For creative professionals, talking about a sales funnel is like farting in polite company. How gauche, right?
So let's not talk about sales funnels. Let's talk about making sure that you have a Trust Magnet: an entry-level product or service that poses minimal financial risk to clients. Notice that I didn't use the word "cheap." We're talking about creating a low, or inexpensive, barrier for entry and giving people a taste of what it's like to work with you.
Trust is the true currency of business. Even if a faithful client referred your new prospect, you still need to build trust by empathizing with his or her problems and improvising a solution.
Let me share one scenario with you. I have a friend who is a financial planner. If his firm manages your assets, they take a 1% commission each year. If you want them to architect a financial plan for you and find management elsewhere, they charge $250/hour. Both of these figures represent a significant investment from the outset, and thus a very high barrier for entry.
I recommended that my friend "package" two hours of his time—$500—and brand it as a Bright Future session. In one of these sessions, he could audit a prospect's portfolio, discuss his or her financial goals, and make three to five recommendations for making those goals a reality, sooner rather than later.
A Bright Future session would serve as his Trust Magnet. He can show how easy he'll be to work with and subtly showcase his expertise. If he can facilitate one or two "I hadn't thought of that!" moments for his prospects, they'll be eager for him to manage their assets.
Entry-level products and services build trust. Trust builds your business.
My business, Bright Newt, offers several entry-level services:
- 25-minute Mastermind. Free. The client identifies one problem or challenge, and we spend 25 minutes figuring out how to move your business past it.
- Borrow My Brain. $250. The client sends me the one problem he or she wants to solve in advance, and we spend one hour on Skype or on the phone developing a practical, step-by-step plan for solving that problem.
- SEO Audit: $500. I will essentially run a diagnostic on a website, critique someone's SEO strategy, do some preliminary keyword research, and make recommendations.
- Minimum Engagement. $1500. I've written at length about this one. I spend ten hours designing repeatable systems for my client's bottlenecks or providing other services, including copywriting, SEO, social media management, marketing strategy, project management, creative services advocacy, and business development.
What are your big-ticket products and services? Do you typically sell these "cold," as in "without any prior relationship"? If not, a Trust Magnet can help your prospects drink the Kool-Aid and get in the habit of giving you money. After all, it's easier to sell to people who have already bought from you!
Package a few hours of your time and find a way to sell your services as a one-off "product."