Okay. Last time we talked about letting clients test-drive a new service at a discounted rate. And you read about how these Preview Clients can be a valuable resource, especially when you’re first starting out. Now that you’ve pulled your list together and sent out your email to invite your list to be part of your “Preview Client Program” your inbox must be bulging. YAY!
Who do you choose to take advantage of your generous offer? For this to work, you need the right number of the right people. So ya’ gotta have a plan…a system. And the cool thing is that once you do this to introduce one new service, you can repeat it again when you add more.
Here’s what happened…
I’d gotten my Interior Re-Design Certification and was ready to open my doors for business. (Interior Re-design is where you makeover or “re-design” a room using all the family’s existing furniture and accessories. The clients are gone during the day and then return for The Reveal – just like you see on HGTV.)
Without a client or a mailing list to my name, my mouth and my training were my only assets. And I needed to make some money without spending a fortune on marketing. So I asked a couple of friends if they knew anyone who wanted a “one-room makeover” for a discount. And if they liked what I did, would be willing to give me a testimonial and some referrals. (My thinking was that this easy, low-cost marketing idea might be a good way to start.)
I did the re-design, I also got before and after pictures and a glowing testimonial to post on my website. Plus I got three more referrals that turned into three more re-designs. And in one case, I ended up re-designing every room in the home. Not bad, huh? If you want to do this, here’s what you need know. Start your program with three Preview Clients. Before contacting them, know that you’ll be asking for three things in exchange for your discounted rate:
- their feedback,
- a testimonial, and
- referrals (the number is up to you but three would be the minimum to shoot for).
First, you want their feedback. Let them know that you’ll set up one or more 10 – 20 minute phone appointments during the time you’re working together. When the time comes, ask questions like these.
- What has been your favorite “aha” moment(s)?
- What didn’t you like about working with me and my new service?
- What’s working (and not working) in my services?
- How can I make what I do truly extraordinary?
- What would you tell your best friend about the way I work?
- What value I’ve brought to you?
- Was it worth the price I charged?
- How would you describe my services to a friend or colleague?
- If I were adding another service to my menu, what would help you the most?
- Looking at the big picture, what have you’ve gained the most by working with me?
These questions are to get you thinking. Add to this list so you can really understand how what you do speaks to and serves your clients best. Because here’s what happens next.
Their feedback may give you some surprising insights. Which can help you when you’re developing marketing materials and tweaking what you offer. Why? As business owners we often have tunnel vision. You might think that one thing really registers with someone, but once you get their feedback, it may be something else entirely. Bottom Line? Let your clients tell you what they want and then give it to them.
Second, you want their testimonial. Presuming they were satisfied with your work, you want them to share their experience with others to get the buzz going. Either ask them to write up a testimonial for you based on specific parameters (EX: How many hours a week has this service saved you in searching for “lost” things?). Or make up a questionnaire they complete where they answer questions based on their results and the experience they had working with you. Either approach needs to be results-oriented, include numbers and states clear benefits. You can also give them a template like this to use:
“After working with Susan, I gained (XX) hours a (week, month) that I was wasting before she got my office organized. I have more (efficient, productive, income-producing, etc.) space than I ever had before. Thanks Susan!”
“What I love about Susan is that she gives you the (confidence, tools, plan) to run my business more efficiently. Over the course of (XX) months, I was able to increase (my staff’s performance, output, production, etc.) so I can (work smarter, put my hands on anything I need whenever I need it, etc.) and have more time to spend with my family.”
Pro Tip: If it’s easier, ask them to record an audio testimonial or invite them to shoot a video testimonial. When you put these on your website it moves you up the list by increasing your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Third, you want referrals. Again, presuming they’re satisfied with your work, make it clear at the beginning that, in exchange for their referrals, you’re giving them a discounted referral rate. And then do yourself a favor. When selecting your three Preview Clients choose those who have a wide circle of friends and family that you believe to be a good fit for what you’re offering. After the work is completed, you could say something like this;
“As you know I’m just starting my business and asked if you would provide me some referrals if you liked my work. I really enjoyed working with you and am thrilled that you love what we did together. Can you think of three people in your circle that would be a good fit for what I offer? I’d really appreciate it!”
That’s all there is to it, so give it a try. You’ll fine-tune your services, keep your marketing budget in check, add great content to your website, generate new testimonials and referrals, and make more money! It worked for me. It will work for you.
One more thing…do you have experience working with Preview Clients test-driving one of your services? Can you tell me what happened? I want to read your story and learn about your favorite client-building strategies. So don’t forget to comment below.