In an ever-evolving landscape of online coaching and consulting, it can be challenging for small business owners to master lead generation and sales growth. Between algorithm changes, iOS updates, privacy laws, and market shifts, its critical now more than ever to be open to innovation and elevation when it comes to your sales strategy.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at five small business sales tips that coaches, consultants, and online service providers can leverage to thrive in today’s market. These insights, grounded in the fundamentals of sales strategy, are designed to empower you to thrive in this dynamic industry.
Understanding The 4 P’s of Sales Strategy
Before we dive in, it’s important to understand the four key elements of sales and how they apply to coaches, consultants and service providers, who are also competing with hundreds (if not thousands) of others in their respective industry.
Product: As a service provider, your “product” encompasses your expertise, knowledge, and the unique solution you offer to your clients.
Whether it’s a group coaching program, an online course, or a high-touch 1:1 mentorship-style program, consider what your ideal clients are looking for in order to accomplish their goals.
Typically, premium buyers are willing to pay top dollar for a more exclusive, customized,
“white-glove” type of service (we’ll get into this when we talk pricing). That means it’s important to consider WHO you are trying to attract through your products and design an offer that is tailored to their wants and needs.
Price: Determining the right pricing structure requires careful consideration.
Pricing your program or service should take into account how much of your time and bandwidth will be required to deliver the services, the length of the engagement, and the level of support your program or service provides. Many times, service-providers end up under-charging – either because of a mindset block around pricing, or they are worried about losing potential customers because of a higher price point.
The reality is, pricing positions you in the market. Most of the competition in your space is likely pricing their services at an extremely low and affordable rate, thus attracting “price buyers” who care more about getting a deal versus getting serious transformation.
This is a huge advantage to you as a premium service provider, since the top tier of the market (i.e with the most disposable income) isn’t being marketed to nearly as often.
Consider pricing your offer based on the value you deliver, and in turn you will attract premium buyers who are serious and committed about their growth and transformation.
Additionally, offering tiered packages or subscription models can cater to different client preferences and budgets. Consider offering a “downsell” product for those who aren’t ready to invest in your program, or an ascension program for clients who get results with you and are ready to level up.
Promotion: Your online presence is critical to attracting qualified leads and building the know, like and trust factor. Using social media platforms to showcase your expertise, share valuable insights, and engage with your target audience is no longer an option – it’s a non-negotiable.
Content marketing, Live Launches, and consistent visibility opportunities can help establish your authority and attract potential clients.
When sharing content online, consider a mix of personal content that connects your audience to your brand and story, with promotional content that showcases how potential buyers can get in touch to learn more about your services, offers, or upcoming events.
Place: as an online business owner, think of the internet and social media as your virtual storefront. Your website should be user-friendly, content-rich, and clearly communicate your services, values, and showcase client wins and case studies. It should be easy to find and clear how potential customers can take the next step if interested in learning more.
Your social media should represent what you do, who you serve, and the kind of transformation you help clients get. If you don’t have a physical location, you want to make sure your online footprint does a good job showcasing what you’re capable of.
Now that you’ve got a clear understanding of the 4 P’s of sales strategy, let’s dive into five actionable small business sales tips that you can implement in your online coaching, consulting or service-based business.
Sales Tips for Small Businesses
1: Understand your target market and tailor your sales approach to them
When it comes to coaching and consulting, being able to sell comes from understanding and articulating the pain points of your ideal customer, and positioning your brand as the one and only solution.
Clearly define your target audience, their pain points, goals, and specific challenges preventing them from getting there.
Then, assess the gap in your industry and why they aren’t currently getting the solutions they want or need. Commit to filling that gap, clearly communicating it consistently over time to the market, and ensure your services address and solve these unique needs. In turn, you will be come a sought-after expert within your industry.
2: Utilize social media channels to reach more potential customers
Social media platforms are one of the best ways to reach and engage with potential clients. Craft a content strategy that resonates with your target audience’s interests and concerns. Share valuable insights, success stories, and bite-sized tips to showcase your expertise, position yourself as an expert, and build the know, like and trust factor.
Our Conviction Marketing Method is a great way to ensure your posts are hitting on 3 of the most critical buckets required to build a trusted, authority brand: how-to, hope, and conviction-style content.
How-to content educates your audience and gives them a quick win.
Hope content inspires your audience, creates connection, and allows them to see themselves in your (or your clients’) story.
Conviction content differentiates you from the crowd by showcasing how you are the superior solution in your industry.
3: Use digital marketing and email campaigns to generate leads
Maintain an active blog on your website where you consistently share in-depth and high-value articles, case studies, and practical advice. Hosting webinars, launches or live events can further amplify your credibility and provide opportunities for direct, two-way engagement with your audience.
Additionally, make sure you are nurturing leads through email campaigns that offer genuine value. This could be in the format of a weekly newsletter, or a customized funnel built around a specific opt-in.
Share exclusive insights, big announcements, downloadable resources, and/or limited-time offers. Personalize your communication based on where potential clients are in their journey through segmentation strategies, in turn better nurturing them toward making a buying decision.
4: Set up a referral program or affiliate program to motivate customers
Offering a referral or affiliate program for clients is a great way to spread the word about your services and even free events as it incentivizes your community to share out posts, refer friends and grow your community.
You can offer commissions, giveaways, or free services in exchange for referrals.
If you’re someone who frequently launches or hosts live events, you can even have clients refer their connections to attend an event with you — if that referral ends up buying, they can get a small percentage of the sale (think around 10%).
5: Analyze data from past sales and trends in the industry to better understand what strategies will work best for you
Data analysis can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, market trends and sales performance. Business owners can use this information to identify areas for improvement, optimize their sales and marketing strategies, and stay ahead of the competition.
You can measure things such as the length of your customers’ average buying cycle, conversion rates, and more. Collecting data from your customers will also support you in gathering better insights into your customers’ demographics and behavior.
Challenges that small businesses face with sales
While these strategies mentioned above can be a massive catalyst for growing your sales, it’s also important to recognize unique challenges that coaches, consultants, and online service providers face in the process, particularly in today’s market:
- Building Trust and Credibility
Challenge: Building trust with potential clients can be difficult, particularly if that person has been burned by a previous investment that didn’t create the promised result. It’s also important to note that in the current state of the economy, where buyers have less disposable income and inflation has raised prices of goods and services, they’re being far more discerning and taking the time to do their research. If you have a high-ticket program, you may notice an increase in the customer buying cycle.
Solution: Focus on showcasing specific case studies and client success stories both on your website and social media platforms. High-value lead magnets can offer quick wins and results for free that lead people to want more. Offer free webinars, workshops, or live launches that can accelerate the know, like and trust process. Additionally, free consultations will allow potential clients to experience your expertise and approach firsthand.
Standing out from the Competition
Challenge: The online coaching and consulting space is highly competitive, with new players entering the market regularly. Additionally, there aren’t necessarily any credentials or experience required to start your coaching business, so you run the risk of competing with coaches and consultants who are simply adding noise to the market.
Solution: Differentiate yourself by defining a clear niche and value proposition, and articulating how you fill the gap in your industry. Highlight what makes you and your services unique, and emphasize the level of results and transformation you can help clients achieve. Consider collaborations with complementary businesses to expand your reach and get in front of other people’s audiences.
Challenge: Small businesses often have limited budgets for marketing and advertising, making it difficult to reach new leads in high volume.
Solution: Maximize your budget by focusing on cost-effective digital marketing strategies like content marketing, SEO and social media. Measure the effectiveness of your campaigns using analytics to allocate resources where they have the most impact. Explore free or low-cost marketing tools and platforms to help manage your sales efforts.
Client Acquisition Costs
Challenge: Acquiring new clients can be expensive, particularly if you rely heavily on paid advertising.
Solution: Invest in building a strong online presence and fostering client relationships that can lead to referrals, renewals and upsells. Prioritize long-term client relationships to reduce the need for constantly acquiring new clients. Developing a “customer for life” mentality can save you tremendously, as it’s much more expensive to acquire new business as it is to retain or upsell existing business.
Adapting to Market Changes
Challenge: The digital landscape is continually evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest marketing trends and technologies can be challenging. It can be tempting to want to jump on the latest new trends, but a constantly diluted focus can seriously impact your results.
Solution: Dedicate time to learning about new industry trends, emerging technologies, and shifts in consumer behavior, but be cognizant of what’s here to stay and what could be a fleeting trend (AI, for example, is likely here to stay).It takes time to master a new skill or strategy, so consider what’s worth it for you to tap into and what’s not going to have a long-term impact. And remember, tactics are only good when layered on top of a solid, proven strategy.
Balancing Sales and Service Delivery
Challenge: Small business owners often wear multiple hats, which can make it challenging to focus on sales while also being the primary person for service delivery.
Solution: Create a structured schedule that allocates specific time for sales and client work. Automate routine tasks where possible, such as email marketing campaigns, to free up more of your time for sales efforts. Additionally, consider hiring or outsourcing sales and marketing roles or administrative tasks to ensure you can focus on your key area of expertise.
Examples of small business sales strategies
1: Debra Maldonado, CEO and Co-Founder, CreativeMind and CreativeMind University
Our client Debra’s team was spending far too much time with unqualified leads. This could be an expensive feat when you consider the hourly rate of your employees and the time they’re spending in conversation with leads that likely won’t convert to a sale.
With guidance, they added a layer of qualification in their marketing process and began to pre-qualify leads prior to booking calls with her sales team through segmentation efforts.
The result? Debra had her biggest month in business: generating $270K in revenue in just one month from one small shift in strategy.
2: Kyle and Ariel Tresch, Co-Founders of Couplepreneurs
Kyle and Ariel had 10+ years of experience with organic and paid marketing, however, they needed support in accelerating results in their brand new business.
By leveraging The Live Launch Method conversion event strategy to take prospects from cold to close and expedite the know, like and trust process, they were able to take their new business from zero to 6-figures in just four months.
3: Sabrina Starling, President & Founder of Tap the Potential LLC
When Sabrina’s main sources of referrals were generating less due to changes in their own companies, she knew she needed a way to get in front of new leads.
Through leveraged visibility strategies, she was able to expand her reach — but soon realized through analyzing data that her conversions weren’t where they needed to be.
After assembling and training a brand new sales team, Sabrina was able to increase sales. by 62% over the previous year, in just 6 months.