When I first started my business in 2018, I had no clue what it was going to be. I was mostly doing freelance design work, and had several contract design jobs through a staffing agency. I took whatever work I could get my hands on. And it paid off, in the traditional sense. I was making money.
But I wasn’t being challenged. I wasn’t growing my design skills. I wasn’t moving toward anything that felt purposeful or impactful.
And that’s when I decided to integrate coaching into my design business. I completed my coaching certification through JRNI in March of 2018, and I didn’t think I’d be a full-time coach, but I wanted to find a way to support and serve women who were also trying to build a thriving and purposeful business… designing corporate slide decks and white papers didn’t feel like *that thing*.
But if I was going to sell design solutions to women running their own businesses, I couldn’t wait for them to come to me and tell me what they wanted.
Women in the start-up and growth phases of their businesses are looking for someone to tell them what they need. Someone to guide them toward the next step in their journey. And sometimes, that requires letting go of some habits, behaviors and beliefs that no longer serve them.
And so, I married design and coaching in my creative business.
Now... how the hell was I going to get new clients?
In order to attract the right people, I needed to refine my offer from “anything you need designed, I’ll do it” to something much more niched and focused. Many people spend weeks or even months getting the details of their offer into something concrete. I did it in just a couple days. I was so excited to pivot my business into something more heart-centered and I couldn’t wait to help empower women with the tools they needed to succeed in their own soul-centric businesses.
I decided to offer two solutions only: Branding and Websites. Because of the varied levels at which my ideal clients would be with regard to the maturity and success of their business, as well as their financial resources to invest in design help, I divided each of these solutions into three tiers. And boom, those were my offers.
Now, instead of getting on a call with someone who already had a picture of what they wanted in their head (and a price tag to boot), I was simply listening to what they wanted help with and then explaining what I offered. We simply decided together if it was a fit.
Here’s what my old sales calls looked like:
- Make small talk for a few minutes and wait for the prospect to tell me what kind of project they wanted help with.
- No matter what it was, even if I had no interest in the work (or working with this person), I would explain how I could do it.
- Prospect would ask for a price. I’d sometimes give it, other times I’d say I’d follow up with an estimate/proposal after the call. If they mentioned a budget and it was too low, I’d often still go through with the proposal.
- The call would end with me thanking them for considering me and that I’d follow up with the proposal via email.
- Often I’d never hear back from them. Sometimes I would, and they’d negotiate a rate that was lower than what I needed.
Here’s what my sales calls look like now:
- I open the call by asking a few things about them to make them feel comfortable and welcome.
- I set expectations for the call before we talk about business at all. This includes how the call is going to go and what they can expect by the end of our time together.
- I ask them to share with me what they’re struggling with, how they’re stuck, and what their ideal situation would be if they could fix it all.
- I determine if that situation is something my offer can help solve and if they are a person I want to work with (committed, coachable). If not, we end the call here.
- If my offer can help, then I tell them how much it costs to invest in this type of support, and exactly what’s included.
- I ask for a Yes or a No (which is totally okay!) before we get off the phone. If it’s a Yes, I take a deposit or an installment payment towards their project.
Which one would make you feel more confident as a business owner?
It is so much easier to sell a solution that is already well-planned, organized and clearly laid out for the prospective client than to agree to do whatever they ask of you just because you need the money. And, if that’s all you’re in it for, you’re not going to feel fulfilled at the end of the day.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with money—we live in a material world and therefore we require material resources to be safe and secure in this life—but it can’t be our only motivation for the work that we do, otherwise it loses its heart and soul. And let me tell you, people notice.
People will want to work with you if they feel that you truly care about them and you genuinely want to help them get from where they are now (stuck) to where they want to be instead.
4 Secrets for Selling More Authentically
Whatever your speciality, it’s totally possible to create 1 to 3 offers that are crystal clear and packed with a ton of added value. It will make your sales calls feel much lighter and more joyful, without any of the pressure!