In the past year, I’ve changed my business model. Now I only work with one-to-one service providers.
I used to work with a variety of business models, but I’ve niched down and specialized with that particular group for a few specific reasons.
One of these reasons is that I’m tired of people (good people mind you) who have bought into the whole bro-marketing thing of years gone by.
It goes something like this:
The best way to make money is to be a coach and to coach others (usually in the business space).
You can charge a large amount of money and work with a fairly large group of people.
Plus once you create a course, you’ll make money “in your sleep”.
You spend your effort upfront, record a bunch of videos, put some workbooks together, and BOOM, you’re a millionaire once you crack the marketing code.
It’s all about quantity
To sell courses or group programs or memberships, you have to sell QUANTITY.
You can’t sell one course a month and meet most revenue goals (and if you can, you’re a unicorn and I bow down to you).
That’s not to say that creating a course is a bad thing, it’s just not the only way that you can grow a successful business where you don’t have to sell your soul to the devil every month.
Why I work with clients with one-to-one services
By working one-to-one with clients and focusing on providing the most value, I’m able to build a business that feels good to me, and it drastically changes how I market my own business.
I have a higher caliber client. I don’t look to market to the masses, but instead, everything is much more targeted. I take on fewer clients but I serve the heck out of them.
Service providers need to make fewer sales, but the sales are for higher amounts.
That means you need to have a foundation of trust with your prospects for them to feel comfortable and to hire your services.
I like that type of marketing and branding. I’m great at it. So for me, it just makes sense.
How my business has evolved – the numbers
Let’s break down some numbers so you can see how this works.
For example, I used to charge $2,000 for a five-page website. I needed to sell five of these (and get five clients) per month to make $10,000.
Sounds doable, if not a bit challenging to turn out one web page a day to hit those goals. Plus I needed to market myself and get on sales calls to get these five clients a month.
But the marketing and finding of these clients was a challenge because of the volume of people I needed to get in front of every month, plus I felt like the clients I worked with weren’t getting what they needed for just a five-page website.
I was working like crazy, not meeting my revenue goals, and I couldn’t see a productive path forward.
Now I specialized, got super specific, and I serve the heck out of one client a month for $10,000. I’m making the same amount, but the energy is different.
Because I’ve been working with one-to-one service providers over the past year, I know way more about what they need to make their business successful in terms of marketing and branding.
I focus on reading blog posts about business models for service professionals (as opposed to say coaches) and lean into my experience.
I know that tactic 163 won’t work for a service provider, and I can tell them so instead of letting my clients test it out for themselves (or for them to pay me to implement something that just won’t work), we can shortcut all that heartache and wasted effort (and money).
This also means that I’m not looking for five people.
I’m looking for a very specific person every month.
I don’t want millions of people to know my name. I just want a select handful to know about me so when they are ready to buy, I’m top of mind.
That doesn’t mean it’s all roses and sunshine, however.
I’m going to break it down by the numbers so you can see exactly how niching down can affect YOUR business, and how the audience you have may not all be exactly the right people for your new niche.
How YOU can apply this
We’re going to use some industry standard numbers here – like that on average about 3% of your audience is ready to buy at any given moment.
If 3% of my audience is ready to buy at any particular moment, that means 1 person is my goal 3%.
That means I need roughly 33 ideal people in my audience every month. Not just any people, but IDEAL people – those who I work with, those who want to work with me, and those who have the means to work with me.
If I needed five clients a month, I would need about 166 perfect people in my audience every month.
And again, these are IDEAL people. These are people who are willing and able to spend $2,000 on a five-page website.
For both of these audiences, I need to remember that these are NOT people who want to DIY their website.
These aren’t people who want to take a course or read a book where they can follow along.
These are not the type of people who don’t respect my values (for example, I don’t work with people who want to create complicated funnels using superficial countdown timers).
A more general example
Now for a more general example. We’re going to use 100 as an example starting email list size.
I’m not going to jump into social media or any of that stuff right now – let’s keep it easy.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll stick with email marketing.
Let’s say you’ve been collecting people for the last year or so as you build your business and you have an email list of 100 people.
You’re a service provider who designs and oversees basement remodels.
You used to design a variety of things but you’ve gotten a lot more clear on your ideal projects and you’ve made the decision to niche down.
This also means that you’ve raised your prices and you’re excited to see how this goes.
You know you need 1 client per month to reach your financial goal. You need 33 people in your audience, and you have an email list of 100 people. You should be all set right?
Let’s take a closer look at those 100 people.
One is your mom. She’s not going to hire you, so she doesn’t count.
Four are close friends. Three have finished basements already that they love.
One has an unfinished basement, but she’s already told you her husband won’t budge on her dream remodel that includes a spa-type bathroom and a craft room, so while you’d LOVE to do that project, you know it’s probably not going to happen.
We’re down to 95 people. That’s still a good amount right?
Out of those 95, about ten of them joined your list when you were running a promotion on kitchen remodels. They don’t want a basement remodel. Down to 85, we go.
25 people don’t have basements. So no dice there. 60 left. Not as great as 100, but still, nothing to sneeze at!
Well, 30 people are DIYers. You ran some content about how you could DIY a bathroom or basement project trying to drum up some buzz.
These 30 people are not the type to hire it out but they’d be interested if you run a course (which won’t get you to your revenue goals any time soon). So now we’re down to 30.
OK, so 30 is a lot different than 100 BUT you only need 33 people! You’re pretty close to that number!
Only you haven’t been super clear in your branding and five people have different values than you do (you’d never consider designing an adult fantasy lair), so really you’re down to 25 and those people are likely your ideal client, but you’re not sure.
25 isn’t a bad number and it’s a great starting point, but you’re going to have to figure out just how ideal they are. It could be that most are, or it could be that only 5 are.
So when you send that email about your new services to 100 people, and only 50 people open your email (and only seven are on your ideal client list), it’s not surprising that nobody emailed you back.
3% of seven people is .21 of a person. That’s like a leg, right?
So what’s a person to do?
First, let’s remember that if you’ve changed your niche, your brand, or you’ve gotten more clear on who you are as a business and your services, this is an AMAZING step in the right direction!
You deserve to pat yourself on the back!
Next, let’s remember that our current audience may or may not be the best audience for our current offering. And that’s OK!
It’s going to take time to build up the perfect audience.
But while yesterday was the best day to start, today is pretty sweet too. So mentally prepare yourself for some ideal audience building and start the process.
And finally, having a smaller audience becomes a blessing in this instance because you can reach out to every person and have a conversation with them!
Talk to them
Ask them where they’re at, what kind of content they want to see, and how you can help them.
These types of questions will clue you into where they are in their journey and the type of people they are so you can label them accordingly.
If Jack Johnson tells you he’d love to see some DIY content, he’s most likely a DIYer.
You don’t have to kick him off your list (his mother may need a new basement next year after all), but you don’t want to count him as one of your ideal 33.
Now that you know your list better, you can mark them with several different labels.
Always mark down your VIPs. These are your ideal clients and past clients.
These are the people you are most likely to sell to and who have the potential to become referral partners and champions of your brand.
You also may want to mark the people who aren’t ideal but maybe down the line (those DIYers might be PERFECT in two years when you develop a group program). If you label them, you’ll be able to find them later.
Audit your list every six months. If you’ve shifted your business and your ideal client has shifted, then your list may need to shift too.
You’ll always want to know how many VIPs you need on your list at any given time so you know that if you market “right”, you’ll have that steady stream of clients month in and month out.
It doesn’t have to be a huge amount if you’re doing one-to-one, but you still have to make sure that it’s a targeted approach and you’re not selling higher prices to a bunch of DIYers and scratching your head when nobody buys.
What it all means
I see so many people say “It’s a numbers game” which to a certain extent, is true.
If you have zero people in your audience (either in an email list or a social media following, etc), then you’re going to have a hard time selling.
But it’s not just about having people on your list and numbers on your list. It’s about if those people are your ideal clients, people who are ready to buy what you’re selling.
And it’s also about your offer. If you offer lower-priced courses, for example, you need a LOT more people on your list to make a LOT more sales to meet your revenue targets.
If you offer a higher-priced service (as most of my clients do), you can focus on a smaller, more targeted approach that’s more personal and value-focused because you don’t need as many people to say yes.
You can focus on a smaller list, something that is easier for most business owners to do.
So focus on the most important part of growing your business – those ideal clients and make sure they feel valued and appreciated and that you are in their corner rooting for them. As a small service-based business, you can’t go wrong!
- Times Have Changed: Ethical Marketing in 2021 Jennifer Anastasi
- 7 Key Reasons Online Course Creators Fail at Selling Jeff Cobb
- How to Build Trust: Creating the Foundation Frank Sonnenberg
- Are you Ignoring 97% of Your Customers? Alberto Garcia
- Unscalable Conversations – a free, simple and powerful marketing tool to use Wendy Batten