Planning is a vitally important part of being a business owner. It’s a transformational approach to designing the business model that will save you time and energy and provide you with the clarity and focus that delivers the results you’re looking for.
A big claim, I know, so please allow me back that up with an explanation and an overview.
As a business owner or entrepreneur, one of the things that is likely to be top of mind for you is how to reach and engage with more of the clients you know you can help.
The people who will benefit from the transformation that you are able to create when you work with them.
It’s rare that I speak to a woman in business and she says “More clients? Heck no, I’m full to overflowing and the last thing I need is another customer!”.
Nice problem to have if you do find yourself in that position.
BUT, in a related problem, I do hear many women saying:
- I am so overworked
- I am exhausted
- It feels like I am push, push, pushing all the time
- There is so much to do and never enough time to do it all in
- People resist investing in themselves – it’s so hard to “convince” them too
- I’m tired of chasing clients, I wish they’d come to me more often….
We’ve all been there and often still go there. Being an entrepreneur in charge of our own destiny has many, many benefits (like asking the boss if you can have a day off, knowing she’ll say “sure!”).
And we know that being an entrepreneur also means there are certain times when we need to put in the extra hours to create, deliver or finalise something special.
And even this is usually completely fine because we love what we do and the impact and difference we get to make and that inspiration provides the motivation.
BUT (that’s a big but)
NOT if overwork and stress, reinventing the wheel and seriously over-delivering (as you may find yourself doing when your own self-worth is not fully fledged) has become the norm for you.
NOT if chasing, chasing, chasing clients, with that heavy feeling in the bottom of your stomach or the tightness in your chest because you are fearful of not generating the abundance you need.
If either of those scenarios has become the norm for you and you’ve moved past awareness and into accommodation and acceptance that this is “just the way it is”, then you need to know how to create a Progressive Engagement Plan for you and your business.
That’s PEP for short 🙂
A Progressive Engagement Plan is the series of interactions a potential client has with you as they progress from finding you to engaging with you to transforming into an actual client.
The 6 steps in a Progressive Engagement Plan
There are six steps and I use the acronym DEEEPER as that’s what it’s all about – put some PEP in your business to develop deeper client relationships that also PEP you up because you don’t work so darn hard on client attraction or service delivery!
So, what’s involved? I’ve laid it out below for you.
D is for DISCOVER
There are so many ways in which potential clients can discover you, but they basically fall into 4 key areas.
- Online – primarily through your website, landing pages and social media
- In-person – when you are networking or attending conferences and events or if someone has been lovely enough to refer you
- Virtual Events – Teleseminars, Webinars, Interviews, Telesummits
- Speaking – live “on stage” (my favourite!!)
You do not have to be across all of these! If you are trying too, that’s half of the reason why you might be so tired… and time poor. Start with one or two. One or two that really are joyful for you – what do you love to do? Write beautiful, compelling copy? Interview people? Create online communities? Hog a stage like me? 🙂
Whichever you choose, you then must be ready for the next step.
E is for ENGAGE
Your potential client likes you, really likes you! (paying homage to Sally Field here from her 1985 Oscars acceptance speech……) Make sure you have a next step in place – a valuable and useful opt-in, newsletter, challenge to join, video series to sign up for – something strong and positive and linked to the next logical step for them to take with you…
There is no need to reinvent the wheel here – you can create one fabulous thing and then offer it happily across the Discover activities you’ve chosen.
E is for EDUCATE (and often, enlighten)
There is a buying cycle which everyone experiences, sometimes short with low consideration (I’m thirsty, I want a drink – I’ll pop into a store and grab one) and often lengthy deliberation (weighing up the pros and cons of one car over another)
Your client has their own journey to take here as well, and you need to accompany them on that journey. So the Educate part of the PEP Plan involved sharing insights, resources and tools – blog posts, Podcasts, downloads, challenges, newsletters, Facebook Communities and the like, as they get to know you, what you stand for and the ways in which you can help then to address their TOMMPA (that’s Top of mind problem, pain or aspiration in my world).
Although you can connect with a Most Aligned Client who discovers and falls in love with you exactly when they’re at the Point of Purchase (or is referred to you at that point), I’ve found that a great many of my Next Chapter clients take a 12-month journey to enter my world.
So you will need to develop at least one “Marketing Megaphone” and 2-3 “Support Acts” to provide that education and enlightenment and build the know, like and trust factors.
E is for ELEVATE
This is the exciting step – the move from prospect to client! It’s really important that you have a relatively low investment, low-risk investment they can make with you that solves a significant TOMPPA (that’s top of mind problem, pain or aspiration). This investment exposes them to your brilliance, your solutions, your Proven Pathway (that’s the unique way you do what you do) but it typically:
- does not provide personal one on one access to you
- is a leveraged activity for you
and most often sits within the $95 – $995 price point – less than that magical $1K mark.
The key here is that it be LEVERAGED, exhaustion, over delivery and loads of one on one work is not the goal here. When you are clear on your unique Proven Pathway you are able to use it as the Foundation for products, programs and services at all levels.
An example here is my Business Alignment program.
And then you move to….
P is for PROGRESS
The turning point is when you invite a client to a Discovery Call – a wholehearted conversation to see if there is a good fit between you and them, their challenges and your solutions, their vision and your skills.
And if there is (and the likelihood at this stage is high, because they have already been through the Discover, Engage and Elevate steps with you).
And so this leads to
E is for EMBRACE
Your client makes the powerful decision to invest in and commit to their own transformation with a high level of investment and corresponding service intimacy with you. This is the realm of VIP Days, Small Group Programs and Masterminds and one on one Coaching and Mentoring, at investment levels that truly reflect your value.
Once your clients have this experience with you they are likely to become an advocate and referral partner for you, which is simply fabulous.
R is for RECOMMEND
This is when your client becomes an Ambassador for you and recommends you and your work to their friends and colleagues. And that is an absolutely delightful, joyful and humbling place to be.
Don’t be overwhelmed!
Yes, this approach does take time to create, but it will allow you to build a sustainable business, putting in place the components that you can repeat without cannibalising your energy AND it builds and reinforces your position in the marketplace as you have consistency and congruence in your messages and activity.