Intro (00:02): You're listening to the Smart Gets Paid Podcast with me, Leah Neaderthal. I help women land higher paying clients in their B2B consulting and coaching businesses, but I've never been a sales person. My background is in corporate marketing. And when I started my first consulting business, I learned pretty quickly that it's about a thousand times harder to sell your own stuff than it is to sell someone else's. So I taught myself how to do it, and I created a sales approach that feels comfortable, makes you feel confident, and it works consistently. And now I teach women how to land higher paying clients in their B2B consulting and coaching businesses. So whether your client contracts are $2,000 or $200,000, if you want to work with more of the clients you love, do more of the work you love, and get paid more than you ever imagined. Then you're in the right place. Let's do it together. Welcome to Smart Gets Paid.
Leah (00:54): Hey there, Leah, and thanks for tuning into this episode of the Smart Gets Paid Podcast. So, how are you? How's your week going? Things are good over here, but we are pretty much a year into the pandemic. And I have to tell you, I really miss traveling. I feel like as the weeks go on the things I miss being in the pandemic sort of vary from week to week. You know, one week I’m really missing my family, another week I'll really miss just going to places in my neighborhood. This week, I miss traveling. My wife loves to travel too. And when she and I got together and it was getting serious, we made a promise to each other that we would go on one international vacation and one domestic vacation every year. And I'm not talking like trips, you know, like going to see family for Thanksgiving.
Leah (01:39): I mean, vacations. And we followed through on that promise every year until this past year. So at this point, I really miss traveling. And actually I started my first business when I was traveling. My girlfriend at the time and I quit our jobs and started on a year long trip, backpacking around the world. And after a few weeks, we realized that we didn't actually love the backpacking part. And if you've ever been backpacking, you know what a whirlwind it can be because we were moving towns every few days and we were exhausted and barely even experiencing the places that we were visiting. So we decided to slow down and we made a decision that instead of squeezing the whole world into one year, and then going back and spending the rest of our lives working for someone else, what if we created the business and the life that would let us live anywhere?
Leah (02:24): It was 2010 and we were really into the four hour workweek being location independent and all of that. So we thought my background is in marketing. Her background is in non-profits. So we created a marketing and web design agency for nonprofits and social enterprises. It just kind of made sense. So while we had no idea what we were doing, we did at least know what we wanted to do and who we wanted to do it for. Those questions were easy to answer, but for other women, the question of what do I want to do and who do I want to do it for? It's a little harder to answer, especially for my client in today's episode, she's right on the precipice of leaving a long career in corporate finance. And she's a new empty nester now that both of her kids are out of the house.
Leah (03:04): So in true high-achiever fashion, she's looking for her next challenge and she wants to know how she should approach it. And I want to send out a special thanks to this client for allowing me to share this conversation with you. One quick note, while we were talking, she was on a walk outside. So you'll hear her walking and you'll also hear a little traffic noise in the background. So take a listen to our call and at the end, I'll come back and share how you can apply a lesson from this call to your business.
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Guest (04:20): You’ll recall that I'm way behind everybody else because I'm kind of planning to be able to break out of my corporate work. I thought maybe we could use this time for a different set of questions for me to kind of prepare to do what everybody else is doing.
Leah: Yeah. I love that. You're on your walk. So I feel like this is great, you know, it's like, you're sort of physically out of your space or metaphorically trying to get out of your corporate stuff. You're active. I love it. Let's just let's do it.
Guest: And empty-nesters still kind of recovering empty-nester so it's, it's all new. It's good, it's all good and very exciting.
Leah: Oh wow, very exciting. What is it recovering empty-nester
Guest: Well, I'm still getting used to the fact that they're gone.
Leah: Hmm. Yeah. Well, so what are you going to do with all your freedom? Clearly start a business.
Guest (05:14): Yeah, right? I mean, other people get hobbies or travel or whatever, and I just I'm wired to continue to achieve. And I, I just, it's it like, it's like for the sport of it, I guess. My motivation is to kind of just always be in a little bit of a chase. Not so much as I used to have to be, but just enough to enjoy it.
Leah: Yeah. Yeah. Well, good. Let's get you to a place where you can do it and enjoy it. So what questions are on your mind as you're thinking about this next step?
Guest: Well, my original thought was a bookkeeping business where we'd actually provide the bookkeeping services, but I'm realizing now I'd prefer to be kind of done providing the mechanics. And I have decades of perspective, you know, financial knowledge that I believe that there's probably a whole lot of people out there who could benefit from it. I don't think it's like huge consulting projects, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars system implementation stuff.
Guest (06:12): Um, so I'm just trying to figure out how to decide what it's going to be and make it something that could bring in some money as much as possible, of course, but yeah, like coaching of owners or coaching of owners and staff. I mean, a lot of like family businesses have, they turn a family member into a bookkeeper and they're just really, as a whole lot that's lost and a lot of financial intelligence that I think that people don't know that they don't know. And I hate the thought that millions of small businesses fail because of what they don't know in that regard. So maybe it's a little bit kind of purpose-driven too.
Shouldn’t it all be purpose driven? You know, I feel like the reason why a lot of people go into business for themselves is because they see a problem that needs solving. That really is the best place to start.
Guest: That's true. It keeps it from the heart.
Leah: Yeah. I mean, I'm not one of those coaches, that's like, you know, heart-centered entrepreneur, like I want you to make money as well. But I like how you're thinking about it in terms of, you know, questioning, do I have to be the one to do the mechanics? You know, do I have to push the buttons on it versus can I take what I know what I've been doing and bring that knowledge to people who need it. I think that's a really good approach. I think a lot of people just default to the sort of doing of it and that, it can be a trap.
Guest (07:35): Yeah. And I thought the doing of it, I mean, until I got into this group and then the Pack Your Pipeline, I really thought that offering the bookkeeping services was the vehicle by which I could provide the expertise. But I'm just kind of bored of that part now. And I also think it's, it can be achieved by, I mean, it’s just so easy anywhere and it doesn't really differentiate me. I mean, I've been doing some searching, like to try and find people who are doing what I'm talking about, and I'm sure they're out there, but they're not just out there everywhere because everybody is selling the bookkeeping service.
Leah (08:18): Right. Even if there are a lot of people out there, I mean, do you know how many sales coaches there are out there? You know, or graphic designers or whatever. You know, that really shouldn't be a barrier because nearly every service that's out there to provide, lots of people are providing it. But that doesn't mean, especially now that you know PYP, like, but now you have a way to find the right people who need that service. You know.
Guest: Yes, and I love it!
Leah: Good and there's, you know, there's enough work for everybody. Now, it's just a question of what's the problem that you want to be solving. And if you want to be solving a whole other problem in business finance or bookkeeping and all of that, then you can be the strategic expert and have people to push the buttons.
Guest (09:06): Yes. That's what I was thinking. I'm not even planning to have them working for me. Because I mean, you can go online and get bookkeeping services just like in a matter of minutes. So it's about helping them understand what they should be getting for that service. I just help help them know how to interact competently with their tax accountant and how to know, you know, support and know that their bookkeeper's doing everything that they can and should be doing and to work with the insurance people and the bank, and to just be strong advocates for themselves and their business in matters of finance.
Leah (09:46): Yeah. Well, and so let me sort of follow that thought. So if they can do all that, then what are the benefits to their business?
Guest (09:57): They can have a healthy business as a business that's prepared for change. A business that can respond quickly to unexpected risks and setbacks, to feel competent, to have all the tools they need to survive and to thrive.
Leah (10:15): I love that. And so if they can do all those things, what would it mean for a small business, a family business, the types of businesses that you want to work with?
Guest (10:25): It will provide their family and their business with security and safety. You know, what's weird about this is, you do this. I've heard you asked this question to help and guide people dozen times. You think I could have gotten myself the same questions. Oh, that's so funny.
Leah (10:43): It's so easy to hear other people go through it. And to even, I bet if you heard me ask this to other folks, I'm sure it's so clear to you what the problem is.
Guest (10:54): Well, yeah. When they sit there, when they go out there, I was like, yeah, that's where you're supposed to be.
Leah (10:57): Yeah. Obviously, but when you're in it for yourself, it's so hard. It's so hard. And so I don't expect you to sort of come up with it right now, but I think that it's worth spending some time with, because that's the starting point for this new venture. You know, what's the problem I want to be solving? And what's the value to my clients when we solve that problem?
Guest (11:22): Yeah. I guess I would be trying to solve the problem for the people who felt like they had one. Right? Cause there are people who don't know what they don't know. They don't know that they need what I would be offering. But there are people out there who are like, “gosh, I just, I hate going to the accountant. My bookkeeper intimidates me. I hate the numbers”. I think I'm probably solving that problem.
Leah (11:44): Well, yeah, I think that you're you're right, because for the people who say, I need a new bookkeeper, they're going to be driven to find a new bookkeeper and somebody who can push the buttons, but you want to, you want to attract and sort of signal the people who feel the pain and who want the value. And that's not everybody, but there's certainly a lot of those people, you know? So if you say you don't have to be afraid of your numbers and you can get real comfortable with them and actually sort of use them so that your business is set up to be sustainable and, and pass down to your family and all that stuff. If you signal that, you know, in an effective way, then actually what you want is to repel the people who don't have that problem. You know, there are people who are going to be like, all right, you know, I'm not afraid of my numbers or I don't have a family business or whatever. Just give me the bookkeeper. You don't even want those people. Right. That's the things that you're going to be publishing and talking about on LinkedIn are going to come across the feed. If somebody who stops scrolling, because what you say resonates with them so deeply. Yeah. And those are the people we want.
Guest (12:54): That's right. And I, I keep, it's just training. It's training to keep going back to kind of selling on the importance of the stuff. I just have to keep, keep reframing it in my mind and going in the new direction instead of the old, you know, trying to convince everybody why it's so important. I don't need to.
Leah (13:14): Exactly, exactly. Let me, let me offer just a slight variation on what you just said. So, your job is to set up the problem that working with you solves. You know, illustrate the problem that having somebody who can guide you, having somebody who can teach you would solve.
Guest (13:34): Right. Okay. And I think I have achieved that mindset probably half a dozen times in the last month. I just, it keeps slipping away. And so I have to, I'm sure I've written it down too. I know I have, I've written down focus on the pain, but not too much on the pain. So
Leah (13:53): It's a pain and the promise. Right. And it is a practice. It's a practice for everyone. Honestly, it's a practice still for me.
Guest (14:00): Yeah. Yeah.
Leah (14:02): So what else, as you think about putting this together, what else comes up?
Guest (14:07): Um, I think I have like, no idea how to monetize it, you know? I mean, is it, is it a program that they go through? Is it a subscription that they subscribe to? I'm trying to anticipate when I can articulate the problem that I'm solving and they say, yes, have that problem. I'm not sure how to anticipate what the value will be to them.
Leah (14:34): Okay. Well, I'm hearing two different questions, actually. The first is how do I articulate the value to them? And the second is what's the format in which I provide this value. Okay. So, you know, you're talking about like a subscription or group program or whatever. On the topic of the value. You know, it starts with the exercise really that we just went through. When somebody can solve these problems, what is the benefit to their business? What are the outcomes that you'll see in their business? And then of course, we ladder that up to sort of a value statement, right? So I think that you might be further down the road with the outcomes and the value than you might think. You're going to get a recording of it. So go back and listen to what you said. And I think it'll provide a nice starting point for some of the outcomes that your clients will see from the knowledge that you're going to share with them.
Guest (15:24): Mm hm, okay. And then in terms of the format, there are so many ways to deliver this, but I think it's, I mean, you've just already shared. You know, it's almost mind boggling to sort of figure out like, is it a subscription? Is it a group program? Is it this, is it that, right? Here's what I would say. So I think the best way to figure out the format is to start with one-on-one work, either consulting, coaching, and mix of both. Because, and because there's a lot of benefits to doing that. The first is, you get a sort of insider look at their real problems. You get to hear what your clients are saying, and you get to solve it for them in a way that you can actually see, is it really working? And I would do that over and over and over until you start solving the same problems over and over and over. Not necessarily, you know, every single person has the exact same situation, but generally speaking, when you start providing the same value over and over what you're going to see is that essentially any sort of program, any scaled offering any subscription or whatever, essentially starts to write itself, because the things that you do over and over become your program. Does that make sense?
Guest (16:38): It does. Yeah. It's kind of like the themes would emerge and I could easily start to see what delivery mechanism achieved a promise and addresses those themes. Okay.
Leah (16:51): Totally. Well, and without that, you're just sort of making it up. You're taking some, maybe an educated guess as to what would solve the problem. How would it, what's the best way to get people to A. buy it, B. digest, C. use it, you know what I'm saying? And so when people do that without doing a lot of that one-on-one work, it really is sort of a crapshoot. It makes it a lot harder to create something that solves the problem that you really want to solve. Whereas if you go the other way, if you start with one-on-one and sort of bring that to a program or some sort of scaled offering, then you already know what it takes to solve this problem. Right. So let me give you, let me give you examples. So I was doing one-on-one work to help women land, you know, higher paying consulting clients.
Leah (17:38): And I didn't do that for a few years. And I remember very clearly it was like one day that I think I had talked to every single one of my one-on-one clients that day. Like I had, there would be some touch points with them that day. And I remember sitting on the bed and talking with my wife. And I was like, I just feel like I'm sobbing the same things over and over and over. And I grabbed my computer and pulled up like a blank Google doc. And I said, what are the things I say over and over? And I titled the Google doc, the fu**ing course, I just started writing. And I was like, you know, they need to know I'm talking about mindset and becoming up here. And they're talking about proposals and writing a killer situation analysis and not starting with, you know, what we heard you say and all of these things over and over about pricing and sales process and pipeline and all this stuff.
Leah (18:34): And after I had sort of gotten it all out in this minor fit of rage, I looked at that and I was like, that's a course. That is a course right there. And that's exactly the course that became Signed.
Guest: That’s wonderful.
Leah: And I'm so grateful to that one-on-one work that I did. And all the one-on-one clients I worked with because had I not done that, I wouldn't have had the course. You know? And so you're actually starting that process in a much better place than I did because I did what a lot of women tend to do, which is take on sort of whatever comes their way. Right? Like I come from a marketing background. So I did a lot of this type of thing and that type of thing and, and whatever. And it took me a long time to really focus down on, what is the problem I wanted to solve? You know, you're starting there. So you're way ahead. So ideally if you move forward with this focus of the problem we want to solve, you know, it will really help you get to whatever scaled offering you want to get to faster. Because you're not going to have to sift through all these people who want bookkeeping over here. People want whose strategy over here, you're going to attract more of the people who have that problem. And so you'll get more of that data or a scaled offering faster. Does that make sense?
Guest (19:51): It does. It does. And I like that. And I appreciate that. And so the last question then is in order to start with these one-on-one clients, I have no idea how to price it. I mean, I might, of course my brain goes to where everybody's brain is, which is hourly, but I don't like that for all the reasons that you advise against it. And so what are some of the different ways that could be done?
Leah (20:15): Oh my gosh, do you have an hour or two?
Guest (20:20): Oh, give me the top three.
Leah (20:22): So everything that I do with pricing is really pricing around value. So what is the value to your clients, to the business and pricing commensurate with that value? Now that's not to say, if you are making your client $50,000 or whatever, then you're going to get paid a percentage. It's not like that. But if you can help one of your family businesses, for example, create a financially healthy, sustainable business that can get passed down for the next three generations. There's a lot of value there. And so putting a number to that. And I think one of the things I tell everybody that I work with is value based pricing isn't something that you calculate. It's something that you decide, and you can really uncover the value first by setting out the value, right? You put out the value first. You solve this problem for people.
Leah (21:15): Do you want this problem solved? Come to me, right? Because then you don't get the people like we were talking about before, the ones who were like, I need a bookkeeper because that's very tactical. Then when you attract those people, then you uncover the value in a sales conversation doing great discovery. So instead of just following down the path of like, what do you want me to do? It becomes questions around why is this important? Then pricing around that value that they will tell you, you know, they'll say it if you do it right, they'll just tell you what the value is. And then you making a call on what is the price of essentially reserving me to bring this value to you?
Guest (21:52): Oh yeah. Preserving me. Oh, goodness gracious.
Leah: What just happened?
Guest: Yes. The reserving me part. Cause I was still, I'm still trying to move my mind away from hourly and pay as you go and whatever. And so the whole “reserve my time to be able to help you”, my words, not what I would say to them, but I mean, that's just, it just, it just flipped a switch.
Good. Well, I want to caution against, even that phrase reserving my time. It's not time-based right. It's not a day rate. It's not a retainer and masquerading as a set of hours. Right. It's really on the value. And so if your work has tremendous value and that value has a price, so that's what I would say about pricing. And it might be scary because it requires you to assess your own value.
Guest (22:44): Yeah. Well, that doesn't seem to be my problem because I feel valuable and I know what I'm offering is legitimately valuable, has value. Um, I think where I get stuck is not the fear, but the part where, what my value is too much for them. And I just have to be prepared that that's okay.
Leah (23:06): Your value might be too much for them then they're not in your client.
Guest (23:09): Yeah. That's my next speed bump right there. What we're talking about right now, I just need to go forward.
Leah (23:14): Yeah. Well, I think that's especially scary when you don't have a system or a mechanism to bring clients to you. You know, a lot of people who spend a lot of time kind of waiting around for people to find them or whatever. It's very hard to do this, to sort of adopt that mindset of, well, this is my price and this is the value I provide because there's a lot of fear that if they say no, there's going to be nothing else. You know, but you have a system to do that. And so you'll have other opportunities and you won't have that scarcity mindset. Like if they say no, there's going to be nothing else for me.
Guest: Yeah. And I think part of the reason I'm starting so early and I haven't left corporate yet, and I'm kind of easing into it is I can accept just those circumstances easier.
Leah (23:59): Yeah. You do have a little bit of, I mean, having a job is kind of like having a huge client. Because it gives you a little bit of freedom to make decisions outside of that scarcity mindset and more of an abundance mindset. The trick is going to be getting yourself set up so that when you do make that leap, you'll be able to sort of seamlessly continue making the money that you want, making the decisions that you can. Right? Having options, so that you don't feel like, you know, oh shit. Now you're at the bottom and you have to take anything that comes your way..
Leah (24:33): All right. So we covered a lot in our conversation. And I want to just pull out one thing that you can think about in your business. If you're wondering how to deliver your services and how to bring your value to clients, it can be really overwhelming thinking about all the options. Should you do consulting and work with clients directly? Should you run a group program? Should you create a digital course and so on? And it's especially hard when there's a lot of noise out there about what you should be doing. And what's going to get you to a, quote, seven figure business. In my business, I've delivered my services in all the ways. I've been deeply embedded in a client working essentially as part of her team, I have worked in a consulting capacity with my clients, really doing the work hands-on in their business.
Leah (25:13): I've worked with my clients, one-on-one in a coaching capacity and I've created what they call scaled offerings. My group programs like Signed, Pack Your Pipeline, and others. And what I can say for having done all of these is that the best place to start by far is working directly with clients. First of all, because it's the fastest, most direct route to money. I do work for you. And in exchange, you pay me money. It's a direct line to revenue. Some of these other methods like a course or blogging or whatever, they can get you to revenue, but it's a long and winding road. But even beyond that, doing direct work with clients also gives you a really incredible view into your clients, their pain points, where they may get stuck and how you can offer the most value. I actually thought I knew what my client's pain points were, but in working with them one-on-one for a few years, I realized that what I thought I knew was only the tip of the iceberg. And when you have that deep understanding, it'll make anything else you do to serve your clients so much more valuable and effective, and it will be easier to sell because you'll be speaking your client's language on a much deeper level. So take the time, do the work with your clients. And in the meantime, get paid all the money.
Leah (26:24): Hey, thanks for hanging out with me. If you liked this episode, take a second and click the subscribe button wherever you're listening to your podcasts. And you'll be notified as soon as I release a new episode. And if you're listening on Apple podcasts, I’d so appreciate it if you took two seconds and left a rating or a review. This tells Apple podcasts, hey, there's good stuff in here. And they'll recommend it to other listeners who might benefit from these lessons for their business. So please take a second and add a rating or a review. Thanks. So that's it for now. I'll see you next time on the Smart Gets Paid Podcast.
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EP 6: Your clients want to feel understood, too