the brandstorm™ agency

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Stop giving away stupid free consultations, do this instead.

last updated on October 6, 2021

Sell your thinking, not your time.

Do you hate selling? I hate selling. It feels sleazy, dishonest, and needy.

Why do you feel like trash? Probably because you’re offering something that nobody asked for.

Let’s say you’re selling water on a hot day, yes, water.

A small family with kids is walking by. They’ve been out and about for the past hour and the father just realized that they ran out of water and kids are thirsty.

They see you. What do you do?

You sell them a damn bottle of water.

Why? Because you met the conditions & factors to make a ridiculously simple offer that the father simply couldn’t refuse.

It’s damn hot outside, he has thirsty children, and you sell bottles of water.

While the example is rudely reductionist, the principles stand.

The reason you’re feeling sleazy and dishonest, is because you don’t believe in what you’re selling, it’s probably not what the client wants, and you’re chasing after them (clingy much?).

Pitch proposals are time-consuming, unpredictable time wasters.

Pitching sucks. It’s stressful, and it feels disheartening when the client is watching you fight with other competitors to submit your proposal for them. All that energy in segmenting your services, justifying your pricing, and they go with someone else. All that work you put into it?

What happened?

They may have told you:

  • I only needed this;
  • I only needed that;
  • I didn’t need all of what you were selling.

That’s because when they’re looking at your pitch proposals, they’re only looking at price, because they told you and your competitors what they think they need, but really they’re saying what they want.

But when has the client ever known what they need? If they knew, they wouldn’t be asking for proposals and just know how to get it or do it, right?

Your job 80% of the time is to save the client from themselves. They think they know what they want, but really, they don’t know what they need.

Why? Because there’s a gulf of a gap in what the client thinks needs to happen and what you actually know needs to happen.

For you to be able to save them, you have to take the time to understand them.

“But Saïd, that’s the reason I’m offering a free consultation, so I can get to know their business better!!!”

No.

If you’ve defined your niche, like I’ve mentioned in my freebie pdf below, you wouldn’t have to understand their industry, you’d just have to understand their current situation. Otherwise, you’re having that sleazy sales conversation you hate having.

To understand that situation, you should only need ten minutes of their time. Use the automated scheduling tool Calendly to make it easier on them and book you on timeframes that best work for them.

calendly
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The Shoe-in Method, wtf is it?

  • You hold the client’s hand through the experience of how your skills & expertise can help them without giving away the secrets;
  • It’s a productized service that solves a laser-focused specific & immediate need that your client has;
  • Establishes you as the authority of why you’re the ONE to solve their problem;
  • Eliminates the need to submit a pitch proposal;
  • Removes the sleazy & dishonest feeling of having to sell yourself because it’s a stupid simple investment the client couldn’t say no to.

Do this well, and not only will they want to pay you to pitch your service, but they will want to hire you to implement the bigger underlying problem they’re having and price will be the least of their issues.

How do yo do it? To position your offer:

  1. You must name your version of the Shoe-in Method that is on-brand for you (i.e. mine’s called The Brandstorm);
  2. It must solve a direct & immediate need that your client has, which you know they have because you’ve studied their niche, and it can be done quickly. Again, the better you know your niche, the less time you need to learn about them, and more time to actually work on solving it (i.e. mine’s brand clarity for service professionals that want better-paying, no bs clients);
  3. It must provie an easy-to-understand actionable outline of what needs to happen for that specific client to succeed.

Why does it work?

People don’t necessarily want to learn your skills & expertise, they simply want to know that the work will be done, and their problems will be solved.

  1. You’re positioning the results: “Dear Mr/s client, I’m here to give you answers. I’ll be here to answer any questions you have and point out things you may have not considered.”
  2. It’s an audit of their business, as is: you’re not asking industry questions, you’re asking questions of where they’re at right now and trying to get closer to their pain points at that specific stage of their business. By uncovering those cracks in the statue, you can then start showing them where opportunities are (low-hanging fruit).
  3. You’re not selling a pitch proposal, you’re offering an actionable plan that is specific to their needs.

Now that you’ve know how and why charging for an actionable plan VS stressing over a bullet list of services in a meaningless pitch proposal makes more sense, what happens now.

Remember that the Shoe-in Method is just that, putting your foot in the door. Charge it accordingly, charge enough that makes it worth your time for having spent whatever time you would’ve spent in those stupid free consultations, but low enough that is a stupid simple decision for your client to see that it’s a no-brainer.

They have an actionable plan of what they know needs to happen for their business to get out of that rut. Here’s how to not look desperate for the work.

Let them know that they can take that game plan and:

  • Implement it themselves;
  • hire someone else to do it for them; OR,
  • keep the person that helped them uncover those quick wins to their pain points and then the more impactful changes to significantly improve their business.

Who do you think they’ll want to hire?😉

Will everyone buy your bigger offer? Nope.

Buuut, you now don’t waste time putting a pitch proposal together and offering free consultations to then be rejected.

At the very least, you got paid a bit of scratch for the value that you offered.

The main offer

Look at you, big baller. You stopped pitching for free and getting paid to warm up your leads for your main offer. How much should you charge for that premium fee you know you deserve?

Way ahead of you, playa.

The main offer pricing calculator

my mane zach galifianakis

I went ahead and created a free main offer pricing calculator for you to estimate just how much that should be. It’s not a rule book, but it should help you find your baseline and ball park estimate of what you need to start doing to get there.

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Saïd

Saïd

Brand Strategist

Heya, I’m Saïd and I won’t talk to you in the third-person.

I’m a small service business solopreneur. And here is where I write everything branding.

What’s more important to know about me than my writings on digital marketing, strategies & tactics, is my belief in storytelling as a way to create & grow more authentic brands that don’t just say what they are, they behave like it.

Learn more about me.

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I don’t mean to be forward, but thought that maybe we could take it to the next level and join me on the private Facebook Group where you get to learn and share from other service providers.