Archive for the ‘Articulating Your Value’ Category

TIP: You Aren’t Selling Services

TIP: You Aren't Selling Services

As an Administrative Consultant, you aren’t selling “services.”

You are offering one thing: a collaborative and ongoing administrative support relationship.

See? ONE thing.

It’s the relationship that is the product, not the services.

What administrative work is involved in that support relationship depends on your target market.

What you should be focusing your marketing message on is what that relationship looks like and how it improves the life and business of your clients and all that they stand to gain by working with you.

You Don’t Get Better Clients by Whining About YOUR Problems and YOUR Needs

You Don’t Get Better Clients by Whining About YOUR Problems and YOUR Needs

It’s all well and good to say we need to stand up as an industry to better educate clients, but guess what?

The marketplace doesn’t care about YOUR poor earning, YOUR burnout, how YOU have to scrape barely making a living.

To get better clients and command fees commensurate with the value you feel you provide, you have to show how this benefits THEM and talk about things in terms of THEIR interests, not yours.

You also can’t better educate clients and the marketplace by continuing to market like an employee trying to land a position, calling yourself an assistant and talking about how much cheaper than an employee you are, how much money they will save, and trying to bribe people into working with you with discounts and free work.

When that is the foundation of your marketing message, the very first thing you focus people on, you are continuing the same conversation that causes—and attracts—the very mindset you are trying to avoid.

It is entirely possible to fix all this AND have your needs and standards met.

How, you ask?

By having a conversation in your marketing message with your IDEAL client.

Your ideal client is not the cheapskate who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing (and wants everything for practically nothing).

Your ideal client isn’t looking for a cheap band-aid.

Your ideal client thinks long-term, big picture.

Your ideal client wants a partner and expert, not a flunky.

Your ideal client is seeking QUALITY and HIGH STANDARDS and views these as worthwhile investments that will return far more than is paid in mere dollars.

Point out and illustrate to your ideal client all the ways in which their business and life is improved, everything they GAIN,  by working with you (not what they save, not what they can cheap out on, not what you prostrate and discount yourself to do).

It’s My Birthday (and a Special Deal for you Today Only)

It's my birthday (and a special deal for you today only!)

It’s my birthday! I’m eating cake today and no one is going to stop me, lol.

In honor of my birthday, I have a special deal for you:

Today only, you can get my Build a Website that WORKS marketing guide for half off!

Just type this code into the discount field when you check out and you’ll get this guide for only $74.50: itsmybirthday

One of the biggest problems in our industry is a proliferation of websites all saying the same things. Here’s how this happens:

When someone is new in business, they have no idea where or how to start crafting their website and marketing message.

So what do they do?

They look around at everyone else in the industry, see what they are doing and saying, and just imitate that (or worse, straight up copy and plagiarize).

They think, “Oh, this is what everyone else in the industry is doing and saying. That must be what I’m supposed to be doing and saying on my website, too.”

And then that’s exactly what they do.

So this is a common practice, but it’s not a good one when it comes to putting together your website and crafting your marketing message in a way that gets you results–i.e., CLIENTS.

The problem with this is they are assuming the masses know something they don’t.

What they fail to realize is those people did exactly the same thing as they are doing now, without any more knowledge or understanding–or success.

It’s this crazy, self-perpetuating cycle of monkey-see, monkey-do with people copying people who aren’t doing any better than they are.

On top of that, all copying what everyone else in the industry is doing and saying does is make you and your business that much more invisible in the marketplace. You need to stand out, not blend in.

In fact, websites that all do and say the same thing is one of the top complaints I hear year after year from clients who contact me. It’s completely frustrating to them.

And when you don’t give prospective clients any reason to see you as different, they always resort to price-shopping. Because all you are to them then is another box on a shelf… a commodity (the kiss of death).

You have to keep in mind: you are not your ideal client. And our own industry is not your prospective client or target market. You can’t look at things through your eyes or the lens of our own industry.

So now you might be thinking, “Well, if I shouldn’t do that, what DO I do? How DO I figure out how to write my own marketing message in a way that differentiates me and resonates with those I’d like to be my clients?”

That is exactly what you get with my guide, Build a Website that WORKS!

You don’t even need to be a good writer (which is another myth people believe).

Not only do I share with you my own conversion system and exactly how to implement it on your own website in a way that is unique to you, I walk you step by step by step through the process of writing your own unique, compelling marketing message that speaks your target market’s language.

With my original patented, proprietary plug-n-play tool, your copy will practically write itself. There is no easier way to put together a website and craft your marketing message anywhere that I’ve seen.

So check out Build a Website that WORKS!, and if it’s for you, be sure to take advantage of this one day half-off offer. It’s gone tomorrow so act now.

(Have some cake today, too!)

You’re Not in Business to Be “Money-Saving”

You’re not in business to be “money-saving.”

You’re in business to make a positive difference in the lives and businesses of your clients.

And that costs money.

If you make your message all about being “money-saving,” if that’s the very first and foremost thing you’re talking about, that’s code for “cheap.”

And guess who that attracts? Cheap clients who don’t want to pay for anything.

If you make those people your clients, you will always be broke.

So, ask yourself. Are you in business to be cheap or are you in business to make a difference in the lives of your clients?

If it’s the latter, then focus on that message, NOT on discounts and savings and free this and that.

When you do that, you’ll get clients ready and willing to pay well because they aren’t there for the free or cheap buffet, they are there to have a difference made in their business.

Want Better Clients? Do These Two Things

Want Better Clients? Do These Two ThingsWant better clients? Raise your rates.

The worst clients, the ones who create the majority of the problems, are the loudest whiners and least appreciative, are the ones who pay the lowest rates.

When you raise your fees (or simply charge properly professional fees period, not cheap employee level wages), you will get a whole other (higher) caliber of clientele.

Want better clients? Stop calling yourself a virtual assistant.

Assistant is a term of employment. And people who think you are an assistant are the ones who expect the cheapest rates.

That’s because they do not see you as an independent professional in the expertise of administration. They see you as their little “virtual worker” and expect to pay you like one.

Continuing to call yourself a virtual assistant is like calling yourself a teapot. You have keep explaining that even though you call yourself one, you aren’t one.

How much sense does that make?

Why make your conversations and relationships more difficult than they need in the first place by calling yourself:

a) something that you aren’t (and as a business owner, you aren’t anyone’s assistant), and

b) that sets all the wrong perceptions, connotations and expectations that make it harder for you to get the respect you want and the professional level fees you need?

Here’s what else happens…

When you stop calling yourself an assistant, you also begin to stop thinking like one.

It’s the beginning of a huge mindset shift that occurs and you begin to start thinking more like a business owner, administrative expert and leader in your own business.

That shift in your own self-perception and identity is what also leads you down the path to better clients and higher earning.

You Are Not an Expense

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You are not an expense.

You are an investment.

An expense is money down the drain.

An investment is something that yields returns greater than the money spent.

And that’s exactly what administrative support yields for clients. It yields greater returns in the form of more time, more bandwidth and creative space, more energy, greater focus, less stress, faster progress, better business, smoother operations… the list goes on.

Stop talking about savings and discounts and free this and that, and start talking about what your clients GAIN from working with you!

Dear Danielle: Is Telling Clients How They Can Save a Good Thing?

Dear DanielleHello Danielle!

I have a question for you. I am working on starting my own bookkeeping business, and while I know you are focused on Admin Consulting, I trust and value your opinion. On a business website and other marketing materials, you say to not compare yourself to replacing an employee or saving clients money because that will attract the cheapos, but would you say the some thing for an independent bookkeeper? I can see it working both ways, but I don’t want to attract the wrong type of client. Business owners are concerned about the cost of a bookkeeper and many can’t afford one in house, so telling them how they can save by using an independent bookkeeper would be a good thing, right? Anywho, I wanted to run this by you and get you thoughts if you have a moment! Appreciate all your posts (blog/Facebook/etc). —Candace Moore

Hi Candace :)

I don’t normally spend time answering questions that don’t have to do with Administrative Consulting. I can’t, you know? I have my own business to run and other priorities, etc., so I have to keep my time and energy focused. And my interest, obviously, is the Administrative Consultanting profession.

But what appealed to me about your question was that you recognized that, and weren’t taking me or my time for granted. And I really appreciate that about you. So thank you.

In answer to your first question, yes, it’s still definitely true for ANY business. You are not a staffing agency or a temp agency and all those comparisons do is set wrong expectations and understandings. It actually MAKES clients think you are some kind of substitute employee.

And that’s not how you need clients to think of you when you are in business to provide a service, not staff their business.

My answer to your second question is NO, that’s not a good thing. You’re focusing on the wrong clients with the wrong message. People who can’t afford in-house support is their problem. You can’t make their poverty issues yours or work with broke, cheap-minded clients or you’ll keep your business impoverished as well.

Plus, it’s just the wrong angle to take that keeps them thinking in terms of expenses and costs, instead of properly investing in their growth and success. Which is what you are: an investment, not an expense.

You never want to use money as the bribe. That’s not the value, and if you focus them on costs/savings/discounts/freebies, that’s what they will ALWAYS be focused on. You can’t afford to be in business to be their cheaper substitute.

Be thinking of these things instead:

WHY do clients need bookkeeping services? What are all the reasons/pains/challenges that cause them to seek a competent bookkeeping service? How will their life and business be improved by working with you, a competent bookkeeping service? How does having that service positively impact their life, their business, their financial circumstances? How do you imagine that might make them feel?

The answers to these questions are what your value is, not the money or the savings. Speak to those things.

There’s No Such Thing as “General” Administrative Support

There’s no such thing as “general” administrative support.

Well, there is, but if you are only providing something “generally,” you deserve to be low-paid.

Administration is the backbone of every business in the world. Without proper, attentive administration, a business flounders and fails.

Administration, therefore, can only be provided—properly—when it is uniquely geared for that client’s unique business set-up, needs, challenges and goals.

And when that is the case, it is anything but “general.”

So stop using such a derogatory, devaluing word in reference to your administrative expertise and support. What you do makes all the difference in whether a client’s business succeeds or fails. There’s nothing general about that.

When you use the word “general,” you create a subtext that sabotages and contradicts your efforts in attracting well-paying clients who value your expertise.

What you are telling the world and your prospects, in between the lines, is that the support is “less than” and less important than other things they could be spending their money on.

So you are telling them to devalue it at the same time that you are trying to earn their business and be paid properly just by using the word “general” in reference to your administration and support.

Shift your thinking about what you do and it’s value in the world. What you do is vital, it’s important and it’s specific.

Administrative Support Is Not General

Don’t call administrative support “general.”

You are putting it in a very demeaning, unimportant light when you say that.

Administrative support is a very specific skill, expertise and sensibility, and is absolutely one of THE most important aspects involved in a well-run business.

Administration is the very backbone of every business. The administrative engine can either make or break a business.

Therefore, you must stop talking about administrative support in such derogatory ways.

If you don’t value and honor what you do, and view it and portray it in all its vital, integral relevance and importance to the success or failure of a business, prospective clients won’t either.

What you need to understand yourself is that administrative support is a specialization and category of business and service in and of itself.

There’s nothing general (or unimportant) about it.

So stop saying that! Get rid of the word “general” from your business and marketing vocabulary altogether.

You Value Is Not About Dollars and Cents

A few weeks ago, I was eating at a crowded place and two nice little ladies asked if they could share my table with me.

“Of course!” I said.

We started chatting and one of the ladies gave me her biz card. Her name sounded really familiar, but I couldn’t place where I knew her from.

She asked what I did and after learning that I worked with attorneys began telling me about a legal problem she was having.

I told her I had a client who helped with things of that nature and I slid over his name and email address.

She laughed and said, “Oh, I know him! He helped me before!!”

THAT’S where I knew her name from! And we had a chuckle over the fact that it’s such a small world.

I asked her if the attorney was able to help her with her previous issue and she said, “Oh, yes! He sent one letter and they never bothered me again.”

As she continued to talk, I could tell she still had a little bit of bad feeling about what she had to pay.

She must have realized she sounded like she was complaining, and she said, “Don’t get me wrong, I know they spend a lot of money on their education and they have to make that back…”

And this is what I said to her:

Oh, there’s nothing to feel bad about. I get it. Attorneys cost a lot. It hurts to part with that much money. And you are not responsible for paying their education. That’s their choice to decide to become a lawyer. What you’re paying for, rather, is the legal expertise, savvy and ability to find a solution for you and to help keep your legal problem from becoming a much more costly one. So that one letter that cost $500 actually ended up saving you thousands of dollars as well as the time and energy and anxiety of a much bigger legal issue.

She stared at me for a minute, processing what I’d said.

I could see the light bulb going off and she said, “Wow! You’re right! I never thought of it like that!”

Never think things are so obvious to everyone else, even if they are to you.

Your value isn’t in being “affordable” (code for CHEAP).

Your value is in the bigger issues you save your clients from, in the ease and convenience you provide, and the time you both save and give back to them.

It’s in the challenges, obstacles and roadblocks you help them overcome.

It’s in how you help them move forward, much faster than they could going it alone.

Focus your message on THOSE things, not on the dollars and pennies they don’t have to pay.