like, they're just confused about what you do and that happens a lot. Or even if it just happened one time, like have that conversation before it happens again and be like, Hey, look, I don't know if you have this question, but this has happened in the past. And so this is just something I explain and then get it out of the way, you know, it doesn't have to be awkward. Yeah. Of the principle of like, just being honest, like that's just a good principle all around. So what's in store for your business. Like what are you looking forward to?

(19:50): This 2020 was like a year of growth for me. And I felt like there was a lot of growing pains. Cause I don't know what happened. I don't know if it was like everybody's stimulus checks or what, but it's just been consistent work to where I can't like keep up with my own business. Like, you know, there's so many things to do within your own business. And so I've hired out a lot. I'm going to be bringing on a junior designer. I didn't know that. That's cool. Yeah. I'm excited about that. I'm actually on this work vacation supposed to be doing training videos. Don't worry. Great. So there's been a lot of growth and I've had to really figure out my systems for that reason. Like I have so many clients who would like have questions or there would be hiccups in the project because I want to explain something well enough or I would didn't lay it out well enough for them. And so I've been really refining my customer experience. What do you mean when you say that they don't just pay you for the job? Like they're also paying you for the experience. It's kind of like why someone goes to Starbucks over like making a date away. You know why I didn't make that in our room.

(21:02): I spend $5 on it.

(21:04): Coffee cup. Yeah. Yeah. I mean you want to be treated well and not just like, as a number like at the doctor, you know? Yeah. You go to places that have good reviews that, you know, can give you a good experience. And I think it's the same thing. Even with a digital product, like a website, they want to be walk through the process with confidence, knowing that you're working hard for them and that you're going to deliver and not just take their money and then throw them a website. Like two months later, it's like relationship. There is a really great episode that we have here called like 15 ways to create value and on our discounting. And I think that if you're just obsessed with like, just getting paid and like delivering the goods and then being done with it, you're like losing money because then it just becomes about price.

(21:59): And you simply can't compete on price alone because if you go, they can do the website themselves for free. Right. So if you can focus on like creating other sort of avenues where they value this experience or that experience over that, it gives you like a leg up. So you're not competing on price. Yeah. I agree. What does consensual sales mean to you? I want to know how you would describe consensual sales to someone. Okay. Consensual sales is selling something to someone else that is so valuable to them and is exactly what they need. That they are happy to pay you for it. Perfect. I love it. Well, okay. Well let me ask you this. When was a time that you were happy that somebody sold you? Oh man, what's the last thing you bought? We were like, wow, I'm so glad I bought this.

(22:49): And I'm so glad they sold it to me. Okay. I fell for a Facebook ad. Not that long ago, like 27 bucks, but it's like, I haven't even looked at it yet, but it was like 365 days of stories that you can use in your social media. So you never have to think about what you're going to post again. And I hate posting on social media. Like I can never come up with something to say, and that was like $27. Someone already did all the work for me. It's all organized in a Trello board. I was like, yeah, I'll pay you $57 for that. Oh my gosh, you're laughing.

(23:33): Dribble money. I was like fifties,

(23:35): $7. Whoa. Are you going to say, but when someone makes it something easy for you or it takes the stress off of you, that is typically worth it. Yeah. I used this analogy before, but if I run around my house, I'm like, okay, I need to organize this drawer. I need to replace this cleaner. I need to clean this room. I need to organize this drawer. I need, I need these types of groceries. And it's like, we all have like this running list of shit to get done, even inside our business. And it's like, if somebody just came and made me like an offer or like negotiated with me on like the terms and the price, I would happily bought this stuff over. And that's all your ideal clients are thinking too, like they have so much stuff to get done or they got so much on their brain that they wish somebody would be invested in their success enough to say, Hey, let me take this off your plate.

(24:24): Let me not even think about having to post on stories. I'll exchange it to you for $27 and we'll call it win-win and it's like, yeah. So money really becomes a tool that connects to dreamers. I believe. Yeah. I mean, I just hired a bookkeeper too. And that's something that I've been doing for myself, you know, for the past six years and I can do it and I hate it and I put it off because I hate it. And then it gets messy and I hate it even more. And so I'm in this program called Jordan. Did they tell you to do that? No. She's in the program with me. Sweet and awesome. Wait, you do bookkeeping. I hate bookkeeping. And I had a call with her and she sold me and I am so happy that I don't have to do it anymore. I'm so glad that you said this because in digital marketing, this sort of referral-based networking, building community and relationships is so deemphasized because you can't track that.

(25:21): You can't say like, okay, like this person, I know I joined this program and six months later I met this person who referred me to this person and this like, you can't track sort of that relationship building, but what ends up happening is that's how people do business, right? So they are part of the small little communities or in your case, like this paid program where they're talking to each other, they're sharing their problems, they're sharing their dreams or say, they're sharing what's up in their life. And then all of a sudden they need something. And it's like, are you a part of those conversations where you have what they need? You know what I mean? Like, are you in those communities where they're talking and sharing information and you happen to just be the person that sells that thing. So it's not about like all this other stuff about like being the first person on a Google search.

(26:08): It's about, are you a part of the conversations where people are talking and need help? Yeah. And do people know what you do? Oh my gosh. I could talk about that forever. Yeah. Yeah. I don't want to go down that road, but not in this episode, but it's so true. Relationships breaks. Business business comes from relationships. And I connected with this lady, not only in the group that we're in, like the paid program we're in, but our faith too. And so like that goes back how we started this episode was you have to connect on something and you have to know what they do. Totally. Okay. How should we end this? Is there anything else you want to say? I don't think so. I did just want to add that. You know, like Melissa said, we met and we swap services, but over time we've become each other's paying clients.

(27:01): And it has been, I feel like the luckiest lady in the world to have you as like a graphic, my graphic designer, like building my brand and doing my images from all the little projects from the PowerPoints that you hate to the social media gravitate to my website, revisions. Like I want you to know how much I appreciate you and those of you listening to it. If you need a designer, Melissa is a really great person for you to consider. And most of all, I didn't go ahead and rattle it off again, where we can find you online. You can find me@triplemstudiosdesign.com. Then I'm also on Instagram as triple N studios design. Awesome. Cool. Love you.

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