A few years ago I was in a really bad way. Severe illness had decimated my health and career. A disastrous relationship had gutted me emotionally. My life had gone up in flames (literally, my ex set the house on fire). I was living in my mum’s box room, flat broke, in tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt, and utterly devoid of hope.
Starting my own business was a revelation for me. Working on my terms, to my timetable. I could focus on what I love (writing), earn a living, and still have time to work on my health.
Entrepreneurship was a gift from the gods, truly, but it wasn’t half a lot of work…
How I Escaped The Eternal Hamster Wheel…
For the first couple of years I did okay. I paid down my debt. Everything ticked over. But I was nowhere near the income level needed to bust me out of the rut in which I was myred. I craved independence, freedom, an escape from the eternal hamster wheel of marketing (not to mention my mother’s box room). I’d done all the courses, watched all the vlogs, read all the blogs; I’d devoured everything I could find on digital marketing but something wasn’t quite clicking.
It was kind of working.
I had clients, money was coming in, I was steadily raising my profile, it just wasn’t enough…
Enter Angie Taffs: The Woman Who Changed My Business (And Life)…
Hustling my butt off for a couple of years had one tangible benefit: I had a lot of friends and contacts in the entrepreneurial world. One of those was Angie. I was a member of her Facebook group, and had been following her for a while, so when a webinar she was running popped up in my newsfeed, I jumped right on it.
Little did I know…
Angie’s webinar was a revelation. She shared one fairly simple tip for managing clients and it transformed my business. I honestly wouldn’t have believed how powerful it was until it actually happened.
The premise is really simple: give people a free sample of what you can do; leave them craving more.
Not a freebie, or a download, a cheat sheet, or a blog/vlog, an actual sample of your paid products or services.
I baulked at this to begin with. Badly. I’m a copywriter. Offering a free sample of my work meant a lot of work for me. Writing a whole blog post, in fact. But Angie’s explanation made a great deal of sense, and while I was going great guns building my tribe, I was really struggling to convert them.
Educating them on the benefits of hiring a copywriter to produce regular, awesome content was easy enough. Getting them to take that final leap was considerably harder.
Hiring a freelancer is scary.
What if they’re a bad fit? What if they can’t really write? What if they take your money and don’t deliver? What if, what if, what if…
Allaying Their Fears And Showing My Chops…
Much as it made me flinch, I had faith. I began offering a free blog post. No strings, no catch. An actual, bonafide, free version of a service that would usually set you back (at that time) £25.
This did two things: allayed my tribe’s fears and concerns about making that final leap; and allowed me to really show my writing chops. It’s one thing to say you’re a great copywriter, it’s quite another to hand over a shining, polished, perfect example of exactly what you can do for a person’s business, complete with all the bells and whistles (in my case, royalty free images, memes, and a week’s worth of Tweets…yes, still for free!).
The Results Of Angie’s One Super Powerful Trick…
The response was phenomenal.
In marketing, a 2% conversion rate is reasonably good. 5% is good. 10% is epic. Anything above 10% is magical wildfire of supernatural origin.
The free post I instigated using Angie’s method has…wait for it… a 75% conversion rate.
Yes, it’s a lot of work writing them, but it’s so worth it!
Here’s How You (More Than) Double Your Income…
You want serious numbers? I analysed the conversions on my free blog post, here’s what I found…
- Three out of four people who sign up for a free post become paying clients.
- Of those clients, one in three spend an average of £35 on a one-off service.
- One in three spend an average of £300 on either a one off service bundle, or repeat business in lower-ticket items.
- One in three spend an average of £3,500 on monthly blog packages (and that’s just how much they had spent in December 2016 – most are still monthly clients, so that figure gets higher every month!).
- One in three of these new clients recommend me to a friend, who sign up for their own free post, or simply buy a service outright, to the tune of £500 a piece (again, on average, again, growing each month!).
- The financial reward I receive is over £1,000 per free blog post I write (including those that don’t convert) and growing monthly.
The Bottom Line…
Since I started running this offer, my business has thrived. I soon had a gaggle of clients. I put my prices up, expecting to lose a fair few. I didn’t lose any. I kept on hustling, and before the year was out I was debt free, and living in a house of my own. I invested more in the tech needed to action Angie’s epic system, and experienced another big boom in my income.
I had more clients than I could handle.
After rebranding and refocusing entirely on copywriting, I put my prices up again.
The free posts I offer are now worth £55 a piece, and they are still available for free to all new clients. I’ve not done the maths on the offer since the end of 2016, but I can tell you that my monthly income has more than doubled since then. Angie’s offer isn’t the only thing affecting that; I launched a new vlog in January that had a massive impact. But content marketing can only get you so far. It builds you tribe, it grows your list, but you still need that ineffable magic charm that converts your audience into paying clients.
That gives them the final shove.
Of all the coaches I’ve worked with, watched, read and listened to, Angie is the only one who showed me exactly how to do this. For that reason alone, I refer to her as The Woman Who Changed My Business.
But she didn’t just change my business, she also transformed my life.
If you want your business to be the mechanism that enables you to live a happy, fulfilling life of freedom, doing what you love best, this girl can show you how…
Thanks, Angie, you’re an absolute superstar!
Many thanks to Hazel Butler from The Write Copy Girl for this wonderful guest post. Having feedback like this fills me with joy and makes all my work worthwhile.
I do my best to support small independent traders, so just recently I made several purchases from members of my Facebook group along with a few from promotions I had seen in other groups, all of whom were small business owners.
I made a point of letting people know I had purchased in order to help boost their posts and help promote their business.
The response I got was quite varied.
The first lady I purchased off and left a comment for, saying how excited I was to have placed my order and was looking forward to receiving my goods, completely ignored my comment. Not even a like even though I had tagged her! However, a comment below mine got an instant response from someone who was obviously a friend as she said she would drop the order over when they went out for drinks later.
How did that make me feel?
Ignored (obviously) and that my purchase was insignificant and not of any value to her.
A few days later I received my product and that was that.
The second purchase that I left a comment for did manage to get a ‘like’ but no reply or further interaction with me.
How did this leave me feeling? That she wasn’t really bothered by my purchase either. Another example of how not to create raving fans for her business.
Again, product received but this time with a card asking me to rate the business on social media. Hmm! Now then. As I had been ignored previously, would I take time out to do this. Maybe, maybe not.
How to create raving fans
Now take a moment to compare this was another purchase further along the line.
Here I did exactly the same. Completed the purchase and left a comment on their promo post whilst tagging them so they couldn’t miss it.
The difference in the response I got here was so far removed from the first couple.
Hallelujah!! Someone cares!
I had a reply to my comment thanking me so much for my support and that she was as excited as I was about sending my purchase to me as I was in receiving it as she knew I would love it.
Between my order and my receipt of the same, the lady kept me fully updated via email. Again, I received an email thanking me for my order and with an expected dispatch date. I then received a lovely email saying how my order had just been lovingly wrapped and taken to the post office so would be with me soon.
When the order arrived, it was beautifully packed in tissue paper and tied with a piece of ribbon along with a business card that had a handwritten message on.
How did this purchase make me feel? It made me feel valued and warm and fuzzy inside that I had supported a small business that really appreciated my support.
Out of these three businesses, who do you think I will return to when I go to make future purchases? Which ones are creating raving fans and which ones aren’t? I’ll give you one guess.
The moral of the story here is that if you are going to promote your business on social media, then get social! If someone takes the time to make a purchase and flag up your business to try and support you, then at least have the courtesy to respond to them. It only takes a few seconds to say thank you.
Remember, it’s now what you say or what you do, it’s how you make people feel that matters and will determine if they return to you to buy from you again or not.
Does this resonate with you? Yes or no? Leave a comment and let me know below.
Stop selling and start to make more sales
Really? Yes, I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but trust me on this one.
As I tell all my clients, the sales process has changed over the years. People no longer want to be sold to. They want to gather information, get recommendations from people they trust, search for comparable solutions and take their time to make a decision on their final purchase.
The old style hard sell approach has little room in today’s environment.
If you want to make more sales and to turn a prospect into a client, you need to nurture a relationship rather than going for a kiss me quick sale. Take the time to build trust and gain respect that will get you remembered for when that person is ready to buy. Give them something for free to show them how good you are and get them to want to come back and buy.
Here is an example that happened just a short while ago.
I do as much as I can to help people and to give them tips and advice for free. I do this to build relationships and is a reason for setting up my Facebook group so that others can share their valuable advice to support each other.
Take time to build relationships
This builds trust and respect and many of my clients come from this group.
One day in the group, a lady asked for some help. It was outside of my expertise so I tagged someone else who I knew was an expert in this particular field. What this person did was jump straight in with a sales pitch. No offer of support or just a quick tip. Just sell, sell, sell.
The lady who asked the question was not looking to buy. She had merely asked a quick question. I then found someone else who I thought may have an answer and she promptly gave some valuable advice and was more than happy to help.
What transpired from this was twofold.
The person who went straight into sales mode didn’t do herself any favours at all. I spoke to the lady who asked the original question and she felt uncomfortable being sold to when she had merely asked for a quick bit of advice. Additionally, I personally shall never suggest anyone goes to this person for help in the future. I also suspect anyone else in the group who saw the conversation may be reluctant to turn to her also.
However, the second person who answered the question did so in such a manner and was so helpful that she gained a new client over the course of the next couple of weeks. The lady asking the question was so impressed with her willingness to help and the quality of the response she got, that whilst she was not initially looking to buy, she saw the value of working with this lady. She also decided to sign up to my membership club as she was confident that I could her source information even if I didn’t have the answers myself and again, was impressed at how I went out of my way to help her.
Create an environment in which people want to buy from you
So think about how you can change from trying to sell to creating an environment in which people want to buy from you. It’s not as hard as you think.
Think about how you can
- Help your prospects by sharing tips and advice
- Entertain them with real life stories and quotes so they get to know and like you.
- Educate them as to what they need to do to solve their pain point and why they need to do it
- Inspire them to them to buy from you by providing the solution to their problem
You may be surprised that when you stop selling you start to make more sales!
P.S. If you are not already in my Facebook group but would like to join for advice and to share tips of your own, hop over and join now
Make more sales with a smile
I am passionate about the importance of customer service and the huge difference this can make to small business success. So many local traders get this right but there are still so many that get it so horribly wrong.
This past weekend I went to a local food fair. The fair was packed and the producers, without exception, had some fabulous products on sale. I could easily have spent a small fortune and purchased something from each and every one of them.
But the difference in customer service was quite marked.
As I went around, there were the stall holders that smiled as I went by and exchanged pleasantries and light hearted banter without trying to hard sell me. There were those that offered a free tasting (always a winner in my book) but without making feel me feel as though I had to buy.
There was the fish man who was cooking up a great pan of mussels and as I walked by told me I looked cold so gave me a dish full to eat as I walked round and to keep my hand warm by holding the bowl. The mussels were gorgeous and after I had walked around the show I went back to him and bought some fish.
Customer service begins with a smile.
There was the lady selling home made Christmas puddings. She offered me a leaflet whilst engaging in general conversation about Christmas dinner. She then gave me a taster as I was leaving her stall. She made me feel welcome and that she was interested in me and so I went back and purchased from her.
Then there was the chap selling wine who seemed to be only giving tasters to his own family. Last year at the fair I purchased 2 cases of wine from him. This year, as he left me standing there feeling like an idiot, I purchased nothing from him.
There was the chocolatier, whose cake I desperately wanted to purchase. I was completely ignored the first time I went to the stall but gave him the benefit of the doubt and returned again. This time I had my husband by my side and we were discussing how much we liked the cake and wondered how much it cost, but we got both ignored again. I even went back a third time and found the man and his wife in conversation with another potential customer so my hopes were raised, but even though I stood there for a good 5 minutes, they made no effort to engage with me. They lost a sale!
I then went over to buy some cider (my husband lives on the stuff) but as soon as I saw the downcast face of the lady behind the stall I decided I ought to call the Samaritans to come and have a chat with her. She looked thoroughly fed up and even though I tried to start a conversation with her about the different ciders, there was nothing coming back my way. I left empty handed.
Sunday’s example reminded of when I was with a group of businesses who went to a local show in order to promote their products. Those that put a smile on their face and made a bit of effort did really well on the day. Those that stood back moaning among themselves and making no effort to go out and interact with the public failed to make the sales. They were all in the same tent. They all had the same exposure. But some left complaining bitterly that it was a waste of time and blaming everything and everyone but themselves. Others left with huge smiles on their faces and money in their pockets.
So if you are a small trader and want to make more sales with no extra expense or marketing, try smiling. Try talking to your customers as an individual person and take an interest in them. If possible, let them try a sample of your product rather than viewing them as scroungers. And if you know someone who gives exceptional customer service, let me know so I can give them a shout out.
Such a simple way to make more sales.